An often-overlooked aspect of the knife world is maintaining a sharp blade. Whether you are a professional chef, or you just have a valuable collection of kitchen knives, or you are a collector of knives, you will need to keep your knives blades sharp and ready for use. This article will help you find the Top Ten Sharpening Stones available on market.
How to Choose the Best Sharpening Stones
Good quality tools (knives and sharpening stones) and a lot of know how will keep your knives razor-sharp and they will last much longer.
Unfortunately maintaining your blades will involve some trial and error. I am convinced I have at least eight hands that all long to wonder off on their own adventures whenever I am doing precision work that involve the use of one left hand and one right hand.
For this reason, you may want to hit your dollar store for a dirt-cheap knife or two to practice on until you get the hang of it before trying to sharpen your fancy, expensive chef knives.
There is more than one way to sharpen your knives. The two most favorite ways of sharpening knives are by using an electric sharpening machine or sharpen your blades on a sharpening stone.
An electric sharpener is a quick, easy way to sharpen your knives, but they can damage blades it there is any residue from previous sharpening. You will want to do extensive homework before you buy one. You need to make sure the angle of the blade will be correct, that it is suitable for the specific metal of your knives, and that it will give a professional blade every time.
Most knife lovers and professional chef prefer to sharpen their blades on stone (most often whetstone). They prefer the precision and the overall results you can get use a stone.
Even buying the right stone can be a nightmare to a new user.
What is a whetstone, what is a grit, what grit is good? There are so many grits, which is the right one? Then there is something called a strop! I thought someone could not spell strap. What on earth is that? And leather? To sharpen a knife?
I think we need to start with the basics here. Let us look at exactly how to sharpen a knife using a sharpening stone.
While using a stone is the preferred method of sharpening knives, sharpening knives this way is not as easy as it sounds. For me it was a bit like building fire on Survivor – a bit of a learning curve.
Using a stone to sharpen a knife has two processes. Sharpening and stropping or honing.
To use a whetstone you wet the stone with either water or oil, depending on what type of stone it is, and then run the blade down and across the stone starting at the bottom of the cutting edge (the tang) and working your way towards the point of the knife.
You repeat this motion five times and then turn the blade over and repeat the motion on the other side.
As the sharpening progresses, you’ll probably more through different stones from a 1000 grit to a 1500 sharpening and a 4000 grit (if you want an even higher, mirror finish and a razor-sharp blade) for honing.
Once the blade is sharpened and honed, you can polish the blade further and remove burrs in the blade by stropping. Essentially, this involves running the blade across a leather strap. This pushes the cutting edge back to the middle of the blade.
Something that’s important to remember is that some steels may take longer to sharpen than others.
Your blade profile (the shape of the blade) and the edge-type (plain, serrated or combo) will also strongly affect how you use the stone.
Now we know the basics so let’s move to the best stones to keep your knives sharp and long lasting.
Top 10 Best Sharpening Stones
The sharpening kit from Brightliving comes with a dual sided stone with 1000 and 6000 grit respectively, a non-slip base, a silicone stone holder to keep the stone from moving around while you sharpening, an angle guide to ensure that you hold the knife at the correct angle while sharpening, and an eBook to tell you exactly what you should to do and how to do it.
This is a very versatile, robust sharpening stone can be used to sharpen everything from knives, to razors to axes without any issues.
If you are just starting out, this stone would be a good option; aside from the quality and the handy instruction manual, this is also reasonably budget friendly.
This is also a very beautiful stone, if you are a knife collector you may even want to leave the stone out on display with your knives.
The Finew Professional Sharpener Stone Set also comes with an angle guide, a flattening stone and a leather strop. This handy full sharpening system has the added benefit of being priced decently enough that it will not break the bank.
The only issue that you’re likely to encounter is that there is no instruction manual with this one. You can look up videos on how to use these on YouTube. The internet is full advice when it comes to ‘how to’ guides.
Important: You must soak the stones in water for 10 minutes before use.
