Sharpening stones are essential equipment for any serious cook’s kitchen! Designed to save you the time and expense of having knives professionally sharpened, they’ll help you keep sharp edges on your knives. There are different types of sharpening stones, as well as different grades or grits, and not all are created equal.
For example, oil stones and diamond stones can be challenging to use, and natural stones can be expensive. Ceramic stones are sometimes great, but many don’t offer longevity like synthetic Waterstones do.
Best Rated Knife Sharpening Stone Reviewed
If you’re brand new to the fine art of sharpening knives, then you’ll probably find that a set of synthetic Waterstones will be easiest to use while offering good, reliable results.
More advanced users are likely to appreciate good-quality synthetic stones as well, although ceramic and natural stones provide excellent results when used with a careful hand. With these and other factors in mind, we’ve tested dozens of the best knife sharpening stones on the market, and read thousands of user reviews to find out what others had to say about their experiences.
Here are ten of the most popular choices, arranged in alphabetic order for easy reference:
#10Work Sharp WSGSS Guided Sharpening System Bench-Top Knife Sharpener
With a diamond plate mounted on a pivoting base, this bench-top knife sharpener works on curved and straight blades alike.The Work Sharp WSGSS guided sharpening system comes complete with interchangeable angle guides to accommodate a variety of knife blades, plus a ceramic field hone for sharpening and touching up blades when you’re away from home.
This extra hone set includes three ceramic rods including one small and medium diameter rod for serrations, and a three-position large rod. It even works on fish hooks. The WSGSS Work Sharp guided sharpening system is made in Ashland, Oregon, USA and includes a 42 year warranty.
- Complete sharpening in one system
- Easy to use, even for beginners
- Finish isn’t as pretty as with some other sharpening systems
- Costs a little more than most other sharpeners
People who Bought This Knife Sharpening Stone Said:
- I’m really impressed by the ease of use of this sharpener. I’ve attempted to use many styles of stones and electronic sharpeners but none compared to the results I achieved with this system. Anyone who has sharpened knives using a sharpening stone knows it can be extremely time consuming. With the design of this system I was able to sharpen my 3 hunting knives, 4 steak knives, and 6 other larger kitchen knives in about the time it took me to sharpen one knife with a stone. And they all came out razor sharp. Highly recommended!
- This is a great system and the guides are perfect. It is easy to use and as long as you use patience and don’t hurry you’ll get a professional result. I do recommend blade masking to avoid any unsightly scratching.
This Knife Sharpener is Ideal For:
Designed with the needs of novices and experienced users in mind, the Work Sharp WSGSS Guided Sharpening System is useful for all types of blades and can even put a sharp edge on fish hooks. It comes with a variety of extras, adding even more value to a complete sharpening system that proves useful in a variety of situations.
Key Considerations When Shopping for the Best Knife Sharpening Stone:
With so many different choices, selecting the best knife sharpening stone can be a real challenge. Here, we’ll provide you with some tips for making your choice, along with recommendations for sharpening stones that will meet your needs without causing any problems for your valuable knives.
- Grit Size – Most sharpening stones are available in a variety of different grit sizes. In general, the larger the number, the finer the grit:
- Coarse grit (Arato) – usually 200-800
- Medium grit (Nakato) – usually 800-1500
- Fine grit (Shiageto, or finishing stone) – usually higher than 1500
- Material – There are different types of sharpening stones available, each with unique characteristics. The most popular types, along with some pros and cons follow:
- Oil stones – Coarse to fine grades available. They are a bit slow to use, and you’ll need to be careful with the oil that accompanies them as it can go rancid over time. Both natural and synthetic oilstones are available. Arkansas stones are some of the best in this category; hard black Arkansas stones and hard translucent Arkansas stones are rarest and most expensive. Man-made India stone and crystolon are both good quality materials, and are quite a bit more economical than Arkansas stones.
- Diamond plates / stones – Fast and sharp, but need to be used very carefully, particularly as coarse grits can leave deep gouges. Many brands can be used without any type of lubricant. Note that diamond plates and/or stones are expensive, but that they do offer good longevity compared with other types. Additionally, a good diamond plate or stone can be used to flatten other sharpening stones.
