Best Japanese Whetstones of 2020: Complete Reviews With Comparisons

best japanese whetstone

No matter how sharp your knives are, they would gradually become dull and blunt whether you use them or not.

It would take longer to cut vegetables and meat, and it would be less precise.

This is exactly why investing in the best Japanese whetstone is a must if you have a lot of knives in your house.

We reviewed some of the finest Japanese whetstones you can buy, including a short buying guide and FAQ.

Comparison Chart

Shapton Japanese Whetstone Sharpening Stone

Outivity Knife Sharpening Stones

Yoshihiro Professional Grade Toishi Japanese Whetstone

TATARA Japanese Whetstone

Trilancer 400/1000 Japanese Style Whetstone

Best Japanese Whetstone Reviews

1. Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone

Shapton is a well-known brand in the market when it comes to whetstones.

Their innovation and creativity can be seen with the Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone.

Product Highlights

Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone is a finishing stone with a natural finish and a smooth sharpening feel.

The conventional finish grinding removes the whetstone's slipperiness, making it safe to use even when it is wet.

With its high abrasive content, you can easily form an edge or fix chipped edges.

The Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone comes in 10 different grit sizes, but this model comes with 8,000 grit.

This is perfect for refining the edge of your knives.

The whetstone is extremely durable and long-lasting.

That is because of the unique bonding technology used by Shapton, allowing the abrasives to work perfectly for a long time.

It comes with a plastic case that you can use as a stone holder or base to prevent the whetstone from damages.

It is effortless to use because you don’t need to soak the whetstone with water before use.

Just splash some water and start using the Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone right away.

What We Like

The best thing about the Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone is the number of grit sizes that it provides.

With the variety of grit sizes available, you can sharpen your tools in many different ways.

You can remove old material by using a lower grit, or you can finish and polish an edge with a higher grit.

What We Don’t Like

Since the Shapton Kuromaku Japanese Whetstone is made from ceramic, the material is a bit softer than other whetstones.

There are instances where the stone material would come off easily, but it is very rare.

PROS

  • Comes in different grit varieties
  • Easy to clean and use
  • Durable
  • Affordable

CONS

  • Material is a bit soft

2. Outivity 8-Pack Knife Sharpening Stones

The Outivity 8-Pack Knife Sharpening Stones is a set of sharpening stones that you can use for all your needs.

These sharpening stones are not too big, so you can bring them anywhere you want.

Product Highlights

You can use the Outivity Knife Sharpening Stones for a wide range of sharpening needs.

You can sharpen scissors, knives, razors, scythes, and other tools like plane blades, scrapers, and chisels.

The product includes five artificial stones and three natural stones.

The eight Outivity Knife Sharpening Whetstones are made from high-quality materials, so you can expect that they would last for a long time.

The sharpening stones come in different grits ranging from 240/400 grits up to superfine 10,000 grits.

The Outivity 8-Pack Knife Sharpening Stones is also a great collector’s item, especially the three natural whetstones included.

What We Like

The best thing about the Outivity 8-Pack Knife Sharpening Stones is its variety.

All the eight different sharpening stones come in varying grits.

You can sharpen your knives however you like by using the different whetstones.

What We Don’t Like

These whetstones are very small, making them extremely difficult to sharpen large knives.

These whetstones can be brought anywhere because of their small size.

That said, if you plan to sharpen larger blades or knives, there is a chance that you might find yourself in the process.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Easy to clean
  • Stylish

CONS

  • Too small for larger knives

3. Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone

Yoshihiro Cutlery is a company focusing on handcrafted Japanese kitchen knives.

Artisans with a lineage spanning a thousand years make their knives.

Although they are known for their knives, their whetstones and sharpening products are also amazing.

That's because they are made to complement the quality of their knives.

Product Highlights

The Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone is an amazing sharpening tool that you can use for almost all types of knives.

This particular product comes in a set that includes #1000, #3000, and #6000 grit whetstones.

It also has a stone fixer and a Nagura conditioning stone.

You can choose to buy a set or a specific whetstone based on the grit you want.

The Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone has 2.9 inches of width.

With such a large surface area, you can sharpen your knife accurately.

The Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone's height is 0.9 inches, thick enough to let you use it for several years.

What We Like

The most redeeming quality of the Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone is its stylish look.

You can decide to use it as a sharpening tool or just display it as a collection.

What We Don’t Like

The Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone is an amazing sharpening tool, but it is too expensive for most people.

It would be worth it for chefs or those who love to cook regularly, but this is a bit expensive for a normal household.

PROS

  • Stylish
  • Durable
  • Lasts for a long time
  • Several grit levels

CONS

  • Expensive

4. TATARA Japanese Whetstone

TATARA is a well-known brand when it comes to sharpening stones.

They offer a wide range of products, including the TATARA Japanese Whetstone, which is also one of their top items.

