Best Sharpening Stones

No matter who you are, every single homeowner in the world should have good reason to look into buying a sharpening stone. But, why? Here is the reality of the situation; as great as knives and blades are, over time, they will dull. When this happens, their performance will be greatly depreciated. But, they can also become a safety hazard as a dull blade can cause you to over-exert yourself and therefore mishandle the dangerous object. Instead of merely replacing all your old knives and blades, why not just sharpen them? Well, if you are in for the ride, you will soon learn how to buy the tool that allows you to accomplish this.

Sharp Pebble
  • Sharp Pebble
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Stable in operation
  • Easy to use
  • Price: See Here
Poseidon Stones
  • Poseidon Stones
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flattening stone
  • Double-sided model
  • Price: See Here
Knifeplanet
  • Knifeplanet
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flattening accessory
  • No oil is needed
  • Price: See Here

10 Best Sharpening Stones

 

 

Sharp Pebble

When a product compiles as many positive reviews as this top model has, one can’t help but recognize it. However, even though the vast public approves, does this really live up to the acclaim it has received?
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Provided Grits
This is a double-sided model. One side consists of a 1000-grit which is ideal for dull blades. Meanwhile, the 6000-grit opposite side is much finer to put the finishing touches on the blade.

Main Materials
Thanks to the fact that Sharp Pebble manufactured their sharpener with professional-grade aluminum oxide (corundum), it is highly durable and long lasting.

Safety and Stability
In addition to the stone, you also receive a non-slip bamboo base that is used to stabilize it. This allows everything to be fixed in one place to enhance the safety.

Ease of Use
With your purchase, you will receive a detailed eBook that can be accessed on your technology devices. Also, this comes with a sharpening angle guide.

Maintenance
There is no need for expensive honing oils with this model as all it requires for preparation is submersion in water. Also, it is extremely easy to clean.

Overall
Well, it looks like the positive reception here is well warranted. Even though the finer side of this model is a bit weak, having both 1000-grit and 6000-grit sides is convenient.
Pros

It is very stable in operation

The 1000-grit side is very effective

Extremely user-friendly and easy to use

Cons

The 6000-grit side is a bit chalky and soft

Poseidon Stones

This almost looks like a carbon copy of the previous model but, this Japanese style model is made by Poseidon Stones. Plus, it sports a 4000-grit side, as well as a flipside of 1000-grit.
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Provided Grits
Indeed, the two grits that you are provided are 1000 and 4000. This gives you an ideal combination for bringing dull blades back to life and for putting finishing touches on them.

Main Materials
Poseidon Stones also decided to design their model out of high-quality aluminum oxide. The result is sharper blades in your kitchen and shed.

Safety and Stability
While you should avoid storing this on the included bamboo stand, as this can lead to molding, the non-slip bamboo base does add necessary stability during operation.

Ease of Use
For your convenience, with this purchase, you will also receive an angle guide. What this will provide is an optimal angle for you when sharpening. In addition to this, you also receive a bonus eBook.

Maintenance
There really is no clean-up process afterward as this does not require messy oils. Instead, you just need water to be used as your lubricant.

Overall
Once again, this is another entry that provides you with an ideal combination of grits. Of course, the superb stability and extra features certainly help improve the overall value.
Pros

Does include a flattening stone

You receive an angle guide

Is a double-sided model with two grits

Cons

The fine side is susceptible to gouging

Storing it on the bamboo can result in mold spots

KnifePlanet

Perhaps you are looking for a coarser grit than just 1000. If so, this set should be up your alley. Of course, with four grits in total, the versatility is glowing.
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Provided Grits
Again, there are four grits in all. One stone is equipped with a 400/1000-grit and the other with a 3000/8000-grit. The lowest, at 400, can be used for really dull or chipped blades, which is nice.

Main Materials
Each whetstone is made of different materials but these are synthetic water whetstones. The coarser one is made of green silicon carbide and the finer of white aluminum oxide.

Safety and Stability
To keep both of the whetstones in place while you are improving your blades, there is a high-quality non-slip bamboo board that is included with your investment.

Ease of Use
As KnifePlanet points out, when you purchase their model, you will gain access to their online learning material. This consists of articles and videos that will guide you in improving your technique.

