CAMPING & HIKING

Best Pocket Knife Sharpener: An Essential Tool in Your Survival Pack!

Knife sharpener review
Jerry Mueller
Written by Jerry Mueller

You may have never (hopefully) needed to appreciate the importance, or necessity of a sharpening tool in a survival threatening situation. But that should, by no means, suggest that you will never need one! That’s why today we are going to cover the best pocket knife sharpener you could have on you in any situation.

In fact, we all generally head out into the wilderness completely expecting that what we have in our pack will be more than sufficient (and chances are it will). And if a good sharpening tool does nothing more than make your trip a bit easier by giving you a sharp blade, it would have done its job. However, when the going gets tough, this device will pay for itself over and over again.

Knife sharpening

A blunt knife or blade is a bit like a car tire without air, it’s going to work, for a bit, but not very well. We also don’t need much reminding of how quickly our knives in the kitchen lose their edge. Generally, when they do, we increase the pressure on the blade, and this is generally when most accidents happen. Now, imagine just how quickly your survival knife would get blunt if you base your survival only on its blade. Not a pretty picture, right?

BrandSizeWeightLevel of experience neededMulti-purpose sharpening tool (ceramic and carbide)Price
Lansky PS-MED01 Blademedic4 ounces8.3 x 3.2 x 0.3 inchesAll levels of experienceNoCheck price on Amazon
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener0.3 ounces3.5 x 1 x 0 inchesAll levels of experienceYesCheck price on Amazon
DMT F070F Diamond mini-sharpener fine0.8 ounces3.5 x 0.2 x 1 inchesBest for expertsNoCheck price on Amazon
Wusthof 2899 2-Stage pocket knife sharpener1.6 ounces3 x 2 x 1 inchesAll levels of experienceYesCheck price on Amazon
Wusthof precision edge 2-stage knife sharpener12 ounces3.5 x 9 x 1.5 inchesBest for novice usersNoCheck price on Amazon
Lansky Quick Fix Pocket Sharpener1.4 ounces8.2 x 3.6 x 1 inchesBest for expertsYesCheck price on Amazon
Spyderco Tri-angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener 204MF21.2 ounces1.5 x 10 x 10 inchesBest for expertsNo, instead, two sets of alumina ceramicCheck price on Amazon

Factors to keep in mind when shopping

Wondering how you can shop for a pocket knife sharpener? Here are some things that you need to take a look at.

Performance

Of course, you want a sharpener that will deliver in terms of performance. With that said, the most important aspect of a sharpener is its capacity to consistently produce smooth and keen edges without any scratches or nicks. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Edges

Many multi-purpose sharpening tools will include a carbide edge, and a ceramic edge. The carbide edge offers you a rough surface suited for blades which have lost most of their usefulness through abuse. Usually, with just a few passes along the carbide edge, some shape should have been restored to your blade.

For pocket knife shapenining

If not, continue with a few more, until some regularity to the angles has been restored. And then a few passes through the ceramic stone, should leave you with a sharp cutting edge. More often than not, and for the ordinary daily use of your knives, the carbide edge may not be required, and a few draws across the ceramic stone will suffice.

Multiple sharpening stages

Good sharpeners will have multiple sharpening stages. The finer abrasive is used for polishing and touch-ups while the coarse abrasive serves to reshape the edges for knives that are damaged or truly dull. At the very least, the pocket knife sharpener should have both because you can’t use the coarse abrasive for polishing and minor touch-ups since the knife will end up losing too much steel.

Good safety features

It goes without saying that you should have a sharpener that will allow you to be able to sharpen a knife without causing any injury. This is done by most products by putting a physical barrier between the knife blade and the fingers, or by using slots or rails.

Top Pocket Knife Sharpeners on The Market

We took a quick look at the products on the market and came up with the following products that may be a good fit for you. So keep reading until you find the right one.

Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedicLansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic

Price: approx $8

Weight: 4 ounces

Dimensions: 8.3 x 3.2 x 0.3 inches

Specifications: This is a three-purpose, and two-stage tool in one: diamond tapered rod, carbide edge, ceramic edge, and a serrated ceramic edge.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

Lansky certainly does have its reputation to rely on, and this is associated with experience and quality. Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic is heavier than most thanks to its steel construction, and what others make up for in weight loss, this model gains in its robust feel.

The BladeMedic is able to handle a range of blade sharpening requirements: the carbide edge will restore the edge to damaged blades, the ceramic edge will give your blade its sharp cutting edge, the serrated ceramic edge will restore serrated edge effectiveness, and the rod is useful for difficult to get to edges.

PROS:

  • Versatile
  • Quality
  • Usefulness
  • Value for money

CONS:

  • poor results from “v” sharpeners
  • stones broke
  • failure after the warranty period

Related: Another great product from Lansky is the QuadSharp Carbide/Ceramic Multi-angle knife. It comes with 17, 20, 25 and 30-degree sharpening angle and a built-in ceramic polishing bench stone. With these four angles, you’ll be able to sharpen any knife.

