The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (2022)

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Our top pick is the King Whetstone Starter Set.

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Arricca SanSone

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (1)

Arricca SanSone

  • Hiram College
  • Georgia Southern University

Arricca SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer, specializing in home, kitchen, and gardening. She has written for Dotdash Meredith since 2019.

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Updated June 25, 2022

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The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (2)

Whether you’re chopping onions, slicing tomatoes, or dicing carrots, a sharp knife is the best knife, no matter what brand you favor. And all knives eventually need some TLC. How can you tell if it’s time to sharpen? Knives should glide effortlessly through food. Dull knives require you to tug or pull the knife through foods with force, which increases the odds that you’ll slip and nick yourself.

Keeping your knives sharp also means you’ll be able to keep them a long time, so you won't have to replace them frequently. You already should be honing your knives regularly with a sharpening steel, a long, pointed rod that helps keep the microscopically-small cutting teeth of your knife edge aligned. This can be done after every use, if you like. But if your knives still aren’t sharp after honing, it’s time to sharpen them. For most knives, you can do this at home with a sharpening stone, also called a whetstone.

Ahead, our top picks for the best sharpening stones:

The Rundown

Best Overall:

(Video) Whetstone Sharpening Mistakes that Most Beginners Make

King Whetstone Starter Set at Amazon

Jump to Review

Jump to Review

Jump to Review

(Video) The Best Way To Sharpen & Clean Knives (And The Worst) | Epicurious

Best Overall:King Whetstone Starter Set

4.7

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (3)

This set, made in Japan, includes a two-sided ceramic stone which has 1000 grit on one side and 6000 grit on the other. It comes with a plastic base to keep it steady on the counter and an angle holder set, which helps you keep the knife blade at the correct angle as you sharpen it.

Typically, you should purchase a whetstone that’s the length of your longest blade so you can make long, consistent strokes. At 9 inches long, this stone is a good size for most kitchen knives. It’s also a good set for beginners to use because of the angle holders and base.

Fun Fact

The term whetstone comes from “whet,” a word dating to the 12th century and meaning “to sharpen”— not from the fact that many sharpening stones must be used with water or oil.

Best Budget:Best Sharpening Stones Arkansas Sharpening Stone Set

4.6

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (4)

This kit is a great buy because it offers a variety of grits for a reasonable price. The set of three stones includes coarse (600), fine (1000), and extra-fine grits (2500) so you can start with the coarsest stone first, then work up to the finest grit until you smooth and sharpen your knives to a nice edge. The sets are available in 6, 8, or 10-inch lengths.

Each stone, which can be used with water or oil, is mounted to a wood base to make them easier to handle because you can set them on the counter with a towel or non-slip mat beneath them to prevent sliding. We especially like that they’re made in the United States from natural stone that’s indigenous to Arkansas, and they have a lifetime guarantee.

Best Ceramic:Shapton Ceramic Whetstone

4.5

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (5)

This iconic brand, made in Japan, is the choice of many knife enthusiasts. The ceramic stones are available in various grit sizes ranging from 120 to 30,000 grit.Both sides of each stone can be used with either water or oil (though once you use oil on a stone, you should always use oil on that stone).

At about 9 inches long x 4 inches wide, they’re sized appropriately for sharpening most home knives. These stones don’t have to be pre-soaked, only moistened with a few drops of water or oil before using.

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(Video) Beginners Guide To Real Knife Sharpening

Best for Pocketknives:Dan's Whestone Company Pocket Knife Sharpening Stone

4.1

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (6)

If you’re always using a pocketknife to cut open boxes or remove tags, it gets dull fast. This natural stone from Arkansas is available in grades ranging from medium (400 to 600 grit) to ultra-fine (1200+ grit).

At just 1 x 3 inches, this whetstone isn’t designed to use on kitchen knives. But it’s super handy to keep for quick touchups on your go-to pocketknife. It comes in a small leather sleeve for storage and is recommended for use with oil. Use it for quick passes on small knives or to take along on camping trips.

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Best for Kitchen Use:Zwilling Sharpening Stone

4.5

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (7)

(Video) Knife Sharpening Basics: How to Sharpen a Fine Edged Knife With a Stone Sharpener

This two-sided water stone, made in Japan, has a side with 250 grit for preliminary passes and a 1000 grit side for fine sharpening. Just flip it over for the grit you want to use. It comes with a base that has non-slip feet so it won’t walk all over the counter while you’re using it.

