A knife is only as good as its ability to quickly slice and dice ingredients. A sharpening and honing tool is essential to get that edge. Electric and manual knife sharpeners are effective, but a whetstone is the gold standard when it comes to fine, sharp blades. Although sometimes mistakenly associated with water, whetstone comes from the word afilar, meaning to sharpen.
Whetstones come in a variety of materials from oil stone to diamond stone to water stone to ceramic stone. They also come in a variety of grits, from coarse on the low end to fine on the high end. Typically, you want a coarse grain and a fine grain, either separate stones or a two-sided option. Whichever choice you make, a sharpening stone is a solid investment in the best care of your knives: it allows maximum control over the angle and refinement of your blade. Stop worrying about cutting into that ripe tomato when you trust a whetstone for at-home sharpening and honing.
After researching it is our favorite wet stoneSharp Pebble Messerschleifstein premium sharpening stone. For a long lasting oil stone we recommendNorton Combined Oil Stone.
Whether you're looking for your first sharpening stone or experienced enough to handle a diamond-finished one, these are the best sharpening stones for all your knives.
Best overall, Wasserstein
Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpener
What we love:Includes affordable, double-sided, easy-to-clean sharpening guide
What we don't love:The fine side fiber is a bit soft and needs to be soaked in water before use
Water stones use water as a lubricant to improve sharpness and remove debris. This economical option for water stone from Sharp Pebble has the optimal two-sided grain. The 1000/6000 grit allows you to repair and sharpen severely dull blades and hone edges to a sharp point, all in one stone. And the rubber base bonds the stone to a non-slip bamboo outer base for added stability during the process.
Versatility is another advantage of the Sharp Pebble. you can sharpen everythingchef's knifeto pruning shears, and the generous 7.25" x 2.25" surface area offers plenty of room for even larger blades. The included angle guide gives beginners a sense of ease, helping them find the exact angle effortlessly. This is a water stone, so prepare to soak for about 15 minutes before using, and keep a bowl of water nearby to maintain humidity levels during processing.
Price at time of publication: $60
Extracted:1.000/6.000 |Design:Two-sided bead with base |Material:aluminum oxide
Best Overall, Oil Stone
What we love:Great for repair jobs, durable, no soaking required
What we don't love:Honing oils can be dirty
Oilstones are more durable compared to their softer waterstone counterparts. Norton's Double Sided Oilstone is made from aluminum oxide, which is known to be strong and wear resistant. With a 100/320 split, this stone is best suited for repair and sharpening, so you may want to add a high grit stone for refining and polishing.
Norton Combi Oilstone does not require pre-soaking and is pre-filled with oil to keep the surface lubricated during processing. This robust model promises to last a long time, but cleaning can be tricky. It is recommended to clean it with kerosene and a stiff brush and allow it to dry completely before soaking it in mineral oil.
Price at time of publication: $34
Extracted:100/320 |Design:Double-sided grain, manual |Material:aluminum oxide
Whetstone Cutlery 400/1000 Double Sided Sharpening Stone
What we love:Durable, no polishing oil required.
What we don't love:On the smaller side
Although this sharpening stone is affordably priced, it doesn't sacrifice durability. Silicon carbide construction stands up to a lot of use before it shows wear. And the generous 7" x 2.25" size means you can work with large sheets without worry.
This cutlery sharpening stone is double sided and offers a coarse 400 grit for repairing damaged knives and an even coarser 1000 grit for effective sharpening. What this model lacks is higher, finer edge grinding capabilities, but it's a cornerstone of keeping your knives useful. Be sure to soak the whetstone in water for 10 minutes before use, and for best results, place it on a damp towel during use to keep it in place and protect work surfaces. This will also avoid damaging the other side of the stone during use.
Price at time of publication: $16
Extracted:400/1000 |Design:Double-sided grain, manual |Material:Silicium carbide
Related:The best knife sharpeners
Best for beginners
King Whetstone Starter-Set
What we love:Versatile and stable base, comes with an angle guide
What we don't love:It must be soaked, it must air dry.
This double-sided Japanese-style whetstone turns your dull knives into razor-sharp works of art with its 1000/6000 grit combination. It's made from ceramic specially developed for stainless steel and carbon knives by trusted sharpening stone manufacturer King.
In addition to optimal grits, this model has an angle guide to precisely sharpen and refine your blades. And the stable base keeps it safe during processing. The wide range of grits offers the convenience of sharpening more than what comes in your knife set. Use this pattern to sharpen pocket knives, ax blades, or even garden tools. Be sure to soak this ceramic water stone for about 5 minutes before using it.
Price at time of publication: $50
Extracted:1.000/6.000 |Design:Two-sided bead with base |Material:ceramics
Related:best knife sets
Bench stone DMT 8 Zoll DuoSharp Plus
What we love:Sharpens quickly, even grinding surface, durable
What we don't love:Need a break-in period
The single crystal structure of the DMT DuoSharp provides a consistent diamond surface that has been designed flat to ensure even contact between the blade and the sharpening stone. The generous 8-inch surface accommodates a variety of tools, from large chef's knives tocooking shears- With ease, and the stone can be used wet or dry, providing comfort and versatility.
This double-sided model has a coarse-grit side and a fine-grit side, but as with all diamond-faced whetstones, great care must be taken when sharpening and honing. Diamond is a very sharp material and can damage knives without proper care. This also means it's a very fast option when you need a quick touch-up for a razor sharp edge. The DMT DuoSharp comes with a lockable bench base to keep everything in place while sharpening. The diamond surface is very durable and will last a long time without the need to flatten it.
