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If you use your kitchen knife regularly, you probably know how frustrating it is to try slicing meat and cutting food when it starts to dull. Not only that, but it can be dangerous as well. Which is why it's important to keep a sharpening stone in your kitchen or home toolkit. An effective whetstone helps to not only bring your knife back to the ideal level of sharpness and shine, but also reduce the likelihood of accidents. Plus, many sharpening stones also help restore a range of other cutting tools, from pocket knives to fish hooks.
These sharpening tools come in all shapes in sizes, made with a variety of materials and grits. To help you choose, we've compiled a list of the best sharpening stones.
To maintain the edge and shine of your knives it's important to invest in a good sharpening stone or whetstone. Using a stone to sharpen or hone your cutlery may be a bit more labor intensive, but you'll have greater control over the finished product. If you're ready to give whetstones a try, there are several different types to choose from—the most common stones are oil stones, water stones, ceramic stones, and diamond stones—so it's important that you do your research to find the best option for your needs.
If you're looking for a versatile sharpening stone that can be used on all different types of knives, we love Sharp Pebble’s Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone. This kit includes a double-sided sharpening stone with two different levels of grit (1000 and 6000), allowing you to hone dull knives or refine sharper ones by simply flipping it over. It also comes with a bamboo base so it won't slide around when you use it, along with a sharpening guide to help beginners learn the ins-and-outs of their new tool. Made of Aluminum Oxide, it can be used to sharpen not only kitchen knives and chef's knives, but hunting knives, scissors, kitchen shears, and even axes. It measures 7.2 x 2.2 x 1 inches.
Customers say the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone is the perfect tool for beginners and experts alike, writing that it’s extremely well-made, with a sturdy base and effective grit (the double-sided construction is a great feature). The stone should be soaked in water before use, and some owners suggest keeping some extra water nearby to keep it wet while sharpening.
The BearMoo Whetstone does a terrific job of keeping different kitchen knives honed to a fine edge. Like the Sharp Pebble, both sides offer a different level of grit—in this case, 3000 and 8000—allowing owners to rescue dull old knives and maintain sharp ones. Its White Corundum material is corrosion and heat-resistant, and a silicone base keeps it steady during use. The stone should be soaked in water for five minutes before you start sharpening, and measures 7.1 x 1.2 x 2.4 inches.
According to customers, the BearMoo Whetstone Premium 2-in-1 Sharpening Stone is ideal for keeping kitchen knives at peak sharpness and maintaining high-quality cutlery. Others note that it’s managed to save the oldest, dullest knives in their knife block.
For the most dedicated owners, natural stones provide an unparalleled finish—and the Masuta Natural “Ocean Blue” Sharpening Stone is the best of the best. It comes at a higher price point than synthetic stones because it’s quarried from a now-closed underwater mine off the coast of mainland Japan. The material is of medium hardness and extremely dense, giving the stone a longer life and ultra-consistent sharpening. The stone measures 8 x 2.7 x 1 inch (although it can be purchased in several larger sizes), and should be sprayed with water rather than pre-soaked.
“Happiness is just a few strokes away,” one customer writes of the Masuta Natural "Ocean Blue" Sharpening Honing Stone. Since its grit is 1200, it’s more of a finishing stone for people who routinely maintain their knives and want to ensure they keep that razor sharp edge.
While most sharpening stones require water or oil to be effective, ceramic ones don't require a cutting liquid, saving users an extra step while still offering quality sharpening. The Spyderco Bench Stone Sharpener is a ceramic stone with medium grit, making it useful for restoring dull or old knives to their former sharpness. It’s wide and flat, measuring 2 x 8 x 0.5 inches so it can be used with larger items like woodworking tools and even skis. It also includes a polymer case with non-skid feet so it won’t slide around on a tabletop or workbench. Since it doesn’t require any lubricant it’s lower maintenance than your standard sharpening stone, and can be quickly cleaned in a dishwasher. "These stones are great and worth the money if you sharpen your own knives," enthused one reviewer. "They're heirloom quality."
In contrast with water stones (which, true to their name, require water before use), oil stones are harder and more durable. The Norton Fine-Coarse India Combination Oilstone is pre-filled with oil, so it needs no pre-soaking and helps rid the stone of dislodged metal chips and particles as you work. Made of aluminum oxide, it offers two-sided grit (100 and 320) for versatile sharpening and maintaining. It measures 8.4 x 2.5 x 1.3 inches and is highly durable, with a longer lifespan than most water stones, although it may have a slightly slower cutting rate.
Customers say the Norton Fine/Coarse India Combination Oilstone is a great sharpening tool for both knives and tools, at a great price point that’s lower than some water stones. While it comes pre-filled, some suggest applying more oil until it’s fully saturated before using it for the first time.
Another Japanese whetstone product, the Shā-pu 4 Stone Set includes four double-sided stones offering grits to hone practically every cutting instrument in your home. Spec-wise, the whetstones offer 240/800, 600/1500, 1000/3000 and 5000/10000 grits, making it the perfect set for passionate home cooks and seasoned hunters alike. Some stones can even be used with dental tools or nail clippers. Made of professional-grade Corundum, each stone comes with a silicone holder, and the set also includes a bamboo stand, a flattening stone, and a carrying case. Each one measures 7.2 x 2.2 x 1 inches and should be soaked in water prior to use.
Customers write that the variety of grits included in the Shā-pu 4 Stone Set makes it the perfect one-stop shop for all of their sharpening needs. While single sharpening stones are best suited to specific knives, this kit gives users everything they need to maintain an edge on different types of knives and tools.
Our top pick is the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone because of its versatility: it features two levels of grit and can be used to sharpen a wide range of knives. It's also well-crafted with a sturdy base. If you'll mainly be sharpening kitchen knives, we recommend the double-sided Chefic BearMoo Whetstone Premium 2-IN-1 Sharpening Stone. It's corrosion- and heat-resistant.
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Writer and editor Ashley Knierim is passionate about all things food and home decor. She's been in the industry for over 10 years and has spent the last two years covering home products and trends for The Spruce. She spends her free time decorating her own home with the latest and greatest products, whether it's DIY or a trendy piece.