Best sharpening stones: never a dull edge

Proper materials and correct technique are all it takes to give new life to an old blade. The whetstone knife sharpening stone from Sharp Pebble is a two-sided stone with a bamboo base, and it’s the sharpening stone we recommend for most jobs. We love the different grits and the included instructional guide. We have a few favorites, some that work better than others for various tools, and here they are.

Best Overall: Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone

Beginners and seasoned pros will appreciate the double-sided whetstone from Sharp Pebble. For those new to sharpening, the included angle guide is an easy way to learn the technique. Just slide the angle guide on any knife, and it positions the blade at the correct angle for you. Smart!

There are two grit strengths on this whetstone. One side is rated at 1,000 and the other at 6,000. The lower grit side effectively builds a bur and knives and tools as it glides smoothly over the surface of the soaked stone. The 6,000 grit side is a little softer and almost chalk-like, making it difficult to get a beautiful end polish. With practice, it can be accomplished, but newbies may have some trouble.

I love the waterproof bamboo nonslip base. Even when the stone is wet, it holds everything firmly in place so you can focus on the job at hand. The included knife sharpening guidebook is thorough and gives good introductory lessons about how to use a whetstone. For badly worn knives, carving tools, or even axes that need honing maintenance, this is a great bundle that works well with a variety of blades.

Pros:

  • 1,000/6,000 waterstone
  • Nonslip bamboo case
  • Free knife sharpening guide
  • Appropriate for most blades
  • Includes angle guide

Cons:

  • Difficult to get a good polish

Best Overall

Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone

A multipurpose whetstone

This two-sided whetstone only needs water and elbow grease to hone blade edges. It’s perfect for kitchen knives and tools.

Best Value: Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960

This sharpening stone from Whetstone Cutlery is also dual-sided. One side is 400 grit and the other 1,000. The lower grit takes nicks out of blades and sharpens up dull knives and tools just as it should. The flipside refines the edge and polishes it to a like-new shine. Neither side of this stone is labeled. It’s not hard to tell which side which, but beginners will want to make a note of this.

This stone needs to be soaked and cannot be used with oil. A long soak of 12-24 hours seems to work best. There isn’t an anti-slip base included, but placing a dry towel or rubber mat under the stone works just as well to hold it securely in place.

This is an excellent whetstone for restoring sharpness to battered cutlery, scissors, pocket knives, and even gardening tools. It’s also large enough to handle axes and hatchets. And for the price, it’s a bargain you shouldn’t pass up.

Pros:

  • 400/1,000 grits
  • Sharpens nicely
  • Long-lasting
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Grits are not labeled
  • No holder or case

Best Value

Whetstone Cutlery 20-10960

A bargain at any price

You’ll restore sharpness to nearly any blade with this dual-sided sharpening stone. It’s a bargain at any price!

Best High Grit Stones: BearMoo Whetstone 2-in-1

BearMoo’s offering is best labeled as a middle of the road sharpening and finishing stone. Both sides of this stone are high grit, rated at 3,000 and 8,000. Ideally, you’ll want to start with something coarser if you need to grind blade imperfections away. This sharpening stone is not for battered knives that need to be brought back to life but for cutlery that could use some tidying up or pocket knives that require a sharper edge.

These are high-quality white corundum stones. The lower grit side sets a nice bevel on razors and knives, and the higher grit side polishes the metal and hones the edge. Since these are on the softer side due to their high grit, they only need to be soaked in water for a few minutes before use. Naturally, you’ll want to reapply drops of water while you’re working to prevent the stones from drying out and scratching your blade.

This set comes with a knife angle guide to keep your knife swipes properly aligned and two silicone bases to keep the stone from shifting while you’re working. If what you need is a sharpening stone that gives dull blades a polished, honed edge, this set is worth every penny.

Pros:

  • 3,000/8,000 grit
  • Includes two silicone holders
  • High-quality white corundum
  • Affordable
  • Knife guide included

Cons:

  • Not coarse enough to smooth away damage

Best High Grit Stones

BearMoo Whetstone 2-in-1

Smooth experience from start to finish

High-quality stones, a knife guide, and two silicone bases make this the set to get if you need a stone for finishing work.

