When you have amassed a stock of kitchen knives that would impress Gordon Ramsay, you do not have the time for hand sharpening (and carpal tunnel from repetitive motions is not what we would call a good time). An electric knife sharpener is way faster than hand sharpening, but how do you choose one that won’t destroy your knives? We tried to take away some of the guesswork by sending our review team after different candidates among the best electric knife sharpeners. Thankfully, we did not break any knives or lose any fingers, but we emerged on the other side, victorious, with very sharp kitchen implements.
The Chef’s Choice 130 is a widely renowned, best-selling choice among electric knife sharpeners, but it will cut your wallet in half. In our extensive testing process, we found a perfect, cheap alternative for the budget-conscious: the Presto 00810, which shares many of the same features as the Chef’s Choice 130 at a great price. It is a quality three-stage electric knife sharpener that takes care of sharpening tasks in and out of the kitchen. Let’s compare the two and see how they perform!
The Chef’s Choice 130 is a three-stage electric knife sharpener perfect for sharpening most American and European knives, from pocket knives to your prized kitchen blades. The three stages let you control how much sharpening goes on--only blades in rough condition need more than a pass or two through the coarse diamond abrasives stage. The Chef’s Choice 130 offers a longer warranty than the Presto 00810, and the Presto does not use diamond abrasives for its first stage, so if you like the idea of an ultra-hard mineral sharpening your knives, you may prefer the Chef’s Choice sharpener. However, the Chef’s Choice sharpener takes up more space despite performing the same duties as the Presto sharpener, plus the Presto sharpener is just as effective despite lacking diamond grit.
The Presto 00810 three-stage electric knife sharpener has more blade angle options than the Chef’s Choice 130, which is better for handling knives of different sizes and blade thicknesses. We found its coarse sharpening stage was more aggressive than the Chef’s Choice 130, while the other stages performed similarly to the brand. The Presto sharpener uses ceramic wheels. Ceramic is harder than steel, and second only to diamond on the hardness scale, so it is just as if not more effective than steel sharpening wheels. The Presto sharpener is also smaller than the Chef’s Choice sharpener, which made it easier to store even with all of our knives jostling for space. If you do not mind the shorter warranty, it seems to be the Presto 00810’s only real weakness against the Chef’s Choice 130.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener has three stages: the first stage sharpens the edge with diamond abrasives, the second develops the sharp edge with a miniature steel, and the third stage polishes the edge with a flexible stropping disk. The manufacturer recommends using stage one with a combination of two and three for a sharp edge. The Chef’s Choice stage one is less aggressive than the Presto’s stage one.
The Presto sharpener also has three stages: the coarse grinding stage for seriously dull edges, the medium grinding stage for a precision edge, and the fine honing stage, which uses a ceramic wheel. It differs from the Chef’s Choice because you can generally skip stage one unless your knife has a big chip in it and only use stages two and three. A knife in relatively good condition only needs a pass through the fine honing stage.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener’s sharpening wheels are made of diamond abrasive, steel, and more steel, in that order. Less expensive sharpeners usually only have one very aggressive wheel, but with three wheels you have more moderate options for small sharpening jobs. While the diamond grit and steel seems impressive, it is not any more effective than the Presto sharpener’s system.
The Presto sharpener uses ceramic wheels with varying levels of abrasiveness from start to finish. Ceramic is a very hard material--in fact, it is so hard that ceramic knives require special diamond knife sharpeners. Its hardness has made it useful outside the realm of pottery and fine china, and as a result, this sharpener performs just as well as the more expensive brand sharpener.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener can sharpen kitchen, household, santoku, sport, and pocket knives. That should cover most of your needs, although some Asian knives need special sharpeners, as do all ceramic knives.
The Presto sharpener can sharpen kitchen, household, santoku, sport and pocket knives, too. We found that stage one is ideal for yard tools that have gone dull--if you use a machete for yard work, try sharpening it with the Presto!
Use any of the Chef’s Choice sharpener’s stages on straight edge knives, and use stage three for serrated knives. We recommend reading the directions before sharpening a serrated knife, and keep in mind that the sharpening results may not be as dramatic as with straight knives.
Likewise, you can use the Presto sharpener with straight and serrated knives for serious sharpening or fine honing. Just give the directions a look over. You should only use the finer wheel on serrated knives, as a coarser wheel wears down the serration more quickly.
You can sharpen at one angle with the Chef’s Choice sharpener using the angle guides at each stage. It’s best used on American and European knives with a 20-degree angle or something close to it, rather than the 15-degree angle used by some Asian knives.
The Presto sharpener comes with interchangeable blade guides for sharpening at three different angles. This suits a variety of American and European knives with different blade thicknesses, such as cleavers and paring knives.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener has a plastic exterior. It is gray, bulky, and not that exciting. It has a retro 90’s appliance kind of look. If you do not care what your sharpener looks like as long as it works, we are sorry we mentioned it.
The Presto sharpener also has a plastic exterior. It is also gray--hurray! We thought it looked better than the brand sharpener while still feeling durable. Appearances do not matter to everyone, but we wanted to mention that both products have plastic shells.
The Chef’s Choice 130 has little rubber feet for extra stability and to keep it from moving around the counter while you sharpen.
The Presto 00810 also has rubber feet to grip the surface beneath it during use for an extra safe sharpening experience.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener measures 10 x 10 x 4 inches. It is shorter than the Presto sharpener but wider, so it takes up more counter space and is harder to fit into a drawer in between uses. If you have a roomy kitchen, you might not mind the Chef’s Choice sharpener’s extra girth.
The Presto sharpener measures 12 x 5 x 4 inches. It is long but narrow, so we found it to be a little easier to store away between uses, either in a corner somewhere or a cupboard or deep drawer. This makes the Presto sharpener a better option for kitchen areas with limited space.
The Chef’s Choice sharpener weighs 4.5 pounds. At only .3 pounds heavier than the Presto sharpener, we did not find the difference a significant indicator of quality or steadiness. However, if you want the heaviest electric knife sharpener, you will prefer the Chef’s Choice 130. We prefer the convenience of a lighter sharpener.
The Presto sharpener weighs 4.2 pounds. It is a little bit lighter than the Chef’s Choice model but still felt sturdy and well-made during our tests. For most users, the Presto 00810’s slightly lighter build will not make a difference in their sharpening experiences, and it is easy to move around if you need to.
The Chef’s Choice 130 has a three-year limited warranty. If you like having the security of a long warranty and don’t mind keeping the paperwork to prove it, you might appreciate the Chef’s Choice model.
The Presto 00810 has a one-year limited warranty, so it is not ideal for people who like an extra buffer. However, one year is long enough for most defects to rear their ugly heads, so longer warranties are not always necessary.