Is your blade in need of sharpening? Then you’re going to need a sharpening stone.
While there are many to choose from, using a good quality stone will make all the difference in the performance of your knives as well as lengthen their lifespan.
In this ProSurvivalStrategies.com guide, you will learn:
- What is a sharpening stone?
- Why do you need a sharpening stone?
- What to look for in a quality sharpening stone?
- What are the different types of sharpening stones?
- What are the top 8 best sharpening stones?
- And much more!
Check out our top 8 best sharpening stones in the quick comparison chart below:
PRODUCT NAME AND
Our #1 Top-Rated Pick
- 4 Grit Stages
- 2 Diamond Plates (Coarse 320-Grit) / Fine 600-Grit)
- Interchangeable 17°/20° Angle Guides
- Pivot-Response Technology
- Ceramic Field Hone w/25° Built-in Angle Guides
- Upgrade Kit Available
- Made in USA
- Best Sharpening System
Work Sharp created this benchtop sharpening and honing system to allow users (novice and seasoned sharpeners alike) to sharpen any type of knife.
Due to the innovative design of a pivoting base, you are able to create consistently sharp edges along the entire length of the blade both on straight blades as well as on curved blades.
With its interchangeable 17° and 20° angle guides, you will be able to maintain a precise and consistent angle while sharpening.
Did I mention that it comes with a separate ceramic field hone that’s perfect for touch-up sharpening and honing while on the go?
No matter what type of blade or fine-edge tool needs sharpening, this sharpening system can do it all. It even sharpens fish hooks.
Being so versatile, it's no wonder why this sharpener is our #1 Top-Rated Pick.
USA made and a 42 year warranty, it can’t get better than this.
As an added note: If you want to extend the range of diamond plates and sharpening angles, consider getting the Upgrade Kit.
Top 8 Best Sharpening Stones!
In a hurry? Check out our top 8 picks below. Keep reading to learn more about each sharpening stone!
- Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System (Best Overall Pick)
- Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone (Best Water Stone)
- Good Combination Whetstone (Best Budget)
- Ultra Sharp Diamond Stone Set (Best Diamond Stone Set)
- Bearmoo Whetstone (Best Versatile)
- DMT 8-Inch DuoSharp Plus Bench Stone (Best Bench Stone)
- Arkansas Sharpening Stone Set (Best Arkansas Set)
- Work Sharp Whetstone Sharpener (Best Newcomer)
What Are Sharpening Stones?
Sharpening stones is a collective term used for all stones used to sharpen anything with an edge. There are natural sharpening stones that are taken directly from its natural environment and synthetic stones that are developed by manufacturers.
Sharpening stones have different grades. Each grade refers to the grit size of abrasive particles embedded in the stone. The grit size is delineated by a number indicating the stone’s abrasiveness. A high number will indicate a smaller abrasive grain, thereby producing a finer abrasive product, whereas a low number will indicate a larger abrasive grain thereby producing a coarser abrasive product.
Keep reading to learn more about the various types of sharpening stones.
Why Do You Need a Sharpening Stone?
A good quality knife or cutting tool should last you a lifetime. Unfortunately, they don’t.
Knives and any edged-tools deteriorate over time due to regular use or (possibly misuse). It’s unavoidable. They become dull, ineffective and accident-prone.
Not to worry though! That’s what sharpening stones are for.
Sharpening stones will help keep all your cutting tools staying sharp and performing to a peak level as well as extend your blade’s lifespan.
If you want to maintain that razor-sharp edge on all your knives and edged-tools, using good quality sharpening stones is the way to go and they should always be part of your sharpening toolkit.
What Should You Look For in a Quality Sharpening Stone?
When you’re searching for a sharpening stone, there are a few things you should be mindful of before buying one.
The Grit Perhaps the most important element of your sharpening stone will be the grit. Grit basically dictates the sharpening power of your stone and how it will perform.
Sharpening stones have different grits and each grit will sharpen your knife differently.
There are coarse, medium, fine and finer grit stones each referring to the size of the abrasive particles within the stone. Each grit size will have a number indicating the degree of a stone’s coarseness or fineness. The lower the number, the coarser the surface. Conversely, the higher the number, the finer the surface.
