Whether you cook a lot or live in a country that can experience very harsh winters, you need a good knife. Without a good knife, your food can end up tasting bland and you won’t be able to cut a mean steak or keep your fingers.
In an era of high tech solutions for everyday problems, it’s comforting to know that you can still sharpen your blades using the same old-school method of rubbing a bit of stone against it. No electricity, no batteries, no moving parts or electric motors. Just you and the stone doing the hard work.
Knives require regular sharpening to maintain their performance. Most often, knives need to be sharpened after cutting through a butchers block, cheese, fresh herbs, frozen meat, chicken bones, etc. The most common mistake people make is using the wrong stone. People buy stones made of steel or ceramic, but those are designed for normal knives. Knives made from harder materials, such as high carbon steel and tungsten carbide expect you to use ceramic stones.
I don’t own all of these stones, but the ones I do have I use all the time. The following buying guide will walk you through the 4 main types of sharpening stones and help you find the best product so you’ll have the sharpest blades in town.
1. Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 1000/6000 Waterstone
- Straight edge 1500/6000 grit whetstones
- High-quality surface
- Extremely durable
- 2-sided stone – extra smooth on one side and rough on the other
- Can be used to sharpen serrated blades
- Water-resistant storage bag
- Suitable for beginners and professionals
- Not as portable as some of the above-mentioned stones
- Takes some practice to learn how to use properly
The Sharp Pebble comes in a 2-sided stone with 1000 grit on one side and 6000 grit on the other. This model will provide you with a razor sharp blade that is professionally sharpened and will serve you day in and day out.
This should give you an idea of the effectiveness of this stone because it requires some effort. However, if you’re looking for efficiency, a good option is to look at the stone that has been created for sharpening.
This sharpening stone has been made to be as efficient as possible. Instead of double-sided, there are three different sides you can choose from. You get a total of four sides to work on your knife.
2. Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
- Includes stones of different grits for different tasks
- Comes with a Delux sharpener
- Allows you to choose different sharpening angles – even a custom one
- Can be used both dry and wet
- Ideally used with water and oil
- Made out of aluminum oxide
- Can be used for different types of knives, such as kitchen, samurai, hunting, antique, and kitchen, samurai, and hunting ones
- 100% money back guarantee
- Good price for the value
- You can't make a certain angle if the stones are not the same
- Sometimes gets clogged with metal
- Not recommended for beginners
The Smith's TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System is a great tool to have in your arsenal if you're serious about knife sharpening.
Its set includes four different stones: a coarse one (220 grit), medium grit (325 grit), fine grit (600 grit) and the very fine grit (8000 grit).
You can use this set for any type of knife – kitchen, samurai, hunting, or just general home use.
3. Shun Combination Whetstone
- Highly polished surface
- Ideal for accentuating the pre-set blade angle
- Knife sharpening made easy
- Can be used to sharpen any blade
- Great for kitchen knives
- It’s a bit pricey
- It won’t fit in a tool box
X 2-1/2", Ivory.
Buyers feedback: “The 6-inch size is nice to work with, and the wide surface lets me sharpen a number of different styles of knives at once. The angle guide is a nice addition, but I’m not sure it’s necessary for me, as I’ve been sharpening knives for decades.
4. BearMoo Whetstone Premium 2-IN-1 Sharpening Stone 3000/8000 Grit Waterstone Kit
- Comes with two grits
- Wooden holder with silicone base for stability
- Dual purpose – can be used to sharpen or hone
- Easy to clean and store
Like most sharpeners, this set comes with two different grits. It’s got an 8000 grit stone for quick sharpening, and a 3000 grit stone for aggressive sharpening. It’s just what you want from your personal sharpening stones, and it’s pretty easy to use. The sharpener is small enough to fit into a backpack, making it necessary for all kinds of trips.
Whether you’re hunting, camping, or just out walking in the woods, this sharpening set will come in handy. The set includes a wooden casing and silicone base for easy sharpening stability, so you don’t have to worry about accidents on the go. Plus, the stones are super easy to clean up. Just soap and water and you’re good to go. You can also use the set to hone your knives.
