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Finding the Perfect Angle to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

By Avi Green July 15, 2022

Finding the Perfect Angle to Sharpen Your Kitchen Knives

Are you a kitchen hobbyist who loves experimenting with different recipes and cooking techniques? If so, you know the importance of having a sharp and well-maintained set of kitchen knives. A dull knife can make even the simplest kitchen tasks frustrating and time-consuming. That's why knowing the right angle to sharpen your kitchen knives is essential for any culinary enthusiast.

At, we understand the significance of a properly sharpened knife. In this article, we will explore the various angles you can use to sharpen your kitchen knives, along with expert tips and techniques to achieve optimal results.

Why does the sharpening angle matter?

The angle at which you sharpen your kitchen knife determines its cutting performance and longevity. Sharpening at the correct angle ensures that the knife's edge is able to penetrate ingredients smoothly, resulting in clean and precise cuts. Additionally, an appropriate angle reduces the risk of accidents and can significantly extend the lifespan of your knife.

When it comes to kitchen knives, there are primarily two common sharpening angles: the 20-degree angle and the 15-degree angle. Let's explore each angle in detail to help you make an informed decision on how to sharpen your kitchen knives.

1. 20-degree angle: Versatility and durability

The 20-degree angle is the most common choice for western-style kitchen knives. This angle provides excellent durability, making it suitable for cutting through tough and fibrous ingredients. Knives sharpened at a 20-degree angle tend to last longer between sharpenings, making them ideal for heavy-duty tasks in the kitchen.

It's important to note that not all 20-degree angles are created equal. Some knives may have a slightly wider or narrower angle depending on their design and purpose. As a general rule of thumb, a 20-degree angle is a safe starting point for most western-style kitchen knives.

2. 15-degree angle: Precision and finesse

The 15-degree angle is commonly found in Japanese-style kitchen knives, known for their exceptional sharpness and precision. This narrower angle produces a finer edge and allows for effortless slicing and dicing of delicate ingredients, such as sushi rolls and sashimi.

It's worth mentioning that knives sharpened at a 15-degree angle may require more frequent sharpening due to the thinness of the edge. However, the trade-off is the unmatched cutting performance and superior control these knives offer. If you enjoy working with intricate and precise cuts, a 15-degree angle might be the perfect choice for you.

Factors to consider when choosing the sharpening angle

While the 20-degree and 15-degree angles are the most common choices, it's important to consider a few factors to determine the optimal angle for your kitchen knives:

  • Knife type: Different types of knives have varying thicknesses and blade geometries. This can influence the preferred sharpening angle for each knife. For example, a heavy-duty chef's knife may benefit from a 20-degree angle, while a delicate paring knife may perform better at a 15-degree angle.
  • Intended use: Consider the tasks you frequently perform in the kitchen. Are you slicing through dense ingredients like butternut squash or primarily working with precision cuts? This will help you decide whether you need a more durable 20-degree angle or a finer 15-degree angle.
  • Skill level: The angle you choose should align with your skill level and comfort in handling knives. If you're less experienced, starting with a 20-degree angle can provide stability and ease while sharpening. As you develop your skills, you can experiment with narrower angles.

Tips for sharpening your kitchen knives

Now that you have a better understanding of the different sharpening angles, here are some expert tips to help you sharpen your kitchen knives effectively:

  • Use a high-quality sharpening stone or a knife sharpening system to ensure consistent and precise results.
  • Start sharpening at the base of the blade, maintaining a steady hand and applying light pressure as you move towards the tip.
  • Keep the blade at a consistent angle throughout the sharpening process, whether it's 20 degrees or 15 degrees.
  • Don't rush the process. Take your time to achieve a sharp edge and periodically check the blade's sharpness as you go.
  • Hone your knife regularly between sharpenings to maintain its sharpness and prolong its lifespan.


Choosing the right angle to sharpen your kitchen knives is crucial for optimal performance and longevity. Whether you prefer the versatility and durability of a 20-degree angle or the precision and finesse of a 15-degree angle, understanding the factors that influence your decision will help you make an informed choice.

Remember, sharpening your kitchen knives is not only about the angle but also the technique and tools used. By following the expert tips provided and practicing regularly, you'll be able to achieve razor-sharp knives that make your culinary adventures even more enjoyable.

So, grab your sharpening stone and get ready to bring new life to your kitchen knives. Your future meals will thank you!

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