A quality pocket knife is just about the most basic part of an everyday carry. It’s small, lightweight, and can be used for literally thousands of possible tasks. Unfortunately, pocket knives require basic upkeep just like any other tool. There are few things as dangerous as working with a dull knife, so make sure you’ve got an effective knife sharpener handy. Today we’re reviewing the best pocket knife sharpeners on the market to help you find the best one for your next hiking or camping trip.
- 1 Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners
- 1.1 Smith’s Pocket Pal Sharpener
- 1.2 Sharpal 101N Multi Tool Pocket Knife Sharpener & Survival Tool
- 1.3 Lansky Blade Medic
- 1.4 Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener
- 1.5 Camillus Glide Ceramic Blade Sharpener
- 1.6 Sharpal Multi Tool Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener
- 1.7 Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener
- 1.8 AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener
- 1.9 Spyderco DoubleStuff
- 1.10 Wamery Diamond Sharpening Rod
- 1.11 DMT Diamond Plate
- 1.12 Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener
- 1.13 Wusthof 2-Stage Pocket Knife Sharpener
- 2 Buyers Guide for Buying the Best Pocket Knife Sharpener
- 3 Final Thoughts
Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners
Choosing the best pocket knife sharpeners comes down to where and how you intend to use it. If you want a single sharpener for your kitchen and outdoors knives you’ll be looking at a different system than an ultralight hiker.
Our list includes examples of entry level and high-end knife sharpeners in a variety of styles. Check them out and see if there’s one you like.
Smith’s Pocket Pal Sharpener
The Smith’s Pocket Pal Sharpener is one of the most recognizable knife sharpeners in the world. It’s a tiny little thing, coming in at just 3.5 inches long and weighing a single ounce.
It doesn’t have tons of functionality but makes up for this by doing a few tasks very well. It has both a carbide and a ceramic slot sharpener as well as a diamond grit sharpening rod. This lets you quickly put a rough edge on a knife blade then hone it to a razor edge with the ceramic.
For serrated blades the diamond rod makes it easy to sharpen every whorl and wave. The Smith’s Pocket Pal is iconic for a reason, it’s inexpensive, durable, and does everything you need in a field pocket sharpener.
The Sharpal 101N is a backwoods survival tool that gives you everything needed for basic survival. It packs 6 different tools into a 3.5 inch long package.
For your sharpening needs it has a pair of carbide and ceramic slot sharpeners. This lets you put a rough edge on your blade then hone it up to perfection. There is also a diamond grit sharpening rod with fish hook groove. It allows you to sharpen fish hooks as well as serrated knives.
Once you get past the sharpening tools you move into the survival specific gear. The Sharpal 101N includes both an ear splitting emergency whistle and a ferrocerium rod. This allows you to make an emergency fire and signal for help from miles around.
Lansky Blade Medic
The Lansky Blade Medic is a pint sized sharpening system built to provide field sharpening on straight and serrated edge knives. It has four different sharpening tools in a very small package.
The primary sharpening tools are a pair of carbide and ceramic slot sharpeners. These allow you to sharpen and hone your straight edge knife quickly and easily. For larger or serrated blades there’s a tapered diamond grit rod that lets you pay special attention to your blade.
Something unique to the Blade Medic is the inclusion of the serrated knife sharpener. It’s a small wedge shaped sharpener built to get inside even the smallest of serrations.
The Lansky Blade Medic is compact, lightweight, and provides tons of value. It’s an excellent tool to throw in a hiking pack or keep in your car or workshop.
Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener
The Smith’s Pocket Pal X2 is an updated version of their class Pocket Pal sharpener. It uses the same high-quality design of the original with the addition of several useful survival tools.
The sharpening system on the X2 is identical to the one on the X1. A pair of carbide and ceramic slot sharpeners for basic edge maintenance plus a tapered diamond grit rod.
