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Any camping enthusiast knows just how important a pocket knife is- without one you can’t really accomplish much. You can’t skin the game you hunt, cut ropes or even defend yourself against predators, if the need arises.
But after many uses, your pocket knife will ultimately become blunt; hence, it won’t be of much use. Even if you’ve invested in the best pocket knife on the market, it’s no good if it’s not sharp. Enter the best pocket knife sharpeners. With these handy tools, you’ll be able to sharpen your cutting apparatus on the go.
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What’s the Best Pocket Knife Sharpener?
There are several features you should watch out for when buying this tool. For starters, it should fit its definition of a pocket knife. Simply put; it should be small enough to fit in your pocket so that it’s portable.
Secondly, it should be tactical. Tactical knife sharpeners are equipped with some extra features that make them more effective and functional than the traditional stone sharpeners. For instance, they might be made of tougher material; hence sturdier and stronger. Some also have diamond-coated systems to increase the level of sharpness they provide.
Shop for the best pocket knife sharpeners on the market today:
1. Work Sharp Combo Sharpener
With the most recent model- the Combo, Work Sharp aims at providing a tool that makes knives sharper in a more efficient and quick manner.
Buyers will be particularly pleased with the easy plug-in mode that requires no assembly. Just unbox your package, look for an electrical outlet and plug it in. The tool is electricity-powered with a “combo” ceramic honing rod on the right side.
Next, you’ll need to align the item to be sharpened with the yellow-colored slot, then pull it towards you. With just a few passes, your tool will have become sharper than it has ever been.
Furthermore, the Work Sharp Combo can be used to sharpen all kinds of knives, including those with serrated blades.
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2. Chefman Electric Knife Sharpener
Efficient and easy-to-use are the best phrases to describe the Chefman electric pocket knife sharpener. Designed for heavy duty tasks, this tool is not likely to disappoint as it sharpens your knives like a pro!
One feature that sets the Chefman apart is its unique diamond coated system, which helps to restore sharpness within seconds.
What makes this gadget easy to use is the fact it doesn’t require users to press, push or apply any pressure. Simply put the item being sharpened in place and start the machine.
Another aspect you’ll like about the Chefman is that it has several safety mechanisms to prevent you from injuring yourself when operating it.
For one, you don’t have to guess the right angle when placing the gadget you want to sharpen. The machine does that for you. Once you put that item in place, the automatic feature guides you in the right direction.
Two, the Chefman pocket knife sharpener automatic has a countertop design. Even when the motor vibrates, the unit doesn’t move an inch. This is made possible by the anti-slip suction cup feet that hold it in place. Thus, you never have to be concerned about the cutting tool slipping away when the machine is in action.
3. Genuine Arkansas Surgical Sharpening Stone
If you want to make your kitchen or woodwork tools razor sharp, you should consider the Black Surgical Arkansas.
According to the manufacturer, this is among the hardest of the Arkansas stones. In fact, they were traditionally used to sharpen medical equipment like dental devices and scalpels. This is how this piece of equipment got the name “Surgical”.
The Arkansas Stone is highly sought after by chefs, sportsmen and woodworkers. Its color ranges from dark grey to blue/black and black. But what really sets it apart is the fact that it comes with a leather case. This way, you can store is safely when you’re not using it.
4. Smith’s 50364 Pocket Pal X2 Sharpener & Outdoors Tool
Looking for a multifunctional gadget that you can use for more than honing blades? You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better than this Pocket Pal X2 by Smith’s.
As the name indicates, this is truly an outdoors tool. It can be used as a Firestarter, a compass, signal whistle and LED light! The fire starter itself, is very unique in that it produces twice the spark of conventional fire ignition tools.
The LED light feature helps you illuminate poorly-lit areas while the compass assists with directional travel. And even if you get lost, you can use the high-pitched whistle to notify others where you are. If this tool doesn’t fit into your definition of a multifunction sharpener, I don’t know what will.
For whetting purposes, the X2 is fitted with a tapered diamond rod to sharpen serrations and gut hooks. It also has carbide blades and ceramic stones that help to sharpen both sides of your knife simultaneously.
Moreover, this tool comes with preset sharpening angles. Thus, you never have to worry about positioning the item you want sharpened. Smith’s Pocket Pal can be used for sharpening everything; be it a very dull or wrecked standard edge blade.
5. BonyTek 400/600 Grit Sharpener
If you’re looking for a sharpening tool that you can use on tough materials like steel, the BonyTek 400/600 Grit is an excellent option. Whether you’re looking to sharpen your garden equipment, ceramic knives, scissors or agricultural knives, this tool gives you an easy way to achieve that razor sharpness.