It doesn’t need pre-soaking like some water stones (just a few drops are needed as you work), and it’s relatively compact so you can store in easily in a kitchen drawer for handy access.

Best Premium Sharpening Stone Set:Zwilling Bob Kramer by Zwilling J.A. Henckels Knife Sharpening Kit

4.7

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives (8)

This deluxe set, made in Japan, has everything the experienced (or not-so-experienced) home chef could possibly want in sharpening tools. It includes a nice range of grits: A coarse 400-grit glass stone, 1000-grit glass stone, and 5000-grit glass stone for finishing touches.

The expandable bamboo sink bridge/base holds the stones in place when in use. You can set the base on the counter or adjust it to fit over the sink to catch any messes. It also comes with an instructional DVD.

Final Verdict

Treehugger’s top pick of sharpening stone is the King Whetstone Starter Set for its value and ease of use. However, if you’re looking to invest in a premium sharpening set, consider the Zwilling J.A. Henckels Knife Sharpening Kit .

How Sharpening Stones Work

A whetstone works by removing tiny bits of metal from the edge of your knife to create a new edge. Obviously, how often you need to sharpen depends on how much you use your knives, but most home cooks probably need to do this task a few times a year. Some whetstones also can be used to sharpen scissors and garden tools. By learning to sharpen with a whetstone, you’ll save money and time by not having to send your knives out to a professional service annually.

Sharpening stones have surfaces that range from coarse to ultra-fine (the higher the number, the finer the grit). To use one, hold the knife at a 10 to 20-degree angle, depending on your knife manufacturer’s recommendation, while sweeping it across the stone repeatedly. It takes practice, but most of the knife manufacturers have excellent videos to teach the technique. If you’re still nervous, start with one of your less expensive knives.

Once you’ve sharpened your knives, protect their edges by keeping them in a knife block or mounted magnetic bars. And always hand wash and dry because the dishwasher’s heat can dull blades fast.

Why Trust Treehugger?

We researched the market based on product value, reviews, and company longevity and reputation. Arricca SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer specializing in home, shelter and gardening. The only thing she hates worse than a dull knife is a dirty sponge left in the sink.

(Video) How to Use a Sharpening Stone | Knives

FAQs

The 6 Best Sharpening Stones to Maintain Your Knives? ›

Our Top Picks:
  • Best Overall: Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone.
  • Best for Beginners: King Whetstone Starter Set.
  • Best All-in-One Set: ShaPu Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Set.
  • Best Compact: Dan's Whetstone Company Inc. ...
  • Best Oil Stone: Norton Abrasives Multi-Oilstone Sharpening System.
Jun 21, 2022

What do professionals use to sharpen their knives? ›

The most common way to hone a knife, is with a honing steel. These inexpensive tools ($10 to $30) are essentially steel rods with a handle. The surface of the rod is coarse, and scraping a blade across the rod (at the proper angle), on both sides nudges (hones) its edge back in place.

Which sharpening stone lasts longest? ›

Shapton stones don't need to be soaked prior to use—they are ready to go when you are! The Shapton glass is made with finely graded ceramic cutting material that makes them last much longer than most man-made sharpening stones.

Should I use water or oil on my sharpening stone? ›

Diamond sharpening stones may be used dry or wet, but wet is recommended. When using them wet, use water, not oil, as a lubricant.

What is the best way to sharpen knives at home? ›

The Best Way To Sharpen & Clean Knives (And The Worst) | Epicurious

How do you keep a knife from dull to sharpen? ›

How to Keep a Knife Sharp
  1. Grab a Honing Steel. Hold a honing steel vertically, with the tip resting on a solid surface and the handle gripped firmly in one hand. ...
  2. Slide the knife's length along the steel. ...
  3. Do the same thing with the other side of the blade. ...
  4. Repeat for 8 times on each side. ...
  5. Do this once a week.
Jun 9, 2017

Are some sharpening stones better than others? ›

Diamond stones have key advantages over other types of sharpening stones. Diamond stones are the fastest cutting sharpening stones. Speed is especially helpful when working with coarse grits where you may spend additional time on a dull edge.

What grit stone is best for sharpening knives? ›

Medium Stones – between 1000 and 3000 grit

First and foremost, it is of great importance to know that the basic stone for sharpening is the number 1000 grit.

What natural stone is best for sharpening knives? ›

Diamond Stones

These diamonds are harder than other types of stones (in fact, they are sometimes used to flatten softer sharpening stones) and therefore sharpen blades more quickly.