Product Highlights

The TATARA Japanese Whetstone features a straight razor sharpening stone designed to sharpen all types of blades.

This whetstone is made from top-grade aluminum oxide, so you don’t need to use any expensive oil.

The TATARA Japanese Whetstone comes with a free honing guide to help you understand how to use the whetstone properly.

It is proven to last for a long time even if you are regularly sharpening your knives.

That makes it a popular choice for restaurants and home cooks who are regularly preparing food.

The dual grit sharpening block is designed to keep the blades sharp and maintained at all times.

A 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee is also offered.

As such, if you are not satisfied with the TATARA Japanese Whetstone, you can ask for a full refund.

What We Like

The dual grit sharpening block is one of the best reasons to use the TATARA Japanese Whetstone.

It would help keep the blades of your knives sharp for a longer period compared to others.

The money-back-guarantee is also a great way to test out this product and determine if it is what you are looking for.

What We Don’t Like

It is made from Japanese materials, but the product itself is made from China, so it is very affordable.

Although Chinese items are of high quality, the quality control process in other countries is more stringent.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Risk-free purchase

CONS

  • Low-quality build

5. Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone

The Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone is the most affordable sharpening stone on the list.

It is also one of the most popular since it is made for typical homeowners.

If you only cook at home and you only have a few knives, this is the best sharpening stone to use.

Product Highlights

Aptly named, the Trilancer Knife Sharpening Stone comes with a 400/1000 grit.

It would help you sharpen and repair the blade of your knife.

The 400-grit side would repair the dull or damaged knives, while the 1000-grit side will hone it and create a sharp edge.

Aside from the Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone, you can also get a rubber base.

It would hold the stone in place while you are sharpening your knives.

You also get a guide to help new users to find the right sharpening angle.

Lastly, you'll have a user manual to help you learn the best ways to get the best results.

It has a measurement of 18cm x 6cm x 3cm, which makes it a suitable sharpener for a wide range of blades.

That includes hunting knives, pocket knives, kitchen knives, chisels, scissors, and axes.

What We Like

The best thing about the Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone is its price.

All the other features are pretty much the same as a normal whetstone, but the price is very affordable.

It is perfectly suited for normal households who are not into expensive Japanese whetstones.

What We Don’t Like

The Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone is great for its price, but it won’t work for bigger blades.

You should get a higher quality whetstone if you plan to sharpen bigger blades.

PROS

  • Durable
  • Very affordable
  • Easy to use

CONS

  • Not meant for bigger blades

Buyers Guide

When purchasing a whetstone knife sharpener, there are things to consider.

Some of the most important ones are the following.

1. Grit

Whetstones come in different grits, and they all have specific uses.

For a normal household owner, they would just pick whatever whetstone they find in the supermarket.

As long as it can sharpen the knife, it’s good enough.

For professionals and home cooks, the whetstone's quality is just as important as the knife's quality.

If you failed to choose or use the right grit for your knife, you would end up damaging it or reducing its lifespan.

Here are some of the things you need to know about whetstone grits and how to use them properly.

Different Whetstone Grits

  • Coarse Stones

Coarse stones are often used to repair damaged knives since they have around 1000 grit and below.

If the knives have chips or are extremely dull, this is a good choice since it can help create edges to the knife.

Coarse stones are not advisable for normal sharpening because of their abrasiveness.

They are too rough that they would literally damage a normal knife.

  •  Medium Stones

Medium stones have around 1000 grit up to 3000 grit. This is a perfect choice if your knife suddenly lost its sharpness.

This is also the common type of stone used in normal households.

However, you have to remember that medium stones with 1000 grit can wear down the knife if you use it regularly.

As such, if you should only use this when your knife is starting to get dull.

If you want to use the whetstone regularly, you should get between 2000 and 3000 grit.

That's because they are less abrasive.

They would at least lengthen the lifespan of your knives if you are always sharpening them.

  •  Finishing Stones

Finishing stones usually have between 4000 and 8000 grit. If you will go for the 4000 and 5000 grit, it is the boundary of sharpening stones.

This would provide a more refined edge to your knives.

If you use your knife for meat, you should only go between 4000 and 6000 grit.

If you only use it for cutting vegetables and fruits, you can go up to 8000 grit or more.

2. Maintenance

Using the correct grade whetstone and learning how to sharpen your knife properly are only the basics if you want to maintain your sharpening tool.

You need to make sure the whetstone is easy to maintain because maintenance would help the product last for a long time.

How To Care for Whetstones

  • Choose the Correct Angle

Never sharpen your tools using a low angle because you will only remove more metal from your knife to get the edge you want.

You also lower the stone's lifespan since you are putting more wear and tear on the surface.

This would be a trial error, so make sure that you start with a higher angle.

If you are unsuccessful, bring the angle down a bit and start sharpening again.

