A pocket knife is an essential tool to bring with you on the road, whether you need to use it to cut up food or set up camp. The best pocket knife sharpener will ensure your blade never runs dull or lets you down.
If you’re new to pocket knife sharpeners or aren’t quite sure what to look for when choosing the best model, you’ve come to the right place.
Keep reading for a detailed guide to choosing (and using!) the best pocket knife sharpener, plus our review of the top 5 products available currently that you might just consider adding to your gear.
The top 5 pocket knife sharpeners we recommend for 2021:
Not all pocket knife sharpeners are created equal, and there are quite a few options available to choose from.
The first kind of pocket knife sharpener is a whetstone. Whetstones are manufactured from quarried material and are often a combination of diamond dust, rock, and concrete. Curved whetstones are a good pick for sharpening complex blades, while flat whetstones are most compatible with flat blades.
Whetstone sharpeners are very sturdy and reliable, but these take a while to learn how to use properly. So, if you’re brand new to using the best pocket knife sharpeners, you might prefer a more straightforward choice.
Slot sharpeners are frequently used for pocket knives because they feature a very simple design sporting slots to draw and sharpen your blade with continuous strokes. Slot sharpeners also feature a variety of angles, so if you’re brand new to pocket knife sharpeners these are a great choice.
These types of sharpeners are also compatible with a range of blades, including serrated, curved, and straight.
Multifunctional sharpeners have some fun bells and whistles added on, so if you want a few additional features when picking out the best pocket knife sharpener you might prefer this variety.
Multifunctional sharpeners come with handy features like a compass, light, and so forth, so you can even use them as a backup survival kit besides the regular pocket knife sharpener functionality.
Here’s what you need to consider in order to pick the best pocket knife sharpener.
The first thing you’ll want to consider when picking out the best pocket knife sharpener for your outdoor needs is the activities you intend to use it for. Are you going to be skinning game or cutting ropes with your pocket knife? Or do you simply use your blade for things like cutting food or a backup tool when setting up camp?
Your knife will wear out way quicker if you use it for wilderness and survivalist adventures rather than if you use it for more everyday outdoor use. If you use different pocket knives for a variety of outdoor needs, you’re going to want the best pocket knife sharpener that is compatible with a wide range of blades.
If you just use a regular pocket knife out on the trail, you’ll need to pick a pocket knife sharpener that works for that particular type of blade.
Your comfort as the user is a key component to take into account when purchasing the best pocket knife sharpener. Your sharpener shouldn’t be overly bulky or take up too much space in your gear. In fact, you should be able to fit the best pocket knife sharpener in your pocket with total ease.
The best pocket knife sharpener is designed for comfort, so you don’t have to worry about it poking out and hurting your leg if you store it in your pocket. Another handy feature that ensures comfort for the user is a hook or lanyard secured to the pocket knife sharpener.
That way, you can simply affix the hook or lanyard to your belt when you’re out on the trail.
You need to be aware of the sharpening angle of the best pocket knife sharpener when hunting for the device that is ideal for your blade. The angle at which you sharpen your pocket knife translates to the fineness of the blade.
For example, if your sharpener is compatible with a 35-degree sharpening angle, you will have a fine edge, but not as durable an edge as a device with a 25-degree sharpening angle. If you are brand new to using the best pocket knife sharpener, just know that it may take a few tries before you get it right and feel comfortable using the device.
The best pocket knife sharpeners sport adjustable angles, which makes it much simpler for you to determine the angle that you're most comfortable with. Plus, if you’re new to pocket knife sharpeners, an adjustable angle will help ensure that you don’t harm the edge of your blade as you find your preferred angle.
The best pocket knife sharpener sports different sharpening stages or grits, which is really handy to sharpen blades with varying levels of dullness. For example, a coarse grit allows you to sharpen the edge of a blade that has become really dull, while a medium grit is great for just slightly dull blades.
A fine grit is what you use when your blade just needs a mild sharpening to smooth out the edges. You want to pick a knife sharpener with varying grits, so you don’t have to purchase different sharpeners for different blades.
Because you’re dealing with sharp blades, you need to make sure that the best pocket knife sharpener you select comes equipped with safety features to protect your fingers. The sharpener should include some type of protection to come between your ringers and the sharpener, so it doesn’t rub at or damage your skin when you’re sprucing up your blade.
