A solid knife is essential for every hunter, but any blade is worthless if you don’t have an equally effective sharpener.
All blades dull over time and a good knife sharpener not only gives you the best function of your tool but also extends the lifespan of your knife and saves money long term.
In this review, we will review the best options for hunting and give you pointers on how to choose the right one for your hunting adventures.
Comparison of the Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners
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Are All Hunting Knife Sharpeners The Same?
Each knife sharpener offers a perfect solution to a different situation. The main distinction can be made between hand sharpeners and mechanic sharpeners.
The first is a more classic approach which can give hunters maximum control and can be used in a multitude of locations including out in the field. A mechanized blade model decreases the room for human error and can be less daunting to use for those new to sharpening.
Each type of product uses a different method of sharpening and is also made from a different material. Whetstone sharpening offers a traditional method using aluminum oxide grit, while plates, rods, and strops can be diamond, ceramic, or leather respectively. Some use carbide instead of steel for example, which provides a much quicker finish by literally shaving the edges. Mechanized sharpeners tend to use grit belts.
What Makes a Great Sharpener?
The usefulness of one of these is determined by its compatibility with your needs. Here are a few things to consider before investing in a hunting blade sharpener.
If you are new to this, known for being clumsy, or simply unsteady with your hands, making sure your device is secured to a surface is important. Different products come with different safety features including rubber bases, special handles, or suction cups to fasten them to a surface. For many experienced individuals, these features are unnecessary or extravagant and will get in the way of your task.
Some value efficiency while others value patience. Classic models tend to rely on care and time spent in sharpening, while many newer models save time in a variety of ways.
While shaving parts of the blade off may produce a speedy and razor-sharp result, some knife aficionados may be offended by this shortcut and prefer whetstone.
Are you looking to use your tool in the field, chuck it in a travel bag, tote it around in the bed of a truck, or leave it on a workbench? The size and weight it will determine where it can be used.
As many know, ounces add up quickly in a day bag or backpack, so picking a lightweight tool for travel is essential. Durability has the potential to be compromised here though, so for some, it might be more beneficial to go with a heavier model and leave it stationary.
Review of the Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners
To save you from sorting through millions of options, here are the top sharpeners. Their pros and cons are outlined, as well as their general features. Each differing product is of top quality and is a perfect solution for a different situation and use.
Work Sharp Whetstone Knife Sharpener
What Recent Buyers Report
People were satisfied with the overall build quality and reported that the sharpener was pretty stable while using. They also find the removable guides really helpful, as they are attached with magnetic brackets, making them very easy to remove. All buyers also like this unit's price point as it provides top-notch performance at an affordable price tag.
Why it Stands Out to Us
Considering its advanced design featuring a dual gritstone of premium quality, this unit is truly one of its kind. The dual-sided grit makes it ideal for not only sharpening your knife but also giving it a great, smooth finish and maintaining it for a long time. It has magnetically attached guides that ensure excellent precision while you sharpen your knife.
We also really like the mess-free design of this product. It has rubber feet at the bottom that make sure that the device does not move from its place when you are using it. As a result, this adds more stability and safety to the product as well.
Who Will Use This Most
Keeping its features in mind, this product will be most suitable for all knife users. You can easily remove the guides to sharpen free-hand like a pro. Also, since it has so many features but it is affordable, it’s a great choice for people on a tight budget. We would recommend this to intermediate-level users as well since it is relatively easy and safe to use.
To conclude, this is an incredible knife sharpener given its versatile design that makes it suitable for multiple purposes. It has guides that allow precision and rubber feet that prevent any chance of slippage.
Sharp Pebble Whetstone Sharpening Stone
The Sharp Pebble Whetstone Sharpening Stone is the best overall. This aluminum oxide classic hand sharpener features a double-sided (#1000/ #6000 grit ) Whetstone of excellent quality and a bamboo base.
The stone itself is durable and guaranteed to last a long time, and is exquisite for any blade, including razors and axes, and can handle any task thrown its way with ease. With a silicon base inside the bamboo bottom, this product ensures a fixed position for safety when in use.