The Size Does size matter? In this context, not really. An ideal size for a sharpening stone will depend on the type and size of the knives or edged-tools being sharpened.
A 6” stone would be considered a small stone. An 8" stone is the most commonly used size and anything larger than 8” would be considered generously-sized. There are also stones smaller than 6" called pocket stones that are great for on-the-go sharpening.
Simply put, larger knives and edged-tools will require larger stones while smaller knives, like pocket knives, are perfect for smaller stones.
If you're looking for something more portable, check out our article on the top portable knife sharpeners.
The Material As mentioned above, sharpening stones may be natural or synthetic. Generally, modern synthetic stones are considered to be more superior in their sharpening performances. The abrasive particles can be controlled which allows the stone to cut faster or slower.
Natural stones, on the other hand, are often treasured for their natural beauty and since they are so rare, it makes them a valuable collector’s piece.
Additionally, no two natural stones are alike. There are even some rare natural stones that have finer abrasive particles than that which are found in artificial stones.
The Lubricant Most sharpening stones will require a lubricating substance, either oil or water, which helps in the sharpening process. However, some stones can also be used dry. It really comes down to personal preference.
Keep in mind though, once you use oil, you will need to continue using oil since oil and water do not mix.
User-friendly Stones that require constant flattening, soaking and cleaning, or ones that take a little longer to form an edge can be cause for frustration for many sharpeners. So remember, your willingness to perform regular maintenance will be a requirement when choosing your stones.
Stone or Stones Just how many do you need? It really depends on how much sharpening you do. Essentially, if you do a considerable amount of sharpening, you should have at least three stones. One to form a rough edge, one to sharpen and one to hone.
If you only sharpen on occasion and do not need to reshape an edge (remove any chips or nicks), a combination stone will work just fine.
Your Budget We all have a budget. We may even stretch our budget if something is worth paying the extra cost.
Everyone has heard the expression, “You get what you pay for.” There is always some truth to that saying, but it does not necessarily mean that the most expensive stone will give you the best results.
Effective and efficient sharpening can be achieved at various price points. It really just comes down to choosing the best one for your needs and what you can easily afford.
Can’t wait? Click here to read the reviews of our top 8 picks.
What Are The Different Types of Sharpening Stones?
There are three common types of sharpening stones - oil stones, diamond stones and water stones.
Oil Stones These types of stones tend to hold their flatness shape which provides for a more sturdy sharpening surface. Some natural stones come pre-bathed in oil directly from the manufacturer. Therefore, it is recommended that these stones continue to be used with oil.
As I mentioned above, once you use oil on a sharpening stone, you will need to keep using oil since oil and water do not mix.
Diamond Stones Since diamond stones are considered to be one of the hardest materials, they will continue to remain flat for a long period of time. Although they can be used dry, it is recommended they be used with water.
Water Stones For beginners and seasoned sharpeners alike, these stones are a great choice since they are easy to use and require very little cleanup. As the name suggests, these stones are used with water.
Below is an in-depth look of the different types of stones.
Oil stones have been and still are the traditional sharpening stones used. This type of stone is typically made with natural materials but a few man-made options are available.
As the title of the stone suggests, this type of stone would be used with an oil lubricant to help the removal of swarf (metal filings).
There are three common types of oil stones - Arkansas, India and Crystolon.
This sharpening stone is a unique rock mined in the Ouachita Mountains of Arkansas and Oklahoma. It is made of natural material called Novaculite which is composed of quartz crystals.
While this type of stone is considered to be an oil stone, water can be used. There is a theory that by adding a bit of dish soap with the water helps keep the stone from clogging.
Arkansas stones are not measured by their grit size, but by density and hardness.
There are four grades of an Arkansas stone: Soft, Hard, Black and Translucent. The most popular grade is the Soft Arkansas Stone as it provides a keen, sharp edge on knives or tools in minimal time.
Keep in mind, the softer the stone, the coarser the stone surface feels. The harder the stone, the smoother, glassier the stone surface feels.
Norton India Stones
By contrast to the natural Novaculite Arkansas Stones, oil stones made from aluminum oxide have become an increasingly popular man-made option best-liked for providing durable smooth-cutting edges on many tools.
