Wednesday, September 30, 2020
Chef's Choice M130 Professional Sharpening Station Review
Electric + manual sharpening stages offer improved control
Lacks aggressive set up stage for notch removal
Effortlessly sharpen double bevel edge (20° angle)
$150 - $180 (3-year limited warranty)
The Chef's Choice® Professional Sharpening Station® (Model 130 or M130) is engineered with a unique combination of electric and manual sharpening technology that can sharpen a variety of serrated and straight-edge blades (with double-beveled edges) including European kitchen knives and hunting, fishing and pocket knives. It has three sharpening stages, of which the first and third stages are electric and the second stage is manual. Each stage features different conical disks embedded with a high quality diamond abrasive that create a sharp, durable, arch-shaped edge that resists folding over. The first (and most aggressive) sharpening stage has the disk with the coarsest grit, while the third stage has a patented flexible stropping/polishing disk with a finer grit. The second stage has a small butcher's steel, and, thanks to its diamond coating, it is actually able to sharpen the blade instead of just realigning the edge like most steels. Each sharpening slot is also designed with a spring-loaded knife guide that holds the knife steady and at the correct sharpening angle (20° on each side) to make it fast and easy to restore a sharp edge to your blade in just a couple of strokes. By offering these three different stages, the Chef's Choice® Model 130 allows the user more control over the sharpening process and gives them the ability to customize their edge for different types of food prep (ex. slicing a tomato vs. more fibrous food).
Depending on the finish you choose, the Chef's Choice® M130 Professional Sharpening Station® can be bought online for about $150 - $180.
Product Report Card Grade
We give the Chef's Choice® M130 Professional Sharpening Station® an A- because it is a fast, easy and cost-effective way to sharpen a variety of serrated and straight-edge knives with a 20° angle. With electric and manual sharpening stages, the Model 130 provides some of the control offered in a manual sharpener along with the speed and convenience of an electric sharpener. We had to deduct a few points because it is relatively expensive and lacks an aggressive set-up stage to remove notches from damaged or severely dull knives. That said, we highly recommend the Chef’s Choice® Model 130 to anyone looking for a fast, foolproof electric sharpener to use at home.
Fast, foolproof sharpening; unique combination of electric and manual stages offer more control over sharpening process; 20° spring loaded knife guides reduce user error; abrasive disks all diamond coated; compatible with serrated knives; includes a manual steeling stage
Moderate price point; exceptionally versatile sharpener; gentle on knife blades; right- and left- handed compatibility; good, compact storage system; no lubricants required; set angle of abrasive stones eliminate guesswork
Easy-Track Guidance system offers fast, foolproof sharpening; one of a few sharpeners to be NSF certified for its superior safety features; removable/replaceable parts provide easy cleaning/upkeep; pressure sensitive motor protects knives from excessive wear
Relatively expensive; lacks aggressive notch removal stage; tendency to scratch knife blades (typical of electric sharpeners in general)
Ceramic stones are easily broken if dropped; requires time and effort to master technique; instruction manual somewhat confusing; sharpening can be time-consuming especially if restoring notched and damaged blades
Relatively expensive; does not accommodate serrated knives
Electric Sharpener with 1 Manual Phase
Manual Crock Stick Knife Sharpener
Commercial Electric Sharpener
$150 - $180
$50 - $95
3-year limited warranty
Lifetime limited warranty
1-year limited warranty
Product Size (W x D x H)
12.3" x 6.3" x 6.5"
5.0" x 4.0" x 2.0"
9.8" x 4.8" x 4.0"
100% diamond coated conical disks offer differing levels of abrasion in each of the 3 stages.
Triangular high alumina ceramic stones are the abrasive materials in this system.
A 240-grit alumdum grinding wheel is the only abrasive in the sharpener.
40° (20° each side)
40°, 30° and 25° (20°, 15° and 12.5° on each side)
22° (11° on each side)
All 3 sharpening slots have spring-loaded knife guides that are preset to a 40° angle (20° on each side) to help users maintain the correct sharpening angle.
Keyed slots and holes in the base of the travel case hold the abrasive ceramic stones at various set angles that can be adjusted depending on the type of edge being sharpened. The stones also have a thin groove cut into them for sharpening pointed objects, and they can be converted into a benchstone when necessary.
It uses Edlund's Easy-Track Guidance System, which is designed to quickly sharpen blades at exactly an 11° angle (steeper than domestic knife sharpeners). The motor has 1 ½ amps of power and runs at 1550 rpms, but it will shut off automatically when too much pressure is applied to the guidance system in order to protect the knife from excessive wear.
Description of Stages
The 1st stage is electric and has the most abrasive disk to raise a burr and create the 1st bevel edge. The 2nd stage is manual and has a small butcher's steel to steel the edge and create micro sharp serrations in it. The 3rd Stage is electric and has a flexible stropping disk to polish/straighten the blade and create the 2nd bevel. The 3rd stage can also be used to sharpen serrated knives.
The brown, medium grit stones are used in the 1st and 2nd stages, and the white, fine grit stones are used in the 3rd and 4th stages. During the 1st and 3rd stages, the blade is pulled over the triangular edges of the stones, and, during the 2nd and 4th stages, the blade is pulled over the flat edge of the stones. The corners of the white stones can be used to sharpen serrated edges. For extremely dull knives, Spyderco diamond embedded abrasive stones can be purchased separately.
The 1st and only stage is electric and quickly sharpens the edge to an 11° angle.
