A knife is a versatile tool that can get you through all sorts of situations, and that’s evident when you consider the wide range of knives that are used in the outdoors alone. Something as modest as a whittling knife has as much of a place in your rucksack as a hardened survival knife, but they all share one thing in common.
If you want your knives to work properly, you have to keep them sharp, and this is true for any blade, no matter how cheap or how pricey it is. Unfortunately, a lot of people put so much effort into finding the right knife that they neglect to purchase the right equipment to keep it in the right shape.
A versatile pocket knife will suddenly become little more than a paperweight with a dull blade, and the same can be said for other sorts of knives. Bushcraft knives won’t be able to help you get through dense foliage, survival knives can let you down when you need them most, and even trusty hunting knives need to be kept sharp.
In today’s guide, we’re going to cover five products in our detailed reviews in search of the best pocket knife sharpener on the market. We’ll go over some of the specifics of each product before we move on to our overview, in which we’ll let you know what we think of each model.
If you’re short on time, I’ve put this table together to get a glimpse at our knife sharpener picks:
By the end of our guide, you’ll have no shortage of knife sharpeners to choose from. We’ve made sure to find a diverse range of products so that each of our readers can pick the product that fulfills their specific needs. For example, some of the knife sharpeners on our list our compact, while others are designed for home use.
We’ve also made sure to include products of all prices in this guide, so that our readers can choose from both high-end and budget knife sharpeners, depending on their budget.
To make it even easier to select the best pocket knife sharpener, we’ve included a buying advice section after our reviews. In this part of our guide, we’ll go over some of the most crucial qualities that buyers should search for when picking out the right knife sharpener.
- 1 The Top Five Pocket Knife Sharpeners
- 1.1 1 – Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
- 1.2 2 – Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
- 1.3 3 – Smith’s DCS4 4-Inch FINE & COARSE Diamond Combo Sharpening Stones
- 1.4 4 – Sharpal 101N 6-In-1 Knife Sharpener & Survival Tool
- 1.5 5 – Victorinox Ceramic Knife Sharpener
- 2 Buying Guide
- 3 Conclusion
The Top Five Pocket Knife Sharpeners
1 – Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE Sharpening Stones System
- The triple sharpening system improves this model’s versatility
- Features a fine Arkansas stone, a medium Arkansas stone, and a coarse synthetic stone
- The rotating molded triangle features identification marks for each of the stones
- The durable molded plastic base features non-skid rubber feet
- Features a sharpening angle guide to make it easier to use
- Equipped with a trough to catch oil drippings
- Comes included with Smith’s Premium Honing Solution
One of our favorite pocket knife sharpeners currently available is the TRI-6 Arkansas TRI-HONE model from Smith’s. While it may be a little more expensive than some of the competing products, you’ll find that it’s far more versatile than most of them too, mainly because of its three sharpening stones.
As you can guess by the name, the main draw of this sharpening system is that it features a fine Arkansas stone, a medium Arkansas stone, and a coarse synthetic stone. This allows you to smoothly transition through each of the grits so that you can fully sharpen your blade all at once.
To ensure that you can keep track of which stone is which, this model features markings to help identify each of the stones. The triangular molded plastic holder that they sit in is easy to rotate so that you can access each of the stones without any trouble, and there are little handles that you can use to pick it up.
The base of this sharpening system is also made out of molded plastic, ensuring that the whole thing is as durable as possible without being too heavy. Since it’s a little lighter than other home knife sharpeners, this model comes equipped with non-skid rubber footpads that will help keep it in place as you hone your blade.
Since it won’t slide around as you work, this knife sharpener is a lot safer than models that don’t come equipped with footpads. The inclusion of a V-shaped trough under the stone ensures that all of the oil drippings will be caught in the sharpener, keeping the surface under it from getting dirty.
As a bonus, this knife sharpening system comes included with some extras that help improve its value for money even further. The Smith’s Premium Honing Solution that comes included with this sharpener ensures that you don’t need oil of your own, though keep in mind that it’s only a small bottle.
This pocket knife sharpener also features an angle guide that will help you make sure that you’re always sharpening your blades at the correct angle. One thing to keep in mind is that this knife sharpener isn’t as big as you may expect, so it may not be ideal for your largest blades. We’d recommend sticking to pocket knives with it.
Another disadvantage to this knife sharpener is that it isn’t portable enough, despite being relatively small. While it’s ideal for use around the house, if you need something to hone your blades in the outdoors, you’ll be disappointed. Overall, we were impressed by this model’s versatility and value for money.
