How-To & Diy

Sharpen Your Knives (at Home!) With These 11 Best Knife Sharpeners

For like-new-again blades.

August 26, 2021
Photo by Bobbi Lin and Rocky Luten

If you're mashing onions or tomatoes, or hacking at a piece of steak, you're in definite need of a knife sharpener.

According to Fleishers Craft Butchery’s head butcher Jason Yang, shop butcher manager Kyle McCarthy, and butcher manager Sam Masler, you’ll want to use either a traditional whetstone or, for convenience, a sharpener that allows you to pull the knife through opposing abrasive surfaces without grinding or warping the blade. “This is fast and easy because it mimics the cutting motion, and you don't have to worry about setting an angle to regain the edge of the knife,” the team explains. The more common electric sharpeners will make your knives sharper, but they're harsh on knives and might not last as long as these two methods.

We know, it's confusing. But that's why we've got a handy guide to sharpening knives and expert-backed picks below.

Photo by Knife Merchant

1. F. Dick Rapid Steel Action Set, $82.50

This is the Fleishers team’s pick for beginners and seasoned knife users alike. “This is a great first knife sharpener," they said. "It’s easy to use and store, and will get your knife sharp with very little effort. They add that its spring-loaded feature adjusts to fit any knife’s angle, which prevents the blade from being damaged while getting sharpened.

Photo by Work Sharp Sharpener

2. Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener, $99.95

The team points to this versatile device from Work Sharp, which employs a motorized abrasive band to sharpen virtually every variety of knife, as another excellent alternative to a whetstone, stating that it “brings professional knife sharpening into the home.” And as a bonus, it’ll also sharpen your scissors and garden shears.

Photo by Amazon

3. Brod & Taylor Classic Knife Sharpener, $59

Using the same spring-loaded features as the Fleishers team’s pick from F. Dick, this sharpener seamlessly adjusts to the angle of your knife, from 12 to 20 degrees.

Photo by Amazon

4. LOFTER Upgrade Bracket Edge Kitchen Sharpener, $14.99

This adjustable sharpener returns an edge to dulled knives within seconds, thanks in no small part to the safety handle that keeps users’ fingers well out of harm’s way.

Photo by Amazon

5. Shapton Ceramic Whetstones, $48.79

Working with a whetstone takes practice, but the team at Fleishers attests that it “yields excellent results in sharpness and can increase the longevity of your knives.” The stones from Shapton are the team’s everyday, go-to sharpeners. They recommend starting with a 1000 or 2000 grit stone then polishing the knife’s edge with a finer, 4000 grit stone.

Photo by Amazon

6. Finew Knife Sharpening Stone Kit, $49.97

Boasting four different grits between two sharpening stones, plus a flattening stone to maintain the sharpeners and a bamboo board to keep everything from slipping, this whetstone set has more than earned its online praise. Reviewers call it a great place to start for beginners and excellent value for its price tag.

Photo by Amazon

7. King KW65 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone, $28

Another, more budget-friendly option when it comes to whetstones is this dual-sided stone from King. Where the 1000 grit side reestablishes a razor-sharp edge, the 6000 grit side polishes the blade “magnificently,” as one reviewer put it. Another wrote that, after five minutes of sharpening, this stone brought a knife that “couldn’t cut butter if it were hot” back to working order.

Photo by Bobbi Lin and Rocky Luten

8. Bob Kramer Knife Sharpening Set, $380

This stylish set of sharpening stones from one of the world’s topmost bladesmiths will take your knives from dull to paper-cut sharp to finely polished in three easy steps. It doesn’t hurt that they’re pretty enough to display (use the cabinet space for something else).

Photo by Amazon

9. Masuta Natural Sharpening Honing Stone, $92.10

Unlike ceramic options, this whetstone is made from natural rock sourced from an underwater mine in Japan. But it isn’t all about aesthetics—Masuta matches its form with high-performing function. Reviewers appreciate how hard and long-lasting this stone proved to be, with some noting that it’s particularly effective at polishing and finishing knives.

Photo by Zwilling

10. Zwilling 250/1000 Combination Japanese Water Stone, $79.99

The ultra-coarse 250 grit stone in this two-stone set will refine even the dullest, most out-of-shape of blades. One reviewer wrote that these stones made their knives "feel like new again."

Photo by Amazon

11. Dalstrong Premium Whetstone Kit, $89.99

Consider this set of whetstones as the ideal “finishing touches” kit: Not only do the stones finely sharpen and polish, but its rust-removing sponge rubs away the kind of corrosion and scuffs that inevitably come with time and use.

