Before we tell you about the best sharpening stones, here is a quick introduction.
Sharpening stones are the oldest form of sharpening system. Knife sharpening is an important cultural activity that never went out of season. It only blossomed along with technological development. The availability of more modern and high technology electric knife sharpeners has never overshadowed the stones.
Up until the recent days, the undisputed usefulness of best sharpening stone has never faltered. Most people still preferred its effectiveness among other knife sharpeners that had arisen into business. It is also relatively cheaper than other sharpeners.
Waterstones are another type of stone sharpeners. They have finer grits than oil stones and have a faster cutting rate. Waterstones uses water as a lubricant, as the name suggests. They are either natural or synthetic. The most known are Japanese Waterstones.
This type of stone is known for their superior sharpening result. These stones are soft and tend to wash out its grit to expose new sharpening particles. This ensures that the sharpener is at its best at all times. Also available are the synthetic or manmade Japanese water stones that are fashioned with similar quality of sharpening as natural stones. These water stones also come in different grits.
Ceramic knife sharpening stones are also available. They are made of hard ceramics that are sturdier than stones. They can cut faster and more precise than natural stones. Ceramics produces refined and polished blade edges. They are considered the best sharpening stones for honing blades and regular maintenance. However, they are not extensive in sharpening and may not be able to repair severely damaged blades. Ceramics are the best sharpening stones to be used for daily sharpening or creating neat edges after coarse sharpening.
The most aggressive of the stones are the diamond sharpening stones. Diamonds are the hardest metals ever known. With this property, they enable faster cutting rate into the metals that make sharpening faster and more precise. Industrial diamond metals are incorporated into the sharpening stone surfaces and bonded with other metals.
Most diamond sharpening stones can be used even without lubricants or water that enable a speedier sharpening job. Diamonds, however, are very aggressive in sharpening. They are notorious for scraping ample amount of metals off the blades and produces a result not as fine as ceramics.
20 Best Sharpening Stones
To better improve the functionality of knife sharpening stones, some systems of sharpening are created. It includes incorporating angle guides and manufacturing portable stone sharpeners. Here are the 20 best ones that are highly sold:
1. Smith’s SK2 2-Stone Sharpening Kit ($$).
This oil stone knife sharpener comes with a 5-inch medium stone, 4-inch fine Arkansas stone, a honing solution and sharpening angle guide. The main part of the sharpening kit is the 5-inch medium grit stone mounted on a non-slip bench. This is used for pre-sharpening as it repairs and sets the edges of any damaged tools.
It is excellent in metal removal to realign the blades and remove nicked portions for refining. The smaller Arkansas stone which is the refining stage has the perfect grit for putting a polished edge on the blades and creating durable, sharp blades.
This kit can be used for knives and other tools. It comes with a honing oil that is used to protect the stone from wearing off when it comes in contact with the blade, and vice versa. An angle guide is also provided to give an accurate angle for more precise sharpening.
2. Norton 614636855653 IB8 1-by-2-by-8-Inch Fine/Coarse India Combination Oilstone ($$$).
This two-grit sharpening stone is a human-made oil stone made up of aluminum oxide. Aluminum oxide can cut faster into the metal and produces refined edges. It has two sharpening surface composed of 100 grit coarse India surface and 320 grit fine India surface. The coarse surface provides excellent sharpening result that works to set the edges of the blade.
Continue sharpening until a burr or a rough edge is created. The burr is an indication that the knife is being sharpened thoroughly. Once the burr on both sides of the bevel is present, flip the stone to hone the edges of the fine surface. Pour an amount of honing oil and proceed with the scraping of the blades across the surface until the desired sharpness is created.
The fine surface smooths the edges to create an even more polished sharp blades. Its oil composition lets the lubricant stays on the surface during sharpening to provide protection for both the blade and the stone surface itself. It prevents the metal swarfs from filing into the surface and clogging the stone’s surface.
3. Arkansas Stone Sharpening Set Wood Mounted 8-inch ($$$+).
This Arkansas stone is permanently attached to a wooden bench are combination stones for first-rate sharpening. The three stones are soft, hard, and black Arkansas. Despite its slow cutting rate, these stones have the ability for creating a more polished and refined look.
The soft Arkansas stone is used for repairing damaged edges of knives and other types of blades. Hard Arkansas stone is used for polishing and creating a good quality of sharpness that is exceeding factory Edge’s quality. It is also good for regular maintenance of working tools and knives.
Hard black Arkansas is extremely fine and can produce mirror sharpness for a very well-polished and hair-splitting sharpness that lasts and is best for the post-sharpening process. These stones are ideal for use with kitchen knives that needs the striking sharpness for cutting, slicing, paring, and filleting.
Hold the knife facing away and maintain an angle similar to the angle of the bevel. Push the blade away diagonally across the entire surface of the stone. Repeat stroking 3 to 4 times or more until a burr is created on the sharpened surface.
Flip the blade to sharpen the other side by starting from the opposite edge and scraping across the other end diagonally. Repeat with the same number of strokes as with the other side. After sharpening, polish the blades on the Hard Black surface with the same motion on both edges.
4. Lansky Lawn and Garden Multi-Purpose Sharpener ($).
It is made up of 280 grit aluminum oxide for extensive metal removal and excellent repairing of knives and tools. Aluminum oxide is manmade oil stones that are coarser than natural stones. These give the advantage of being able to cut faster into the metal of the blades.
