Your gardening tools will naturally grow dull with repeated use, and it can make it frustrating or even dangerous to continue to try to use them in this dull state. If you’re always working around your yard or garden and use weeding tools to help you cut away weeds or stray grass, you appreciate how well a sharp edge slices through them. You also understand how important it is to have the best whetstone on hand to help keep all of these edges sharp and your garden tools functional.
The best whetstone can seem like a deceptively simple tool that you use to sharpen all of your garden tools, but there are actually several sizes and styles available that can make it very overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. What I can do in this guide is showcase 10 high-quality whetstones and give you short reviews on each one. I’ll also give you valuable ideas and tips in the buying guide to help you pick out the best whetstone for your needs, no matter which garden tools you need to sharpen.
Keeping your gardening tools sharp is hard, especially if you have a big area you routinely maintain. The best whetstone will help you keep an edge on all of your tools, and this can ensure you get clean cuts every time.
1. Naniwa Chosera Stone With Base – Top Pick
This is a very hard-wearing whetstone that features a splash-and-go design that means you don’t have to soak it to get it to work well, and this reduces the time it takes you to sharpen your long-handled lawn shears when you want to trim your hedges or take care of lightweight cutting projects around the house. This product creates a nice edge with your garden tools or knives, and the stone comes bonded with magnesia with finely-graded particles to get a razor-sharp edge on your blades. Although you don’t need to soak it in water prior to using it, it is recommended that you keep water around to lubricate the stone as you use it.
This whetstone comes designed with cutting edge technology to give it a long life, and you get a very generous size at 210-millimeters by 70-millimeters by 25-millimeters to ensure it’ll last through hard use. You can use it to sharpen any type of steel while ensuring it lasts, and you get a base attached when you order this product with a cleaning stone to give you a full kit. It’s a 3,000-grit stone that is made in Japan, and you can use it for home or commercial use without worrying about it wearing out quickly. The company has very strict quality control measures in place to ensure each product is top-shelf.
- Bonded with magnesia
- Don’t have to soak before using
- Has a base included
- Comes with a cleaning stone
- 3,000-grit rating
- Generous size
- Cuts very quickly
- Can’t use it after it thins down
2. Chefic Premium Sharpening Stone – Step-Up Pick
Our step-up pick for the best whetstone is a 2-in-1 sharpening stone that gives you two different grits on dual sides. One side is a 3,000-grit material that is perfect for your initial sharpening project, and the other side is 8,000-grit to help you hone your blade edge and polish it for a clean finish. It’s a very versatile product that won’t break your budget, and it’s a solid pick if you’re after a whetstone to help you sharpen your everyday kitchen knives on a consistent basis. It’s also very compact, and this makes it easy to store between uses if you don’t have a huge amount of space available.
The 3,000-grit side will work very nicely for most knives, and this is true if you take steps to maintain and sharpen them regularly. If your knife has a hardened blade style like a Japanese powdered steel knife, you’ll need to go through multiple sharpening rounds with this whetstone to get a nice edge. When you finish sharpening, this product is very easy to clean and get ready for the next round. All you have to do is rinse it under running water, look for markings, and gently rub away any you see on the whetstone’s surface. It’s now ready to go for the next time.
- Works nicely on kitchen knives
- Dual sides with two grits
- Very compact
- Stores without taking up a lot of space
- Easy to clean
- Has a sleek wooden base
- Get a lot of use out of it
- Doesn’t work for all types of knives
3. Shapton Glass stone 2000 – Mid-End Budget Pick
Shapton is a well-known brand in the whetstone world, and it’s very popular with knife enthusiasts or chefs. You don’t need to soak this stone before you use it, and this allows you to get to sharpening your garden scissors much quicker so you can keep your projects on track. This product comes made with finely graded ceramic material that allows it to last a lot longer than most traditional whetstones on the market, even with heavy or repeated use. They work efficiently on all types of blades without requiring multiple rounds, and you can work very quickly to get a sharp edge when you use it.
This whetstone comes specifically designed to keep the sharpening surface consistent from one area to the next, and this allows you to polish and sharpen your blades at the same time to get a sleek finish. This is a competitively-priced option too, and it’s a 2,000-grit stone that is great for general purpose use. All you have to do is splash a little water on it and it’s ready to go, and you’ll want to keep water nearby to lubricate it as you work. This is a very thin whetstone that stores easily by slipping it into a drawer, and it comes with a case to protect it from scuffs between uses.