This set is a bit more expansive. There are four grits: 400, 1000, 3000, and 8000 for sharpening and honing your knives, a non-slip base ensure that the stones don’t move around while you’re working.
The Premium Knife Sharpening Kit is great because of its versatility. It can be used to sharpen practically any blade (not serrated knives, they are a different animal). The kit comes with two double-sided stones with 400/1000 and 3000/8000 grit surfaces, silicon stone holders, a non-slip base, flattening stone, and angle guide.
Each stone has a silicone holder for use while sharpening or honing your blades. The bases can also be used to stack the stones on top of each other without damaging them.
The flattening stone ensures that you always have an even sharpening surface to work with.
Many sharpening kits have the exact same stones. Most have 400/1000 and 3000/8000 grits.
This set is no different as far as standard grit stones.
It includes two double sided stones with silicone holders and a non-slip base, as well as a strop for polishing and removing burrs from the blade.
I quite like the idea of double-sided stones because it cuts down both the price and the amount of storage space needed to pack the stones away.
This set is also versatile and can be used to sharpen almost any blade (remember not to try to sharpen a serrated blade on this stone).
This set goes back to the basics, a perfect beginners kit, it contains a 1000/6000 grit double-sided stone, a non-slip base with silicone stone holder, flattening stone, angle guide two different strops, and some polishing compound for the strops.
The problem with this set is once again, this set has no instruction manual to tell you what and how to use each item. This means that beginners would have to rely on the internet to figure it all out.
The set is still very stylish and will get your knives back to new in no time.
This set is very straight forward. It is a great product that gives all in one service, it has a 1000/6000 double sided stone, a silicone holder, bamboo base, a flattening stone, and an angle guide.
It has a unique feature that does warrant further investigation. I am not a fan of anything that uses suction cups. I just think of the GPS falling to the floor of the car at the worst time possible and shower hold-all that need to be held up. But that is just a personal preference.
The set is beautiful in its simplicity. A stone. An angle guide, and a base. Nothing complicated.
The flattening stone is there to smooth out the actual sharpening stone to keep the surface smooth.
A big bonus: the set come with a handy eBook that lays out exactly what to do with each item in the kit and how to use each time properly.
This set is very robust. It is great for professional chefs, hobbyists, and even woodsmen – yes, you read correctly. The HJYC Knife Sharpening Stone Set has three double-sided stones that are perfect all-purpose sharpeners.
There are two double sided stones for knives, an ax sharpening stone (the round stone in the image), and a flattening stone.
I’m a city girl so I don’t think about needing to sharpen axes, but this set is strong enough to tackle the job with ease.
The two double sided knife sharpeners are 400/1000 and 3000/6000 grits respectively. And the axe sharpener has 150/320 grit.
The HJYC set comes with a non-slip base, a silicone holder to keep the stones in place, and angle guide to help prevent injury to ourselves or our knives.
Unfortunately, this is one of those sets that does not come with instructions.
It is more a product aimed at those who work with blades daily, so there is a lot of trust in the fact that because you are ordering this particular product you know what you are doing. But please don’t be put off by any set that does no have instructions. It is very easy to learn in Google or on YouTube.
These small sets are dominating the market in terms of popularity.
This is the Meterk Premium Whetstone. It is also a double-sided stone with a 1000 and a 6000-grit surface in a non-slip bamboo base, a silicone holder, a flattening stone, and an angle guide to make sure we keep our blades in the right position.
This is a great looking set.
The surfaces on either side also polish the knife blade being sharpened and removing any residue and bacteria from prior use.
Not just another super simple design with a nice visual appeal, this set is also very attractive to the wallet.
The set has a non-slip bamboo base, double-sided stone with 1000 and 6000 grit surfaces, a flattening stone, and an angle guide.
This simple set is very attractive to newcomers in the kitchen and the hobbyists.
AivaToba has found a way to not be intimidating. Their design exudes ease of use with no complications.
