When attempting to choose a whetstone for sharpening your favorite knife, the number of choices can be mind boggling. In fact, sharpening stones are divided into four distinct categories consisting of natural whetstones and manufactured whetstones which, in turn, are divided into two other categories consisting of oil stones and water stones. Then, there are numerous different varieties of natural whetstones consisting of several different materials that are quarried from different places around the world as well as several different types of man-made whetstones!

This article is not about how to sharpen a knife, check this article instead, but briefly, a coarse stone is critical, it has the potential to raise a Burr quickly and make a dull knife sharp quickly. The correct use of pressure enables us to form a burr, remove the burr and then do some coarse stone refinement and thus create a very sharp knife. This sensation is motivation, it is a confidence builder and will enhance your sharpening experience, so believe me when I say that a coarse stone is your first priority. I recommend a 400, 600 or 800 grit. After that, depending on the knives you are sharpening strive to obtain stone combination, such as a 400 – 1,000 – 5,000 grit three stone combination is going to allow you to achieve knives sharper than most people have ever seen.
The dual-sided whetstone is made from durable silicon carbide and has 400 grit on one side to sharpen the dullest blades and 1000 grit on the other side to create a nice smooth finish once the blade has been sharpened. The stone also forms a nice slurry that helps polish the blade for a superb shine. The stone is meant to be used with water, not oil and for best results, simply soak stone for 5-10 minutes before use, and lubricate with additional water as needed when sharpening.
Visually, a very sharp knife has an edge that is too small to see with the eye; it may even be hard or impossible to focus in a microscope. The shape near the edge can be highlighted by rotating the knife and watching changes in reflection. Nicks and rolled edges can also be seen, as the rolled edge provides a reflective surface, while a properly straightened edge will be invisible when viewed head-on.
However, due to limited natural deposits and extensive quarrying over the centuries, true, high quality, Japanese water stones are now few and far between and are very expensive. Thus, various companies are now producing synthetic Japanese Water Stones which generally have a more consistent composition and grit size than natural stones as well as often begin somewhat harder and thus, lasting a bit longer; not to mention being cheaper to purchase.
Its main disadvantage is cost: At about $120, the flagship stainless steel Professional model sits in an uncomfortable middle ground between our main pick and our upgrade pick. That said, an otherwise identical Classic model made of black plastic is generally closer to the price of our main pick. A lesser point, but an important one, is that this design is not completely foolproof, as our other picks are. You have to pay attention and use a steady hand and pressure to get a straight edge. Not hard—but you may need a little practice to master the process.

Now it's time to polish. This is when you'll swap over from the coarse grit to the finer grit (make sure this side is wet, too). I found the knife still had a bit of grime on it, so I gave it a wipe clean beforehand. The motion is exactly the same as with sharpening, but you can apply slightly less pressure, and limit to roughly 30 strokes on each side. 