- Natural sharpening stones – Very high-quality, but can be expensive, depending on the source. Natural sharpening stones are usually lubricated with water.
- Synthetic Waterstones – Synthetic sharpening stones are usually made with aluminum oxide (corundum) grit, which has been suspended in resin. These are easy to use and come in a variety of grits; they are lubricated with water. Many come in sets with different grits for convenience, and some are made specifically for sharpening serrated knives.
- Ceramic sharpening stones – Ceramic stones can be of great quality, but they tend to wear out faster than synthetic Waterstones. Different grits are available.
- Quality – As with so many other things, you get what you pay for when choosing sharpening stones. Cheap stones are typically unreliable and tend to wear out far faster than good-quality ones; be wary of any bargain that seems too good to be true.
- Size – Many sharpening stones come mounted on a deck for easy use. Hand-held sharpening stones are smaller and often feature a built-in groove for easier, safer handling. Many hand-held sharpening stones come with convenient storage pouches.
- Cost – Prices vary by type. In general, expect to pay somewhere around $20 to $30 (sometimes a little more or less) for a good-quality synthetic Waterstone with a deck. Hand-held sharpening stones tend to cost quite a bit less; for example, you can get a good Arkansas stone for about $5.
- Ease of Cleanup – Probably the least important factor when choosing knife sharpening stones, it’s still worth mentioning: oil stone sharpening is far messier than sharpening with Waterstones.
Tips for Using Your Knife Sharpening Stone
You’ve made quite an effort to select the best knife sharpening stone for your needs, and now you’re ready to use it. With the following tips, you’ll find it simpler to get a sharp edge and enjoy easier, safer cutting.
- Start with the correct coarseness. How bad are your blades? If they are chipped or otherwise damaged, you should use a coarse stone to remove nicks and refine your edge. If your knives are simply dull, then you’ll want to start out with a medium grit since you don’t want to remove any more metal from your blade than is absolutely necessary. What if your blades are just slightly dull? You can easily touch them up with a fine stone!
- Use the right kind of lubricant. Don’t use oil on Waterstones! The opposite is also true although some types of stone traditionally thought of as oilstones can be used with water so long as they haven’t been lubricated with oil in the past; for example, fine Arkansas stones often produce good results when lubricated with water. If you are lubricating with oil, simple mineral oil (i.e. baby oil) can provide good results.
- Note: If you are using Waterstones, you’ll need to soak them in water before getting started with the rest of the process. The amount of time to pre-soak depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Pay attention to angle. Once you’ve decided which sharpening stone to use first, you’ll want to ensure that you position your blade at the correct angle. This might require a bit of research: Look to see what angle the knife’s manufacturer recommends, and then position your knife’s edge against the stone accordingly. If your knives aren’t terribly dull, you may even be able to use the existing edge as a basic guide.
- Keep the knife steady. Holding the knife at the appropriate angle, sweep the blade across the sharpening stone, carefully using your non-dominant hand to keep the blade in contact with the stone. Repeat the process on both beveled edges until you are ready to move from a coarse grit to a finer one; check the knife’s edge frequently, particularly when you’re just becoming accustomed to the process. Deliberate, patient work will help you avoid mistakes.
- Use the whole stone. Try to move from one part of the sharpening stone to another, as this will help keep its surface flatter and prevent a hollow area from developing in the middle. Use a flattening stone if you notice the sharpening stone is developing any hollow-looking areas.
- Watch videos if you can. There are a number of useful knife sharpening tutorials available online, all designed to help you sharpen your blades properly. Take a few minutes to watch the basic techniques before you get started, and you’ll find it easier to get the results you want.
- Practice with unimportant knives. If you have the option, practice sharpening cheap or unimportant knives before moving on to more expensive ones. This way you will not run the risk of improperly sharpening an expensive blade.
That’s it! Sharpening isn’t at all difficult to do, but it does require a specific technique that gets easier over time. With just a little patience and practice, you’ll be sharpening your knives like a pro – and enjoying great results. We wish you all the best as you choose the best knife sharpening stone for your kitchen, and in all your culinary adventures!