5. 1,000 Grit Super Ceramic Water Stone
- Quick and easy, whether you’re a professional or beginner
- FIT for Stainless Steel, High Carbon Steel, Damascus Steel, Silver Steel, Hard Steel, and others
- Using water and a lubricant makes the stone extremely safe to use
- The stone is easy to store, and very convenient
- It’s a high-quality and well-made product that’s very durable
If you have a love for Japanese knives, then you have to have at least one of these bad boys: a Japanese Water Stone, which is better known as the whetstone. These offer the finest edge to any knife and the results are truly incredible.
The stone is mainly used for sharpening, but you can also use it to polish a knife. This stone in specific is crafted from high quality 100% synthetic material that provides a smooth interface for sharpening and makes it easy to apply pressure.
The Sharpening Stone comes with a special base that you can use to clean the stone after each use, and it also helps to keep it in place. The surface of the stone itself is hard, so you can use it to sharpen your knife without scratching it.
6. Norton 614636855653 IB8 1-by-2-by-8-Inch Fine/Coarse India Combination Oilstone
- Sharpens serrated edges too
- Can be used wet or dry
- Comes with an 8 inch stone and a 1 inch stone
- Angle guide included
- 1 inch stone might not be large enough for some
- Angle guide not needed
The Norton India Combination Oilstone does double duty – both as a medium sharpening stone and fine sharpening stone. The stone is 1" x 2" x 8", with a medium grit on one side and a fine grit on the other.
The stone is mounted to a base with a rubber backing, making it easy to mount on a smooth surface – just set it on a wet granite surface, for example, and the combination stone will be held in place while you're sharpening. This is particularly handy when cleaning up a blade that already has an edge.
The stone is available in red or green, the red being medium grit and the green being fine. Both are well-suited to sharpening, although if you prefer a smooth blade, stick with the green.
7. Kota Japan Combination Dual Sided 600-3000 Grit Diamond Knife Sharpener Whetstone Set
- Dense composition, providing durability and longevity
- Premium surface that gets rid of nicks, dents, and dullness of blades
- Durable bamboo base with adjustable angles
- High quality and safe handles
People who are more than willing to invest in quality tools for sharpening their blades are sure to love the Kota Japan Combination Diamond Knife Sharpener. This product comes with two separate diamond surfaces providing 600 and 3000 grits respectively.
The 600 grit is perfect for sharpening your blades while the 3000 provides a perfect polish. It comes with a bamboo base for stability and an ergonomic handle made of silicone for comfort.
The product is manufactured in a safe manner. It’s BPA free and safe for your skin when using. You can also use it for your kitchen knives as well as your hunting and fishing ones.
8. Premium whetstone knife sharpening set
- Professional set for any home
- Holds a good edge for a long time
- Includes a guide: a rare feature for any sharpening stone
- Effective at convex and concave edges
- Great for beginners and professionals
- Great value for money
- Versatile, suitable for any type of blade
- Quickly sharpens and brings dull or damaged tools back to life
- Initial learning curve
- Risk of ruin by incorrect use
The first thing that surprised us about this sharpening stone is that it comes with a guide. Most other brands don’t even bother including instructions.
The Shapton Pro Set is a complete system of 8,000 grit whetstones, a strop, a flattening stone, the guide, and a base made with acacia. This entire set will bring any tool you have back to life, be it a butter knife or a complicated woodworker’s blade.
Yep, you’ve got to get used to the idea of bringing a dull or damaged knife back to life and sharpening it with a stone. It’s a fact of life for a lot of cooks who usually have to perform sharpening by hand.
9. CWINDY 3000/8000 Grit Style Red Sharpening Stone Whetstones Set Angle Guide
- Affordable price
- Comes with a horizontal base
- 4000 Grit stone for sharpening
- Comes with angle guide
- Not ideal for extremely dull knives
- Needs to be soaked before use
Our top pick for the best sharpening stones comes from CWindy. The 3000/8000 grit stone kit comes with a horizontal base, which makes it possible to sharpen larger blades.
