The 6 Best Sharpening Stones

A good sharpening stone is essential to keeping your knives in good condition and ready for action. Of course, sharpening stones range in application and price, which is why I’ve taken the time to select the best options for all of your sharpening and honing needs. Keep reading for the 6 best sharpening stones on the market.

High End Pick

The KING Whetstone Starter Set

My pick for the all around best sharpening stone.

Budget Pick

The Whetstone Cutlery Knife Sharpening Stone

My pick for the best sharpening stone under $20.

Value Pick

The Whetstone Sharpener Stone Set

My pick for the best value for your money. 

The Sharp Pebble Puck Disk Sharpening Disk

The Sharp Pebble Premium Knife Sharpening Stone may look like other whetstones on the market, but it performs several steps ahead of the competition.  

The Sharp Pebble Premium Knife Sharpening Stone is a great whetstone for beginners, and coming in at a middle range price point (about $40), it’s a great option for those looking to dip their toes into the world of knife sharpening. 

The stone is double-sided, which is pretty standard among most stones out there. It’s made from premium quality materials and rated to 1000 grit on one side, and 6000 grit on the other. The coarser grit is for sharpening, while the finer grit is for honing and finishing. 

The Sharp Pebble is also very well constructed. The stone itself fits within a silicone holder, which itself rests in a bamboo cradle. The cradle has a coating of rubber at the bottom that gently hugs (and protects) your countertop, meaning this thing is incredibly stable. 

What I really appreciate about this product is the care that Sharp Pebble has taken to orient new users to the business of knife sharpening. The product comes with a detailed instruction manual, and even better, an eBook filled with lots of tips for making the most of your new whetstone. 

Also in the spirit of assisting new users, the Sharp Pebble comes with a small silicone holder that is meant to maintain the angle of your knife while sharpening. Now, the thought that goes into this is great, but the actual functionality of such a tool is limited, since your blade angle is also going to depend on blade width. And moreover, the tool (set to 20 degrees) limits the angle at which you can sharpen your knife. 

But of course, that limitation only applies if you decide to use the silicone holder, which you certainly don’t need to do. I don’t, therefore, consider this to be a negative, just a less than useful free add on. 

The only real downside to this stone is the fact that it wears down relatively quickly. But of course, sharpening stones are meant to be used wet - usually after soaking in water for about 20 minutes - and this naturally leads to their slow decomposure. 

Pros

  • Double sided, premium quality whetstone is 1000 grit on one side, 6000 on the other.
  • Silicone holder, bamboo wooden cradle and rubber base keep the stone securely in place during use.
  • Very user friendly; a separate guide assists in maintaining a perfect blade angle.
  • Versatile and multipurpose; use this to sharpen ANY blade and hone your favorite knives.
  • Comes with an instruction manual and even an eBook filled with tips and tricks to get the most out of your sharpening stone. 

Cons

  • Wears down relatively quickly.
  • The silicone holder is helpful but not super versatile.

Price: 

$$

Quality:

The Genuine 3 Stone Arkansas Sharpening Tool

Made right in Arkansas, the Genuine Arkansas 3 Stone Model by Dan’s Whetstone Company is a fine example of American craftsmanship.

The Genuine Arkansas 3 Stone Model from Dan’s Whetstone Company is a wonderful little product made right here in the United States. Not only is the sharpening stone made in Arkansas, it’s quarried and made from Arkansas stone!

The sharpener comes with three stone options, one a coarse 600 grit, another medium grit, at anywhere from 600 to 800, and a soft grit that comes in around 800 to 1000. I really like having all of these options - they’re appropriate for getting even the dullest of blades sharp. 

The product comes with an ounce of sharpening oils, to use as needed, and sits nicely within a small wooden cradle (also made in Arkansas). I’m really into the look of this sharpening stone set, which, although perhaps not as sleek or modern looking as some other stones on this list, nevertheless has a great, rustic look to it. 

This whetstone also comes with a sharpening guide, set to 23 degrees, to make getting the correct angle on your knife easy. Although the blade angle is limited to 23 degrees, I do think the design of this guide - sort of a wedge shape - is superior to other guides I’ve seen. It will work on wide and narrow blades alike. 

