Keeping your favorite, most-used knives sharp is a chore. No matter how frequently — or infrequently — you break out your knives and use them, they become dull over time. And the knives you rely on most often are the ones that’ll dull the quickest. Relying on a dull knife means you’re using a less effective and potentially more dangerous tool, as dull knives can make cutting harder and less precise. While sharpening your knives is certainly a chore, it can be made easier with a good, quality whetstone. Whetstones, which are also called sharpening stones, are the perfect DIY sharpening tool. Made out of a variety of materials like ceramics, aluminum oxide, or even diamond, a few swipes along one of these stones can restore your knives’ sharp, finely-tuned blades.
Wondering where to start in your search for just the right whetstone? Browse our picks for the best whetstones you can buy right here.
The Shan Zu Whetstone is one well-rounded sharpening stone you can use to restore your knives to their original glory. This premium-quality stone is made to be durable, shaped out of tough white corundum (a type of aluminum oxide) and paired with a stable base that’s crafted from bamboo wood. A non-slip rubber strip keeps your whetstone in place while you work to ensure even, precise results. The whetstone itself measures 8.46 x 3.74 x 2.17 inches in size, and it offers two different grits to choose from: #6000 grit on one side, #1000 grit on the other. With nothing other than water needed to lubricate your knife blade, absolutely anyone can master the art of fine-tuning metal blades with this kit. It even includes an angle tool guide, which you can use to achieve just the right angle for a sharp edge — and it’ll help protect accidents from slicing up your fingers, too.
You can sharpen your knives on your own without making a huge initial investment — just consider the Keenbest Sharpening Whetstone. We love the great value this whetstone offers, presenting you with both a #400 grit option and a #1000 grit option. All you have to do is flip over the stone to get a different grit. The sharpening stone measures 7.6 x 2.9 x 1.5 inches in overall size, and it’s made from silicon carbide. The lower-grit side of the stone is just the right fit for knives with larger cutting edges, while the higher-grit side is handy for polishing and perfecting the edge in detail. Suitable for everything from hunting knives to chef’s knives to hatchets and axes, you’ll be able to put this affordable whetstone to use in so many different ways. As a water whetstone, you don’t need any oil or specialty lubricant; once the stone is wet, you’re ready to start sharpening.
Your culinary knives are absolutely critical tools, and they can dull even faster than your everyday utility knife — and that’s why you’ll want to have the Whetstone Culinary Knife Sharpening Stone in your tool kit. This sharpening stone is a must-have in the kitchen, as it’s specifically made for restoring sharp, precise edges on chef’s knives or culinary tools. The whetstone, which is made from tough silicon carbide, measures 7.01 x 2.24 x 1.14 inches. It features #400 grit on one side and #1000 grit on the other, giving you a coarse grit that breaks down even the most-used metal, and a finer grit that polishes and cleans up the knife edge. Designed to be used with water, you can easily put this whetstone to work with kitchen knives, scissors, and other blade varieties. And it’ll last you throughout many uses and even many years to offer great durability.
The Shapton Ha No Kuromaku Ceramic Whetstone is a great example of why Japanese whetstones are becoming increasingly popular. Made to restore the extremely sharp slicing and cutting capability of Japanese knives, this whetstone offers more options so you can achieve a truly precise and awesomely sharp edge on any knife blade of any kind. Made in Japan and available in 10 different grit options that range from extra-coarse #120 to exceptionally fine #30000, this whetstone measures 8.98 x 3.46 x 1.57 inches. You can slough away everything from corrosion to nicks with coarser grits and finish a knife’s edge with fine, careful precision with higher grits. No matter which you choose, this Japanese sharpening stone delivers the quality and excellent performance you need to make sharpening at home a breeze. This stone, when used with a splash of water, can restore sharpness in less than a minute.
While restoring a sharp cutting edge is key for any whetstone, achieving a sleek polish and a blade edge that’s angled just right for your needs and uses is also important. That’s why a fine grit whetstone like the King KW65 Whetstone is a great choice. This double-sided sharpening stone offers #1000 grit and #6000 grit, two options that are made just for fine-tuning knife edges. The stone measures 8 x 2.5 x 1 inches in size, and it comes with a basic plastic base that’ll keep the whetstone in place while you work. To get sharpening, all you have to do is soak the stone in water and keep it wet for proper lubrication to achieve impressive at-home results. It’ll even work on extremely dull knives, getting them back to their former cutting capability. Just keep in mind, however, that it does take work and wearing down to perfect — and you may want to start with a coarser grit at first to speed the process up if you have very dull knives.
