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Does your kitchen knife have a sharp edge but still struggle to cut through delicate veggies? It might be due to a wrong sharpening knife angle.


Sharpening knives is simple if you know what you’re doing. However, if you are new to this skill, you might over-sharpen or damage your blade.


Learning how to sharpen a kitchen knife requires practice and a bit of know-how. Mastering this art is essential for any home cook or chef. After all, when you cut, slice, or snip ingredients to make a delicious meal, a sharp knife is your best friend.

Sharpening Knives Angle: Understanding the Importance


Flickr / Didriks

Sharpening Knife Angle / Flickr / Didriks


The term ” sharpening knife angle” refers to the angle of your knife’s edge at which you are sharpening it. However, there isn’t a single “best” angle for knives; there is a suitable range of angles to consider.


The appropriate angle depends on your knife’s material, blade thickness, and preferences.


But why all this hype about the appropriate angle for knife sharpening? And why is it so important?


The right sharpening knife angle is essential to keeping your knives at their best. It helps you fine-tune your knife’s cutting edge for fast and precise cutting.

If the angle is wrong, the edge will chip quickly, forcing you to buy new knives. In addition, even if your knife is sharp, it will be hard to cut even the most delicate items precisely.


So, do you want to keep your kitchen knives safe and in top condition? Interested in learning the secret of finding the perfect edge angle to sharpen your knives?


Read on to master the art of finding the appropriate angle for knife sharpening!

In This Article:


  • The science behind sharpening knives angle.
  • What is an edge bevel, and how does it help to find a suitable sharpening angle?
  • Determining the ideal sharpening angle: Factors to consider.
  • Knife angle sharpener chart
  • Different sharpening angles for different knives.
  • Knife angle sharpener: Common mistakes to avoid.

Let’s get started!

The Science Behind Sharpening Knives Angle


Knife being sharpened / Flickr / Didriks

Knife being sharpened / Flickr / Didriks


So, is the sharpening angle of kitchen knives all about keeping your blade sharp, or does it also affect durability?


Well, the sharpening angle goes beyond just sharpening your knives. The lower your sharpening angle is, the sharper your knife will be. However, here is the catch: this sharpness comes at the cost of durability.


Don’t believe me?


Take razor blades, for example. While sharp with an acute 7-10 degree angle, they cannot be used to cut kitchen ingredients because they are fragile and break easily.


Flip the coin, and you will have obtuse sharpening angles. These angles are suitable as they keep your knife’s cutting edge sharp and protect it from breaking away.

They are ideal for keeping the cutting edge at its best. Take cleavers, for example. You can sharpen them at a 25-30-degree angle to create a strong edge for hacking rather than delicate cutting.


Moreover, remember that the most suitable angle for most kitchen knives is 15-25 degrees. However, pocket knives are a bit different. Since they have a durable cutting edge, you can sharpen them at a 20-25 degree angle.


In a nutshell, sharpening your knives at a higher angle fortifies them, albeit at the expense of sharpness, and conversely.


Let’s explain the knife bevel first, and then we will learn how to find sharpening angles for your knife!

What Is an Edge Bevel, and Why Is It Important?


So, what is it, and how does it help find the suitable angle for your knife?


The knife bevel is a critical aspect that helps define your knife’s durability, usage, and sharpness. In simple terms, a bevel refers to the angle and shape of a blade’s edge. The type of knife depends on its material and how it’s ground.


There are two types of bevel knives: single and double bevel knives:

Single Bevel Knives


Knives that have only one sharp angle on the edge are called single-bevel knives. Their blade’s grind has a single continuous angle or incline. However, it’s hard to find single-bevel knives in the US market.


If you are a chef, using these knives might need you to learn new knife skills. In addition, if you are a left-hander, you may need to custom order a knife to use it correctly.


One significant benefit of a single-bevel knife is that it can make thinner cuts. This is especially helpful when cutting vegetables or preparing sushi.

Double Bevel Knives


Double-bevel knives with bevels on both sides of the blade are more common in Western styles. Japanese knives, for example, are the prime example of a double-bevel knife. In Japan, it’s common to use double-edged knives like the honesuki, gyuto, and sujihiki knives.


Moreover, double-edged knives always have a 50-50 blade angle on either side. This means that if you ground one side of the blade to 11 degrees, the other side will also be grounded at the same angle.


Remember that Asian knives generally have a smaller angle than traditional Western knives. So, sharpening your knife at an 8-degree angle will make it sharper.

Determining the Sharpening Knife Angle: Factors to Consider


Flickr / Zdenko Zivkovic

Knife Sharpening / Flickr / Zdenko Zivkovic


It’s easy to figure out what angle sharpener is helpful if you know knife sharpening basics. There are a few things that determine the best angle sharpener for your knives:

Your Knife’s Usage


Knives are versatile, as they can cut, slice, and chop. So, the first step is to decide for what purpose you will use your knife.


Smaller sharpening angles are ideal if you need your knife sharp for precise cutting or chopping. However, wider angles are better if you need it for heavy cutting, like bones or coarse veggies. A wider edge angle also helps with edge retention and protects it from chipping during cutting.

Steel Hardness


Not all knives are the same. Some have hard steel blades for heavy cutting tasks, while others have soft steel blades. The sharpening knife angle can vary since this determines your knife’s durability.


For example, if your knife has a rugged steel blade, sharpening it at a smaller angle is best to leverage its inherent strength.