Check the price on Amazon

Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction SharpenerSmith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener

Price: approx $7

Weight: 0.3 ounces

Dimensions: 3.5 x 1 x 0 inches

Specifications: This tool has three applications: a carbide edge, a ceramic edge, and diamond rod.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

If you are looking for a lightweight and compact knife sharpener, Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener may be ideal. Take note that the pictures of this sharpener may lead you to believe that this is a heavy steel-body sharpener, where in fact it is not; it is built from robust plastic.

This model is designed for standard angle blades as far as the carbide and ceramic edges are concerned and provides the diamond rod for blades which have an angle different from the 20-degree bevel.

PROS:

  • Compact
  • Quality
  • Lightweight
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Blades are glued together and some glue obstructs the stone surface
  • Made of plastic
  • Not a razor sharp edge

Related: Now that you have the blade sharpener, you’re going to need a knife. The Kershaw 1990 Brawler Speedsafe folding knife is a great knife for outdoor use. It comes with liner lock and flipper. In addition, it’s lightweight and compact, so it can go anywhere with you.

Check the price on Amazon

DMT F70F Diamond Mini-Sharp SharpenerDMT F70X Diamond Mini-Sharp Sharpener

Price: approx $8.50

Weight: 0.8 ounces

Dimensions: 3.5 x 0.2 x 1 inches

Specifications: This is a single purpose tool: ideal for several blade types including scissors, garden shears, kitchen knives etc. – PLEASE NOTE that there are 4 models of different levels of grit coarseness available.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

Freestyle sharpeners like the Mini-Sharp sharpener are best suited for users who have a good understanding of the job of sharpening blades. A steady and accurate hand are required to ensure that you don’t damage your blade.

This sharpener is unlike the grooved models, which ensure that a conventional bevel angle is maintained.

The DMT F70F Diamond Mini-Sharp Sharpener is available in 4 models: Extra Fine, Fine, Coarse, and Extra Course. You will need to know the condition of your blade or have a good idea of the type of edge you’re looking to get when deciding which model is best for you.

For example, the Extra Fine model would probably not be suited for sharpening your hatchet. Whilst the sharpener does what it says it does, and with a good degree of efficiency, there are several concerns from customers over which model is best for their application. And as one would imagine, with several models, you may not select the correct model for your application first time around.

PROS:

  • Perfect for quick touch-ups
  • Sharpens all sorts of blades and tools
  • Worth the price.

CONS:

  • A significant amount of the ‘useable’ surface is obstructed by the handle
  • wears down quickly

Related: DMT has designed a Diafold Serrated knife sharpener that’s extremely portable and lightweight. It comes with a fine diamond for a razor sharp edge and doesn’t need oil to sharpen. It’s another great product from DMT.

Check the price on Amazon

Wusthof 2899 2-Stage Pocket Knife SharpenerKeychain Picnic Sharpener

Price: approx $7.00

Weight: 1.6 ounces

Dimensions: 3 x 2 x 1 inches

Specifications: This is a dual stage tool: carbide edge and ceramic edge.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

The Wusthof 2899 2-Stage Pocket Knife Sharpener will provide two basic sharpening options: the carbide edge for knives, which are in need of a little T.L.C, and the ceramic edge to give you a sharp blade.

This model is compatible with standard bevel angle blades and will take care of pretty much most of the kitchen knives, with the exception of serrated blades.

Some customers have complained about the fact that this device falls over whilst you are sharpening your knife. We think that this is possibly due to users applying too much downward pressure on the knife – ‘sawing the blade’, instead of drawing the blade along.

PROS:

  • Maintains good blade angles
  • Skid resistant pads
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Difficult to hold
  • Can cause harm
  • Ceramic stone broke after a few uses

Related: If you’re looking for a kitchen knife sharpener that’ll be sitting, you should try out the Gourmia Knife sharpener. It’s a multi-purpose blade sharpener that is designed with both a coarse sharpening and fine honing.

Check the price on Amazon

Wusthof Precision Edge 2 Stage Knife SharpenerTwo-Stage Hand Held Knife Sharpener

Price: Approx $19.50

Weight: 21 ounces

Dimensions: 3.5 x 9 x 1.5 inches

Specifications: This is a dual stage tool, and its relatively bulky design is intended to give you stability and protection.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

Perhaps the Wusthof Precision Edge 2 Stage Knife Sharpener best suited to most kitchen knives and for inexperienced users. The handle should guard against any accidents, and the broad, rubber finished, base will provide some stability on flat surfaces. Ideal for standard kitchen knives (not the serrated type).

As with almost all sharpeners, heavy use in terms of downward force and repetition will wear the edges sooner than may be usually expected.

