A sharp knife will save you lots of aggravation in the kitchen. While choosing the best whetstones for your knife is not super complex, it’s not something you think about often, so we had questions. We figured you might have them, too.
In a hurry? Our top three favorites are:
- Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone — Top Whetstone Overall
- Whetstone Set Premium 2-In-1 — Excellent in Grit Range
- Cwidny Grit Sharpening Stone — Best Runner-Up
Wait, What Is a Whetstone Anyway?
You may also hear these referred to as water stones or sharpening tools. They’re rectangular blocks of stone used to sharpen knives.
Whetstones aren’t only for knives, though. You can also use them for things like scissors or hand scrapers.
They’re often made from materials like aluminum oxide and feature different levels of grit. This refers to how coarse the sharpener is and knowing what level of grit to look for is key.
What Grit Whetstone Should I Get?
Whetstones offer grit ranging from 100 up to 30,000. Yes, you read that correctly. The good news is kitchen knives require only a medium-level grit, so around 500 to 2000.
Most of these kitchen knife sharpeners feature more than one level, the most common being a medium and a high-level grit. This allows you to sharpen your knives to standard on the medium, and go beyond, to razor-sharp, with the high.
How to sharpen a knife
What Is the Best Whetstone?
We like a whetstone that has a sturdy base that’s easy to use and offers two grit levels. For these reasons and more, we’ve gone with the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone. More on that in the review section.
Is a Whetstone Better?
Let’s have a quick look at how whetstones compare to some other popular sharpening methods.
A sharpening steel is a long skinny rod that’s best used to hone a knife that is already sharp. If you’re looking for a last-minute touch-up, before you carve a big piece of meat, for example, you could use one of these.
The handheld or electric-style sharpeners might be tempting because they’re quick and convenient. However, long term, they can damage knives because of the abrasive grinding methods they use.
Each of the sharpeners above has something to offer. However, we prefer a whetstone for its gentle and controllable application. If used properly, you won’t damage your knives, either.
What Factors Drove Our Ratings?
Aside from the construction, usability and grit, a few other factors played a role in our top choices for whetstones.
Did the whetstone come with an angle guide or not? This tool is excellent for newbies who are learning how to use a sharpening stone. It’s not a must, but it is useful.
FYI: it’s recommended, when sharpening kitchen knives, to hold them at 17 to 20 degrees.
A secondary characteristic was aesthetics. We know it’s not everything, but if our kitchen tools look attractive, we’re more prone to use them. That’s why our top choice has a beautiful bamboo base, which offers stability to boot.
Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone — Top Whetstone Overall
Are you learning how to use a knife sharpener? The Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone features an excellent angle guide. You’ll be able to get it right the first time and only improve after that.
It comes with two aluminum-oxide grits, 1000 and 6000. They sit atop a sturdy and attractive bamboo base that’s handcrafted and non-slip for security. There’s no need to oil this whetstone, unlike some others on the market.
You’ll be able to get down to business, straight after delivery, with an ebook guide to help you.
In January 2020, Charlie said: “A great tool for kitchen and workshop use. I thought I would be keeping this handy in my wood-turning workshop but it is now a permanent fixture of the kitchen.”
We noticed a few complaints about quality concerns, so make sure you test the product when it first arrives and get it replaced, if needed.
Whetstone Set Premium 2-In-1 — Excellent in Grit Range
For those that want a sharpening stone for several implements and require a wide range of grit, the Whetstone Set Premium 2-in-1 could be the one for you. According to the manufacturer, it can even sharpen an ax.
There’s a flattening stone included to help remove abrasions, and two grit levels, 3000 to 8000 for fine grinding, and 400 to 1000 for more basic sharpening. All materials are high quality, including aluminum oxide and silicon carbide.
A non-slip bamboo holder supports the stone and keeps it steady and secure as you work.
In December 2017, Andrew said: “my old stone was pretty much at its limit, so I bought this stone and will say that I’m very satisfied. The stone itself is well made and sturdy and came perfectly leveled as shown in the picture.”
Negatives? Some customers lamented that it did not have an angle guide.
CWIDNY Grit Sharpening Stone — Best Runner-Up
The CWIDNY Grit Sharpening Stone is similar to our top choice and makes for another viable option if you’re new to sharpening kitchen knives.
It also comes with two grit levels, 1000 and 6000, offering you both medium and high levels of sharpening, depending on your needs.
This model is a budget friendly choice, so you can’t expect anything fancy, but it gets the job done.
In April 2018, William said: “Excellent sharpening stone. I use this on my restaurant knives, and they’re super sharp. I can cut through beef with my paring knife like I’m cutting through tissue paper.”
Negatives? Some found the emblazoned logo and blue color made it too conspicuous.
Alternatives to Whetstones
There are many options for sharpening knives; we’ve listed a few good ones here:
- Utopia Kitchen 12 Inch Knife Sharpening Steel Sharpening Rod.
- KitchenIQ 50009 Edge Grip 2-Stage Knife Sharpener, Black.
- Chef’sChoice EdgeSelect Professional Electric Knife Sharpener.
Razor Sharpen Your Knives
We kind of like the way sharpening knives makes us feel… like we are real chefs. And, while this is fun, more importantly for us is how a sharp knife makes cooking more productive, that in turn makes cooking more relaxing.
The Sharp Pebble Premium is our favorite because it includes an angle guide for support, a solid and attractive base structure, and two main grit levels.