Whether you’re out on an adventure or dicing vegetables in the kitchen, you need a reliable knife. Even more so, you need a reliable knife with a sharp blade.
No matter what, even quality knives with the best steel will wear down after prolonged use. I’ve owned quite a few knives and have come to realize that your sharpener is almost more important than the knife itself.
This review breaks down the best field knife sharpeners comparing their performance and reliability. Continue reading below.
We’ve used our experience paired with the opinions and thoughts of other experts to put together this complete and exhaustive guide on survival first aid kits. We take this very seriously and there’s never been a higher need for preparation than there is today. Read through and see if you find one that works for you and your family.
Our Choices for the Best Field Knife Sharpener
The Lansky Blademedic is our top choice as it’s one of the most versatile knife sharpeners on the market. Whether you plan to use it in the workshop or put it in the bug out bag, it’s a dependable tool.
Lansky has designed this tool for all types of knives. And to achieve that the tool comes with four types of sharpeners.
These are the tungsten carbide tool, ceramic sharpening rods, a diamond tapered rod, and a serrated knife sharpener.
The tungsten carbide tool and the ceramic sharpening tool are pull-through sharpeners designed for fine grinding as well as sharpening. They are set at 22.5 degrees for easy sharpening.
The ‘v’ shape of the tool helps you to guide the blade and three or four strokes should be good enough for a touch up.
I found that the carbide tool eats away a lot of metal. So use it sparingly and only for the dullest blades. But it can work on blades made with steels like CPM-20CV.
The tapered rod is useful for sharpening the serrated edges and gut hooks. The serrated knife sharpener will help in finishing up the edges and for minor reshaping.
Even though it’s compact, this little guy is well built and the durability is top-notch. That makes it perfect for field use.
The majority of the users were fully satisfied with the product. You can use it for years without the performance dropping.
Frankly, there isn’t anything negative about this sharpener that sticks out.
One thing is, the small size can make the handling difficult for users with large hands or while sharpening long blades.
Suffice to say, the Lansky Blademedic is our top choice as the best field knife sharpener. It packs a punch with its solid value and excellent performance. Go for it.
Honestly, this small sharpener will surprise you with the array of sharpening features packed in it.
And since it comes with diamond plates, it’s a great tool for first-time users who aren’t used to handling sharpening stones.
The sharpener comes with two categories of diamond plates. The 600 grit fine diamond is for sharpening and the 220 grit coarse diamond is for blade shaping and repairing.
Beyond that, there are two ceramic rods for sharpening serrations and a leather strop coated with micro-abrasive particles for finishing. Not to forget, the main ceramic rod has three different settings.
As if that isn’t enough, there are two broadhead wrenches in a cavity below the magnetic diamond plates.
The sharpening angles are set at 20 and 25 degrees for delivering a consistent bevel across the blade surface. Not to forget, the device also comes with angle guides to ensure accurate draws across the surface.
At a first glance, the sharpener can look complex to the uninitiated. But once you go through the given instructions, you’ll find it easy to use.
In short, the tool provides a complete sharpening solution for all your knives. And Work Sharp has paid great attention to the details to ensure a top-notch user experience.
Here’s something else.
The diamond plates can be replaced and they are backed by a three-year warranty.
Most reviewers were satisfied with the results provided by the tool. The compact shape and a weight of 4.6 oz also make the sharpener a portable option.
On the downside, the sharpener is compact and some users might find it difficult to grip while sharpening. That can also cause your hands to get fatigued after some time.
The Work Sharp field sharpener comes with a relatively high price tag, but they are dependable and will deliver years of service.
Not all pocket-friendly knife sharpeners will provide you with solid performance and reliability. But this product from Sharpal hit all the right notes to emerge as a real winner.
There are six functions packed into the compact design. There are dual v-notch slots that pack the tungsten carbide and the ceramic blade.
In addition, there’s a 400 grit tapered diamond rod and a diamond rod with grooves for fish hooks.
But that’s not all…
This device is an emergency survival tool as well. So it comes with a fire starter and an emergency whistle.
Users mentioned that the device quickly sharpened up general-purpose knives and serrated blades. In fact, when you consider the price, the performance of this little device is super impressive.
