The Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners
Even the knives that hold the best edges have to be sharpened from time to time. Here are our some of our favorite ways to do it.
Whether or not you have a knife sharpener, and the type you have will affect the sharpness and life of your blades. Knives are available in all shapes and sizes, but when they aren’t sharp enough, they’re essentially worthless. In addition, using dull knives is frustrating and makes hunting more of a chore.
It’s possible to get your hunting knife sharpened by a professional, but it’s easier to do yourself than you think. You can either have someone who knows how to do it show you or look up an instructional YouTube video on the subject. All it takes is once or twice and then you know how to do it on your own.
There are a few different styles of knife sharpeners out there today. For instance, stand alone sharpeners, electric sharpeners, and manual style sharpeners.
Keep in mind that if you want to extend the life of your blades, which type you choose does matter. It requires some research to discover which knife sharpener is for you and that’s why we compiled a list of the best tools available on the market. Let’s go over them now.
These choices are based on our own research, combined with user feedback, overall user experience and the quality and reputation of each company and product. Together, we took into consideration all these factors to find five of the top sharpeners on the market.
This patented system can sharpen any shape or size blade (3.5 inches wide or narrower), along with serrated knife edges. The included simple system can determine the most ideal angle for your needs and knives may be sharpened using the angle that works best, every time. This makes re-sharpening much faster, so dull blades will be a thing of the past.
Jason over at Mal Knives says the Apex system "offers one of the most important features a knife sharpener can have, the ability to adjust the angle based on the knife you’re sharpening. The speed and accuracy of this unit is second to none. You can literally restore a factory edge or better to your knives in minutes.”
The Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener Kit comes with custom-crafted water stones to prevent gummed-up, messy oil stones. They are cost-efficient to replace, easy to switch out with just a quick twist, and last a long time.
The sharpener removes a lot less metal than electric grinders or sharpeners, adding to the performance and life of your blades while getting rid of wavy edges. The process will remove dings and nicks without compromising or distorting the edge of the blade.
The device can be set up within seconds with no power required, just make sure it’s on a smooth surface. This sharpener doesn’t create any heat and won’t damage your knives’ temper.
The set comes with a case for convenient and portable carrying and doesn’t need any maintenance apart from regular cleaning. The Edge Pro Apex 1 Knife Sharpener kit has a guide system that won’t clam your knives and adjustable angles for sharpening, including 24, 21, 18, 15, and 10 degrees.
The Water Stones are put onto plates which allows them to be easily changed in just seconds. Crafted from high quality materials in Oregon, USA, this system has 600 Grit and 220 Grit stones, comes with an instruction manual, water bottle, and cloth enclosed in its case.
This system is costlier than others, with most of its components made from stainless steel or high-density plastic. Keep in mind that although they are high quality, the stones do wear down over time and must be replaced, particularly stones with low grit.
Spending money on a sharpener like this may be the only method for having your knives close to their original factory condition. Since you do need to sharpen your hunting knives on a regular basis, this ends up saving money over time.
Tested for durability and quality, Spyderco is one of the more trusted names when it comes to knives. With their Tri-Angle Sharpmaker, the stones can be used with lubricants, water, without oil, or completely dry.
Just scrub them using a powdered abrasive cleaning product a plastic scouring pad and air dry. The set comes with two sets of ceramic stones which sharpen flat and plan edges, punches, fishhooks, darts, and awls.
M.W. Byrne over at HiConsumption said, “the Sharpmaker is a strange animal from the word go. It’s partly a bench sharpener, partly a stone knife sharpener, and partly a point grinder that will get just about anything sharp once you can figure out how it works."
Made with the best quality components, the Tri-Angle Sharpmaker is made for keeping toys, tools, and blades in top notch condition. Each component snaps into its self-contained base and lid, made from ABS plastic.
