Aside from TV cooking shows, you’ve probably never seen sharpening steel in action. While this might make you think of it as more of a novelty than a viable tool, the reality is quite different. Sharpening Steel can completely transform your knives and help you keep a sharp edge on them. Sharpening steel usually comes with quality knife sets as well, which means you probably already own one. However, since they’re barely used, you’ve probably got no idea how to make use of them effectively.
If this is all new information for you, keep on reading as we will be providing the definitive guide to choosing the best sharpening steel so your Boning and Fillet Knives can hold a sharp edge for much longer. Can you live without your FoodSaver? Nor can your knives have a long lifespan without a sharpening steel. To help you get out of this rut, we’ve compiled a list of what we think is the best sharpening steel out there.
Sharpening Steel Review Center 2021
|#1 - Green Elephant Knife Sharpening Rod||99%|
|#2 - Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener||95%|
|#3 - Winware Stainless Steel Sharpening Steel||91%|
|#4 - Victorinox Swiss Classic 10-Inch Honing Steel||86%|
|#5 - Buck Knives 97082 EdgeTek Tri-Grit Ultra Steel Diamond Knife Sharpener||81%|
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Now that you’ve seen our top 5 recommendations, we’ll give you more detail on each of them, including why we liked them. When you’re ready, click the yellow button to get the best price on Amazon!
#1 – Green Elephant Knife Sharpening Rod
When it comes to ceramic rods, nothing screams high quality like this one. It’s made from the finest ceramic available on the market. It makes for a fantastic sharpening tool which keeps your blades sharp while not being too harsh or damaging. It also has a very comfortable grip that isn’t slippery which counts as a massive bonus towards it.
If you intend to use this for regular knife maintenance, hardly anything can match this beauty. It’s also surprisingly fast at honing blades, rendering them effective and ready for use in just a few minutes.
Couple that with a comfortable, lightweight handle, and you’ve got yourself one of the most effortless sharpening experiences you can get on the market. It also gets bonus points for looking as stylish and elegant as it does while doing its job perfectly. Place it beside to your fancy Dinnerware Set and Glassware Set and your kitchen will look much better.
While we spoke before about how cleaning ceramic rods can be a pain in the neck, this is one of the few exceptions to the rule. A regular detergent is a viable option when it comes to cleaning. Air dry is also quite effective.
This is the perfect tool for any Japanese Knife which can prove finicky to deal with and quite sensitive. Couple that with an extremely long lifespan that can last for years, not to mention the fact that it comes with a shock resistant feature which protects it from accidental drops, and you’ve got yourself one of the best products available.
However, after having praised it for so long, it also has its shortcomings. It’s 28 centimeters (11 inches) which is just a sliver below the minimum length which limits its versatility. The pricing on it is also quite steep, but as we said before, if the product lives up to the price, it could prove to be a money saver.
What we like about it
Green Elephant Knife Sharpening Rod is lightweight and easy to use, and it comes with an ergonomic yet elegant design that makes the operation much more manageable. What’s even better is that the cleaning process won’t take much of your precious time, and the durable construction can prove to be an excellent money-saver in the long run.
#2 – Messermeister Sharpening Ceramic Rod
If you want to play the safe card, this is an excellent choice to go with. It meets all the standards and is versatility grants it a place on this list. It’s also 30 centimeters (12 inches) which is just perfect for long knives. It’s made from 1200 grit industrial ceramic, so it’s ideal for keeping your blades maintained and ready for use.
On the other hand, if you apply too much pressure to your knives, you can end up shortening their lifespan as the rod will begin taking off bits of steel instead of just realigning the edges. It’s it probably best to use this rod just every two weeks as using it too much can fire back at you costing you more money instead.
Another thing to keep in mind is the fact that it’s made from ceramic means that it’s very brittle and the smallest accident can end up breaking it. Fortunately, the grip will make sure you’ll make as few mistakes as possible as it’s ergonomic and comfortable.
Just like the previous sharpening steel we mentioned, it’s quite easy to clean and maintain. Using an erasure should do the trick. As for regular maintenance, using hot soapy water and a damp cloth is the way to go.
With all that said, it’s also important to note that it’s a bit too expensive.
What we like about it
The thing we dig most about the Messermeister Sharpening Ceramic Rod is its length that’s optimal for just about any type of blade. Operating this Knife Sharpener is easy as pie, especially that it’s lightweight and has an ergonomic and relatively compact design. Just make sure to maintain this tool and use the blades correctly to ensure that it has the most extended lifespan, as this rod is a bit fragile compared to the other suggestions on our list.