When compared to an Arkansas Stone, India Stones are considered to be more coarser and can be used together with the Arkansas Stones covering all the grit levels from coarse grit to ultra-fine grit.
India stone grades come in coarse, medium and fine. They are pre-soaked in oil, so trying to use water with them would be ineffective.
Norton Crystolon Stones
These types of oil stones are made from silicon carbide and are considered one of the fastest cutting stones. They are the preferred choice for quick work when speed of sharpening outweighs the need for a fine cutting edge.
As a general rule, Crystolon Stone is used first for coarse grit sharpening followed by an India Stone and finishing off with an Arkansas Stone.
The Diamond Sharpening Stone has small synthetic diamonds that are fixed to a hard plate (a/k/a Diamond Plate) creating an abrasive surface that is much harder than any other sharpening stone.
As one of the toughest materials on the planet, it wouldn’t be easy for a stone to become worn out that is covered in diamonds. And because of the diamond’s hardness, the stone will continue to remain flat for a long time, provided of course the stone is properly maintained.
Diamond stones may be used dry, but it is recommended that it be used with water. You should not use oil because once you do, water will no longer work.
By adding a little dish soap to the water can help reduce friction and keep your stone’s pores from clogging.
Diamond stones are used for different purposes. Based on the diamond’s density on the plate, there are two ways to sharpen with a diamond stone.
The most common of the two is called the Non-Continuous Diamond. This type contains small holes to catch any swarf. Using this type of surface, sharpening will be much faster and easier to use.
The second of the two is the Continuous Diamond. This type of surface is the preferred method when you are sharpening tools which include points that might otherwise get caught in the small spaces of the non-continuous diamond surface.
Both types can be made with either monocrystalline or polycrystalline diamonds. However, monocrystalline diamonds are the preferred choice because of its ability to sustain its structure giving the stone greater longevity.
With anything, there are advantages and disadvantages. Two advantages of the diamond stone is its sharpening speed and the flatness that it retains. As a matter of fact, extra-coarse diamond stones are sometimes used to flatten oil stones and water stones.
The disadvantage of the diamond stone is its cost. While these stones may be one of the most expensive in comparison to other stones available, diamond stones will last much longer, making it worth paying the higher price.
Like oil stones, water stones can either be natural or made of synthetic materials. However, they are softer than oil stones.
As its name suggests, these stones are used with water as the lubricant (as opposed to oil) which develops a fast-cutting slurry.
Synthetic water stones are generally made from Aluminum Oxide which is the same abrasive material used in India stones. However, water stones have a much higher quality composition that produces a softer stone.
Being softer allows the abrasive material to break away more easily, exposing new sharp material, which ultimately promotes faster-cutting.
The higher quality grain composition will leave a much finer finish than India or Crystolon stones making them ideal for final edge sharpening on all your edged-tools.
Water stones are also much easier to clean than oil stones since they won’t leave any oil residue on your tools. Due to its improved performance and preference for water over oil, it’s the preferred sharpening stone.
A well-known water stone are the Japanese Water Stones.
Japanese Water Stones
Japanese water stones can either be natural or man-made. Like most whetstones, Japanese natural water stones are sedimentary.
Notwithstanding, the quarries in Japan had rocks which incorporated additional composition containing fine silicate particles in a clay form, making them a bit softer than Novaculite which is found in Arkansas Stones.
Japanese water stones should be soaked in water prior to use.
Finding a good quality sharpening stone can be quite overwhelming for some. Since there are so many options, where does one begin?
So to help reduce some of the stress, we have carved out our top 8 best sharpening stones to help you choose the one that best meets your needs, preferences and budget.
So let’s sharpen it down!
Top 8 Best Sharpening Stones Reviews!
- 4 Grit Stages
- Diamond Plates (Coarse 320-Grit / Fine 600-Grit)
- Interchangeable 17°/20° Angle Guides
- Pivot-Response Technology
- Ceramic Field Hone
- Upgrade Kit Available
- Made in USA
USA made, the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System is a complete benchtop sharpening and honing system which can sharpen virtually every type of blade.
For straight and curved edges, it has a 320-grit coarse diamond plate for repairing and reshaping your blade and a 600-grit fine diamond plate for sharpening.
