A Japanese whetstone sharpening kit is a must have for any knife enthusiast!
The best way to sharpen your knives is with the use of a whetstone, and the various Japanese whetstone brands on the market offer some state-of-the-art kits that are a huge necessity for maintaining your knife and ensuring the blade does not dull over time as many can do with extensive usage.
Japanese whetstone kits are particularly known for their quick working qualities, not just for Japanese blades.
But also with western equivalents such as German Knives, and any general-purpose knives that are used from day to day.
Nothing is more discouraging than having your favorite and most reliable knife become blunt.
Whether you're in the wild or in the kitchen, and therefore a good whetstone will help maintain your blade's edge and keep them in tip top condition.
There are many different types of whetstones available on the market today all with various levels of quality and different benefits, so to make sure you can choose the perfect sharpening kit for your own blade.
I have compiled a few of the best Japanese whetstone sharpening kits on the market today that you should definitely consider as potential options.
OUR TOP PICK
Starting with a sharpening kit which is reliable all round and for every type of user whether beginner or experienced, the Ceramic Kuromaku for its reasonable price is very good quality and a product that ensures your blade will remain sharp for a long time.
The stone itself used for the sharpening is ceramic and 8000 grit meaning it has been specially designed for knife sharpening at the highest level.
8000 grit will not only precisely sharpen any blades other than just knives, it will also leave a sheen mirror shine to the material making sure it is maintained in style.
The surface of the stone is smooth and easy to grip making it ideal for beginners who may find using a traditional whetstone difficult.
It is also suitable for more advanced users as the stone is made from high grade ceramics and will last for years if cared for properly.
While it may have a high grit level, the metal of the blade still comes off quickly and easily, making this an all-round great package if you're looking for a high-quality sharpening kit with no added components that will definitely last you a considerable amount of time.
As an added bonus the stone is also splash and go, meaning rather than taking time soaking it beforehand, simply splash a minimal amount of water on it, just enough to cover it, and it will be ready to go in no time.
It’s important to know that if you plan to use a knife to cut through meat then a grit level of 4000 to 6000 is advised while 8000 is more so to cut through vegetables and fruit.
This is because a knife refined with 8000 grit has been seen to have a higher potential of bending when cutting through tough muscle.
- Very high-quality grit to sharpen and refine most knives
- Good price for stone quality
- Splash and go makes it instantly usable outdoors
- Good grip for steady handling when cutting
- Instructions only in one language
- Can weaken knives cutting through meat
If you are looking for a kit with a few more additions that may be more suitable for less experienced sharpeners for beginners, the Goodjob sharpener kit is the perfect option.
Alongside the sharpening stone, this product comes with cut resistant gloves and a bamboo base to hold the knife steadily against the knife.
This is especially important to avoid the knife slipping and allows you to sharpen a knife much quicker.
If this all wasn't enough, the product also comes with an adjustable honing guide which can improve control and help maintain the angles you want.
Using the guide is also easy, simply turn the screw cap, clamp your chisel or planer, and move up and down to allow the cutting to begin.
The inclusion of the angle means that along with knives, you will also be able to sharpen chisels and planes, making it very versatile and a multi-purpose tool, not to mention its body is made from durable cast aluminum making it extremely durable for continued usage.
The stone itself is also of very high quality, with the choice between either 400/1000 or 3000/8000 grit levels.
This allows for a huge amount of variety, if you just want to focus on sharpening small knives and you are not worried as much about the final look of the blade then lower grit levels can work perfectly, while higher levels can be more efficient for bigger blades that require continuous maintenance.
The stone does need to be held in water beforehand however this should not be for longer than 15 minutes and will require you to regularly rinse it to maintain it’s efficiency.
Reviewers have also reported instructions being poor which can make a lot of the added components unclear, so it can be worth quickly briefing yourself on some of the added components if you’re a beginner before purchase.
- All in one purchase for beginners
- Stone is still high quality grit
- Various grit levels adds variety in choice
- Top quality added components (bamboo base, honing guide, gloves)
- Poor instructions
- Stone needs to be soaked for 15 minutes beforehand
The Someie Suehiro Sharpening Kit is the perfect product if convenience is what you're looking for.
Sharpening blades can get messy whether you're inside preparing or in the outdoors in a tent or campfire.
This stone mitigates that issue by having a whetstone bridge and can be used as the base for sharpening so any excess falls through and saves any manual clean up.
The bridge is equipped with solid rubber elastic points that ensure it won't slip off any surfaces, with its best usage being over a sink to easily wash any mess, however it can be used on any surfaces and stays rigidly in place so you can remain accurate.
The stone itself may not be as sharp as some of the previous sharpening kits, however it still works very well for sharpening general knives that are not too big or demanding.
The stone has a grit level of 1000 and while this can seem quite a bit lower than the extravagant 8000, this will still efficiently sharpen general dull knives, repair small gaps and consolidate a blade.
These are not finishing stones however and will not refine or hone a knife blade, so this is a great option in terms of convenience that will still sharpen knives of smaller stature that are more suited to quick cutting and survival at hand.
- Bridge makes no excess to clean up
- Great for sharpening on demand
- Good price for bridge and stone together
- Extremely easy and quick to use
- Not recommended for bigger more demanding blades
- Only sharpens won’t refine blades
Finally there is the King KDS, a great choice if you cannot decide on how much grit you want as the stone included is two sided, the one side has 1000 grit while the other has 6000.
There are a few sharpening stones that have tried having two sided grit measurements to make them fit for multiple purposes and blades, however the King KDS strikes a perfect balance with its measurements.
