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If using your knife for a routine kitchen task—dicing, slicing, and chopping—feels like a battle between the food and your hand, it may be time to treat your most indispensable kitchen tool to some TLC, aka sharpening. A dull knife causes fatigue and often leads to accidents due to how much pressure you are likely to exert when using it.
The best knife is one that is sharp. Although getting your knife professionally sharpened is an option, it requires planning a trip to the store or sending in your knives by mail. A sharpening stone in your own tool kit will allow you to hone and sharpen your knives on a regular basis. No planning required.
Sharpening stones or whetting stones work through controlled abrasion by removing the metal along the edge of the knife as it moves along the coarse surface of the stone. The type of material of the stone and the coarseness determine how much metal on the knife is removed. Sharpening stones are available as oil stones, water stones, or diamond stones.
To help you select the best tools to keep your knives “on edge," here are the best sharpening stones currently on the market.
Best Overall: Naniwa Chosera 3,000 Grit Stone With Base
Comes with a base
Splash and go
Can't be used after it thins down
The Chosera from Naniwa is a hard-wearing, splash-and-go (meaning you don't have to soak, just splash a bit of water) stone that creates an outstanding edge on knives. The stone is bonded with magnesia and has finely graded abrasive particles in a high density resulting in sharp edges on the blades. You do not need to soak the Naniwa Chosera stone in water, although it is recommended to keep some water handy to lubricate the stone as you sharpen.
Designed with “cutting-edge” technology and generously sized at 210 x 70 x 25 millimeters, this stone quickly sharpens any type of steel and will last a long time. The Chosera comes with a base attached and a cleaning stone is also included in the kit.
Grit: 3000 | Design: Single face with base | Type: Synthetic water stone
Stone feedback: The feeling when you use the stone varies from smooth and creamy to gritty, hard, and scratchy. It has no positive or negative effect on the knife sharpening, however, a distracting noise from the stone can make the sharpening process less enjoyable.
Best Budget: Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone
Includes base and angle guide
Great for beginners
Needs to soak in water before use
The Sharp Pebble is a budget-friendly option for beginners. This double-sided stone comes with commonly used grits of 1000 and 6000, a base, and an angle guide. You sharpen your knife on the coarse side and hone it on the fine side. The stone fits into the base for a snug fit and the angle guide helps you practice how to correctly hold the knife while sharpening. This is a water stone that requires soaking in water for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you can use it.
Our tester noted that the included guide is best used on western-style, mid-sized knives, but may not be helpful for oversized knives. She also pointed out that different knives take different amounts of time to sharpen, depending on their size, shape, and metal material. But all knives were eventually sharpened to a fine edge.
Grit: 1000/6000 | Design: Two-side grit with base | Type: Synthetic water stone (aluminum oxide)
"The grit selections are sufficient for home cooks who want to learn how to use a whetstone and who haven’t let their blades get too dull." — Donna Currie, Product Tester
Best for Everyday Knives: Chefic BearMoo Whetstone Premium 2-IN-1 Sharpening Stone
Easy to store
Good for kitchen knives
Needs multiple passes
Not suitable for all types of knives
The Chefic BearMoo Whetstone Premium 2-in-1 Sharpening Stone features two different grits on the two sides: a 3000-grit side for the initial sharpening and an 8000-grit side for polishing and honing the blade edge. Because of its affordable price and versatility, this sharpening stone is a solid option if you're looking to touch up your everyday kitchen knives on a regular basis. Plus, it's compact and easy to store.
Our tester noted that the 3000-grit sharpening side works for most knives, especially if you sharpen and maintain them regularly. However, knives featuring a hardened blade, like a powdered steel Japanese knife, will require multiple rounds with this whetstone to get the right amount of burning. She also noted that the stone is easy to clean when you're finished sharpening, by rinsing off under running water and gently rubbing any markings off the surface of the stone.
Grit: 3000 and 8000 | Design: Two-side grit with base | Type: Synthetic water stone
"The BearMoo Whetstone is a good option if you want an affordable, all-purpose sharpening stone." — Renu Dhar, Product Tester
Best Ceramic/Glass: Shapton Glass Stone 2000 HR
Lasts for a long time
Splash and go
Does not come with a base or holder
Shapton is sought after by chefs and other knife enthusiasts. Shapton stones don’t need to be soaked prior to use—they are ready to go when you are! The Shapton glass is made with finely graded ceramic cutting material that makes them last much longer than most man-made sharpening stones. These stones are designed to work fast and efficiently on all kinds of blades.
Shapton stones are specifically manufactured to keep the sharpening surface consistent and provide a sharpening and polishing effect at the same time. Despite being high-end sharpening stones, the Shapton stones are competitively priced, like this general-purpose, 2000-grit stone that can be found for less than $75.
Grit: General purpose 2000 grit | Design: Single-sided, high-resistance surface | Type: Glass/ceramic
Best Diamond: DMT 8-Inch DuoSharp Plus Bench Stone Fine/Coarse Sharpener with Base
Can be used for hand-held sharpening
Not for beginners
Can leave scratches on blades if not used correctly
Needs a break-in period before sharpening finer blades
The Duo Sharp is a double-sided (coarse/fine) sharpener with a precision flat surface made from monocrystalline diamond. This super hard and abrasive material quickly restores a dull edge on the coarse side and creates razor-sharp edges on the fine side. The stone can be used dry or wet with water as the lubricant. A sharpening stone is most effective when it's flat, and the Duo Sharp stays flat and does not become uneven or hollowed for a long time. It also has an area of continuous grit for sharpening edges with fine points and small tools. Sharpening is fast, efficient, and clean.