Keep in mind, this tool won’t sharpen a blade made from hard steel like S30V like a whetstone. But at this price point, that’s expected.
Sharpal mentions that the carbide and ceramic sharpeners will never wear out. While that may not be entirely true, users have used it for a few years without any signs of wear.
The plastic casing isn’t premium grade so long-term durability can be an issue. Also, some users pointed out that the fire starter doesn’t function well.
With a length of 3.5 inches, the device is super compact. But those with large hands will find it too small to offer a comfortable grip.
Considering the price, this pocket knife sharpener from Sharpal offers excellent value. If you’re looking for a cheap and easy-to-use pocket sharpener, this one is a no-brainer.
The Victorinox VN43323 knife sharpener comes with a simple but practical design. And the best part is, its unique design makes it a great choice as an everyday carry knife sharpener.
Besides, it looks cool.
Firstly, this sharpener doesn’t come with the bells and whistles of other multi-stage sharpeners. It has a honing tool for pre-sharpening and ceramic discs as the main sharpener.
As expected from Victorinox, the fit and finish is premium grade. The form factor is small and it weighs just 1.4 oz. In fact, it looks more like a pen than a sharpening tool.
Pull off the top cover and you get the v-shaped ceramic blades. The honing stone is placed under the bottom cover.
Even though it contains a single sharpening tool, the ceramic discs are built to last. The honing tool cleans up the blade effectively.
Most users pointed out that the tool works great on pocket knives. It also works well on knives with longer blades
In most cases, 15 to 20 pulls through the ceramic discs are good enough to bring dull blades back to life. And the stone is good enough for medium grade steel.
Note, it doesn’t have a special tool for sharpening serrated edges or fish hooks.
Some users mentioned that the clip attached to the sharpener doesn’t last long. A few others mentioned that the angle of the v-notch wasn’t ideal for a few blades.
While this isn’t a versatile sharpener, it’s an excellent performer at an affordable price. And the compact shape makes it super easy to carry around.
This top-grade sharpener is one of the most reliable tools that can handle knives of any steel type. It also works great for sharpening fish hooks, scissors, and even hatchets.
The tool offers five stages of sharpening.
Firstly, the coarse diamond stone is for very dull blades that have been used for tough tasks. Since it can take off more material from the blade, it can be used to repair abrasions on the blade surface.
On the other hand, the smooth diamond stone is for sharpening knives used for everyday use. If you want to sharpen your knife before field dressing, this is the stone to use.
Next, there’s a ceramic stone with three different settings. Choose a setting depending on the type of finish you want on the knife. By combining the coarse and fine settings, you can make the blade razor-sharp.
Not to forget, there’s also a smaller ceramic blade for sharpening knives with narrow serrations.
Lastly, there’s the leather strop that’s useful in putting the finishing touches on the blade.
Is the tool easy to use?
Now, sharpening the blade at a consistent angle is the key to the entire process. This sharpener has 20-degree guides at each side of the sharpening surfaces to ensure that the angle remains consistent with every stroke.
Another practical feature of the tool is that the honing stones can be replaced. Also, there are built-in broadhead wrenches in the frame that can be super useful for hunters.
And considering the superior design and the durability, the product is designed for long-term use
One more thing…
With a length of 10 inches, this tool is on the longer side. But there are grooves placed on the handles at each end that allow you to grip it properly. That enhances the overall safety aspect.
Admittedly, this is a well-engineered product that is worth the relatively high price tag. In short. a great guided sharpener for any kind of sharpening task.
It’s well known that the knife sharpener’s from Smith offer excellent performance and pocket-friendly prices. The PP1 Knife sharpener is no exception.
While it’s designed for hunting knives, the sharpener works great for all tactical knives with straight or curved edges. The reason behind that is the high-quality carbide and ceramic stones, along with a diamond-coated rod.
The carbide stone works great for restoring dull or damaged blades. The ceramic stone is for putting a fine edge on the blade.
Lastly, the 400 grit tapered diamond rod can be used to provide a polished edge to serrated blades.
Reviewers mentioned that just a couple of passes through the stones helped in changing a blade from dull to super sharp.
