Quick Answer – BEST POCKETKNIFE SHARPENER:
Pocket knives are versatile tools and essential for cooking, camping, fishing, and hunting. However, they won’t be useful unless they are sharp. And regardless of how you take care of the blades, pocket knives will still lose their edges and become dull.
Dull blades are not only ineffective, but they can be dangerous. Without access to shops with tools for sharpening knives, it is a good idea to bring your own knife sharpener along on your trip. Fortunately, there are several inexpensive and easy to use pocket knife sharpeners available for purchase.
This review will help you compare some of the best pocket knife sharpeners available and from there choose one for your next camping or overlanding trip.
Best Pocketknife Sharpener
Different Styles of Pocket Knife Sharpeners
The first step in finding the right pocket knife sharpening tool is to know and understand the different types available. Each type has distinct advantages and disadvantages and the best one will depend on the specific features that matter to you.
1. Sharpening Stones – Also known as whetstones, sharpening stones are among the oldest knife sharpeners known to us. They tend to be on the heavy side but they are very efficient and versatile as they can be used to sharpen different types of blades.
The traditional sharpening stones are usually made of hard materials such as ceramic or diamond and they are about an inch thick. Due to the qualities of these stones, they are handy in restoring extremely dull blades.
2. Pocket diamond rods – These rods can complement or work as an alternative to ceramic sharpening rods. They are lightweight and versatile, making them a perfect choice for those who are always on the go. You can use a pocket diamond tapered rod in sharpening many sorts of knives and tools.
3. Ceramic rods – These rods are among the best tools for keeping a sharp edge. Unlike steel or diamond rods which normally grind more materials off the edge of the blade, ceramic rods just remove enough to keep the blade sharp. This helps extend the life of your blade.
4. Pull-through sharpeners – Rods are convenient for touch-ups but not ideal for sharpening dull knives. Pull through pocket knife sharpeners are the quickest way to sharpen knives.
5. Sharpening steels – Another popular type of pocket knife sharpeners is sharpening steel. Despite what the name suggests, it is in fact useful only for honing the edge of the blades or maintaining the already sharp edge of knives. They don’t really help in sharpening dull blades.
6. Knife Hones – Like sharpening steel, knife hones are more useful in keeping or honing and polishing the edge. If the edge is completely dull, a knife hone is not the best option for you.
What is Grit?
Most pocket knife sharpeners feature abrasive surfaces that are measured in grit. A higher grit surface is finer, while a lower grit is coarser.
A coarse grit stone which is about 220 grit or a bit higher can quickly remove a lot of material. This makes the pocket knife sharpener more useful in setting a new angle on a blade or fixing chips.
1000 to 1500 grit is considered as medium coarse. It is normally the first stone you will use when the blade is very dull. It has enough grit to restore a cutting edge but not enough to fix a damaged one.
If the sharpening stone has 4000 grit or higher, it is considered a fine stone and is more ideal for polishing a cutting edge.
There are also very fine stones with a grit of 6,000 or above. You can use this type of pocket knife sharpener for polishing a blade to a mirror-like finish. It can also hone an edge to razor-sharp.
Many pocket knife sharpeners come with adjustable angles to sharpen different styles of knives. Sharpening your knife at the correct angle will make it work better and last longer.
Most pocket knife sharpeners include multiple sharpening stages to be used for different levels of sharpening. Some can be used on other tools such as scissors, gardening tools, and serrated knives.
A few include safety features to protect you from injuries. When choosing the best portable pocket knife sharpener, these are features that you might want to consider.
How often should knives be sharpened?
It is important to sharpen your knives often so that they will cut well. How often they need to be sharpened depends on the style of knife and how it is used.
Some knives should be sharpened every week, but for most knives, once a month is sufficient. When knives are maintained on a regular basis, they will not get too dull and might need to be sharpened only twice a year.
Regular honing or stropping will keep the edges from wear and tear by removing small amounts of metal and fixing small chips in your knife.
If your blade feels dull despite honing, it is probably time to sharpen it. Keeping your knives sharp at all times will help protect you from injuries and keep them in good working condition.
Factors to Consider When Comparing the Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners
Now that you know the different types of sharpeners for pocket knives, you can already start comparing the best ones in the market. However, with the overwhelming number of options available, it would be best to narrow down your options based on the following factors.