What sets it apart is the inclusion of a ferrocerium fire starter and a small compass. This gives you the ability to start an emergency fire and perform basic navigational tasks.
The X2 is just as good as the X1 at putting a field edge on your tools and knives. The addition of a few basic survival items makes it an even more suitable EDC, bug out bag, or hiking tool.
Camillus Glide Ceramic Blade Sharpener
The Camillus Glide is a pocket knife sharpener that takes things a step farther than many of its competitors. It includes 12 different tools and sharpening systems in a very small package, including:
- Slot Ceramic Sharpener
- Slot Carbide Sharpener
- Multi-Angle Carbide Sharpener
- 20, 30, and 40 Degree Shear Sharpeners
- T6 Driver
- T8 Driver
- T9 Driver
- T10 Driver
- Flathead Screwdriver
- Fish Hook Sharpening Groove
These tools give you the capability to do basic maintenance on a variety of knives and tools. The slot sharpeners will put a field edge on your pocket or hunting knife while the groove sharpener lets you touch up the edge on your fishing hooks.
If you’re trying to get just the right edge on an unusual knife blade the multi-angle carbide sharpener allows you to reach any angle you need. For scissors and shears the preset angles on the 3 shear sharpeners makes it easier than ever to maintain a razor edge on them.
For a true multi tool sharpening system look no further than the Camillus Glide.
The Sharpal Multi Tool Sharpener is designed to be the perfect sharpening system for the outdoorsman and angler. It combines a pair of slot sharpeners with a grooved sharpening stone for use on fish hooks. It also provides you with a bonus of a compass and line cutter.
There’s both a carbide and ceramic slot sharpener for effective sharpening and honing of your blade. The grooved sharpener is perfect to touch up your fish hooks and help hook that bass when they’re biting. The compass is small but effective for an emergency situation and the line/cord cutter is perfect for slicing fishing line or paracord.
The Sharpal Knife Sharpener isn’t the best purpose built sharpener on the market but it does provide significant value to the hiker, camper, or fisherman looking to save on space.
Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener
Spyderco is one of the most innovative and well known knife manufacturers in the world. Their pocket knives introduced many of the features now considered standard among high-quality knives and their Triangle Sharpmaker sharpening system carries on this tradition.
It’s designed to take the guesswork out of whetstone sharpening. Instead of a horizontal stone or plate you get a series of ceramic, carbide, and diamond grit rods. These insert into prepositioned slots on a plastic base to create the perfect 30 or 40 degree sharpening angle.
To use them all you have to do is keep your knife blade vertical and draw it down the rods. This gives you the razor sharp finish of a whetstone with the ease of use of a slot sharpener. The only real downside to the Triangle Sharpmaker is its size. It’s not really built as a portable sharpening system.
If you’re looking for a home, shop, or base camp sharpener though the Spyderco Triangle Sharpmaker combines the best features of multiple sharpeners all into one.
AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener
The AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is a slot style sharpener designed around an easy to hold handle. It’s built to allow anyone to sharpen just about anything in seconds.
The AccuSharp is capable of sharpening straight or serrated edge blades as well as axes, hatchets, machetes, and cleavers. It uses a pair of diamond honed tungsten carbide sharpening blades that remove chips and dull spots in seconds.
The plastic handle is comfortable to hold and has a finger guard to make sure no injury causing slips occur. If you’re looking for a no fuss way to sharpen all your outdoor tools and kitchen knives the AccuSharp Knife and Tool Sharpener is an inexpensive and effective solution.
Another excellent product from Spyderco, the DoubleStuff is a modern twist on the traditional whetstone. Rather than a single grit stone Spyderco bonded a medium and fine grit stone together into one.
This gives you the precision sharpening ability that a whetstone provides in a much more compact and packable system. It comes with an attractive leather pouch and is designed to be cleaned with either a plastic scouring pad or be run through an autoclave. This makes it ideal for use with dental or other medical tools that need sharpening.
