If you don’t already own one of the best hunting knife sharpeners already, prepare to go shopping!
“John buddy, what can I use to sharpen my Gerber Gator’s blade?”
I got that email this morning and honestly had to just sit back and collect my thoughts for a moment. My friend Abe paid $100 for his awesome Gerber fixed blade, and the last thing he needed was a sub-par sharpener that would destroy that blade.
I suppose you know the feeling?
Me too, and I’ve stuffed up many perfectly fine blades in my years by trying new things and following the wrong advice! You might remember that I recently told you about all those fantastic cheap knife sharpeners, but the thing is that not ALL sharpeners are created equal.
So here’s the deal:
Some sharpeners work like magic for kitchen knives, while others are better used for things like pocket knives. You get what I’m saying. Since I can’t exactly choose for you, you’re going to have to ask yourself some basic questions.
Best Hunting Knife Sharpener – The Considerations to Make Before Buying One
What is your budget?
Budget is always going to come into play, no matter what you decide to buy. While it’s true that some of the best hunting knife sharpeners do cost a hell of a lot more than others, it all comes down to the level of convenience you’re willing and able to buy into.
How much time have you got?
And I’m not talking about the time to shop here. I’m talking about how much time you have to sit your butt down and get your blade in tip-top form. All knife sharpeners work at their own pace. I’ve already told you why you should avoid electric knife sharpeners, so for the sake of your blade and investment you made in the knife, DO NOT go down that route.
Have you got the moves down?
Sharpening your hunting knives is an art, and it’s going to take time. I promise you it will be worth it in the end, but please don’t take shortcuts and use tools that weren’t made for hunting knives. If you don’t know what I’m talking about here, make sure you check out the article by Mary where she talks about knife sharpening methods.
Will you need in in the field?
The answer to this question mostly depends on how much time you’ll be spending out there and how much cutting you’ll be doing. For the sake of not getting caught with my pants down, I always make sure that I have a reliable, portable and lightweight sharpener on me like my Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic.
Once you’ve figured out those answers, you can start browsing the shops.
Sharpeners used in the field are generally much smaller, have less features, and they’ll also be a lot cheaper than models you’ll keep for home-use only.
Great, so we’ve got the basics out of the way. Here comes the fun part (and the real reason you’re still reading).
I’m about to show you some of the best sharpening systems and the best hunting knife sharpener brands out there, so brace yourself!
The Best Hunting Knife Sharpeners
I’ve rounded them all up, from small to large and in-between, to bring you a complete guide as to what your options are for your hunting knife sharpening needs.
Compact Sharpeners for Hunting Knives
The sharpeners I mention here are all lightweight and small, so they’re great for carrying them along in the field with you, and most of them will actually fit in a pant or jacket pocket or come with lanyard hooks for easy carrying.
These tools won’t be the best pick for primary sharpening, you know, when you’re trying to get rid of dings and repair the edge of a worn blade. You’ll use them to just touch up the edge if and when you need it.
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener
I’ve already praised the effectiveness of this clever little sharpener where I talked about the cheap knife sharpeners. You might remember what I said, and my opinion still hasn’t changed.
I love the fact that this sharpener is great for touch-ups in the field, and the fact that it’s actually lightweight means I’ll be able to carry it in my pocket without even knowing it’s there.
- It will sharpen your blades in a flash with the tapered diamond rod, carbide blades and ceramic stones.
- The ceramic finishing slot is perfect for smoothing out your blade
- Considering the super affordable price tag, I think this might be one of the best field sharpeners out there
- I’m not a massive fan of the preset sharpening angles
- The contact point on the blade is a little small for me
Lansky PS MED-01 BladeMedic
This is another sharpener that I’ve also told you about already, and since I never grow tired of its hard working power, I’ve put it on this list as well.
As my first go-to tool for field sharpening, the BladeMedic truly is like having a knife sharpening kit in my pocket – just like Lansky promised it would be – but it’s just not in my pocket because it’s a little on the heavy side, but still, having it in my pack ensures I’ll never be in a dull spin.