The angle guide provides all information to help you sharpen at the correct angle and apply consistent pressure while using. Rated user-friendly and intuitive, this is a perfect tool for someone new to hand sharpening or it altogether.
It is simple to assemble and has no need for expensive oils as it uses water for sharpening, ensuring no mess during the process, and virtually no cleanup. This premium quality tool is long-lasting and simple to operate and clean. With no-slip safety features and angle guides, it is perfect for beginners and veterans alike, and provides reliable quality performance no matter the task.
The Sharp Pebble Whetstone Sharpening Stone is an amazing choice for those looking for a classic stone. It comes with multiple grit levels on the same stone and extra safety features to ensure no slipping while in use. It is easy to clean, and is guaranteed to last a long time. It may take patience to use, but the results are worth it!
Best for the Money:
Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
The runner-up to the best overall is the Work Sharp Field Sharpener. Compact and perfect for use anywhere, even the trails, this tool is only 2.56 ounces, and won't add much weight to any pack.
Designed for hunters who need quality performance in the field, home, or shop, this complete set is a perfect solution to travel needs. It features easily removable diamond plates that when moved, expose a broadhead wrench for speedy sharpening in the field.
The plates can be attached to expose the abrasive, or flipped during transport so the rough edges don’t damage the inside of your gear bag, and are 220-grit and 600-grit. The 1000 and 2000 grit ceramic honing rod rotates to expose coarse and fine honing surfaces, and a grooved surface for sharpening fish hooks.
It also features another smaller ceramic rod for sharpening serrations. This has specifically engineered blade edge angles with a 20-degree guide for sharpening using the diamond plates, and a 25-degree angle guide for honing a strong micro-bevel.
Compatible with a five-step process, this piece offers a complete solution, and features coarse and fine diamond sharpening plates, coarse and fine ceramic hones, and a leather strop. Not only is it compact, but this tool is easy to set up and use, requiring no extra tools or assembly. It is also durable and perfect for use in any element.
The Work Sharp Field Sharpener is a powerful yet compact hunting knife sharpener perfect for travel or transport. It is small and lightweight, but makes no compromises in regard to performance or durability.
4. Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic
Rated best for the money, the Lansky PS-MED01 Blade Medic is a great choice for those looking for quality results on a low budget. This compact device is perfect for travel in a tool kit but perhaps not on the trails, as it weighs the same as an average pocket knife.
It is not only easy to use and transport, but is incredibly efficient. With a diamond rod for fast reconditioning and maintenance and a Tungsten Carbide, your blade can be restored in as little as three or four strokes.
A total time saver, this piece also features a serrated knife sharpener designed to get inside the smallest serrations and won’t miss a beat. Rated easy to use, durable, and high quality, this tool will surely be a favorite. It not only produces amazing results, but won’t break the bank doing so, and therefore is perfect for beginners or those on a tight budget.
This handheld sharpener is of amazing quality for its low price. The perfect size for a tool kit or travel bag, it can go most places easily. It is known for its efficiency, restoring blades in 3-4 strokes, and is a perfect choice for anyone looking for impeccable speed.
SunrisePro Supreme Knife Sharpener for all Blade Types
This knife sharpener is the editor’s pick. It is versatile, easy to use, fast acting, dependable, and compact. It can be used for everything except scissors and fine-toothed knives, and is perfect for hunting blades.
This is the perfect tool for a beginner as it is simple to use and is also ideal for anyone who wants an efficient sharpener in an extremely short time. The SunrisePro Supreme Knife Sharpener works ridiculously fast in as little as two seconds, and won’t take any of your time away from other important things.
It is easy, quick, and safe to use, as it is fitted with a non-slip rubber base with a patented top side suction pad which provides stability with no risk of movement. It also has an ergonomic safety handle as an added feature to ensure stability when in use, so if slipping is a common problem in your life, have no fear. It is guaranteed to stay still and only takes seconds of your time.
This unit is not only effective and efficient but is compact and easy to transport. Perfect for a toolbox, travel bag, or simply home usage, this piece requires no compromises, giving both an excellent outcome and no unnecessary bulk.
