The wear of time is inevitable and affects all things. That shiny, razor-sharp blade you bought brand new soon becomes dull with repeated use. That is when you turn to your sharpening stone, to put a keen edge on your blade once again.
However, figuring out which stone is right for you can be a challenge. You need to know what grit, what material, and what type of sharpening stone will best suit your needs. The best sharpening stone used for putting a fine edge on a primary knife will not be the best stone for sharpening up a pair of garden shears.
That is why we have provided you with a list of the 8 best sharpening stones in a variety of categories. Then, we put together a Buyer’s Guide to help you navigate the surprisingly robust market of sharpening stones.
1. Work Sharp WSKTS Knife & Tool Sharpener – Best Electric Blade Sharpener
Though not technically a sharpening stone, a list of sharpening products would not be complete without including at least one electric model.
On our list, we feature the Work Sharp which is a high-quality electric blade sharpener that comes with a complete kit.First, this electric blade sharpener features 3 different grades of grit, so you can first remove nick and burrs, then hone the edge, and finally, polish a fine line to the bevel. Moreover, the Work Sharp provides 2 belts of each type of grit. Moreover, this blade sharpener also features multiple angle guides.The knife angle guide offers a 40-degree berth with 20 degrees for either side, so you can put a double-edged bevel. However, the Work Sharp also includes a 50-degree guide for hunting knives as well as a 60-degree angle guide for common household instruments like scissors.Unfortunately, even with the guides, you will still need to have a decent set of sharpening skills and a good eye to avoid removing too much metal. Moreover, this is easily the most expensive product on our list – more than double the next closest sharpening stone.
Requires a high degree of skill to get the best edge
Can quickly remove too much metal and will remove more metal than manual sharpeners regardless
Easily the most expensive product on our list
2. Mighty Dreams Premium Knife Sharpening Stone, 1000/6000 Grit – Best Fine Edge All-Around Value
Our first true stone is a waterstone from Mighty Dreams. While it may be the second most expensive product on our list, it does offer some nice features that make it better than the KING for some consumers. However, there are distinct limitations in regards to the appropriate use with this waterstone.First, this stone does features 2 different grades of grit, which is nice and adds versatility. However, neither of those grades dip below 1000 grit. This places the Mighty Dreams squarely in the finishing stone category. If your blade has nicks or burrs, you will still need to remove them with a coarser stone.However, this stone features one of the best bases available. The base itself is made out of bamboo with a nonslip coating. The inside of the base features a silicone mold to keep the stone securely fastened. Moreover, the stone itself is fairly easy to maintain and will not require frequent flattening.Pros
Comes with a bamboo and silicone, non-slip base
The provided angle guide ensures every stroke is on point
Fairly easy to maintain without much effort
The second most expensive product on our list and the most expensive manual sharpener
Will require more time to sharpen than some of the other stones on our list
Does not come with a coarse grit side
3. KING Japanese Sharpening Stone, 1000/6000 Grit – Best High-quality Sharpening Stone
If you want to put a good, sharp edge on your blade, then KING is where you turn. In fact, KING is one of the most well-known and well-respected makers of waterstone blade sharpeners. These stones are of such a high quality, that master sushi chefs use them on their own cutlery.This KING does not disappoint either. Though it does not feature a coarse grit side and is thus not suitable for removing burrs or nicks, the 1000/6000 grit is ideal for medium and fine edge finishing. Moreover, this is one of the stones on our list that actually comes in the advertised 8″, rather than the base simply being 8″, and the stone being smaller like with some of our other entries. This allows you to sharpen any size blade.Unfortunately, KING skimped out a bit when it comes to the base. The base itself is made out of plastic and does not have any non-slip features. As such, you may be better off finding a way to secure it before sharpening your blades. Also, expect putting a fine edge on your blade to take some time.Pros
One of the few sharpening stones on our list that is a full 8″
Has one of the shorter sharpening times for fine grit on our list
One of the more durable stones on our list and will not wear down as quickly
The base is a bit subpar and is made out of plastic
Will require more time to sharpen than some of the other stones on our list
Does not come with a coarse grit side
4. Sharp Pebble Premium Knife Sharpening Stone, 400/1000 Grit – Best Beginner Sharpening Stone
For beginning sharpeners, learning the technique and the care of your sharpening stone will take time. Moreover, there is a great deal of finesse and enough maintenance that having everything at your fingertips can make the process go a whole lot smoother. That is why the Sharp Pebble is the best for novices.First, the Sharp Pebble features both a coarse and fine graded grit side. This allows you to smooth out any nicks or burrs in one hand and flip the stone over to put a sharp, polished edge in the other. Moreover, the Sharp Pebble even includes a flattening stone so all of your maintenance needs are cared for with one kit.Unfortunately, you will likely need to use that stone regularly, as the Sharp Pebble will wear down quicker than many other stones on our list. Part of this is likely due to its porous nature which also makes the stone absorb a great of water. While this fine when sharpening, it does require more of a cleanup when you are finished.Pros
Provides both a coarse and a fine grit
The base securely holds the stone and will not slip
Comes with a complete kit including a sharpening guide and a flattening stone
Does not feature a grit for extra fine edges
