If you are in a hurry and do not want to read through the entire article, you can check out this sharpening stone from Sharp Pebble. It is inexpensive and has two sides with a 1000/6000 grit. You will also get an angle guide and a booklet along with the stone.
Working with dull knives is not only frustrating but can also be dangerous. With dull knives, you need to apply more pressure which will increase the risk of the knife slipping. It is because of this, why we always need to sharpen our knives.
Best Sharpening Stone Summary
There is also nothing wrong with being old fashioned when using sharpening stones. There are a lot of tool sharpening gadgets online, but sometimes the more “primitive” methods work the best.
Here is the problem:
There is a large variety of sharpening stones that you can buy online, so how would you know which ones are the best?
Luckily for you, I have given a list of 5 of the best sharpening stones for knives. I have also given you a tutorial below which will cover all the features and essential information on these stones. This information is crucial if you want to choose the best stones for your needs.
Beginners Guide For Sharpening Stones?
In this section, I am going to go over the grit of the stones and how to choose the best type for sharpening your knife. This will include damaged, chipped and also blades which you want to polish. You will also learn how to maintain the same sharpening angle with some safety tips involved. Last but not least, you will learn how to use these stones properly with a demonstration video.
It is all in the grit
When reading about sharpening stones, you will often time come across mentions of grit. So what is grit? Most sharpening stones comprises over small particles that are fused to make out the stone. Some particles are larger than others. The larger the particles, the coarser the stone will be. Larger particles will also have a lower grit number which makes it rougher. So, as a rule of thumb, the lower the grit, the coarser will the stone be and vice versa.
So now that you are more familiar with grit, how do you choose the stone according to that. It is , and I will show you how:
- For damaged edges. If the edge of your knife is chipped or almost non-existent, then you need to use a stone with 80-1000 grit. The sharpening stone will be very coarse and will scrape away a lot of metal on your knife. Stones that fall into this category are not used to sharpen knives and only to create a new edge. If you have a damaged blade, then the best stone to use is this one from Unimi.
- For very dull knives. If you can run your thumb down the edge of a knife without cutting yourself, then you know you have a very dull knife. The best stones to use for this problem are stones that are between 1000 to 2000 grit. Stones that fall into this grit category are only used to restore an already present cutting edge without scraping away too much metal.
- Sharpening and maintaining the edge. For knives that already have a cutting edge that looks good, you further refine the edge with stones that are between 2000 to 4000 grit. This stone only scrapes a little bit of metal from the edge and will make it sharp again. You can also use these stone to maintain the edge of your blade.
- Taking sharpness to the next level. What if you want to make your knife so sharp so that it can shave the hair from your forearm? You knife are already sharp, but you want to take it to the next level. The best stones for this are those that are between 4000 to 8000 grit. These stones are the finest that you can get and will make your knife sharp on a microscopic level. Anything stone which is more than 6000 grit will only polish your blade instead of sharpening it. The best stones in this category are the Mikarto stones.
If you have knives that fall into all of the categories listed above, then I would highly recommend this set from KnifePlanet which has 400/1000/3000/8000 grit stones for all uses.
How many times have you cut yourself when using a sharpening stone? One of the biggest reasons for cutting yourself is when the stone moves around, and you need to hold it in place with your opposite hand. The best way to prevent this is by using some rubber mat. Almost all of the stones in this listing will have a rubber mat which will help keep it in place.
Maintaining the same angle
Most professional knife sharpeners will agree with me when I say that maintaining a constant angle is the hardest to do when sharpening knives. It does take some practice to develop the muscle memory needed to hold the knife at a specific angle. You want to maintain a constant angle because if you regularly change the angle of the edge, the blade will never get sharp. Even if you choose a wrong angle for a knife and the angle stays the same, it will eventually get sharp.
The best way to maintain a constant angle is with the help of tools such as angle guides. The only two products in this list that include an angle guide are the stones from Sharp Pebble and Mikarto.
How to use sharpening stones?
Sharpening knives with sharpening stones do not need to be that hard. Below, I will give you some of the steps that you can follow to sharpen your knives effectively.
Step 1. Evaluating your knife
To choose the correct stones, you need to evaluate the cutting edge of your knife. Is the edge of your knife still sharp or is it dull? Are there any ridges or chips on the edge. Does your knife even have an edge?
Step 2. Choosing the right stones
I think I have already covered this part in the “grit” section, but I will give you a quick recap. If the edge is damaged or almost non-existent, then you should start with stones that have a grit lower than 1000. If you have an edge, but the knife is very dull, you can use a stone with a grit between 1000 to 2000. If your knife is sharp and you would like to maintain it, you can use a stone with a 2000 to 4000 grit.
Step 3. Preparing the stones
Some sharpening stones need to be soaked overnight to fill all of the pores inside the stone. By soaking the stones, you prevent any of the small steel particles scraped from the knife from entering and thus blocking them. You can also use a flattening stone to make sure the sharpening stone has a flat surface.
Step 4. Setting the angle
You can use the current angle of the knife or choose a new angle. If you want a new angle for your knife, make sure to stick with it. Continually changing the angle will waste too much steel which will drastically reduce the lifetime of your knife. The best angle for kitchen knives is between 10° to 15°. For heavy duty knives such as hunting knives or pocket knives, you can use an angle of between 20° to 25°. Outdoor knives with a larger angle will need less honing and can cut through harder materials without damaging the edge of the blade.