#3 – Winware Stainless Steel Rod
One of this product’s strength is that it’s incredibly cheap compared to its competition. But you know what they say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ and there no better example than this product right here. Its cost-effectiveness is what makes it so unique.
It’s also important to note that it’s exceptionally versatile given that it’s also 30 centimeters (12 inches) long which makes it perfect even for long knives and blades. So, if that Bread Knife of yours isn’t sharp enough, you can always use this bad boy to fix it right away.
However, as the saying goes, this rod is a jack of all trades but a master of none. It has nothing special about it that really outpaces the other brands on this list, but the versatility and cost-effectiveness is undoubtedly a huge plus for it.
When it comes to ergonomics, it’s not the best either as its weight can make it quite hard to sharpen your tools but at least the handle is comfortable and makes for a firm grip. When it comes to cleaning, it’s also effortless, requiring only a damp cloth to do the job.
This product will certainly make for an excellent addition to your kitchen.
What we like about it
If you’re looking for cost-effective and versatile steel rod, Winware’s masterpiece if for you. The length is ideal for any type of blade, and the design is pretty efficient if you turn a blind eye to the relatively large size and heavy weight. What more could you possibly ask for?
#4 – Victorinox Swiss Classic 10-inch Honing Steel
Featuring a chromed plated steel and expert Swiss craftsmanship, this sharpening steel is perfect for the job. It also ensures that your knives hold a sharp edge for as long as possible.
It’s also stain-resistant and quite versatile considering the short 25 centimeters (10 inches) length is making for a great product no matter what cutlery you use. It has a firm square grip as well making sure you’re able to cling to it even if your hands are slippery. The cleaning process is also straightforward and to top it all off, comes with a lifetime warranty against manufacturer defects.
An exquisite product that definitely deserves your attention.
What we like about it
Victorinox Swiss’ Classic 10-inch Honing Steel has a slick, cost-effective, and versatile design that allows it; along with reliable and durable construction, to be one of the best tools for the money. The top part of the metal filling is unusable due to the presence of the logo, but that’s a small sacrifice you’d be willing to take if you’re on a budget. After all, how would you sharpen your Cheese Knife otherwise?
#5 – Buck Knives 97082 Edge Tek Tri-Grit Ultra Steel Diamond Knife Sharpener
Versatile, quick and easy to use and comes with a hand guard to protect your hands in case the blade slips. What more could you ask for?
This sharpening steel is perfect for just about any blade you might have. However, keep in mind that this won’t polish your edges as well as it will sharpen them which could be a turn off for some people. Honestly though, who cares about polishing when you’re just trying to sharpen your Carving Knife for a quick cut?
In order to maintain this honing steel, we recommend you use dish soap, warm water, and a small brush to clear out all the tiny metal bits that could be stuck between the diamond grit. Olive oil will also help make the rod more effective.
What we like about it
Buck Knives’ 97082 Edge Tek Tri-Grit Ultra Steel Diamond Knife Sharpener is the lightest of the bunch, and it has a great handguard to ensure user safety. Also, it’s extremely easy to use and comes with a versatile design. If you’re looking for a quality product and willing to invest some extra cash to get it, this is the rod for you.
Choosing the Ultimate Sharpening Rod
When it comes to the best of the best, we had to go with Green Elephant Knife Sharpening Steel.
For ease of use to elegance to effectiveness, it has it all, and while the price might be high, it definitely gives the best bang for your buck. You just can’t go wrong with this honing steel, and we highly recommend it.
We’re more than happy to hear your questions or suggestions. Feel free to leave a comment and if you found this article helpful, make sure to share it with others.
What Is Sharpening Steel Exactly? How Are We Supposed to Use It?
First off, it’s essential to establish what sharpening steel is precisely to clear up any ambiguities surrounding it.
Sharpening steel, or as it’s sometimes called, honing steel, is a tool made specifically for blade maintenance, more specifically, keep the blades sharp or even making them sharper. This is done by rearranging and realigning the edge of the blade.
Think of it like a shower Loofah that basically serves to remove dead skin, which in the blade’s case dull material, thus revealing a sharper edge.
A common misconception is mistaking sharpening stones with sharpening steel. While both of them serve a similar function, they’re not to be mistaken for each other.
While the blades are made of high-quality steel alloy which makes them hold an edge for a long time, their edges will eventually wear off and become dull with time and use; This is where sharpening steel comes into play as its sole purpose is to remedy this very problem. If you want to try some recipes from a Japanese Cookbook, a sharpening steel is a must.