Well absorb and retain water for a long time
Will wear down quicker than some of the better brands
5. Smith’s DCS4 Diamond Combination Stone – Best Diamond Sharpening Stone
The Smith’s DCS4 is the first and only diamond sharpening stone on our list, but you likely only need one. Smith’s is a well-known and respected brand in the blade sharpening world and considered on par or just a hair below KING. However, this sharpening stone is a bit different than the others.First, this is the only handheld manual sharpening stone we feature. This makes it much quicker and easier to use. Aside from needing no lubricant, you do not have to worry about a base either. Moreover, the small size is ideal for travel, and the rubber handle with a thumb guard prevents the blade from slipping during use.Unfortunately, the Smith’s design does present some distinct limitations. First, this stone is far too small to use on larger blades. Unless you are a master, you simply will not be able to keep the angle and pressure consistent enough to do so with larger blades. However, even with a high skill level, this sharpening stone is best reserved for pocket knives and household instruments.Pros
Can be used with a single hand
Features a coarse and fine grit
Has a non-slip rubber handle with a protective thumb guard
The stone’s size is exceedingly small
Will require a high degree of skill to use properly
More of a travel stone and not great for knives
6. Smith’s SK2 Sharpening Kit – Best Oil Sharpening Stone
Our second Smith’s sharpening stone is a bit more what you expect from a sharpening stone. However, this product too is unique on our list. This is the only oil lubricated sharpening stone. Still, there are other qualities that can make it especially attractive.First, this stone is made out of Arkansas novaculite – the premiere material for oil lubricated stones. Moreover, the stone features both a coarse and medium grade grit. As an additional bonus, Smith’s also provides a smaller finishing stone – this time made out of transparent Arkansas novaculite, though it is too small to fit the base and must be used by hand.In fact, even the coarse/medium graded grit stone is a bit small. This will limit some of the larger blades that can be sharpened with this stone – but not nearly to the degree that Smith’s diamond sharpening stone is. Also, the base itself is plastic and not non-slip, so it may not be all that useful.Pros
The least expensive product on our list
Made out of the best oil stone material – Arkansas novaculite
Comes with a separate finishing stone – though it is even smaller than the medium grit stone
Categorized as a “small” stone, not suitable for all blades
Will not get your blade to the finer, sharper edges
The base is made out of plastic and is not non-slip
If you need to get the absolutely sharpest edge with the cleanest polish on your blade, then BearMoo is where you look. This sharpening stone features the absolute highest grit on our list at 8000. However, the other side of the BearMoo sharpening stone is only 3000 grit. While this is great for fine edges, it means this stone will not remove burrs or nicks.Still, the base, while a bit small, is made from silicon and is non-slip. Moreover, this waterstone is made from corundum which provides a great deal of durability. Not only will it weather incredibly well, you will not have to worry about flattening it too often.Still, as a high finish stone, you personally must be aware of your own limitations. For one, unless you have a high degree of skill, you are unlikely to be able to put a finer edge on your blade than the 3000 grit graded side can provide. Moreover, even if you have the skillset, be prepared to sharpen for a long time to achieve results.Pros
Features the highest grit on our list as well as a high starting grit
A silicon, non-slip base provides an excellent mount
The corundum material is incredibly resistant and durable
Will not be able to fix chips in the blade
You will have to take your time when using this stone
Requires a high degree of skill to get the most out of it
8. PriorityChef Sharpening Stone, 400/1500 Grit – Best Commercial Sharpening Stone
The final product on our list is a step above the beginner sharpening stone but well-suited for many of the same tasks. As such, a more skilled sharpener who knows what they are doing could use this waterstone for a variety of purposes and often. That is why we have named it our best commercial sharpening stone – especially for kitchens.First, while this stone features a similarly graded coarse grit of 400 and the Sharp Pebble, the Priority Chef’s fine grit is graded at 1500. This will allow you to get an even sharper edge than is possible with the Sharp Pebble to allow the easy cutting of organic matter like foods. Moreover, it only require 15 of soaking to be lubricated for use which is vital in time-sensitive businesses.Unfortunately, the 1500 grade grit will require spending a bit more time to get the sharper edge than the 1000 grade grit does. Also, this is a tad small, so some of the larger butcher knives may not be suitable for use with this stone. Finally, this stone will wear a bit quickly and require somewhat frequent flattenings to maintain.Pros
Features a coarse and fine grit, with the fine being a touch over average
Features a rubber, non-slip base for secure sharpening
Only requires a quick soak of 15 minutes or less to get properly lubricated
A touch smaller than is preferred for larger blades
Will wear out quicker than many other sharpening stones
Will take longer to get a good edge than with other materials
Best Sharpening Stone – Buyer’s Guide
This is easily one of the most important qualities to determine when choosing a sharpening stone. However, there is no “right” answer for this consideration. Instead, you will need to select a grit depending on what stage of the sharpening process you need to accomplish.In fact, if you do not already have a sharpening stone, then you should consider getting at least 2 kinds of grit: coarse and fine. Still, even within this simple dualism, the answer is not simple as the material itself will weigh heavily in terms of what grit is rated as coarse and which is rated as fine.