Everyone who owns a knife needs a sharpener. Even the highest-quality knife will lose its edge over time and with use. The metal wears away on the cutting board, it chips on animal bones and bends on tough root vegetables, and it dissolves in the acids and salts of the kitchen. A dull knife is a dangerous knife. To keep it safe, and to keep a knife working, you need to sharpen it regularly.
To use Al's method, take a black felt pen and shade in the bevel of the knife. Then take two strokes on the stone and examine the edge. If you have maintained the proper angle then all the black will be gone. If you see black on the top of the edge it means you are holding the back of the knife too far from the stone. If there is black on the bottom of the edge but the top is clean then you are laying the knife too flat on the stone and you need to raise it a bit. Repaint the edge and try it again. Once you discover what the right angle looks like then just maintain that.
So, as you can see, there are numerous different types and grades of whetstones on the market today and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, the right practice to choose the right sharpening stone for you is to choose a whetstone material based upon how fast you need to remove metal and how fine an edge you need. For instance, although they are often the most expensive type of whetstone, diamond hones generally cut the fastest even in their finer grits followed by Crystolon Stones and then India Stones which are then generally followed by Japanese Water Stones and then by Novaculite, Belgian Blue, and Coticule whetstones in terms of how fast they remove metal. However, it should also be noted that the rougher an edge is, the less sharp it is while, the more polished an edge is, the sharper it is and thus, rough edges are fine for some tools while other tools require a much finer edge and, hunting knives require the finest edge of all. Therefore, the trick to choosing the proper whetstone for any given sharpening purpose is to purchase multiple stones with varying grits to accomplish each given task from cutting an initial bevel or defining a damaged edge to refining an existing edge to polishing it. We hope this article helped you. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have questions.
I purchased this set together with the 400/1000 grit stone assuming that some of my knives were quite dull and would need work on a coarse grit stone. Premium Whetstone Sharpening Stone 2 Side Grit 400/1000 | Knife Sharpener Waterstone with NonSlip Rubber Base & Flattening Stone. This is my first wetstone. First off I tried to sharpen my Chicago Cutlery boning knife. This knife is nearly thirty years old, has been abused in may ways and was quite dull. It was very difficult for me to get a burr on this blade, which I attribute to poor technique. Next I moved on to my Henckels Professional S paring and chef's knives. The paring knife was moderately sharp and was modestly improved after working over all three grits of stone. It would cut paper but again it was difficult to develop a burr with this blade. Undaunted I switched to the chef's knife. This knife is twenty years old and has never been professionally re-sharpened. I have sharpened it twice with a Lanksey sharpening system which marred the finish but did put a good edge on the blade. Lansky Standard Coarse Sharpening System with Fine Hones. The chef's knife was moderately dull and had several pits visible on the cutting surface. I modified my technique for passing the knife over the stone and worked the chef's knife over the 400 grit stone aggressively and eventually I was able to get a burr to form from the tip of the knife all the way to the handle. From there it was a simple process of reforming the burr on the 1000 grit stone and then finishing on the 6000. After sharpening, the chef's knife easily and cleanly slices a tomato with very light pressure and is in my opinion very sharp. Not sushi knife sharp but more than enough for the chopping and slicing I expect of it. I'm looking forward to going back and working both the boning knife and the paring knife over again. Don't expect a good result from this product the first time you use it. Watch videos on using a wetstone, expect to spend at least twenty minutes per knife at first, and practice forming a burr. If you can form a burr, you will be able to successfully sharpen your knife.
Keep your knife razor-sharp with a high-quality sharpening stone. We offer a wide variety of sharpening stones, such as Arkansas stone, Diamond stone, Bench stone, Water stone and more. Whether you own a pocket knife, a hunting knife or a kitchen knife, a sharpening stone is essential for preventing your blade from becoming dull.  Most of our sharpening stones are lightweight and portable, so you can use them at home or take them with you wherever you go.
Diamond whetstones, like the DMT Diamond Whetstone, are made out of industrial type diamonds which create a long-lasting hard, coarse and flat surface. A diamond whetstone is an excellent choice for when you are outdoors as you can use it dry or with a lubricant. It can take some time getting used to and the larger sized stone may not be ideal for working with small knives or cutting tools.
A: For many years there was a heated debate around this topic with manufacturer’s stating flatly the notion their products actually damaged knives was absurd, and many professional chefs claiming not only was it not absurd, it was common for mechanical sharpeners to damage expensive cutlery. So who was right? To a certain extent they both were. The manufacturers were correct in asserting that if you followed the instructions to the letter there was little if any chance your knives would be damaged. However, in reality few people actually followed the instructions to the letter and when they veered from the recommended course the potential was there for damage.

The thumbnail test (not recommended for novices) - With this test you take your newly sharpened blade and run it oh-so-delicately over your thumbnail. If you feel it digging in even a tiny bit, it’s likely sharp enough. If on the other hand it just slips and slides across the surface of your nail it’s not sharp yet. Again, this test is only recommended for people with lots of experience handling knives and even then they’d probably be better off just grabbing a tomato or a piece of paper.


When you apply a sharp knife to the surface of a tomato, cucumber, carrot or other food item it should - if you are holding it firmly and applying minimal pressure - sink into the particular item without effort. As such all you really need to work on is your technique and making sure you keep your fingers out of the way. With a dull knife however things aren’t quite so simple. When you apply a dull blade to, say, a tomato it’s not going to slice into the skin. Instead the skin will be able to push back meaning you’ll need to apply ever more pressure to get the knife to penetrate. Increasing the pressure on the knife increases the likelihood of the knife slipping off the offending food item to one side or another. And if it slips to the side where your hand is attempting to hold the vegetable steady you could be in store for a very nasty cut. Because even a dull knife will cause injury if there’s enough force behind it.
When the stone is intended for use on a flat surface, it is called a Bench Stone. On the other hand, small, portable, hand-held stones are referred to as Pocket Stones. Also, because Pocket Stones are smaller than Bench Stones, they are more easily transported but, they also present difficulty in maintaining a consistent angle and even pressure when attempting to sharpen longer blades. Consequently, Bench Stones are commonly used at home or in camp whereas, Pocket Stones are generally reserved for honing an edge in the field.
A: When it comes to the best knife sharpeners used in a domestic setting the abrasives used to sharpen the blade should last for quite a few years. When they do eventually wear out many of the best manufacturers will refurbish them for you, typically for a nominal fee. Again, however, unless you are using the sharpener on a daily basis (and there is virtually no reason the average person would do this), the sharpener should last for many years before ever needing service.
Sharp knives make the culinary world go round but finding the best knife sharpener isn’t as simple as walking into the store (do people still walk into stores?) and grabbing the first sharpener that presents itself. There are different types of electric sharpeners, some that are straightforward and some whose sharpening process involves as many as 3 or 4 stages. If you’re looking to keep things simple by using a sharpening stone well, there are 3 different types of them as well – oil, water and diamond – and they each have their pros and cons. So it can be confusing.