  • Don’t Use Your Whetstones on Bulky Tools

Although most products claim that they can sharpen bulky tools like axes, machetes, and more, it doesn’t mean that you can just sharpen them directly.

The first thing to do is to work them on a belt grinder.

Once the damaged outer edge is already removed, you can use the whetstone to sharpen them.

It means that if you plan to sharpen a knife or a bulky tool that would require the removal of metal, you need to find an alternative way to remove it before using a whetstone for the finishing.

  • Level Your Whetstones Before Using

One of the most common homeowners' mistakes is that they usually place the whetstones anywhere on the table or countertop without checking if it is labeled.

Put the ruler across the cutting surface of the stone and hold them up to the light.

If you see any space between them, it means that you need to level the stone.

Normally, whetstones would wear faster in the center because most people will use the center to sharpen their knives.

However, this would also mean that if the center starts to recede and the sides remain untouched, the stone will be unusable in just a few years.

  • Keep It Lubricated

Some whetstones are ready to use even without wetting it, while others will only require a splash of water before using it.

For that latter, the most important thing to do to make sure that your whetstone will last for a long time is to apply the right amount of water.

If the whetstone is properly lubricated, the material will not recede faster.

Even if you are already close to the end of your sharpening session, you still need to check if the whetstone is still wet or dry.

Always reapply water if necessary.

3. Size

Sharpening stones come in several surface widths and heights.

The larger and wider the blade is, the larger and wider the whetstone should be to ensure the blade is sharpened without missing a spot.

If you've a lot of knives of different sizes that you use regularly, it is better to purchase a set.

Sharpening Stone FAQs

1. How To Use a Whetstone

Using a whetstone is not as simple as grinding the blade of your knife on the surface.

Some people do that, but if you want your whetstone and your knife to last for a long time, you should know how to use a whetstone properly.

  • Keep Your Whetstone Wet

Although it is fine to just grind the knife directly without wetting the whetstone, it is not advisable since it may damage the knife.

Before using a whetstone, you need to submerge it in water for about five to 10 minutes.

Some people would prefer to let the whetstone soak in water for a minimum of 24 hours before they use it.

There are also new whetstones that won’t require you to soak it in water.

Just keeping the whetstone wet is good enough.

  • Keep It Steady

After saturating the whetstone, the next step is to get a mat or towel.

You can also get the included holder of your whetstone.

These items would prevent the sharpener from sliding while you're sharpening the knife, especially when fully soaked in water.

Ensure that you apply water from time to time and never allow the whetstone to become dry while using it.

  • Grind the Knife

Most whetstones have a coarse and fine side.

Before you start sharpening, the first thing to do is to use the whetstone's coarse side.

Next, you should hold the blade at an angle ranging from 15 or 20 degrees.

You have to maintain this angle throughout the process and make sure that you move the blade back and forth across the whole stone.

Once you are done, wipe off the blade and the corner of the stone to remove some of the burrs remaining and turn to the other side of the blade.

After doing both sides, flip the whetstone and use the fine side for the finishing.

2. What are Japanese whetstones made of?

All types of whetstones can either be natural or synthetic.

Most Japanese water stones are natural stones and valued for their authenticity and beauty.

They vary in consistency because it would depend on the type of stone used for sharpening.

Japanese whetstones are also synthetic and are made from aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or a diamond coating placed on a metal sheet.

3. What grit sharpening stone should I get?

It would depend on how you plan to use the whetstones.

In normal households, they only have a single whetstone with a coarse and fine side.

As for home cooks and restaurants, they usually have a stone with a low grit of 200 to 400 for damage repair, a middle grit about 1000 for sharpening, and a high-grit stone with 3000 or above granularity for a final polish.

4. How long should you soak a whetstone?

Most of the newer models of whetstones don’t require you to soak the stone for a long time.

The common whetstones have to be soaked at least five to 10 minutes before using them.

5. Can you over soak a whetstone?

Soaking it for 24 hours or even more won’t be a bad idea and will not negatively affect the whetstone.

You can soak it for days if you want. Just make sure you dry it completely if you store it.

That's because molds may develop on the surface of the whetstone.

6. Is 1000 grit whetstone enough?

In a typical home kitchen, a 1000 grit whetstone is already good enough to polish your knives.

Since you are not chopping anything that would damage your knife's blade, you don’t need to get any coarser whetstones.

On the contrary, for most restaurants and people who love to cook, this is just the basic requirement for a whetstone.

They usually get different types of grits to help them deal with different situations when they are cooking.

Final Verdict

Looking for the best Japanese whetstone is not too much of a problem.

That's because there are so many innovative products that you can find in the market.

Choosing a whetstone would depend on how you plan to use it.

If you are a household chef cooking food for your family, the Trilancer 400/1000 Knife Sharpening Stone would be a perfect choice.

For commercial kitchen owners or those who love to cook a lot, the Yoshihiro Toishi Japanese Whetstone is the right long-term investment.