Do you need to wet a sharpening stone? ›

Conventional wisdom says that using water or oil with a sharpening stone is better than sharpening dry because the fluid helps float away the swarf, or waste material, and prevents the stone from clogging.

Which is better diamond or ceramic knife sharpener? ›

Looking for quick results? If so a diamond-coated sharpening stone is the answer! It quickly removes a lot of material. The end result, however, is not as sharp as when you use a ceramic sharpening stone.

What kind of oil do you use on a sharpening stone? ›

Mineral oil is an ideal candidate for sharpening because it is light and does not harden or go rancid. A light oil is desirable because a heavy or viscous oil will interfere with the sharpening action of the stone.

Can you use WD-40 to sharpen a knife? ›

Unfortunately, you shouldn't be using WD-40 as a honing oil alternative. What is this? The reason why WD-40 doesn't work well for honing stones is the very fact that this is a water displacement solution that will quickly dry up.

Do you sharpen a knife in one direction? ›

If you're using a small portable sharpener, stroke the blade in nearly a straight direction. Remember to always cut into the stone and never pull or drag your edge backwards. The blade edge should face in the same direction as your stroke. So, you're essentially moving the metal away from the edge.

What is the best knife edge angle? ›

In fact, a 20 degrees angle is often considered the best sharing point for most knives. It is our experience that kitchen knives sharpened to 17 to 20 degrees cut very well and are still durable. For pocket or outdoor knives, a 20 degree angle would be on the low side of ideal.

What is the last thing you must do after sharpening a knife? ›

You'll know to stop sharpening your knife when you feel the burr on both sides of the blade. The last step in sharpening is to remove the burr. This is done by simply repeating the same steps, only this time with less pressure.

Can you sharpen a knife too much? ›

Sometimes, though, you need to sharpen the blade. It is possible to sharpen a knife too much. Each time you sharpen a blade, you are removing material from it and shortening its life span. Excessive removal is a problem if you use the wrong sharpening tool or apply too much pressure during the process.

Should you wash a knife after sharpening? ›

Yes, you should clean after sharpening, which is not the same as honing. No, after honing, it's not necessary. By sharpening, you take some metal off the edge of the knife to create an edge. By honing, you realign the edge of the knife.

How do chefs get their knives so sharp? ›

How to Sharpen Your Chef Knives - YouTube

How do knife manufacturers sharpen their knives? ›

Straight- edge knives are honed and Double-D® edges receive a fresh edge on a grinding wheel. Knives then move to high speed buffing where the burr is removed, taking the knife edge from sharp to super sharp. Knives are then carefully cleaned and repackaged for their trip back to the customer.

How often do professional chefs sharpen their knives? ›

Your knives should only need to be sharpened every few months depending on how often they are used – I would also recommend having your knives professionally sharpened every 1-2 years.

How much does professional knife sharpening cost? ›

Professional knife sharpeners charge on average about $1 an inch, or $8 to sharpen an 8-inch chef's knife. This is a great option if you have want to offload the responsibility and ensure your knives get a tip-top treatment.

Do you push or pull when sharpening a knife? ›

Push the point you want to sharpen with your fingers. While keeping the angle and pushing the point with your fingers, stroke the blade until it reaches the other edge of the whetstone, then pull the blade back until it reaches the edge of the whetstone. This back and forth is counted as one stroke.

What angle should a knife be sharpened at? ›

17 to 22 Degree Angles

In fact, a 20 degrees angle is often considered the best sharing point for most knives. It is our experience that kitchen knives sharpened to 17 to 20 degrees cut very well and are still durable. For pocket or outdoor knives, a 20 degree angle would be on the low side of ideal.

What are people who sharpen knives called? ›

A cutler is a person who is experienced in sharpening knives and does this as a profession. Keeping your knives maintained is going to help you immensely in the kitchen. It is important to purchase a knife sharpener of your own so that you can keep your knives in good working order.

Videos

1. Best Sharpening Stones In 2020 – Top Sharpening Stones For Knives
(FishFindly)
2. How To Pick The Best Sharpening Whetstone Grit
(Burrfection)
3. A Guide to Choosing and Using a Whetstone or Sharpening Stone
(House of Knives)
4. How to Sharpen a Knife with a Japanese Master Sharpener
(Munchies)
5. 🔪 Knife Expert A Guide To Whetstones How To Choose Whetstones For Knife Sharpening
(Glen And Friends Cooking)
6. Beginner's Guide to Whetstone Sharpening
(Ethan Chlebowski)

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