The Spyderco DoubleStuff combines two excellent whetstones into one. It allows you to take a dull knife all the way up to razor sharp with just a few easy steps.
Wamery Diamond Sharpening Rod
The Wamery Diamond Sharpening Rod is designed to be a versatile and extremely portable sharpening system. It uses a removable diamond coated rod with varying intensities of grit.
You can sharpen both straight and serrated blade types with the rounded and tapered sharpening rods. Just remove the blade from it’s safety housing and attach the side you need. The tapered rod is best for putting an edge on serrated blades while the rounded works wonders on straight edge ones.
Best of all, it weighs well under 2 oz and is about the same size as a ballpoint pen when closed up. For an effective way to field sharpen straight and serrated edge knives the Wamery Diamond Sharpening Rod deserves serious consideration.
DMT Diamond Plate
The DMT Diamond Plate sharpener relies on a balisong handle design to produce one of the most portable diamond plate style sharpeners available. It’s just 5.5 inches long unfolded and under 3 when closed up tight.
It gives you both a coarse and fine diamond sharpener that doesn’t require any oil to work. You can sharpen dry or with a splash of water, whichever you prefer. The coarse blade quickly repairs chips or other damage to the blade and sets a basic edge.
Once you’ve properly stroked it over the fine edge you have a servicable field edge. When you’re done just fold the whole thing up and store it away for later.
If you prefer a plate style sharpener but still need something portable, check out the DMT Diamond Plate Sharpener.
Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener
Victorinox has been making high quality swiss army knives and accessories for over 100 years. Their Pocket Knife sharpener gives you a pen sized whetstone with the added bonus of ceramic finishing rods.
The sharpener is designed for maximum portability. The whetstone itself is concealed inside a rugged plastic tube and is easy to use. Just get the right angle set up on your blade and draw it across the stone. It has a medium level grip capable of doing basic sharpening up to a good edge.
On the top of the plastic body is a slot style ceramic sharpening setup. With the ceramic finishing rods you can get it even sharper.
If you want the benefits of a traditional whetstone with the portability of a slot style sharpener the Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener is an excellent option.
Wusthof 2-Stage Pocket Knife Sharpener
Wusthof is a well known German knife maker with decades of experience producing fine cutlery and chef’s knives. Their 2-stage Pocket Knife Sharpener is a slot style sharpener that’s just 3 inches long and weighs under 2 oz.
It uses a two step process for sharpening. Start by passing your blade several times through the coarse carbide slot then put on the final finish with the fine ceramic section. It allows you to restore a sharp edge to your knife in under a minute with minimal fuss.
The whole thing is made from durable plastic with a rubberized grip on one end. It comes with a key chain attachment for easy storage and secure placement.
The Wusthof 2-stage Pocket Knife Sharpener is an easy to use and inexpensive knife sharpener that gets the job done when it counts. It won’t provide true razor sharp edges on high-end blades but does a good job putting a field edge on blades.
Buyers Guide for Buying the Best Pocket Knife Sharpener
When it comes to sharpening pocket knives and other outdoor specific tools there are certain criteria that must be met. A big one is portability and packability. Another is user friendliness and the size of the total sharpening system.
Below we’ve covered some of the most commonly asked questions about knife sharpeners and broken down the different types and materials used.
Total Tool Size and Weight
One of the most important factors for a hiking or survival knife sharpener is size and weight. A good sharpener is an essential item but it can’t take up a lot of space. A full sharpening system or a large shop style sharpener doesn’t suffer from these same restrictions.
Look for ones marketed as pocket or micro sharpeners. These are exceptionally small and have the basics needed to maintain an edge in the field. They can be used for major repairs but generally don’t do quite as a good a job as more purpose built sharpeners.
With knife sharpeners the grit number gets larger the finer the grain is. A very rough grit sharpener, suitable for initial reshaping and coarse grinding, will be around a 100-500. These are best used to repair damaged or chipped knives.