The SunrisePro Supreme Knife Sharpener is an amazing choice and an editor favorite. It is compact and fast, sharpening in as little as two seconds. User-friendly and intuitive, this piece also features safety technology like a rubber base and suction cup for stability and peace of mind.
Best Electric Hunting Knife Sharpener:
Work Sharp - Ken Onion Edition
For those looking to reduce human error, this corded electric blade sharpener is a good alternative to traditional hand work. The Work Sharp (Ken Onion Edition) is the best electric option.
It works flawlessly with a P120 Extra-Coarse Belt, X65 Coarse Abrasive Belt, X22 Medium Abrasive Belt, X4 Fine Abrasive Belt, 6000 Extra-Fine Abrasive Belt perfect for serrations and gut hooks, and can tackle any project thrown its way. This tool is adjustable, with edge bevel options from 15 to 30 degrees, a motor-120Vac/1.5 amp, and a cycle that lasts for an hour of continuous use.
The speed motor is also variable for increased control and precision, and features cooling technology perfect for grinding or honing at any speed. The belts are abrasive but flexible, to ensure quality razor-sharp results. This device is dependable and easy to use, with no setup or calibration time needed.
For new users, or anyone unready to tackle hand sharpening, this machine does the work for you. Certified frustration-free, this product is simple and effective, letting you get back to hunting with a better knife in no time.
The Work Sharp is the best electric model on the market. It features adjustable motor speeds and different belts and can handle any task. Fast and user-friendly, this sharpener reduces human error and is perfect for anyone looking to avoid tedious hand sharpening.
KME Precision Knife Sharpener System
What Recent Buyers Report
Almost everyone who purchased this unit loved its performance, with users stating that it gave them the edges they desired. They said that it was incredibly easy to achieve razor-sharp edges with mirror polishes, and loved the different accessories it offered. While buyers reported that it sharpened both sides at the same angle, some were disappointed with the lack of a table attachment.
Why it Stands Out to Us
Ideal for sharpening a wide variety of hunting knives, this high-quality unit stands out to us because of its efficiency. Featuring four-diamond hones that are available in 1500 extra-fine, 600 fine, 140 extra-coarse, and 300 coarse grades, it enables hunters to sharpen their blades to new levels of excellence. This product also features an adjustable mounting system, which gives you the best angling possible.
Boasting a high-quality sharpening edge, easy portability, and a wide variety of options within the kit, this KME Knife Sharpener System certainly deserves a place on our list. Taking maintenance to a whole new level, it allows hunters to control the entire process, down to every single detail. However, the shaky base might be disappointing for some.
Whether you’ve purchased a simple, dinky paring knife or a quality, high-end knife, it’s crucial to keep it sharp. However, this can be a rather daunting process, especially if you’re a beginner. To help you find a sharpener that best suits your needs, let’s compare some of the most common types:
Knife Sharpener vs. Whetstone
A whetstone is essentially a type of knife sharpener, and both are used for the same purpose. But let’s see how they perform when compared to each other:
There many similarities between a sharpener and a whetstone, but the major one is their purpose:
Both whetstones and sharpeners are used by outdoorsmen and hunters to sharpen and hone the edges of their blades and knives in the field.
Following are some of the differences between the different types of sharpeners:
Whetstones are basically dual-sided blocks, featuring a fine grit on one side and a coarse grit on the other. They are available in different grit counts, and each indicates a different level of coarseness. On the other hand, knife sharpeners increase the sharpness of a blade by surfacing off a small amount of the knife’s metal edge.
Ease of Use
Hunting knife sharpeners are easy to transport and easy to use as compared to whetstones. Although whetstones fully sharpen and hone a knife, the process takes a little getting used to.
Electric Knife Sharpener vs. Manual
With so many different brands and types of knife sharpeners available today, answering this question can be incredibly confusing. To help makes the decision easier, let’s see how they compare:
Manual and electric knife sharpeners have the same use:
Both manual and electric knife sharpeners are ideal for honing, sharpening, reconditioning, and polishing the edge of the blade to a razor-sharp finish. Both can also be used for a wide range of knife blades and shapes.
