I have tested the E5 Culinary Sharpener and the E5 Upgrade kit on different knives, from Chinese cleavers to Japanese and Western knives. I dulled all knives with a rock until it could not cut through anything. All the blades were dulled entirely. I also used knives with a different Rockwell rating from soft to hard and switched some angles to find the best combination with the belts and angle guides.
What you get
With the E5 Upgrade Kit, you get two different angle guides. You get a 15 and a 20 Degree Angle Guide with an angle guide holder. You also get five belts with varying grit sizes.
The Blue Belt is coarse, and it is used for restoring damaged edges or reprofiling. However, it can’t repair heavily damaged edges.
You also get two red belts with a medium grit size. This red belt is used for sharpening your knives. And the result will satisfy a lot of home cooks.
The Grey belt is a medium to fine grit size used for finer sharpening. It is also used to maintain knives with a lower Rockwell hardness below 60.
The White Belt has a fine to extra fine grit size. It is intended for refining and maintaining the edge of knives with a high Rockwell of 60 and above. It also leaves a semi-mirror polish look on the knife edge.
Standard 17 Degree Angle
The E5 Sharpener comes with a standard 17-degree angle guide, and the angle is excellent for a wide variety of knives. That includes western and even Japanese knives. It is the happy midd le of edge retention, sharpness, and durability. The only knives I would not use on this angle are Chinese cleavers.
20 Degree Angle Guide
The 20 Degree Angle guide is excellent for Chinese Cleavers and great for repair work of chipped knives.
15 Degree Angle Guide
The 15 Degree angle guide is excellent for knives with a Rockwell of 60 and above like most Japanese knives.
The E5 Upgrade kit and Electric Sharpener come with an easy-to-follow user’s guide. The angle guides snap easily in place and can be easily detached from the Sharpener.
While the user’s guide is easy to follow, you must know a few things before you start sharpening. To get the best results, you must get the complete heel of the knife in the Sharpener. If you skip this crucial step, then you will not sharpen the heel area at all.
The second thing you should note is that the blade needs to be pushed on to the angle guide. And the third thing, you should always try to use the same controlled pulling speed on both sides of the blade with each stroke.
And at last, you should finish with even alternating strokes on both sides.
The results were very satisfying; If you have watched my review of the E5 Sharpener that only included the red belts. You will know that a knife enthusiast who already knows how to sharpen manually will find the results a bit lacking. However, a domestic cook that doesn’t know how to sharpen manually will be satisfied with the outcome of the red belt alone. The belts included in the upgrade kit will even surprise the experienced manual sharpeners with the results.
No honing rod needed
With the standard included red belts, a separate honing session was needed to get a hair shaving result, or in many cases, an edge that will be sharper than most of the factory edges.
Grey and White belt
With the extra belts like the Grey and the White belt, there was no honing needed after you are done with the sharpening cycle. Not only is there no honing needed, but you can also use the refine cycle with the Grey or White belt to maintain the knife-edge without needing to hone your knife.
Repairing chipped knives
The E5 Sharpener has a hidden feature, and that is when you press and hold the power button for three seconds for an unlimited shape cycle. This feature is great for repairing knives.
Should you Buy the Upgrade Kit?
The upgrade kit is recommended for those with a Japanese knife with a Rockwell of 60 or above. That is where the 15-degree angle guide shines the best. If you have a Chinese Cleaver, you also need the 20-degree angle guide, which is also a good angle to do repair work on chipped blades. If you don’t need any of these options, then the standard 17-degree angle included with the Sharpener is good enough. However, for a better result, I recommend the master kit that includes all the different belts without the 15 and 20-degree angle guides.
Recommendation: Home Cooks
While you now know if you should buy the upgrade kit or not, the E5 Sharpener itself is intended for those without any knowledge or experience in manual sharpening. It is easy to use even for those that have never sharpened a knife before.
Recommendation: Knife Enthusiast
As a knife enthusiast, without the expertise and knowledge of manual sharpening and don’t want to have a steep learning curve, then the E5 Sharpener with the upgrade kit is the right solution.
Gentle abrasive on all knives
Besides the low learning curve and ease of use, Worksharp has thought about all the concerns that a knife enthusiast may have. The abrasive is gentle on the knife-edge and will not heat up or de-temper any high Rockwell knives. All the angles have been carefully selected to get the best sharpness without sacrificing the knives’ durability and style.
For knife enthusiasts who already know how to sharpen and mastered manual sharpening then the E5 Sharpener does not offer much in terms of results. However, the ease of use and the speed to get to the desired results are impressive. You will need the upgrade kit to get the Sharpener’s full potential.
Not a Substitute for experienced sharpeners
This E5 electric Sharpener will not replace the knowledge and experience of a manual sharpener. For heavily damaged knives, you still need a coarser grit than the blue belt. And therefore, the blue belt will not be a replacement to do heavy repair work. As an experienced manual sharpener, you will be surprised, by the results achieved, and the speed is impressive; however, it will not entirely mimic the effects of a manual whetstone sharpener with the knowledge and experience. If time is limited, then this is a great alternative. Worth it or not for an experienced sharpener, that is what only you can decide.
The E5 Sharpener is intended for those without the expertise of an experienced sharpener. It saves you a lot of time, and you don’t have to spend months learning how to sharpen your knives manually. To get the sharpeners’ full potential and to satisfy an experienced sharpener or knife enthusiast, an Upgrade kit is necessary. Not only are the results satisfying the E5 Sharpener comes with a very compact design and blends very nicely with other kitchen appliances. It is also easy to clean the E5 Sharpener with a vacuum cleaner or a wet towel.
🛒S H O P:
Master Belt Kit:
NA: Master Belt Kit
EU: Master Belt Kit
N O T E S: This product really shines for those who don’t know how to manually sharpen, it takes away the steep learning curve and knowledge about the correct grit sizes and sharpening techniques, angles, etc. Therefore ideal for most home cooks!
I N F O: For Knife enthusiasts that want to experiment more with angles and other things I heard that they really like the Ken Onion Edition from Work Sharp with the special grind attachment. Which mimics the manual sharpening methods a bit more.
🛒S H O P: Ken Onion Sharpener + Blade Grinding attachment
I did not test the Ken Onion Sharpener so I can’t give you my opinions or experience with it. Since I got emails from knife enthusiasts that they really like the Ken Onion Sharpener so I wanted to add this as an alternative since so many knife enthusiast likes it.
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