Japanese knives are known for their sharpness and durability but they still have to be maintained and sharpened just like any other knife out there.
If you’re going to spend the money on a high-quality knife set like a Japanese knife, then you need to be prepared to care for the blade and sharpen it when necessary.
There are a lot of different knife sharpeners out there and they are made in a lot of different ways. From simple, handheld sharpeners to heavy-duty sharpening blocks and even electric sharpeners, the options are just about endless… and equally overwhelming.
What you will find is that most sharpeners are not specifically labeled as Japanese knife sharpeners so there are other qualities to look for to ensure your sharpener can handle the angled construction of your knife.
What makes the best Japanese knife sharpener? For a Japanese knife, you want a sharpener that offers an angle of around 14-17 degrees (less than 20). A manual pull-through sharpener is often best, but some electric sharpeners will do the job. Whetstones can be difficult to learn but work quite well.
In this guide, we will share with you the 9 best Japanese knife sharpeners on the market!
While you can easily search knife sharpeners, you need to really be able to narrow them down to the best fit for this style of blade. We’ve got you covered with some really great options.
Keep reading to learn about the 9 best Japanese knife sharpeners and more.
How to Choose a Japanese Knife Sharpener
As we mentioned earlier, you may or may not find a knife sharpener that is actually labeled as a Japanese knife sharpener.
It’s great if you can find a multi-functional sharpener that is specified to be ideal for a Japanese blade, but there are other ways to find a suitable option.
Before you start looking around, we felt it was vital to share some details as to what you might want to look out for. Whether you want something manual or electric, you will need to keep some key criteria in mind to ensure that the sharpener you choose will truly work for your Japanese blade.
Let’s take a look.
Ease of Use
One essential element of your decision should be how easy the knife sharpener is to use.
You certainly don’t want something so complicated or challenging that is going to take you a ton of time to figure out or work with. Having a sharpener that is simple and efficient is really the best way to go.
Ease of use might vary by person. A simple whetstone with an angle holder or manual pull-through sharpener might be simple and ideal for one person. But another person may prefer the ease of an electric option.
Type of Sharpener
This is another important consideration. There are a lot of different types of knife sharpeners out there.
When you’re looking at sharpeners, you will find simple, manual options, which are perhaps the most popular choice.
These tend to be whetstones – which are tough and heavy stone blocks for sharpening your knife against, or pull-through sharpeners, which typically have multiple “cubbies” which sharpen your knife as you pull it through/
In addition, there are also electric sharpeners, which tend to look just like the pull-through models, only they involve more settings and less labor.
For a Japanese knife, using a manual sharpening block or whetstone is probably your best option. Whetstones can take time to master, but if you put in a little time, the pay off is high. However, you can use an electric sharpener if you find a quality choice.
We do recommend looking at the details of any sharpener you browse to be sure they mention they are suitable for Japanese or “Asian” knives. Not all sharpeners are suitable for all knife types.
One of the main things that you will want to watch for is the angle of the sharpener. A lot of standard sharpeners will be set to sharpen at an angle that is around 20-24 degrees. This is too high for a Japanese knife.
You will either want a sharpener that lets you adjust the angle or one that is designed for a Japanese knife angle specifically.
You should expect your angle to be around 14-17 degrees when you are working with a Japanese knife, with the most common being 15 degrees.
This is very important as if the angle is too high, you can easily ruin or degrade the quality and design of your Japanese knife. This is a risk you shouldn’t take. Check the angle every single time!
While we are specifically looking for a knife sharpener to sharpen Japanese knives, it’s nice to find an option that has some versatility to it.
What you will find is that a lot of sharpeners are designed to handle multiple knife styles. While not every sharpener has that versatility, it’s certainly something that you might want to keep in mind or even specifically look for.
Versatility just allows you to be able to get the best use out of your sharpener without requiring you to have multiple sharpening tools in your kitchen.
Understanding How to Use a Knife Sharpener
You can get the very best knife sharpener but the truth is, if you don’t know how to use it, it won’t be effective. No matter what knife sharpener you choose to purchase, be sure that you take the time to learn how to use it properly.
You won’t just want to know how to use the sharpener but more specifically how to use it for a Japanese knife. Remember that these knives have angled blades so proper use of the sharpener will make a difference and it’s up to you to learn just how to master the sharpener to take the best possible care of your blade.
The means by which you use a sharpener could vary depending on the sharpener so we recommend looking for instructions specific to the sharpener you are using to really get it right.