Grit: Dual grit (25 microns and 45 microns) | Design: Two-sided stone with locking base | Type: Diamond stone
Burr is the folded over, excess metal that leaves the edge of the knife while you sharpen. This is a visual cue to know that your edge is thin enough on one side.
Best Natural Stone: Masuta Natural Sharpening Stone
Provides the finest edge
Best for experienced users
Uncertainty in grit and size
Natural stones were the "stepping-stones" to our modern-day ceramic and diamond sharpening stones as they have been used for centuries to sharpen swords, knives, and tools. The Masuta Natural sharpening stones come from a (now closed) underwater mine near Tsushima Island in Japan. They are sought after by the most dedicated hobbyists and experienced sharpeners to keep their knives razor-sharp. These stones are medium hard and dense for a consistent sharpening. This stone, with a grit between 10000 and 12000, produces a fine edge on knives that are well maintained.
Grit: Fine grit (10000 to 12000) | Design: Single-sided, high-resistance surface | Type: Quarried, natural stone
Best for Beginners: King Whetstone Starter Set
Has two grits
Comes with an angle guide
Requires air drying
“For someone just starting out with sharpening, I recommend a double-sided sharpening stone with a 1000 grit on one side for general sharpening and on the other side anything between 3000 to 6000 grit for getting the sharp edge," says Peter Nguyen, who is a personal chef and culinary educator.
In addition to the most frequently used grits, the King Whetstone comes with an angle guide and a base to stabilize the stone. For beginners, the angle holder is a great tool to ease into sharpening with guidance to hold the blade at a correct angle.
Grit: 1000/6000 | Design: Multi-grit with base | Type: Ceramic
Best High-End: Nano Hone True Splash and Go Whetstone
Splash and go
High-precision sharpening surface
Locking base and color-coded grits
Requires additional lapping plate
The Nano Hone stones are dense and hard so they are resilient and cut fast without scratches even on the harder metals that are HRc 59 and above. If you are new to the Nano Hone system, the 1000 grit (15 micron) is a good starter stone. “It’s rough enough to grind metal away but smooth enough to leave a refined feeling edge," says Elan Wenzel, chef and owner Element Knife Company.
“The build quality and thoughtful design of Nano Hone stones are the best I’ve used in over 20 years of sharpening knives. The stones are splash and go, meaning they don’t require to be soaked ahead of time before using. The lapping plates (stone fixers) work effectively and don’t wear out," says Elan.
Bring out all your knives to sharpen, they deserve to gain an edge. If you want to buy more than one grit, they are color-coded for an easy way to keep track.
Grit: 15 microns (roughly 1000 grit) | Design: Single face, locking base design | Type: Non-porous ceramic
Naniwa Chosera (view at Amazon) provides a durable and slow-wearing sharpening surface that is practically splash and go. This stone can tackle a wide range of knives including the hardened steel ones. If you're looking for a more budget-friendly option, go with the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone, which is a double-sided stone that comes with commonly used grits of 1000 and 6000, a base, and an angle guide.
What to Look for in Sharpening Stones
Grit defines how coarse or fine the sharpening surface is. A blade that is blunt or damaged will require a coarse grit below 1000 to shape and sharpen. A medium grit (1000-4000) will sharpen knives that are not completely dull. A fine grit (4000 and above) will hone the knife and create that sharp edge.
Diamond sharpening stones use a mesh or micron to specify how fine or coarse the stone is.
Single-face stones come in just one grit. So, you will need a strop or a honing blade, or a fine grit stone to complete the sharpening process. Some stones are made in a double-face design, meaning you get a sharpening side and a finishing side in one stone.
These are stones that require oil to prepare the stone surface for sharpening. Most oil stones were mined from quarries, like the popular natural Arkansas stones that come from Arkansas.
Natural Water Stones
These stones are mined from quarries, a majority of them originating from Japan. However, they are not as widely available as the synthetic water stones these days.
Synthetic Water Stones
These are stones made primarily from aluminum oxide and because they can be manufactured with consistent grits, they are the most popular stones available on the market.
These stones are made with the sharpening surface created using industrial diamonds. They are usually more expensive than water stones but can provide a superior sharpening surface in some cases.
How do you use a knife sharpening stone?
Most sharpening stones available today are either water stones or diamond stones. Some water stones require them to be submerged in water for a couple of minutes before use, while others can be used simply by sprinkling some water on the surface prior to sharpening. For diamond stones, water can be used to prep the surface, however, it is advisable to use lapping fluid which increases the lifetime and effectiveness of the diamond stones.
How do you clean a sharpening stone?
Cleaning water and diamond stones is easy and, as regular upkeep. just rinsing them under hot running water and using a brush to scrub them keeps them fairly clean. However, it is important to let the stones dry out before storage as prolonged water in the stones makes them soft and they will start wearing out faster. If the stones require a deeper cleanup, keep it simple and scrub with Bar Keeper’s Friend, rinse, and dry the stones.
How long do sharpening stones last?
Most stones will require some leveling after five to seven uses. However, for normal household use, a sharpening stone should easily last 5-10 years. But a lot depends on the material of the stone, as well as the type and number of blades that are sharpened.
“Diamond stones can be good in the beginning, but they lose their effectiveness rather quickly if you use them often," Elan says reflecting upon his decades of experience sharpening knives for professional establishments.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
This article was written by Renu Dhar, a chef instructor and personal chef who has taught knife skills to many students and clients. A sharp knife is the most trusted tool in her knife roll, followed by a sharpening and honing stone.