Bring it with you on the road without worrying about the pieces falling out of place. The base is created to bolt to counter tops or tables for permanent use in kitchens or shops. Included with the sharpening set is an instructional DVD and a useful leaflet on how to use the sharpener.
In order to get comfortable with this set, you can test it out with a cheaper knife, then move onto a nicer one. Within the same day, you’ll be able to master how this works and use it on all of your best knives without any issues.
No past experience is necessary. Please note that although the ultra-fine stones do make your knives the sharpest they can get, they aren’t very necessary and just the fine stones are enough.
For optimal use, start using the pointy edge on the brown rods and use twenty strokes for each side, then use the white stone’s pointy edge to make another 20.
This will be easy and can be repeated immediately. Once you’ve done this twice, it’s time to check out the knife blade. If the blade is noticeably sharper than before, you’ve succeeded. Don’t attempt to use the rods’ flat sides until you’ve gotten familiar with the pointed parts. Only move onto the flat side if you think you need it.
The Work Sharp WSGFS211 Guided Field Sharpener provides a precise, compact way to keep your edge pristine while camping, fishing, and of course, hunting.
Its purpose-built 25 and 20-degree sharpening guide will give you consistent and reliable knife edge angles with repeatability, easy, and speed. The GFS221 is perfect for shop, home, or field use, offering a compact, yet complete, field sharpening option.
Doug over at The Kitchen Professor says that the Work Sharp WSGFS221 comes with “a 20º and 25º angle guide. That way you can sharpen at a consistent angle, and you will be able to repeat it easily.”
The sharpening guides, leather strop, ceramic rods, and diamond plates all provide you with an easy, consistent, and fast sharpening process for camping tools and hunting knives.
For extra ease of use, you may pry off one of the diamond plates (both of which are held in place with a magnet), which will reveal a compartment for storing your Allen wrench or stropping compound. On one of the outer housing’s sides, there is a leather strop included.
The included angle guides are helpful but may get in your way if you are trying out a new angle with the set. As stated, the diamond plates can be pried off, which allows you to create custom angles.
But you will have to get the small plate stable to use without housing. The set comes with a ceramic rod that rotates, on the side that the strop isn’t on. This allows you to hone recurves and bellies.
For help using this, YouTube has a useful video that will show you the ropes. If you are new to using a hunting knife sharpener and want to keep your working edge as it is in the field, this option is competitive and useful.
The Naniwa Blue Super Stone is an exciting option for sharpening tools and hunting knives. Similar to other water stones, they need water to work correctly, but don’t need to be soaked beforehand as traditional Japanese water stones do. In order to use these, add some water to their surface, then go ahead and sharpen your blades.
Scott Gilbertson over at Wired says "the Naniwas are 'splash-and-go' stones, which means you don't need to soak them before use; just splash some water on them and start sharpening." He also mentions that "soaking helps, especially with the finer grits, which are otherwise quite 'thirsty' and require frequent re-wetting.”
The Naniwa Blue Super Stone sharpens your knives very quickly. Sharpening speed can be highly important when choosing a stone, when it comes to some of the modern steel options.
These stones function well with tough steels like D2 and A1 and even the extremely hard stainless options available in both Western and Japanese cutleries. The stones are crafted with resin bond, allowing for more abrasive particles, in contrast to other stone bonding methods.
Due to these higher levels of abrasion, sharpening can be done faster and more efficiently. Whether you’re new to honing knives or already know how to do it, these stones will be simple to work with and yield great results.
These stones work great for touching up edges, repairing chips, and restoring the edges of your knives. This brand is among the easiest of stones to get used to and will offer years of helpful, valuable use.
The S1000 is fused to a solid base which offers plenty of clearance for your knuckles, preventing injuries and keeping the setup solid. It won’t slide around, even when set up on a wet surface.
The stone is suited for both sharpening and polishing. The quality of this set is obvious as it doesn’t require a lot of effort. Although the stone appears thin at first glance, it doesn’t wear out for quite a while.
