This is my second review of a Chef’s Choice sharpener; the first was the Trizor XV which you can check out by clicking here. Chef’s Choice fact of the day:
More Than 100 Different Models! – This one surprised me a little. Chef’s Choice sharpener line up alone boasts a solid 100+ of different models! They also have over 100 product trademarks and patents to protect their design and technology.
Pros – First The Positives!
- Simple To Operate – I’ve yet to come across a Chef’s Choice electric knife sharpener that is difficult or complicated to operate. Foolproof operation is an advantage across the board for pretty much their whole lineup! What you do need to know about the Chefs Choice 1520 is this:
1. Stage 1 is for 15 degree edges which would be your Asian style blades.
2. Stage 2 is for 20 degree edges which would be your typical European/Western (Wusthof, Henckels etc.) styles.
3. Stage 3 is the stropping stage to finish off by polishing the edge.
Cautionary Note: Understand your tool before working on it! Before you put your blade in any of these stages, you should understand what edge angle your blade is set at from the manufacturer (15, 20?). It’s nice if you do have this information, but many times you won’t. What do you then? Unfortunately, there is no easy way to determine your edge angle, so I suggest you do the following: Look at the brand of your blade (and its packaging if you still have that) and do a quick google search to find out more information. You would for sure know at the very least if it’s Western/Japanese quite easily. Use this as a guide and proceed to sharpen accordingly.
- Single Sided Sharpening For Western/Japanese Blades – If you’ve ever seen a sushi knife, you’d straight away notice how sharp they are. If you didn’t already know, most sushi knives are single sided. What’s nice about the Chefs Choice 1520 is you can do single sided sharpening on both Western and Japanese style blades. A pretty neat feature to have if you own a collection of both styles.
- Versatile In It’s Own Way – One of the issues I had with the Trizor XV was that you were basically forced to put a 15 degree edge on all your blades. What if I don’t want to do this on my 20-22 degree Western blades? Well, this wouldn’t be an issue with the Chefs Choice 1520 since it has dedicated stages for both 15 and 20 degree edges. Nice to see that Chef’s Choice actually took this into consideration, and improved the 1520 as a result!
- 3 Years Warranty – A solid 3 year manufacturers warranty for this product.
Cons – Now For The Negatives!
- Control – With all of these electric styles you sacrifice an element of control. What do I mean by this? What I mean is that you’re basically under the mercy of an abrasive that is preset to remove a certain amount of steel from your tool (keep in mind that the sharpening wheels rotate at a fixed rpm). A sharpening stone gives you the most control, but requires a technique to know how to use properly.
Some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Question: Can you use the Chefs Choice 1520 to sharpen serrated blades?
Answer: The instruction manual does say stage 3 can be used to sharpen serrated blades. However, I personally would never use an electric knife sharpener for serrations. If you wish to know more about how I would work on my serrated blades, click here.
Question: Should you ever need to replace the sharpening wheels?
Answer: I don’t think you will ever need to replace the abrasives for stages 1 and 2. These are composed of fine diamond which should last a while. Stage 3 has a manual system to clean the polishing disks. The more you use this cleaning system, the more abrasive you remove and the more likely you will need to replace the wheel.
Question: How often should I use this to sharpen my knives?
Answer: You should only be sharpening your blades when honing them no longer has an effect. You see, most of the time all that your edge really needs is to be realigned, and honing takes care of that problem. Remember, sharpening removes metal so you don’t want to unnecessarily do that to your blades.
Chefs Choice 1520 is a response to all the critics (including me!) who wanted a device capable of working on both Western/Japanese style blades. In many ways one could say that it is the total sharpening solution. It can accommodate different knife styles, and is also able to finish/polish them off by stropping. Probably one of my favorite from Chef’s Choice lineup! Again, if you’re considering this device, ensure you understand the voltage is 120V. If the voltage n your area is 220V, then you either need a transformer, or need to find this unit from a local retailer in your area/city. Leave me any questions, and I’ll be happy to answer!