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Best Whetstones to Sharpen Knives in 2022
One of the most important aspects of caring for your knives and tools is to sharpen them regularly. Sharpening your tools prevents the blades from becoming dull, increases workmanship efficiency, and reduces accidents.
Whetstones have remained popular over the years because they are the preferred sharpening tool for most knife owners. The ease of use and low cost of whetstones have ensured their popularity. Whetstones are readily available and can be bought from any hardware store or online. There are a lot of different types of whetstones on the market and choosing the right one can be a challenge.
This article explores some of the best Waterstones on the market and how to buy one.
Table of Contents
7 Best Water stones for Knives and Tools in 2022
Buying the best water stone will depend on the kind of blade and the person using it. In this guide, we compile some of the best water stones for every kind of use.
1. Best for Beginners: KING Whetstone Starter Set
The King Whetstone starter set is a ceramic water stone made in Japan. The stone block is a grit combination with #1000 on one side and #6000 on the other side.
It comes packaged with accessories including a knife angle holder, a plastic base, and a wiping cloth. The stone’s dimensions are 9 inches long by 3.1 inches wide and 2.2 inches high.
It’s ideal for use in a home kitchen for stainless steel knives and pointed carvers. The angle holder makes it very easy for unskilled people to sharpen knives with reduced risk of slippage or injury. The holder has two protective ceramic rods for comfort and accuracy.
The wiping cloth is highly absorbent, ensuring quick drying and optimal cleanliness. The plastic base is non-slip and highly durable. You need to soak it in water for about ten minutes before use until all bubbles are gone.
- ✔ PROVIDES YOU AN EASE IN SHARPENING YOUR KNIFE – This Knife Sharpener is made in Japan whose quality is close to a natural whetstone. It has whetstone on both sides i.e. one side is 1000 for main sharpening and other side is 6000 for finish sharpening making it easy for you to sharp your knife in less time.
- ✔ GIVES YOU A LONG-TERM BENEFIT – Our 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone is very durable and long-lasting as it is made up of premium quality for long-term use of generalkitchen knife, stainless steel cutlery and pointed carver. You can easily cut any hard meat or any other kitchen item by the making you knife as sharp as you want.
- ✔ THE ANGLE HOLDER GIVES YOUR SHARPENING AN EASE AND AN ACCURACY – The Knife Sharpener comes with an angle holder set which makes sharpening very easy. It ensures high ease and accuracy for perfect blade guidance and has two ceramic protective rods with plastic base for durable use.
- ✔ ORIGINAL WIPING CLOTH GIVES YOU COMFORT AFTER SHARPENING – The Original Wiping Cloth has High Absorbency and Quick-drying. It ensures high comfort and cleanliness to the knife sharpened by KING Whetstone.
- ✔ WE PROVIDE A COMPLETE SATISFACTION GUARANTEE TO YOU – Our KING Whetstone Starter Set include 1000/6000 Grit Combination Whetstone comes with a “KING” Trade Mark and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee to our customers by providing them a friendly customer service and make sure that their investment is risk-free.
- High-quality yet affordable
- Safe for use by beginners
- Whetstone on both sides
- Comes with an angle holder
- The grit range is too wide between the coarse side and the fine side.
2. Best Value for Money: S SATC Knife Sharpeners Stone
This set made by S SATC is a comprehensive set suitable for beginners and intermediate users. The complete set has two sharpening stones, two rubber bases, a bamboo stone holder, an angle guide, a flattening stone, a leather strop, and a pair of cut-resistant gloves. The set also includes a manual for hassle-free assembly.
The whetstones are made of corundum and have a 4-sided design. The 4 sides have different grit ratings of #400, #1000, #3000, and #8000.
To use, you will need to soak for up to 10 minutes until the bubbles stop. The whetting stones are ideal for use on kitchen knives, straight razors, chisels, chef knives, and chopping knives. However, they should not be used for sharpening serrated blades or ceramic knives.
The S SATC water stone dimensions are 9.44 inches long, 8.26 inches wide, and 3.74 inches high. With its beautiful packaging, it makes for a great gift set.
- Made of premium material
- Beautiful packaging
- Great accessories
- Not ideal for ceramic knives and high-carbon knives which many professionals favor over stainless-steel knives.
3. Best For Professionals: DALSTRONG Premium Whetstone Kit
This set is from the Dalstrong brand and is made in Canada. The set comes with two whetstones made from aluminum oxide. The whetstones are grit #1000 and #6000 and come with a silicon holder inlaid in a beautifully handcrafted acacia wood base.
The set also includes a rust and stain remover and a Nagura dressing stone. The Dalstrong water stones are ideal for professional knives, scissors, chisels, and other high-carbon or stainless-steel blades.
- High-quality and durable
- 2 separate stones
- Nice presentation case
- More costly than similar whetstones
- The flattening stone is not big enough
4. Best for Everyday Use: Chefic 3000/8000 Grit Wet Stone
This whetstone set by Chefic is the perfect kitchen addition for everyday use. It comes with a combination of grit #3000 and #8000 and a bamboo base inlaid in a non-slip rubber base. It also comes with a flattening stone and an angle guide.