The only downside that I see in this sharpening set is that the soft grits (800 - 1000) aren’t quite as fine as on other sharpeners. Stones of that degree are for honing - and certainly the soft grit on the 3 Stone Model will do the job - and so I really wouldn’t let this one small limitation prevent you from buying.

Pros

  • Three different stones in one; coarse (600), medium (600 - 800) and soft grits (800 - 1000) to meet all of your sharpening needs.
  • One ounce of sharpening oil is included with purchase.
  • Stone is quarried and made in Arkansas, United States.
  • Comes with a nicely designed wooden cradle.
  • Comes with a 23 degree blade sharpening guide.

Cons

  • This kit does not include a high (2000+ grit) stone.

Price: 

$$

Quality:

The Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone

The Sharp Pebble Dual Grit Multipurpose Sharpening Stone is compact and versatile, and an ideal choice for “on the go” sharpening.

The Dual Grit Multipurpose Sharpening Stone by Sharp Pebble is definitely a niche whetstone. And although it can’t handle all of your sharpening needs - not the best whetstone for a refined kitchen - it is absolutely the best sharpening stone you can buy for a variety of other uses. 

Let’s get down to it. This sharpening stone “puck” is really for non-kitchen items, like axes, hatchets, machetes and shovels. The grit on both sides (150 on the coarse, 320 on the relatively “fine”) would just destroy an expensive kitchen knife. That said, this stone is perfect for less delicate tools, and super convenient. 

I really like how small this product is. It’s just under 4” in diameter and just barely over 1” in thickness. It fits snugly in a nice little bamboo case with a magnetic closure, making for easy and safe transport. 

And for a tool that will likely get more use “in the field,” the bamboo case is actually very necessary. Besides protecting your hands from a rough surface, the bamboo case is really useful in protecting the whetstone from damage. 

The stone itself is made from silicone carbide, which should be soaked in water prior to use. The nice thing is that this whetstone works without expensive sharpening oils, another convenient factor, especially for those on the go. And the grits are just right for getting a razor sharp edge on the dullest of outdoor tools.

Pros

  • Small and simple design; easy to store and transport.
  • Dual grit; 150 (very coarse) on one side and 320 (relatively “fine”) on the other.
  • Magnetic bamboo box for safe storage. 

Cons

  • The small size makes it difficult to use on large knives.
  • Not an appropriate tool for fine kitchen knives.

Price: 

$$

Quality:

The Whetstone Cutlery Knife Sharpening Stone

Whetstone Cutlery’s Dual Sided Sharpening Stone is a fantastic budget option if you aren’t looking to break the bank.

This dual sided 400/1000 grit sharpening stone from Whetstone Cutlery is a fantastically affordable option. Coming in under $20, it’s really a no-brainer pick if you’re on a budget.

This sharpening stone is versatile, with a coarse 400 grit on one side - great for repairing blades and returning blade edges to their original shape - and a fine 1000 grit side for honing and polishing your knife. While I do prefer to polish with a slightly higher grit (something over 2000), this will certainly do. 

Whetstone Cutlery uses high quality materials, and the best part is that you don’t need to keep buying expensive honing oils for this product. Instead, just soak the stone in water for about 5 to 10 minutes before use, and you’re all set. 

I like the size of this stone as well - it’s about 7” by 2” overall - which is great for almost any kind of knife, from paring all the way up to carving knives. The one downside is that it lacks a cradle to keep the stone stable during use. If you’ve got stone countertops, you definitely don’t want to rub this thing against them, so I’d recommend using this sharpening stone over a damp kitchen towel. 

Pros

  • Dual grit; 400 (coarse) on one side and 1000 (fine) on the other.
  • No expensive honing oil necessary.
  • Made from quality silicon carbide.
  • Very affordable.

Cons

  • No cradle. 
  • 1000 grit is fine, but not fine enough to polish professional grade knives. 

Price: 

$

Quality:

The Whetstone Sharpener Stone Set

The HosiLany Premium Knife Sharpening Stone Kit may be a little expensive, but in terms of value, you get plenty of bang for your buck.

The HosiLany Premium Knife Sharpening Stone Kit is really a one stop shop for all of your sharpening needs. I love how truly multipurpose this stone set is; it includes absolutely everything you need. 

