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A good electric knife sharpener is better than not knowing how to effectively use a whetstone. Furthermore, I see no reason to ever learn how to use a whetstone once you have a good electric sharpener. I understand that whetstones can get your knives sharper than an electric sharpener, but for daily kitchen use, that razor edge is going to wear very quickly; honing will only go so far. Some of the top-tier whetstones can be pretty expensive as well.
Edit: this is the sharpener I use
Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV EdgeSelect Professional Electric Knife Sharpener for Straight and Serrated Knives Diamond Abrasives Patented Sharpening System Made in USA, 3-Stage, Gray [link]
Personally I have the Chef’sChoice 15 Trizor XV. Yes, it's a little pricey (I paid like $120 a year or two ago) but it is quick, easy, and effective. I used it to put extremely sharp edges on a set of $65 Amazon knives. I cook 5-6 times a week and resharpen every 3-4 months. Yeah, stones are cool and I could have saved a decent chunk of change but I doubt I could resharpen a pairing knife, 6" and 8" chef knives, plus a boning and breaking knife in 10 minutes. Also, I don't feel like I'm wasting my time throwing a new edge on that $6.99 set of pairing knives I picked up from Marshall's, which is a huge plus.
I use Whetstones. I bet you a $1 that a majority of opinions here will also be to use Whetstones. BUT....
I suspect for most folks out there - a quality electric sharpener is the right solution. I can vouch for this one.
Do you want to invest a significant amount of time and effort to develop a useful skill & hobby? Or do you just want sharp knives with the least fuss?
I purchased a Chef's Choice 15 Trizor and it has been wonderful. I can sharpen my frequently used knives quickly and effortlessly with nice results. If you watch Amazon pricing you can pick it up for ~$105-110 pretty regularly.
I suggest buying the amazing value Victorinox 8" chefs knife, and, when you can afford it, spending the extra money on a quality sharpener. Knives dont stay sharp for ever. Unless you already own one that is. This is one of the best. It will sharpen your knives better than new (in my case). I actually used this to sharpen a crappy Walmart brand knife, and it's now nearly as sharp as my Victorinox knives.
Use camelcamelcamel or something similar to track the price of it and set alerts. Two weeks I bought mine for $130, it was the Amazon deal of the day for $99. I was pissed!
IMO it's still worth it. A good knife is a pleasure to use and if it makes you happy - you can still use good knives with light maintenance.
Most good knives (58+ HRC) will be fine if you are willing to strop & straighten the edge often and have them professionally sharpened every few months - assuming light-medium in home use. If you're willing - a Chef's Choice Trizor sharpener does a great job of sharpening your knives without much fuss. It will actually be cheaper and easier than taking your knives to the pro every 2-3 months.
Having said that - there is nothing wrong with a $25 Victoriknox if you're happy with it. Heck you can even use till it's too dull and then just get a new one out after! (I'm personally against that from enviro pov - but that's me)
I think they key is to find out what works for you. You can always improve performance by investing more time, money & effort. The point beyond which it isn't worth it - for you? That only you can decide.
The Chefs Choice Trizor was one of Americas Test Kitchen's top choices:
Americas Test Kitchen does equipment reviews. A year or so ago the tested a bunch of electric sharpners and decide the Chef's Choice Trizor was one of the best:
The trouble with Shun knives is how thin and brittle the edge is. Honestly there are some fantastic Wusthoff and Henckels knives that will withstand accidents much better. I know this isn't a direct answer to the question but might be the best overall solution. Alternately, you could go for this grinder to completely reshape the edge, but it'll take forever and cost as much as a new knife. That CAN be a good BIFL solution, because it will help you keep ANY knife with a 15 degree edge working for life, but only if you're into the maintenance efforts as an enthusiast. If your kitchen is prone to accidents or clumsy roommates (like mine), a sturdier knife with slightly softer steel (German style) might be ideal. ([link])
I have this and it has been very nice; [link]
Sharpens to 15 degrees. Takes 2 minutes. Good enough for home use. There is a cheaper model that won't grind non-15 degree knivesq
The Chef's Choice Trizor XV 15 degree bevel electric sharpener is probably the fastest, easiest sharpener in the world. It will also eat your knives which is why I use stones.
For the average home cook I would recommend something idiot proof like this; [link]
This. This is also me.
I recommend a Chef's Choice
I use it on my Zwilling set
I have the same knives, I use this sharpener: [link]
People may suggest whetstones, but I disagree. Whetstones have a steep learning curve. Yes, they can get your knives sharper, but it'll take you weeks or months of practice to get to that point. Also, quality whetstones that actually get your knife razor sharp will be as much money or more than the electric sharpener. The electric sharpener gets my knives as sharp or sharper than they were when new. I use a honing steel before every use to keep the edge nice. I sharpen maybe once month or as needed.