Maintenance
Once again, no oil or additional lubricant is needed. Instead, allow each stone to be submerged in water for 10 minutes beforehand and you will be good to go.

Overall
Possessing four different grits is certainly convenient when you are dealing with blades of differing dullness. But, as these are synthetic, they are a bit soft, so keep that in mind.
Pros

Comes with a flattening stone

Combines coarse, medium and fine grits

No oil is needed

Cons

Some buyers have reported that they did not receive the flattening accessory

They are a bit soft

Shā-pu Whetstones

Shā-pu Whetstones
You want to talk about sets, how about this one from Sha-Pu Whetstones? Not only do you get four double-sided whetstones (totaling eight grits) you also receive a storage case and a flattener.
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Provided Grits
All in all, as mentioned, you get eight different grits here. You receive grains of 240, 600, 800, 1000, 1500, 3000, 5000 and 10000.

Main Materials
To ensure a long life and exceptional durability, the manufacturer decided to design all their whetstones with premium quality corundum.

Safety and Stability
In addition to everything else that you receive, you also get a non-slip bamboo base that will stabilize everything while you sharpen. Talk about bang for your buck.

Ease of Use
You receive both instruction guides and also an angle guide to help make the sharpening process go smoother. But, do note that the flattener is a bit small and can be a pain to use.

Maintenance
Unlike some other models, none of these whetstones are going to need oil for lubrication. Just simple submersion in water is going to do the trick just perfectly.

Overall
It really is hard to complain about the value of this purchase. You get four double-sided stones, a bamboo base, an angle guide, a flattener and instruction guides.
Pros

Comes in a form-fitting case

You receive eight grits in total

No oil is going to be required

Cons

The flatener is pretty small

The whetstones themselves could be a bit larger

Dan's Genuine Arkansas

Dan's Genuine Arkansas
Two points are really interesting with regard to this entry. Firstly, it is an Arkansas stone which is a little different. Secondly, the grit is an ultra-fine 5000.
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Provided Grits
To be honest, with a 5000-grit, this is probably going to be better suited for blades that are not extremely dull. This is because, with dull blades, it is going to take a long time to sharpen them.

Main Materials
Of all the Arkansas stones, this is actually the hardest. In addition to that, it is genuine and 100 percent quarried in the Ouachita Mountains of Central Arkansas.

Safety and Stability
This model actually does not come with a stand and is a little smaller than what some consumers may be expecting. As such, be extra cautious and careful when using this.

Ease of Use
If you know nothing about sharpening blades, then you will want to do some research beforehand. One tool that will help here is a magnifying glass, though, as it can allow you to see the correct angle better.

Maintenance
As opposed to the previous entries on this list, this does work best with a light mineral honing oil. Due to this, it may be a little messier than water.

Overall
Let’s just say that this model is not going to be for everyone. In addition to its super-fine grit, it also requires oil for lubrication which some of you may be looking to avoid.
Pros

Comes with a leather pouch for storage

This is the hardest of all Arkansas whetstones

It was extracted in the Ouachita Mountains of Central Arkansas

Cons

It is kind of small

The grit may be too fine for some consumers

Brazen Chef

Brazen Chef
We go from Arkansas right back to aluminum oxide whetstones, once again. These stones from Brazen Chef are a lot like some of the others on this list, quite honestly.
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Provided Grits
All in all, this kit provides you with three different grits. You have coarse, at 600, medium, at 1000, and fine, at 6000.

Main Materials
Even though one buyer noted how the 600-grit whetstone gets hollow rather quickly, the aluminum oxide makeup of all of them is high in quality.

Safety and Stability
As you have become accustomed to at this point, a non-slip bamboo base is included with your purchase. Due to this, sliding and potential accidents should be minimized.

Ease of Use
To ensure you are using this correctly, Brazen Chef includes an instructional guide with your purchase and also access to their support website.

Maintenance
What is nice is these whetstones arrive ready to use. Also, when you are finished with them, all you need to do to clean them is to rinse them under water.