The Chefic whetstone is made of corundum and should be soaked for between 5-10 minutes before use. It’s ideal for sharpening kitchen knives, chef knives, hunting knives, chisels, pocket knives, and even swords.
However, it tends to be very soft. Thus, it will wear out quickly and will require regular flattening. It is not suitable for ceramic knives and high-carbon knives.
- Easy to carry along for outdoor activities such as hunting, archery, or camping.
- It doesn’t come with most of the accessories you find with the other types.
5. Best Overall Waterstone: ShaPu Premium whetstone knife sharpening set
The ShaPu Premium Whetstone set is our top pick for the best overall water stone set. It comes with 8 combination grit stones of #240/#800, #600/#1500, #1000/#3000, and #5000/#10000.
The set includes a flattening stone, form-fit storage, and a convenient carrying case. The stones are ideal for chief knives, hunting knives, chisels, swords, axes, razors, and even pocket knives.
The whetstones are made of aluminum oxide and should be submerged in water for 10 minutes before use.
- Professional-looking carry case
- Easy storage for safety and durability
- More costly than similar products
6. Best Industrial Use Waterstone: DuoSharp Double-Sided Diamond Whetstone
If you’re working in busy woodworking or commercial kitchen environment, then the best set is the DMT Whetstone. Made by Diamond Machining Technology (DMT) Company in the US, this double-sided bench stone is perfect for heavy duty.
The bench stone’s dimensions are 13.25 inches long, 13.25 inches wide, and stands 11.5 inches high. The surface is made of coarse diamond and is double-sided for fine and coarse sharpening. The grits are measured in microns, with one side 25 microns and the other 45 microns.
The only negative about this water stone is that it needs extensive pre-sharpening to break it in. However, once it’s set up it can last a very long time. It sharpens fast and provides uniform sharpening. It doesn’t need leveling as it hardly dips with use.
- Perfect for busy professionals
- Durable and sharpens fast
- Big and easy to handle
- Expensive but worth the investment if used in a busy kitchen or busy woodshop
7. Best Splash-and-Go Waterstone: Naniwa Blue Super Stone
The Naniwa Super Stone made by Naniwa Abrasive MFG Company in Japan is your ideal S&G whetstone. It is a combination stone with a #220 and #10000 grit rating.
The stone is made of light blue ceramic which doesn’t need to be soaked in water before use. So, you can cut down on your sharpening time by simply splashing some water and immediately sharpening your blade on either surface.
It comes with a plastic stand and the stone’s dimensions are 210mm by 70mm by 10mm. You can customize your order by choosing from 18 different grit sizes and either the 10mm or 20mm height. The stone is ideal for sharpening general kitchen cutlery and carpenter’s tools. You can also sharpen high-carbon knives and ceramic knives.
- Fast use, since you don’t have to wait ten minutes of soaking before use.
- Great with all types of knives.
- The finish is not as polished as other materials.
Why Do You Need a Whetstone or Sharpening Stone?
Using a dull knife, scissors, or other tools with a dull blade can feel like a battle. A dull blade requires you to apply more pressure. This increases the likelihood and severity of injury.
The best blade is one that’s sharp and has a straight edge rather than an eroded or chipped edge. Even though you can get your blades professionally sharpened, having your own sharpening stone can be more cost-effective, time-saving, and can prevent dullness.
Whetstone or sharpening stones work by removing tiny bits of metal from the edge through controlled abrasion. The material of the stone, the size, the ease of handling, and the coarseness of the stone are the top determinants of how effective the stone is at sharpening blades.
Buying Guide for Choosing the Best Whetting Stone
Whetstones come in a variety of materials, shapes, and coarseness. Whether you’re a novice looking to buy your first sharpening stone or an expert ready to work with the best, here are a few important details to watch out for.
Sharpening stones can be made out of a variety of natural stones. However, most people nowadays prefer using synthetic stones. They are cheaper to make and last longer than quarry stones. The most common materials used for whetting stones are:
Novaculite is a naturally-occurring sedimentary rock found along river banks, lakesides, and sea beds. They are formed from the shells of dead algae which crystallize into quartz grains.
The most famous novaculite is that found in central Arkansas and Southeastern Oklahoma. In many parts of the world, novaculite is known as Arkansas stone. `Novaculite is mined from the quarry through black-powder blasting, then shaped using a diamond saw and lapped to form a flat surface ideal for sharpening and honing.
Aluminum Oxide is a chemical compound with the formula Al2O3. Meaning, that a molecule of Aluminum Oxide has two atoms of aluminum and three atoms of oxygen. It is naturally occurring and is also commonly called aluminum (III) oxide, alumina, or alundum.
Aluminum oxide is mass produced into powdered abrasive. It is then heated and compressed into a solid block in a process known as sintering, to become a whetstone.