Passes to Sharpen
3 - 6 passes
Up to 160 passes
Types of Knives Sharpened
It can sharpen a variety of serrated- and straight-edge blades (with a double bevel edge) including European kitchen knives (20° angle) and sporting/pocket knives.
It can sharpen a variety of serrated- and straight-edge blades including both European (20° angle) and Asian (15° angle) kitchen knives and sporting/pocket knives. It can also be used to sharpen pointed edges (ie. fishhooks, darts, awls) and scissors (12.5° angle).
It is specifically designed to sharpen kitchen knives in a commercial setting.
Sharpens Entire Blade (Tip to Bolster)
The M130 is available in 5 different finishes including black, white, brushed metal, green and platinum.
All of the sharpening components come in a black and grey ABS plastic traveling case that doubles as the base into which the ceramic stones are inserted.
It has a simple rectangular design with an all stainless steel housing and contains no magnets. The knife guidance module is removable, so it is easy to clean, and both the knife guidance module and the grinding wheel assembly are replaceable.
There is a plastic cover over each of the rotating disks to protect your hands during operation.
It comes with 2 brass safety rods that fit into keyed holes in the base to protect your hands during the sharpening process.
It is NSF certified, the width of the knife opening is only 3/16", and there is also a lighted on/off switch to indicate when the motor is running. Additionally, an interlock switch won't allow the machine to operate until the guidance system is properly in place.
ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review
Pros And Cons
- Unique technology that combines manual and electric sharpening methods
- Knife guides with 20° preset angles are elastomeric (spring-loaded) vs. magnetic
- Versatile sharpener that can even sharpen serrated knives
- Utilizes high quality diamond coated abrasive disks
- Manual steeling stage provides enhanced precision and control
- Fast, foolproof sharpening
- Relatively expensive
- Lacks aggressive pre-sharpening stage designed to remove notches
- Tendency to scratch blades and detract from appearance (does not detract from performance)
- Not specifically designed for Asian knives (15° angle)
Type of Sharpener
The Chef's Choice® M130 is an electric knife sharpener that includes 1 manual stage.
The M130 measures 12 ¼" x 6 ¼" x 6 ½" (L x W x H).
Each of the 3 sharpening stages feature 100% diamond coated conical disks that offer differing levels of abrasion.
The M130 employs a unique combination of electric and manual technology that provides the speed and convenience of electric sharpening with some of the control of manual methods. Since each of the 3 sharpening slots have elastomeric (spring-loaded) knife guides that are preset to 40° (20° each side), the M130 eliminates the risk that users could sharpen the knife's edges on an incorrect/inconsistent angle and damage them.
As you can see from the picture above, the M130 has 3 distinct sharpening stages, and you can use the slots in different combinations depending on your cutting need. Stage 1 is electric and features the most abrasive diamond-coated disk. It raises a burr as it aggressively shapes and sharpens the knife to create the 1st bevel edge. Stage 2 is manual and features a small butcher's steel made with diamond-coated high carbon alloy. It steels the knife-edge and creates micro sharp serrations that provide the "butcher's bite" preferred for cutting meat and heavily fibrous food. Stage 3 is electric and features a flexible disk with a finer grit of the diamond abrasive. It strops/polishes and straightens the blade to create the 2nd bevel edge needed for effortless slicing. It is also used to sharpen serrated knives without grinding away the serration.
Number of Passes
Depending on how dull your knife is initially, you may only need to pass the blade through the 3 stages once on each side. To recondition very dull knives, you will need to take additional passes and Chef's Choice estimates that it could take a long as a minute to restore the edges. For everyday maintenance of your knives, it is recommended that you pass them through Stage 2 (the manual steeling stage) once or twice after each use.
In order to protect your hands from the rotating disks during operation, all 3 of the knife guide slots are designed with a plastic cover.
Types of Knives
The M130 can sharpen a variety of serrated- and straight-edge knives (with a double bevel edge) including kitchen, hunting, fishing and pocket knives. With 20° preset angles, the M130 is best suited for European kitchen knives, but the Chef's Choice® website also claims that you can use it to sharpen Asian style knives (15° angle). The sharpener will simply re-profile your Asian knives to have a 20° edge, which they aren't necessarily designed for, but most home cooks probably won't be able to notice a discernible difference in the knife's performance.
The M130 is available in 5 different finishes including black, white, brushed metal, green and platinum.
The M130 carries a 3-year limited warranty. Following the expiration of the warranty, Chef's Choice® offers a total refurbishment of your sharpener for just $45. Simply send your sharpener back to Chef's Choice and they will replace all parts, including the sharpening disks, and return it to you.
The Chef's Choice® M130 Professional Sharpening Station® has received great reviews from customers online including a 4.5/5 on Amazon.com (284 reviews). In a November 2006 review of electric sharpeners, Cook's Illustrated gave the Chef's Choice® Model 130 its highest recommendation. Cook's Illustrated testers commented that, "This quiet model is the Rolls-Royce of sharpeners." In his book, Sharpening Made Easy, Steve Bottorff reported that out of the 45 sharpening systems he tested, the Chef's Choice® electric sharpener is best in its class, with the caveat that all electric sharpeners tend to scratch the sides of the blades and detract from their appearance. There were some complaints from customers about scratches on the blades, as well as about the sharpener's cost and its confusing instruction manual. However, the majority of customers have been very happy with the sharpener's performance, ease of use, durability and overall value. Many of these happy customers appreciated the detailed instruction manual and suggested reading it before using the machine to avoid any user errors. If you have European kitchen knives, we highly recommend the Chef's Choice® M130 Professional Sharpening Station® as a fast, easy and economical way to keep your knives razor-sharp.
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