The sharpening surface of the BonyTek model is honeycomb. This enables it to sharpen much faster and more effectively than one with an oval-shape designs.
Furthermore, this tool comes with stripes on the handle to provide an anti-skid grip. Also, the concave-convex combo on the handle’s tail-end helps to prevent handle dislocation.
The 400/600 model also boasts a folding construction mechanism, to protect the stone from damage when not in use.
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6. Ulwae Kitchen Pocket Knife Sharpener Tool
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Ulwae Sharpener is the perfect sharpening kit for a professional chef. It employs a 3-stage mechanism to make your cutting gadgets sharper.
The first step involves sharpening and repairing the dull blades. This is achieved through coarse diamond abrasives that achieve the sharpness using minimal metal removal.
In the second phase, medium grit size abrasives help to shape the finer faucets on either side of the blade. The last involves premium fine ceramic, which provides a light touch-up and it also smoothens the edges.
The Ulwae 3 stage pocket knife sharpener is mostly recommended for those who use Asian and European/American style knives.
7. Hoffman Richter HR-1
When you first look at the price tag of the Richter, you might doubt its quality and performance. But despite its affordability, this is still one of the best sharpening apparatus that’s built with beginners in mind.
It probably won’t give you an edge that can split hairs. However, it will give you a quick honing to increase your tools’ cutting power. It has tungsten carbide teeth for shaving metal from the blades. With just a few passes, the HR-1 is sure to restore even the dullest cutting tool. It also has ceramic finishing rods, which polish the sharpened blades.
Pocket Knife Sharpener Buying guide
Definition of a Pocket Knife Sharpener?
These are small-sized tools fitted with carbide or ceramic components designed to make items sharper. They may or may not have multiple uses.
When Should One Use a Pocket Knife Sharpener
If you’ve been using your knives for a while, it’s important that you sharpen them. Whether it’s a pocket knife that you’ve had for years or an everyday carry knife, they could use several passes to improve their performance.
Keep in mind that these compact and portable sharpeners are meant to be used in situations where you need to use knives urgently. In other words, you need not use them all the time because if you do, they might damage your knives.
The reason for this is that the carbide can remove a great deal of metal from your blade; hence creating a rough sharp edge rather than a smooth one.
Therefore, you should only use these sharpeners when you have no other way of honing your blades, for instance, when you’re outdoors.
The Different Kinds of Knife Sharpeners
This is the oldest technique of sharpening tools. It’s also pretty efficient, which is why it’s stood the test of time.
Usually, these stones are about an inch thick. They’re fabricated from tough materials such as diamond, ceramic and natural Arkansas. These stones tend to remove a significant amount of material from the items being sharpened. This makes them perfect for applications that involve honing very dull cutting apparatus.
These ones can only be used to hone the blades. If you’re looking for gadgets to assist in edge maintaining, then what you need is sharpening steel. In other words, this type is not ideal for very dull or blunt
They usually have long narrow rods, which are constructed from either steel or ceramic. And even though they don’t remove as much material, the steel material ensures that the blade is aligned to its initial position.
These are fairly similar to sharpening steel in that they don’t remove too much material from the blade. They are available in a variety of styles and sizes, and most of them use stone or steel to make your items sharper.
Despite the fact they’re not suited for dull tools, they can still work efficiently as sharpeners for pocket-sized cutting tools.
Electric Knife Sharpeners
Often, these types of sharpeners come designed as rectangular boxes. Also, a vast majority of them employ a 2 or 3-step process to create the razor sharpness you want. The first stage uses coarse grit to sharpen blades that are incredibly dull while the last uses fine grit to hone the blades.
These electric models are fitted with motorized wheels, which facilitate the spins. This leads to a quick, convenient and efficient way of sharpening. However, there’s one area where they fall short. Due to their working mechanism, they’re designed to be bulky and give les control over the process. For these reasons, they are best suited for kitchen knives as opposed to tactical or survival models.
Should You Invest in a Pocket Knife Sharpener?
It’s a no brainer that the primary use of these gadgets is to hone your knives anywhere at any time.
Whenever you’re going hiking with your friends or family, it’s likely that you carry pocket knives with you. Consequently, you should also carry a sharpening tool to make your blades sharper, if the need arises.
Keeping your cutting tools sharp is very important. Although this sounds contradictory, it’s actually true. If you’re using a sharp knife, then there’s less likelihood of injuring yourself than if you were using a dull one.