The stone is fine enough for a final polishing on your knives and with water, can give your favorite knife a beautiful edge. Again, this won’t work right without using water.
The stone breaks down and is very soft, making a fine slurry that polishes and cuts. It will never damage or scratch your blade, but make sure it’s kept clean as foreign materials may cause damage to your knives.
This sharpener comes with stabilizing feet to prevent unhappy accidents, an on/off switch, and foolproof sharpening guides. It measures 4 by 10 by 10 inches and comes with a limited three-year warranty.
It has a flexible stropping disk, a super-hardened steel (miniature), and strops, steels, and sharpens most knife brands. The electric sharpener has high quality, 100 percent diamond abrasives.
Smart Home Keeping says that "among the many models in the market, Chef’s Choice models are among the most resourceful and versatile hunting knives electric sharpeners. Electric sharpeners from Chef’s Choice provide you with knife sharpening alternatives.”
The 130 is among the newest in breakthrough sharpening devices and presents each of your options for sharpening in one convenient, compact appliance.
The device sharpens professionally and strops or steels most types and brands of knives, including pocket knives, sports knives, kitchen knives, serrated or straight edge types. This is done in mere seconds.
The three different stages of this brand make it possible to receive an amazing edge effortlessly and quickly. The first stage involves using abrasives made with 100 percent diamond to sharpen the edge.
The next stage involves a super-hard mini-steel that gives you a shaving sharp result using microscopic, ultra-sharp teeth. The third and final stage involves a flexible, revolutionary stropping disk which polishes your knife’s edge to sharpness precise enough to split hairs.
These three stages used in various combinations will give you fully customizes edges for whatever cutting task is needed at the time. Crafted in the USA, the included user-friendly, high precision elastomeric angle guides offer you fool-proof knife sharpening.
The plastic guides included in this will help your knife blade stay in the perfect position, spiffing up the resulting wire edge from stage one wheel and allowing the blade to cut perfectly and precisely.
The knife is quite easy to figure out and does exactly what it claims to do; just open up the packaging and look the instructions over. You can plug it in immediately and then grab a dull knife to test it out. After running it through all three stages, the knife will cut not just meat, but rope, vegetables, paper, and more.
Proper knife care will help your hunting blades last much longer. Normally, you’d store your blade in a sheath, but if you won’t be using it for some time, it’s important to come up with long term solutions for storage.
As mentioned, sharpening your knife is crucial. A sharp blade will cut easily, which is safer than a dull blade. It’s important to make sure you’re doing this right, or you may shorten the life of your blade.
Wrapping the knives: For storing your hunting knives long term, just wrap the dry, clean knife in clean, dry paper, storing that inside of a plastic Zip lock bag. You can add some desiccant to your bag in order to soak up any moisture. Store this in a safe place where it won’t get wet.
Cleaning the blade: Daily care is also an important factor when it comes to preserving your knife’s integrity. Clean your knife, including the handle, after each use. You can purchase a cleaning product made especially for this. Look for a multi-function cleaning product that works with leather, wood, and metal. A product like this makes cleaning much more convenient because it won’t ruin your blade when you are cleaning your handle, or vice versa.
Cleaning both during and after hunting: A fast wipe down of your knife in the field is a smart idea, but won’t replace thoroughly cleaning the blade after your hunting trip. These commercial hunting knife cleaners can also function as a protector and lubricant. All-in-one cleaning products will save you time in knife maintenance.
Consider a capping knife: A lot of hunters use just one knife for hunting. If you just hunt for meat, this is possible. But if you are doing trophy hunting, a capping knife is a must. These have fine blades and offer you the opportunity to do more detailed work. It allows you to neatly and quickly slice through the animal’s shoulders without compromising the hide.
Remember that caring for your blade will both reduce the risk of injury and help your knives last longer. A quality, sharp knife that is set securely into its handle is always safer than a dull, loose knife.