The main feature of this sharpening system is its unique “pivot-response” design. Basically, it has a pivoting base that holds the sharpening plates in place. When the slide-lock is activated, the base is immovable which is perfect for sharpening straight blades. Once deactivated, the base will pivot back and forth as your blade nears the edge of the sharpening plate allowing the plate to follow the curve of your blade.
Included with this system are interchangeable angle guides which you can flip between 17° and 20° depending on the type of knife you want to sharpen. The angle guides will help you maintain a precise and consistent angle while sharpening.
The kit also includes a separate ceramic field hone with 25° built-in angle guides that not only can be used to sharpen freehand but can also be snapped into the base of the main sharpener in place of the sharpening plates.
The field hone consists of three ceramic rods. One small and medium rod for sharpening serrated blades and a 3-position larger rod that rotates between a coarse and fine surface for honing as well as a grooved surface to sharpen fish hooks.
The ceramic field hone is also great to throw in your gear bag for on-the-go sharpening.
If you are new to sharpening or have been unsuccessful with other sharpening stones, the Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System will definitely make manual sharpening much easier with its innovative pivot-response technology.
So if you are looking for a sharpener that can provide keen edges on every type of knife and fine edge tool, this sharpening system is the one for you.
Additionally, if you want to extend the range of diamond plate grits and more sharpening angle options, consider investing in the Upgraded Kit.
The kit includes 2 additional diamond plates (extra-coarse 220-grit for blade repair and coarse tool sharpening) and (extra-fine 800-grit for delicate sharpening tasks and refining your edges). It also includes a leather stropping plate with 0.5 micron honing compound as well as an additional 25° stropping angle.
Now if you prefer using a water stone, check out our #8 pick, the Work Sharp Whetstone Knife Sharpener. Despite being quite new to the sharpening stone market, don’t let that deter you from checking it out.
What about a carrying case to protect your Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System?
Just as you would protect your knife from damage while storing it in a sheath, you also want to protect your sharpener from any dents, scratches or even water.
By storing your Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System in a carrying case, it not only provides for convenient storage while not in use, but also keeps your sharpener from getting damaged or dirty, especially if you throw it in your gear bag.
Made of durable EVA material that is shockproof, crush and water-resistant, it will safely secure your sharpener inside a smoothed padded lining. With its added mesh pocket, you can store all your sharpening accessories that can otherwise get lost.
The Aenllosi Hard Carrying Case is perfect to keep your sharpening system organized and protected.
- Two-sided Grit (1000/6000)
- Angle Guides
- Non-Slip Silicone Holder
- Bamboo Wood Base
This superior sharpening tool boasts a double-sided premium quality whetstone that provides a 1000-grit coarse side and a 6000-grit fine side.
The coarse side performs quite well by removing any nicks or chips from your blade while the fine side will produce a very smooth mirror-like polish.
With its rubber bamboo base, you won’t have to worry about your stone from shifting around while sharpening. It also comes with a non-slip silicone holder to keep the stone in place. All in all, it provides a safe and secure area to work on.
It even has sharpening angle guides to help assist in keeping a consistent angle to achieve that perfect edge. Keep in mind though, the angle guides may not work for all types of knives since they are quite small.
From kitchen knives to hunting knives, this multipurpose professional grade whetstone can sharpen just about anything with an edge. It even sharpens axes.
So if you're looking for a high quality whetstone that is easy to use and can deliver a razor-sharp edge, the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone is a top contender.
- Double-sided Grit (400/1000)
- Silicone Mount
- Great for Beginners
The Good Combination Whetstone Sharpener can sharpen just about any type of blade from kitchen cutlery to hunting knives. It is even large enough for sharpening axes and hatchets. Basically, it can sharpen anything with an edge.
This dual-sided whetstone is made with quality aluminum oxide and has a coarse 400-grit on one side for removing any nicks or chips from your blade while the fine 1000-grit side is for refining and polishing the edge.
With its non-slip silicone base, it helps keep the stone from shifting around while sharpening. If you want even more stability, place a dish towel under the stone.
If you are new to sharpening, this combination whetstone would be the perfect starter stone. Since the stone is used with water, cleanup is quick and easy. There is also a simple instruction manual included with some tips that will help those beginners.