What Separates A Good Sharpening Steel from A Bad One
The material from which the rod is one of the major factors to determine when choosing the optimal option. Here are the most common materials which are used to make these rods:
Steel rods are a popular choice for those who regularly maintain their blades. If you have a knife set, it probably comes with one of these. They can come with round, square, ridged or smooth edges.
The ridged steel is the most effective and fastest when it comes to sharpening your blade. On the other hand, they tend to wear down the edge faster than their smooth counterpart. So, if you want your blades to last longer while sacrificing a bit of efficiency, you should probably go with the smooth rods.
One downfall of the steel rods is that they can be a bit too hard on the more fragile blades, like Japanese blades to name an example. They can even damage the blade. If you have a weak edge, it’s best to go with a more delicate rod, diamond rods and ceramic rods are perfect for that. We’ll go into more detail about those next.
While not actually made from diamond, they get their name from the fact that they’re coated smooth steel embedded with abrasive diamond particles.
Diamond rods are more commonly used by butchers for their precision. They can finely hone blades while maintaining a sharp edge.
One thing to keep in mind when thinking about getting one of these is that their abrasive diamond coating can be too effective, removing a chunky amount of metal.
Another thing to watch out for is their short lifespan caused by the coating eventually wearing off after a short period of time. The wisest thing to do is to look for trusted and well-renowned brands when choosing a diamond rod.
Ceramic rods are quite similar to their steel alternative; However, they’re less sturdy than steel rods, which can make them less reliable. On the other hand, they make up for that by being more gentle and offering a more precision which can make them a viable option for the more brittle blades. They’re great for sharpening ceramic knives.
Sharpening Stone Length:
Be it steel, diamond or ceramic rods, length is critical. No matter how good the rod’s material is, length is just as important. The longer a rod is, the more effective it will be at honing the blade.
Seeing how you can’t put a price on your health, it should come before everything else. Safety is the most important factor no matter what you’re buying. To avoid any damage to you or any of your other possessions, it’s best to choose a rod that’s at the very least 5 centimeters (or 2 inches) longer than your knife. When picking a rod, we recommend you avoid anything shorter than 30 centimeters (or 12 inches).
While it might seem like laziness at first, avoiding making a mess while honing your blade is not only a matter of convenience. You also have to consider that time is a luxury we can’t always afford, so saving as much time as possible can only be a good thing, which is why it should be considered when picking out sharpening steel.
Cleaning your sharpening is a must. Otherwise, the steel will quickly wear out and lose its effectiveness. We recommend that you use a clean cloth and meticulously wipe the sharpening steel.
It’s also recommended that you scrub it in hot soapy water every few weeks to keep it as sterile as possible. However, avoid using anything harsh to avert damaging the steel. We also recommend you avoid using cleaning powders as they can also wear down your sharpening steel.
While steel and diamond rods can withstand some harsh surfaces, the same can’t be said for ceramic rods. Given their fragile nature, cleaning them can be a bit of a headache. Though the best way to clean them is to just use an erasure.
Last but not least, keep in mind that all good things will eventually come to an end, sharpening steel is no exception. If you feel that your iron is starting to lose its potency, don’t be hesitant to buy new steel.
The Feel of The Handle:
When it comes to safety, a handle that ensures a firm grip is a must. The handle for the sharpening steel should be thick enough to ensure that your hand doesn’t slip. It also has to be made from slip-resistant materials.
It must feel comfortable. If it’s too large or too small, it can cause some wrist pain if you use it for an extended period of time. Therefore, a comfortable grip is crucial as it makes for a more comfortable sharpening procedure.
While a higher price might imply a better product, there’s a certain point where that rule doesn’t apply anymore. A more expensive product will not automatically be better than the cheaper alternatives. It’s best to go with the most trusted brand rather than the one with the highest prices. A little research could do wonders for helping you make up your mind about a specific product.
With that said, you shouldn’t always avoid expensive brands as they can save you a lot of money in the long term if their product lives up to its pricing.
Just like any Wine Fridge requires a Wine Opener by it side, you cannot leave your knives without a sharpening steel that can keep their edges sharp all the time. Our buying guide covers everything that you need to know to pick the best product in this category, so make sure to read it thoroughly. Once that’s done, the only thing left for you do is to take your new rod, sharpen your Steak Knife Sets, prepare your Indoor Grill, and explore the wonders of the different recipes from a Grilling Cookbook!
While you’re here, check out some of our other kitchen accessories and knives! As always, we recommend you keep your knives safely kept in either a knife block or on a magnetic knife strip held safely in your kitchen pantry or kitchen island.