Best Sharpening Stones
Credit: Amazon

The Best Sharpening Stones to Revive Your Dull Knives

A sharpening stone is the best way to maintain professional-quality knives at home.
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

Related Content

It's no secret that a good knife is an essential tool for any home cook. Whether you're slicing, dicing, chopping, or julienning, an effective knife can make every task faster and easier. That's why it's so important to diligently care for your kitchen knives. A dull knife is actually more dangerous than a sharp one, so maintaining a sharp edge is the best way to ensure safe, efficient meal prep.

Any home cook will tell you that good knives don't come cheap. Even the highest quality options can lose their luster over time—especially when put through the extra wear and tear that comes with dishwashers and harsh detergents. Caring for your knives properly is the best way to protect your investment, and a sharpening stone is a simple tool that can help your favorite knife keep its edge for years.

When selecting the best sharpening stone, it's important to assess how often you'll use it, and what types of knives you intend to sharpen. Sharpening stones come in a range of coarseness and grit sizes, in a variety of materials, so there are a lot of options to choose from. We rounded up a few of the best sharpening stones for a variety of different types of knives. Overall, we were most impressed with the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone, because it's affordable, durable, and versatile.

Our Top Picks:

Stone Waterstone Knife Chisel Plane Blade Razor Sharpener
Credit: Courtesy of Walmart

Best Overall: Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone

View at Walmart ($36)

Pros: Two grit sizes, a non-slip base, and an affordable price make this an essential tool for every kitchen.  

Cons: This man-made water stone must be soaked in water before each use.

For the price-point, the quality, and the obvious advantage of having two sharpening stones for the price of one, this is a fantastic option for both beginners and advanced cooks alike. This double-sided sharpener is a true whetstone—meaning you'll need to soak it in water before using. It comes with two grit sizes: medium, to help you bring dull knives back to life, and super-fine, to help you achieve a razor-sharp edge. The bamboo holder is supported by a non-slip, silicone base that helps keep it in place for safe maneuvering. A knife sharpening angle guide helps users maintain the right amount of pressure at a perfect angle, which is one of the biggest challenges of sharpening knives at home. 

  • Grit size or stone density: 1,000 and 6,000
  • Material: Aluminum Oxide
KING Whetstone Starter Set Include 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone made in Japan
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best for Beginners: King Whetstone Starter Set

View at Amazon ($50)

Pros: An angle holder and sturdy base mean anyone can sharpen their knives correctly, even with no prior experience. 

Cons: This stone has two different sides that must be cared for differently, so be mindful of how you treat them. The 1,000 side should be soaked in water, while the 6,000 side only needs to be splashed with water.

One of the most difficult aspects of sharpening knives at home is knowing exactly what angle to hold the knife and maintaining consistent pressure with every stroke. However, accuracy can be easily achieved with help from an angle holder. This sharpening stone is fantastic for beginners because it includes two different grit sizes, a sturdy base, and an angle holder for easy, supported sharpening. Two sides allow for both medium and fine grit, which is beneficial for maintaining a honed edge and achieving a super-sharp finish. Before use, make sure to soak the 1,000 grit side in water, and splash the 6,000 side with water.

  • Grit size or stone density: 1,000 and 6,000
  • Material: Synthetic ceramic
knife sharpening set
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Set: ShaPu Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Set

View at Amazon ($100)

Pros: This extensive set comes with four dual-sided stones, offering a total of eight different grit sizes.

Cons: Because it's so comprehensive, this set is on the larger size and requires a good amount of storage space.  

The possibilities are truly endless with this extensive set that contains four dual-sided stones and offers eight grit levels to ensure that all of your sharpening needs are met. The stones range from 240 to 10,000 grit, and each one is securely held in place with a non-slip acacia wood base. It also features an angle guide so you can get the perfect swipe every time. Not only is this set great for your knives, but it can be used for sharpening other tools like scissors and pocket knives. Every piece comes packed in a convenient carrying case that makes storage a bit more streamlined.

