If you’re a survivalist or hunter who’s often outdoors, having a blunt blade can spell trouble. To avoid this situation, it pays to have a reliable sharpener to keep your pocket knives in top shape.
But, not all sharpening systems work as well as advertised. Some can damage or dull your edge even further. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll talk about the best pocket knife sharpener to buy, depending on your needs.
A pocket knife sharpener is a compact and lightweight tool used to produce a sharp cutting edge on dull pocket knives for indoor and outdoor use. This tool can be manual or electric, and it could sharpen, hone, and polish a knife blade if it’s multi-stage.
The ideal pocket knife sharpener comes with an adjustable angle and guide to make the sharpening process faster. It must be easy to use for professionals and beginners alike and has different safety measures like a finger guard or an ergonomic handle.
Top 10 Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners for Multi-Tools and EDC
1.Work Sharp Pocket Knife Sharpener | Ken Onion Edition
Work Sharp developed this sharpener to help maintain the edge on every type of folding knife quickly and conveniently. It’s loaded with amazing features, including an adjustable guide to help you get the precise and consistent bevel angle on your knives.
Whether it’s from an angle of 15 or 30 degrees, sharpening knives is a breeze with this little tool. It’s great for knives of any size, shape, and type. This sharpener also features abrasive five belts with different ranges of grits to handle various tasks, from grinding to polishing an edge.
For even better results, this sharpener comes with a variable speed motor that lets you increase or decrease the speed or make each stroke more precise. That makes it the best knife sharpener out there if you’re looking for control and accuracy.
Another reason to love this product is its versatility. It isn’t just a sharpener for a pocket knife; it can also handle other sharp tools. It also works fine on scissors and garden tools, such as axes and shovels.
Given the fact that this sharpener has an adjustable guide, plus a speed motor, it’s better to watch YouTube videos about how to use it before getting started. The instruction manual is useful, but nothing compares to seeing it in action. If possible, practice with a cheap knife first.
One of the most notable features of this Ken Onion knife sharpener is that it can reliably create a smooth convex edge – but what does this mean exactly?
A convex edge is slightly rounded and more tapered than a factory-made edge. A blade sharpened in this way is often considered to be more durable than store-bought knives, it’s also considered to provide a much smoother cutting experience.
Compared to other Work Sharp products, this edition is a bit heavier because of the larger-speed motor and cast metal components. Despite the added weight, it does the job exceptionally well.
- The Ken Onion name is stylishly featured on the handle of the knife sharpener.
- The 3/4 x 12-inch belts are wider and larger than your average knife sharpener, and they’re also very durable.
- The flexible belt design lets you sharpen most types of knives with ease, control, and precision.
2. Spyderco Tri-Angle Premium Sharpmaker Set
If you’re looking for a small yet effective pocket knife sharpener, this tool is one of your best options. It’s composed of two sets of ceramic stones: a rough one for heavy-duty aggressive sharpening and a fine surface for high-grade finishing.
The stones are triangular in shape, making it easy to use on pocket knives with either plain or serrated edges. Once the job is done, you can tuck everything away in the neat carrying case.
This pocket knife sharpener comes in an ABS plastic base that features die-cut slots and holes fitted for the stones. You can use it to measure the stones’ sharpening angles, which can be anywhere from 30 degrees (15 degrees each side) or 40 (20 degrees each side). To keep you from accidentally cutting your hands, the system comes with brass rods for protection.
Another reason it makes our list of the best pocket knife sharpeners is that it works very well for smaller blades that are too difficult to clamp in a honing vise. You can also use it without water, oil, or lubricants.
- Measuring around 7.5 by 3 inches, this knife sharpener is easy and convenient to carry.
- All parts can snap back into the self-contained plastic base and lid.
- The packaging includes an instruction book and DVD for the step-by-step process of sharpening pocket knives, scissors, and other cutting tools.
3. Smith’s 50982 Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener
This is a lightweight and portable product manufactured by Smith’s, a fast-growing supplier of knife and scissor sharpeners from Arkansas. Given the brand’s reputation, you can expect this tool to give your blade a sharp edge, no matter where you are.