Step 5. Moving the knife across the stone
Place the edge of the knife on the stone at the angle that you have set. You can use angle guides to make this process a lot easier. Move the knife in the direction of the edge because you do not want to the steel to curl over the tip of the edge. Move it circularly so that you cover the entire length of the blade. Give the left side of the edge 15 strokes over the stone. Turn the knife on the opposite side so that you can sharpen the right-hand side.
Repeat the process two to three times and then move on to the next stone which will have a higher grid. Depending on the condition of the edge, you should always start with the stones which have a lower grit and then move to the stones with a higher grit.
#1 Sharp Pebble (Top Pick)
Best for: This sharpening stone is versatile where it will repair a very dull blade and also make a knife deadly sharp.
- Editors Rating: 10/10
- Grit: 1000/6000
- Type: Very dull and sharp
This stone from Sharp Pebble has a two-sided grit which is 1000 and 6000 grit. The 1000 grit is best used to repair the edge of a blade or to create a new one where it can also be used to sharpen a very dull blade. The 6000 grit is best used to maintain the sharpness of an edge or to make it deadly sharp. If you are new to knife sharpening, then you will learn a ton from their knife sharpening guide which is also included.
Along with the package, you will also get a non-slip bamboo base in which to place the stone and even an angle guide to maintaining the angle of the edge. The stones are also easy to clean which means you do not need to use cleaning oil.
#2 Image Set 6PCS (Budget Friendly)
Best for: They are best if you are looking for an inexpensive and complete set of stones with moderate quality.
- Editors Rating: 7/10
- Grit: 180/400/800/1500/2000/3000
- Type: All types
This set has six stones which comprise off 180, 400, 800, 1500, 2000 and also 3000 grit. Any stone which has a grit of less than 1000 can be used to repair the edges of blades. From 1000 grip up to 2000 grit is used to make a blade that is very dull sharp again. Stones with grit from 2000 up to 4000 is used to make knives very sharp. These stones are not very large and are 5.8” long, 0.78″ wide and also 0.2″ thick which is not much. The stones can also be used on knife sharpeners.
These stones are very inexpensive, but there was only one problem that I could find. The stones themselves are not very thick (0.2”) thick which means they will not last very long. They are also marked on the surface where the sharpening will happen which means the markers will quickly wear off. If you decide to buy these stones, make sure to mark them on the side to identify the grit. I would only recommend this set to people that will occasionally sharpen their knives.
#3 KnifePlanet (Highest Value)
Best for: If you sharpen your knives a lot and you want a complete kit to with a variety of stones, then this product from KnifePlanet is for you.
- Editors Rating: 9.5/10
- Grit: 400/1000/3000/8000
- Type: All types
This product from KnifePlanet comes with two stones 400/1000 and 3000/8000. The first stone is mainly used to repair a broken edge and also to help sharpen a very dull knife. The second stone has a finer grit which is primarily used to make a blade deadly sharp. The 8000 grit is best for polishing a blade. The stones are color-coded and also marked on the side to make it easier for you to identify them.
For safety purposes, you will also get a non-slip bamboo base in which to place the stones. Along with the two stones, you will get a flattening stone. Sharpening stones need to be flat at all time if you want to use them properly. As you only use a specific section on the stone, it will become uneven over time. The flattening stone is used to give your sharpening stones an even surface area again.
Best for: This stone is best to repair the edge of a blade and also to sharpen very dull knives.
- Editors Rating: 8/10
- Grit: 600/1000
- Type: Very dull blades
This whetstone from Unimi is very coarse and has a grit of 600/1000. This type of grit is best for repairing the edge of a blade. The 600 grit will take off a lot of steel from the blade which is best to create a new edge or to repair a chipped one. The 1000 grit can be used to sharpen a very dull knife. The stone is made from white corundum which is a high-quality material that is resistant to heat and friction. You will also get a non-slip silicone base to keep the stone in position.
Best for: This type of stone is best used to make an already sharp blade extra sharp or to polish the edge.
- Editors Rating: 8/10
- Grit: 3000/8000
- Type: Polish blades
The type of stone that you will get is a 3000/8000 grit which has a fine and superfine texture. This type of grit will not scrape a lot of metal from your knife and will only make it sharper on a microscopic level. This stone is not used if a blade is very dull or to repair a chipped edge. It can also be used to maintain the edge of a blade. Along with the sharpening stone, you will also get a honing stone which will align the tip of the edge. There is also a lapping stone used to clean the sharpening stone. The stone can also be set on a non-slip rubber base so that it does not move around. You will also receive an angle guide which will help ensure that you sharpen the blade at a constant angle.
Sharpening Stone Comparison Table
|Product Name||Grit||Type||Editors Rating|
|1. Sharp Pebble (Top Pick)||1000/6000||Very dull and sharp||10/10|
|2. Image Set 6PCS (Budget Friendly)||80/400/800/1500/2000/3000||All types||7/10|
|3. KnifePlanet (Highest Value)||400/1000/3000/8000||All types||9.5/10|
|4. Unimi||600/1000||Very dull blades||8/10|
|5. Mikarto||3000/8000||Polish blades||8/10|
Say no to dull blades
There you have it. I have taught you how to choose the best sharpening stone for your knife, and I have also given you 5 of the best sharpening stones to choose from. If you are still a bit unsure which one to choose, you can take a look at the comparison table above to get a detailed view on what stones are available. For more information on sharpening stones and knives, please visit this page.