If you’re searching for a sharpening stone that can do it all and cover absolutely every knife blade in any condition, the Ahnr Whetstone Kit is your best option. This set includes two whetstones, each made out of aluminum oxide with two different grits for a total of four grit options. Each whetstone measures 3.4 x 8.4 x 9 inches in size, and you’ll get one stone with #400 and #1000 grit and one stone with #3000 and #8000 grit. This means you’ll be covered for just about everything. The coarser grits are perfect for extra-dull knife blades that need a tougher sharpening stone to raise the burr and sharpen edges. The finer grits are great for polishing and perfecting blades and their newly sharp edges, allowing you to fine-tune your results. You’ll have everything you need to switch from sharpening to finishing or changing between different blades in need of a refresh. These two whetstones will work on all types of blades, from knives to gardening tools to axes and so much more.
Are you working with knives that are sharp but just not in their best shape? The Kota Japan Whetstone can help. Made with a fine grit that’s high in number, this is more of a polishing stone than a sharpening stone. It’s actually designed for specialty Japanese knives, which require extra fine-tuning to become extra-sharp and extra capable for precision cutting, especially in the kitchen. However, you can rely on this water whetstone, which measures 7.25 x 2.25 x 1 inch in size and weighs 1.4 pounds, to master the polishing and finishing process. Offering #1000 grit on one side and #6000 grit on the other, you can keep knives, tools, and other sharp objects looking sharp and slicing perfectly. Even more importantly, this whetstone is backed by an unconditional lifetime warranty, which ensures you can get a replacement at any time if one is needed.
If you want to do more than merely sharpen blades, the G-Ting Whetstone Kit is the perfect product to pick. This kit includes two different whetstones — one with #400 grit and #1000 grit and one with #3000 grit and #8000 grit — that both need nothing but water and a dull blade to get sharpening. If you’re looking to take blades from dull to perfectly precise and finely-tuned, this is the kit you need. The coarse grit choices allow you to strip away dullness, while the finer grit options are ideal for careful precision, shaping blade edges, and polishing or finishing. In addition to the whetstones, this kit also includes a leather honing strap, an angle guide for increased accuracy, a bamboo base, a polishing compound, a flattening stone, and a leather razor strop. It’s truly comprehensive for creating a precise cutting blade.
The Angerstone Whetstone is just the right sharpening device if you have tools that have gone sharp. While plenty of whetstones are made for kitchen and utility knives, this is a sharpening stone that can tackle just about anything. It’s a water whetstone that measures 7.08 x 2.36 x 1.8 inches in size and features two grit options, #1000 and #6000 grits. It’ll take any blade from dull to sharp once again, and its higher grit option is even ideal for polishing, finishing, and perfecting your tools. This stone works on scissors, hunting knives, chisels, gardening tools, axes — anything that has a straight blade, not a serrated blade, will easily become sharper. Along with the whetstone itself, you’ll also get a silicone stand that keeps your stone in place while you use it and an angle guide for easier, safer DIY sharpening.
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The most common types of whetstones
Whetstones come in so many different varieties. Just a quick search for whetstones will turn up thousands of choices in all kinds of different materials, shapes, and sharpening grits. But there’s an easy way to begin narrowing down your options to find a quality product: Decide which type of whetstone you want to work with.
There are three common, overarching types of sharpening stones. Whetstones are divided into types based on how you use them to sharpen a knife: with oil, with water, or with tough diamonds. You can learn more about each kind below.
Oil whetstones are one of the most common kinds you’ll encounter. Considered the “traditional” choice, these stones are natural stones made from either novaculite, aluminum oxide, or silicone carbide. In order to file your knife and sharpen its blade, you’ll use oil to lubricate the metal against these stone varieties. Oil whetstones can offer different densities and create different finishes on your knife blades. Most leave behind a polished edge.