Best Tri Hone: Smith’s TRI-6

The sharpening stone system from Smith’s comes with two Arkansas stones and one coarse synthetic stone. The combination can take you from start to finish with nearly any blade, including dull knives and that seldom-used pocketknife you carry around each day.

This trio of stones is mounted on a rotating triangular plastic base. Rubber lines the bottom of the stone holder for safety. Angle guides on each stone speed up the sharpening process and gives beginners a considerable leg up.

If you’re dealing with small utensils, carving tools, or straightedge razors, this will serve well as your primary stone system. The surface area is rather small, so this isn’t the sharpening stone you want for axes, hatchets, or long chef knives. For those who want a one-size-fits-most set of stones, you’ll do well to go with Smith’s.

Pros:

  • Coarse, medium, and fine stones
  • Cool stone rotation base
  • Non-skid rubber base
  • Sharpening angle guide included
  • Great for knives and wood chisels

Cons:

  • Small surface area

Best Tri Hone

Smith’s TRI-6

Three stones for the price of one

This small trio of stones can take you from start to finish. Coarse, medium, and fine stones are included on a rotating base.

Best Diamond Stones: Diamond Machine Technology

Diamond whetstones are prized for their precise sharpening and mess-free experience. Diamond Machine Technology (DMT) has hit on a winner with this threesome of sharpening stones.

The coarsest stone in this set is 325 grit, and it efficiently and cleanly smooths out nicks and scratches. The 600 grit stone pulls out a honed edge with little effort, and the 1200 grit stone puts a mirror finish on your blade. It’s a great set, and old-timers and beginners alike will love that they can sharpen dry or with a quick soak in water.

These stones arrive in an oiled wooden box. It looks good from the outside, but I’d highly suggest moving the stones to a waterproof storage system. When this box gets wet, it warps and causes the stones to become brittle. These diamond stones are fantastic for everything from kitchen knives to screwdrivers to straight razors.

Pros:

  • Can use dry or with water
  • Stones never clog
  • 325/600/1200 grit
  • Very clean
  • Efficient

Cons:

  • Cheap storage box is not waterproof

Best Diamond Stones

Diamond Machine Technology

Diamonds are a sharpeners best friend

Three diamond stones with varying grit can handle any knife or tool from start to finish.

Best Portable: Lansky Puck

The Lansky Puck is a little wider and thicker than a hockey puck and so portable that you can take it on any job. This stone is two-sided, with the coarse side registered at 120 grit and the finer side at 280 grit. Since this sharpening stone is best used in the field, you do not need honing oil. A bit of water (or spit if you’re desperate) does the trick.

This is one of my favorite all-purpose stones. It’s excellent for hardened blades that don’t seem to get as much attention as they should. Things like lawnmower blades, axes, hatchets, scissors, and tools can be brought back to life with this little puck.

Because the grit on both sides is relatively coarse, it powers out imperfections and sharpens dull blades no matter where you are. It’s not a finishing stone for fine cutlery, but this a workhorse in the field or the shop.

Pros:

  • Small and portable
  • Great in the field
  • Excellent for axes
  • Doesn’t need oil
  • Inexpensive

Cons:

  • Not for fine cutlery

Best Portable

Lansky Puck

When you have an ax to grind

The take-anywhere Lansky Puck is cheap, reliable, and so small it will fit in your pocket. Perfect for axes and work tools.

Bottom line

The Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone is a high-quality Waterstone that sits securely on a non-slip bamboo base while you work. The base is waterproof and doesn’t slide around, allowing you to focus on giving attention to your blade.

A knife sharpening guide comes with this set and teaches the basics of whetstone use, including water soaking and angle blade management. There’s also an angle guide in the box to gently ease you into holding your blade at the proper angle.

The higher grit side of the whetstone is very soft, and it’s challenging to get a good polish on a blade. Reading over the manual and watching a few videos helps, as does practice. This sharpening stone is suitable for kitchen knives, hunting knives, carving tools, and even small axes. The stone gives you a slick blade and all the tools to learn everything there is to know about knife sharpening.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Jodi Owan is a tech and outdoor adventure writer. Find her on Instagram and her website.

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