I am admittedly old school, but with a twist.

For serious sharpening, I rely on stones, both medium & fine. To install a proper bevel, any of the mechanical aids will help you maintain the angle you choose. Once that bevel is established, I'm strictly a stone guy. It has become quite easy for me to feel the bevel and maintain it. I admit that that fact makes the next part easy for me.

My contribution to the discussion is that most knives aren't really dull, they simply suffer from an edge that has "rolled over." If you feel the edge lightly catch your skin when you ease your thumb sideways over the edge, but nothing when you repeat from the other side of the blade, the edge has simply rolled.

I use a flat piece of steel (mine is by Gerber, ~ 4"x1", pouched with a miserable artificial stone) and just align the edge by making cutting strokes from butt to tip with each side of the blade. For most knives very little pressure is desirable. Also very few strokes are required.

Our kitchen knives take maybe 10 strokes, once a month. I use the flat steel perhaps 20 or more times before going to stones - maybe more with better quality knives. Test with a newspaper page.