Lansky’s lawn and the garden sharpener are best for most garden and woodworking tools that are used in rigorous outdoor activities causing severe damages on the blades. The stone did not have a handle but was designed strategically for convenience during freehand sharpening.
In using this sharpener, hold the tool securely with one hand.
5. King Japanese Whetstone Combination Grit 250/1000 ($+).
This combination stone is ideal for practical sharpening and routine maintenance of knives’ and other tools. This water stone effectively restores damaged edges with the 250 grit coarse sharpening surface. These coarse sharpeners are widely used for blade repairs. The fine surface is excellent in polishing the edge made by the coarse sharpening surface.
The 1000 grit water stone creates a frosted appearance on the edge of the stone and revives the blades into a sharpness much better than factory quality. Water stones are built with faster cutting rate than oil stones for speedier sharpening. Natural stones are very rare that is why synthetic stones like this product are utilized.
6. Shapton Ha No Kuromaku Whetstone Medium Grit #1000 ($$$).
Shapton’s line of hard water stones that does not easily deface like other water stones. One of the abilities of the water stone is to shed off its dull surface to reveal a sharp cutting edge for faster sharpening. This also makes it very prone to developing uneven layer and requires flattening. This product is built to create the same quality of sharpness with a lesser tendency of the stone’s deformation. It does become concave in the process, but not as fast as traditional water stones do. The medium grit 1000 is an intermediate coarse and fine stone.
This is the grit used for setting edges of dull knives and tools. When sharpening with this stone, the edges may not be as fine as the work of a traditional water stone with the same grit, but Ha No Kuromaku cuts a bit faster. After using this grit, the edges can be sharpened in a finer grit Ha No Kuromaku stone to thoroughly polished the edges.
If you are choosing to polish the edge on a finer grit, clean the blade thoroughly including the work area to prevent the larger grit of the ore-sharpening stone from transferring to the surface of the finer ones. Clean and dry the sharpeners thoroughly after use. Never store them with water.
7. Naniwa Combination Ceramic Whetstone Sharpener 1000/3000 ($$).
Combination stones are an economical way of sharpening since it includes both the sharpening and polishing in just one stone. Naniwa’s 1000 grit stone is ideal for sharpening slightly sharp blades. It can be used for regular sharpening and maintenance of tools.
To create a sharper result like a factory quality, polishing blades in the 3000 grit stone will mimic the effect. It is meant for improving the sharpness that had been established in the prior stage. These stones were fabricated with the improved qualities of binding agents with water to produce an excellent sharpness in comparison to other sharpeners with the same grit number. But like other whetstones, these also require flattening over time to even out the surface that had been washed away from usage.
To flatten a water stone, a coarse plate called lapping stone is needed. They are either made with diamond or silicon carbide abrasives. The surface of the water stone is rubbed against this plate to completely even out and maintain its sharpening preciseness and consistency.
8. Norton Waterstone Starter Kit ($$$$+).
This includes four-grit sharpening stone and a flattening stone for an economical starter kit. This complete combination of Norton enables sharpening practically easy and complete. It can be used to sharpen virtually any knife and tools possible. It has a 220/1000 and 4000/8000 grit stone for all whetting jobs.
The 220 grit is very coarse works fast in setting dull and damaged edges of the blades. The 1000 grit is responsible for polishing the edges created in the prior stage to refine and remove the roughness. The 4000 grit stones create an even more fine edge for hair-splitting sharpness while the 8000 very fine surface polishes the blades edges into stark sharpness.
9. Shapton Glass Stone Set with Field Holder ($$$$++).
These sharpening stones are not made of glass but of high-quality ceramics that brings an excellent cutting edge to blades made of varying steels and metals. The ceramic abrasives that are known for creating very fine and thoroughly sharpened blades. It is called glass stone because of its stone backing that makes the flat base or holder to glue the ceramic abrasives. It provides a firm support to prevent the stone from breaking down once they got thin.
This makes it very cost effective by letting the stone be used up until the very end of its abrasives. The abrasives are formulated with uniform grits for faster and neater finish. But being a water stone itself, these series needs to be flattened out eventually once the surface becomes uneven. The stones come in 500, 2000, and 16000 grit.
The 500 medium coarse grit stone provides a speedy sharpening for setting edges of very dull knives. The 2000 medium fine grit refines dull edges and can be used for routine re-sharpening of slightly dull blades. The 16000 very fine grit stones polish the edges for a razor-sharp edge.
Shapton glass stone series does not need prior soaking.
10. Spyderco Double Stuff Ceramic Stone ($$).
Ceramic stones are impressive sharpeners regarding producing refine edges on the blades. They are usually used as in-between steps in sharpening and honing for all type of sharpeners, even with the electric ones. They deliberately realign and remove the burrs and rough edges made by another coarse sharpener.
Ceramic stones are similar to oil stones in their performance, but they are relatively quicker in cutting edges. Spyderco’s ceramic stone stuff is portable sharpeners in two grits. The combination of a coarse and fine grit is a complete and excellent duo for bringing dull and damaged edges back into its working condition.
The stones are used dry making it very convenient for sharpening. Add it to the fact that its miniature size can easily fit the pocket. This makes this portable sharpener the best for outdoor adventures and activities. A plastic abrasive pad and powdered abrasive powder are used for cleaning the metals off the surface of the stone.