PROS:

  • Maintains good blade angles
  • Skid resistant pads
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Difficult to hold
  • Ceramic stone broke after a few uses

Related: This blade sharpener is used mostly for kitchen knives, though it can be used for multi-purpose knives as well. If you’re going to be using this for kitchen use, we recommend that you use this to sharpen the Wusthof Classic 8-inch Chef’s knife. It has an ergonomic handle with a finger guard for safety.

Check the price on Amazon

Lansky Quick Fix Pocket SharpenerLansky Quick Fix Pocket Sharpener

Price: Approx $3.99

Weight: 1.4 ounces

Dimensions: 8.2 x 3.6 x 1 inches

Specifications: This is a dual purpose tool: carbide edge, and ceramic edge.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

The Lansky Quick Fix Pocket Sharpener, is pretty much exactly what it says, and does. This tool is intended for on-the-go blade care. The compact size and simplicity do have their drawbacks, and most notably, would be the stability.

We think it goes without saying that anytime you are holding a tool in one hand, and the knife in the other, without a surface to rest on, you are going to need to be extra careful. Certainly not suited to the novice knife sharpener. At $3.99 it offers good value for the experienced user.

PROS:

  • Gets a good edge quickly and easily
  • Simple
  • Compact
  • Very good value for money

 

CONS:

  • Only use it on cheap knives
  • Does not produce a sharp edge
  • Not easy to handle.

Related: If you want a more intense sharpening kit, you can opt for the Lansky Deluxe 5-stone sharpening system. It comes with 5 stones for kitchen, outdoor, hobby or garden knives. You’ll be able to have a controlled angle sharpening with 17, 20, 25 and 30 degree angle options.

Check the price on Amazon

Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife SharpenerTri-Angle Sharpmaker

Price: approx $60

Weight: 21.12 ounces

Dimensions: 1.5 x 10 x 10 inches

Specifications: This is a versatile tool with many applications.

Best Used: Blade sharpening

If you have grown up using the old flat stone to hone your blades to a razor sharp edge, you’ll probably have a pair of well-trained hands, which will make maintaining your blades very easy with Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpmaker Knife Sharpener. Inexperienced users should avoid this tool and consider one of the other models we’ve reviewed.

The set includes two sets of high alumina ceramic stones: a pair of medium-grit (brown) stones for heavy sharpening, and a set of fine (white) stones for fine finishing.

The triangular stones are for sharpening normal edges on the flat sides and Spyder Edges (serrations) on the corners. The furrow which runs down the length of each stone is designed for pointed items like fishing hooks. The stones’ angle is set by inserting the stone into one of the slots, and these provide a range of options including: 15, 20 and 12.5 degrees.

A pair of brass safety rods is included to protect your hands while sharpening. These edges are to be used dry, so no oil or water needed here. A regular scouring pad and abrasive cleaner are required for cleaning, where after let the stones air dry before use.

PROS:

  • Sharpens almost anything with a sharp edge
  • Easy to use
  • Good value for money

CONS:

  • Expensive for the quality
  • Pieces do not ‘snap’ in as is claimed

Related: If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, you can try out the Sharpening Stone by PRNPOWER. It’s a 2 in 1 combination grind stone with fine and coarse sides. It has a non-slip base for safety and is made of high quality aluminium oxide corundum.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap up

Having a good pocket knife sharpener with you at all times is a must. Your knife is pretty much an EDC (every day carry) item so it’s only natural that you should have the appropriate sharpening tool. Hopefully, you now have an idea on how to shop for sharpeners,

Pocket knife sharpening tool

Have you tried one of these sharpening tools before? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jerry Mueller
Jerry Mueller

Jerry ‘Boy Scout’ Mueller spends 99% of his time camping or teaching others how to live in the wild. He became an Eagle Scout which is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouting division when he was 17 and after that he still lives the scout life. Jerry always plans neatly every trip, takes leadership very seriously and if you listen to his tips and stories, you can learn tons of useful things.

  • Alex Lauther

    I use knives every day. For the price, A DMT Diafold diamond stone is a good deal. We use them on our house knives and at work. It works great for edge maintenance, and also easy to stuff in your pack, pants, and pocket. I would recommend it to someone who is looking for a simple solution, or is just getting into sharpening.

  • Jerry Mueller

    The Minisharp is also an excellent product and gives you great value for your money. It’s also very versatile and compact – fits just everywhere!

  • Kristina Nunez

    I am more than happy with my “Smith’s 3-In-1 Sharpening System”. Actually, I wouldn’t have picked it out myself, but the 4-inch diamond stone is pretty great, and it’s nice to have some ceramic rods around to sharpen recurves and serrations. Definitely not the smallest one, but worth every penny (it cost me $28)

  • Jerry Mueller

    I’m glad you like your “Smith” Kristina! Having a well- sharpened knife is necessary and picking the right sharpening tool is also crucial so you don’t damage the blade.
    Thanks for dropping by!

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