Keeping your kitchen knives sharp and ready for use is important to making fast work of prep time for your favorite recipes. Whether you're deboning meat or slicing cheese, having a sharp knife is important. A knife sharpener allows you to keep your knives in tip-top shape and working order, and there are a number of different options on today's market from which the busy cook can choose. A simple whetstone can be invaluable in sharpening your kitchen knives, although using a whetstone or sharpening stone is certainly not the easiest route. A whetstone is a classic kitchen tool that is stone that is coated with an abrasive material, like diamond dust, and it works to sharpen the blade of a knife when you run the knife over it. Using a whetstone is the traditional way to sharpen your knives. Many chefs and home cooks prefer a sharpening steel instead. This sharpening tool is shaped like a knife and is held in one hand while holding the knife to be sharpened in the other; the motion of running the sharpening steel across the blade of the knife sharpens the blade. Most cooks actually prefer an automatic knife sharpener to manual sharpeners. An automatic sharpener has openings that you stick your knife blade into to automatically give the blade a sharp edge and can be used on both straight edge knives and knives with serrated edges. Most of the automatic sharpeners available are compact and designed to store away in a minimal amount of space when not in use.