Best Knife Sharpeners Reviewed and Tested

best knife sharpeners

A sharp hunting knife is one great tool that a hunter always has at his disposal. Carrying a razor-sharp edge, easy to deploy hunting knife can help you tackle almost any obstruction you face in the wilderness. Imagine yourself in the middle of a jungle with plenty of aggressive carnivores surrounding you and you don’t plan to die either. So what do you do? You hunt. Your presence of mind, willpower, and your hunting skills are the only resources you have that can get you to out of the harm’s way. Hunting knives or survival knives are the most valuable assets of professional campers, military personnel, and above all, hunters. Only a serious hunter would truly understand the magnitude of a razor-sharp hunting knife.

Our Top 3 Picks

Alpha Tek Knife Sharpener
  • Alpha Tek Knife Sharpener
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Gerber Knife Sharpener
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  • Ceramic Insert
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KME Sharpener System
  • KME Sharpener System
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  • Neoprene Jaws
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The only problem is that even you have the finest tactical knife at your disposal, it’s as good as useless if it has a dull edge. Unless you use your knife for buttering, it needs to be sharp to be effective, but every blade blunts over time so you should have a good knife sharpener around to stay on the cutting edge. This multipurpose equipment, unfortunately, isn’t really immune to the wear and tear of time. Fortunately, there’s a way out. Remember those good old days when some tradesman used to roam around with his bicycle with a grinding stone attached to it – he just had to scrub the blade against the stone at a particular angle and the knife is as good as new and razor-sharp.

Types of Knife Sharpeners

best knife sharpeners

Even in this digital era, this technology has not become completely obsolete. However, the sharpening tools have definitely gone through dramatic changes to become high-tech, easy-to-operate, and highly efficient. These tools are generally divided into two main categories: Electric and Manual. The manual knife sharpeners are used mostly by the seasoned professionals or serious hunters because the manual sharpening technique requires a lot of patience and skill. An electric sharpener, on the other hand, is an efficient substitute for the manual ones, but mostly for the chefs and busy housewives who don’t have the luxury to spend hours on sharpening their knives.

Electric Knife Sharpeners

Automatic or electric knife sharpeners are fast and convenient to use and offer the precision of manual sharpeners. You don’t need to be a pro to use an electric sharpener; in fact, you just have to hold the knife across the tool and the tool takes care of the rest. Plus, they are so compact and easy-to-carry that so you can easily carry it around anywhere you want and it can also fit in your kitchen just perfectly. The tool resembles a box with a motorized grinding wheel. But for obvious reasons, electric sharpeners come at a higher price that their manual counterparts. But the time and energy you save in the process are worth the investment.

Manual Knife Sharpeners

best knife sharpeners

The manual technique requires a great deal of your patience and certain skills. You take one wrong move and you can end up doing more damage than good. While there is no better way to get the perfect razor-sharp edge on your knife than with a sharpening stone, it’s a method that requires a great deal of practice to do it efficiently and correctly. Humans have been using this old-school technique for thousands of years and one still needs to practice for years to excel at the technique. There are a few fundamental kinds of manual sharpeners available in the market – sharpening stones, rods, and steel stones. Most people prefer using the rods for sharpening the knives because they are always readily available and require less expertise. They are also a significant part of a hunter’s gear since they are portable enough to be carried in backpacks.

Pocket Knife Sharpeners

If you follow the episodes of the popular series Man vs. Wild, you’d realize just how crucial a pocket knife is when you’re out in a dense forest or some deserted island for camping or hunting. A dull-edges knife could land you into some deep trouble in desperate circumstances. And carrying an over-sized, knife sharpener is not an option either when you’re traveling so much. Hunters have prior knowledge of knife sharpening with stones, but that too is a time-consuming technique and finding a perfect sharpening rod or stone in an unfamiliar land is too much of a hassle in itself. So for the same reasons, it’s wise to go for a perfect knife sharpener that’s compact enough to fit in your pocket.

Sharpening Techniques

The basic thumb rule here is grinding the blade against a hard rough surface at a particular angle. There is a common saying that iron cuts iron. Regardless of the tools being used, there are three basic steps involved while sharpening knives.

