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Looking for the Best Handheld Knife Sharpener? The Work Sharp Sharpener is Your Choice

Did you know the frustration of using a dull knife? I’ve to keep reminding myself to avoid getting cut, not the meat but the fingers. We have a bunch of dull knives that have not been sharpened for years until we decided to do something good. In fact, we’re looking for the best handheld knife sharpener for straight-edge knives as well as blades with any shapes.

best handheld knife sharpener
The Work Sharp Ken Onion Edition is the most portable and versatile handheld belt sharpener (with expansion options)

In search of a knife sharpener, we categorize it into two groups – manual and electric knife sharpeners. Both types are designed to work efficiently on the kitchen contertop.

But what if we want a portable handheld knife sharpener that can be used on kitchen countertop as well as freehand? Basically, it’s exactly a versatile handheld knife sharpener to restore any damaged edge to factory sharpness. That’ll include other tools as well.

We know Work Sharp Belt Driven Sharpeners are the best in terms of quality and versatility but that’s not enough. We’ve to convince everyone and prove that it’s the best handheld knife sharpener, period.

After extensive research from different resources, we’ve concluded the Work Sharp is the only brand designed for that purpose. It’s a versatile sharpening machine to rescue any damaged knife and blade, regardless of shapes.

Although Work Sharp has several sharpeners on the market, only 2 models fit into this type (portable and versatile).

  1. Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener (original version)
  2. Work Sharp Ken Onion Knife Sharpener (upgraded model)

What makes it the best electric handheld knife sharpener on the market?

A little clue to prove this is the huge amount of reviews and good ratings on Amazon. But that does not mean anything. Some folks may think it’s just an individual’s preference.

We totally agree.

Before we strongly conclude this, let us explore the features, the pros, and the cons and see why these two models are so popular that have gained the trust of thousands of users over the years. And it’s still growing strong…

The Challenge of The Best Handheld Knife Sharpener

Work Sharp sharpening technology is different from other sharpeners. It uses a flexible belt grinding method to achieve a convex grind along the entire edge of the knife. The convex grind creates a superior sharpness that will last longer and sharper than the normal V-shaped edge.

Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener Ken Onion Edition

The high quality abrasive belt sharpening system gives the most professional results with virtually every kind of blade. The results are sharp and smooth edge.

Belt grinding technology is used by the professional shops, so we’re getting professional results with this lightweight, handheld sharpening machine. Besides that, a combination of abrasive belts and sharpening guides ensures perfect precision all the time.

The belt replacement is a piece of cake with its Work Sharp original belt replacement kits as well as third-party substitution.

All Work Sharp models come with different angle guides. Sometimes it may take a little practice to get the desired results. No big deal.

Work Sharp Knife & Tool SharpenerThe Work Sharp original model and the Ken Onion Edition are not only designed to sharpen all types of knives but it actually gives equally great performance with other tools like shovels, mower blades, garden shears, axes, sheers, hatches and much more.

Similarly, it doesn’t only sharpen straight blades, its patented belt technology helps sharpen blades of virtually every shape including curved knives, fillet knives, pocket knives, hunting knives, gut hooks, and many others.

Thanks to its versatility, all types of tools can be sharpened as you see fit. And many of these edges can only be sharpened freehand in order to get excellent results. That’s the benefit of a handheld knife sharpener.

Pros and Cons

Depending on your choice, however, the Work Sharp original model does have limited angles.

It comes with two fixed guides; a 50-degree angle guide designed for hunting and outdoor knives sharpening. And the 40-degree guide sharpens your commonly used kitchen knives (typical European style) and other tools having thinner blades.

On the other hand, the Ken Onion Knife Sharpener has more features and flexibility.

One big advantage is the angle adjustment from 15 to 30-degree with 1-degree increment. It also comes with larger belts, variable speed control, power lock switch, and the option to add on sharpening accessories.

More details and comparison from Work Sharp Original vs Ken Onion Sharpener.

The pros of the Original Work Sharp Model – cheaper and lighter. While the Ken Onion Edition has more power and control. Depending on your usage, both models can be your best handheld knife sharpener for the long haul.

Manual Sharpener

Some may recommend the manual handheld sharpener over the electric one. First, it is compact, lighter and cheaper. It works without electrical power and it can be carried along everywhere you go. It’s so convenience you can just toss it in your bag.

Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Handheld Manual Knife Sharpener, Finger Guard, Carbide Metal Plates, Multicolor (Grey/Black)

Some come with multi-stage from coarse to fine grinding. It’s small and handy, yet works perfectly to turn dull knives to a razor-sharp edge.

Some of the models include:

  1. Smith’s 50185 Jiffy-Pro Handheld Sharpener
  2. Victorinox Handheld Manual Knife Sharpener
  3. Wüsthof – 2 Stage Hand-Held Sharpener (2922)

All these can be cheaply bought on Amazon. And when you compared the price with the electric handheld sharpeners, you’ll automatically gear towards the manual one.

As a matter of fact, we totally agreed with all the above benefits. But if you want something more powerful and extraordinary like what the Work Sharp can do, it’ll put those small sharpeners to sleep.

Although manual sharpeners can work with straight-edge knives, it does not sharpen tools with different shapes. And it is not powerful enough to restore severely damaged knives as the Work Sharp sharpeners do.

The Comparison

To be fair, let the users convince everyone.

We did a further comparison between electric and manual models. Our initial assumption was that since the manual sharpeners are cheap and powerful, it must have invited tons of reviews and good ratings. We guess the number of reviews must be more than the Work Sharp electric models.

Guess what!

None of the manual handheld sharpener reviews have outgrown both Work Sharp sharpeners. In fact, it’s way below what we’ve estimated.

Don’t believe me. Read the reviews here.

With thousands of reviews posted on Amazon for both Work Sharp sharpeners, it’ll take quite a long time to read.


This article is about recommending Work Sharp electric handheld sharpeners to folks who are in search of speed, power, and versatility. It’s not about price war.

For those who can only afford a cheap sharpener to restore a few kitchen knives, it’s wise to buy the manual handheld sharpener. There are many handheld sharpeners around $20 that can do a decent job.

We hope this short review can provide some valuable information to help people make the best buying decision.

Whichever choice, good or bad, you can easily rescue most of the kitchen knives. But finding the best handheld knife sharpener to push the sharpening boundaries usually needs to pay extra for the advanced features.

Worth it or not, it depends on the individual’s usage and requirement.

Decide for yourself, at the end of the day you’re the one who can save your kitchen knives and some other tools you may have (if applicable).

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