Compared to Spyderco Tri-Angle Premium Sharpmaker Set, this pocket knife sharpener is smaller, which is perfect for the outdoorsy type. It measures 3.5 inches long and 1 inch wide and weighs only 1 ounce. You can simply put it inside your pocket and forget it’s there.
The coarse carbide blades sharpen dull or damaged edges quickly while the ceramic sharpening stones are great for finishing the job. The stones have 800 grit and give blades a smooth, polished edge.
This sharpener also features a fold-out tapered diamond rod with 400 grit. It’s great for sharpening both standard and serrated edges. Considering its portability and functionality, this product is one of the best sharpeners you’ll ever purchase – it also helps that it has a lower price point.
As with most sharpeners, always remember that this product will require a bit of maintenance. Clean it with a damp cloth and dry it using a towel. Do not rinse it with water.
- The molded finger and thumb grip makes this sharpener comfortable to use, whether you’re holding it with your left or right hand.
- The lanyard hole gives you the option to wear this sharpener around your neck.
- The ceramic sharpening stones and carbide blades are both reversible and replaceable.
4. Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic Knife Sharpener
Lansky has been providing customers with exceptional knife sharpening kits for more than four decades. With their proprietary controlled-angle knife sharpening system, every product they design and manufacture meets the highest standards of quality. This product is no exception.
This knife sharpener is designed to restore the edge of all types of blades, so you don’t have to worry about getting different types of pocket knife sharpeners for the different tools you have. It’s also very easy to handle. You can use it to maintain the edges of gut hooks, serrated blades, and any other knife.
This product features ceramic sharpening rods (1,000 grit), a tungsten carbide, a serrated knife sharpener, and a diamond tapered rod (600 grit). It lets you restore the edge of a damaged blade with just three to four strokes.
One reason to choose this sharpener is its versatility. You can pick from four angles:
- 17 Degrees for thin razor blades.
- 20 Degrees for kitchen and pocket knives.
- 25 Degrees for outdoor knives.
- and 30 Degrees for heavy cutting tools.
With multiple angles, expect this product to sharpen any blade you have in your arsenal.
Similar to the Smith’s 50982 Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener, this tool is the best pocket knife sharpener to have in your pocket in the great outdoors. At 4 ounces, though, this one’s a bit heavier. Its frame is cast metal, which adds to its weight.
- The serrated knife sharpener is designed to get inside small serrations.
- A small but strong magnet holds the diamond tapered file in place in either open or close position.
- This sharpener is compact enough to fit inside your pocket or purse but still comfortable to grip with either hand.
5. Victorinox VN43323 Knife Sharpener
When you mention the name Victorinox, only one thing comes to mind: Swiss Army Knives. With this sharpener, it’s safe to say that you can expect the same level of quality you get from those famous multi-tool pocket knives.
This product can easily fit in your pocket or bag, making it an ideal sharpener for traveling. Packed in its pen-like form is a ceramic notch and a grinding stone, and both these features provide excellent results with straight-edge blades.
The V-shaped sharpener and aligner are designed well in a way that will keep you from damaging the blade’s mirror finish. Meanwhile, the long abrasive part is great for instances when you need to sharpen a very dull pocket knife.
While it’s not as good as the traditional whetstone, this pocket knife sharpener provides a handy way to sharpen and clean up a blade. The ceramic is also effective for cleaning up nicked edges.
Among all the items on this list, this is probably the best knife sharpener for beginners not only for its slim and compact form but also for being user-friendly.
- The ceramic V-groove and oval rod are placed in a lightweight plastic housing.
- Its small size makes it ideal for sharpening fishing hooks.
- The bottom end of the pen sharpener has a drainage hole to enable quick drying after cleaning and rinsing.
6. F Benchmade Guided Knife Sharpener
When it comes to versatility, the F Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener won’t disappoint. Made in collaboration with Work Sharp, this product can hone scissor blades, pocket knives, serrated edges, and even fish hooks.
What makes this tool stand out is that it has coarse and fine diamond plates, plus dual ceramic rods and a leather strop. Since it has five unique components, there’s a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using this sharpener. Once you get the hang of it, though, you can use it to maintain the sharp edge of any blade.