- Very thin design
- Don’t need to soak it before using it
- Finely graded ceramic
- Comes in a protective case
- Easy to use
- No base included
4. KING Whetstone Starter Set – Bargain Budget Pick
Anyone who is just starting out with a whetstone and is on a budget should take a look at this pick. You get a double-sided sharpening stone that has 1,000-grit on one side that is perfect for general sharpening projects. The other side features 3,000 to 6,000-grit surfaces to help you get a much sharper edge. There is an angle guide and a base to help stabilize the stone when you use it to ensure you get a precision edge, and the angle holder is a great tool to help guide you in holding the blade and ensuring you work at the correct angle to sharpen your edge.
This whetstone comes from Japan, and you get a very long-lasting product that will survive heavy use without a problem. You can use it to sharpen everything from general kitchen knives to steel without a problem, and you get dual ceramic protective rods in the base to make it last longer. It comes with an original wiping cloth that helps you clean the whetstone after you use it, and it’s a quick-drying cloth with a high absorbency rating to make cleaning quick and easy.
- Nice for beginners
- Offers 1,000 and 6,000-grit sides
- Angel guide included
- Base helps to stabilize it as you work
- Made in Japan
- Dual ceramic protective rods
- Long-lasting design
- Requires air drying between uses
5. Masuta Natural Sharpening Stone – Best For Natural Whetstones
Anyone who is in the market for a natural whetstone should take a look at this choice from Masuta. It’s great for sharpening your hedge trimmer blades between uses to ensure that you get a clean cut, and it’s a nice pick for experienced sharpeners and hobbyists alike to help keep the knives razor-sharp. The stone has a grit that starts at 10,000 and goes up to 12,000, and this helps you produce a very fine edge on any knife that you make a point to maintain. This is a high-end Ocean Blue Tsushima sharpening whetstone that has a slender profile that fits neatly into a drawer or in your workshop without taking up a lot of space.
You get a sleek leather holder that clips closed to keep the whetstone protected when it’s not in use and help to avoid scuffs. You don’t have to pre-soak it before you use it, but you do need to keep water around to lubricate it as you work. It’s an extra-hard whetstone with a very dense design that will help it last for months of heavy use without showing a lot of wear and tear, and it weighs in at just 2.2-pounds to make it a very portable option.
- 10,000 and 12,000-grit
- Sleek profile
- High-end product
- Leather case with a clasp included
- Don’t have to pre-soak it before use
- Excellent quality
- Gives you a very fine edge
- Grit size can vary
6. Nano Hone 2 Whetstone – Best For Hard Blades
These whetstones from Nano Hone are hard and dense, and this makes them extremely resilient while cutting quickly without scratches on softer or harder metals that range from HRc 59 and up. This 6,000-grit whetstone will help you get a fine edge, but it’s better for experienced users. It’s coarse enough to grind away metal, but it’s also smooth enough to polish the blade as you finish sharpening it. The build quality coupled with the thoughtful design make this one of the best whetstones on the current market for commercial kitchens or applications.
The stones from this company all feature the splash-and-go design to them, and this means that you don’t have to soak them before you use them. Instead, you just need to regularly add water to lubricate them as you work on sharpening your knives. The lapping plates or stone fixers work effectively without showing wear and tear with heavy use. Also, the company color-codes their whetstones to make it easy to see which grit is which at a glance. They use non-porous ceramics in the design, and it feels smooth with a very subtle bite. The thin design makes them very easy to carry or store between uses without taking up a large amount of space.
- Works on metals with a HRc 59 rating and up
- Splash-and-go design
- Color coded by grit type
- Thin design
- Non-porous ceramic materials
- Feels very smooth
- Price – more expensive
7. Kota Japan Combination Sharpening Stone – Best For Use on Kitchen Knives
This is a Japanese-style whetstone that works well to help hone the edges on your manual aerator blades before you use them, and they come from Kota Japan. You can use them to repair dull, old, or damaged kitchen knives too. You get a dual-sided whetstone in each purchase that offers a 2,000-grit side to remove any dullness from the blunt edge of your knives to get it ready to hone it on the 5,000-grit size. This side will also add shine and polish to the blade. You can use it on regular kitchen knives, chef’s knives, razors, hunting knives, pruning tools, scissors, swords, straight razors, or Japanese knives without an issue.
