Is A Commercial Knife Sharpener Something You Really Need?
Hello folks and welcome back to Chef’s Corner. Today we talk about commercial sharpening solutions, and what you need to consider before buying one. Unlike others, commercial knife sharpeners are quite the investment! That’s why it’s important for you to understand why you need a commercial option to begin with. Are you a restaurant owner who needs to have sharp knives always available for your chefs? Or maybe you own a meat shop or butchery. And that’s where this post comes in to play. Hopefully once you’re done reading, you’ll have a better idea on whether to get a commercial sharpener or simply investigate other alternatives. Alright, let’s do this!
#1 What’s Wrong With The Way You’re Managing Currently?
How are you dealing with your dull knives at the moment? And why are you looking to change it? First off, there’s 2 main options: have your knives sharpened professionally or sharpen them in house by yourself. You’ll fall into one of these two options, unless you don’t do anything whatsoever to remedy your dull knives. I’ve seen restaurant owners that can’t be bothered to spend a dime on sharpening and maintaining their blades. And It’s funny how these folks are always complaining about how tedious and exhaustive their work is. I mean, do you really expect it to be any different!? Using a sharp blade makes food prep 10 times easier and safer than using a dull blade. If you don’t believe me, try it yourself! Try using a dull edge to prepare vegetables and meats, and see how your wrist feels. Then try using a sharp edge and see the difference. Back to the discussion at hand, what’s wrong with your current process? Maybe, you’re using stone and find it too time consuming to sharpen multiple knives, or maybe you don’t wish to keep paying a professional service anymore and would like to learn how to do it yourself.
#2 Money, Money & Money!
A commercial knife sharpener can cost a lot! To give you an idea, you’re looking at anything from $300 all the way up to a $1000+. Do you have a fixed budget of what you’re willing to spend? If you don’t, then this is definitely something you should understand. Having a budget allows you to filter out all devices that do not meet your cost. Trust me, this will save you a ton of time! If you have an idea of how much you don’t wish to exceed, then great and move on to #3. If you don’t, your homework is to think about it and come up with a rough approximate.
#3 What Types Of Knives Will You Be Sharpening?
This is especially important, if you’re thinking about getting a commercial knife sharpener. Having a good understanding of what type of blades you will be sharpening could save you from wasting your money. Are you looking to strictly work on kitchen blades? If so, what kind of kitchen blades? Are the edges plain or serrated? Would you say they can be classified as Western or an Asian style? These are all questions you should have answers to. If you’re unsure about this, then do some research and find out. It will help you greatly! Not only should you know what types of knives you will be sharpening, but you should also know how many and how often. Remember, every sharpener works differently. Another thing: don’t be fooled into thinking one size fits all i.e. one sharpener is unlikely to solve all your problems. For example, serrated knives will require more attention and may need to be hand or professionally sharpened.
#4 Do You Really Need One? And Have You Considered The Alternatives?
Do you really need a commercial knife sharpener? The only way you’ll be able to answer this, is if you have exhausted some of the alternatives. The alternatives can be broken down as follows:
- Professional Services – Investigate options to have your knives sharpened professionally. Negotiate a deal for wholesale sharpening, and try it out for a couple of months to see how it works out.
- Stick To The Old School Way – Follow tradition and sharpen each knife individually using stones. You can invest in classes to improve your skills. If you’re adept in sharpening using stone, It won’t take long to do multiple knives.
- Electric Knife Sharpeners – If using stone is old school, this is new school. These devices are quick, easy, and foolproof. The only drawback is that some of them have earned a bad reputation of removing too much steel.
Are you aware of the alternatives listed above, and if so have you tried them?
#5 Something That’s Often Overlooked: Warranty
Pretty much every commercial knife sharpener runs electronically, and for this reason warranty becomes an important consideration. You’re spending $500+ dollars, so it would only make sense you’re investment is well covered. Another thing that is very important is customer service. Are you able to contact and speak to a representative, if the need arises? Again, all things you should verify before actually buying.
A Quick Look At What’s Available In The Market Currently
If you’re looking for a commercial knife sharpener, here are some popular devices currently available in the market.
Chef’s Choice Commercial Knife Sharpener Model 2000
A 2 stage sharpener that is designed specifically for heavy duty commercial kitchen use. Important: you should only use this device to sharpen 20 degree plain edges. I would not use this to sharpen serrated blades, as these require special attention. A neat little feature is that the entire sharpening module can be removed easily for cleaning and maintenance. Overall, extremely easy to use and it doesn’t take long to see results.
One thing I don’t like about this is the 1 year warranty period, but considering that Chef’s Choice are a well known brand and typically easy to deal with, makes me feel a little better.
Tru Hone Commercial Knife Sharpener
A powerful unit that sharpens knives in 3 steps. It also features speed control, something that the model above doesn’t offer. Overall, a solid device that works really well. Below is a video demonstrating the product in action.
As far as commercial sharpeners are concerned, this is one of the more affordable options (click here to check latest pricing on amazon). It’s a simple 3 stage device that also has the capability to strop/polish. It does have a couple of drawbacks though: one is it tends to overheat pretty easily and, two it doesn’t work too well with thicker styled blades.
Parting Words & Advice
I do hope that this post has given you something to think about, and by now you should at least have a starting point to move forward. There is one final thing I wish to touch on, and that is the importance of honing. Never underestimate the importance of honing your knives! Honing your knives frequently will not only ensure they remain sharp, but that they last and serve you longer. Remember to hone before every meal prep. The best way to do this is by making a habit out of it. If you’re unsure how to hone, refer to this instructable I wrote not too long ago; It outlines the process in 3 simple steps. Finally, if you do decide to purchase a commercial knife sharpener, be sure to read as many reviews as possible beforehand. If you don’t have access to reviews, call the manufacturer and prepare a list of questions to ask. That’s it from me! Please share if you enjoyed reading. Questions and comments are always welcome, so please leave them below. Thanks for reading and have a fabulous week ahead!