The 1000 side is perfect for sharpening general knives and tools, while the 6000 side can hone and finish off the sharp end of a slightly bigger blade and while it is just shy of giving off a mirror polish, you can be sure that it will keep most blades supremely sharp and clean.
If you have multiple knives or blades that you want to sharpen and don't want to waste more cash than you need to, or if you simply can't decide on a girt level, the King KDS can be the most ideal option at a very fair price.
It is also a water stone which makes it very easy to use and ready to go in just a few minutes after bathing it in water.
The packaging has also been received very positively with the stone being covered in multiple layers of bubble wrap to ensure it won't receive any cracks while on its way to your door.
- Double sided stone makes it multipurpose
- Great difference in grit levels
- Secure and safe packaging
- Water stone makes it easy to prepare and use
- Lack of other sharpening additions or tools
If you are looking for a cheaper dual grit option which still provides a great sharpening service, then the Hosome knife sharpener kit could be your go to.
For its cheap price point this kit includes 2 non-slip rubber bases that help hold the stone in place, a non-slip bamboo base and a handy 10-degree angled base which can prevent you having to make any awkward wrist positions to sharpen correctly.
The stone itself is still of great quality and has a dual grit level of 1000 on one side of the stone and 6000 for the other, making it a cheap and affordable option for whatever particular blades you are hoping to sharpen up.
This means you can both repair knives and chipped edges with the 1000 side, and a 8000 grit finishing stone which can actually refine and hone a knife edge.
You can therefore cut and use a knife outdoors for heavy duty without worrying about any parts being damaged and irreparable.
As long as you're around a water source it is also easy to prepare simply needing to be dunked underwater for a few minutes.
The reason this dual grit stone is cheaper is because the material is alumina oxide and not actual stone, it will still sharpen and hone knives enough to be effective just not as quick and with as much of a sharp edge as regular sharpening stone.
- Dual sided grit makes it extremely versatile (1000/6000)
- Great additions (bamboo base and non-slip bases)
- Very cheap for high quality grit variation
- Missing instructions reported on occasions
- alumina oxide won’t sharpen as well as stone
There are quite a few different types of Japanese sharpening stones available today, each with their own pros and cons.
When looking into purchasing your next sharpening kit, here is a list of things to consider when choosing what type of sharpening stone you should buy.
When it comes to sharpening stones, the number of grits they contain is usually the deciding factor of whether or not they are suitable for your needs.
Some stones may have a wide range of grits, while others may only have one or two. You should look into the grit level of the stone before making your purchase.
If you know you will be using the stone for a specific purpose, then you should choose a stone with a similar grit level to that purpose, or you can opt for dual grit stones like the HOSOM and King KDS whetstones.
For example, if you are planning to sharpen everyday, then a stone with a higher grit number and higher surface area would be optimal, however if you plan to only do some light sharpening once every few months, it can be worth investing in a lower grit number such as with the Someie Suehiro Sharpener.
There are many different surfaces used in sharpening stones, ranging from coarse sandpaper to fine ceramic coated steel.
Each surface gives a different feel and result to the knife/tool being sharpened. Some people prefer the feel of ceramic coated steel, some like the feel of sandpaper, others enjoy the feel of leather.
It all depends on personal preference, so try out several different surfaces before buying.
The best thing about having such a large selection of surfaces is that you can change them up as often as you wish without spending too much money.
For example, if you find yourself sharpening a lot of kitchen knives, you could switch over to a softer material like leather, but if you are sharpening a lot of high-end knives, you could switch back to something harder like the Japanese Ceramic Kuromaku with ceramic coated steel.
This way you can save money by switching materials instead of buying new sharpening stones.
All stones have a hardness rating, this is measured by using a durometer (hardness tester) and is what determines how durable and long lasting the knife will be.
Stones with higher numbers, such as the King KDS Whetstone, tend to last longer and require less maintenance, however softer stones may be easier to maintain and sharpen.
If you are going to be sharpening a lot of knives, you might want to invest in a stone with a higher number, however if you are going to be doing it occasionally, then a softer stone such as the HOSOM may be more appropriate.
The durability refers to how long a stone can last before needing to be replaced and largely depends on the material.
This refers to how easy it is to maintain the stone after use.
A good quality stone will be easy to clean, often just requiring a quick rinse after use to be well maintained, whereas a cheap stone may get dirty quickly and require additional methods to ensure it stays effective in the long run.
Splash and go stones like the Japanese Ceramic Kuromaku need to be washed in order to be used so they have the added bonus of being cleaned constantly.
Sharpening kits come in different sizes, shapes and grits.
You may find yourself wanting a larger stone, a smaller stone, a round stone, a square stone, etc. If you're not sure what size you'll need, you can always get a sample first.
The cheaper stones may be made of inferior materials, which means they won't last as long.
They may also cost less because they are made in bulk, which means there are fewer quality control checks done, so always make sure you buy from reputable sellers.
So, What’s The Best Japanese Whetstone?
All these Japanese whetstone kits are of very high quality and will efficiently sharpen small knives or even other blades, but which is the best?
In terms of long-term condition and how sharp the stone will stay after continuous use, the Goodjob Premium Whetstone is the best in this field.
The Japanese Cermaic Kuromaku has the highest sharpening level at 8000, though this is meant for the highest-level blades so the ideal choice would be for what particular knives you intend to use it for.
Ease Of Use
For how well it leaves behind all the mess that comes with knife sharpening, the Someie Suehiro Sharpening Bridge is easy to get the hang of and very unique in its design.
The HOSOM is the cheapest product but still has a high-quality grit level for its generous price point.
Overall #1 Pick
Based on it's overall quality, durability, ease of use, grit level and price, my top pick for an all rounder would be the...