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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Shopping guide for best self-sharpening knives

Last Updated April 2019

If you've ever tried to hack through a winter squash with a dull blade, you'll know the importance of keeping your kitchen knives sharp. But it's a task that's often overlooked, either due to forgetfulness or simply not knowing how. With self-sharpening knives, however, the block or case automatically takes care of the sharpening for you, so your knives will remain as sharp as they were the day you bought them.

This leaves you free to dice, slice, and chop to your heart's content without experiencing the frustration that goes hand in hand with dull knives. But before you shop, you’ll want to consider how many knives you need, what you need them for, and special features that will make preparing your food a joy.

To learn more about self-sharpening knives, read our helpful guide. If you’re ready to buy, take a look at our top recommendations. 

Lower-quality self-sharpening knives can rust slightly if you don't dry them carefully before putting them away.

Key considerations

Number of knives

Think about the number of self-sharpening knives you want. You can buy single self-sharpening knives at one end of the spectrum or, on the other end, large self-sharpening knife sets with 20 or more pieces. If you want to replace your entire knife collection or are a young person living on your own for the first time, it makes sense to purchase a large set. On the other hand, if you're only after one or two new knives, you'll want to buy singles or a small set. There's no right or wrong answer here, but it's wise to know how many knives you want before you begin your search.

Types of knives

In addition to the number of self-sharpening knives you want, you should also think about the types of knives you require. These are some of the most popular varieties of self-sharpening knives.

  • Chef's knife: A chef's knife is a must-have in any kitchen. It has a large flat blade that tapers to a point. It's versatile enough to use for almost any kitchen task, from chopping vegetables to crushing garlic with the side of the blade.

  • Paring knife: Shorter and thinner than a chef's knife, a parer is great for all kinds of peeling tasks as well as chopping small fruits and vegetables.

  • Santoku knife: Although it's often interchangeable with a chef's knife, a santoku has a wider, less tapered blade that’s considered easier to use for mincing herbs and general chopping tasks. You may find you only need a chef's knife or a santoku knife, but some sets contain both.

  • Bread knife: With a long thick blade and a serrated edge, a bread knife is meant for neatly slicing bread or cakes — though it works well for sawing into large fruits and veggies, such as watermelons, too. It's an essential for anyone who bakes their own bread or buys uncut loaves.

  • Utility knife: A versatile utility knife can be used for a range of kitchen tasks. It's shorter and narrower than a chef's knife but larger than a paring knife.
     

In addition, a significant number of large self-sharpening knife sets also include six to eight steak knives, though these may or may not have sharpening mechanisms in their slots.

Blade material

Self-sharpening knives have blades made out of either stainless steel or carbon steel (which is sometimes known as high-carbon steel or high-carbon stainless steel).

Stainless steel blades are extremely resistant to rust, so they're low-maintenance. You can leave them to air dry with no chance of rust forming. On the downside, however, they're softer than carbon steel.

Carbon steel makes for a hard-wearing blade that will stand the test of time. Its quality can't be surpassed, but it does require careful washing and drying after each use.

Note that you won't find ceramic self-sharpening knives, because the sharpening process for ceramic knives is more complex.

Stamped vs. forged

Forged knives are created by heating steel to extreme temperatures and then molding it into shape. Blades that are forged tend to be stronger and less prone to bending over time.

Stamped knives are pressed out of a single large sheet of steel, much like how you'd use a cookie cutter to stamp a cookie out of a sheet of rolled dough. Self-sharpening knives with stamped blades are generally of lower quality and may not last as long as their forged counterparts.

EXPERT TIP

High-end self-sharpening knives tend to be well-balanced and feel better in the hand, making for easier chopping.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

When holding onto food with your non-chopping hand, be aware of where your fingers are so you don't catch them with your blade.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Safety lock

If your self-sharpening knives have individual covers (rather than resting in a block), it might feature a safety lock, so it can't easily slip out from the cover. Not only is this safer for small children, it can also prevent your knives from losing their covers while being stored in a drawer, where they could become dulled or accidentally injure your finger.