  1. Sharpening – This process involves removing all the unwanted material or chunks from the blade by setting the blade at an angle between 20 to 30 degrees against the stone or any other material being used for sharpening. This results in the blade tapering at the edges thus removing the dullness of the knife.
  2. Straightening – This process is done at a slightly lesser angle of about 15 to 20 degrees, which eventually makes the edges straight by removing the excess metal but not as much as in the sharpening process.
  3. Polishing – Finally, it comes the finishing part that ultimately gives the blade a mirror like smooth edge. It’s usually done by polishing the knife on a rotating cloth wheel which eventually helps the knife retain the sharpness for a long period of time.

Choosing the Best Knife Sharpeners – Factors to Consider

best knife sharpeners

Finding the best knife sharpeners can take a little time and research, but if you do it correctly in the most efficient manner, you get a sharpener that not only keeps your knife razor sharp, but you might end up saving both your hard-earned money and your precious time on the long run. There are a few things to consider before making the run for finding the best knife sharpener.

Brand

The brand is one of the first things to consider before choosing any product – doesn’t matter if it’s your casual daily use shoes or a tactical knife for your little hunting expeditions – for the obvious reasons that it guarantees quality and reliability of the product. When you look for a good knife sharpener, it’s important to consider the brand. There’s a myriad of options to choose from when it comes to the brands. With a multitude of options available in the market, it’s more likely you’d find the best ones depending on your needs.

Type

It’s important to choose between the different types as it helps narrow down other factors under consideration when choosing the right knife sharpener. An electric knife sharpener, as discussed earlier, is easier to use and provide more precision, while a manual sharpener needs a great deal of expertise and physical effort.

Material

The material is one important factor to be taken into consideration because each sharpener is equipped with different materials in their abrasive wheels or surfaces; it can be diamond, steel, stone, ceramics, tungsten, etc. Most of the electric sharpeners leverage diamond-cutting technology for precise sharpening and they last for a long period as well.

Sharpening Angle

Some sharpeners use a bevel angle which intends to determine the blade’s sharpness. Smaller the bevel angle, sharper the knife’s blade. Some manufacturers provide the bevel angle as a specification parameter in their catalog or product description. So make sure you have the smaller bevel angle. Many provide adjustable bevel angle which helps set the right angle depending on your needs.

Flexibility

When going through the various options when choosing the right knife sharpener for your hunting trips, it’s equally important to factor in the flexibility of the sharpener. While some units are capable of sharpening tools and scissors, many take the fun in sharpening serrated blades. This may not be the most important factor worth considering, but it’s worth looking into.

Our Quick List of Best Knife Sharpeners in 2017

In order to save some precious time of yours looking through the many options when choosing the best sharpeners tool to keep your knife razor sharp, we’ve rounded up a top list of most efficient and budget-friendly best knife sharpeners. This list includes both manual and electric sharpeners, and some of the top rated and branded sharpening systems in the market. Take a look.

1. ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener

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The 2-Step ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener features tungsten carbide and ceramic rods to sharpen, restore, and smooth the blade’s edge. The pre-set angled sharpening rods guarantees great results every time, plus the non-skid rubber base ensures increased stability and safety.
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This pull-through knife sharpener is lightweight, compact, portable, and is great for use on all types of standard edge knives, especially filet knives. It’s so compact that it can be easily hung on a backpack, or placed in your pocket, or in kitchen compartment.

Features:

  • Easy to operate and compact in design

  • Sharpens any knife blade in seconds with ease

  • Non-skid base for stable sharpening

  • Crossed carbide blades for quick edge setting

  • Crossed ceramic rods for razor sharp edge

  • Coarse carbide inserts

  • Extra-fine ceramic inserts

  • Dimensions: 7.5cm x 5.8cm x 2.4cm

Pros

Features tungsten carbide and ceramic rods

Ensures increased stability and safety

Compact, portable, and is great for use on all types of standard edge knives

Cons

Lightweight

2. Gerber Bear Grylls Field Sharpener

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The Gerber Bear Grylls Field Sharpener is a cheap, lightweight, compact and an essential accessory for your outdoor adventure and hunting trips. This tool was conceived for outdoor enthusiasts, campers, hunters and so on. Encased in a hard plastic cover that feels smooth and comfortable, the Gerber Bear Grylls fits easily in your pocket.
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The handle on this handy sharpener is made of rubber for a secure grip in wet or cold conditions. It features two rod-shaped, diamond-coated sharpeners, this versatile tool allows you to easily sharpen the serrated sections of your knife, and with the coarse carbide and fine ceramic inserts, it keeps your blades razor-sharp edged.