In addition, this set also comes with a 2000 grit stone that is used to put the finishing edge on your blades. The kit also includes a guide holder for the various angles you’ll need during the sharpening process.
10. Natural Sharpening Honing Stone Waterstone Knife Chisel Plane Blade Razor Sharpener
- This 200mm/8-inch sharpener features a compact design and is great for woodworkers, outdoorsmen, for hunters, and for janitors.
- It's good for straight edges and it's also good for bringing the angle back to a blade.
- It features a non-stick, anti-slip, secure base and it works well on ferrous and non-ferrous materials.
- It's waterproof, heat resistant, and dishwasher safe.
- The price is great too.
- It may require a bit of practice to make the most of this sharpener.
- The 1 year warranty is shorter than that of some competing products.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the best stone for knife sharpening?
You've come to the right place if you've been trying to figure out the best whetstone for your blade.
A sharpening stone should be able to do the following things well:
- Put a sharp edge on a blade
- Be durable and withstand pressure over time
- Be easy to use
When you sharpen a blade with a sharpening stone, the stone removes a very small amount of metal from the blade. The metal removed is turned into a fine slurry of metal filings which often ends up clogging the pores in the stone. As the pores clog up, the stone becomes less effective at sharpening your blade. This is why it's important to only use the right stone for your blade – because using the wrong stone is a big time waste that could end up ruining your blade.
There are two types of quality sharpening stones: natural and man-made.
What are the best whetstones?
We don’t recommend that anyone without experience uses the sharpening stones. We find the top performing set of stones for sharpening knives to be this set because it offers a wide range of grits and angles.
The best sharpening stones for beginners are water stones. That's because a water stone is a natural stone with a porous surface that absorbs water. Because it's porous, a water stone gives you great control over the sharpening angle.
In fact, what it's porous nature means is that a water stone doesn't sharpen very quickly. And that's actually a good thing because it offers an excellent level of control and allows you to remove a very slight amount of steel. This, in turn, provides you with a very deep and sharp edge that will maintain its edge for a long time to come.
Who makes the best diamond sharpening stones?
My friend and sharpenersmith, Michael (who I mentioned earlier in this section), says that diamond sharpening stones are the most popular and best option because they sharpen both sides at the same time (unlike traditional stones), plus they sharpen very fast. He says that for the average knife, 1-2 passes with a diamond stone should be sufficient. But for knives made from hard steel, he recommends a finer grit diamond stone that will leave the blade extremely sharp. He advised that traditional flat stones, such as India or Arkansas stones, can be good sharpening stones but aren't as fast.
In my experience, we've all used cheap Chinese diamond sharpening stones that break and get your hands covered in dust. But as you can see below, in recent years there have been a plethora of new diamond sharpening stones coming to market. These are the best diamond stone sharpeners currently available to consumers.
What sharpening stones do I need for chisels?
If you're transitioning from hand planes to chisels, then a rigid steel-backed sharpening stone will be your best bet. It'll sharpen the blade evenly and doesn't need to be used with water.
The speed of sharpening your chisel depends on what you are sharpening it for. If you are trying to get the blade hair-poppingly sharp, then you'll need to spend more time on your sharpening stone than if you are just trying to keep your chisel sharp. Plus, different types of chisels will require different sharpening techniques.
You can also try the following for different types of edges:
· Carving chisels: these generally require a finer grit. Use a medium grit, then switch to a fine grit
· Dovetail chisels: 400 grit
· Mortising chisels: medium grit
Just because it’s your first time sharpening your knife, axe, cleaver, or sword, it doesn’t mean that you’ll need a difficult learning curve. The truth is, there are plenty of polishing stones that are designed for home use so that you can easily get the sharpest edge on your tools.
This review and buyer’s guide can help ensure that you buy the right polishing stone to help you finish your project with professional-quality and sharpness.