That said, you get the best results with mild and medium-grade steel. Note, the angles are set within the grooves. All you need to do is drag the blade across a few times.
With a length of 3.5 inches, this sharpener is easy to carry. There’s also a lanyard hole for carrying it..
However, those with large hands might find it difficult to grip. Note, at 0.35 ounces the PP1 is an ultralight sharpener. That makes it necessary to grip it properly while using.
And durability isn’t an issue as the unit is solidly built.
Also, both the carbide and ceramic stone can be reversed or replaced. That helps you to add more life to this mini sharpener.
Considering the price, this sharpener offers fantastic value. Basically, this is a pocket sharpener but it’s still good enough for occasional heavy duty sharpening tasks.
If you’re stuck in an emergency situation with a blunt knife, the PP1 pocket sharpener is a great solution for touching up the edge. Perfect for tucking away in your backpack.
Frankly, if you want a premium knife sharpener that works on all types of steel, you’ll have to raise your budget. Moreover, for sharpening blades made of super-hard steels like CPM S90V, you need a really good sharpener.
This is where the Spyderco Triangle comes in. It isn’t the most classy-looking sharpener, but quite simply it’s one of the best.
The set comes with two sets of ceramic stones that have high alumina content. Interestingly, the stones are triangular in shape to provide three different working surfaces.
The pair of medium-grit stones is for removing metal and restoring dull blades. The fine grit stones are for delivering a professional finish.
The overall combination works great for all kinds of blades, making this a versatile sharpener. And the end results are nothing short of outstanding. Spyderco has added an ABS plastic base for setting the stones. The stones can be set at 20-degree or 40-degree angles. In addition, there are two brass guide rods for safety.
Most importantly, these ceramic stones are designed for dry use. So you don’t need to worry about using oil or water.
The plastic base also acts as a carrying case for all the components.
The overall durability of the unit is excellent. I have been using it for three years and it works like a charm.
Now, this isn’t a fully guided knife sharpener. But Spyderco has included a detailed instruction book and DVD to help you out with the process.
Or else you can follow some of the excellent guides available online.
This may not be the right choice for users on a budget looking for a compact pocket sharpener. But if you want professional-grade finishing on the blade, this is the numero uno choice.
Want all the knives at your home to have a razor-sharp edge? This sharpening kit is the perfect tool for enthusiasts as well as newbies.
Four Additional Survival First Aid Kits
This is another compact and reliable all-ceramic sharpener from Lansky that offers great value.
It comes with four v-groove angles and a 600 grit ceramic stone. In addition, there’s an 800 grit ceramic stone for polishing and fine-tuning the blade.
The quality of the stones is top-notch. It takes only a few strikes to sharpen a dull kitchen knife.
As expected from Lansky, the sharpener is well made and the metal casing comes with a top-notch fit and finish. The compact size makes it easy to carry.
However, it lacks a carbide stone and a diamond honing tool. That means it won’t allow you to sharpen a thick blade that’s damaged or extremely dull.
This is a sharpening system designed for knife enthusiasts and can be trusted with knives of every steel type.
The device is set on a quartz stone base. It comes with a special ball-joint guide rod system which includes a vise to clamp the knife. The mechanism allows you to control the sharpening angle precisely between fifteen to thirty degrees.
The pro pack comes with two diamond stones that have six grit levels. It also has two leather straps.
That said, this knife sharpening system is expensive and the setup process takes time. Still, if you paid top dollar for a new knife, this is a sharpening system that you can count on.
If you can carry it along, great. But if you’re looking for the best outdoor knife sharpener which is compact and simple, there are other options to choose from.
If you prefer sharpening your knife in an old-fashioned manner, this two-sided whetstone is a perfect choice.
The stone has 800 grit and 6000 grit on the two sides, Use the 800 grit for dull knives and the 6000 grit for superior sharpening and finishing. The high grit is also effective for meat cutting and kitchen knives.
At 1.8 lbs, this is a heavy stone. So it’s for indoor use only.
As expected, you need to keep the whetstone wet for a few minutes before using it. The sharpening process is slower and you need some experience to keep the knife blade at a consistent angle.