The product also offers a 2-year warranty if you are not completely satisfied. Certainly, this whetstone could provide the performance you need.
So if you are looking for a good quality whetstone at an affordable price, this is definitely one you shouldn’t pass up.
You’re definitely getting a bang for your buck with this sharpening stone!
Best Diamond Stone Plates
- 3 8x3 Diamond Stones
- Coarse (300-Grit) / Medium (600-Grit) / Extra-Fine (1200-Grit)
- Adjustable Stone Holder Included
As we all know, the diamond is the hardest material on the planet. Therefore, sharpening with diamonds will be done extremely fast. Additionally, since they are considered to be the toughest material on the planet, it wouldn't be easy to wear out a surface covered with diamonds, now would it?
This sharpening set consists of three interchangeable diamond stones as opposed to most that consist of only one solid piece. The dimension of these stones are 8 x 3 which is an ideal size to sharpen knives and have effective results.
This diamond stone set comes in three grit grades: a coarse 300-grit, a medium 600-grit and an extra-fine 1200-grit.
Diamond stones are known for its fast-cutting which makes the sharpening process that much quicker and easier. They can sharpen anything with a cutting edge very fast, including high carbon, stainless, and ceramic knives!
The stones lock in an adjustable hard plastic base to use when sharpening or for storing when not in use. With its silicon rubber studs, there’s no worrying about slipping.
Although this diamond stone set is more costly compared to other stone sets, it’s definitely worth paying the higher price since diamond sharpening stones are known to last for many years.
With its 100% satisfaction guarantee, you can check it out and put the stones to the test, risk-free. If you’re not completely satisfied with them, you can easily return them for a full refund with no questions asked. So why not give these diamond stones a try?
Best Versatile Stone
- 2-IN-1 Grit (Coarse 3000/ Fine 8000)
- Corrosion and Heat-Resistant
- Non-Slip Silicone Base
The BearMoo 2-in-1 sharpening stone is ideal for creating sharp edges on most knives (not suitable for serrated or ceramic) and fine edge tools.
This quality sharpening stone is made from professional grade white corundum, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, which is known for its remarkable heat and corrosion resistance.
The 3000-grit coarse side is used to create sharp edges while the 8000-grit fine side is perfect for finishing and polishing your edges. You can also use the fine side for touch-ups on blades that are already relatively sharp.
The non-slip silicone base provides for a secure and sturdy foundation on its own while also being compatible to fit in the BearMoo Bamboo Base.
Since this is a water sharpening stone, it does not require oil.
The BearMoo Whetstone also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. So why not give it a try, risk-free?
Best Bench Stone
- Two-Sided Diamond Stones
- Coarse and Fine Diamond Grit
- Made in the USA
USA made, the DMT Bench Stone is considered one of the best diamond stone sharpeners on the market. DMT’s reputation in the diamond sharpening stone industry is unsurpassed.
The DMT Bench Stone features an 8-inch two-sided grit. A coarse side for quickly restoring a dull blade’s edge and a fine side to produce a razor sharp edge on slightly dull edges. This stone is exceptional for sharpening various knives and edges and thanks to its continuous diamond zone, this stone can even sharpen small and pointed tools.
Unlike other conventional sharpening stones, this diamond sharpening stone will take all the hard work out of sharpening in a fraction of the time due to its monocrystalline diamond surface.
Remember, diamonds are considered to be one of the hardest materials on the planet, so sharpen carefully. A few strokes can go a long way.
One key advantage is that this sharpener does not require oil and can be sharpened either dry or with water making it convenient to sharpen anywhere.
Keep in mind that with diamond stones, there is always a “break-in” period. When you first start using the stone, it will feel quite rough but will smooth out as you use it without sacrificing its performance.
This sharpening stone also comes with a durable plastic bench to hold your diamond plate securely in place. The bench also elevates the plate allowing you to sharpen more precisely and efficiently.
DMT has definitely set the bar high with this remarkable diamond stone sharpener. It may be a bit pricier than some other stones on the market, but this little “gem” stone is definitely worth paying the higher price!