This post was updated September 2021 with more curated knife sharper picks.

Do you have a favorite knife sharpener? Tell us about it in the comments below.

This post contains products independently chosen (and loved) by our editors and writers. Food52 may earn an affiliate commission on qualifying purchases of the products we link to.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Richard Laycock
    Richard Laycock
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    DLanthrum
  • Susanna
    Susanna
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    Diane Rubin
  • AlwaysLookin
    AlwaysLookin
Sara Coughlin is a freelance writer living in Brooklyn. Although she writes about food, health, wellness, lifestyle trends, skin-care, and astrology, she’d much rather talk to you about professional wrestling, rock climbing, and her personal favorite true crime theories. You can find her in her studio apartment doing yoga while a pan of veggies gently burns in the oven.

9 Comments

Richard L. July 26, 2021
I'm not a chef. I am a very good cook but I made my living most of my life with chisels, planes and saws. I've sharpened more tools in any month than any Kitchen cook will in a year. Oil stone, water stones... I've used them all. No one trying to get the edge sharp and back to work doesn't use a Diamond stone as their #1 go to sharpener.
That not ONE diamond stone option is listed here tells me this is either an paid for bs post or for some reason the chefs advising the author are clueless. I had a fave Indian food spot on River St. in Santa Cruz circa 2011, I specifically bought the same folding diamond stone sharpener the chef was using there. You could keep it in your apron, or nail bags in my case, and tune the edge on your tools any time. He used it instead of steel more or less. Steels are great for keeping the burr in the right direction but they do nothing for sharpening the edge.
 
DLanthrum August 16, 2020
In my opinion, the BEST sharpener is the Norton/ Dexter style oil stone. It consists of a fine, medium and coarse stone mounted in a triangle shape, with a reservoir for oil. The "point" of 2 surfaces are partially in the reservoir, while the surface flat on "top" is the grit used to sharpen. It DOES require maintaining the proper angle. While it does take some "elbow grease" and time, it is less damaging than many mechanical, and certainly electric sharpeners. I would only use an electric sharpener, or belt grinder if I I had a badly nicked blade. My father owned a meat market, and I am somewhat surprised the Fleisher team did not even mention that sharpener. It is not that hard for someone starting out to get the hang of. I hone my knives before and after each use. I would also advise even home cooks to purchase "blade guards" for all of their knives if they are stored in a drawer.
 
Susanna August 16, 2020
Do any of these work for Global knives? I’ve always taken mine in to be sharpened professionally, as I’ve read that Japanese knives have to be sharpened by a different process using a type of tool not generally found in the U.S.
 
bobbie J. August 16, 2020
Have you looked into the Global sharpener? It has 3 water wheels to sharpen. I used to sell Global knives and I really like them. Their sharpener is a little finicky to get used to I think: it's a lighter touch than you would expect. But it's fast, convenient, and designed to keep the specific Global angle. It's pricey so you have to weigh the cost of the sharpening tool vs. taking it out to be done, over time. I use it to hone the knives too, on the finest wheel. Once or twice a year I still take mine out to someone I trust, but that's just me when I do all my kitchen knives: there's really no reason, as the Global sharpener is foolproof!
 
Susanna August 16, 2020
Thanks for this info! I have three global knives and also a few other knives, so I guess I’d need to spring for multiple sharpeners...also I really don’t trust myself to sharpen correctly. I wonder of knife skills classes also teach you how to sharpen.
 
Susanna August 16, 2020
That one seems to be sold out everywhere...I hope it has t been discontinued. There’s a knockoff on Amazon and it’s inexpensive but I’m hesitant.
 
Diane R. August 14, 2020
I’ve always used a honing knife. Works great. I also use a Chef’n knife sharpener. Does anyone use the Chef’n and what do you think of it? My father was a butcher and he always thought me to use the long steel honing knife. But very easy with the Chef’n and great results ty Diane from New Jersey
 
AlwaysLookin August 13, 2020
Feel free to chuckle ... when I was finally able to afford good knives I was raising kids and cooking, I had NO time for a whetstone. So Chef's Choice electric sharpener was my option of choice ... 20 years later still have the same Whustof knives and sharpener!
 
Washclaw35 August 16, 2020
As AlwaysLooking said. I bought my Chef's Choice sharper nearly thirty five years ago when I bought my J.A. Henckels knives. Between the sharpener and a very old honing steel, my alway cut/slice like brand new. Whetstones are for big tools!