Top 10 Hunting Knife Sharpeners

best hunting knife sharpeners

Hunting or a chasing game with animals of the wild had started as early as the Paleolithic era, where stones are used as daggers and arrow for killing a prey. The trend catches up even to the modern time and lawful hunting is staged. Where it is illegal to chase for the game or the so-called poaching, this outdoor activity also exists. But for whatever reasons a game is staged, all hunters need this very basic tools to help them with their quest: the hunting knives.

Built for hunting and outdoor gaming, the main purpose of hunting knives is actually for, but not limited to, skinning, gutting, and chopping game or prey for food. There are various designs of hunting knives: the most common fixed blades, folding knives, bush-craft, skinning and multi-tools that are integrated with other important survival gears. Hunting knives are designed for real tough activities, with unexpected and varied uses and are sometimes referred to as survival knife. Hence, it is the main instrument for surviving the wild.

With that, they are built robust and sturdy and is meant to be kept sharp and usable at all times. And to be able to keep it in its top shape, an excellent hunting knife sharpener is necessary. Since hunting knives come in all forms, choosing the right hunting knife sharpener is really subjective to the type of knife on hand. There are the serrated and straight blades, one-sided and double-sided hunting knife, the curved and the gut hook hunting knives among others.

They are also designed to be a bit thicker than most household knives to survive the rugged outdoor lifestyle. While common knife’s blade angle is from 15° to 20° per side, hunting and other sports and tactical knives are built at 25° to 30° per side that is why not all slotted sharpeners can accommodate its thickness. Another consideration is the portability and the exact same durability of the hunting knife sharpener to be able to keep up with the knives’ stringent way of life.

A hunter all in all are investing on products that are lightweight for them to be able to save the backpack’s space for some other survival kits. Although yes, a sharpener pack can be a nice accommodation. When up in the field and the need for sharpening arise, it’s a do or die. Having handy sharpeners is, therefore, a must.Some of the best hunting knife sharpeners are created compact and complete for outdoor needs, but also included in this list are stay-at-home knife sharpeners that can help bring out the best in every blade.

1. Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener ($).

This small, compact and portable sharpener is easy to use and deserves a place in the backpack. It has a pre-set carbide blade for coarse sharpening that is used to repair the edges of severely damaged blades. The pre-set ceramic sharpening slot is used for polishing after the coarse sharpening or simply for maintaining the sharpness of the edges. It also comes with a folding tapered diamond rod with medium 440 diamond grit that can be used for serrated hunting knives since this type of blades is delicate in terms of sharpening because of the tendency of damaging the serrations. This is also used for guthooks.

The product features a lanyard hole for easy carrying, a finger grip for easy sharpening and it weighs only 1 ounce and measures 3.5 by 1 inch making it very light and portable. To sharpen the hunting knife using the pocket knife, set the sharpener on a flat and sturdy surface for easy leverage and use the advantage of the finger grip to hold it accurately. Insert the knife into the appropriate slot.

The coarse carbide is used only for extremely dull knives to set its edges, to sharpen a dull one, use the ceramic slot. Tilt the handle of the knife down and pull the blade from the heel to the tip allowing the blade to entirely scrape across the carbide. Repeat the process until sharp, usually around 4 to 5 pulls or more for hard steel, while maintaining a light downward pressure.

To sharpen a serrated knife’s edge, push the diamond tapered rod into the serrations on the beveled edge using a clockwise rolling motion with a light pressure and repeat the process until the desired result is achieved. After sharpening, run the blade into the ceramic slot to remove the burr that might have accumulated during the sharpening. Pull the blade across the slot 3 to 5 times.

This sharpener is used dry and can never be rinsed to avoid damaging it. After using simply brush the sharpening slots to remove metal filings. A damp cloth may also be used, but again, do not rinse.
Generally, this compact tool is perfect for the field because of its functionality and portability.

