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Properly sharpened kitchen knives are as essential to cooking as the ingredients themselves. Dull kitchen knives are not only ineffective; they are also more dangerous as they are prone to slipping and causing cuts during use. While most home cooks may attempt to sharpen their knives with the honing steel that comes with a basic knife block set, the steel only helps to maintain a sharp edge and won’t actually sharpen a dull one. Sharpening correctly involves using a sharpening stone while understanding the proper technique and angle that your knife needs to achieve the sharpest edge.
While it is possible to do this at home, some self-education is involved in making sure it is done correctly, plus the time and labor required to sharpen all your kitchen knives regularly. Luckily, there are various knife sharpening services, both in-store and remote, that can handle this task. We did the work for you and chose the best knife sharpening services around the country to make sure you are never stuck chopping with a dull knife again.
Why We Chose It: Midwest-based Carisolo Grinding has been in the knife sharpening business for four generations.
What We Like
Long company history
Pricing discounts on larger orders
Packaging and shipping cost included
What We Don’t Like
No prorated pricing
Founded by a family of knife grinders and now run by the fourth generation, Carisolo Grinding is based in Wisconsin. It provides both regional delivery and a mail-in sharpening service nationwide. All knives are hand-edged on a water-cooled grindstone by a master grinder and then buffed and honed. Any necessary repairs such as broken tips or chips can also be repaired. In addition to both double- and single-beveled knives, Carisolo can also repair machine blades (i.e. food processor blades).
Pricing is tiered based on the number of knives, starting at $72 for up to five knives and going up to $180 for 17 to 20 knives. All shipping costs are included in the pricing. Customers are asked to select a box size corresponding to the number of knives they plan to send in; Carisolo Grinding will then ship out the box with a return label. Then, customers will send in their knives for sharpening via the U.S. Postal Service. The sharpening itself will be done in one day, but the entire process, including transit time, typically takes about ten days from when an order is placed.
Carisolo Grinding goes beyond sharpening services; the company also offers a cutlery rental program for professional kitchens and maintains a sister company, Post Knife, a sharp knife subscription service.
Why We Chose It: Sur La Table offers knife sharpening at its retail stores nationwide at a great price.
What We Like
Low fee per knife
Sharpens both Western and Japanese styles
What We Don’t Like
No mail-in service
National kitchenware chain Sur La Table offers in-store knife sharpening services at its retail locations across the country. Sur La Table was founded during the 1970s, with its first store opening at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington. Besides kitchen tools, cooking equipment, and serving ware, retail stores typically offer a full calendar of cooking classes.
At just $5 per knife, Sur La Table will sharpen any standard kitchen knife, including Western and Japanese styles. Note: Serrated ceramic knives and scissors are not accepted. Sur La Table sharpens knives by machine, so the service is not as bespoke as some others, but knives will still be razor-sharp. Knives are typically ready for pick up within 24 hours of dropping off, but this may be longer during peak shopping seasons such as the holidays.
Why We Chose It: Togu Knives is a unique knife subscription service that sends customers newly sharpened knives every two months.
What We Like
Seamless exchange process
Low monthly cost
High-quality, durable knives
What We Don’t Like
Only offers two styles of knives
Knives shared between customers
Many of us are familiar with home subscriptions for food products, but what about kitchen tools? Founded in 2018, Togu Knives has introduced a fresh new subscription concept for home cooks, guaranteeing they will never find themselves without a sharp knife. For $24 per month, you will receive a freshly sharpened pair of knives—a 6.6-inch Santoku-style, all-purpose, double-beveled knife and a small, 3.5-inch paring knife. A new shipment (containing a Santoku and paring knife) will arrive in eight weeks, and you will return the used set. You could also choose to pay $16 per month to keep the knives for 12 weeks or $12 per month to keep the knives for 16 weeks, which will be replaced after that duration. This cycle continues throughout your subscription period. Note: Knives can be returned earlier if they seem dull before the next scheduled shipment, but this scenario is unlikely.
Once an order is placed, Togu will ship the first pair of knives to arrive within three to five days. All shipping is free, and each replacement pair comes with a prepaid shipping label and packaging for easy returns. Togu’s knives are made from durable VG-10 steel (the gold standard when it comes to kitchen knives), making it easy to get a fine edge that lasts longer. After each used knife set is returned, it is refinished, sharpened, cleaned, and sanitized before being sent off to another customer. All sharpening is done by hand on ceramic whetstones, a labor-intensive but precise process.
Why We Chose It: Korin has a long-standing reputation for its master knife sharpeners who meticulously sharpen and repair knives by hand.
What We Like
Open since 1982
Sharpens using traditional stone method
Easy online ordering form
What We Don’t Like
Packaging and postage for shipping not provided
No tiered pricing
A favorite go-to retailer among professional chefs, Korin Japanese Trading, specializes in Japanese knives, kitchen products, and tableware. Located in the heart of Manhattan at its showroom, Korin has expert knife sharpeners in-house who sharpen knives by hand on a stone and sharpening wheel. Korin is the first company in the world given authorization and certification to re-sharpen and repair several premier brands of Japanese knives.
