How Do Self Sharpening Knives Work (And Should You Get Them) (2022)

The concept of self-sharpening knives sounds great on paper. You remove all the headache’s about dull knives, and more importantly, don’t risk injuring yourself while working with them.

In reality, things are a bit different. Like with everything, there are a lot of pros but also quite a few cons to these types of knives. We will look at the self-sharpening features in this article, and hopefully, we will help you decide if the self-sharpening knives for you.

How Do They Work?

knife resting on table

Most of the self-sharpening knives come in knife sets or as standalone knives with self-sharpening sleeves. Those sleeves and knife blocks are what sharpens your knives.

They come with a built-in mechanism that sharpens your knife each time you take it out and put it back in the sheath or the block.

The mechanism is usually made of ceramics that are positioned at a specific angle suited for that particular blade.

The idea is that you’ll never end up with a dull blade since you will be constantly pulling the blade out and back in the block or sleeve, and therefore honing it very frequently.

The frequent honing will be sufficient to prevent dulling of the blade and preserve the sharpness.

So, do they work then? Yes, they do. But the self-sharpening feature has a con we will discuss in the following section.

What We Don’t Like About Them

The drawback is that you actually don’t need to sharpen your blade that frequently. It’s not recommended to sharpen the blade that often since it can shorten its lifespan.

Every time you hone the edge you basically remove a bit of the blade material from it. The removed amount isn’t huge but can easily add up if you sharpen it very frequently which does tend to happen with the self-sharpening mechanism.

Although the lifespan won’t be significantly reduced, it’s important to know that you can expect your knives to last a bit less if you’re using this feature.

One thing that we noticed is that the ceramic self-sharpening system works the best and damages the blade the least. There are quite a few plastic self-sharpening systems that don’t sharpen the blade that well and also damage it far more.

What We Like About Them

knife set on a cutting board

While this is a bit of a drawback, we believe that there are far more positives than negatives that the self-sharpening feature gets you.

First off, the convenience. Taking care of your knife can be a bit of work. The edge dulls frequently and makes your kitchen work tougher and more dangerous.

With the self-sharpener, you can basically forget about that part of the knife maintenance. You’ll always be able to keep the knife at a stable level of sharpness that will make the cutting easier and safer.

The second thing is the accurate sharpening of the knife. What we mean by that is that the knife will be sharpened exactly how it should be. Since every knife is different, it needs a different angle and amount of sharpening to be properly honed.

And since most people aren’t aware of this fact and aren’t particularly skilled at sharpening, they can actually do more damage to the knife than the self-sharpener will do. And the knife probably won’t be as sharp since the honing wasn’t done properly.

Sharpening with wet stones is a perfect way to sharpen a knife precisely. But, it needs a lot of practice to do it accurately and correctly. That’s why we have professionals who are trained to do that stuff for us.

With the self-sharpener, the manufacturer has positioned the system at just the right angle. It will in most cases, be a better and easier option than sharpening the knives incorrectly yourself. Not to mention that the wet stones aren’t particularly cheap, so you will spend extra cash on them too.

The Verdict – Should I Go For A Self-Sharpening Knife?

2 kitchen knives on a cutting board

It depends, of course.

While the self-sharpening knives are great for beginners and home cooking, they probably aren’t the best option for more experienced cooks and professionals.

Since most of the pros know their sharpening, they won’t benefit from the mechanism.

On the other hand, if you’re cooking for a family and want to remove one more errand from your list, then self-sharpening knives work great. You will be relieved knowing that your knives will always be at just the right sharpness.

That being said, they will last a bit shorter than if sharpened properly with a wet stone. But, if the sharpening isn’t done correctly, the blade will last much shorter than with the self-sharpener and will be less honed.

If you have expensive chef knives then sharpening them properly is a must. Taking them for a professional sharpening is your best bet.

If you’re, however, a regular user, self-sharpening knives will work great. We recommend this set for your first self-sharpening experience.

J.A. Henckels International Statement 14-pc Self-Sharpening Knife Block Set

It has a great ceramic self-sharpening system built into the blocks. The knives would remain razor-sharp throughout. It’s such a convenient feature that will save you a ton of time!

The set itself is very high-grade, as we would expect from a renowned company like Henckels. The blades are made of solid stainless steel that is sturdy and reliable.

It’s a 14-piece set with a knife for just about every type of application. You will get a santoku knife, a serrated knife, a utility knife, and many more! Very versatile, and overall a great set with a super convenient self-sharpening feature!

Wrap Up

The self-sharpening knife system is a great feature to have if you can benefit from it. For a professional chef, it doesn’t make much sense to go for such a system.

But for every day, home cooking most people do, these knives do super well. They’ll save you so much time and will provide you with a seriously sharp knife every time you need it.