Each component of this field sharpener has a 20-degree controlled angle guide. Even if you’re a novice, you’ll be able to hone your cutting tool without issues.
Despite the advantages, some users complain that the large Benchmade logo is damaged with repeated sharpening. There have also been complaints that the leather strop is also prone to falling off.
- The diamond honing stones are removable and replaceable.
- The unit has a built-in lanyard slot that makes it easy to store or hang on a bag.
- It has grooves on the handle that minimizes the risk of your fingers slipping while sharpening.
7. Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
If you’re looking for a complete solution that can hone anything from pocket knives, scissors, fish hooks, broadheads, and edging tools, look no further. This guided field sharpener is the only product you’ll need.
In terms of design, this sharpening tool is quite similar to the F Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener, except this one comes in yellow and also does not have a logo etched on the diamond plates. With that said, you’ll have to sacrifice a bit of its aesthetic appeal if you choose this gadget over the Benchmade version, but the functionalities are essentially the same.
This sharpener includes fine (600-grit) and coarse (220-grit) diamond sharpening plates, two ceramic rods, and a leather strop. All elements are included in one handy package, so you can quickly finish sharpening with no need for additional tools or assembly.
Since most of the tool’s surface area should be used for sharpening, there’s only a small space for you to grip the product whenever you’re using it. If you’re honing a large blade, you may find it a little uncomfortable.
- It has a 25-degree angle guide for honing pocket knives with a strong micro-bevel, aside from the 20-degree one.
- The product was engineered and assembled in the USA.
- It comes with a limited lifetime warranty.
8. Sharpal 101N 6-In-1 Pocket Knife Sharpener
When you’re out adventuring, every item you’re carrying should be worth the additional weight. So, if you’re looking for a lightweight product, then this Sharpal pocket knife sharpener should be your first choice!
This multifunctional survival tool comes with a coarse carbide slot, a fine ceramic plate, and a diamond rod for serrated knives and gut hooks. It also includes a Ferro rod, a high-pitched emergency whistle, and a fire starter. All pocket knife sharpeners are set at a 20-degree angle to give users consistent results.
This tool is best used to sharpen small blades, and it does that job very well! Most knife enthusiasts will be seriously impressed with the results they get from using this little gadget.
However, if you’re looking for something that can sharpen larger blades, this might not be the product for you. Also, since it’s quite a bit cheaper than competitor products, you can expect this sharpener to be slightly less durable.
- This portable sharpening tool measures 3.5 inches long and 1.2/5 inches wide. It also weighs only 1.5 ounces.
- It comes with a soft rubber grip to help you keep it in place while you’re sharpening.
- This EDC tactical knife sharpener comes with a 3-year warranty.
9. Lansky QuadSharp QSHARP Sharpener
If you need a basic pocket field sharpener that you can use for a straight-edge, curved, or serrated bread slicer knife, this is the product for you! It has premium carbide slots for extremely dull blades, plus an 800-grit ceramic bench stone for polishing.
Unlike other pocket knife sharpeners that are set at a fixed angle, this one gives you the option to choose among 17, 20, 25, and 30 degrees. However, with all this variety, you might have to do a little trial-and-error to see which setting works best for you.
Since this is a pull-through sharpener, it’s quite easy to use. Just hold your knife with your dominant hand, and the Lansky unit on the other, then pull the blade through your desired angle slot. Do three to four strokes, applying moderate pressure each time. Once you’re done, rinse your knife thoroughly.
The only issue with this inexpensive sharpener is that it can wiggle as you’re running the blade on it. If you’re inexperienced, you might accidentally end up dulling your pocket knife.
All things considered, this sharpener will hone a dull edge in a pinch. It’s easy to use, sturdy, and portable – so it’s a good tool to have when you’re out hunting or fishing.
- This product measures 8.63 inches in length and 3.5 inches in width.
- This portable tool only weighs 3.5 ounces and can be hung on a keyring.
- This Lansky pocket knife sharpener is made in China.
10. SunrisePro Supreme Knife Sharpener
Dull cutting tools will be a thing of the past with this simple sharpener. Ideal for honing anything from a santoku knife to a pocket cutting tool, this product has all the features you need in one small package. Its sharpening blades are also positioned at a fixed 20-degree angle to give you optimal results every time.