★ MOST COMPLETE SET ON AMAZON – Our Sharpening Set is the only kit that comes with both a Flattening Stone and Angle Guide in addition to a Bonus E-Book (for sharpening tips and tricks) and Detailed Instruction Guide. Providing amazing value at a lower price than other sets. A Flattening Stone is a MUST have since all whetstones eventually become uneven and need to be flattened. This set completely eliminates the need to buy one later.


This was the first Whetstone that I've ever purchased. After reviewing several 'how-to' videos, I jumped right in to use it. I found the process nearly meditative and the BearMoo stone extremely effective! The first knife I sharpened was very dull with small, jagged edges. The 1000 grit side effectively removed the jagged indentations and created a nice cutting edge. The 4000 grit side made the knife razor sharp. The process took nearly 40-minutes.

For the cooking enthusiast without sharpening experience, an electric sharpener could be a great help. The electric sharpening machine has one or more slots with different types of sharpening wheels. The slots are already in a fixed grinding angle, providing a fixed, reliable edge. This benefit can also be a disadvantage, since European knives are sharpened under a different angle than Japanese knives. By pulling the knife through the slots one by one, it will be thoroughly sharpened. The electric sharpeners are pretty easy to use and deliver a good result. However, a sharpening turn removes significantly more material from the blade then with the use of a sharpening stone. This means that your knife will end up with a shorter life span if you use the electric sharpener regularly. For pocket knives, we do not advise to use an electric sharpening machine. This is because the machine removes quite a lot of material and pocket knives generally already have a thin blade.
Works well. Just got it today, sharpened two pocket knives, one a 8Cr13MoV Chinese steel, the other s30v American steel The stone made short work of both steels (which were pretty sharp already). But notably was able to make the s30v hair shaving sharp easily, something I've had trouble with. Inexpensive and useful, I love this stone. It's not the Ninja sharp 8000+ grits that you can find, but for pocket knives and EDC, it's perfect and inexpensive. Get One!!!!!!!!!!!!
After 15 hours of research and testing, and several adult lifetimes of kitchen experience, we recommend the manual Chef’sChoice ProntoPro 4643 as the best mechanical knife sharpener. It’s impressively simple—almost intuitive—to use: You run the blade back and forth between its diamond-impregnated sharpening wheels to cut and then hone a new edge. The ProntoPro 4643 works on both traditional European and Japanese knives, which use different edge angles, making it universally utilitarian. (Note that we also link to otherwise equivalent but cheaper single-angle sharpeners below.)
Oil Stones differ from water stones in that they require the use of honing oil to float the swarf (metal particles). Also, these stones are commonly made from one of three different materials consisting of Novaculite, Aluminum Oxide (Corundum), or Silicon Carbide (Carborundum) and they all use oil to lubricate the stone and suspend the swarf in order to prevent the stone from becoming clogged. Also, while Novaculite and Coticule are the most traditional types of oil stones, there are also synthetic oil stones made by the Norton abrasives company called “India Oil Stones”.

Our second entry from Chef’s Choice is the 463 Pronto Santoku. This manual sharpener is super-simple to use and delivers fast, high quality results every time. While this is a “2-stage” system there’s nothing complicated about it. One slot is for sharpening and the other for honing. Both stages utilize diamond abrasive surfaces so your blades will retain its edge for a good long time.

