My favorite knife sharpener was the Smith’s 50596 because it an all-in-one kit that will make your knife deadly sharp. It also uses a clamp that will ensure the edge of knife is sharpened at a constant angle. It uses two types of stones to repair the edge and make it sharp again.
I can still remember the day when my grandpa gave me his pocket knife. I always took it with him wherever he went. This pocket knife also has a lot of sentimental value to me.
The only problem is that, and after several uses, they tend to get dull. It is our responsibility to look after them and not let them waste.
It is also not always necessary to take out knives to a professional knife sharpener as we can do it ourselves.
Here is the problem.
It takes some skill and experience to sharpen a knife the right way, but without the proper tools, your skills mean nothing.
In this article, I have listed up to five of the best knife sharpeners for pocket knives. You will also learn a great deal from my buying guide on how to choose the best one for your needs.
Are you ready?
If you want to skip the buying guide and head straight to the first knife sharpener, then click this link.
Buying Guide For Pocket Knife Sharpeners
In this buying guide, I am going to help you choose the best pocket knife sharpener for your needs. I will help you select the best-suited product for if you are on a tight budget or if its weight is going to be a deal breaker.
I am also going to reveal the different types of sharpeners and what each one does. If you would like to learn more about this art, then you need to read my article on knife sharpening.
Sharpeners for pockets knives are not that expensive, and they do not need to be. The price can range from as low as $5 or as high as $50.
If you are short on a budget and you would like to get your hands on the least expensive product in this listing, then the Sharpal 101N is going to be your best bet.
One of my main core principles is to sharpen your pocket knives at home. Do not wait until you are in the woods or camping site to try and sharpen it. It is better to be prepared than to be caught off guard. Sometimes carrying a knife sharpener with you will not hurt, so this is why we need to go for the ones that are lightweight and will not take too much space in our pockets or backpacks.
If you plan to carry a sharpener with you on the field, then I would highly recommend the Sharpal 101N or the Smith’s DCS4. Both of them are under 1.5 ounces and is small enough to fit in your pocket along with your knife.
The Different Stages Of Sharpeners
If you have any experience in knife sharpening, then you will know that to make a knife razor sharp is to take it through different stages. Below, I will discuss some of these stages which will also represent the different types of knife sharpeners.
Forming the cutting edge
Sometimes, you will come across knives that are so dull, that they do not even have a cutting edge anymore. The best way to repair its cutting edge is with the help of a coarse sharpening stone or pad.
The coarser the stone, the faster it will eat away the steal to form an edge. It is also important not to overdo this process as it can lead to a lot of steel being wasted which will reduce the lifetime of your knife. Almost all of the tools in this listing can help you to create or repair the cutting edge of the blade.
Sharpening the cutting edge
To sharpen the cutting edge, you need a finer stone to do the job. Coarse sharpening stones or pads will not give you a sharp knife and will only form the edge.
To further sharpen the edge, you need a finer stone which will work on the edge of the blade at a finer microscopic level. This process also takes much longer because it does not eat away too much steel on your knife.
Honing the blade
The process of honing can also be called steeling which makes the edge of your knife straight again. It is often noted that after several uses that the furthest edge of your knife will start to bend on specific areas of the blade.
It is important to note that the closer you move to the edge of the blade, the thinner it becomes which makes it very sharp but also vulnerable and weak. It is because of this characteristic that the edge will start to bend. If you look at a blade that needs honing under a microscope, you will notice that it will have a wavelike appearance near the edge which means it has bent as more than one location.
A straight cutting edge will always be sharper than one that is bent. By aligning the edge to the center of the blade again, you will return it to its former glory which is epic sharpness. By using a stone of sharpening pad, you will eat away precious steel which is unnecessary. Instead, why don’t you straighten the edge by honing it?
Some of the tools in this listing will allow you to hone the steel back to the center. Some to the tools that can help you in the honing process is the Sharpal 101N, the Work Sharp 20 and finally the Smith’s CCD4.
Stropping the blade
If you want to know which technique gives some blades or razors the ability to shave the hair from your arm, then you need to become more familiar with stropping.
Stropping is done with the help of leather. Some people also like to refer to it as polishing the edge of the blade to remove the last bit of imperfections. You will also note that the edge of the blade will start to shine like a mirror once stropping is done.
This process will make your pocket knife as sharp as a razor. If you do not have access to leather, then you can make use of a newspaper which does the job just as well.
There is one tool in particular which has a leather strop on the side to do just this, and I am referring to the Work Sharp 20.
#1 Smith’s 50596 (Top Pick)
Best For: This product is best for those that struggle to sharpen their knives at a constant angle and who also wants an all-in-one type of kit.
- Editors Rating: 10/10
- Price Range: $$$
- Weight: 17.6 oz
- Type: Coarse and Fine
What makes this sharpening system so unique is that it uses a knife clamp to position the knife at a constant angle securely. The reason why this is so important is that the edge of the blade needs to be as even as possible to maintain its sharpness.
If you are always going to change the angle of the edge, you will reduce the lifetime of your knife. The clamp also makes use of four different angle guides which help you in having a constant angle. You also have three types of stones to use which include the coarse diamond to help for the edge of your knife and the fine Arkansas stone to help make the edge as sharp as a razor.