Price at time of publication: $75
Extracted:Double grain (25 microns and 45 microns) |Design:Two-Sided Grain with Locking Foot |Material:diamond stone
Related:The best bread knives
If you're looking to equip your kitchen with a tool that not only sharpens and polishes your knives, but also offers a versatile range of grits and ease of use, we recommend the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone (view on amazon). If this is your first time using whetstones and you need everything you need to sharpen, sharpen, smooth and condition a wide range of blades, choose the King Whetstone Starter Set (view on amazon).
What to consider when buying a sharpening stone
Olsteine:Oilstones tend to be the traditional sharpening stones that people grew up with. They are durable and need very little flattening due to their strong material. They require oil to lubricate the metal during processing and can involve complicated cleanup. They come in a variety of grits, but their hard surfaces generally require more sweeping motions when sharpening.
water stones:Like oil stones, water stones also come in natural and synthetic materials. Waterstones tend to be smoother and require more flattening than other varieties, but this also means faster sharpening and honing, requiring fewer cleaning motions - a definite benefit. Unlike oilstones, waterstones are easier to clean, but they also require initial soaking and constant moisture during sharpening.
Diamante:Diamond is the hardest of all surfaces and offers fast results. They come in two varieties: a pitted surface to catch chips or scrap, or a solid diamond surface to help sharpen tools that can get caught in holes. Diamond surfaces are available in two types, monocrystalline and polycrystalline. Monocrystalline tends to be more durable and will last longer. Diamond stones tend to be expensive, as you know, diamonds, but they also require little to no grinding and last a long time. They are ideal for sharpeningceramic knife.
ceramic stones:If lubricating your sharpening stone is a deal breaker, ceramic might be the right choice. Most ceramic sharpening stones don't require water or oil, so there's no messy cleanup necessary. They are generally very durable and require little renovation. And the material from which they are made is almost as hard as diamond sharpening stones, so they last a long time. The downside is that they tend to be expensive.
Basically, the larger the grain, the finer the stone. The coarse grit is good for sharpening or repairing tools, and the fine grit is better for refining edges and angles.
When considering grit numbers, it's important to note that the lower the number (100 to 900), the better it will be on rough knife edges, even those with chips. Once you get to 1,000-3,000 grit, it will still sharpen effectively, but think of a dull knife rather than a damaged one.
Grits between 4,000 and 8,000 are most effective for sharpening an already sharp knife; think of this as a polished grain rather than a sharp one. The higher the grain number, the more control you have over the transformation of your edges, but that comes at a high price.
Diamond stones use microns to indicate how fine or coarse the grit is, but the same rule applies: a low number equals coarse, a high number equals fine.
Most sharpening stones are available with either a single-sided or double-sided grit. A single grit can be effective for touch-ups, but you will often need a second grit for polishing and finishing. The two-sided grain offers both options in one. It is usually a coarse, low number grit on one side and a finer, high number grit on the other side.
The other design consideration is whether to hold a stone using a base or a handheld device. Freestanding or pocket variants offer portability but make it difficult to achieve a stable angle. Floor-mounted models offer more precision, but require a firm base to stand on for machining.
How do you use a sharpening stone?
Depending on the material you purchase, you may need to soak the sharpening stone before using it. Be sure to check the manufacturer's label for complete instructions.
Water stones require some exposure to water, either by immersion before use or simply by spraying water on the surface of the stone. With diamond stones, water can be used to prepare the surface, but there is also an option called lapping fluid that prolongs the effectiveness of a diamond surface. An oil stone needs a little mineral oil on the surface before sharpening - the same as conditioning andKeep the wooden cutting boards.after they have been cleaned.
Regardless of the material you have purchased, these are the basic steps for using your sharpening stone. First, soak your stones and set up your station. If you are using a sharpening stone that requires water, keep it nearby to ensure there is enough moisture in the stone to complete the sharpening/sharpening.
Starting with the thick stone or the side, hold the blade at a 20 degree angle and place the heel of the knife on the far edge of the stone. Maintaining even pressure, slowly draw the knife across the stone toward you while holding it at a 20-degree angle. Finish the movement and repeat about 10 times.
Switch to a fine grit stone or side and repeat the process. Then clean and test the blade. That can be tricky. Try to identify a dish towel that you will always use for this task, as stains are likely to occur.
How do you take care of a sharpening stone?
The answer depends on the stone. Water and diamond surface stones require a simple rinse in hot water, perhaps a scrubbing to remove metal particles, and a thorough drying. Oilstones require an application of mineral oil to maintain their finish. You can also use a little hot water and dish soap to remove any residue from your oilstone. Be sure to dry and rub with oil.
For tough cleaning jobs, pull out the Bar Keeper's Friend from under the sink. Like stainless steel, it can remove hard-to-clean residue from sharpening stones. Be sure to rinse and dry the stone afterwards.
My personal advice is to have sandpaper on hand to smooth the whetstone. Every time youhone and hone- two distinct but equally important functions - the process creates high and low spots on the surface of the stone, also known as bulge. To keep the stone level and at peak performance, clean it several times with 400-grit sandpaper. Water and oil stones are the most prone to crumbling.
Why only trust recipes?
Carrie Honakeris a food writer who has handled many knives over the years. As a restaurateur and avid cook, she knows how important it is to care for knives to keep them stable and sharp-edged. She loves her Kota Whetstone to keep those edges sharp and functional, chef after chef. Her work has been featured in many publications, including Bon Appetit, Allrecipes, and Wine Enthusiast.
Keep reading:The best meat grinders