Once you’ve got a basic blade on you can move up to higher grit like 1000, 2000, or 3000 for putting a rough edge on. 4000 to 8000 grit stones are finishing and polishing stones that help give your knife edge that last razor sharp step and put a mirror finish on the blade.
Is the Sharpener Multi-Functional
Most sharpeners that are more than a simple whetstone definitely qualify as multi tools. Even standard whetstones are multi functional. They can be used to sharpen knives, scissors, yard tools, axes, and other bladed implements.
Hiking, camping, and survival focused sharpeners often have multiple types and varieties of sharpeners built right in. This combination of multiple tools and multi functional utility place knife sharpeners firmly in the multi tool category.
When it comes to modern knife sharpeners there are three main types of materials under dozens of brand names and monikers. These are diamond, tungsten carbide, and ceramic. There are also traditional whetstones, covered more in detail below.
Diamond Sharpener – Diamond sharpeners are the most recent advance in sharpener technology. They use tiny lab grown diamond chips that are attached to plates, rods, and other sharpening forms. Diamond is the hardest material known to man. This makes it perfect for use as a sharpening and honing material.
The small chips work to grind off small bits of metal to create an evenly sharpened blade. Many serrated knife sharpeners rely on diamond grit materials because they can be irregularly shaped.
Tungsten Carbide Sharpener – Carbide sharpeners are used for aggressive repair of damaged blades. They quickly scrape away the surface layer of metal on a knife blade and leave a rough edge below. Most systems that use a carbide sharpener will also include either a diamond or ceramic sharpener.
An important point to keep in mind when using a carbide sharpener is that they’re somewhat rough on the blade. They tend to pull of a bit more material than a similar grit whetstone.
Ceramic Sharpener – Ceramic sharpeners are used to smooth and polish an already mostly sharpened knife blade. When paired with a carbide sharpener they create an effective pair of rough and fine sharpening capability.
Whetstones have been used to sharpen metal tools since there have been metal tools. They’re the most basic type of knife sharpener available. They consist of a small piece of hard, consistently grained mineral that abrades metal off a knife blade.
To use a whetstone you put water or oil on the surface of the stone for lubricant and draw your blade across it. It takes some skill to get right as you have to maintain the proper blade angle throughout your pass. Because of this whetstones are the least beginner friendly sharpening method.
In the past whetstones were naturally mined but for the last 50 or so years they’ve almost entirely switched to synthetic stones. Natural stones have history behind them but the synthetic stones have consistency and cost savings. It’s possible to create stones that have exactly the same grit and grain pattern in a scientific manner.
The most recent advance in whetstone technology are diamond plates. These use the same principle as a whetstone but rely on diamond grit plates to do the actual sharpening. They require the same skill to use as a traditional whetstone but allow you to more rapidly perform the sharpening.
If you’re just starting out with knife sharpening a slot sharpener is one of the most user friendly options available. It’s basically two small pieces of carbide, ceramic, or diamond grit sharpener suspended at a specific angle.
To use them all you have to do is apply firm downward pressure on the blade and draw it along the sharpener slot. As it passes through each level in turn it removes different amounts of material and leaves you with a sharp knife blade.
Electric sharpeners combine the features of slot sharpeners with multiple materials and grit levels. They automatically grind off an specified amount of material with a single pass. You can get a very precise blade angle and sharpness, but at a cost.
Electric sharpeners are known to be fairly aggressive with their sharpening. They remove more blade material than is absolutely necessary and can lower the lifespan of your knife. Also, they usually require wall power to operate and are quite large and heavy.
Not a great option to put in your gear bag or hiking pack but an acceptable choice for your workshop or kitchen.
Picking out the best pocket knife sharpener requires you to know what you’re looking for.
You can get a pretty good system for just about any type of need. So long as you sit back and think about where and how you want to use your sharpener it’s easy to find one to fill your needs.