Overall
We are hitting a point where you almost know what to expect from these entries. Considering the quality that is present here, that is certainly not a bad thing.
Pros

Offers a full range of sharpening

Comes with a non-slip bamboo base

Includes easy to follow directions

Cons

One user noted that the 600-grit whetstone gets hollow quickly

Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas

Smith's TRI-6 Arkansas
Now, this is a pretty unique entry on this list. Not only does it come equipped with a rotating molded plastic base it also features an Arkansas stone.
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Provided Grits
In total, there are three different grits that can be used. You receive 400-grit, 600-grit and 1000 to 1200-grit with your purchase.

Main Materials
Though the advertising can be misleading, this actually comes with two synthetic stones and one Arkansas version. The fine grit is the latter, for the record.

Safety and Stability
Instead of the traditional bamboo stand, this comes with a rotating molded plastic triangle. What is nice about this is it allows the separate stones to easily be rotated.

Ease of Use
To help you achieve the correct angle, which is essential when you sharpen blades, this comes equipped with an angle guide.

Maintenance
For the fine grit whetstone, you are going to want to use an oil-based lubricant. But, you do not need a lot of it as a small amount goes a long way.

Overall
Some consumers may take issue with the two synthetic whetstones but all things considered, this model is good for all the right reasons. Plus, the innovative base is a nice touch.
Pros

Includes a rotating base

Comes with three different grits

Also includes an angle guide for precise angling

Cons

You can tell that two of them are synthetic

Utopia Kitchen

Utopia Kitchen
The ergonomic design of this next model makes operation as a whole much more convenient. It also does not hurt that it is also equipped with a silica gel base.
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Provided Grits
While there is only one whetstone that comes with your purchase, it is a double-sided model. One side is 600-grit, while the other is 1000.

Main Materials
To ensure the best results possible, this carbon steel grade is made out of corundum. Also, as the designer notes, this stone works best with serrated and edged knife blades.

Safety and Stability
Thanks to the fact that this is equipped with a silica gel non-slip base, the bottom is going to stabilize the whetstone when you begin to sharpen your blade.

Ease of Use
While it certainly would be nice if some sort of instruction manual was included, it is nice how this is ergonomically designed. Due to this, complete control and comfort are easily achievable.

Maintenance
Literally, all you need to do to use this is to soak it in water for around five minutes beforehand. Doing this will avoid damaging the whetstone.

Overall
One important note to make is that some consumers have alluded to the fact that this stone is not the flattest (requiring a flattener to even it out). This issue aside, this is an excellent, low-budget option.
Pros

Equipped with a non-slip base

It is ergonomically designed

Works best for serrated and edged knife blades

Cons

Some included instructions would be nice

May need evening upon arrival

King Japanese Grit

King Japanese Grit
Most notable about this next model is the fact that it comes with a Nagura stone. But, for whatever reason, several buyers have reported that the packaging is abysmal.
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Provided Grits
King uses a combination of 1000-grit on one side with the other side being 6000-grit. This is an ideal combination for achieving optimal sharpening results.

Main Materials
The Nagura stone that is included is one of the most popular accessories for finer whetstones. Not a bad gig, all things considered.

Safety and Stability
Included with this is a plastic stand and it is able to add the stabilization that you will need during the performance.

Ease of Use
There is no mention of any guides that come with this model. So, you may need to perform some research beforehand to ensure you know exactly what you are doing.

Maintenance
Per the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should drip water on this whetstone and then rub the Nagura on top of it. This will speed up the polishing process.

Overall
Granted you do not receive a damaged product, which has been a major issue amongst consumers, you can enjoy a very compelling design here.
Pros

It includes a Nagura stone

Includes a stand for stability

Utilizes a combination of 600-grit and 1000-grit

Cons

Many consumers have received the product damaged

Neither stone appears to come perfectly flat

Lansky Puck

Lansky Puck
This list ends with a very different design; let’s just put it that way. Instead of what you are accustomed to, this is a compact and condensed tool sharpener.
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Provided Grits
Even the finer side of this is very coarse. One side is 120-grit, while the other side is 280-grit. So, do not expect a truly fine edge to be achieved.

Main Materials
Due to the design, this is going to be ideal for blades on your lawnmower or perhaps even axes or shovels. For knives, it may simply be too coarse.

Safety and Stability
Be aware of this model as it is intended to be held in your hand. But, it can be a little small for people with larger hands. Yet, the contoured shape does make it easier to grip firmly.