We need to take a moment to just look at this beauty. This stone is the most unique stone on this top ten list. This is not a beginner’s stone, this is a stone for professional chefs, knifes-men, and hobbyists.
This is not like any of the whetstones listed.
This stone is not double sided like the other stones. This is two stones of different grades (one is hard the other is soft) that are joined with an adhesive to give us a single stone.
Did you notice the lack of the word grit? That is because this stone is measured in grades and not in grit.
Unfortunately, there are no instructions. This is really a stone for people who really know what they are doing. If you have bought a set before you can use the angle guide from that set; that should make it a bit easier to use.
Of all the stones on this list, this is by far my favorite. I love the colors, especially since the stones are actual stones from the mountains of Arkansas. There are so many colors to choose from.
Mine would definitely be on display.
Why would I want to use a stone?
Sharpening on a stone is the best way to sharpen a knife without damaging or grinding down the blade.
You get an even sharpening along the full length of the blade’s cutting edge without removing too much material from the blade itself.
It is also just a super relaxing thing to do, you can pull your stones out and some water and switch off your brain for a while as you sharpen; allowing you to zone out for a bit relax and refresh your mind.
What is a good grit to start with?
For sharpening you should start with something with a range of 1000 to 3000 grit or higher.
What is the difference between sharpening and honing a knife?
Sharpening involves removing material to put a new cutting edge on the knife whereas honing works with an existing edge to make it sharper.
Are there other sharpening systems available if I don’t want to use a stone?
Yes, if you’d prefer a different method of sharpening then you can try pull-through sharpeners or electric sharpeners like the Work Sharp. These methods do work; however, they can be harsh on your tools and you run the risk of grinding your blades down.
Can you really sharpen a knife on the bottom of a cup?
Truthfully, no I really can’t sharpen a knife on the bottom of a cup. But you could certainly try. This is not a recommended sharpening method; you have such a small surface area to use as a sharpening surface. It is very time-consuming and it’s hard to get an even sharpening along the edge. If it’s an emergency and you have no alternatives, then yes, it is possible to put a workable edge on a knife with the bottom of a cup.
At what angle should one hold a knife while sharpening on a stone?
It depends on the amount of use you’re putting the knife through; the angle of the blade should be between 10 and 30 degrees on the stone.
I actually looked this up as I wasn’t sure myself and found a video that recommended the use of a sharpie or marker pen to color the cutting edge of the knife, then bring down the colored edge so that it just touches the stone. Then you start to sharpen, after a few strokes on your stone you check the blade, if the marker color is gone you’ve got your angle. You can repeat this when you go from a lower grit to a high grit.
What is the strop used for?
Leather strops are used to put the finishing touches on a knife after sharpening. Stropping a knife polishes the blade and smooths out any burrs in the edge.
Can serrated blades be sharpened on a stone?
No, stones are used specifically for plain edge blades. Running a serrated blade over a stone will damage both the blade and the stone.
In order to sharpen a serrated blade, you’d have to put it over ceramic rods that can sharpen each serration.
Which stone would I use?
That’s tough, I think I would have to go for one that comes with a 400-page manual. I always go for the simpler product. A stone, base, guide, and maybe a flattening stone.
Definitely a more premium set that will last for years, rather than a cheap set that will just damage my blades. It may take me a minute to save money, but I think it is worth it.
Something to keep in mind is that you’re not going to be a master at using a stone in a day. You’ll have to take the time to practice and to that end, I’d recommend using cheap knives that won’t make your wallet cry with each one purchased to practice on. This will allow you to practice and perfect the motion of the blade, as well as the angle of the blade without damaging expensive, high quality kitchen, hunting, or folding knives.
I hope this article has been informative and will make selecting your sharpening stone much, much easier. These are just ten options that you can find through Amazon. Amazon has many other options available which allow for a certain degree of experimentation to see what works for you.
Remember: Practice makes perfect! Good Luck and Happy Sharpening!