However, it’s one of the safest and most effective ways to sharpen a knife and a few varieties of axes as well.
This sharpener from Outdoor Edge is one of the most ergonomically designed products on the market.
The reason is, the tungsten carbide sharpeners are housed in a casing with a rubberized TPR handle.
Not only does it make it super easy to use but also makes the overall process much safer. The v-shaped carbide sharpeners are preset at an angle of 22 degrees and are long-lasting. Besides, you can also replace them when they wear out.
The compact size makes it portable and a great choice when you need to sharpen the blade quickly.
While you can’t use it for serrated blades, it’s perfect for all other types of knives as well as scissors.
Choosing the Best Field Knife Sharpener
Admittedly, I’m not a knife geek and I don’t need a blade that’s sharp enough to split hairs. A blade that cuts easily and neatly is good enough for me. That means the blade will cut without sawing or having to press hard.
And for that, choosing the right sharpener is a must.
Even though an electric knife sharpener will do a quick job, I prefer using whetstones or pull-through sharpeners. They are the best options for outdoor use and during emergencies.
But let’s not forget that hand sharpening takes some amount of skill too. So if you aren’t a frequent user, a guided device is the best option.
That said, the delicate art of sharpening a survival knife or a boot knife on a whetstone has its own charm.
With multiple varieties of sharpeners on the market, it’s always possible to make the wrong choice that can ruin your blade.
In reality, the choice of the sharpener will also depend on your personal preferences, the type of knife you have, and the blade material.
Here are a few guidelines to help you make the right choice.
Most pull-through knife sharpeners and whetstones come with multiple grit levels. Basically, this is a number that represents the density of the abrasive particles in the stone.
A grit size of #1000 or less is the coarse type and is used to remove maximum material from the metal. These are used for very dull blades or to repair nicks in the blade. However, too much pressure while using these stones can damage the knife
Numbers between #1000 to #3000 indicate medium grit and are the best option for sharpening blades that aren’t damaged. Grit levels between #4000 to #6000 are good for touch up and also maintain a superfine edge on the pocket and skinning knives.
Above that, the grit can go up to #10000 or higher. These stones can deliver a mirror polish to the edge. However, such fine edges will not be suited for heavy-duty tasks.
Time is an important factor when it comes to sharpening blades. Whetstones are an excellent choice but they take more time to set up than guided pull-through sharpeners. And the amount of time taken by a pull-through sharpener will depend on the sharpening material.
The three common types of sharpening or grinding stones that are used are Novaculite, aluminum oxide, and silicon carbide. Novaculite has a coarse grit while the other two are for sharpening as well as maintaining the edge.
Multi-stage sharpeners also have sharpening or honing materials like diamond or ceramic steels. While they aren’t for repairing dull blades, they are good for minor sharpening and edge maintenance.
The size of the sharpener will not affect its sharpening ability but will impact on storage and handling.
If you lack storage space, a compact sharpener will be easy to store. The portability also makes them good for users who are always on the move.
However, too small designs often make it difficult to hold the sharpener while drawing the blade through the groove. So, before picking, make sure that the design works for you.
The price of sharpeners can vary from $10 to $500. While that gives you enough flexibility, you need to be careful about the quality and durability of the product.
Now, you may think it’s not about the price but the performance. But if your knife use is limited to a couple of times in a year, do you really need an expensive sharpener?
However, if you’re a frequent knife user, it’s best to choose a high-end model that will last for years.
Remember, high-end knives from top brands are made from special steel. For sharpening them you need the best sharpening material. Using a cheap grinding material will hardly deliver the best results.
Also, make sure you know the right knife sharpening techniques, before picking an expensive whetstone.
There you have it. The 11 best field knife sharpeners that will put a shine on a dull blade.
Keep in mind, a knife with a sharp edge is not only easy to use but is much safer. Using a dull knife will simply increase your chances of getting injured while cutting.
The Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic stands out as our top best field knife sharpener with its top-notch performance and practical design. This is a tool that offers excellent value and will serve you for years.
The Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener is our second-best option. It offers multiple sharpening options with a pocket-friendly design.