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Edlund 401 Electric Knife Sharpener

Edlund 401 Electric Knife Sharpener Review

Knife Sharpeners

Product Grade
Report Card Grade
0 Reviews
Best Feature:
Unique Easy-Track Guidance System eliminates guesswork
Worst Feature:
Expensive to purchase
Best Uses:
Fast, simple sharpening for commercial kitchens
$384-$533 (1-year limited warranty)

Where to Buy

Store Name


The Edlund 401 Electric Knife Sharpener is a single stage, commercial-grade sharpener and one of only a few electric knife sharpeners that have received NSF certification for impressive health and safety standards. The Edlund 401's unique Easy-Track Guidance System allows for more control over the knife and makes the sharpener so simple to operate that it leaves almost no opportunity for user error. The knife guidance module is engineered to have an 11° set angle and, in one or two passes, it can sharpen any size kitchen knife from a small paring knife to a large cleaver (straight edge or scalloped knives only). The guidance system is also designed to sharpen knives all the way from tip to handle, unlike many other electric sharpeners that can leave an uneven edge where the handle meets the blade. To protect your knives from overheating and excessive grinding, the 401 sharpener is equipped with pressure sensors that automatically shut down operation of the motor if knives are being pushed through the guidance system with too much force. To help ensure a long life, the sharpener comes encased in a durable stainless steel and the grinding wheel and guidance module are both replaceable. For sanitization purposes, the guidance module is made with ABS plastic (no magnets) and can be easily removed for regular cleanings.

You can purchase the Edlund 401 Electric Knife Sharpener online for about $384-$533.

Product Report Card Grade

We give the Edlund 401 electric knife sharpener an A- because its superior knife guidance system offers a foolproof way to quickly sharpen any size blade from tip to handle. Designed for commercial use, the Edlund 401 is NSF certified and features a pressure sensitive motor that helps protect knives from excessive wear. Many commercial kitchens have replaced a professional sharpening service with the Edlund 401, and, as a result, they have realized not only cost savings on sharpening but also savings in worker compensation claims, production time, work efficiencies, sanitation and yield. That said, we had to deduct points due to the high purchase price and lack of less aggressive sharpening stages. Additionally, while the Edlund 401 may be used in a home kitchen, we probably wouldn't recommend it because, over time, its powerful motor and high grit abrasive grinding wheel may remove more material from your knives than is necessary to maintain a razor sharp edge and could decrease the useful life of your knives. However, if you have a high volume sharpening need and are looking for a simple, reliable sharpening solution, the Edlund 401 is an excellent choice.

This Product
Overall Score
Our Awards
Date Reviewed
February 2013
February 2013
January 2014
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
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
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
Relatively expensive; does not accommodate serrated knives
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; lacks aggressive notch removal stage; tendency to scratch knife blades (typical of electric sharpeners in general)
Commercial Electric Sharpener
Manual Crock Stick Knife Sharpener
Electric Sharpener with 1 Manual Phase
$50 - $95
$150 - $180
1-year limited warranty
Lifetime limited warranty
3-year limited warranty
Product Size (W x D x H)
9.8" x 4.8" x 4.0"
5.0" x 4.0" x 2.0"
12.3" x 6.3" x 6.5"
Weight (lbs.)
Number of Stages
Abrasive Materials
A 240-grit alumdum grinding wheel is the only abrasive in the sharpener.
Triangular high alumina ceramic stones are the abrasive materials in this system.
100% diamond coated conical disks offer differing levels of abrasion in each of the 3 stages.
Sharpening Angle(s)
22° (11° on each side)
40°, 30° and 25° (20°, 15° and 12.5° on each side)
40° (20° each side)
Sharpening Technology
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.
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.
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.
Description of Stages
The 1st and only stage is electric and quickly sharpens the edge to an 11° angle.
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 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.
Passes to Sharpen
1-2 passes
Up to 160 passes
3 - 6 passes
Types of Knives Sharpened
It is specifically designed to sharpen kitchen knives in a commercial setting.
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 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.
Sharpens Entire Blade (Tip to Bolster)
Product Design
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.
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.
The M130 is available in 5 different finishes including black, white, brushed metal, green and platinum.
Safety Features
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.
It comes with 2 brass safety rods that fit into keyed holes in the base to protect your hands during the sharpening process.
There is a plastic cover over each of the rotating disks to protect your hands during operation.