For waterstones which are one of the more common types of sharpening stones, 220 grit is considered coarse, while 1000 grit is considered the floor of fine. However, waterstones go all the way up to 8000 grit and can get your blade sharper than any other material.
Regardless, the point to be made is that you will actually need a range of grits if you are trying to sharpen your blades to as fine a point as possible. Moreover, you need to consider how each material grades its grit.
This quality of a sharpening stone will factor far more heavily in terms of the maximum sharpness you can get your blade. Moreover, this material will also determine whether you need a lubricant or not, though generally, you will. Finally, this factor will determine how quickly you can sharpen your blade.Materials generally come in 3 broad categories which are delineated by the lubricant required: water, oil, and diamond. Of the 3, diamond stones are the only type of stone that does not require any lubrication. However, diamond sharpening stones also require a bit more skill to use as it can be easy to scratch the blade by applying too much pressure.
Waterstones are by far the most common and have the widest variety of materials to choose from. Natural stone, ceramic, and even many synthetics are waterstones. Depending on how porous the material, waterstones may require being soaked in water for as much as 24 hours or as a little as simply spraying them down.
Oil stones are less common for consumer uses because they have a lower ceiling on how sharp they can get the blade. These stones include both Arkansas hard and soft, silicon carbide, and aluminum oxide – though, aluminum oxide can be made into a waterstone as well. Regardless, these types of stones are most common for commercial purposes where the ultimate sharpness may not matter quite as much and a honed, moderately sharp edge is all that is required.
This quality will hinge more on the size of the blade that you are sharpening. However, it is a good idea to get a larger stone as you can always sharpen a smaller blade on a large stone, but it is far more difficult to sharpen a large blade on a smaller stone. A stone less than 8″ long is considered smaller, while a stone that is 8” or larger is considered bigger.
Moreover, aside from the cost in time and tedium, if you are using a stone too small for the blade, you are far less likely to be able to practice the appropriate technique and apply the proper amount of pressure at the desired angles. Of course, too small a stone also carries with it the risk of accidentally cutting yourself as you no longer have the same type of clearance for your fingertips – though, that will be more or less relevant depending on your skill level and sharpening technique.
As alluded to earlier in the grit section, if you do not already own a sharpening stone, you will ideally want to purchase at least 2 grits, coarse and fine. The coarse grit will remove any knicks in the blade, while the fine will come behind it and put on a keen edge.
However, if you do not already have at least one kind of sharpening stone, chances are that you may be somewhat new to blade sharpening. In this case, it can be a good idea to get a stone offers 2 different types of grit in one.
Of course, even advanced blade sharpeners can find value in the versatility of a stone with more than one type of grit, though they may prefer to find it along a narrower spectrum. Specifically, advanced blade sharpeners may prefer to find a stone that has 2 different grits, but both of them are for fine and finer edges. In this case, a stone with a grit of 1000 and then a secondary grit of 4000 or more would be ideal.
As you use your sharpening stone, the wear and tear will eventually form a small dip. Depending on the blade being sharpened, this may not cause too much trouble. However, if you are sharpening a high-quality blade made out of a harder material or if the dip is considerably deep, you will need to flatten the stone to get the best edge on your blade.
Of course, different stones will wear out quicker than others. In this regard, beginners are recommended to purchase a durable stone that will not require as much maintenance, while more advanced users likely already have the required flattener or diamond plate to begin with.
Generally, waterstones will wear out quicker and need to be flattened more frequently, but a high-quality waterstone will perform well for as long as any oil stone before needing maintenance.
This quality is a complete self-assessment and may not truly be necessary. However, it can be exciting for beginner sharpeners to see all of the different options and begin to fantasize about the finest edges possible. Of course, once they purchase an 8000 grit whetstone, they soon become frustrated by their inability to put as fine an edge as they would like.
In this case, the novice may blame the stone and unfairly malign the manufacturer when in reality they simply were not skilled enough to use it properly, unable to maintain consistent pressure or the proper angle over the numerous strokes that the finest edges require.
To avoid this dilemma, we recommend that beginners stick with grit no more than 4000. If you are a beginner and get a higher grit, just be aware of what it entails and set the expectations of the finished product accordingly.
As we can see, there truly is no clear-cut answer to which sharpening stone is the best sharpening stone. Depending on your skill level and the needs of the blade or blades to be sharpened, different stones will work for different people.
If you need a stone that is either diamond or oil-based, your best bet is to pick up a Smith’s brand. Just keep in mind that those stones are smaller than most and will limit the size of blades you can sharpen them with.
If you need a coarser stone to remove nicks and burrs, the Priority Chef or Sharp Pebble should suffice, though the former can put a finer edge on the blade than the latter. Still, the Sharp Pebble’s complete kit is perfect for beginners.
Of course, if you need the sharpest edges, then the BearMoo’s unparalleled 8000 grit maximum side is where you should look. However, the KING is probably the better option for general purpose fine edging.