When you think of camping or overlanding, one thing is for sure: you want to travel light. That is why the size of your sharpener matters.
The best pocket knife sharpener is compact in size, allowing you to take it anywhere. You can easily pack a small-sized pocket knife sharpener in your backpack and not care about it until you will actually use it. And just like a pocket knife, the best pocket knife sharpener is something that is also pocketable.
Aside from the size, the weight of the best knife sharpener also affects its portability. Remember that a few ounces of extra baggage matter especially when you’ll hike long distances. Also, since we are after a pocketable knife sharpener, you wouldn’t want something that is too heavy to carry in your pocket.
3. Overall Quality
We say overall quality because when comparing pocket knife sharpeners, you shouldn’t be looking only at the part that will actually sharpen the blade but should also look closer at the other parts or components of the knife sharpener such as the handle.
Look for a knife with sturdy construction to ensure longer-lasting use. A pocket knife sharpener that is made of all metal is a great option as well as those with ceramic or carbide blades and diamond tapered rods.
The best pocket knife sharpener should also be multifunctional. This means that you will not have to buy and bring different types of knife sharpeners for different tools and pocket knives. Look for a pocket knife sharpener that can restore the edges of serrations, flat surfaces and hooks.
5. Hard surface
Rubbing a pocket knife on a very hard knife sharpener will give it a better and sharper edge. We can’t argue that diamond is the hardest material used for knife sharpeners.
6. Adjustable angle
If you want to give your knife a razor sharp edge, you need to hold it at the right angle while sharpening. It may take several tries before you can learn this skill. The best pocket knife sharpener is something with guides that will let you adjust to the required angle easily.
Sharpeners with an adjustable angle are a good choice as they work with different blade types with different angles.
Best Pocketknife Sharpener Reviews
This is one of the great-looking compact and lightweight multi-purpose pocket knife sharpeners we have reviewed. It is easily pocketable and comes with several features including a diamond-coated rod, carbide blades, ceramic stones, and preset sharpening angles. If you are looking for an easy-to-use multipurpose pocket knife sharpener, this might be the best product for you.
At 3.5 x 1 inch and weighing 1 ounce, it is compact and easy to carry. Some previous buyers found its small size made it difficult to use. Most appreciated the handy size and found it to be a good pocket knife sharpener for beginners.
Looking at this high-quality knife sharpener, you can tell that it is a well-designed and well-constructed knife sharpening tool. Its 400-grit tapered diamond coated rod is great for sharpening and the 600-grit pull-through sharpener finishes the edge. Both of these features can sharpen standard and serrated edges. It also has carbide blades that are great for setting edges. The preset sharpening angles ensure a good quality finish for any type of edge.
The Pocket Pal is not only useful for dull blades but also for sharp blades. It does come with ceramic stones for polishing already sharp blades. These stones are reversible and replaceable.
Sleek, slim and multifunctional, this pocket knife sharpener is ideal for outdoorsmen, overlanders and adventurers who want to keep their blades polished and sharp.
Another compact and versatile high-quality pocket knife sharpener worth checking out are the PS-MED01 BadeMedic by Lansky. It is designed for standard blades, serrated blades, fillet knives, and gut hooks.
This 4-in-1 pocket knife sharpener features a 600-grit diamond-tapered rod for fast reconditioning and maintenance. It works best for gut hooks and serrations. There’s also a tungsten carbide to restore the blade in just three to four strokes. The tungsten carbide is a great feature to have.
Since sharp pocket knives also need regular polishing, this knife sharpener incorporates ceramic sharpening rods to do the work. As a bonus, you also get a 1000-grit sharpener specially designed for serrated edges.
At 4 x 1-¼ inches and weighing 4 ounces, this aluminum pocket knife sharpener is both longer and heavier than Smith’s. Previous buyers note that while its metal body makes it heavier, its longer diamond rod makes it more useful for sharpening long knives.
With more than 35 years of experience in manufacturing sharpeners, Lansky is indeed one of the best brands to look for if you want to get a pocket knife sharpener for your overlanding trips. It is the only product in this review that features a tungsten carbide.
This pocket knife sharpener has a unique design in that the sharpening steel is stored inside its handle when not in use. Many customers like this design as it makes the sharpener more pocketable and portability
This sharpening tool is composed of an oval 4-inch sharpening steel that is 1/2 inch wide. Its overall length is 9 inches when you attach the handle. The 600-grit diamond-coated oval shaft is made from lightweight anodized aluminum which is perfect for restoring dull blades and edges.
