Are Pull Through Knife Sharpeners Good Or Bad?

Picture this: you’re in the kitchen, preparing a meal, and you realize your knife isn’t as sharp as it once was. You’ve heard about pull through knife sharpeners, but are they good or bad?

This article will provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision.

We’ll delve into the pros and cons, how they work, and some frequently asked questions to help you decide if a pull through knife sharpener is right for you. Let’s dive in!

What is a Pull Through Knife Sharpener?

A pull through knife sharpener is a handheld sharpening tool that features one or more slots with pre-set sharpening angles.

It works by pulling the knife blade through the slot, where abrasives inside the slot grind the knife edge to restore its sharpness.

How to Use a Pull Through Knife Sharpener

Pros of Pull Through Knife Sharpeners


Pull through knife sharpeners are compact, portable, and easy to store. They don’t require a lot of setup or preparation, which makes them convenient for quick touch-ups in the kitchen.


These sharpeners can be a quick solution to a dull knife, often requiring just a few passes through the slot to restore sharpness. They are particularly useful when you need a sharp knife in a pinch.


Pull through knife sharpeners are generally safer to use than other methods, as they come with built-in safety features such as a handle to grip and pre-set angles, which minimizes the risk of injury.

Cons of Pull Through Knife Sharpeners

Limited Versatility

These sharpeners are designed for specific knife angles and blade types, which means they may not be suitable for all knives in your collection.

Potential for Damage

Improper use or overuse of a pull through knife sharpener can potentially damage the knife’s edge, leading to uneven wear and even chipping.


The pre-set angles in a pull through sharpener may not match the original angle of your knife, resulting in an uneven edge and reduced sharpness.

How to Use a Pull Through Knife Sharpener Correctly

To ensure the best results and minimize potential damage to your knife, it’s essential to use a pull through knife sharpener correctly. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Hold the sharpener securely on a stable surface.
  2. Insert the knife blade into the appropriate slot.
  3. Hold the knife handle firmly and maintain a consistent angle throughout the sharpening process.
  4. Pull the knife through the slot from the heel to the tip, applying moderate pressure.
  5. Repeat the process as needed, usually 5-10 times, until the desired sharpness is achieved.
Caring for Your Knives and Pull Through Knife Sharpener

Alternatives to Pull Through Knife Sharpeners


Whetstones, or sharpening stones, are a more traditional method of sharpening knives. They provide greater control over the sharpening process but require more skill and practice to master.

Available in various grits, whetstones can sharpen a wide range of knife types and angles.

Honing Rods

Honing rods, also known as sharpening steels, are long, cylindrical rods used to realign the knife edge. They help maintain the sharpness of a knife rather than sharpening a dull blade.

Honing rods are an excellent addition to your knife care routine, as they can prolong the life of your knife’s edge between sharpening sessions.

Electric Sharpeners

Electric knife sharpeners are automated devices that can sharpen knives quickly and efficiently. They typically have multiple stages, including coarse and fine grits, to restore and refine the knife edge.

While electric sharpeners can be more expensive and take up more space, they provide a consistent and convenient sharpening experience.

Choosing the Right Pull Through Knife Sharpener

When selecting a pull through knife sharpener, consider the types of knives you own, as well as your level of experience and comfort with sharpening.

Look for a sharpener with adjustable angles, multiple slots for different stages of sharpening, and high-quality abrasive materials to ensure durability and effectiveness.

Caring for Your Knives and Pull Through Knife Sharpener

Proper care of your knives and sharpener can extend their lifespan and ensure optimal performance.

Clean your sharpener regularly to remove any metal filings and debris, and store it in a dry location to prevent rust.

Keep your knives clean and dry, and avoid using them on hard surfaces or for tasks they’re not designed for, as this can damage the blade.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: How often should I sharpen my knives with a pull through sharpener?

A: The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use your knives and the type of cutting tasks they perform. Generally, you should sharpen your knives when you notice a decrease in performance or when honing no longer restores their edge.

Q: Can I use a pull through knife sharpener on serrated knives?

A: Most pull through knife sharpeners are not suitable for serrated knives, as they can damage the serrations. However, there are specialized pull through sharpeners designed specifically for serrated blades.

Q: What is the difference between sharpening and honing a knife?

A: Sharpening involves removing material from the knife blade to create a new edge, while honing realigns the existing edge without removing material. Honing helps maintain the sharpness of a knife between sharpening sessions.


Pull through knife sharpeners can be a convenient and safe option for maintaining the sharpness of your knives. However, they have their limitations and may not be suitable for all knife types.

To determine if a pull through knife sharpener is right for you, weigh the pros and cons, consider the alternatives, and assess your specific needs and preferences.

Ultimately, proper knife care and maintenance will ensure a long-lasting, sharp edge, regardless of the sharpening method you choose.

I'm Justin, co-founder of AllofKitchen and your knife and steel specialist. My extensive experience ensures accurate and hands-on advice on every topic. Turn to me for insights on selecting the best knife or maintaining your steel tools to perfection. Knives aren't just tools; they're an extension of the chef, and I'm here to guide you to the perfect fit.

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