  • Grit size or stone density: 240, 800, 600, 1,500, 1,000, 3,000, 5,000, 10,000
  • Material: Aluminum Oxide

Related: The Best Chef's Knife for Every Type of Task

Stone Waterstone Knife Chisel Plane Blade Razor Sharpener
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Pocket Sharpening Stone: Dan's Whetstone Company Inc. Genuine Arkansas Pocket Knife Sharpening Stone

View at Amazon ($12)

Pros: This petite option is great to keep in your knife roll for quick sharpening no matter where you're cooking.

Cons: This simple tool is made of soft stone, so it can't achieve the same precision on super-fine edges as some others.

Enjoy whipping up meals over a campfire? Consider Dan's Whetstone Company Inc.'s Genuine Arkansas Pocket Knife Sharpening Stone, made from a unique Arkansas stone known for its hardness.  For chefs who enjoy camping or hunting and are looking for an affordable yet high-quality sharpening stone to use on the go, this small, versatile sharpening stone quickly puts an edge on dull knives. The all-natural material is categorized as a soft grade stone, which means it can help revitalize dull tools but won't achieve a super-sharp edge. As a result, it's a useful addition to any toolkit as a way to maintain knives and prevent them from dulling. For best results, be sure to use a light mineral honing oil when sharpening. 

  • Grit size or stone density: Soft
  • Material: Novaculite
knife sharpening set
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

Best Oil Stone: Norton Abrasives Multi-Oilstone Sharpening System

View at Amazon ($211)

Pros: This sharpening system has a rotating axis that helps hold the three stones safely in place.
Cons: This has a coarse grit size, so it's better suited to knife maintenance, rather than for achieving super sharp, mirror-polished finishes.

This three-in-one oil stone will have your dull knives back to their original sharpness in little to no time at all. Equipped with three stones at varying grit levels—100, 150, and 350—the coarser material helps maintain an edge on even the most worn-out blades. The silicone carbide construction makes it extra durable, so it's easy to achieve major results quickly. Keep in mind that this sharpening stone is ideal for maintenance, but the low grit level means it isn't able to achieve super-fine, extra-sharp edges. The kit comes equipped with three separate stones, a rotating axis to hold them in place, and a bottle of sharpening stone oil, which helps keep the stones lubricated and in perfect condition so you don't need to replace them as often. 

  • Grit size or stone density: 100,150, 350
  • Material: ​​Silicone carbide

Related: The 11 Best Knife Sets on Amazon, According to Thousands of Home Cooks

sharpal sharpening stones
Credit: Courtesy of Home Depot

Best Diamond Stone: Sharpal Dual-Grit Diamond Whetstone

View at Home Depot ($71)

Pros: This sharpening stone can be used dry, so there's no need for water or oils.

Cons: Keep in mind that diamond sharpening stones are generally more expensive than other types of stones, so this option is on the pricier side.

Diamond sharpening stones are typically known for their coarse surface, so we love that this dual-sided stone also offers a fine side as well. The 325 grit side helps revive old, dull blades, and the 1,200 grit side helps hone and finish sharp edges. Unlike water stones and oil stones, this sharpening stone can be used dry, which means it's easy to use and clean up. A sturdy case and non-slip rubber pad helps keep it safely in place while sharpening. For added accuracy, this set also comes with an angle guide that helps users hold their knives at exactly the right angle. The guide features four angle options, so no matter what type of knife you have, you can be sure you're sharpening it correctly. 

  • Grit size or stone density: 325 and 1,200
  • Material: Novaculite

Conclusion

Overall, the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone impressed us as the most efficient sharpening stone for both professional and novice home cooks alike. The dual-sided sharpening stone features both coarse and fine grit levels, which allows it to sharpen ultra-dull knives and hone super-sharp edges. A non-slip base provides safety and security, and an angle guide makes it easy to use.

Factors to Consider

Grit Size

Before you purchase a sharpening stone, it's important to take factors like coarseness and grit size into consideration. If you're looking to sharpen a dull blade, a coarse sharpening stone is your best bet for bringing it back to life. Alternatively, a fine stone will help hone super-sharp edges and keep them in tip top shape. After assessing the level of coarseness you need, you'll next need to select a stone with the appropriate grit grade. Typically speaking, the lower the grit level, the coarser the stone. Dull knives, especially ones with burrs and chips, will be revived on grit levels ranging from 120 to 400, whereas standard blades will benefit from 700 to 2,000 level grit. If smoother-than-smooth is what you're after, then a grit of 3,000 or more will help buff away any serration. Since knives are longer in shape, you'll want a stone that is also bigger in length so you can use long, consistent strokes. 