The company offers mail-in sharpening and repair services. Forms for sharpening services are available online, along with detailed instructions for mailing in knives. Sharpening fees are $25 per knife plus shipping. The knives are usually sharpened within one week and then shipped back to the customer. In addition to sharpening and repairs, Korin can clean rusted blades and discoloration in most cases.
Why We Chose It: National Sharpening Co. has a regional mobile knife sharpening service as well as an option to mail in knives for sharpening and repair.
What We Like
In business since 1993
Can sharpen a large variety of styles
Tiered pricing with good value
What We Don’t Like
Mail-in information not available online
Packaging for shipping not provided
National Sharpening is based in North Andover, Massachusetts, but services customers all over the country. Founded by Thomas Panniello in 1993, National Sharpening Co. offers sharpening and repair services for various knives, clippers and shears, and kitchen cutlery of any kind, including both Japanese and Western-style knives. National Sharpening is able to sharpen everything from a paring knife and chef's knife to a steak knife, serrated knife, and a mezzaluna. Sharpening is done using a combination of a water-cooled machine and stone to create the sharpest edge possible.
Its mobile service is available for customers living in the region, but mail-in services are available to customers nationwide. Pricing starts at $8 for a paring knife, $12 for a standard chef's knife, and $15 for Japanese knives such as Global or Shun brands. Turnaround time is approximately one week. Mobile services are made by appointment only, and customers are encouraged to contact the company directly by email to receive instructions for mailing in knives.
Numerous knife sharpening services are available nationwide, and most offer mail-in services for customers to send in dulled knives to be sharpened. The exceptions are Togu, which automatically sends its own newly sharpened knives every couple of months, and Sur La Table, which is in-store only; if you live near a Sur La Table location, the chain's low price and quick turnaround is a great solution. For mobile service in the Northeast or more diverse kitchen tools (i.e. serrated knives, mezzalunas, etc.), National Sharpening Co. provides excellent service. East-coast based Korin stands out for its highly specialized sharpening services and is a go-to for professional chefs. Carisolo Grinding’s multi-generational family business, reasonable pricing, and dedication to the craft of knife sharpening make it our pick for best overall.
Isn’t a Honing Steel Enough to Keep My Knives Sharp?
A honing steel is not a sharpener. Stainless honing steels are great for maintaining and straightening an edge that is already sharp, but they do not rub away metal to create a sharp, new edge.
How Often Should I Sharpen My Knives?
This depends on how often you are using them and what type of maintenance you're doing. If you are using steel to maintain a sharp edge, the knife will stay sharper for longer. Most home cooks will only need to sharpen their knives a few times a year if using the steel to hone in between. The best way to know whether your knives need sharpening is to do a paper test: Firmly hold a sheet of basic copy paper at the top with one hand and draw the blade of your knife down through the paper with the other hand, slicing from the heel to the tip of the blade. If the knife slices easily through the paper, it is sharp and ready to use. If it requires more pushing and tears the paper to cut through, it is likely dull and in need of sharpening.
Is it Worth it To Sharpen a Cheap Knife?
While it is certainly worth a try, less expensive knives can sometimes be made of inferior steel, which will be difficult to sharpen. To save time, invest in a new knife that has a more durable blade.
Do Knife Sharpeners Ruin Knives?
Sharpening involves actually removing material from the knife’s blade by grinding it against a sharpening stone, sharpening wheel, or a similar tool. Ceramic and diamond steels will take off a small amount of metal to slightly sharpen and perhaps buy you more time between sharpening on a stone, but your knives will still need to get properly sharpened at least once a year. While a knife sharpener can aid in deftly slicing and cutting in the moment for the task at hand, the practice has been known to dull and even chip blades over time. In the long run, this can shorten the life of your blade.
What Is the Difference Between Western and Japanese Knives?
All knives have a beveled edge, meaning there is a slight angle on the side that runs down the edge. Generally, Western knives are double-beveled, and traditional Japanese knives are single-beveled. Double-beveled means the knife is sharpened on both sides and usually forms a V-shaped edge. Single-beveled means the angle is only created on one side while the other side of the blade is completely straight. Western-style knives are the most common and utilitarian while Japanese knives are designed for precision slicing (i.e. slicing sushi).
While Japanese knives can also be found with double-edge blades, Western knives (also referred to as German-style) are not made with a single bevel. Why does this matter? Double- and single-beveled knives need to be sharpened at different angles, so if you are sharpening knives yourself, you will need to know which you have and how to properly sharpen them.
What Is the Going Rate for Knife Sharpening?
The average price per knife is $14, however, this varies depending on the type and size of the knife and how many knives there are to sharpen. Some stores, such as Ace Hardware, offer sharpening services and usually charge $6.99.
Do You Tip a Knife Sharpener?
If you are satisfied with the service that was provided and believe that the knife sharpener did a good job, it is perfectly acceptable to tip them.
The best knife sharpening services were selected by reviewing dozens available nationwide. Multiple factors were considered, including the history of the business, in-house expertise, and types of knives the company can service. Pricing, turnaround time, user experience, and customer reviews were also taken into account.