ProductReportCard Editors' In-Depth Review

Pros And Cons


  • Quiet, pressure sensitive motor that protects knives against excessive wear
  • Unique ABS plastic knife guide module is removable for easy cleaning
  • Sturdy stainless steel housing
  • Knife guide component and grinding wheel are replaceable
  • Accommodates knives from 3/16 of an inch to large cleavers
  • Not constructed with any magnets
  • NSF certified and made in the USA
  • Simple to operate


  • Expensive
  • May be overkill for home kitchen
  • Not compatible with serrated knives

Key Features

Type of Sharpener
The Edlund 401 is a commercial-grade electric knife sharpener
It measures 4" x 4 ¾" x 9 ¾" (D x H x W), and its weight is listed as 31 pounds on Edlund’s website (all other retailers have it listed as between 10 – 14 pounds).
A 240-grit alumdum grinding wheel is the abrasive element in the sharpener assembly.Alumdum is a bonded aluminum oxide type of abrasive.
The defining feature of the Edlund 401 is its unique Easy-Track Guidance System, which allows it to sharpen any size knife from tip to handle. This distinction is important because sharpeners that don't reach the full length of a knife may eventually leave an uneven knife-edge where the handle meets the blade. According to Edlund customer service, the guidance system is engineered to quickly sharpen blades at an 11° angle, which is slightly steeper than domestic-grade knife sharpeners that might have 15° or 20° pre-set angles. The 401 model has a reliable motor that features 1 ½ amps of power and runs at 1550 rpms. The motor is also programmed to shut down if it senses that too much pressure is being applied to the guidance system in order to protect the knife from excessive wear and edge burn.
The Edlund 1-stage system quickly restores your knife-edge with a minimum of passes.
Number of Passes
Just 1 to 2 passes are needed to restore factory sharpness to moderately dull knives.
Safety Feature
Protective features include a lighted on/off switch to indicate when the motor is running and an interlock switch that prevents operation when the guidance system is not in place. For additional safety, the width of the knife opening is only 3/16".
Types of Knives Sharpened
The Edlund 401 is designed for kitchen knives of varying sizes from paring knives to cleavers.Scalloped steak and bread knives may be sharpened when only the flat edge side of the knife is passed through the guidance system.It is not intended for sharpening serrated knives.
The simple rectangular design of the Edlund 401 sharpener is durably built with an all stainless steel housing. The knife guidance module has no magnets and is also removable for easy cleaning and retention of top performance. Both the grinding wheel assembly and the knife guidance module are also replaceable.
Edlund offers a 1-year limited warranty to repair or replace defective parts on sharpeners than have been used normally in commercial settings.


Since the Edlund 401 Electric Knife Sharpener is used primarily as a commercial product, we weren't surprised to find very few personal use testimonials available online. However, the small amount of feedback we did see on the sharpener was very positive, and it is one of the few knife sharpeners to receive NSF certification. Edlund also told us that Darden Restaurants is currently using the 401 sharpener in all of their commercial kitchens as are a number of other restaurant chains.

In a study published on Edlund's website, the 401 sharpener performed exceptionally well in real world test at the Northeast Utilities' Eurest facility (Berlin, CT). According to the report, the sharpener has been proven to pay for itself and the cost of investment in high quality knives in a commercial kitchen by eliminating the expense of a weekly sharpening service. In addition to an increase in efficiency and overall production, commercial kitchens also realized considerable ancillary benefits as staff took ownership of their knives and developed respect for the tools of their trade.

Despite the great feedback on the 401 sharpener, we did feel the 1-year warranty was a bit short, so we contacted Edlund directly to ask them about it. The customer service agent said that they have had virtually no breakdowns or returns when it came to the 401 model. The only repairs they see are related to the knife guide assembly being removed and incorrectly being forced back into place. As a company, Edlund has an excellent reputation in the food service smallwares and light equipment arena, and it has been voted "Best in Class" 7 years in a row by food service operators, distributors and consultants for their manufacture of quality products. While we probably wouldn't recommend this knife sharpener for a home kitchen, it is a great investment for a commercial kitchen.


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