Stone Material

In general, there are three types of sharpening stones to choose from: water stones, oil stones, and diamond stones. Water stones are typically made from aluminum oxide and can come in a variety of different grit sizes, which makes them versatile and easy to use. Typically, aluminum oxide is softer than other materials, so it allows for faster, more efficient sharpening. 

Oil stones, however, are available in a variety of coarseness levels and can create fine edges on knives, but can be time-consuming. Oil stones are typically made from silicone carbide or novaculite and require a layer of oil to lubricate the stone and assist with sharpening. Therefore, they can be messy to use and more difficult to clean than water stones. 

Lastly, as their name suggests, diamond stones are made with small, man-made diamonds that are super coarse, and thus able to quickly sharpen and revive dull blades. Depending on the grit level you choose, diamond stones are best suited for honing the edges and points of sharp knives as opposed to serrated knives, which can get caught in them.

The Research

For this piece our editors performed extensive research on different types of sharpening stones, the metals they're made from and the levels of grit necessary for each. We combined our knowledge of knife sharpening with professional industry insights and the perspective of a knife expert from Messermeister to determine the qualities that are most important in a good sharpening stone. We determined the best sharpening stone for each category by utilizing a combination of personal experience and competitive research.

Pro Panel Q+A

Q: How do you clean a sharpening stone? 

A: Sharpening stones aren't meant to be cleaned, according to Mark Wade, Executive VP of Messermeister. "Water stones are made of corundum, and they rely on the paste, or slurry, that builds up on the surface of the stone to do the work. These loose particles tumble across the surface during sharpening, grinding away against the metal blade. Oil stones work in a similar way. Just dry the stones off and put them away. Natural stones are a bit different as they are harder and do not develop a slurry. Just wipe off the excess lubricant and you are good to go," he says. 

"If you are going to use a whetstone, it's a really good idea to have a diamond stone flattener. This keeps the surface of your stone flat, as uneven wear can cause your stone to saddle in the middle.  You [can] also use a stone flattener to knock down or bevel the edges of the stone, which helps to make smoother strokes."

Q: How do you tell what grit a whetstone is?

A: "It's important to understand there are at least three different standards used to assign the level of grit, and they vary widely," Wade says. "A grit number is the approximate number of abrasive particles within a specific area on the surface of the stone. The easy way to determine what is right for you is to look at the assortment offered from a single whetstone maker, which will always have a range of coarseness from low (rough) to high (smooth). The grit number will be on the stone itself or at least the packaging."

Q: How do you choose a whetstone?

A: "When choosing from the range of coarseness, keep in mind what you are trying to accomplish. Are you trying to quickly set the edge angle with a few strokes? If so, choose a stone within the range that has a lower grit number. If you want a super-fine polish, choose a stone with a high number. Most of the time people use whetstones in series, starting first with a coarse stone and progressing to the finer grit stones to polish out the scratches. That's why many whetstones come double-sided with two different grits," Wade says.

Q: Do you wet a sharpening stone? 

A: "Yes. In fact, it is essential," Wade says. "Water stones are actually porous clay matrices, which require a few minutes of soaking before use. Either water or oil can be used on most natural stones to lubricate the surface. Water is the most common lubricant, but if you use oil on a stone, then it will always be an oil stone. Reapply as needed during use."

Our Expertise

This piece was co-written by Adria Greenhauff, a journalist specializing in food and dining content, with bylines on Allrecipes, BHG, and Southern Living, and Emily Belfiore, a lifestyle writer and editor with bylines on Real Simple, Health, and InStyle. For this list, they researched the category extensively and drew on their own experience using and caring for different types of knives and sharpening stones.

This piece was updated by Laura Denby, a professional chef and food writer. Laura utilizes her professional cooking experience to guide her product reviews, which you can find on AllRecipes, Real Simple, FoodNetwork.com, and more.

This piece was also updated by Stacey Ballis, a freelance writer, recipe developer, and product reviewer. Stacey has been published on Food & Wine, Eating Well, Allrecipes, MyRecipes, Delish, and more.