Did you know that a dull knife is a dangerous knife? It is, because with a dull knife, you have to exert more force. Putting more pressure on the knife increases the chances of being cut and the severity. Fortunately, knock on wood, we have only had one cut finger and it didn't require stitches.
America's Test Kitchen reviewed many knife sharpeners and found that Chef's Choice did a good job for the money.
I chose the 310 model, which is a two-stage sharpener. I pulled out the instructions and read them thoroughly.
It has suction cups on the bottom, keeping the unit firmly in place on the counter top.
Stage One is for the dullest of knives. I turned the machine on, which ran fairly quietly. I started with the end, waited for the magnets to "grab" the knife, and pulled it slowly toward me. (Pass one) The magnets keep the knife at the best angle for cutting.
It is VERY important that you do NOT push down with the knife...the knife may bounce up and out of the machine if you do.
Take about 3 seconds to pull the knife toward you and remember to pull the handle UP if it curves...
This process is repeated on the other side of Stage One (Pass two). It may take up to 20 passes on a very dull knife to reach a "burr" which looks like this...
When you reach the burr stage, it is ready for about 6 passes in Stage Two. This polishes up the knife. Clean the knife with a towel...
and let's see if it is any sharper. Much better, don't you think?
It was a little trickier trying to sharpen the paring knife, as it has a shorter blade. Just set it down, let the magnets grab the blade, and give it several passes on each side of the knife.
All in all, I was very pleased with the job that it did. If your knives get regular use, you will only need a touch up in Stage Two with a couple of passes on each side.
If you need to watch a video of the process, this is a good one here at HSN.
This is a great knife sharpener for your every day knives, even pocket or fillet knives. A serrated (bread) knife can ONLY be used in Stage Two and it sharpens the tips only. There are two other models that are better suited for serrated knives according to the manufacturers FAQ page.
CSN Stores provided me with the product to review. The opinions expressed are all mine.