One of the main advantages of this sharpener is that it’s very easy to use. Just swipe the blade several times, and you’re done. With that said, you need to be a little bit careful, because this product can be rather abrasive and you might end up damaging your knife if you’re reckless.
The product has a patented suction cup that helps it stay in place on a countertop – this feature keeps your free hand away from the blade as you’re sharpening. If you’re out on the field, though, you might have a harder time looking for a flat surface where you can safely and conveniently use it.
- The product measures 2.36 x 2.56 x 2.36 inches and weighs 3.3 ounces.
- The pocket knife sharpener has grooves that allow you to use it for serrated knives.
- It has an attractive red chassis that’s built to last.
Manual Vs Electric Sharpener: Which One Should You Choose?
Let’s break them down by categories, in which I’ll talk about the pros and cons to help you make up your mind.
Manual Pocket Knife Sharpeners
A manual sharpener is usually inexpensive, available for as low as $10 and up to $60. It’s often smaller than the electric models and is easier to store because of its size.
Since the sharpener doesn’t require electricity and it’s lightweight, you can keep it close to you and use it at outdoor locations. I personally prefer these sharpeners because you get the option to sharpen the knives by yourself. So, you can use it for practicing as you improve your sharpening skills.
The downside to manual sharpeners is that they require skills, practice, and more time if you want a perfect cutting edge.
Electric Pocket Knife Sharpeners
Electric sharpeners are easier to use. You don’t have to do much other than select the angle and let the sharpener do the rest. It’s a fantastic option if you’re a beginner or simply someone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time sharpening a knife.
Furthermore, these sharpeners are usually more versatile, giving you the option to sharpen more than just pocket knives. They’re good for scissors or kitchen knives, to name a few.
Unfortunately, the sharpeners do need electricity to work. If you’re working outside and need to sharpen the blade quickly, there’s no way to do it if there’s no power outlet. These sharpeners are also more expensive, meaning that you have to truly commit to them.
In my opinion, electric pocket knife sharpeners are ideal if you want quick sharpening and you plan to use them at specific locations.
What to Look for in a Pocket Knife Sharpener?
Honing and sharpening are two different concepts people often use interchangeably. Sharpening refers to the process of removing metal from a dull blade to create a new edge, whereas honing helps push the blade’s edge into alignment.
Ideally, you should sharpen a knife a couple of times per year and hone the blade before or after each use.
If you want to sharpen a pocket knife, you can go with traditional water or oil stones and tools with abrasive surfaces like fine sandpaper grit. Electric sharpeners also do a decent job, requiring less effort and time.
For honing, I recommend choosing honing steel. Remember that sharpening steels don’t actually sharpen a knife, but it’s an excellent tool to maintain an existing edge.
Your experience at sharpening knives plays a significant role in which tool you should use. If you’re a professional, any sharpening tool will be easy to use, and you can invest more money because you know what you need. However, you may struggle to find the ideal sharpener if you’re a beginner.
I particularly recommend tools like the Chef’sChoice 316 Diamond Sharpener. They have a helpful Angle Guide that makes sharpening easier if you’re a beginner.
This item is a perfect introductory sharpener that will get you started on basics like finding the correct sharpening angle. It’s also small and lightweight, making it portable and easy to carry around.
Size and Weight
Sharpeners come in different sizes and weights, but you should always consider where you’ll be using them first.
If you intend to use it at a fixed location like in your garage or workshop, the dimensions of the knife sharpener don’t matter much because there’s usually more workspace available. You can pick a bulky tool like the Wicked Edge GO, which comes with a base and multiple gadgets to hold and take care of your knives.
In my experience, manual sharpeners are less expensive, don’t consume much space, and are lightweight. This is definitely the model you want if you have limited working space. It’s also a viable option if you intend to use it outdoors without electricity sources.
Alternatively, choose a compact but durable sharpener if you’re bringing it to the field where every ounce of weight matters. Lastly, avoid buying a sharpener too small or too lightweight because it may break with ease.
Adjustable Angle and Guide
Some sharpeners have adjustable angles and a guide to help you sharpen the knives with ease. You can choose between 22 or 30 degrees if you’re using the pocket knife to cut rough materials like ropes or a more acute angle at around 15 degrees for regular tasks.