2 – Work Sharp Guided Sharpening System
- Equipped with Pivot-Response technology, which results in a more consistent edge
- Features angle guides for both 17 degrees and 20 degrees
- The angle guides are secured by magnets for easier adjustment
- Comes included with a ceramic field hone for when you’re on the go
- The field hone features three ceramic rods: small, medium, and large
- Features both coarse and fine diamond plates
- Made in the USA
The Guided Sharpening System from Work Sharp is a little more expensive than our previous model, but it’s also more versatile, as it can be used as both a stationary and portable sharpener. Equipped with two main parts, the Guided Sharpening System is perfect for active users that still need to sharpen things at home.
The at-home portion of this system consists of a sharpening platform combined with a plate holder that supports six-inch diamond sharpening plates. The other half of this system is made up of the ceramic field hone, which is both packable and lightweight for use in the wilderness or anywhere else.
Starting with the ceramic field hone, it features three ceramic rods that are designed for sharpening different parts of your blades. The largest ceramic rod is perfect for sharpening full-sized knives, and the medium and small rods are better for compact tools and even serrations.
The field hone features a built-in 25-degree angle guide for the large rod, ensuring that you can hone your blades properly. Moving on to the larger half of the sharpening system, it comes included with two angle guides that you can flip between 17 and 20 degrees for different kinds of blades.
The plate holder is relatively simple, as it contains the replaceable sharpening plate. This product comes included with a coarse diamond plate as well as a fine one so that you can pre-sharpen and finish your job without any trouble. The most impressive part of this setup is on the sharpening platform, however.
You’ll find that the plate holder slots into the sharpening platform, and it features something known as Pivot-Response Technology. This system pivots the sharpening platform and the plate holder automatically so that they move with you as you sharpen your blade, always maintaining the optimal angle.
This helps make the knife sharpener easier for beginners to use, and it also shortens the time that you have to spend sharpening your knives. Durability is another plus to this product, as it’s made in the USA, and it features a heavy-duty design that is built to last, ensuring that you won’t have to replace it for a long time.
We were highly impressed with this sharpener, but there were a few things that let us down. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is that you have to buy the expansion set if you want an extra fine and extra coarse sharpening plate. In the end, this is still an excellent sharpener, and it has earned its place on our list.
3 – Smith’s DCS4 4-Inch FINE & COARSE Diamond Combo Sharpening Stones
- This model’s compact design makes it perfect for use in the outdoors
- Features both fine and coarse diamond stones, resulting in improved versatility
- Comfortable soft grip rubber ergonomic handle
- Features a thumb guard for added safety
- The micro-tool sharpening pad allows you to keep small implements sharp
- The stones are stored in the handle when not in use
- Features a sharpening groove for hooks
The DCS4 from Smith’s is the second product on our list from them, and it’s much more portable than the first. If you’re looking for something that can fit into your pocket yet still help you keep your blades sharp when you’re in the field, then you’ll probably like this compact yet effective product.
This pocket knife sharpener features a collapsible design in which the sharpening stones retract into the handle so that it doesn’t take up too much space. Despite its small size, the surface area of the sharpening stones is quite large, and they are designed to be as versatile as possible, with both fine and coarse stones.
The stones themselves feature a perforated sharpening surface, but they also each have a sharpening groove that makes it easier to work with hooks and pointed objects. There is even a sharpening pad for micro-tools, ensuring that you can do a lot more with this product when compared to other compact sharpeners.
Since there is a convenient thumb guard near the handle of this sharpener, you also won’t have to worry about accidentally cutting yourself as you work, improving this model’s overall safety. The soft rubber handle on this sharpener helps prevent it from slipping out of your hands, and it’s also soft enough to remain comfortable for longer sessions.
The overlapping oval holes on the sharpening stones help make them more efficient than other designs, ensuring that your edges can be honed quicker. Since the whole thing is only four inches long, you’ll be able to keep it in your pocket, and it won’t take up too much room in your gear bag.
This is also one of the lightest pocket knife sharpeners on this list, coming in at only 0.8 ounces. Even though this sharpener is relatively compact, it’s comfortable enough to sharpen longer knives with. This helps put the DCS4 a cut above competing compact knife sharpeners that are usually only good for smaller blades.
So that you can keep track of each of the stones, there are markings for both fine and coarse at the top of the unit. While many compact pocket knife sharpeners only have a single stone, the inclusion of a fine one and a coarse one on this model allows you to fully sharpen any blade you have.
Of course, no product is without its issues, and the same goes for the DCS4. One of our main complaints about this model is that it simply isn’t comparable to a home model. That being said, this is still one of the best portable knife sharpeners that we have come across, so if you need something small, this one is perfect.