The 9 Best Japanese Knife Sharpeners
Now that you know some basic details to look out for, let’s talk about your options. We scoured the market to find some knife sharpeners that truly will work for Japanese knives. Remember that you can’t use just any sharpener if you want the job done right.
|1.||KERYE Knife Sharpening Stone Kit||4 side grit (400/1000, 3000/8000) waterstone, flattening stone, angle guide, leather strop, gloves|
|2.||Sharp Pebble Premium Sharpening Stones||Whetstone (3000/8000 grit), flatstone|
|3.||KITCHELLENCE 3-Step Knife Sharpener||3-stage (diamond, tungsten steel, ceramic) sharpener, cut-resistant gloves|
|4.||Chef'sChoice Electric Knife Sharpener||3-stage sharpener, 20-degree edges, electric|
|5.||Smith's 50264 Adjustable Knife Sharpener||Coarse, serrated, & fine sharpening stages; adjustable angle|
|6.||Chef'sChoice ProntoPro Hone Sharpener||3 knife types (incl. Japanese), diamond abrasive|
|7.||J.A. Henckels 4-Stage Knife Sharpener||Asian/Standard setting, fine/coarse stages, ergonomic|
|8.||Work Sharp Kitchen Knife Sharpener||Ceramic honing rod, 3 cycles, preprogrammed|
|9.||KING Japanese Knife Sharpener||1000/6000 grit stone with base, angle holder|
Below, you will find our top picks for the best Japanese knife sharpeners on the market. Each knife will have a comprehensive review so you have all of the information that you need.
1. KERYE Knife Sharpening Stone Kit
This whetstone set is a popular knife sharpening kit we simply can’t not love. It includes a quality whetstone that was designed for Japanese style blades and it works really well to get you that sharpness and angle you need.
This bundle ultimately offers four grit options with 400/100 and 3000/8000 in two whetstones to cover just about all of your needs. You get everything you need here to make your sharpening tasks as simple as possible as well. That includes the grit, a flattening stone, a leather strop, safety gloves, and the quality bamboo base.
The base allows you to place the whetstone and set it on a table or steady surface. This prevents you from having to hold it in your hands, making it safe and simple. It’s incredibly effective with Japanese quality design perfect for your Japanese knives.
- Japanese premium quality design
- Bundle come with everything you need
- Simple and easy to use
- Sturdy bamboo base for safety and stability
- Highly-rated across the board
- The product appears to be on the newer side, so any potential downsides are unknown.
2. Sharp Pebble Premium Sharpening Stones
This first option is our best overall pick. It is a sharpening stone rather than a block, which means it will provide you with the longest lasting sharp edge that you can get. With the stone style, it will absolutely work for your Japanese blade as well as any other blade that you might need to sharpen.
This gorgeous two-sided whetstone is a Japanese Grit whetstone. That is, it was designed specifically for Japanese knives. One side is 3000 and the other side is 8000 grit so you have some versatility as well.
The stone sets into a bamboo base to provide you with some comfort and stability while you sharpen. It holds the stone flat and secure to make your job a bit easier. This comes with a detailed guide and tips and tricks so you can sharpen just right.
It’s safe and easy to use. It also comes with a flattening stone. This piece is hand-crafted and absolutely stunning.
- Hand-crafted piece
- Japanese grit material for Japanese blades
- Two-sided for versatility
- Bamboo base gives you stability
- Comes with instruction and tips to guide you
- The 3000 side is pretty soft so you will need to be cautious using that side properly.
- The stone is a bit small so may take more time for larger or longer knives.
3. Kitchellence 3-Step Knife Sharpener
This next option is a great budget-friendly knife sharpener that can be used for Japanese blades. While it might not hone your blade to an edge as long-lasting as one granted by a whetstone, this sharpener is still a solid and reliable option that is pretty easy to use.
This sharpener is made with Tungsten and ceramic. It’s a 3-step sharpener that starts with a diamond sharpening rod to repair any blade damage you might have. Then the second slot sharpens the edge and perfects the blade form. Finally, the third slot polishes the blade and fine tunes it to perfection.
This sharpener is really easy to use. It has a simple grip handle that is comfortable and ergonomic. It’s a popular choice and is made with premium and reliable materials that you can depend on. This sharpener comes with instructions and even a cut-resistant glove for safety.
- 3-step sharpening block
- Ergonomic comfort handle
- Base has a non-slip rubber for stability
- Durable and quality materials
- Budget-friendly option
- You will need to be mindful of your angles so you can maintain the proper angle for your Japanese blade.
4. Chef’s Choice Hone Electric Knife Sharpener
If you’re looking for an electric sharpener, take a look at this option. It’s a versatile sharpener that provides different angles to provide a solution for different blades. This includes Japanese blades. You can adjust your angles perfectly to handle these and other knives as well.
This sharpener is made with diamond abrasive sharpening stone and works with a 3-stage approach. It’s fairly lightweight and it just sets on your countertop. It’s stable and durable. You can safely use the sharpener without it moving around on you while you work.
This sharpener will give you a sharp edge without messing up your angle. The final stage polishes your blade using a patented polishing disk that gives your blade the perfect shine. The sharpening stones and pieces are efficient and reliable with the best materials available.
- 3-stage process
- Safe and effective
- Electric knife sharpener option
- Angle adjusts to accommodate various blades
- High-quality materials
- Takes some getting used to and learning how to use it properly.
- A bit more challenging to use for thick knives.