- It comes with the same features that the Smith’s boasts like the carbide, diamond rod and the ceramic stone
- It’s very economical
- It works on almost all blades including straight ad serrated edges, gut hooks, hunting knives and fishing knives. Heck, my wife even used it for her German Chef’s Knives!
- You cannot apply firm pressure to your knife while using this sharpener unless you want to get bad results
- It weighs a little more than the Smith’s coming I at 4 ounces as opposed to Smith’s 1 ounce
Maintenance – Sharpeners for Hunting Knives
These sharpeners are the ones you’ll turn to for a proper and intense sharpening session where you’ll take care of dings and restore damaged blades.
Essentially, these sharpeners aren’t very portable, but since you’ll be using them at home (or anywhere else but the field), it won’t really be relevant. They ARE bigger and they ARE more expensive than field sharpeners, but if you need top sharpness, expect to pay top dollar.
One last thing before I show you the top 3…The best way to sharpen your hunting knife is by using a stone. Always opt for that route first when you’re not out in the field.
Naniwa Super Stones
Naniwa Super Stones come available in a variety of grits; personally I’ve used 3 of them, the 220, 2000 and 5000 grit stones. These ceramic stones are labeled as “splash and go”, which means you don’t have to soak them before use like other whetstones.
I found the label a little misleading because the stones actually require a lot of re-wetting, so I figure soaking them is going to make a world or difference.
- I liked the fact that the stones’ pores don’t clog up while you’re using them
- The stones polished my blades outstandingly well and saw a slower wear on the blade afterwards
- These are soft stones that provides you with a lot of feedback as you go along
- The stones (especially the coarse grits) produce a little too much slurry while you’re sharpening your blades
- These stones need to be soaked (unlike what the label says)
- If you’re using the cheap plastic base for the stones, it’s going to wobble around like mad
Shapton Glass Stones
Branded as “wet-and-go” stones, the Shapton Glass Stones ARE actually wet-and-go, unlike the Naniwa Stones that still require soaking before you can use them. These stones remove a significant amount of metal as you sharpen, and they’re also denser and work faster than Naniwa Stones.
- These stones will last you for a very long time and might really be wort every single cent spent
- I really appreciate the glass backing combined with the denseness of the stones which adds to why I love the range so much
- Given the incredible speed at which these stones sharpen edges to perfection, they are the leaders in their field
- Due to the denseness of the stones, grinding a little too hard will amplify the consequences and you might actually end up totally ruining your blade.
- These stones are not intended to be used by newbies to the sharpening stone scene
- Shapton Glass Stones are not friendly on the wallet
Edge Pro Professional Kit 4 Knife Sharpener System
Ever there ever was something like the bee’s knees of sharpening tools; this would be it and SO much more!
This kit is perfect for when you’re not confident enough with your skills and you don’t want to risk buggering up your blades.
The technique differs from traditional stones where you would move your blade over the stone; instead you move the stone over the blade that is clamped. You don’t even have to worry about keeping the right angle, because the guide arm makes sure you stay on the right path.
Essentially, this set is like the “training wheels” of manual sharpening on a stone, but oh man, does it deliver time after time!
- It’s basically a fool-proof system that just about anybody can use
- The kit comes with 120, 220, 400, 600 and 1000 grit Water Stones PLUS a 10inch ceramic hone, 2000, 3000 & 6000 grit polishing tapes and mounts as well as a hard shell carrying case with a great instruction manual & DVD. Oh yes, and then there’s also the added bonus of a cloth, a water bottle and a scissor attachment they throw in there for the love of it!
- You get the best results every single time and can choose what you want to use and what angle you prefer.
- The initial set-up before you can begin sharpening takes some time
- The fact that this is one of the most extensive systems out there that makes sharpening virtually effortless definitely adds a lot of weight to its price. Don’t expect the same price you’ll pay for regular stones. Dig deep and be prepared to pay anything from $600 and up!
And that’s a smoot ending to this bumper informational. Since you now know what the best hunting knife sharpener is, you’d better start looking for a great piece to sharpen on it, which is why I’ll guide you through the need-to-knows and show you what the best quality hunting knives are.