Made from premium materials and starting at a 400 grit coarseness for repairing and returning edges, the set also includes grits of 1000 (good for sharpening edges), 3000 and 8000, which are great for finishing and polishing expensive knives. I wouldn’t finish one of my nice knives on anything lower than 3000 grit, and in this sense, HosiLany has me covered. 

I like the bamboo cradle and silicone base to ensure stability during sharpening (especially when I’m using the coarse grit), though the angled blade guide is kind of unnecessary. The guide is more of a hindrance than help, but I suppose you could use it to establish the angle you want to get on your blade, and then put it to the side. 

And it’s a small detail, but I also really love that they include a leather strap in this set to polish the knife after honing. Nothing finishes a knife like leather, and it’s a nice touch that a lot of other sets completely miss out on. 

Although this set is a bit expensive, I’d say it’s well worth it considering what you get for the money. The fact that it includes four different grits works out to just $15 per whetstone, which is actually not all that bad at all.

Pros

  • Truly multipurpose; this sharpening set includes whetstones that are 400, 1000, 3000 and 8000 grit.
  • No expensive honing oil necessary.
  • Includes a bamboo cradle and silicone base for high stability.
  • Includes an angle guide, flattening stone for re-leveling, and a leather strap for polishing your knife. 

Cons

  • Moderately expensive.
  • The angle guide is difficult to use, and does not hold your blade at the correct angle.

Price: 

$$$

Quality:

The KING Whetstone Starter Set

The KING Combination Whetstone Set is the absolute best sharpening stone kit on the market. 

Just touching this Combination Whetstone Set from KING, you can feel the difference that quality materials make. The whetstone exemplifies superior Japanese craftsmanship. 

The stone is 1000 grit on one side, 6000 on the other. Although this set doesn’t come with a coarse grit (something around 600), as long as you don’t need to repair an edge, you should be fine. Start with the 1000 grit side to sharpen, and then finish on the 6000 side. 

The stone sits on a high base that doesn’t slip around on the counter. I want to highlight how raised this base is, because that actually makes a huge difference. The fact that the stone is elevated makes sharpening a lot easier and much less cumbersome, especially for those of us with big hands. 

I also really like the wiping cloth. Obviously, we all have towels in our kitchen, but not necessarily ones that you’ll want to dirty with knife sharpening debris. So it’s nice to have a high absorbency cloth devoted exclusively to that purpose.  

The set also comes with a plastic blade angle guide, which is fine I suppose, but doesn’t really offer much. I prefer to use these guides to establish my angle, and then put them to the side. I find using them while sharpening to be too awkward. 

Best of all, KING offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee - so buy with confidence! This is the absolute best sharpening stone set you can get!

Pros

  • Made from high quality, natural stone and dual sided (1000/6000 grits).
  • Comes with a secure base that holds the stone high above the counter surface for ease of use.
  • Comes with a high absorbency wiping cloth for quick drying.
  • Made in Japan.
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Cons

  • The angle guide, like most guides, is not particularly helpful.
  • No coarse grit.

Price: 

$$

Quality:

Final thoughts

There are a few things to consider when selecting the right sharpening stone. First, the term sharpening stone is actually a misnomer, since what many of these whetstones are used for is not necessarily sharpening, but rather, honing. 

What is the difference between sharpening and honing? 

When you sharpen your knife, you use the whetstone to remove material from a dull blade, literally grinding it down to produce a new edge. On the other hand, honing is for blades that are already sharp, but need to be maintained. Rather than removing material, honing simply realigns that edge in place. 

If you need to sharpen your knives, you’ll want to use a whetstone with a relatively coarse grit before moving on to finer - or softer - stones for finishing. Using the wrong grit can ruin your knife by unnecessarily wearing down your edge. Sharpen too often and you’ll slowly see your knife disappear. 

I recommend only sharpening your knives every 6 to 9 months, depending on use. Instead of over-sharpening, you should really focus on maintaining your blades, and to do that, you’ll need a high grit whetstone. 

Which grits are good for what? 

100 to 600 - I would only use a grit of this coarseness for outdoor tools and knife repair, like a knife that is chipped or has completely lost its edge. 

600 to 1000 - This level of grit is still relatively coarse, and used for sharpening, rather than honing. 

2000 - 5000 - This higher level of grit is much finer, and a nice intermediary whetstone for knife maintenance. 

5000 and up - Whetstones with super fine grits, like those 5000+ are used for finishing and polishing. 

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