What is the Best Angle for Sharpening Knives?

Posted by Steven Tuckey on

When you dive into the world of knives, you'll undoubtedly come across the question: What is the best angle for sharpening my knives? This is the most sought question for knife enthusiasts as answers vary depending on who you ask. Of course, you want to maximize the capacity of your knives, whichever their use might be.

However, prolonging your knife's life and maintaining its full utility is tougher than it looks for collectors and even just simple knife users. There are a lot of points to consider when sharpening your beloved knife collection. This is why I am here to help you with pointers, tips, and tricks to sharpen the end of your knives to their best-fitted shape.

Why Sharpening Your Knives Correctly is Important?

Before getting into knife sharpening 101, I'm here to solidify your need to sharpen your knives correctly. A responsible knife user or collector must understand the dos and don'ts of knife sharpening and the importance and benefits you can obtain if it's done correctly. Here are four advantages of honing your knife perfectly.

Maintain Knife Quality

If you are in a job that uses knives daily, I am pretty sure you have your favorite knife which you trust can do the job you require. Applying the correct angle in sharpening allows your knives to preserve their grade. Using the proper inclination can maintain the knife's quality for a more extended period and reduce frequent sharpening needs.


Safety and Sharpness

Safety and sharpness come hand in hand with each other. Different knife types are for different knife uses. Therefore, sharpening ways should vary depending on the nature of your knife. If sharpened thinly at the wrong angle, knowing the nature and motion of its use, it would be dangerous to use as the edge might coil, bend or break. 

Maximize its Use

Your selected knives should function based on their purpose. For instance, your chef knives should be flexible and comfortable for quick cutting and dicing. If your chef's knife is too sharp and thin, you might take extra precautions for fast movements inside the kitchen. It can help you maximize not only its cost but your time and energy.

Save Money and Time

Purchasing a single knife can cost you a lot, mainly if you aim to get quality material. Learning the basics of knife sharpening can save you bucks from purchasing a new knife every time it wears out, and it can also save you time from repeatedly sharpening your blade if it does not meet your desired sharpness on your first honing session.

Best Angle in Sharpening Knives

You know now the cons of sharpening your knives correctly. The only question left is how? What is the best knife sharpening angle? Here's the standard. 

To get the best result in terms of sharpness while at the same time decreasing chances of chipping or blade coiling. It's most efficient to sharpen your knife at an angle of 15 degrees for a 50/50 bevel knife. Hence if you want to achieve razor sharpness for tricky cutting, you can lower it to 13 degrees. Consequently, if you aim for a much lighter edge, increase your sharpening angle to 18.

The knife sharpening angle and slope can be adjusted depending on your needs and preference, although I highly recommend maintaining the original angle of your knife. When seeking a professional sharpener, you should know your knife's factory angle to maintain its actual performance.

Other ways to Sharpen Knives

If your trusted professional sharpener is not available and you are equipped and knowledgeable of the basic angles, dos, and don'ts of sharpening. Here are three do-it-yourself ways you can try to hone your knife's blade quickly.

Using whetstone or diamond stone

  1. Begin with making use of mineral or honing oils to lubricate your whetstone. Use the same original angle of your knife for faster filing; you can also use an angle guide to control the edge angle as you start grinding your blade to the whetstone. 
  2. Start grinding your knife across the rough grit of the stone, then flip to sharpen the other side.
  3. Once done, flip your stone and begin sharpening using the finer grit. This will help eliminate burrs from sharpening on the rough grit. 
  4. Flip your knife and sharpen both sides with the finer grit. Then to polish, try alternating swipes.

Using honing rod

  1. Sharpening steel or rod are primarily used in between knives to keep them from degrading. Unlike your maintenance sharpening, regularly honing the rod will prolong your knife's lifespan as it fixes minor nicks, chipping, and indentation before it becomes severe. It realigns the blade, and compared to whetstone sharpening, honing rods do not reduce too much metal material from your knife. 
  2. To sharpen using a honing rod, angle your knife at a 20-degree angle and slide through the top half of the rod. 
  3. Then hone at the same grade for the bottom half. Continue this motion and make 6-8 revolutions of the knife blade tip, touching the rod before every use to ensure full sharpness. 


Keeping a knife's quality is probably the most challenging job for collectors and users. It requires attention and research to understand your knife's nature and maintain and prolong its original shape. Quality knives don't require frequent sharpening, but maintenance is a must!

For full function and utility of your favorite knife collection or partner in your culinary endeavors, follow the tips and learnings you obtain from this article. Learn more knife maintenance tips and prolong the lifespan of your blades.

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