5. Smith’s 50264 Adjustable Knife Sharpener
If you like the manual sharpeners, this one is a real treat. It’s a quality sharpener that allows you the versatility to adjust the angles so you can accommodate your Japanese blades just fine. The angles adjust down to 14 degrees. (As a reminder, 15 is typically what is recommended for Japanese knives.)
It’s really simple to operate and adjust and you get some versatility, allowing you to use it for Japanese knives as well as other knives you might have in your home. You can sharpen pretty quickly as well as handle dull or damaged blades.
This is another 3-step sharpener, so you can sharpen, hone, repair, and polish any blade you choose. The handle is comfortable and ergonomic and this sharpening block is supplemented with non-slip rubber feet for stability. All of the parts can be replaced as needed as well.
- Adjustable angle as low as 14 degrees
- Ergonomic grip with rubber for comfort
- Easy and safe to use
- 3-step process lets you repair, sharpen, and polish
- All of the sharpening parts are replaceable as needed
- The angle adjustment doesn’t always seem to be accurate or steady.
6. Chef’s Choice ProntoPro Hone Knife Sharpener
Next up, we have a premium knife sharpener that works really well and is well worth the cost for the quality. This highly-rated knife sharpener is designed to work for Japanese knives and other specialty knives that might require just a touch of tender care in order to maintain the true quality of the blade as intended.
This sharpener is a professional quality sharpener that uses reliable, premium materials and provides you with a quality and versatile sharpening tool that is well worth it. This 3-stage sharpener gives you a 15-degree angle functionality that is perfect for Japanese blades.
With this sharpener, you will get razor sharp blades and it’s super easy to accomplish. With crisscross technology, you really can’t go wrong here. It’s comfortable and easy to use and comes with all of the instructions. It’s also durable and very well made with the best materials for such a purpose.
- 100% diamond abrasives
- 3-stage sharpening process
- Professional quality and strength
- Angled to work with Japanese blades and other styles
- Durable and reliable materials
- While it’s built to be durable, it may not always offer consistent results over time.
7. Zwilling J.A. Henckels 4-Stage Knife Sharpener
This option is similar to other manual knife sharpeners that we’ve shared but it’s also a bit unique. With this pull-through sharpener, there is an extra “stage” for sharpening. That’s 4 total instead of the typical 3 stages you see on most sharpeners.
This knife sharpener is really easy to use. You just make sure you are using the appropriate settings for your Japanese blades as it does accommodate both Asian and Western style blades. Everything is labeled so you don’t have to memorize which is which, either.
It’s quick and easy and is designed for simplicity and safety. It has a solid and comfortable grip. It’s also equipped with a non-slip base so it stays where it’s supposed to while you work. This is another highly-rated option and it’s pretty clear why.
- 4-stage sharpening process
- Safe and reliable
- Simple to use
- Pull-through sharpening system
- Comfortable for quick work
- Thick blades may not fit into the slots as easily.
- The four stages advertised really just points to the two different styles and two stages for each style.
8. Work Sharp Kitchen Knife Sharpener
This option brings you a presentable pair with an electric sharpener as well as a sharpening rod. It is suitable for Japanese knives. This is a premium bundle that is uniquely made and it does cost a bit more but it’s of great quality and another highly-rated choice.
The sharpener is lightweight and easy to use. It restores your sharpness back to a brand new blade. The flexible sharpening belts allow it to be versatile and that is why it can be used for Japanese knives. It’s fast and it’s effective and you really can’t beat that.
The sharpener is pre-programmed to use a 3-step process. It has an award-winning design that has been recognized in the culinary community. It also comes with a ceramic sharpening rod, which is pretty great once you learn how to properly use it.
Additionally, this electric sharpener even has an internal vacuum to collect any shavings and reduce mess.
- Built-in vacuum to help reduce mess during sharpening
- Design won an innovation award in 2018
- Versatile with flexible belts
- Restores your blade to factory sharp edges
- Includes a sharpening rod
- You may have to guide your blade for a lasting and consistent edge.
9. KING Japanese Knife Sharpener
This last option may fall into 9th place here on our list but it’s still a really great option that is worth taking a look at. This is another whetstone option. This Japanese whetstone offers a different type of grit design and it was built specifically for Japanese blades.
The King whetstone has 1000/6000 grit. It comes with a knife angle holder so you can hold your Japanese knife at the right angle every single time and get a reliable sharpness in return. It’s of high-quality and sturdy and it provides lasting results for your blades.
This knife sharpener is really pretty easy to use. It sets into a quality wooden base that is sturdy and stable. Just place your sharpening stone into the base and get to work. This allows you to work quickly and is much safer than holding the stone in your hand.
- Designed for Japanese blades
- Comes with an angle holder
- Sets into a quality wooden base
- 1000/6000 grit for sharpening
- Effective and reliable
- Might take a little practice to really get the best results.
- Might require more work for knives that need a lot of sharpening or honing.
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