Essential Features to Look For When Buying Sharpening Tools for Pocket Knives
If you’re purchasing this piece of equipment for the first time, you might not know what features to look for. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork of research for you to make your buying process easier. Consider these factors:
Hard abrasive surface
This is the first thing you need to account for. A hard abrasive surface means the tool can withstand a ton of uses against metal. That said, the most recommended models are those made of diamond surfaces. Tungsten carbide and polished ceramic are also good options to consider.
The extent of abrasiveness of any one of these materials is measured in grit. A finer abrasive surface is represented using a high grit number and vice versa.
Depending on the sharpener model that you’re using, you might have to hold the item you want to sharpen at a specific angle. For first-time users, finding the right angle can be difficult. This is why some manufacturers have started producing models that have adjustable angles. Such devices allow you to use them from multiple angles. This means that you can take your time learning the correct technique of holding the items you want to hone.
Multiple sharpening stages
The top-tier models will have a multi-stage working mechanism. This will consist of grit for reshaping the edges of very dull cutting gadgets and a finer material for polishing and touch-ups. This saves you money as you won’t have to purchase two different apparatus to make your knives sharper.
Handling any cutting tool is always risky. Manufacturers understand this, which is why they include barriers when making these s to keep your fingers away from the blades.
The weight of these sharpening apparatus is measured in ounces. Initially, this may not sound like a lot of weight. But in reality, it doesn’t take that much for ounces to add up to a pound. And when you’re out in the field on a camping trip, every single ounce matters. In a nutshell, always check the weight of your pocket knife sharpeners.
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How to Select the Right Material
Apart from the factors mentioned above, you also need to check the material used in making those tools for sharpening. The best ones will made of two or more materials.
Carbide – this is also commonly referred to as tungsten carbide. It’s a tough material, which makes it one of the best. By comparison, it’s twice as strong as steel. So if you’re looking to sharpen the dullest cutting gadget, carbide models are an excellent choice.
Ceramic – chances are, you’ve encountered this material before. But did you know that knife sharpening feature is one of its strong suit? When you use ceramic pocket knife sharpener, you end up with smooth and nicely polished blades.
Diamond – the best application of diamond is to reset the edges of blades. Bear in mind that diamond shaves off a great deal of metal from the blades. Thus, you should only go for this material if the blades are extremely dull.
The Best Angle for Sharpening Knives
One of the areas where customers get stuck is finding the right angle to hold their cutting tools. Here are a couple of guidelines to find the perfect angle.
But before we delve into that, it’s important to note that the given angle applies to only one side of your cutting apparatus. For instance, if someone says that you should put the knife at a 20-degree angle, then they should sharpen every side to 20 degrees. Thus, the total angle would be 40 degrees.
However, there are a couple of instances where the angle of sharpening the apparatus is not doubled. The reason for this is that some knives are beveled on only one side.
Under 10 Degrees Angles
This is the lowest angle for sharpening any cutting gadget. Often, it’s reserved for edges that used to cut very soft materials. Using a lower angle prevents the edges from damage or failure. A good example of an apparatus that would be sharpened at this angle is a straight edge razor. Due to the fragile nature of this tool, it would easily get damaged if you tried using a higher angle.
10 to 17 Degrees Angles
An angle ranging from 10 to 17 degrees is relatively still low for a majority of cutting tools. But with a total angle of 20 to 34 degrees, this results in a very smooth edge. If you have cutting apparatus that you use to cut soft items or simply slicing meats, this lower angle is the ideal option.
17 to 22 Degrees Angles
This angle covers a great variety of kitchen knives. Most of the models manufactured by the Japanese can be sharpened at about 17 degrees. Similarly, most western models are sharpened at 20 degrees.
22 to 30 Degree Angles
With this sharpening angle, the resulting knives are significantly more durable than those sharpened at lower angles. This angle covers most hunting knives, which ultimately see a lot of abuse.
More than 30 Degree Angles
Edged tools that are sharpened at more than 30 degrees are the most durable. Though their cutting capability get reduced, their durability increases. This angle is ideal for sharpening tools like axes, machetes and cleavers.
Combat, hunting, backpacking and cooking have one thing in common- they call for a high-quality, sharp cutting tool. And unless you only use your knife to spread butter on bread, you should ensure that it’s sharp enough for when you need to use it for heavy-duty tasks. Fortunately, there are tons of tools you can use for honing those blades. You can choose from electric, to sharpening stones, knife hones and sharpening steels.