The Ultra-Tek is a compact, portable, and handy best knife sharpener that does not require oil or water to use. At 5 x 5 x 5 inches and weighing 2.1 ounces, it is easy to take along when camping.
According to previous buyers, this product works well on pocketknives, although a few mention that it is a bit short for sharpening longer blades. Overall, they found this to be a good product for the price and liked its smooth finish.
This pocket knife sharpener is a good choice if you are looking for a more affordable kind. It’s a unique-looking sharpener that looks more like a scissor handle and comes with a soft-grip handle and knuckles guard for safety.
The Jiffy-Pro features two-stage sharpening, a premium carbide abrasive for a sharp edge, and a fine ceramic surface for finishing. Carbide blades are precision ground, which means they can provide smoother and more consistent performance in sharpening a damaged or dull straight-edged blade. On the other hand, the extra-fine ceramic rods positioned at the side of the sharpener are designed to polish edges to give them razor sharpness.
This knife sharpener also has preset sharpening angles which are quite useful when sharpening different edges. A larger slot in the handle can be used on scissors and game shears.
Measuring about 1.3 x 6 x 10.8 inches and weighing 5.6 ounces, it’s obvious that this sharpener is compact, lightweight, and pocketable. You can also attach it to your belt or pack due to its finger guard which is open on one end.
Previous buyers like that it works on scissors, although a few found it awkward. Most found it easy to use, sturdy, and effective.
For overlanders who prefer a sharpening stone, this might be the best pocket knife sharpener for you.
Made from green silicon carbide, this dual-sided sharpener has a 400-grit side for restoring extremely dull edges as well as a 1000 grit side for polishing.
This knife sharpener is multifunctional as you can use it not just on pocket knives but also on kitchen knives, scissors, razors, gardening tools, and more. Measuring about 7 x 2.25 x 1.125, it is compact and lightweight, making it ideal for any overlanding adventures.
A few previous buyers found it to be soft and brittle. However, most were impressed with how sharp their knives were after using this stone.
Victorinox is a world-renowned brand and they are popular for their durable and sturdy Swiss Army Knives, cutlery, and watches among others. Although this sharpener is more expensive than several of the brands we featured in this guide, many of its customers will tell you that it is worth your money.
This knife sharpener has a cool pen-style design that you can’t easily tell that it has a sharpener inside. Measuring 5 x 2 x 2 inches and weighing just 1.44 ounces, this sharpener is indeed compact, lightweight and easy to carry. It even has a pocket clip to keep it secure in your pocket.
This pocket knife sharpener features two ceramic sharpeners, a stick type and a v-type pull through sharpener. The stick-type long abrasive part works great in sharpening very dull knives. On the other hand, the v-shaped pull-through and aligner is designed so that you will not destroy the mirror images of your blade. Its 15-degree angle works well for small knives.
Previous buyers found this product to be a great value. They liked its enclosed system, that it is easy to clean, and that it comes with a lifetime guarantee.
This pocket knife sharpener is the only one not made of stone but of leather. One side is suede and the other side is smooth. This type of sharpener works great for cleaning and realigning razor blades after shaving, but it can be used with any knife.
The strop has a hanging eyelet or hooks at the top. It measures 20 x 2 inches and weighs just 3.4 ounces which is very lightweight.
A few previous buyers found imperfections in the strop and thought it was not long enough. However, most found that the strop worked well, was of good quality, and a great value.
Buyers Advice For the Best Pocket Knife Sharpener
Any one of these knife sharpeners would be useful to have when overlanding or camping.
Deciding on the best pocketknife sharpener for your overland trip might depend on which style you prefer and what features are most important to you. If you want a lightweight and easy-to-use multipurpose sharpener, the Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal might be the best option. It comes with several great features and it is multifunctional too!
The Victorinox Pocketknife Sharpener might be the best portable knife sharpener for camping and hiking because of its enclosed system and pocket clip.
Having a handy pocket knife sharpener for your adventures and overlanding trips is a must. You’ll never know when you would need it. Whichever pocket knife sharpener you choose, you’ll be glad to be able to keep your knives sharp as you explore the world.