You won’t need to add any oil to this whetstone to get the best edges, but you do have to soak the stone for five minutes in water before you use it. This product comes in a nicely polished bamboo box for extra storage and safety precautions, and there is a non-slip rubber base to ensure it stays in place. There is an angle guide on this product that helps you keep the correct angle as you work on your cutting tools or knives. There is a free sharpening stone guide with an instructional E-book in each purchase, and it comes backed by a 100% money-back guarantee with a lifetime warranty.
- Very versatile design
- No oil required for use
- 100% money-back guarantee
- Has a lifetime warranty attached
- Polishes and sharpens
- Get dual grit ratings
- Lower price
- Can wear out quickly
8. Black Surgical Knife Sharpening Stone – Best For Pocket Knives
Dan’s Whetstone Company offers this nice pocket knife sharpening stone that comes tailor-made for outdoor enthusiasts or hunters. It’s an excellent choice if you’re looking for something for spot blade touch ups. This product comes made out of genuine Arkansas Novaculite stone, and this particular stone has an extreme hardness factor to it that gives you an excellent ability to sharpen woodworking tools or knives, and you can also put a sharp edge on a host of garden tools with it. It has a grit that ranges between 5,000 and 8,000 that allows you to both hone and polish your blade to get a mirror finish with a sharp edge.
You should use a light mineral sharpening oil with this whetstone to help you get the best results as this oil will suspend the metal particles to prevent them from clogging the whetstone’s pores to make it more effective. You get a stylish leather pouch that is handcrafted to make it very portable and protect it during storage. The color of your whetstone will vary from black to blue/black, but this won’t impact the quality. It’s three-inches long and half-of-an-inch thick.
- Uses black surgical Arkansas stone
- 5,000 to 8,000-grit range
- Has a leather storage pouch
- Very portable and lightweight
- Offers an extra-hard surface
- Very sharp edges
- Can last a long time
- Smaller surface area
9. Norton India Combination Oilstone – Best For Knife Maintenance
When it comes to sharpening your weeding tools, you want a high-quality whetstone to help repair and maintain the blades on these items to ensure you get clean cuts. You get a 100 and 320-grit combination on this oilstone that comes made out of durable aluminum oxide. This material has a wear-resistant grit with a tough fracture point that makes it possible to sharpen to very close tolerances without damaging the whetstone or blade. It works well on kitchen knives, chisels, precision instruments, and woodworking plane blades without a problem, and you’ll get very sharp and long-lasting edges.
This is a dual-sided whetstone that offers 100-grit on the coarse side to help repair your blades before flipping it over and using the 320-grit side to sharpen and maintain your edges for a smooth cutting edge. This product comes pre-filled with oil to save time by reducing the need to pre-soak it in water before you use it. In turn, the lubricant will stay on the whetstone between uses to prevent the metal from clogging the pores on the whetstone. You can clean it using a stiff brush with kerosene. You then have to allow it to air dry before soaking it in oil.
- Great general whetstone
- Lubricant stays on the surface
- Fine and coarse grit combination
- Comes pre-filled with oil
- More durable than waterstone
- Affordable price
- Durable aluminum oxide
- No base or angle guide included
10. Whetstone Cutlery Two-Sided Whetstone – Best For Commercial Kitchens
The final whetstone on the list is a highly-versatile option that is a water-style stone. It comes designed to restore the sharpness and shape of your blades while leaving you with a highly polished finish. You can easily use it on dull kitchen knives, pocket knives, hunting knives, razors, scissors, axes, hatchets, and a range of gardening tools without a problem. It has a dual-sided design that features a very durable silicon carbide material that will last for months of heavy use without showing wear and tear or giving you anything but excellent results. One side features a 400-grit surface to sharpen very dull blades, and the second side has a 1,000-grit surface that creates a flawless finish.
You’ll get a nice slurry formation that helps polish whatever blade you’re polishing to an excellent shine, and you should use it with water instead of oil for the best results. You have to soak the stone for 5 to 10-minutes before you use it. You should also lubricate it as you use it for the best results. This is a larger whetstone that works well for large tools or knives, but there isn’t a base underneath it to help stabilize it as you use it.