Some of the differences between the two include:
Manual knife sharpeners are less expensive compared to electric ones, and can also be given quick touch-ups. Since they need less space, they’re easier to store and transport as well.
Ease of Use
Electric models require minimal effort, are easier to use, and get the job done within a fraction of time and energy. They also offer more features than manual knife sharpeners.
How to Sharpen a Hunting Knife
For a better and safer result, it’s important to sharpen your hunting knife properly. The process is not that difficult, and you can even do it from the comfort of your own home. Here are some of the basic steps you can follow:
- Hold your blade at the correct angle before you start sharpening it. A survival knife, pocket knife, and a hunting knife should be held at an angle of 25° to 30°, while a boning knife should be sharpened at an angle of 18° to 25°.
- If you’re a beginner, use a whetstone to sharpen your blade. Clean the stone from metal shavings or any other residue so that the sharpening process isn’t affected negatively.
- Use hot water and scrub the stone with a brush until it’s nice and clean.
- Soak the stone in water for five minutes and then add some oil.
- Use a sharpie or a marker to draw a line over the knife’s bevel.
- Stroke the blade over the whetstone a few times. If you held the knife at the correct angle, the sharpie line should vanish.
- Stroke the blade at least five times on each side. If your hunting knife is dull, make sure you perform at least 15 strokes on each side. It’s also important to remember that the same number of strokes should be made on each side.
To better understand how to properly sharpen your hunting knife, make sure you check out this video below:
A good knife sharpener can extend the life of any blade and make gutting and cleaning, as well as other duties, easier and quicker. Sharpening your knives before they get too dull ultimately saves time and money and makes hunting easier and more fun! With many different models, it can be hard to choose which is right for you, but there is a perfect fit for every hunter and situation.
People Also Ask
The commitment of investing in a quality sharpener can be daunting, as there are a multitude of variables and differences between tools. Here are some frequently asked questions and their answers to help you make the most informed choice.
What Angle Should I Sharpen My Knife?
For a hunting knife, the best general answer is 25 degrees, but it depends on the blade. As an overall rule, the more rugged and durable the knife needs to be, the wider the angle. For example, a 17-degree angle should be used for sharpening to a delicate edge, perfect for razor blades or scalpels.
Kitchen cutlery typically uses a 20-degree angle, hunting and outdoor knives use a 25-degree angle, and a 30-degree angle would work for any knife that sees heavy use like cutting cardboard, wire, or carpet.
How Long Will a Sharpening Session Take?
In short, it depends. The amount of time needed is reliant on the wear and material of the blade as well as which tool should be used to sharpen. In general, sharpening rods take about 30 seconds. Pull through sharpeners take 3-5 minutes, stones take 10-15 minutes, manual sharpening kits take 15-20 minutes and electric kits take about 3-5 minutes as well.
Are There Varying Grits Available?
Yes! Not only does the material matter, but the grit of that material determines the type of sharpening. Typically, the higher the grit count, the finer the use is. This means that for general sharpening, one may start with a smaller grit count material and then move to something with a larger grit for more precision and refinement.
What’s the Proper Maintenance of the Hunting Knife?
Like any blade, day-to-day maintenance is the best way to extend the life of your hunting knife. Proper sharpening is important for ease of use as well as less wear and tear on the actual tool.
This should be combined with a quick wipe down in the field, plus thorough cleaning of the blade and handle with a cleaner made specifically for the substance of your knife. Storage is also important. A fixed blade should live in a sheath, but if you don’t plan on using it for a while, wrapping the clean, dry knife in plain paper and then a plastic bag with desiccant for moisture absorption should keep it in top condition.
Can You Over Sharpen a Knife?
Over sharpening would result in a flimsy knife that is too weak and thin to use at all, but this is unlikely and would require a lot of work. Mostly with freehand sharpening systems, a blade can be sharpened so much so it is worn down to the point of uselessness, or in some cases can fold over itself. The more common problem is incorrect sharpening which involves using the wrong angle or switching angles during the process.