2. Gerber Bear Grylls Field Sharpener ($$).

The Gerber Bear Grylls Field Sharpener has features similar to that of Smith’s Pocket Pal. It is also lightweight, compact, multifunctional and very easy to use. It also has a lanyard hole for easy looping of the device for convenient carrying, and an SOS Morse code signaling at the back of the hard plastic case when the need arises.

The rubber handle on the body of the sharpener provides a better leverage even when sharpening under the rain. On the top edge of the sharpener is the carbide sharpener and a ceramic sharpener that both functions as coarse and fine sharpeners, respectively. It has two diamond coated rod at each end, a big and a smaller one that is used for sharpening serrated knives of different sizes of serrations.

Sharpening a knife follows the same processes as other sharpeners. The coarse carbide slot is quite aggressive in sharpening and is used only in the extreme conditions of the knife. The ceramic slot is reserved for daily touch ups and sharpening a hunting knife after an excessive work where it diminishes its cutting performance.

It is best if the sharpener is set on a sturdy surface to get a better grip and exert uniform pressure on the blades. It takes around 3 to 5 pulls on the appropriate slot, but again it is subjective to the condition of the knife or its sharpening power.

After using the coarse sharpener, the ceramic sharpener is always used as this would help realign and polish the edges to achieve the ultimate goal. The diamond rod is built in, there is no need to extend it. Just select the appropriate size of the rod to match that of the serrations. Simply set the knife down and pull the rod down into each of the serrations applying just a light force and maintain a uniform number of strokes on each gullet or depressed edges.

3. Smith’s 50364 Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener and Outdoor Tool ($).

An upgrade from the PP1 Pocket Sharpener of Smith’s is the Pocket Pal X2 by adding extra features to make it even more functional outdoor tool. Complete with other survival requisites, the sharpeners come with a LED-torch, a whistle, a fire lighter and a compass.

These tools are also very important for most hunters when surveying the wild, practically equal in importance with the sharpener of which this product is mainly all about. It has the same two stage sharpening system with the coarse carbide and ceramic abrasives that are intended to set edges of knives and polish it into perfection. These abrasives are now replaceable when worn out to let the entire set be put into good use indefinitely.

It still has an extendable diamond tapered rod for serrated knives and gut hooks and other single beveled blades. The main carbide and ceramic slots are to be used with double-edged hunting knives. The pre-set angles of 22.5° per side, the sharpener can accommodate the thickness of the blades of a hunting knife or any tactical and survival knife of its kind. This innovative tool is truly multifunctional as it is portable that is meant for the great outdoors.

To set the edge of a damaged double-beveled knife, insert the knife blade into the coarse carbide slot and pull the blade from the heel to the tip with moderate downward force. Continue pulling 4 to 6 times until sharp or more until the sharpness is achieved. A slightly dull or slightly sharp blade can then be honed in the ceramic abrasive slot using about 8 to 10 to pulls to refine edges and remove the burr for better knife edge. Knives made of steel may need additional pulls since it is harder than other steel knives.

To sharpen a serrated knife and gut hook, use the tapered rod. Extend the rod and match the grind angle to the serrations. Push the rod into the serration or hook with light downward pressure, gently rolling it as you do. Repeat on the entire serrations. Run the serrated knife into the ceramic slot to refine its edges and remove the burr.
When it comes to completeness, Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 is the best to be around because its functionality is a better service during any hunting expeditions.

4. Lansky PS-MED01 Blademedic Pocket Sharpening Kit ($).

Small but very expedient, this pocket knife sharpener of Lansky is designed to keep up with the ruggedness of the hunting knife and provide it its most reasonable kind of sharpness to outlive the field. It is great not only for quick honing, but also in repairing the edges of the blades that may have chipped off and become severely dull. The four sharpening stages are functional for other field implements like serrated and gut-hook type of hunting knives as well as fillet knives.

It has a tungsten carbide slot that revives dull and damaged blades back into life. The ceramic sharpening slot provides an excellent service in creating burr-free and neat edges. A small bench stone type of sharpener is incorporated in the edge of the device designed for serrated knives. An extendable diamond tapered rod attached to the side can be used for a combination of these blade types and thoroughly got around the edges of gut hook.