To answer an obvious question: The difference between 15 degrees and 12 degrees is so slight that a 15-degree sharpener is fine for both kinds of bevels. So if a dedicated 15-degree sharpener is all you need (that is, if you own only Asian or post-2011 European knives), we have good news: Chef’sChoice makes the otherwise identical Pronto 463, which contains a single Asian-style sharpening slot. (For the testers at Cook’s Illustrated, the Pronto 463 is the top choice among manual sharpeners.) And if you own older European knives exclusively, the company sells a dedicated 20-degree model, the Pronto 464.
For this guide, we limited our focus to manual and electric sharpeners. Such models are by far the most popular choices for sharpening knives, and for good reason. When well-designed, manual and electric sharpeners are effective, extremely quick and easy to use, and durable. (By the same token, when poorly designed they’re cumbersome, flimsy, and ruinous to blades.)
A: That depends almost entirely on how often you use them. If you are a professional chef who uses his or her knives every day then you should hone them every time you use your knives. But honing has its limits and over time your edge is going to become dull no matter what. Therefore your knives will need to be sharpened at least several times a year. Some chefs, in fact, will use a whetstone on an almost daily basis in order to ensure their knives are always razor sharp. Most of us, however, are not professional chefs and may not even touch our kitchen knives for days at a time. In that case, it’s probably a good idea to hone the edge after every couple of uses and have your knives sharpened once a year.
Meanwhile, if you want something that you can use to sharpen a variety of knives and edges, including small and pointed tools, you might want to consider the DMT WM8CX-WB 8-Inch Duo Sharp Plus Bench Stone – Coarse/Extra Coarse with Base. For less than a hundred bucks, you can even use it to repair a damaged edge because of its extra-coarse diamonds.
The Fallkniven DC3 Diamond/Ceramic Whetstone Sharpener will make a believer out of anyone willing to invest a bit of time in the process. A big advantage of this stone is that it can be taken anywhere, used anywhere, without any form of lubrication and will produce an amazing sharp edge on whatever needs sharpening. Timeless Old World tech that still dazzles.

An extremely well written and informative article on sharpening. Overtime we all get to love certain stones for our sharpening needs. I am a huge coticule fan, and although i have used all the others, i always come back to this natural stone above all others. Still trying to figure if i chose it or it chose me! NEver the less there are so many options out there it is not hard with a little time and effort to find the right combination for your needs.


I have tried all of the other sharpeners out there, and really there is not a substitute for a nice stone sharpened blade. This kit lets you do all of the stone sharpening and keeps the angle the same and really does an outstanding job. I have been able to put screaming sharp edges on my kitchen knives and benchmades and Spydercos. The tapes are super high (multiple thousands grit) and give the edge a mirror finish. The ceramic honing steel is a very nice piece and the sleeve will save it from impacts if it lives in a drawer. Highly recommend, it is a little expensive, but you get what you pay for and this thing is pretty tough and I don't forsee wearing any of the stones out (aside from perhaps dropping them, but there are single replacements you can get easily). If you are on the fence just go ahead and get it, it has make me extremely happy and my knives have never been as consistently sharp.
Switch to a #3000 grit stone. Flip the knife with the edge facing away, and place the blade flat on the stone. Firmly pull in the blade towards the edge (Red arrow), then push the blade back to where you started without applying pressure (Blue arrow). It should feel like scraping water off the surface of the stone. Repeat this until the burr is no longer felt. Continue through to the remaining sections of the blade.
3. Place the knife blade flat on the stone and raise it to a 10 to 15 degree angle. The key to knife sharpening is maintaining a constant angle. Different knives require different sharpening angles. For a pocket knife, shoot for a 10 to 15 degree angle. This will give you an edge that’s sharp enough for most daily needs, but not sharp enough to perform heart surgery.  Keeping a constant angle by hand takes a lot of practice. If you’re having difficulty, you might consider investing in a sharpening guide. It takes all the guess work out of maintaining the needed angle. They cost about $10.

All Yoshihiro knives are handcrafted by Artisans with a lineage spanning centuries. The origins of the techniques used to create Yoshihiro knives dates back to medieval Japanese sword smiths who perfected the technique of handling fire, iron, and water. Our selections are far and wide and is a culmination of seven centuries of tradition intertwining with modern innovation inspired from Japanese ingenuity.

At Yoshihiro we offer three different grades of stones that run the gamut from coarse to fine and are essential tools for proper knife care. A #1000 grit 'Arato' stone is best used for repairing damaged and very dull knives. The stone is abrasive which takes off a lot of material for refashioning a dull edge. A #3000 grit 'Nakato Shiage' stone is best used for creating a sharp polished edge. This stone is necessary to maintain the blade's edge and is recommended for routine sharpening. An #8000 grit 'Shiage' Fine Finishing stone is best used for creating an even more refined and honed edge. Yoshihiro Toishi Whetstones are much larger than ordinary Japanese whetstones which help to sharpen more evenly. The wideness of the stone which measures 3 inches across gives more surface area to accurately sharpen longer blades, and at 1 inch in height has enough material to provide years of use. Weighing over 2 pounds with a sturdy wooden base attached on the bottom, our stones are also more stationary and less prone to slipping making for a safer sharpening experience.

