Top-Rated Buyer's Guide: Best Survival Knife Sharpeners

Rilor Staff
Update: August 7, 2020
Table of Contents

The best survival knife sharpener is one of the most crucial amenities that you should bring--aside from the survival knife itself. You are probably aware the edge of the blade doesn't remain sharp all the time. Many factors can deteriorate its quality, such as constant use. 

Of course, it is a wise idea to have a sharpener with you during any of your trips. After all, your knife plays an important role; hence, it should remain razor-edge sharp all the time. 

Review Of The Best Survival Knife Sharpeners

1. Smith's PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener - Editor's Pick

When it comes to blade sharpeners, one should not forget the PP1 Pocket Pal Multifunction Sharpener. Its size is so compact that it works well with backpacking and lightweight trips. It can be stored in your pack without adding weight.

This one is great if you have a serrated knife. The round, diamond coated rod is great for sharpening blades with different edge types. It is a tool that can deal with serrated blades with ease.

There are two slots in this sharpener. One is carbide for coarse sharpening while the other one is ceramic, which offers a fine grit. Utilizing these slots ensures that your survival knife will always be razor-sharp.

One of the best features of the PP1 is that it enables you to replace and reverse the ceramic and carbide stones. Such a feature alone proves that you don't need another sharpener once you have this. 


  • Comes with preset sharpening angles for quick performance
  • Integrated lanyard hole for carrying
  • Compact and lightweight construction
  • Can sharpen serrated blades
  • Includes coarse and fine grits


  • It is too small for large blades

2. Work Sharp EDC Pivot Plus Knife Sharpener - Runner-Up

One of the most impressive survival knife sharpeners that I found is the EDC Pivot Knife Sharpener from Work Sharp. This one features the portability that is needed for outdoor adventures, without sacrificing its functionality. 

The convex carbide surface of this sharpener serves as its main platform for sharpening. It can work on different knives and steel.

Moreover, this one features controlled sharpening. The pivot-response mechanism of this sharpener enables it to follow through the curve of the blade. It allows the blade to be sharpened on consistent angles throughout its length. 

This unit also has a ceramic hone so that the blade will get refined to the highest degree. And the best part of it is that it doesn't take time before you can hone the blade. Meanwhile, it also features a diamond plate for sharpening fish hooks and other bladed amenities. 


  • Highly compact design
  • Comes with diamond taper rod for sharpening serrated edges
  • Sharpens knife blades pretty quickly
  • Can sharpen different tools aside from knife
  • Convex carbide slot ensures that you'll get consistent sharpening results


  • It is considerably small

3. Fallkniven DC3 Whetstone Diamond Ceramic Knife Sharpener - Budget-Friendly Pick

Some of us are accustomed to using a whetstone for sharpening purposes. It is a traditional method, but it remains to be effective as of now. For instance, some chefs prefer using these whetstones over electric sharpeners.

For your survival knife, the Fallkniven DC3 Whetstone is indeed a wonderful choice. This one is a combination of ceramic and diamond, which ensures that you can be used for different sharpening needs. Specifically, the diamond stone is rated to be as fine as 25 microns. Meanwhile, the ceramic is crafted from synthetic sharpens. 

These materials can remain flat even on extended usage. It is a relevant feature that ensures the consistency of the result. Moreover, they can deal with any type of steel, even those with hard powder coating. 

While it is true that the Fallkniven DC3 does require cleaning with the use of liquid soap and soaper, it doesn't need lubrication anymore. That saves you time for its maintenance.


  • Lightweight and compact
  • Offers a flat surface of sharpening
  • Includes fine and coarse grits
  • Leather cover works as a strop 
  • Can handle different types of blades


  • Might not be able to sharpen large survival knives

4. Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener - Premium Pick

Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener
  • 5 abrasive steps provide a complete sharpening solution; all elements are self-contained and require no assembly in the field
  • Hone with coarse and fine ceramic rods
  • Sharpen with coarse and fine diamond plates
  • Polish with leather strops
  • Built-in 20° angle guides ensure a consistent bevel angle across the entire edge of the blade

The Benchmade Guided Field Sharpener is a utility that serves both survival knives and bladed tools. It is designed for outdoor purposes, which makes it great for every camper and backpacker.

This one features five abrasive steps for a comprehensive sharpening process. All of these components are already integrated into the system of the sharpener. You don't need to assemble them anymore.

Specifically, the diamond plates allow you to sharpen in either coarse and fine grits. Meanwhile, the leather strops guarantee that you can polish your work.

There's also a built-in 20-degree guide on this sharpener. They enable you to sharpen the blade consistent with bevel angle throughout its length. 

The ceramic rod guarantees that you can sharpen serrated blades, too. 


  • Complete sharpening and honing solution
  • Durable and rugged construction
  • Doesn't require assembly
  • Ensures consistency on its sharpening angles
  • Works on other tools and utilities


  • The imprinted logo on the coarse grit is somewhat off

5. Smith's 50264 Adjustable Manual Knife Sharpener

If you are looking for a manual sharpener, you should check out the Smith's 50264. This one is versatile as it can sharpen different types of knives. It can even restore old and dull blades to their original state. 

This one features a two-stage sharpening system for standard blades (coarse and fine). If your survival knife is serrated, there is also a fixed angled slot for it. 

You can also use Smith's 50264 is maintaining the edges that are sharp already. It allows your knife to be handy all the time. Even if you are going to get rough with your knife, this manual sharpener will prevent your tool from being damaged.

Another interesting feature of this sharpener is adjustable angles. There's a knob that allows you to change the angle of the slots--from 14 degrees to 24 degrees. 