Features:

  • Rugged and reliable design

  • Hard plastic cover, pocket-sized sharpener

  • Coarse carbide insert

  • Fine ceramic insert

  • Rubber handle for non-slip grip

  • Sharpens fine edge and serrated blades

  • Overall Length: 4.5"


Pros

Cheap, lightweight and compact

Feels smooth and comfortable

Secure grip in wet or cold conditions

3. KME Precision Knife Sharpener System

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A versatile and robust sharpening tool for a precision knife and broadhead sharpening and a great value accessory for your tactical gear – the KME Precision Knife Sharpener System is a very capable and inspired design built for perfection. Its rotating blade clamp and spherical rod guiding system offer easy precision sharpening like no other.
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For your information, KME Sharpeners manufactures the world’s only self-aligning broadhead and replacement blade sharpener. With its small and ultra-portable design, the KME offers features beyond comparably priced systems. Plus the sharpener allows continuous angle adjustments from 17 to 30 degrees and is marked out in single degree increments for easy angle selection.

Features:

  • Includes all the latest KME upgrades

  • 4 Gold Series Diamond Stones – 140 extra-coarse, 300 coarse, 600 fine, and 1500 extra-fine

  • Spherical bearing rod for zero angle deviation

  • Sharpening angle from 17 to 30 degrees

  • 180-degree rotational clamp

  • Comfortable Cherry Pistol Grip

  • Neoprene Padded Jaws

  • Marked in single degree increments

  • Best tool to get a razor sharp edge

Pros

A versatile and robust sharpening tool

Ultra-portable design

Rotating blade clamp and spherical rod guiding system

Cons

Small in size

4. Lansky QuadSharp Multi Angle Knife Sharpener

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Maintain your valuable possessions out in the field to the exact angle you want with the very versatile Lansky QuadSharp Multi Angle Knife Sharpener. With the four different sharpening angles, it can be used on most knives.
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QuadSharp is surprisingly lightweight and compact but quite durable when it comes to functionality. And the legendary Lansky-controlled Angle System makes it a perfect portable sharpening accessory. The built-in ceramic hone is tapered to be used for sharpening serrated blades as well. With all these features, the Lansky QuadSharp Multi Angle Knife Sharpener is truly the smallest, multi-angle sharpener available out there.

Features:

  • Four sharpening angles for perfect polishing – 17, 20, 25, and 30

  • Carbide slots sharpen in 3-4 strokes

  • Ceramic hone for fine polishing

  • Rugged metal construction for durability

  • 100% compatible with all Lansky Kits and accessories

  • Tapered for sharpening serrated blades

  • Compact enough to fit in your pocket

Pros

Compact and quite durable

Four different sharpening angles

Very versatile

Cons

Surprisingly lightweight

5. Outdoor Edge Cutlery Sharp-X Knife Sharpener

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This is a perfect pocket-sized knife sharpener for shaping and maintaining a razor-sharp edge on all your outdoor and kitchen knives. The Outdoor Edge Cutlery Sharp-X Knife Sharpener is made with coarse-carbide plus fine-ceramic abrasive rods for an incredibly sharp edge blade that remains so for long periods.
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It also features an innovative X-base that pivots open for rock-solid tabletop stability and folds down flat for convenient storage. Set at a universal 22-degree angle, the coarse tungsten carbide reshapes a dull blade easily and quickly, while the rubberized TPR finger hold ensures a non-slip grip.

