Different settings for knives of different sizes
Works on serrated knives
Takes up a lot of counter space
Overly complicated to use
The Wisconsin-based company Presto has been making kitchen appliances and other housewares for more than a decade. It currently offers two knife sharpeners, the largest of which is the Presto Professional EverSharp. The hefty apparatus is lauded as being among the best electric sharpeners on the market. We set out to determine whether or not the device worked on a number of different knives—and if it was worth the counter space it requires.
Design: Big and complicated
If you’re of the opinion that properly maintaining your knives requires a large electric appliance, lengthy instructions, and the possibility of sparks, the Presto Professional EverSharp is for you. This electric sharpener weighs around 5 pounds and takes up a significant amount of cabinet or counter space, measuring 12 x 5 x 4 inches. It’s also the sort of appliance that requires careful reading of the instructions.
To use it, you first select your blade from one of three choices: thick, for cleavers and hunting knives; medium for chef’s knives and the like, and thin for fillet and paring knives. You then power up the unit. There are three sharpening areas, what the instructions call “stages,” and each area has two slanted slots and a grinding wheel specific to the stage. Stage 1 is “coarse grinding” for very dull knives. If your knife is only a bit dull, you can skip stage 1 and go straight to stage 2, “precision grinding,” for slightly dull knives. Both the stage 1 and stage 2 grinding wheels are made of Sapphirite™, which Presto says is ”the same ultra-hard material used in professional sharpening shops.” The stage 3 grinding wheel is made of ceramic and meant for “fine honing,” or small, frequent touch-ups.
The instructions note that the machine can also sharpen serrated knives, but it makes no mention of double- versus single-bevel knives. Blades that have been ground down on both sides to form an edge are known as double-bevel knives. European knives typically fall into this category, while Japanese knives are often single-bevel: In other words, the surface of the blade is ground to a sharp edge on only one side.
This electric sharpener weighs around 5 pounds and takes up a significant amount of cabinet or counter space.
Performance: Effective but not worth the effort
We tried the sharpener on a number of knives in our drawer and achieved fairly good results, but it was an annoyingly complicated process. Reading the instructions carefully is important. They say that the speed at which you pull the blade through each stage is key; users should aim to move the knife two inches every second, so a 6-inch knife would require a three-second pass. The instructions also warn that knives with high carbon content may spark when being sharpened on the machine. They go on to say this isn’t a big deal, but such warnings might undermine the confidence of some home cooks.
The design and electronic nature of the machine also made us worry about using it on more delicate knives for fear it would ruin them.
Price: Relatively cheap for an electric sharpener
Typically costing around $50, the Presto Professional EverSharp is moderately priced compared to other similar electric sharpeners. The Chef’s Choice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Professional Electric Knife Sharpener is approximately twice the price. Presto and several other manufacturers also make similar sharpeners with just two stages—sharpening and honing—that are significantly cheaper.
Competition: Opt for something unplugged
It didn’t get our knives any sharper than high-end manual sharpeners like the Brod & Taylor Professional model, and it was much more complicated to use and took longer. It was also quite large and required an electronic outlet. Ultimately, this hulking, rather difficult-to-use tool is an argument against electric home sharpeners.
- Product Name Presto Professional EverSharp
- Product Brand Presto
- Price $54.99
- Weight 5.1 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 12 x 5 x 4 in.
- Model Number 08810
- Material Plastic exterior, grinding wheels made from Sapphirite™
- Warranty Limited 1-year