8 Best Whetstones | April 2017

8 Best Whetstones | April 2017
Best Mid-Range
★★★★
Best High-End
★★★★★
Best Inexpensive
★★★
We spent 27 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top selections for this wiki. Keep all your bladed instruments in tip-top shape with one of these whetstones. Capable of sharpening just about any implement, from kitchen knives to shears and hatchets, they come with a range of grit ratings from 240, for very dull blades, through to 8,000, for polishing fine chef's knives or even swords. Skip to the best whetstone on Amazon.
8
The Kai Japanese Professional has one of the lowest grits around, with one side rated at just 240. That makes it a good starting point for older, duller knives that would gain little from finer friction. Its 1,000 side helps achieve a true edge.
  • rust removal surface
  • solid weight at 17 ounces
  • block is too fragile
Brand Kai
Model 3658
Weight 1.5 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
7
The Whetstone Cutlery Two-Sided has a rough 400-grit rating on one side and a 1,000-rated surface on the other, so it's a fine choice for faster sharpening of rugged tools like shears, yet also offers the chance for precision.
  • long 8-inch run
  • produces helpful slurry
  • prep requires a 24-hour soaking
Brand Whetstone Cutlery
Model 20-10960
Weight 1.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
6
You won't find the Smith's SK2 2-Stone Sharpening Kit prominently displayed in the kitchen of a Michelin star restaurant, but for keeping your pocket knife or hatchet honed, this rough rock and polishing solution are a great, affordable choice.
  • made from natural arkansas stone
  • liquid protects metals
  • angle guide included
Brand Smith's
Model SK2
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.1 / 5.0
5
The faces of the Taidea 1000/3000 Grit Combination Corundum each measure 7 inches by 2.4 inches, an ideal size for both quick, efficient sharpening and for maximizing control. Use it for a paring knife or a cleaver, but make sure to lubricate it.
  • secure rubber base
  • good choice for home use
  • narrower grit range than others
Brand Taidea
Model T0961W
Weight 1.4 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
4
The Idealeben Non-Slip was designed to last for years of use. It resists corrosion and heat damage, and its surfaces won't easily chip or shave away. Try the 4,000 grit side out for your finest blades, including kitchen knives.
  • available in gray or orange
  • included silicone pad adds safety
  • soaks up water in just 5-10 minutes
Brand Idealeben
Model 1
Weight 1.3 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
3
The Japanese King Knife Sharpener is made in Japan and conforms to the exacting standards of a skilled sushi chef, a line of culinary work where a sharp knife can make the difference between a delectable piece of fish and something altogether inedible.
  • plastic base resists mold
  • good price for a quality item
  • 6000 grit option
Brand KING
Model 0400372
Weight 12.8 ounces
Rating 4.7 / 5.0
2
The Peralng 1000/4000 Grit Combination comes with a carved bamboo base that not only holds and protects the stone but also makes for great gift or display presentation. You'll be as happy to use this tool as you will be to show it off.
  • preferred choice for fine cutlery
  • soaks up water in 10 minutes
  • user's guide included
Brand Peralng
Model pending
Weight 1.9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0
1
The included angle guide that comes with the Culinary Obsession Two-Sided is not only ideal for the sharpener with less-than-steady hands, but it can also serve as an excellent teaching tool for youngsters just learning how to care for knives.
  • nonslip bamboo base
  • no oil required
  • 1000 and 6000 grit options
Brand Culinary Obsession
Model CUL-MN-W01
Weight 2.5 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Whetstones, Meet the Whetstones

A whetstone is a sharping tool used by many consumers and professionals alike to sharpen and hone a blade. They may be used on kitchen knives, shears, or even hatchets and machetes. The whetstone's abrasive surface scrapes against the blade to remove the dull edge and give it a new, clean finish.

Contrary to popular belief, the whetstone is not called so because it is soaked in water prior to sharpening. To whet an object means to sharpen; the soaking step aids in priming the stone for sharpening. The process of sharpening a blade with a whetstone is aptly called stoning. The water combines with the small particles in the stone to create an abrasive surface to grind the blade.

Your whetstone will most likely be double-sided with a coarse and a fine grit. The grit is determined by the number of sand-like particles in the stone. The coarse grit will have fewer particles, whereas the finer grit will have more grains. Both sides are utilized to effectively sharpen a blade. The coarse grit, usually a deeper color; red or gray, will pre-sharpen the blade and remove any burrs or discrepancies in the blade. The finer grit is then used to hone and polish the blade, creating a finished edge.

The grit is labelled by a numbered system from 240-8000. The low end is a very coarse grit and it should reflect the type of blade you will sharpen; a dull camping utensil for instance. A finer grit should be reserved for high end kitchen knives or specialty blades such as a straight razor for shaving.

True Grit

At the end of the day, you are simply purchasing a rock. However, manufacturers who want your business will entice you with add-ons, such as a stable base for the stone, a wide range of grit sizes, and claims of unparalleled durability.

A base for your whetstone should be included in any model you purchase. Considering you are using your whetstone after its been submerged in water; the stone tends to slide on most surfaces when you sharpen. The base, usually a rubber silicone anchor, will ensure that the stone does not move around. A slippery stone can be a hazardous situation. The goal is safety, however, some companies will take liberties to present a decorative base and forgo the safer option.

The grit range is important only in regards to the type of knives you will sharpen. It is entirely up to the consumer and how they utilize their knives. Obviously you want a stone that is capable of sharpening all your blades to the appropriate sharpness. As a rule of thumb, the higher the grit, the more you will be able to get the finest razor's edge. However, this might mean several more swipes back and forth along the stone, which can be quite time consuming.

The stone should be durable: avoid knockoff models that are chipped or cracked. This is a serious concern when purchasing online, especially overseas. A quality whetstone should last a lifetime, and the price offered is a steal compared to the value. You may never have to replace expensive blades if you can simply sharpen a dull edge, and the stone pays for itself after only a few uses.

I must mention that there is a difference between natural and synthetic stones. Consumers tend to gravitate towards natural stones which are usually higher quality and beautiful to behold. The Belgian Coticule is seen as the gold standard for natural whetstones.

A Sharp Beginning

The history of sharpening blades goes back as far as the first rudimentary tools and weapons in ancient times. The concept of sharpening a blade on a stone dates back to Roman antiquity. The Belgian Coticule stones were the preferred choice of the Roman army, and today it is still seen as the highest standard of natural whetstone.

Any stone with a flat surface was a perfect candidate for sharpening blades. A sword, however, was sharpened on a circular stone that was rotated by a handle. As you can see, knife sharpening has not undergone a huge technological shift in history. The method of sharpening has stayed consistent, while the materials improved; from flint rock to stainless steel.

The emergence of high quality synthetic stones has begun to replace their natural stone counterparts. This is in part because of the limited resources of natural stones in the current market. The synthetic models boast a consistent particle size and high quality to rival the natural stone. The advantage of natural stones are their natural beauty and their rarity, which make them collectors items and they are usually handed down from one generation to the next.



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Last updated on April 28 2017 by Daniel Imperiale

Daniel is a writer, actor, and director living in Los Angeles, CA. He spent a large portion of his 20s roaming the country in search of new experiences, taking on odd jobs in the strangest places, studying at incredible schools, and making art with empathy and curiosity.