Best Arkansas Stone Set
- 3 Genuine Arkansas Stones (Soft, Hard & Black)
- Coarse (600-Grit) / Fine (1200-Grit) / Extra-Fine (2000-Grit)
- Available in 2x6", 2x8" or 2x10"
- Can be used as a Bench Stone or Handheld
- Lifetime Guarantee
- Wood Base
- Made in USA
Arkansas stones are considered to be the most popular sharpening stones used today and this Arkansas Sharpening Stone set is no exception.
Manufactured in the State of Arkansas, this set consists of three 8-inch genuine Arkansas stones that are each individually mounted on a wood base and labeled by their grade type for easy reference.
The stone set is also available in 6-inch and 10-inch sizes and each stone is approximately ½ inch thick.
These Arkansas Stones are of the same quality stones as the ones offered in the wood boxes.
Since these stones are permanently fixed to a quality wood base, the cost-savings of not having to lap the second side of the stone or manufacture a box is passed on to the consumer, which is why it’s offered at a much lower price. So with this set, you would get the same results at a fraction of the cost.
Each set includes a Soft, Hard and Black Arkansas stone.
The Soft Arkansas or Coarse 600-grit stone is perfect for repairing very dull or heavily damaged edges.
The Hard Arkansas or Fine 1200-grit stone produces a very fine sharp edge.
The Black Arkansas or Extra-Fine 2000-grit stone will create a razor-sharp, mirror-like finish.
It’s no wonder why the Black Arkansas Stone was traditionally used to sharpen dental tools, surgeon’s scalpels and straight razors. It can produce a very keen edge on all knives and tools.
These stones not only can be used as a bench stone but also hand-held if you prefer.
Water or oil can be used on these stones but the manufacturer recommends using oil (mineral oil will suffice) on the Soft and Hard stones while water should be used on the Black stone.
If you use water on the Black stone, make sure to keep it wet at all times during the sharpening process.
Important: Once you use oil on a stone, you will need to continue using oil.
So if you are in the market for some quality Arkansas Sharpening Stones, this set is one that is worth checking out.
At this price point, you're getting everything you need to take your blade from edgeless back to razor-sharpness.
- Double-Sided Grade Corundum
Coarse (1000-Grit) / Fine (6000-Grit)
- Interchangeable / Removable 15- and 17-Degree Angle Guides
- Water Control Base
- Anti-Skid Feet
- Easy and Quick Cleanup
- Made in USA
New to the sharpening stone market, and made in the USA, the Work Sharp Whetstone is a dual-grit water stone that can deliver incredibly keen edges on all your knives and fine edge tools.
It boasts a premium 1000-grit and 6000-grit corundum which is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide that is known for its superior hardness.
The dimensions of the stone are 7” x 2.5” and 1” in height which is considered to be a standard industry size.
If you haven’t perfected your sharpening craft yet, the included angle guides will definitely come in handy. It will help you maintain a consistent edge ultimately making the sharpening process faster and easier.
The sharpening guides are also interchangeable from 15° or 17° and can be removed if you prefer to sharpen freehand.
Its water control base provides a sturdy foundation, less mess for a quicker cleanup and storage for your stone while not in use.
Although this sharpener hasn’t had much exposure being recently released to the market, it can still achieve that factory sharpness.
So if you are looking for something fresh and new that can deliver a razor-sharp edge at an affordable price, the Work Sharp Whetstone Knife Sharpener is one to consider.
Sharp Points To Remember!
- Coarse stones are best used for heavy sharpening while finer stones are best for honing, refining and polishing.
- Use your stone on a level surface.
- Avoid sharpening bulky tools on soft stones.
- Apply the correct sharpening angle for your blade.
- Make sure to use all areas of your stone.
- Always clean your stone after every use. If your stone is especially dirty, coat it with some WD-40; rub it with a steel wool pad in a circular motion; rinse thoroughly with water and let sit for a few days to completely dry before storing.
- Remember to flatten your stone about every 10 sharpening sessions to help keep your stone uniform and to get rid of any metal filings that have become embedded in the stone.
There is no right or wrong way in choosing a sharpening stone. It all comes down to your needs, preferences and budget.
Whether you're a novice or seasoned pro, we hope you found our article on sharpening stones useful and our reviews on our top 8 helped narrow down the possibilities that best meets your needs and budget.
Remember, "Always stay sharp!"