Features:

  • Cutting edge pocket-sized knife sharpener

  • Tungsten Carbide Coarse Bits

  • White Alumina-Ceramic Fine Rods

  • Rubberized Orange TPR Grip

  • X-Base pivots open to provide stability

  • Folds down flat for convenient storage

  • Dimensions:  1.6x3.9x0.7”/4.0x10.0x1.8cm

Pros

Features an innovative X-base that pivots

Reshapes a dull blade easily and quickly

Made with coarse-carbide plus fine-ceramic abrasive rods

Cons

Pocket-sized

6. 3 Oaks Ceramic Pocket Knife Sharpener

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This multi-purpose pocket size knife sharpener is a tough, durable, good quality sharpening tool that works perfectly with all kinds of knives. Extremely lightweight and handy, and easy to carry around or can be attached to a keychain, making it a great addition to your camping gear.
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It’s about the size of a credit card so it fits in easily in your pocket along with other stuff. It’s a great tool for sharpening pocket knives to heavy-duty all-purpose knives. It also comes equipped with a finger guard that protects your fingers while sharpening. This handy knife sharpener is ideal for backpackers, hikers, fishermen, and hunters.

Features:

  • Engineered from high-quality materials that excel at edge retention

  • Surprisingly lightweight and compact

  • Keychain knife sharpener that fits in your pocket

  • Finger Guard to protect your fingers

  • Medium to fine preset sharpening angles

  • Durable and efficient

  • Comes with a ball chain

  • Measurements: 2" x 1.75"

  • Ideal for backpackers, fishermen and hunters

Pros

Tough, durable, good quality sharpening tool

Easy to carry around

Comes equipped with a finger guard for protective purposes 

Cons

Extremely lightweight

7. AccuSharp 005 Camo Tool Sharpener

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A perfect sharpening tool at your disposal, the very handy and versatile AccuSharp 005 Camo is one of the world’s best knife and tool sharpeners. The outdoor enthusiast can have this handy yet efficient sharpening tool in an attractive camouflage design.
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This durable, compact tool keeps all types of knives razor-edged out in the field. The full-length finger guard protects your fingers while the reversible Diamond Honed Tungsten Carbide blade puts your cutting edge in good as new condition. With the AccuSharp, you’re all set for some good action outdoors – hunting, camping, fishing, and hunting.
Features:

  • Diamond Honed Tungsten Carbide blade

  • Attractive Camouflage design

  • Full-Length Finger Guard to protect your fingers

  • Lightweight and Compact

  • Durable and Efficient

  • Perfect tool for the outdoor enthusiasts

  • Ideal for camping, traveling, fishing, and hunting

Pros

Perfect sharpening tool

Very handy and versatile

Attractive camouflage design

8. BlizeTec Portable Pocket Knife Sharpener

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An efficient multipurpose tool to sharpen all your knives, the BlizeTec Knife Sharpener is the ultimate sharpening tool that fits in your pocket. For outdoor adventurers who enjoy traveling, camping, hiking and hunting and for those who regularly use their pocket knife for work on a daily basis, having a highly durable and compact pocket-sized knife sharpener can make a world of difference.
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Stylish, lightweight, and built to perform, the BlizeTec premium 3-in-1 knife sharpener can easily reinstate the sharpness of any knife back to its original edge instantly without much of the hassles. The 3 sharpening layers are specially designed to polish any outdoor as well as indoor tools as you like.

Features:

  • Portable pen-shaped pocket knife sharpener

  • Blue aluminum handle and diamond coated rod edge for efficient sharpening

  • Multi-purpose sharpening tool for all occasions

  • Designed to fit perfectly in your pocket

  • All-purpose, indoor & outdoor friendly catered for all kinds of knives

  • Flexibility and ease of use

  • Easy to use and maintenance free

  • Ultra durable and built to last

  • Versatile and adaptable

  • Increased safety features
Pros

Efficient multipurpose tool

Stylish, lightweight, and built to perform

Highly durable and compact pocket-sized knife sharpener

Cons

Lightweight

9. Wellcn 3 Stage Knife Sharpener

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With all kinds of knives from your daily-use kitchen knives to the heavy-duty hunting knives, the Wellcn 3 Stage Knife Sharpener provides a professional 3-stage sharpening system as fine, coarse, and ceramic individually.
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The ergonomic design and its rubber soft handle make sure the Wellcn Knife Sharpener sharpens your knife quickly and easily. Plus, it’s one direction only use – just place the knife in the slot and pull the knife through 3 or 4 times – without going back and forth. This high-quality also guarantees comfort and durability for long time usage.