It has a pre-set angle of 22.5° per side (45° combined edge) suited for the hunting knife blade’s thickness. The superior quality of its sharpening abrasives is what makes this one of the best hunting knife sharpeners in miniature form in one complete and cool concept. Weighing 4 ounces and measures 8.3 by 3.2 inches, a bit heavier and compact than other sharpeners, this can also be conveniently carried.

To prep a hunting knife for an expedition, the fine ceramic slot is recommended. Lansky fairly suggests that the carbide slot is to be used only for severe and beat up blades because it is very aggressive and would risk removing more metal from the knife. The fine ceramic slot may take little more pulls to achieve to desired sharpness, but it guarantees subtle sharpening. The ceramic bench stone can also be used if desired. The ceramic slot does not only realign and sharpen the edges, but it also keeps a neat sharpness and finesse of the blades.

The ceramic bench stone type sharpener can be used in all types of blades. It is also tapered and appeared a bit steep to be able to sharpen the smaller gullets of a serrated knife. The diamond rod is best for bigger serrations, but it would be a little difficult to use it on smaller ones as it will not fit or would equal to the size of the gullet making sharpening a little tough.

To use with a plain blade, simply swipe the knife across the edge as you would across a steel rod. For the serrated knife, simply run the knife across the white ceramic stone, beveled side down in a pulling motion. The downside of the bench stone is its susceptibility to metal filings on the surface that diminishes its performance in the long run. Lansky has its Eraserblock cleaner that can remove the tiny swarfs and revive the sharpener. It’s like a sharpener made for a sharpener.

Another viable option for the serrations and guthooks is the tapered diamond rod. Diamonds work more aggressively than ceramics that makes it more speedy and expedient when facing time constraint.  To use, simply run the rod into the blade with rotating motion until the edges are of the desired sharpness.

5. Sharpal 101N 6-In-1 Knife Sharpener & Survival Tool ($).

Pocket knife sharpeners are not something one would want to use every day, but this type of sharpeners would always come in handy for any camping, hunting, and outdoor activities. They don’t pretty much take of a space and almost every pocket sharpeners have lanyard holes to enable it to be hooked on anything to prevent losing it. For survival, the functionality of the tools plays a great deal.

This Sharpal 6-in-1 sharpener and survival tool are another high quality and precise tool that can be used not just as a hunting knife sharpener, but also as an emergency survival kit as a whole. Incorporated along with the sharpener is a built in fire starter and whistle for extreme measures. The fire starter can be used by pulling out the rod and pulling it across the tungsten carbide slot to ignite a fire.

The whistle is used as communication tool should something untoward accident happen and rescue or companions are needed.Taking its sharpener into account, Sharpal has two stage sharpening. The more aggressive pre-set tungsten carbide abrasive and the ceramic abrasive for honing. For restoring edges of hunting knives, use the tungsten carbide slot.

Tungsten carbides are very abrasion-resistant and would work with any type of metals a hunting knife is made of without the risk of wearing its own abrasives in the process. The ceramic blade for honing is best for realigning and polishing the edges of hunting knives after sharpening and helps it maintain the mirror-like sharpness of the blade to enable the knife to perform in its utmost excellent performance. 

Sharpal’s knife sharpener also comes with a tapered diamond rod that can be used to sharpen the gullets of a serrated knife, gut hooks, and fish hooks. The diamond rod is also extensive in sharpening the edges of a hunting knife for regular maintenance.It is built-inand extendable to allow sharpening even up to the edges of the blades that are hard to reach by other rods, especially those that extend up to the handle.