Silicon Carbide is a chemical compound with the formula SiC. Each molecule has one atom of silicon and one atom of carbon. It’s also known as carborundum.
Ceramic whetting stones last much longer than regular water stones. Though it’s still advisable to lubricate the surface with a little water before use, it’s not necessary.
Ceramic water stones are easy to clean and maintain. All you need to do is use some soapy water and a sponge after each use.
Diamond stones are usually plated over an aluminum or steel base. Diamond is a tough material and unlike most other whetting stones, the diamond sharpening stone will remain flat even after prolonged use. Most of the other materials will form a dip on the surface with time.
You can lubricate the surface with a little water to make the sharpening session smoother. However, you shouldn’t soak it or leave it in water for long as the stainless-steel base may rust.
Nonetheless, diamond whetting stones may require more pre-sharpening before getting to the required grit rating. They are also relatively expensive compared to the other materials.
Whenever you buy a whetting stone, you may notice some numerals written on the side. That is the grit rating or grit size.
Grit refers to the coarseness or abrasiveness of your water stone. For example, a sharpening stone with 1,000 grit will be coarser than one with a grit of 6,000. Natural stones can reach grit levels as high as 20,000.
Most people prefer a double-sided whetstone with one surface rougher than the other. This way, you use one side for sharpening and the other for honing. Honing refers to defining the blade edge and making it razor-sharp. A low grit is ideal for sharpening a very dull knife while a high grit is for honing.
When choosing a whetting stone, there are three general grit ratings.
- Grit #80 – 400: Used for rough grinding. Best for blades with nicked or chipped edges. Also used for repairing very dull blades that have no edges at all.
- Grit #400 – 2000: Used for normal sharpening. Best for blades that have lost their sharpness but are not damaged.
- Grit #3000 or more: Used for honing. Best for attaining a razor-sharp edge.
Note that the Japanese measuring standard goes only up to #8000.
Cheaper water stones are often short and narrow. It is advisable to always pick the largest possible stone in your price range.
For example, a whetting stone measuring 180mm by 60mm may be too small. It could be ineffective at sharpening regular blades and dangerous as it’s easy to slip and injure your fingers. The standard dimensions should be a rectangular flat surface of 210mm by 70mm.
A set of three stones could cost around $50 for a starter set and upwards of $300 for a professional setting. Note that most water stones come as a combination stone. One side will have a medium coarse surface while the other side will have a finer surface.
For most whetting stones, you may need to soak it for at least ten minutes before use. However, modern water stones only require a splash of water and it’s ready to use. Thus, you might find one labeled as a soaker and another labeled as Splash-and-Go or S&G.
You will need to clean your whetstone regularly, especially if it’s used with kitchen knives. Also, as you sharpen your blades, the whetstone’s surface gradually wears down in the middle forming a dip. When the dip becomes bigger, you will need to sand the surface and make it level. Otherwise, your knives will have an uneven edge.
Packaging & Accessories
Packaging isn’t a very important factor when choosing a whetting stone, but we all love things that look good. However, while you shouldn’t judge the product by its packaging, it’s usually a sign of quality. A poorly packaged whetting stone may be too soft, too hard, or made from inferior materials.
A whetstone packaged with accessories such as a base or stand/holder and a grinder or dressing stone for leveling the surface is often a mark of high quality. Others may include a stone fixer or a diamond plate. Others still may include a leather strop for polishing the edge of the blade.
Nonetheless, you might find that some of the accessories are meant for blades used in specialized work such as by Michelin-star chefs and expert woodworkers. Also, note that the accessories can be bought separately.
Quality and Country of Origin
Generally, Japanese water stones are the world standard for sharpening stones. American whetting stones are also mostly of high quality. However, whetting stones made in some countries are often of inferior quality.
For example, made in China whetting stones are often too soft and wear down too quickly. However, there are exceptions with a few Chinese manufacturers making high-quality whetting stones comparable to Japanese and American-made.
On the other extreme, you may also find whetting stones that have a surface that’s too hard. This makes them ineffective in removing metal.
When it comes to Japanese manufacturers, some of the best known include:
- Matsunaga is the maker of King and Sun Tiger brands. The brand is known for soft stones that abrade fast. Their stones need frequent grinding to keep the surface flat.
- Suehiro is the maker of the Cerax and Suehiro brands. Their stones are harder than Matsunaga stones and don’t wear down as quickly.
- The Shapton brand makes some of the hardest Japanese sharpening stones which will remain flat for a very long time.
- Naniwa stones are superior fine-grained water stones preferred by those who want a mirror polish to their blades.
Sigma Power Corporation makes the Select II brand for sharpening high-alloy steels.
A good whetstone can be a great addition to your kitchen or woodshop. Finding the ideal whetstone can make the difference between having sharp blades and constantly struggling with dull blades. For the best results, pick a water stone that matches your usage. There are different options for home kitchens, woodshops, commercial kitchens, and industrial settings. Cost, material, accessories, and packaging are some options to consider before making your final choice.