Whether you are a restaurant chef or an avid hunter, anyone who uses knives often knows the importance of always having them sharp and smooth. A dull blade can take any simple task and turn it into a long and strenuous one, so making sure your knives are always maintained will keep you from running into any last-minute issues. But how much is sharpening going to cost you?
Knife sharpening is a relatively inexpensive service. If you purchase a DIY Knife sharpening set, you will only pay around $50 to always have it on hand. In contrast, a professional sharpening job will cost you about $75 to $100 two to three times a year, depending on the type and number of knives that need sharpening.
Making sure your knives are well maintained throughout the year does not have to be a financial burden. You can control how much you end up spending on sharpening your knives by being selective about how the process is done, whether you visit a local knife sharpening shop, send them through the mail to an online sharpening service, or purchase a personal knife sharpening kit to do it yourself.
How Much Does It Cost to Sharpen a Knife?
The factor that will affect the cost of sharpening your knives the most will be how you have it done. There are three options for knife sharpening available:
- Visit a local knife shop for professional sharpening
- Place a request online and mail your knives for professional sharpening
- Invest in a personal knife sharpening set to DIY
Generally, you can expect to pay $75 to $100 a few times a year for a professional sharpening service, while a quality DIY set can run you a one-time cost of about $50.
Professional Local Sharpening
One option for all your knife sharpening needs would be a local knife sharpening service. You may find these types of services available at a nearby hardware store, but your best bet is finding a profession-specific shop.
Note: Most shops have comparable prices but pay close attention to the quality of service they provide; just because they all charge the same fee per knife doesn’t mean you will get the same type of work. Do a little homework and make sure the shop you pick uses the proper sharpening equipment and can guarantee high-quality results.
Local Sharpening Costs
When going to a professional, the price per knife is relatively the same no matter where you go. They will charge an average of $1 to $2 per inch of the blade for each knife; this can differ slightly per retailer and the exact knife type you have, but most of the time, generally, this is what you will be paying as part of the flat rate.
However, if you need services beyond a simple sharpening job, expect to pay additional fees:
- If your knife is bent, then a fee of $5 to $10 may be added to your bill for repair.
- Broken knives or blade tips may cost anywhere from $5 to $20 to have professionally repaired.
- If it is chipped and needs repair, you are looking at an extra $5 to $20, depending on the knife type.
- Thinning your blade is another add-on you may request when having your knife set serviced; this is where the sharpener reduces the bevel’s width behind the knife’s primary edge, increasing its strength and performance. This service can cost around $10.
Professional Online Sharpening
Shopping online has become very popular and getting easier by the minute. You can purchase anything from food and exercise classes to knife sharpening services.
This can be a great way to get your knives sharpened without you having to do very much at all. In fact, some online services offer to send you a pre-labeled package for you to pack your knives in and drop off at your local post office or other postal location to mail back.
Naturally, this makes the process a little bit easier than driving to and from a local knife shop, and saves you some time, too.
Online Sharpening Costs
The prices you can expect to pay for online sharpening services will look similar to if you were to go to a local shop, with just a few distinct differences:
- Costs usually start at $1 to $2 per inch of blade.
- If you opt to have pre-labeled boxes sent to you to ship your knife set out, $14.75 per knife is the average amount spent on shipping plus sharpening services.
- Without a pre-made label, expect to pay around $10 for shipping (not including service fees).
- Most online services offer discounts for multiple knives. Additionally, some businesses will provide free shipping if you spend over a certain amount on sharpening services (usually around $75).
Some online services will also offer a subscription option, allowing members to send in their knives for regular sharpening at a discounted price for the service or shipping.
At-Home DIY Knife Sharpening Sets
Have you ever heard the old saying, “If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself?” If that’s how you feel about sharpening your knives, then investing in a home knife sharpening set is the best option for you.
There are many types of DIY sets; some come as an electric device where you can easily place the blade into the machine, and the spinning stone inside will sharpen the knife as you slide it back and forth.
Or, if you’re more old fashioned and like to use some elbow grease to get the job done, a simple stone, block, and oil set is another excellent option. The options online or in stores are endless and will suit anyone’s needs.
Home Sharpening Set Costs
Unless you plan to start a knife sharpening business or are a knife collecting enthusiast and own hundreds of blades, a kit’s cost may be the better choice financially.
This is because the only price you will have to pay initially is for the sharpening set itself. You won’t have to purchase another one as long as it continues to work correctly, which can be for a few years or less, depending on the extent of your use.
As mentioned earlier, different types of sharpening sets are available, all of which will range in price:
- Electric Knife Sharpening Kits: $30-50 – Electric sharpeners are designed to make knife sharpening at home quicker and easier. Products like the Edge Keeper or Narcissus Knife Sharpener have been uniquely designed with spinning abrasive wheels that give your knives smooth sharpened edges. If you are looking for a professional sharp blade edge without the labor of using a block or the cost of shipping, this is a great option.
- Stone and Block Set: $20-50 – Older stone and block sets have been used for generations, giving you control over every aspect of sharpening your blades for a very low cost. Kits are easy to purchase in almost any department store, home improvement shop, or online. Easy to use kits like Sharp Pebble and the Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone offers great reliable products that will help you get a fantastic edge at half the cost of a professional service. Learn how to sharpen a knife using a stone.
- Professional Sharpening Machine: $200-700 – These machines are a bit more costly than the other at-home options; however, they can save you a large amount of money in the long run. If you are a professional, let’s say in the restaurant business, and you need to sharpen mass amounts of knives frequently, machines like The Tormek T-2 Pro will save you time and money from professional services, possibly within the first few sets you sharpen.