Features:

  • Good quality and professional use knife sharpener to sharpen all kinds of knives

  • Knife Sharpener with tough ABS plastic body

  • Professional 3-Stage Sharpening System

  • Ergonomic design and easy to use construction

  • Removable grinder head for easy cleaning

  • The rubber handle is an easy fit for your hand

  • Safety guaranteed

  • Durable, solid and high-quality sharpener for long time usage


Pros

Professional 3-stage sharpening system

Ergonomic design

High-quality product which guarantees comfort

10. Aiyuda EDC Gear Mini Pocket Knife Sharpener

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The Aiyuda EDC Gear Mini Pocket Knife Sharpener utilizes a state-of-the-art method to deliver unquestionably great razor sharp edge to your knife’s blade. This nice keychain sized mini pocket knife sharpener is very compact and lightweight, plus it’s easy to carry around and extremely efficient, especially when you’re travelling, camping, hunting, or involved in some other outdoor sports.
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It’s recommended once a week or daily use depending on your usage to keep your blade razor sharp in normal circumstances. It’s a great addition to your hunting gear and a great companion to your beloved hunting knives.

Features:

  • Hard Tungsten Steel V Sharp

  • Made using the highest quality materials

  • Ceramic V Sharp for efficient sharpening effect

  • Diamond Rod for hardness outdoor serrated knife

  • Compact and lightweight

  • Easy to carry design

  • Ideal for hunting, camping, and traveling

  • Size: Sharpener 8*2*1cm, Sharpener with Fire Starter 11.5*2.5*0.4cm

Pros

Unquestionably great razor sharp edge

Very compact and lightweight

Easy to carry around and extremely efficient

Cons

Mini pocket knife

Knife Sharpener and Sharpening Technology FAQs

We’ve gathered a few frequently asked questions based on the guide and have compiled them here for your convenience.

What is the correct sharpening angle for my knife edge?

The answer to this question is not simple as it sounds. The sharpening angle of the edge depends on the type of knife, its particular use, and your abilities to re-sharpen. Let’s say you put a 20-degree angle on your knife, which means it’s sharpened each side to 20 degrees. This creates a total angle of 40 degrees. So when you’re talking about the angle on your knife, you refer to the angle at which you hold the knife to your stone. Choosing the right angle to sharpen your knife is essentially a compromise between the sharpness and the durability of the edge.

Is an electric knife sharpener bad for the blade?

Actually, some types of sharpener with conventional grindstones or abrasive belts can sometimes overheat the blade edge ruining the hardness and eventually the ability of the knife to retain its sharpness. But they also provide an easy way to sharpen most serrated kitchen and sports knives to a razor sharp edge. So the answer is both Yes and No.

How do I know if my knife is sharp enough?

To understand sharpness you must understand the definition of an edge. An edge, in simple terms, is the line of intersection of two surfaces. So a highly sharpened edge means the two surfaces are perfectly polished to form a very fine edge. Thus sharpening is achieved when it’s highly polished to that very fine edge.

Why do knives become dull?

All the loss of sharpness is a result of damage caused by contact with items you don’t want to cut, causing the very edge of the blade to begin to bend and fold away. Eventually, these areas break off and leave a dull edge. To keep the sharpness intact, these bends need to be regularly pushed back into shape before they further damage the blade. This can be done by frequent honing.

Which one’s better – a manual sharpener or an electric one?

While the old-school manual sharpening technology is far from becoming obsolete, the modern-day electric sharpeners are a fast and reliable way to retain that razor sharp edge to your knife’s blade. Manual sharpening requires a bit of patience and a lot of expertise, but the results are excellent. The electric sharpeners, on the other hand, are a fast and easy-to-use sharpening tool which doesn’t require much of the hard work or expertise. But both the techniques has its fair share of pros and cons. So it entirely depends on your needs and use.

Decision Time

Your hunt for the best knife sharpeners would remain incomplete without a detailed, insightful knowledge of different types of knife sharpeners and the techniques use in getting a razor sharp edge for a long period. What sharpening tool will be the most appropriate pick for you is contingent upon the environment you’re going to deal with and the activities you wish to perform – which in your case would be hunting. Purchasing a good hunting or surviving knife is not the end of your duty, you need to take care of your survival companion to keep it in prime condition at all times. We hope our little knife sharpener guide have helped you in some way or the other in choosing the best knife sharpener for your unique hunting needs.