However, knives with soft steel blades need a steeper angle. This helps their blades endure stress without bending or deforming.

Thin vs. Thick Blade


It is obvious that a knife with a thin blade can be sharpened faster with a lower angle. However, oversharpening it will make its edge chip away easily.


A knife with a thick blade has more material on its edge, so it takes some time to get a sharp edge. Such knives should be sharpened at wider angles to get the desired results.

Your Preference


The sharpening angle for kitchen knives also depends on your personal preferences. Do you want a sharp knife only, or do you prefer to keep your knife sharp and durable?


While sharpening at lower angles keeps your blades sharp, it comes at the cost of durability. In contrast, a wider angle keeps your knife sharp and helps with edge retention.

Knife Angle Sharpener Chart


Here is a sneak peek of the recommended sharpening angles depending on the type of your knife:


Different Sharpening Angles for Different Knives


Sharpening Knives Using Whetstone / Flickr / Didriks

Sharpening Knives Using Whetstone / Flickr / Didriks


As I have already said, sharpening knife angle is not one-size-fits-all. It depends on what type of knife you use, its material, and for what purpose you want to use it.


A knife angle sharpener is crucial as it can affect your knife’s cutting performance, edge retention, and functionality. Here is a guide on different sharpening angles:

Less than 10 Degree Sharpening Knife Angle


A knife’s sharpening angle of less than 10 degrees is suitable for straight-edge razors but too low for a kitchen knife. Your knife will have a sharper but delicate edge prone to damage.


If you need to cut soft items, you can sharpen a blade at a less than 10-degree angle without losing its edge. Fine sharpening tools, like water stones, with 1000 grit, can help you achieve this angle.

10-15 Degrees Sharpening Knife Angle


There is not much difference between a 10-degree and a 15-degree sharpening angle. Thus, such angles are also shallow for most kitchen knives. In addition, such angles are unsuitable for blades made from hard steel as they can damage the edge.


Moreover, a knife sharpened using such an angle can still slice meat or cut soft food but should not be used to cut thick or hard items or chop.

15-17 Degrees Sharpening Knife Angle


Do you use a Japanese knife in your kitchen? If so, sharpening angles between 15 and 17 degrees may be what your knife needs to show its true power. It is the lowest sharpening angle used for most knives.


While a wider angle may make your knife’s edge less durable, the sharpening power is remarkable. If you seek sharpness only, you can shape your knife at 15-17 degrees. However, a wider angle is better for durability and sharpness.

17-22 Degrees Sharpening Knife Angle


Such angles are suitable for most kitchen and hunting knives. If your kitchen has Japanese knives, a 17-degree angle might work well.


However, if you have Western knives, you can sharpen them at as wide as 20 degrees. Moreover, knives sharpened at this range will give you both sharpness and durability.

22-30 Degrees Edge Angle


Do you often use your knife for chopping or other complex cutting tasks? If so, sharpening angles between 22-30 are suitable.


Such angles protect your blades and withstand pressure without chipping. However, this comes at the cost of precision cutting.

Knife Angle Sharpener: Common Mistakes to Avoid


As I said at the start of this article, sharpening knives is easy as long as you know the basics. However, common mistakes can damage your knives and make them less effective.


Here is what to avoid when sharpening:

  • Before you begin the process, ensure that your kitchen blade is dull and needs to be sharpened. Remember that oversharpening does no good to your knife. Instead, it wears down your blade, leading to metal loss and shortening its lifespan.
  • Another common mistake is using the wrong angle. Let’s say you have a Japanese knife, for example. Sharpening it at a 30-degree angle is inappropriate because it will wear the blade, leaving it too thin and delicate.
  • Instead, you should sharpen it at a 15-17 degree angle. Similarly, a 30-degree angle is only suitable for thick blades like outdoor knives. Sharpening such knives at a lower angle will leave the blade dull.
  • Another common mistake is using the wrong sharpening tools. For example, a sharpening stone intended for straight edges on a serrated knife can harm the blade. Similarly, you should not use an electric sharpener to sharpen a chef’s knife, as it can overheat and damage its blade.
  • Last but not least, improper technique is yet another common mistake. For instance, sharpening your knife back and forth is not a good idea as it can wear the blade. Likewise, putting too much pressure on the blade during sharpening can damage it or even raise the risk of injury. Thus, holding your knife at the right angle and applying gentle, controlled pressure is essential.

Wrapping Up: Mastering Sharpening Knife Angles


Working with a sharp knife is always a joy. A sharp blade is convenient, safe, efficient, and highly satisfying. With some know-how and practice, anyone can master the art of knife sharpening.

However, learning what angle is ideal for your knife and what tools are appropriate is essential. While it may take some time, once your blades are sharp, you will want to keep them that way.


Read here to learn about the best kitchen shears!


What is the best knife blade?

The best knife blade depends on the purpose for which you will use it. For example, clip-point blades are the best pick for precise cutting. These blades with a concave curve are extremely sharp. Similarly, non-serrated blades are perfect for slicing.

What makes a knife-edge sharp and effective for cutting?

The sharpness and effectiveness of a knife edge depend on factors such as the edge’s angle, the blade material’s quality, and proper maintenance practices.

Does a pocket knife have straight razor blades?

No! Pocket knives do not have straight razors. Instead, they feature folding blades that perform cutting, slicing, and other utility work.

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