- Restores the edge while polishing
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Uses silicon carbide
- Don’t need to add oil
- Multi-functional design
- More affordable price
- Softer stone for harder metals
Best Whetstone Buying Guide
When you want to buy the best whetstone, you have to keep a few things in mind. Doing so will help ensure that you get the best product for all of your gardening tools, from your small scissors to your lawn mower blades. You can get natural or synthetic whetstones, and this short guide will help highlight the important considerations you want to keep in mind.
The best whetstones come with two or three grits, and this is usually one grit a side or one grit per whetstone. If you wanted to sharpen the blade of one of your garden tools but it has chipped edges, you’ll want a grit of 1,000 or lower. If you need to repair a dull blade, get a grit that is between 1,000 and 3,000. For refining your blade’s edge or finishing it, you’ll need 4,000 to 8,000 grit. These grits refer to how coarse the surface of your best whetstone is, and it’ll play a huge role on how the finished blade turns out.
Whetstones work well for sharpening straight razors or knives, but you can easily use them on almost any bladed tool you have.
The grit will determine the stone type on your best whetstone. Luckily, you can break it down into three broad categories so it’s not so confusing. They include:
- Coarse – The coarse stones are less than 1,000 grit, and they work well for blades that have chips along the edges because it helps remove them. If you have a lawn edger with a chip, you can use it to bring it back to a like new state. This stone is also very nice for bringing an edge to very sharp blades, but you shouldn’t use them for normal sharpening because they’re too abrasive.
- Medium – Medium stones have a grit that ranges between 1,000 and 3,000. You’d use this stone if your knife isn’t damaged but it has lost the original sharp edge. You shouldn’t use this stone a lot because it can wear down your blade, but if you need to use a medium stone more often go for a 1,000 to 3,000 grit. They won’t sharpen, but they’ll help your blade retain the edge.
- Finishing – The bridge between a sharpening and finishing stone is 4,000 to 5,000 grit. These give you a very refined edge, and 5,000 is usually as far as you need to go. You can try a 6,000 or 8,000 grit stone, but do so sparingly so you don’t damage your edge.
The size of your best whetstone is very important because it won’t do a good job on your blade edge if it’s too small. Likewise, it can be awkward to sharpen smaller blades on a big whetstone. Blades are generally easier to sharpen on longer stones. A six-inch stone is a small model, an eight-inch stone is a very popular larger size, but a stone over eight-inches is considered generously sized. Three and four-inch stones are great for slipping into your pocket, but they’re not ideal for routinely sharpening any of your gardening gifts. For beginners, try for a six-inch stone until you get the hang of it and size up or down from there.
Think about the size of the different garden tools you have to sharpen on your whetstone. This will help give you a good idea on the size you need to keep everything you use sharp and ready.
Your budget will play a role to a point when it comes to picking out the best whetstone, but high-quality ones are usually under $100. To start, I recommend buying an inexpensive one to practice on until you get the hang of sharpening your blades. You can go to more expensive ones once you learn what you’re doing so you don’t accidentally damage it.
Whetstone Frequently Asked Questions
It’s common to have questions if you’ve never used a whetstone before, and we’ve rounded up several and answered them for you all in one convenient place.
1. Does your whetstone usually sharpen the blade or hone it?
You use a whetstone to sharpen your blades. Honing steels are commonly called sharpening steels, but this is wrong. You use these steels to realign curled edges or straighten twisted blades to help them stay sharp. Whetstones come in different grits, sizes, and types.
2. How long should you soak your whetstone before using it?
Medium or rough-grit whetstones should get soaked in water for 10 to 15 minutes before you use them. If you’re using a fine stone, you want to splash water on the stone as you use it. If you soak them for too long, you can easily start cracking the finer stones.
3. How often should you sharpen your knives with a whetstone?
With normal use, it’s a good idea to start sharpening your knives once a month at the most to help keep the sharper edge. Sharpening on a whetstone is usually better, and you can perform regular maintenance with a ceramic sharpening rod.
Picking out the best whetstone doesn’t have to be a huge challenge, and I’ve picked out 10 great choices for you. You can take a look and see which one looks like it’ll fit all of your requirements and sharpen all of your lawn tools. The buying guide lays out the basics of these whetstones, and you can use it to compare the products and make your final choice.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.