The biggest drawback of an oil whetstone is this kind of sharpening stone tends to cut metal more slowly compared to man-made stones. This slower cutting rate means you’ll have to take more time to work on your knife, which can be frustrating. Additionally, because oil is the necessary lubricant, the process can be messy and harder to clean up.
Water whetstones are another option, though they’re a bit newer and still gaining popularity. Like oil whetstones, water whetstones can be made from natural stone — but they can also be made from synthetic materials. Synthetic water whetstones are the most common. Typically made of some kind of aluminum oxide variety, these sanding stones are abrasive but soft in their density. This makes water whetstones faster at cutting; they’re able to break down old metal easily to sharpen quickly.
While faster cutting is the biggest advantage of water whetstones, the lubrication is another benefit. Water is easy to wipe down and clean up once you’re done sharpening. However, there is one disadvantage: Water whetstones wear down quickly, and they tend to break apart more easily. This leads to uneven surfaces on your sharpening stone, which can make sharpening knives more difficult.
Diamond whetstones are the toughest variety you can buy. They’re actually made with small diamonds, which are attached to a metal plate. Those diamonds and their high hardness level cut very quickly, taking blades from dull to sharp in no time at all. There are two kinds of diamond whetstones to choose from: mono-crystalline or poly-crystalline. Both last a long time, but mono-crystalline are the most durable.
Diamond whetstones sharpen at a fast speed and stay flat even over many uses. There’s just one drawback: the cost. These sharpening stones are very expensive, and they’re an investment. However, you’ll get a whetstone that lasts for the long term, which can be a benefit.
Related: The best EDC knives worth relying on
What to look for when buying a whetstone
As you shop for the right whetstone for your specific knives and needs, you’ll want to consider two important factors. In addition to picking out the right type of stone, you’ll also want to take the time to think about a whetstone’s grit and durability.
The type of sharpening stone you choose will largely determine its durability. Like we mentioned above, some stones are simply tougher than others — diamond is the hardest material you can buy in a whetstone, and it lasts the longest. Other options are softer and may not survive as long or through as many uses. Think about how many knives you use regularly, as well as how often you’ll be sharpening them on your whetstone. If you’ll use it frequently, you’ll want a tougher, more durable option.
The grit is critical because it determines how well a whetstone actually sharpens knife blades. A smaller number means you’re getting a coarser grit — #1000 or less is considered coarse, and it’s best for extremely dull blades. A larger number indicates finer grit, which is ideal for finishing, polishing, or creating a sharper edge. It’s a good idea to have whetstones in a variety of grits so you have everything you need to fine-tune your knives.
The advantages of owning a whetstone
If you’ve ever watched your favorite knife’s blade go dull and felt like you couldn’t do anything to save it, you can benefit from owning a whetstone. These handy sharpening stones offer many advantages, but their biggest perk is the ability to restore a good knife back to its former glory. You don’t need to rely on a professional — or, even worse, throw out the knife altogether — as you can easily sharpen the blade yourself. Even if you’re a first-time whetstone user, you’ll love the advantages one of these stones offers for dull or less-than-perfect knives.
When you own a whetstone, you’ll get so much more than the ability to do your very own knife sharpening at home. Whetstones offer plenty of benefits, including:
- Easy, convenient at-home sharpening that absolutely anyone of any skill level can master;
- Cost savings, as you’ll no longer need to replace knives that have gone dull or take them to a professional for expert sharpening; and
- The flexibility to sharpen all kinds of different blades, from kitchen knives to utility knives to scissors and so many more varieties.
Pricing ranges for whetstones
- Under $20: It’s easy to find a whetstone on a budget — there are plenty of options available that are priced at $20 or less. They may not offer the highest level of durability, but you can find many choices within this range.
- $20 to $40: For more durable whetstones and a variety of different grit choices, you can expect to spend between $20 and $40. Within this price range, you’ll step up to slightly better quality, too.
- $40 and Up: The most premium and highest-quality whetstones are priced at $40 and up. Within this range, you’ll find extra-durable options, like diamond whetstones, and even whetstone sets that include multiple stones, a variety of grit choices, and more.
How we chose our top picks
To select our products and come up with a list of the best whetstones, we turned to Amazon. We examined the best-selling whetstones available, looked at their star ratings and customer reviews, and read up on what users had to say about their favorite — and least favorite — sharpening stones to assess their effectiveness.
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