Nonslip feet

Self-sharpening knife sets that come in a block often feature nonslip feet, so the block won't slide around on the counter when you remove and replace your knives.

Tang

The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle. Knives with a full tang tend to be stronger and more balanced that half-tang models.

Added extras

Some self-sharpening kitchen knife sets come with added extras, such as chopping boards or kitchen shears. While these extras can be nice, if you're happy with the rest of the set, don't let them sway you too much. Lower-quality sets sometimes include extras to tempt buyers when you could probably find a better set of self-sharpening knives plus all the extra items for around the same cost.

The total package

Along with a chef’s knife, bread knife, santoku, utility knife, and parer, the Calphalon Self-Sharpening 15-Piece Knife Block Set includes eight steak knives and a set of kitchen shears. The knives and their sharpening block are specially engineered for optimum edge-retention no matter how often you use them.

Self-sharpening knife prices

The cost of self-sharpening knives can vary widely depending on the type of knife, the size of the set, and the quality. At the low end of the price spectrum, you can find single self-sharpening knives for as little as $10 to $30. If you have a little more to spend, you can buy small or basic self-sharpening knife sets for $40 to $80. Expensive self-sharpening knife sets cost between $100 and $300 and are generally more durable, because they are made from high-quality materials.

EXPERT TIP

Consider self-sharpening knives with ergonomic handles, especially if you do a large amount of cooking.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Choose knives with a handle material that works for you. Plastic, wood, and stainless steel are the most common choices. Though all have pros and cons, they ultimately don't affect performance greatly, so select whichever you prefer.

  • Think about the amount of space your self-sharpening knives will take up. Single knives and small sets in individual sheaths can be stored in a kitchen drawer. If you choose a large set in a block, you'll need to have adequate counter space for the block.

  • Chopping and slicing is much easier with self-sharpening knives. Since they'll never go dull again, kitchen prep will always be a breeze.

  • Be careful when using your self-sharpening knives. It's easy to injure yourself with a sharp knife, especially if you've grown accustomed to using knives with dull blades, so exercise caution.

Affordable quality

The Sabatier 12-Piece Edgekeeper Knife Block Set brings you a total of 11 knives (five various kitchen knives and six steak knives) plus a block that sharpens them with each use for an incredibly reasonable price. The forged blades are crafted from durable high-carbon stainless steel.

Other products we considered

If you only need a single knife, the Sabatier Stainless Steel Hollow-Handle Chef’s Knife is a great choice. The self-sharpening sheath keeps the blade honed, and the knife itself is made from quality high-carbon steel. The Farberware Self-Sharpening 13-Piece Knife Block Set with EdgeKeeper Technology is a bargain of a knife block with a range of kitchen knives, steak knives, and kitchen shears included. If you're looking for a more high-end option, you should definitely consider the J.A. Henckels International Self-Sharpening Knife Block Set. It contains all the kitchen knives you could need for chopping, slicing, and dicing, plus steak knives and kitchen scissors. These are high-quality forged knives with a modern stainless steel handle and effective built-in sharpeners.

Self-sharpening knives made from high-carbon steel are less likely to break if dropped onto a hard floor.

FAQ

Q. How do self-sharpening knives work?
A.
Self-sharpening knives either have a sheath or a block with a built-in sharpener, so every time you remove or replace your knife, it gets sharpened a little. As such, you must always use the block or case that came with your self-sharpening knives, otherwise they won't sharpen themselves.
 

Q. Are self-sharpening knives dishwasher safe?
A.
Some self-sharpening knives are dishwasher-safe, in theory. However, your knives will last longer if you wash them by hand, so we'd recommend doing so even if they claim to be dishwasher-safe.
 

Q. How can I learn effective knife skills?
A.
Chopping and slicing quickly and effectively isn't something you learn naturally. If you want to improve your knife skills, consider taking a cooking course or watch some instructional videos online.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Lauren
    Lauren
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Rich
    Rich
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Web Producer

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