To use the “V’ shaped sharpener, set it ona flat surface. Follow the arrow that shows the direction of the strokes that is printed in the slot. Insert the blade perpendicular to the sharpener and parallel to the surface. Pull the blade through the slot from the heel to the tip, assisting any curving edge into the slot, 3 to 5 times until the desired sharpness is reached. Continue to hone on the ceramic slot to refine the edges. To use the diamond tapered rod for the serrated knife and gut hook, just slide the rod back and forth into the blade using medium and firm pressure until sharp.

6. DMT FWFC Double Sided Diafold Sharpener ($$).

Stone sharpeners are the most traditional form and are preferred by some enthusiasts because of the quality of its performance and the versatility to work with just any types of knives. It only requires a little of a time and skill to perfect the hand sharpening. But since stones are bulky and a little bit heavy, outdoor backpackers and hunters are not always relying on its portability.

In order to make stones legit for hunters, DMT engineered pocket-sized stones with the exact same quality of performance than most synthetic stones, but at a more convenient size and weight. This is through the mini sized sharpener that comes in a combination of abrasives designed for different purposes.

There are six types of diafold:

  • The double sided
  • Single side
  • Serrated sharpener
  • Hook and knife sharpener
  • Flat file
  • Chainsaw file

All these can work pretty well with hunting knives. But the best hunting knife sharpener is perhaps the double sided diafold that has two different diamond surfaces that are suitable for the ruggedness of the knife. There are four sets of grit combination to choose from: the coarse and extra coarse; fine and coarse; extra fine and fine; extra fine and extra-extra fine.

The Coarse/Fine would be best enough as it is already a sharpening and honing combination having diamond grits of 325 and 600, respectively. The sharpener has micronized monocrystalline diamonds that makes its surface durable despite contact with other hard metals that could have the tendency of wearing out the abrasives resulting to uneven sides like most stones have.

The interrupted surface or holed surface of the coarse stone are made to clip metal filings. This is to prevent it from accumulating on the surface and hampering the work ability of this hunting knife sharpener. The diafold does not need lubricant or water when sharpening adding to its convenience.

It can be used on almost all knives including the woodworking ones like axes and hatchets, and of course for its prime purpose, the hunting knives, and pocket knives. Enclosed in a plastic folding case, it ensures that the whetstones are kept safe from impact and shocks that it may encounter along the way.

7. Blize Tec 3 in 1Tactical Knife Sharpener.

Measuring only 5 inches long, weighing 1.46 ounces and looking much like a ballpoint pen, this product could rank as one of the best hunting knife sharpeners in terms of portability, functionality, versatility, adaptability, and durability. This multi-purpose sharpener can work well with other types of knives and of different materials, they are made of enabling it to troubleshoot most dull knife issues efficiently.

Inside the case is a retractable tapered diamond rod sharpener that has incorporated three different shapes into one rod like the grooves for hooks, a flat surface for sharpening a standard hunting knife and a pointed end for serrations.

To use the sharpener for a standard hunting knife, simply pull the rod halfway out of its plastic base holder, extend the desired type of sharpening surface, either the flat or the rounded, and threading the lock back into place to hold the rod securely. Start sharpening by making a scraping motion of the blade into the diamond rod, repeating the process until thoroughly sharpened.

To sharpen serrations, flip the rod over, this time the pointed edge exposed out of the base and tighten the lid to secure. Rub the blade into the rod, choosing the diameter that is slightly smaller than the depressed portion, several times until sharp.

8. Buck Knives 97076 Edge Tek Dual Grit Pocket Stone Diamond Knife Sharpener ($$).

For the hunter who would not forgo the precision and quality of a stone-sharpened hunting knife, this dual-grit pocket stone diamond is also abetter choice. It is very lightweight at 1.3 ounces, and portable, measuring only 5.6 x 1.9 x 1 inches.

It has a 100% diamond coated surface with the coarse and medium grit of 350 and 750, respectively, that works out the edges of the blade for more precision during cutting, skinning or chopping games of any kind. The best thing about having a durable and sharp blade is being able to cut meat fastidiously without wearing out and fraying the fibers.