4 – Sharpal 101N 6-In-1 Knife Sharpener & Survival Tool
- Features both tungsten carbide and ceramic blades for improved versatility
- Equipped with a medium grit tapered diamond rod with grooves
- It comes equipped with an integrated fire starter
- Also features a whistle for emergencies
- Tested to withstand 10 000 sharpening strokes
- Features a soft, rubber-coated grip for improved comfort
- The compact and lightweight design makes it extremely portable
If versatility is the most important thing in a knife sharpener to you, then you certainly won’t be let down by the 101N from Sharpal. This product is a knife sharpener, and a survival tool rolled into one, meaning that it can take the place of a lot of other things that you may already have in your bag.
Setting the trend for versatility in this model, you’ll find that it comes equipped with two kinds of blades. The set of tungsten carbide blades is perfect for when you want to quickly set an edge, but if you’re going to finish off your blade, you’ll need the fine edge that only the ceramic edge set can provide.
Other than the two sharpening blades, you’ll find that this model also comes with a tapered diamond rod that allows you to sharpen larger knives and tools without any trouble. Due to the grooves along the rod, you can also sharpen serrations and hooks, allowing this product to be used with nearly any tool.
While the tungsten carbide blades are perfect for pre-sharpening and the ceramic ones are ideal for finishing, the rod features a medium grit coarseness that works in both applications. You may think that this product is already useful enough, considering it can fully sharpen any blade, but there’s more to it than that.
The 101N from Sharpal also comes equipped with a handy fire starter that can help you get a campfire going with relative ease. Along with this function, you can even use the sharpener as an emergency whistle. The high-pitched sound will be sure to attract help to your location, which can be invaluable in the wilderness.
The inclusion of a lanyard hole also means that you can keep this survival tool on you or on your pack at all times. Each of the blades has also been fully tested to withstand over 10 000 strokes when you sharpen your blades, making it one of the most durable portable pocket knife sharpeners on the market.
Another great thing about this model is that it’s so much more affordable than other knife sharpeners, providing you with an insane amount of value for money. Overall, we’d recommend this one if you don’t already have things like a fire starter or an emergency whistle, as they may be a bit excessive otherwise.
5 – Victorinox Ceramic Knife Sharpener
- Extremely portable; nearly the size of a pen (9 inches long)
- Only weighs about 1.4 oz
- The ceramic notch allows you to work with fine edges
- Features a honing stone that can sharpen up to a medium edge
- Comes equipped with a clip so that you can easily keep it in your pocket
- The cap keeps the stone protected and slides over the other end when in use
The last product on our list is this high-quality compact knife sharpener from Victorinox, one of the renowned companies behind the Swiss Army Knife. While this sharpener is primarily designed for use with Swiss Army Knives, you’ll find that it’s equally effective with any other small blade.
This sharpener is about the same size as a pen, which means that you can keep it in your pockets without it being too bulky or taking up too much space. It features a smooth removable cover that helps ensure that it won’t snag on the interior of your clothing, and it also protects the ceramic sharpener.
The cover is designed to fit over the other side of the sharpener when it’s removed, making it harder to lose and providing you with a bit more space to hold on to as you sharpen your blade. At about nine inches long, you can sharpen longer blades without any issues, which is impressive for a compact design.
The build quality of this product is highly impressive, though we’ll admit that we expected nothing less from Victorinox, which is known for its quality products. This excellent construction is reflected in the sharpener’s price point, as it’s a little more expensive than other portable models.
To help ensure that it remains in place if it’s in your pocket, this knife sharpener features a clip that’s attached to the cover. This means that it won’t fall out of your pocket if you bend over. Unlike other compact knife sharpeners, this one features two surfaces so that you can get your blade fully sharpened.
You’ll want to start off with the honing stone, which is of medium coarseness and allows you to get the preliminary edge on your blade. Once you’re done with the honing stone, you can then move to the ceramic notch, which is fine enough to use for the finishing touches on your knife.
As you would expect, this knife sharpener is also very lightweight. At only 1.4 ounces, you won’t even notice it when you slide it into your pack, making it perfect for backpackers and other users who are typically on the go. Due to the design of the sharpening surfaces, this model can be used with both curved and straight blades.
Of course, there are always some compromises with a pocket knife sharpener that’s as compact as this one. The main issue that we had with it is that it takes too long to sharpen larger knives. However, if you’re planning on using it for some quick sharpening in the field, then you won’t be disappointed in this sharpener.