- Chef’s Vision SmarterEdge Knife Sharpener: $11.95 – We’re a little biased but we obviously recommend our SmarterEdge Knife Sharpener with a carbon groove for dull blades, and a ceramic groove for daily sharpening. Six designer colors to enhance your kitchen décor and create the perfect complement to all Chef’s Vision products.
Which Knife Sharpening Method is Worth the Cost?
As mentioned above, the type of sharpening method you choose will be a primary factor in how much you end up spending. However, if you’re unsure which route will save you the most money and/or time in the long run, consider these factors:
- How many knives do you have? The more knives you need to be sharpened, the more expensive it will be. However, there is also a possibility you can save if you have many knives that need maintenance. Some online companies offer discounts on large numbers of blades. It’s also worth considering that it will take more time for you to sharpen many knives if you DIY.
- What type of knife set do you have? If you are a professional chef and use a costly, well-designed knife set, you may want to consider hiring a professional because they are capable and well-trained to do a perfect job. In contrast, if you just need to sharpen up a set of basic knives for regular kitchen use, a DIY set may be the better investment.
- What is your budget? If you own a restaurant business and have the budget for professional sharpening services, go that route instead. You’ll find that some companies offer deals for contracting with restaurants.
- How often do you use your knives? Consider how often you may need to sharpen your knives. If they are used daily, the costs of hiring a professional will quickly add up. In contrast, if you don’t use your knives very often, a DIY set will be the best choice for your wallet.
- Do you prefer your knives sharpened a certain way? Some people are very particular about how their knives are sharpened; if you feel you fit in this category, then investing in your own DIY set will be the best option for you.
It’s also worth considering each method’s pros and cons to determine which is best for your budget.
Pros and Cons of Local Sharpening Services
Most communities have their share of locally owned sharpening services. Choosing local services helps the community as a whole and can make the whole process a little more personalized for your needs.
- Save on shipping costs: Shipping items through the mail can get pricey; when using local retailers, shipping won’t be an added cost.
- You control transport: There is no risk of your knives getting lost or damaged in the mail; you can control the conditions of travel and make sure they get where they are going safely.
- Quicker turnaround time: When staying local, the shipping and receiving process is not a factor in turnaround time. Instead of waiting a week for your knives, most local retailers offer them back within 48 hours.
- Transporting: You have to take the knives to the shop and then go back when they are ready to be picked up. Finding time to do this can also be a challenge and a hassle.
- Late fees: Some businesses will add late fees if you do not pick your knives up at the time scheduled. Accruing charges can add up quickly.
Pros and Cons of Online Sharpening Services
Like so many other services today, online knife sharpening is becoming a popular choice, and for many reasons. Businesses like Knife Aid or SK Sharpening offer the professional and reliable service of a local shop, with the added convenience of being able to ship off your knives.
- No commuting: You won’t have to waste time taking the knives to a place of service or go back to pick them up when they are ready. You can send them out and have them delivered right to your home.
- Easy shipping: With pre-labeled mail-order packages sent to you, getting your knives shipped out is easy. Some sharpening companies offer pre-made packages designed to get your knives to them and back home as safely as possible.
- Subscribe and save: Some online companies offer subscription options to their customers, setting up pre-planned services a few times a year. This service provides a small discount for signing a contract for services ahead of time.
- Shipping costs: The cost of shipping is determined based on the weight of the package. Shipping a large set of knives can be costly.
- Longer wait time: Because of shipping and receiving, you will be waiting much longer to get your knives back this way than if you were going local.
- Mail trouble: When using postal services to get your knives to a professional, you risk them being lost or damaged on the way.
- Customer service: Reaching out to online companies can sometimes be more complicated than local companies. You won’t have the opportunity to drive there to ask any questions directly.
Pros and Cons of DIY Sharpening
Families have been sharpening their own knives for generations. This form of sharpening offers you the ability to control every step of the process, making sure your blades are being sharpened the way you like them. Although there may be more labor involved, you can save a lot of money and stress if you purchase your own knife sharpener set.
- Always on hand: When purchasing a DIY set, you will have the sharpener anytime you need it.
- You control the product: If you sharpen your own blades, you can decide what item is used for sharpening. You can pick the right stone or other sharpening product for each specific knife.
- No shipping fees: You don’t have to worry about sending your knives out through the mail and paying the postage fees.
- No servicing fees: You do all the work yourself. You won’t have to ever worry about paying service fees to anyone else.
- No drop-off or pick up: Save your time running back and forth to the shop; you sharpen your knives from the comfort of your home.
- Time-consuming: Sharpening can take between 10 and 15 minutes per knife. Working on multiple blades each time can take an entire night, especially if you don’t have experience.
- Technique: Knife sharpening is not an easy task; you need to know what you’re doing, or you risk ruining your knife. You will also need to research to make sure you are using the right sharpening products for your blades.
- No warranty: If you break your knife while sharpening it, you have to pay to have it fixed or replace it.
- Sharpen more often: Because you are using an at-home set that is likely not as sophisticated as what the professionals use, you will probably not get the same results; this will leave you sharpening your blades more often.
The cost of sharpening your knives can fluctuate greatly depending on their type, how many you have, and how you have it done, from as little as $50 for your own sharpening set up to a few hundred dollars for professional services. In other words, how much you spend on sharpening your knives will ultimately depend on your preferences and budget.
However, if you are looking for more bang for your buck, we recommend going with the old stone and block method. You will be spending a lot less money when purchasing these kits and still be able to create the smoothest and sharpest edges you need. If you just need regular touch ups without learning complicated sharpening techniques consider the SmarterEdge Knife Sharpeners at $11.95.
Costs aside, doing it yourself will also eliminate the stress of the professional service options available. There are no mail-in complications like lost packages, extended wait times, problems with restricted business hours, or low-quality services.
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