Check out the top 5 best pocket sharpeners and keep scrolling to read which one we picked as the outstanding winner from the group!
Our first pick for the best pocket knife sharpener is Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal, featuring a simple, lightweight, and durable design at a very affordable price point. The PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener sports a pull design, which means all you have to do to sharpen your blade is pull it through one of the slots.
The pocket knife sharpener features 3 sharpening implements, including ceramic, diamond, or carbide, making this choice compatible with a wide range of knife blades.
We liked the tapered rod with a diamond coating that is perfect for sharpening both serrated and regular blades. The carbide and ceramic slots are great if you want an extra sharp blade for outdoor use. The best part about the PP1 Pocket Pal is that you can reverse and replace the sharpening stones, so you can keep your sharpener for years and just replace the implements as needed.
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The AccuSharp 001 Knife made it to our review of the best pocket knife sharpeners for its simple, small design that works with all types of blades. We liked the tungsten carbide blades with diamond integrated components, which makes this best pocket knife sharpener a durable choice you can use for years to come.
We love the rust-resistant components and the fact that you can clean the sharpener just with soap and water.
The AccuSharp 001 Knife and Tool Sharpener is very easy to use. All you have to do is run your knife through the blades to sharpen, so no complicated procedures to worry about. The blade sharpens like a dream within 10 seconds and is great for sharpening everything from pocket knives to hunting knives to kitchen knives.
You’ll definitely get a lot of use form this one sharpener. We were also happy to see the finger guard that protects your fingers from the blade. The pocket knife sharpener sports ergonomic components too, so you can use it in either hand as you need to.
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The next best pocket knife sharpener is the Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic, sporting a smooth and easy design that everyone from beginners to pros will love. If your pocket knife tends to dull quickly, this choice could be for you.
The Lansky PS-MED01 features tungsten carbide for gritting your knife and a ceramic blade for extra sharpening power.
We liked the rod with diamond tapering that helps you maintain the overall condition of your blade. The tool is versatile too, as the ceramic blade is compatible with any type of serrated blade you might have.
In just a few strokes, your pocket knife blade will be like brand new, which makes for easy sharpening on the go. The sharpener is small but mighty, and ideal for almost any type of blade you can imagine. It is super light and easy to transport both on and off the trail.
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The next best pocket knife sharpener by Spyderco is very affordable and no trouble to use, making it an excellent choice for beginners to knife sharpening. We like that this knife sharpener sports 6 different rods, including 2 brass guide ones and 4 ceramic. The 4 ceramic rods consist of 2 fine rods and 2 coarse rods, so whatever blade needs sharpening, you’re good to go.
We were impressed with the ceramic stones that sharpen everything from pocket knives to fish hooks, and the triangle design of the stones which means you can sharpen both serrated and straight blades with ease.
Sharpening your pocket knife with this tool is easy, as you just position the sharpener on a flat surface and insert 2 ceramic stones in the holes. Then, you install the brass rods to safeguard your fingers, position your blade perpendicular to the ground, and begin running the knife through.
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Our final pick for the best pocket knife sharpener is another product by Smith’s, an ideal choice if you use blades with straight or serrated edges. The knife sharpener comes equipped with fine and coarse diamond plates, dual ceramic hones, and a leather strop. One of the ceramic tools sharpens in coarse or fine grits, while the other is perfect for serrated blades.
Even if the Smith’s TRI-6 Arkansas Tri-Hone knife sharpener isn't the best portable knife sharpener, we like how user-friendly it is, as you all have to do is push the blade away from you along the sharpener with continuous strokes. If you have very dull blades, the coarse stone will make the edge like new again. You can trust this sharpener with any pocket knife blade, for multi-purpose use.
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While each of the best pocket knife sharpeners in this review are dependable, versatile options, one stood out above the rest—the AccuSharp 001 Knife. We just loved its small and simple design with a finger guard and components that work with any type of blade. The tungsten carbide and diamond integrated blades are exceptional, with rust-resistant elements to keep the tool running for years to come.
The tool is also very easy to clean both on and off the trail and works for everything from simple pocket knives to hunting blades and beyond. The tool sharpens any blade in just about 10 seconds and is ergonomically designed for user comfort. Really, what more could you ask for from the best pocket knife sharpener? In our humble opinion, this small but mighty tool remains the best portable knife sharpener in its class and a must-have for pocket knife users everywhere.