Ease of Use
Granted you can get a good grip, which is not hard thanks to the details listed above, the shape of this allows it to easily adapt to the shape of certain tools (such as axes or tomahawks).

Maintenance
While it is not mandatory for this model, you can apply a few drops of honing oil. If so, though, note that it can be a little messier.

Overall
As an all-purpose sharpening stone, this certainly is not ideal. With an extremely coarse grit and a compact shape, it is fantastic, though, for outdoor tools and such.
Pros

Backed by a one-year warranty

The shape adapts to certain tools well

Ideal to sharpen outdoor tools

Cons

Can be small for people with larger hands

You will not be able to achieve a fine edge

Criteria Used For Evaluation

The Grit

When you are first beginning to learn about this technology, one of the terms you need to familiarize yourself with is grit. You do not need to necessarily remember the literal definition of it. But, you need to understand that the amount of grit a whetstone has goes a long way in determining its performance. Most notably, each grit amount can be used for different situations. Take note that the lower the grit is, the coarser or less fine it is. So, if you have extremely dull blades that need to be brought back to life or ones that are damaged, go with grits less than 1000.  As for 1000-grit itself, this can be considered the standard and is a good starting point for most knives that have simply lost their edge.

Yet, you need to be careful with 1000-grit as it can wear your knives down. This is where grits that range from 2000 to 3000 come in handy as they can be used for regular sharpening. If you want to fine-tune the edges, then you are talking 4000, 5000 and higher grits. The higher you go, the finer it will be.

The Main Materials

For this section, we are going to break down the most common types of stones that you will find. In general, you will either see oil, water, or diamond stones. Starting with the latter, these generally are the most expensive and may not be ideal for the average consumer. As for the other two, oil and water, they are two very popular types in the world today. Starting with oil, these are the models that most consumers will be accustomed to. They are typically either made of aluminum oxide, silicon carbide or novaculite. Oil stones remain popular due to their strong overall performance and generally lower cost. Yet, the downside to oil is that they sharpen at a very slow rate. In fact, they are the slowest amongst the main types.

Now, let’s talk about water stones which have gathered a cult following. You will either see them in synthetic or natural materials with the former being much more readily available. The clear advantage to them is their fast sharpening capabilities. But, due to their softness, they do tend to wear down quicker and will need to be flattened from time to time.

Their Stability and Safety

It goes without saying that sharpening knives can be a dangerous task. After all, even when they are dull, blades can still puncture through the skin and cause a lot of damage. Due to this, no matter what, you always need to take extra precaution when you are doing sharpening them. But, there is also something that manufacturers can do to improve the overall safety. While the onus ultimately falls upon you, the user, keep an eye out for designers who sell their model with some sort of base. As you noticed in this guide, a bamboo base is a very popular choice.

What a bamboo base, or any similar base, is going to do is stabilize the whetstone to ensure it does not slip while you are sharpening your knife. The reason why you will see bamboo a lot is due to the properties of the material. Bamboo itself is a wood and is actually a bit harder than oak and ash. Even for flooring, it adds stability and that is exactly what you are looking for to prevent any slippage.

How Easy They are to Use

To be honest, sharpening blades is more of an art form than anything. There is a reason why there are so many online tutorials and guides that explain how to do it. The most important thing to remember is this; you can incorrectly sharpen a blade. Doing so can damage the blade and leave you in a worse spot than what you were initially. Unless you have experience doing this and really have a knack for it, you will most certainly want to look for models that include instructions or access to online guides (or an eBook).

Also, some sellers will include an angle guide with their model to make it easier to achieve an optimal angle. You see, this is where most people fail. Instead of running your blade up and down the sharpener, you need to angle it correctly. Most manufacturers will recommend anywhere between 18 to 22 degrees so check with them.

Preparation and Maintenance

We just got done explaining the difference between water-based stones and those based with oil. Well, this last section also plays a role in determining which style you prefer. But, either way, it is not as if there is a clear-cut loser in this case. The reality of the situation is this; sharpening stones need to be lubricated because if they are not, they will lose their effectiveness and will not be as efficient. But, the manner in which they need to be lubricated is going to be different between the different types of stones.