These are the recommended angles for pocket knife sharpening, so be sure to look for a tool that offers that range. This way, you could also sharpen kitchen knives that usually require between 17 and 20-degree angles.
Adjustable angle and the guide are also helpful because they make you a better knife sharpener. Over time, the skills learned will allow you to care for your blade even if you only have a regular sharpening stone.
Pocket knife sharpeners have abrasive surfaces, but it’s the size of the abrasive particles that you need to think about.
If you want to sharpen an extremely dull blade, you will need a stone with a coarser grit (1000-3000 grit). It’ll help you remove a considerable amount of metal faster to restore the cutting edge.
On the other hand, finer or higher grit (around 4000-6000 grit) is ideal if you often use a pocket knife for cutting goods that require slicing, like meat.
Keep in mind that you may need to use coarse grit first and then finer grit, as both are necessary during the sharpening stages.
There are three stages to make a dull knife look and perform well with a brand-new cutting edge. These stages are sharpening, straightening, and polishing.
You can use the sharpener to remove metal and form a new cutting edge, but you still need to refine it afterward. Some sharpeners make it easier by offering another function to strop and polish the blade. As an example, the Chef’s Choice 316 Sharpener has two stages. One stage offers fine diamond abrasive for sharpening, and the other stage has ultra-fine diamond abrasive for polishing.
If you want your knives to have a spotless cutting edge, this is the type of sharpener to consider.
Ease of Use
I always recommend an easy sharpener if you have no sharpening experience. Picking up a complicated tool may be detrimental, as it requires practice and time to learn how to sharpen a knife.
In that sense, I recommend considering a cheap electrical sharpener if you only care about a sharp cutting edge and nothing more. All you have to do is adjust the angle, insert the blade, and wait. Once you finish, there’s no need to perform thorough maintenance either.
With a manual sharpener, you must know the right angle, lubricate the sharpener if necessary, and use a specific technique.
Then, you must follow a rigorous set of strokes over the surface to guarantee the edge is uniform on both sides. Sometimes you just don’t have the time for all of this, which is why electric sharpeners are lifesavers.
Modern sharpeners have multiple features that allow you to maintain more than one blade style. Take a look at the SHARPAL 101N, for example. It has multiple slots that you can use to repair straight edges, serrated edges, scissors, gut hooks, and fishhooks, to name a few.
Sharpeners like this one have different grits that adapt to different pocket knives designs, keeping your blades with a sharp cutting edge wherever you go.
I recommend choosing a similar product if you actively use knives of different styles, whether it’s a drop point, tanto point, spear point, or Wharncliffe. You may also want to check out electric sharpeners, as they’re more likely to adapt to a bunch of knives instead of just one.
Built-in Safety Feature
Safety is always first, and pocket knife sharpeners have guards that keep your fingers safe during the sharpening. Ergonomic handles are also effective safety measures to consider, as they offer a firm grip over the tool.
These are the main features to consider when it comes to safety, but there are many more.
The Chef’sChoice Diamond Sharpener, for instance, has one of the safest handle designs out there. It allows you to care for your pocket knives while your hands are far away from the action.
Other tools like the CHANGHE Pocket Knife Sharpener have a large hole in the center to guarantee balance and stability.
Even if you’re a pro, these safety features are always necessary.
Can You Use a Pull Through Sharpener for a Pocket Knife?
Using a pull through sharpener for pocket knives is detrimental to the lifespan of the blades.
For starters, this tool is not suitable for all knives. The electric pull through sharpener models often shortens the knife’s lifespan because they remove an excessive amount of metal.
You have little control over the procedure, and some of the sharpeners have an awkward design that can make you cut yourself.
With its versatile belts, adjustable guides, and variable speed motor, Work Sharp Knife & Tool Sharpener – Ken Onion Edition is our top pick for the best pocket knife sharpener available on the market. It gives such impressive results that you’ll feel like you’ve had your tool sharpened by a professional.
If you prefer something lighter and more portable, the Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpener set won’t disappoint, either. Keep these products with you when you’re out camping or hunting, and you’ll never be caught with a dull blade.