Every great home cook has a favorite knife. It is an indispensable tool in the kitchen. A good, sharp knife can confer on the wielder culinary cutting skills not possible with a blunt knife. A blunt knife is a dangerous tool since you’ll use more pressure to cut which could cause the knife to slip.
The good news is that there is help out there, as this infographic shows. Some people swear by the whetstone as the best means to sharpen a knife. Beware, this method of sharpening requires a level of skill that takes some time to learn. If you don’t know what you’re doing you can actually damage your blades.
Sharpening steel doesn’t actually sharpen blades but is used for honing. Sharpening eventually wears the blade down but honing doesn't. This is because honing simply straightens the edge of the blade. Every time you cut with the blade, tiny wedges of steel curl away from the blade, blunting it. The honing rod corrects the problem which is why you should hone your blades between sharpening.
When your blade is truly blunt it’s time to take out the sharpener. You can choose between a manual or an electric sharpener. Most use similar technology where you draw the blade several times through the slots and your knife is as good as new. Manual sharpeners are cheaper and gentler than electric sharpeners and they're fully portable.