Angle To Sharpen A Knife

Have you ever wondered why some knives can easily glide through food while others struggle to make a clean cut? The secret lies in the angle when we sharpen the blade. 

The angle to sharpen a knife is a crucial aspect that decides its cutting performance and overall effectiveness. Keep scrolling to know the right angle to sharpen different types of knives!

Best Angle To Sharpen A Knife

Under 10 Degree Angles

  • It’s best to choose a lower angle when sharpening edges for cutting softer materials, like straight-edge razors. Sharpen these blades at a delicate angle of approximately 7 to 8 degrees
  • We usually don’t apply much pressure on these razors, so maintaining this lower angle will not cause damage or edge failure. 
  • Note that you cannot adjust the angle of these razors when sharpening, but it is not a concern. The back of the blade will guide you to sharpen it correctly. Thus, knowing the exact angle is unnecessary in this case. 
  • Because razor blades are easily damaged, it’s best to use and maintain them properly. Water stones are the most effective method when you sharpen these razors. Water stones provide the optimal sharpening surface for keeping delicate edges on the blades.

Under 10-15 Degree Angles

  • If you usually use your knives to cut soft items or slice meats, 10-15 degree angles are effective. It provides a smooth cutting action and can hold up well under these conditions.
  • It’s best to consider Japanese blades made from high-quality, harder steels because they can provide excellent sharpness. However, due to their brittleness, these blades are more prone to damage from impacts. 
  • When it comes to sharpening these knives, we suggest using sharpening stones. For Japanese knives, water stone is the best option. These stones provide a balanced approach, effectively sharpening the steel without damaging the surface. 

Under 15 to 17 Degree Angles

  • 15 to 17 angle degrees is best for sharpening Japanese or European knives
  • This lower angle makes cutting a bit easier. However, the downside is that the edge becomes slightly less durable.
  • Therefore, you should sharpen these knives regularly to maintain optimal cutting ability. You can use sharpening stones or electric sharpeners on these knives.

Under 17-22 Degree Angles

  • Western knives have an angle of around 20 degrees. In fact, a 20-degree angle is also the optimal sharpening point for many knives.
  • Kitchen, pocket, and outdoor knives have a sharpening angle ranging from 17-20 degrees.
  • These angles balance sharpness and durability, ensuring that the knives remain effective for their intended purposes. 
  • However, different types of knives may have different requirements in terms of this balance. Thus, consider factors such as the intended use, the food you want to cut, and the level of force or impact the knife will undergo. 

Under 22 to 30 Degree Angles

  • Knives with 22-30 degree sharpening angles are durable, making them suitable for pocket or hunting knives.
  • This sharpening range of these knives doesn’t have a high level of cutting performance like those with lower angles. However, a broader edge angle helps them withstand the rigors of demanding tasks. 
  • Thus, the knife’s durability, resilience, and overall longevity are reliable.

Over 30 Degree Angles

  • An edged tool or knife will become highly durable if you sharpen them at an angle greater than 30 degrees
  • The advantage is that you can apply more force when making cuts. Standard knives that benefit from this angle are machetes, cleavers, or axes with durability. 
  • These tools are often made of softer steel and can effectively respond to a 30-degree angle. They can also withstand heavy use and forceful cutting tasks.

FAQ related to Angle To Sharpen A Knife

What Happens If You Sharpen A Knife At The Wrong Angle?

If you sharpen a knife at the wrong angle, several negative results can occur:

  • Reduced cutting performance: You may struggle to slice through materials or produce clean cuts.
  • Uneven edge: The blade may have high spots and low spots. Sharpening at the wrong angle can cause inconsistencies in cutting. You will find it difficult to achieve precision and control while using the knife.
  • Decreased durability: If you sharpen it at an angle that is too acute or shallow, the edge may become more prone to chipping, bending, blunting, or rolling. It can reduce the knife’s lifespan, and you’ll need to sharpen it frequently.

How Do Chefs Get Knives So Sharp?

Chefs can achieve sharp knives through proper maintenance, honing, and sharpening techniques.

  • Honing is realigning the blade’s edge using honing steel. The blade is drawn across the steel from the base to the tip, maintaining a consistent angle and pressure. 
  • Sharpening removes material from the blade to create a new, sharp edge. Chefs may use sharpening stones or electric knife sharpeners. 
  • Maintenance: Chefs often clean and dry their knives immediately after use to prevent corrosion and damage to the blade. Storing knives in a knife block to keep them in good condition.

Should You Rinse Knife After Sharpening?

Yes, it’s best to rinse the knife after sharpening. Rinsing the knife helps remove small metal particles or debris accumulating on the blade’s surface, ensuring they don’t transfer onto food during use. 

After rinsing, it’s essential to dry the knife to prevent any moisture from causing rust or corrosion on the blade. Wipe the knife dry using a clean towel or cloth, paying attention to the blade and handle.

Do Knife Sharpeners Ruin Knives?

Some electric sharpeners can remove more metal than necessary, which can shorten the lifespan of a knife. Electric sharpeners use abrasive wheels that grind away the metal to create a new edge.

Besides, if you apply too much pressure when sharpening, these sharpeners can remove excessive amounts of metal from the blade. Over time, repeated use of such sharpeners may reduce the thickness and integrity of the blade, affecting its performance and durability.


What is the angle to sharpen a knife? If you usually use knives to cut soft foods, sharpen them at smaller angles, typically ranging from 10 to 20 degrees. 

On the other hand, for knives intended for tougher tasks or those that require increased durability, you should sharpen them at larger angles (22 to over 30 degrees).