For example, with Waterstones, they will need to be soaked in water before you use them. Most manufacturers will recommend you do this for at least 10 minutes, in tepid water. When you leave them in water, you will notice that bubbles will begin to rise to the surface, just for your information. As for oil-based stones, these need to be lubricated with some sort of oil. Now, it is advised to avoid cooking oils such as vegetable and olive oil. When doing so, also remember that a little goes a long way. You will only need to apply a small line of oil and simply spread it in afterward.

 

FAQs

Q:   Are Dull Knives More Dangerous than Sharp Knives?

This is a question that technically has no bearing on the type of model you choose. But, it does give you an idea of how important it is to ensure that all your knives are properly sharpened. Do you believe it is asinine that dull blades are more dangerous than sharp blades? Well, if you really stop and think about it that is exactly the case. Now, if a dull blade and a sharp blade both landed on your foot accidentally, the latter would cause more damage. But, dull blades are more dangerous in this sense.

With a dull blade, you will need to apply more pressure and force. Due to this, the chance of slippage is greatly enhanced as, chances are, your control will not be as safe. Because sharper knives require more pressure, you can control them more.

Q:   How Do Knives Become Dull in the First Place?

Okay, so how do knives become dull, in the first place? Is there any way to prevent them from becoming dull? Well, the answer to the second question is no. The only step you can take it to regularly fine sharpen your knives to ensure they always remain in tip-top condition. But, the natural design of the knife itself ensures that sharpening is always going to be necessary. Here is the deal; when you use a knife for any sort of cutting or chopping task, the edges of the blade are going to begin to bend and fold away. Eventually, these same areas are going to break off and then you are left with dull edges.

In regard to how you can tell if a knife is dull, because oftentimes dullness is hard to see with the naked eye (depending on the severity), if it stops cutting as proficiently as it once did, it is dull.

Q:   Can Water be Used for Arkansas Stones?

A few times in this guide, you have been witnessed to Arkansas stones. As you probably know by now, these are not Waterstones. Still, users have begged the question of whether or not water can be used in place of oil. For the most part, most manufacturers will advise against using water in place of oil for these types of stones. The reason for this is actually due to the issue of using water as a lubricant. You see, with oil, when you apply it for the first time, some of it is going to remain on it. So, even while in storage, it partially contains oil and then the next time you need it, you will not need as much.

With water, it is merely going to dry out and when you go to lubricate it again, a generous amount is going to be needed.

Q:   Can’t a Very Fine Stone Just be Used?

This is a trap that a lot of new users fall into because it seems logical. To an average person, it would indeed seem logical that a fine stone could merely be used to sharpen a blade instead of a coarse one. The logic is that instead of switching between grits, you simply use the fine one to achieve a finer and more polished edge. But, with blades that are dull, you should never simply skip the coarse stone.

What everyone needs to realize is the finer the edge, the longer it will take to achieve a polished edge. With a knife that is really dull, you would be wasting a senseless amount of time. Not only this but you would also overstress the fine stone unnecessarily. In fact, this is the main reason why manufacturers design their models with two-sided grits.

Q:   Do Arkansas Stones Lose Their Flatness Over Time?

You remember back when the differences between oil and Waterstones were discussed? Well, that comes back into play a little bit right here. Another common question that consumers have about Arkansas stones is if they will ever lose their flatness. You see, with Waterstones, they are a bit softer and will become uneven after successive uses. But, due to the fact that Arkansas stones are harder, they will not flatten at the same rate. In fact, you may or may not ever need to flatten them. Yet, this does depend on how frequently you use it.

Q:   Why Do You Need a Flat Whetstone?

All this hubbub about flatness is great and all but why does it matter? As was just pointed out, especially with Waterstones, they will become uneven over time as you sharpen with them. The reason why you should never use them if they are uneven is that achieving a straight cutting edge that way is all but impossible. When you sharpen blades, you want the cutting edge to be straight. Thankfully, all you need to do to flatten a stone is to invest in a flattener (which some sellers provide for you).

Final Thoughts

If your old, worn out knives are not performing like they used to, it is time to bring them back to life. Do not merely throw them out as a little work with one of these bad boys will do the trick. But, always remember, nine times out of ten, you will need multiple grits (both fine and coarse).

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