Knife Sharpener vs Whetstone: Which is the Best?

Knives are important kitchen tools that require proper care if you want to be able to use them for years.

Many people are not aware of the best way to sharpen knives in the kitchen. They often make mistakes related to knife care, leading to damaged knives that do not hold up as long as they should.

If you have knives that need sharpening, you might be wondering which kind of sharpener to choose. The most common choice is knife sharpener vs whetstone, and many people believe that they offer the same benefits.

While both kinds of sharpening tools will sharpen your knives, you will have a different experience with each that might make one a better choice for your needs than the other.

The man using whetstone to sharpening chef knife

If you are ready to learn about knife sharpeners vs whetstones, read on!

Benefits of a Knife Sharpener

Knife sharpeners are very easy to use and they can take the guesswork out of sharpening your knives.

If you have never been shown how to sharpen your knives by hand, this tool might be the perfect choice for your needs. You will just insert the knife in the sharpener and pull it through to sharpen.

These sharpeners come in manual as well as electric models. Both are fairly easy to use and you will get a good result without much effort from the use of these devices.

Some knives are manufactured using this kind of process for sharpening the blade, and these lower-quality knives will be the easiest to sharpen in this manner.

Benefits of a Whetstone

This is a traditional method of sharpening knives and it requires a bit of practice to get comfortable with the process.

Whetstones are blocks of material that are harder than the knives that you are sharpening and they come in different grit counts which makes them easy to tailor to a specific kind of knife sharpening need.

Some whetstones are sold as combination stones with a coarser grit on one half and a finer grit on the other. You will not have to spend much on your whetstone and they are very easy to store as they are not very large.

Cons of a Knife Sharpener

Knife sharpeners are the best choice for a lot of beginners, but they have their cons. Knife sharpeners are bulky and the electric ones can be quite large.

You will need to have room to store this device in your kitchen which might be hard if you have a small kitchen.

The other difficulty with knife sharpeners is that they are set to sharpen in one single manner. You cannot tailor them for the needs of different knives.

These kinds of sharpeners are rarely suited for specialty knives or blades that are balanced in a very specific way. You can actually ruin the balance and the edge of any kind of custom knife or high-quality specialty knives if you sharpen them with a knife sharpener.

Cons of a Whetstone

Whetstones have been in use for centuries because they are a very good tool that does the job that is needed perfectly. They are small and they are compact and affordable.

They do require quite a bit of skill to use, however, and most people will tell you to use a knife that you are not very attached to while you learn to use them.

You can set the angle of your blade and change the edge of the blade with a whetstone, but if you do not know what you are doing, this might not be a very useful part of using this tool.

You can easily ruin knives on a whetstone because you do not know how to sharpen a knife on one.

Whetstones also require moisture to work right and you will need to soak your whetstone in water for about five to ten minutes before you can use it.

This means that you cannot do a quick emergency sharpening of any knives in your kitchen. Some whetstones do come with holders, but many of them do not so you will need to set aside a space to use your whetstone safely.

How to Choose Between Knife Sharpener and Whetstone

If you are still not sure whether a knife sharpener or a whetstone will suit your needs best, here are some things to consider.


Do you feel comfortable sharpening your knives by hand or would you rather have the guesswork removed for you?

Types of Knives That You Own

If you own a basic set of kitchen knives, you probably do not need a whetstone to sharpen them. Basic knives are not hard to sharpen using either tool, but you also probably do not need to invest the deeper effort in learning to use a whetstone for a basic knife set.

If you have specialty knives in your kitchen, you almost have to pick a whetstone so that you do not ruin the edge and shape of the blade of these knives.

Storage Space

Whether you want to use a whetstone or not, you might not have space for a different kind of sharpener.

Most knife sharpeners are bulky and take up quite a bit of space. A whetstone can be stored anywhere in your kitchen.

Both Whetstones and Knife Sharpeners Can be Very Helpful

No matter which kind of sharpener you choose or if you decide to go with a whetstone for your sharpening needs, you will be pleased to have the ability to refresh the cutting edges of your knives yourself.

Sending your knives out to be sharpened every time they need attention is not practical and you can ruin your knives by using them when they have become dull or the edges have burrs on them.

Making sure that you can sharpen your knives yourself will make it possible for you to enjoy the best cutting experience possible with your set of knives.

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