How to Choose the Best Knife Sharpener for Pocket Knives

Regular pocket knife users already know that a pocket sharpening tool should be easily portable, but the best pocket knife sharpener should be held to a higher standard. If you're using a pocket knife daily, you need a knife sharpener that will give you a sharp edge every time.

You can find high-quality pocket knife sharpeners that are lightweight without sacrificing durability and reliability. Read on to discover the reasons you need a sharpener and to learn how to choose the best pocket knife sharpener for your way of life.

What is a Pocket Knife Sharpener?

Pocket knife sharpeners offer convenience for those moments when you realize that you're using a dull knife and can't send it off to a professional sharpening company. Pocket-sized sharpeners usually include two sharpening slots: a coarse carbide slot for blunt knives and a fine ceramic slot for honing further.

Some pocket knife sharpeners have additional tools, such as a polishing slot, like the Razor Sharp, or a lanyard hole. The perfect knife sharpener for your pocket knife will be comfortable to carry on your person, and should reliably sharpen your knife quickly, every time. While you can sharpen knives.

What Are the Types of Pocket Knife Sharpeners?

To decide which pocket knife sharpener is most appropriate for your needs, it's important to understand the four types of sharpeners that are most commonly used for pocket knives.

V-Shaped Sharpeners

V-shaped sharpeners are often used on pocket-sized knife sharpeners for travel or home use. Two small sharpening stones are set into a v shape with precise angles to form a sharpening slot so that users move the knife edge through the slot.

Sharpening Steels

A sharpening steel or sharpening rod has a rough edge that is either covered with diamond grit or an abrasive pattern. Chefs use sharpening rods to quickly repairs a dented or bent blade and regain blade sharpness.

Sharpening Stones

Many pocket knife sharpeners consist of sharpening stones, which are rough stones embedded with grit, like sandpaper. The coarseness level of the grit determines the amount of metal that the sharpening stone will remove from the blade.

Edge Honers

Edge honers constitute the last step in the sharpening process. Honers remove roughness and keep the polished edge of knives razor-sharp. These sharpening tools are often used for serrated blades, as the rods fit in the serrated edges more cleanly.

What Are the Benefits of Pocket knife Sharpeners?

Hunters use pocket knife sharpeners to hone the edge of their Bowie knives in the field, and chefs use them for sharpening knives quickly in a busy kitchen. A pocket sharpener is a portable version of traditional knife sharpeners; both types of sharpeners will sharpen your knives.

Sending your pocket knife away for knife sharpening can be expensive, and stool attachment systems can be expensive. A pocket knife sharpener will keep your knife's edge razor-sharp without the expense of shipping or the hassle of finding a local store.

The best pocket knife sharpeners can give a fine edge to Swiss army knives, kitchen knives, cleavers, garden shears, and more.

What Are the Easiest Pocket Knives To Sharpen?

The easiest knives to sharpen are plain carbon steel. They stay sharp longer, but the material is also more brittle, so carbon steel blades can break more easily.

Some knives don't require sharpening, such as knives with a serrated edge. Even dull serrated knives will still cut. It's possible to sharpen serrated blades with a honing rod or whetstone, but it's an intensive process.

Types of Pocket Knife Sharpeners

From preset sharpening angles to adjustable ones, and from diamond sharpeners to ceramic rods, the options for finding the perfect pocket knife sharpener seem endless.

Sharpening Pens

Shaped like a pen with a cap, sharpening pens can sharpen fish hooks, pocket knives, and serrated blades. To use this tool for a pocket knife, remove the cap and hold the pen in one hand and the blade to be sharpened in the other. Draw the blade across the diamond-coated rod 3-4 times on each side.

Keyring Sharpeners

Keyring sharpeners have a lanyard hole to attach to a keyring or chain. They offer many of the same specifications as a standard pocket knife sharpener, although some consist of only a fine diamond plate rather than providing a sharpening slot.

Adjustable Knife Sharpeners

Adjustable knife sharpeners typically have two sharpening slots: coarse and fine. Some have additional options such as a polishing slot, like the Razor Sharp, or a honing rod, like Smith's pp1 Pocket Pal.

Using a Pocket Knife Sharpener

Pocket-sized sharpeners afford immediate sharpening capability when your pocket knife blade becomes blunted. Dull or damaged knives pose a greater hazard than those with a razor-sharp blade, as users tend to push harder on the tool, causing greater injury if the knife should slip.

How Often Should You Sharpen Your Knives?

  • Pocket Knives tend to become dull over a few weeks, so restore the knife edge with a pocket knife sharpener every 1-2 months.
  • Kitchen knives should be honed every 2-4 uses and sharpened by a professional every 6-12 months.
  • Hunting knives should be sharpened 2-3 times a year, depending on use. Honing should occur every 2-3 uses, although Carbon steel knives should be honed every use.
  • Scissors used at home should be sharpened as the need arises, while hairstylists need to sharpen every 6-24 months, depending on use.