Maintaining the edges of the blades is allowing it to serve its actual purpose and it’s the next best thing for hunters. Before sharpening, the edge of the blade is first evaluated to be able to pick up the appropriate surface for sharpening. The coarse diamond surface is noted for its extensive sharpening performance, but could remove metals from the blade. The medium diamond surface is a bit subtle and is generally used for honing.

To use the sharpening stone, lubricate the stone surface with a honing fluid or water, much preferably distilled. Consistent with the angle of the blade, scrape it back and forth in the surface of the sharpener in 5 or more strokes until really sharp. Flip the knife over to sharpen the other side of the blade.

When repairing a nicked edge, start sharpening around the broken edges first to remove the damage before proceeding to sharpen the entire surface. This way it will keep a uniform edge without furthering the damage by removing more metals from its edge.

9. Work Sharp WSGFS221 Guided Field Sharpener ($$+).

To bring out the working edge of a hunting knife, a reliable industrial sharpener is the next best thing since that sliced game. Providing more precise and accurately sharpened edge, Work Sharp’s field sharpener takes the guesswork out of sharpening by its controlled angle that can be set at 20° or 25° per edge of the blade.

Keeping the angles consistent is best to retain the factory angle of the blades for durability. Work Sharp is a complete manual sharpening system that has five abrasives in its plate. It has coarse and fine diamond sharpening plate, coarse and fine ceramic hones, and a leather strop. The coarse and fine diamond sharpening plate is attached to the base with its magnetic sides and can be removed and used for sharpening freehand.

To use, lightly rest the blade on the angle guide ramp located at each end of the sharpener and push it along the abrasive surface about 5 to 10 strokes before alternating to the other side. If the coarse plate is used, repeat the process on the fine sharpening plate. The ceramic rod is then used to hone followed by the leather strop to polish the edges for that superior sharpness.

To sharpen serrated hunting knives, use the ceramic rod by rotating the lever on one end of the sharpener choosing either the coarse or fine rod. Push the beveled side of the knife back and forth into the diamondrod until sharp.

10. Chef’s Choice 1520 AngleSelect Diamond Hone Knife Sharpener ($$$$+).

Electric knives are the easiest and fastest way of sharpening any tool. It gets the job done in just a matter of seconds. A variety of these electric sharpeners are suitable for common kitchen cutleries. But not many of this can accommodate outdoor tools like hunting knives because of the pre-set angle of the sharpening slots that would not fit the thicker blades of such knives.

Chef’s Choice AngleSelect is a versatile electric sharpener that is built for knives of varying degree blade angles including Asian knives and the thick hunting and tactical knives. It has a Precision Knife Guide that automatically sharpens on the knives’ factory edge and creates its patented arc-shaped edge that is essential to hunting knives.

While other sharpeners create the V-shaped edge, it tends to lack enough metal support that tends to get broken easily resulting in a dull edge. The geometry of the blade has a great role in ensuring a lasting and incredibly sharp edge despite rigorous activities. This model has 100% diamond abrasive that precisely cuts into the metal and flexible stropping disks that are responsible for creating that patented blade geometry.

The sharpener has three stages. Stage 1 is specially designed for 15° Asian blades. Hunting and other standard knives are sharpened on the fine diamond stage in Stage 2. Having different slots for left and right blades, this sharpener can also be used with one-sided knives.

To sharpen a hunting knife, simply run the blade into the slots of Stage 2 with uniform and light downward force alternately into the left and right notch. Repeat couple more pulls until a burr is created then continue sharpening on Stage 3 using 3 to 4 alternating pulls. 

The workability of the blades matters for every hunting knife. And the secret to it is not on the expensiveness of the knives, but on the quality of the sharpening kit that is used with it whether out in the field or re-sharpening back home. Learning how to hunt and gut and slice is one thing, and learning to sharpen gears is another. It is always best to pick the hunting knife sharpener that one is most comfortable using, does not compromise the quality of the blades, and does create the level of excellence on the blades for serviceable edges that last.

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