Even though we’ve gone over the best pocket knife sharpeners and what you can expect from them, we understand that it’s still a bit of a challenge to pick out the right one. In this part of our guide, you’ll find some of the most essential features and aspects that you should search for in your knife sharpener.
The first thing to consider is the coarseness of the stones on your pocket knife sharpener and whether it comes with a single type of stone or multiple. If you’re only going to use your sharpener to touch up your blade in the field, then you can probably get by with a stone that has medium coarseness.
On the other hand, if you want to fully sharpen your blade, you’re going to need to look for a sharpener that comes with at least two stones, but ideally three. Coarse stones are perfect for pre-sharpening, medium ones are the most versatile, and fine sharpening stones are necessary for finishing up an edge.
Whether or not your pocket knife sharpener is portable will determine how you can use it and if you should take it out of your home. A lot of the best sharpeners are stationary, as they’ll need to be relatively bulky so that they can feature large enough honing surfaces of two or three different types.
On the other hand, if you want to be able to sharpen your blade when you’re in the middle of a camping trip or out in the field, then you’re going to want something that’s a little more portable. These models will often give up some functionality so that they can be small enough to fit in your pocket or bag.
Handle or Grip
When looking for the right pocket knife sharpener, it will also help to consider what kind of handle or grip it features. Keep in mind that this is mainly a concern for more portable models, as they’re the only ones that you’ll have to hold while you sharpen your blade.
There are a few different kinds of handles that you can find on a sharpener, but the best ones are usually made out of softer materials like rubber. These handles will help ensure that your hand doesn’t get tired over the course of a longer sharpening session. An ergonomic handle can also help keep your hand as comfortable as possible.
The presence of a groove in your pocket knife sharpener can help make it a lot more versatile, as it will allow you to sharpen more tools. The first thing that you’ll be able to sharpen with a groove is a fishhook, which is why fishers always look for knife sharpeners that come equipped with them.
Even if you don’t plan on going fishing, a groove will let you sharpen any tool that features a pointed end. Flat sharpeners are usually only good for edges, but a groove will allow you to a range of motion that will make it easier to create a sharp point.
Ease of Use
Whether or not a knife sharpener is easy to use will determine whether or not you end up using it in the first place. Nobody wants to use a knife sharpener that’s overcomplicated, as that will typically result in frustration and improperly sharpened edges. Be sure to get one that’s user-friendly, particularly if you’re a beginner.
Along with being simple, some well-written instructions can make it a lot easier to use your pocket knife sharpener. Some sharpeners will automatically adjust the angle of contact with the blade so that you can always get the best edge possible, though this is usually reserved for larger, high-end models.
The extras that come with your pocket knife sharpener aren’t a major concern, but they can sometimes be the deciding factor between two models that are similar in every other way. There are a few things that can come with a knife sharpener to get you started.
One of the most common extras that manufacturers like to include with their sharpeners is a bottle of sharpening solution, which will ensure that your blade glides smoothly over the stone. Other sharpeners will come with angle guides that will ensure that you sharpen your blade at the right inclination.
Whether or not your pocket knife sharpener is durable will determine if it will need to be replaced anytime soon after you purchase it. A poorly-made model will typically require replacement within the year, though some of the best sharpeners can last you for far longer than that.
Keep in mind that how long your sharpener lasts depends on how many blades you use it with and whether or not you take it out of the house. Bringing a sharpener out on your excursions will naturally result in more wear and tear, so be prepared to have to replace it more often.
Whether or not your pocket knife sharpener includes safety features is another thing to account for. Something like a guard near the handle can help prevent nicks and cuts if your blade slips while you’re honing it. Keep in mind that you should typically sharpen your blade by sweeping it away from you.
The price of your pocket knife sharpener is another crucial thing to consider, and you’ll often want to set your budget before you start looking for the right product. Having a solid idea of how much money you’re prepared to pay can make the buying process so much simpler for you.
Keep in mind that more affordable models will often sacrifice some capabilities, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that an affordable pocket knife sharpener isn’t worth the money. Some of the best models on this list are relatively cheap, and they perform as well as any sharpener.
The final thing to account for is the material that your sharpening surface is made out of, and there are plenty of different kinds of sharpeners. For example, some of them are made out of metals like tungsten carbide, which are extremely hard and are able to sharpen other metals.
On the other hand, some sharpeners are made out of diamond, but a few customers don’t like this material because it leaves behind dust as it wears away. One of the best materials for finer sharpeners is ceramic, as it doesn’t wear out as fast as other materials and it can be much finer than them.
We hope that this guide has helped you select the best pocket knife sharpener for your needs, as we know how hard it is to find the right one. Thank you for taking the time to read through this informative guide.