Some knives will not have an edge that is flat but will instead have grooves near the base of the blade. These grooves cannot be sharpened with a regular stone and need to a particular type of stone to do the job. The serrated edge stone bar is also useful to sharpen the point of the knife and the grooves on the edge of the blade. This kit also comes with a honing solution which will help to keep the stones clean especially the diamond stones.
This kit also comes in a nice and durable pouch to carry all of the items you will ever need to sharpen a blade. This kit also works exceptionally well to sharpen pocket knives because the clamp can easily grip the back side of the blade. This kit can easily fit inside your backpack or one of the storage compartments inside the dashboard of your car.
#2 Sharpal 101N (Budget Friendliest)
Best For: If you are short on a budget and you would like a knife sharpening tool that can do more than just sharpening knives, then this one if for you.
- Editors Rating: 7/10
- Price Range: $
- Weight: 1.4 oz
- Type: Coarse and Honing
This tool has two sharpening slots where the first one is made of tungsten steel to sharpen and further refine the cutting edge of the blade. The second slot is made of ceramic which is best used to hone the blade. I will go over honing in the buying guide in the top section.
All you need to do is to put the blade inside of the slot at a 90-degree angle and gently pulling it back from heel to tip with only a little bit of pressure applied. This tool also has a diamond rod which is used to hone the grooves of your knife (if it has any).
And that is not all…
You can also start a fire or use it as an emergency whistle. You can pull out the fire starter with ease, and the whistle is built into this tool. It can be easily carried in your pocket or inside your backpack. It is ideal for camping, hunting or backpacking.
#3 Work Sharp 20. Guide
Best For: This product is best for those that want a complete knife sharpening system where you can also hone and stropping.
- Editors Rating: 9/10
- Price Range: $$$
- Weight: 2.56 oz
- Type: Coarse, Fine and Honing
This handy tool from Work Sharp will take you through 5 steps to ensure you have a deadly sharp pocket knife. It has both a coarse and fine diamond plate to create the edge and sharpen it. It has a built-in 20-degree angle that will help you sharpen your blade at a constant angle. It also has a ceramic honing rod at the one side to help you straighten the edge of the blade. This honing rod can also help to sharpen a knife with serrations.
On the other side of this tool, you will find a leather strop which to polish the fine edge of the blade to make it even sharper. You do not see many tools that have a built-in leather strop. If you love bowhunting, then you can also sharpen your broadheads with the help of this tool. Though it might not be possible to carry this tool in one of your pockets, you can easily carry it in your backpack or somewhere in your car.
#4 Smith’s CCD4
Best For: If you are struggling to maintain a constant sharpening angle, then this product is for you.
- Editors Rating: 8/10
- Price Range: $$
- Weight: 8.8 oz
- Type: Coarse, fine and honing
At first, you will be presented with a small notch which contains carbide blades. If you have a very dull knife, then you can stroke it through this notch which will quickly create a sharp edge. Once your knife has a sharp edge, you now need to sharpen it on a microscopic level further. This is where the fine diamond stone comes into play.
By stroking your knife over this stone a couple of time (while only applying light pressure), will make it extra sharp. You also do not need any cleaning oil while using this unique sharpening pad. This pad also contains a small groove that can be used to sharpen fishing hooks.
This product comes with two ceramic rods that need to be placed into the platform at a preset angle. The platform will have two slots that will allow you to set the rods at an angle.These rods are used to hone your knife to get a straight edge. These rods also have three different edges that can be used depending on the shape of your blade.
It has a round edge that is best used for straight blades and has a triangular side for knives with serrated edged. It also has a flat side to apply the final stage of honing. The rods can be easily stored underneath the platform.
#5 Smith’s DCS4
Best For: If you are after a simple knife sharpening tool that is lightweight and can easily fit in your pocket or backpack, then this one is for you.
- Editors Rating: 7/10
- Price Range: $$
- Weight: 0.8 oz
- Type: Coarse and fine
What I like about Smith’s DCS4 sharpening tool is that it is both small and lightweight and will make the perfect companion for backpacking. The slab containing the diamond stones can be easily pulled out and be stored inside the container.
The slab containing the stones have two sides which contain stones with different textures. For instance, you have the coarse side which is 325 grit, which is labeled and given a yellow color. The other side which contains the fine sharpening pad is 750 grit and is given an orange color. Both of these sharpening pads have a small groove that can be used to sharpen fishing hooks or other pointy tools. For safety features, you will also get a rubber grip along with a thumb guard.
Pocket Knife Sharpener Comparison Table
|1. Smith’s 50596 (Top Pick)||17.6 oz||Course and Fine||$$$|
|2. Sharpal 101N (Budget Friendliest)||1.4 oz||Course and Honing||$|
|3. Work Sharp 20||2.56 oz||Course, Fine and Honing||$$$|
|4. Smith’s CCD4||8.8 oz||Coarse, fine and honing||$$|
|5. Smith’s DCS4||0.8 oz||Course and fine||$$|
Now you have a better idea of what types of pocket knife sharpeners are out there. If you still could not make up your mind, you can head over to the comparison table above or choose my favorite for the day which is the Smith’s 50596.Which knife sharpener was your favorite? Please leave a comment below and share with us your choice.