Ye olde tomato test - After you have sharpened using one of the above sharpeners grab a firm tomato and try to slice it. If the blade is properly sharpened it will slice through the skin with virtually no effort and without pushing the skin inward first. If the skin is able to fight back against the blade then your knives are not properly sharpened yet.


All Yoshihiro knives are handcrafted by Artisans with a lineage spanning centuries. The origins of the techniques used to create Yoshihiro knives dates back to medieval Japanese sword smiths who perfected the technique of handling fire, iron, and water. Our selections are far and wide and is a culmination of seven centuries of tradition intertwining with modern innovation inspired from Japanese ingenuity. 

Last, it should be noted that dual-sided Coticule/Belgian Blue whetstones are also sometimes available which have a layer of Belgian Blue stone on one side and a layer of Coticule on the other. Thus, these whetstones provide a softer, more coarse, grit on one side and a harder, finer, grit on the other. Plus, due to the inherent toughness of the Belgian Blue stone, these dual-sided stones do not require a substrate layer.

Actually, the company contacted me to make sure I received the stones and that I was happy with them. Excellent service. The stones are great! I'm pretty much a novice so the clear instructions that came with the stones and the eBook instructions were wonderful. The eBook had quality pictures demonstrating the use of the stones and the written instructions were clear and to the point. Within minutes of opening the box I had the stones figured out and sharpening my AF survival knife, my pocket knife and a couple of my wife's kitchen knives...which included a very expensive chef's knife. Very satisfied with this product and highly recommend it.


“I definitely do feel a difference between when I use this knife sharpener and when I don't,” reported one of our testers. “Vegetables are much easier to chop and bread is easier to cut.” She also thought the instructions were detailed and clear, and that the sharpener looked “elegant” on the countertop. However, one of our testers did point out that because the sharpener is both large and heavy, it’s not very portable. “I would like it to be smaller and lighter — maybe one day they'll make a mini version for camping,” she mused. 

J. Kenji López-Alt is the Chief Culinary Advisor of Serious Eats, and author of the James Beard Award-nominated column The Food Lab, where he unravels the science of home cooking. A restaurant-trained chef and former Editor at Cook's Illustrated magazine, his first book, The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science is a New York Times Best-Seller, the recipient of a James Beard Award, and was named Cookbook of the Year in 2015 by the International Association of Culinary Professionals.
Jigs, such as the industry-standard Edge Pro, are an extension of the stone method, as they use simple but cleverly designed armatures to maintain a consistent angle between the stone and the blade. They’re extremely effective—professional knife sharpeners are some of their biggest champions—but they’re also expensive, and really practical only with a dedicated workbench.

Aesthetics – While it’s true that most people keep their sharpener, (even their expensive mechanical sharpeners) in the drawer until it’s time to use them you’ll still want to be aware of whether your sharpener fits into the overall aesthetic of your kitchen when you do take it out to use. While sharpener designs are fairly limited to be sure you typically have some control over the color and finish of the device as well as design factors like whether the device is boxy or rounded in appearance. With a stone sharpener or a stick however you pretty much get what you get.
As you probably have guessed, knives are easier to sharpen on longer stones. The width of the stone is less important than the length when sharpening knives. The longer stone allows for longer sharpening strokes and contributes to faster sharpening. The longer strokes mean fewer strokes across your stone, making it easier to maintain a consistent sharpening angle. As a rule of thumb, a small knife can easily be sharpened on a large stone, but a large knife cannot easily be sharpened on a small stone.
I’ve been sharpening knives since I was 9 or 10 years old, starting with a Browning pocket knife that I still carry. Later, working on a cattle ranch, I was at various times responsible for keeping the butcher’s knives and the boarding house’s kitchen knives in good working order using Arkansas oilstones. I’ve been cooking for myself for almost 20 years, and I’ve been keeping my trusty santoku shaving-sharp that whole time using Japanese waterstones (more on those in How we picked). So I appreciate a truly fine edge. But I’m also big on the Korean concept of koenchanayo (“that’s good enough”), and so for the past seven years I’ve also used an electric sharpener for my cheap, stamped-steel paring knives (which Wirecutter’s Lesley Stockton also loves) and for my expensive, forged heavy chef’s knife. In short: I’m not one of those knife geeks for whom nothing less than an atom-splitting edge is acceptable. The defining characteristic of a sharp knife is that it cuts neatly, easily, and safely in its intended tasks—and there’s more than one way to get an edge that sharp.
×