This is the third review of a Chef’s Choice product; Previously reviewed were the Trizor XV and the AngleSelect 1520. For those who are unfamiliar with Chef’s Choice, here are some interesting facts:
- Product Similarities – There are a lot of similarities that can be seen in nearly all of their electric knife sharpeners. Some of these similarities include: 100% diamond abrasives, flexible spring guides, and the ability to do one sided sharpening.
- Non Electric – While Chef’s Choice are known globally for their electric sharpeners, they also carry non electric, manual designs.
Pros – First The Positives!
- 3 Stage System That Works Well With Thicker Blades – The Chef’s Choice 120 is designed specifically to work on your thicker, 20 degree Western knives (this would be the device for all of you folks who own Henckels, or Wusthof blades). If you’ve read all my other Chef’s Choice reviews, you’ll have noticed a common theme: I always mention how simple they are to operate. I may sound like a broken record, but I’d really not be doing the review full justice if I did not mention it. So there you go! It’s incredibly easy to use. Here’s a brief description of each stage:
1. Stage 1 is to be used for excessively dull edges. Be warned, this stage will remove the most material!
2. Stage 2 is to be used for only slightly dull edges. This would probably be the stage you use most.
3. Stage 3 is the stropping stage that polishes and realigns the edge.
Important: Please don’t place your thin Japanese knives in this and expect results. Chef’s Choice 120 is not built to work on the thinner edges.
- A Good 3 Years Of Warranty Should You Need It – Chef’s Choice 120 features a 3 year warranty. The 3 years seem to be standard for mostly all the electric sharpeners offered by Chef’s Choice. Is 3 years the best I’ve seen offered for electric knife sharpeners? Unfortunately, yes. In fact, some manufacturers only offer a single year. Considering this, 3 years isn’t all that bad.
- You Can Choose The Finish You Like – Chef’s Choice 120 is far from being considered a portable sharpening solution. Having said that, you would probably want something that looked relatively decent if it’s going to be sitting on your kitchen counter-top! And you won’t be disappointed with all the different finishes available for the 120. It comes in white, black, platinum, brushed metal, chrome, and red. While this isn’t something that affects the product’s functionality, I still consider it a pro simply because Chef’s Choice understands that not all consumers have the same taste!
- It Does The Job And It Does It Quick! – It only takes a couple passes to get results when using the Chef’s Choice 120. This would be as a result of the 100% diamond abrasive grinding wheels that strip metal off quite easily. Chef’s Choice specification sheet lists a whopping 1 minute as the time required for first time sharpening!
Cons – Now For The Negatives!
- Not As Versatile As Some Others – If you own 15 degree Japanese style blades, this product is not for you. The Chef’s Choice 120 is not designed to work on the thinner 15 degree edges. If you want a more versatile product capable of working on both European & Japanese edges, you would need to consider the more expensive 1520, also from Chef’s Choice. Not sure what I mean by edge angles? The picture below should clear up any confusion!
- A Little Noisy When The Unit Is On – When the unit is turned on and operating, it gets pretty loud! Hardly the biggest concern, but still something worth mentioning.
Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Can I use the Chef’s Choice 120 to sharpen ceramic knives?
Answer: I’d not recommend you do. Some ceramic knives offer lifetime sharpening services, so please check and see if this applies to you as well. Here’s a post you may want to check out about ceramic knife sharpening.
Question: How big is this device? Is It pretty bulky?
Answer: 4-1/4 inches x 10 inches x 4-1/4 inches (length x width x height). It weighs 4.50lbs. I’d definitely not classify this as a portable sharpening solution. It’s something you’d have in your kitchen pretty much all the time.
Question: Does this mean I don’t need to hone with a steel anymore?
Answer: No. Continue to hone with a steel regularly, and only use this device as required. This does not serve as a replacement for honing.
Here’s an important piece of advice I would like you to consider: Why are you interested in buying an electric knife sharpener? Is it because you need to sharpen your kitchen knives, or maybe your hunting or pocket knives? If so, try to understand if the sharpener you are interested in getting is suited to work on that type of blade and edge. Doing a little bit of homework will save you from spending cash and being disappointed because you’re not getting the results. Having said that, Chef’s Choice 120 is a product designed to focus on thicker Western style blades. Do not buy if you intend to use thinner Japanese blades on this. Be sure to check voltage requirements of your area, as this unit is rated for 110V. Leave me any questions or comments, and I’ll be happy to help!
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