2013 Best in Category: Countertop Food Prep Appliances
Smith's Consumer Products
Edgeware Angle Adjust Electric Knife Sharpener
The Edgeware Angle Adjust Electric Knife Sharpener, from Smith’s Consumer Products, was this year’s Housewares Design Award winner in the Countertop Food Prep Appliances category, an achievement that reflects the product’s unique solution to the increasing diversity of the U.S. cutlery market.
As its name suggests the sharpener is able to provide users with a range of angle options, specifically from 10 to 30 degrees per side. By comparison most sharpeners currently on the market sharpen at a single angle or more recently at two distinct angles; one for Asian style knives and the other for European style knives.
The need for multiple sharpening angles has emerged rapidly over the past few years as growing numbers of consumers have been drawn to Asian style knives, which are typically sharpened to a 15º or 16º edge. By comparison, European style knives, which historically were the most widely used in the U.S., were sharpened to a 20º angle. The rapidly growing popularity of Asian style cutlery, first within gourmet segments and more recently spanning mass channels, has opened the opportunity for a new generation of sharpeners designed to maintain both the consumer’s traditional cutlery needs and the newer Asian knife styles.
It is this need for diverse performance that underpins the design of the Edgeware Angle Adjust sharpener. “We wanted to create a product that was really easy for consumers to use and one that was appropriate for all styles of knives,” said Dan Glidden of Smith’s Consumer Products. “We came up with the idea of creating an adjustable angle sharpener because knives have all kinds of different angles on them and we wanted people to be able to maintain the original factory edge.”
Recognizing that consumer understanding of cutlery maintenance spans a wide range of expertise, and as part of the effort to make it easier for users, the sharpener offers guidelines to the user. For example, if the angle of an Asian knife is unknown a 16° angle is recommended and that is clearly marked on the unit’s Angle Adjust knob. Correspondingly, if the consumer doesn’t know the angle of a European knife, a 20° angle is suggested and is also clearly marked on the Angle Adjust knob.
To further simplify the consumer’s sharpening task the sharpener features an easy to turn knob that automatically adjusts both the coarse and fine interlocking wheels to the correct sharpening angle.
“And, to be able to sharpen all the time we used diamond sharpening components on one side and ceramic on the other,” said Glidden. “Ceramics are really gentle on a product but will allow you to have a sharp edge.”