How To Use a Pocket Knife Sharpener on Blades With Straight Edges

1. Sharpen one side of the blade using the coarse grind slot. Be sure to angle your blade at about 15 degrees against the coarse rod.
2. Push the blade away from you using a consistent light to moderate weight. Imagine you're slicing a thin layer of stone away from your blade. Repeat for 10 strokes.
3. Repeat the process on the other side of the blade.
4. Repeat steps 1-3 using the fine ceramic rods.

How to Use Pocket Knife Sharpener on Serrated Blades

1. Using the coarse slot, lock the groove of the serration into the visible rod.
2. Use smooth motions and consistent light pressure to work the rod away from the knife. Work only in one direction, and never wider than the serrated edge.
3. Repeat for each groove, always checking the angle of the blade against the sharpening material.

Qualities of the Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners

Pocket knives need to have a razor-sharp edge, and not just for convenience. Safety is paramount when using or sharpening a knife, and a pocket knife sharpener should make it easy to get a really sharp edge in a short time. Here's a list of the most crucial sharpener features:


No-slip rubber feet on a sharpener keep the tool in place while in use. Additionally, a safe-grip handle or guard prevents injury to your fingers while using the sharpening tool.

Ease of Use

Some adjustable pocket knife sharpeners have a quick edge setting capability to obtain a sharp edge without harming the long-term viability of the blade.

The best pocket knife sharpener for you should fit your hand comfortably, so the size should be manageable for both your pocket and your grip.


Caring for the blade of your knife includes maintaining the luster of the steel while keeping the knife edge gleaming and sharp. Good pocket knife sharpeners include an additional slot for achieving a polished edge for the sharpest knife blade, as polished knives are attractive and effective.


Diamond-coated ceramic sharpening tips are a must-have, as they combine the longevity of diamond with the accuracy of ceramic. The best pocket knife sharpener will also be constructed of lightweight materials, such as tungsten carbide and quality plastic.

The Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners

Razor Sharp

The Razor Sharp was designed with safety and ease of use in mind. The diamond rod will smooth rough edges and bent steel, while the fine ceramic removes the smallest imperfections. The additional polishing slot offers the razor-sharp edge you need and the gleaming metal that you want.

At just 8.8 ounces, the Razor Sharp's ABS plastic and carbide housing are light enough to carry in your pocket but sturdy enough to go the distance in the field or the home. The sharpener measures 10.63 x 1.97 x 2.95 inches, so it fits nicely in a pocket or pack and will lie neatly in a kitchen drawer.

The adjustable knob makes setting the proper angle for your knife foolproof, while the safe grip handle and rubber feet protect your hands as you work to obtain the sharpest edge for your pocket knife.

If you want sharp knives in your pocket or your kitchen, the Razor Sharp can do the job safely, quickly and completely.

Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal

The "Pocket Pal" uses carbides for a quick edge setting and includes a tapered round diamond-coated rod for serrated edges and fish hooks. It can be used on straight or serrated edges and has a lanyard hole. The Pocket Pal is essentially a combination sharpening pen and keychain sharpener.

Smaller than most multi-tool sharpeners, the Pocket Pal does not provide any safety features such as finger guards or rubber feet, which makes it a bit awkward to handle.

The sharpening angles are preset, and the replaceable carbide blades and ceramic sharpening stones are reversible. For a cheap knife made of softer steel, this popular sharpener does the trick.

Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener

The Work Sharp was developed for the discerning knife owner with a bit more time available to sharpen knives. The sharpener involves five stages of sharpening and honing. The sharpener features a coarse and a fine diamond plate, two ceramic rods, and a leather strop.

For extensive sharpening, the Work Sharp is a time-intensive choice that offers some interesting options for the price.

Victorinox Pocket Knife Sharpener

This pen-shaped sharpener includes a pocket clip on the lid and an interchangeable finisher. The oval-shaped ceramic sharpener has a learning curve for users of a typical slot style sharpener, but the profile is sleek and convenient.

Made by Victorinox of Swiss army knife fame, this sharpening tool is inexpensive and popular. although not as versatile as others on this list. The serrated edge option isn't easy to use, and may not be the best choice for an all-around pocket knife sharpener.

Best Knife Sharpener of 2023 - As Featured in WiseGeek

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Regular price $59.99 USD
Regular price $89.99 USD Sale price $59.99 USD

1000+ 5-Star Reviews | Multi-Stage Support for Knives & Scissors

Diamond-Coated Whetstones | Adjustable 14-24° Angle Guide

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