Abrasive components are replaceable

Includes non-slip rubber feet for enhanced stability

Features non-slip, soft-grip handle

Works for serrated knives

Sharpening angle is adjustable


Its base should be sturdier and heavier

How To Choose The Best Survival Knife Sharpener

At this point, we will be exploring some of the fundamentals that are involved in the selection of knife sharpeners.

Gone are the days that we have to rely on sharpening stones for sharpening our knives. Right now, we have a myriad of utilities that can restore the sharpness of our blades. The best part of this is that you don't have to pour huge investments. 

With the right skills and tools, refining a survival knife is entirely doable. 

Types of Knife Sharpeners

Electric Sharpeners

Electric sharpeners are quite popular these days, thanks to their efficiency in making blades sharp. Most of these sharpeners have two to three steps of restoring the edge of knives. 

Specifically, the use of coarse grit so that dull blades will be sharpened. After that, a fine grit is utilized to hone the blade that has been sharpened already. 

Once opening, these electric sharpeners will rotate the sharpening stone, enabling it to sharpen any blade inserted to the slot. Because of this ergonomic operation, you can always get your survival knife on its top shape. The simplicity that these electric sharpeners provide is one of the reasons why many love it. 

However, keep in mind that you can't bring electric sharpeners on your trip for the simple reason that there are no power outlets there.

Handheld Sharpeners

Meanwhile, handheld sharpeners offer an ergonomic way of sharpening the blades of knives. They are quite similar to electric sharpeners, but it is notable that handheld sharpeners don't have too many slots as compared to their counterpart. But it is a kind of limitation that you can ignore. 

One exceptional advantage of having handheld sharpeners is portability. Specifically, you can bring them anywhere you want, which is something that you can't do with electric sharpeners. They are compact and can practically fit on backpacks. 

They are great for outdoor enthusiasts since there's no fuss in bringing them anywhere. If you are constantly on the road, then handheld sharpeners should be a perfect companion for your survival knives. 

There are several mechanisms as to how handheld sharpeners sharpen and hone the blades. Some designs will allow you to place the sharpener on a flat surface and draw the knife on its slot. Others will require you to place the knife with its spine against the table so that the sharpener can work the length of the blade.

Sharpening Stones

Of course, we shouldn't forget about these sharpening stones. One way or another, they are the "original" sharpeners, and we should pay homage to them. 

There are three known materials used on these sharpening stones: aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and Novaculite. However, they have their unique nomenclatures, too. They are called India, Crystolon, and Arkansas, respectively. 

Arkansas originated from the earth. It formed naturally and deemed to be genuine stones. Meanwhile, Crystolon and India are both man-made. 

Arkansas stones have varying grit--from coarse to fine. India stones are usually used for fine honing and sharpening. Of course, Crystolon works best in coarse sharpening.

Serrated Knife Sharpener

Most of these serrated knives are difficult to sharpen, especially if you are using ordinary sharpeners. Some survival knives there are serrated, so you need a special sharpener for them. If you are going to use the standard sharpeners, there's a good chance that you'll damage the serrated blades. 

You should always check if the sharpener is designed for dealing with dull serrated blades before buying it. It is crucial that you won't miss this point.

Other Considerations In Buying The Best Survival Knife Sharpener

  • Grit - These knife sharpeners vary on grit. If you are going to use stones, then make sure that they are double-sided. For electric and manual sharpeners, the grit can be configured in their settings. 

Grit is usually measured by the amount of metal shredded throughout the sharpening process. Coarse grit (1000 grit) should only be utilized whenever you are dealing with a knife that has chips and nicks. A medium grit (1000 to 3000 girt) is for sharpening dull knives that have no physical damages. 

Meanwhile, fine grit (4000 to 8000 grit) works like honing steel. It is used in further refining the edge of the knife.

  • Size - The size of the sharpener is also a factor here. Given that you are going to use the survival knives in your outdoor journeys, then you should also mind the bulkiness and weight of the sharpener you are going to take with you. 

Of course, bigger doesn't mean better. It still boils down on the construction and performance of the sharpener. Hence, you shouldn't hesitate to get small sharpeners, especially if the application or trip requires it. 

  • Speed - Knife sharpeners can usually get the job done. However, some sharpeners work faster than others. 

If you value your time, then you'll probably get annoyed by a 10- to 15-minute sharpening process. Both electric and manual sharpeners can do things faster, so you might want to prioritize them over the others. 

  • Consistency - You want the knife sharpener to produce the same results all the time. You want your blade to be sharpened without the presence of nicks and scratches on them. 
  • Sharpener's surface - The harder the material is, the better the performance of the sharpener becomes. The hardest material for sharpening is diamond. After that, tungsten carbide and ceramic comes next. 

The abrasiveness of the sharpening surface is determined by its grit. The higher its number, the finer its abrasiveness.

  • Sharpening angle - It is also essential that you can get a sharpener that enables you to sharpen your knife with ease. This feature is somehow influenced by the angle adjustments that a sharpener can provide. Specifically, you should be able to adjust its angle from 15 degrees to 20 degrees.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do survival knife sharpeners work?

A: Knife sharpening happens in different stages: from coarse to fine. Specifically, when sharpening a blade, you are removing metal from it so that you can create a brand-new edge. 

You use a coarse grit whenever there's a severe deterioration in the quality of the blade. If the chips already, sharpening it roughly will do the trick. For maintaining the sharpness, fine sharpening is usually done.

Stropping is also a part of the process. It is the finishing touch, but it doesn't alter the edge of the blade.

Q: What's the best survival knife sharpener?

A: There are several survival knife sharpeners out there. It is difficult to answer this question objectively. But based on the market research, sharpeners from Smith's, Work Sharp, and Fallkniven are among the popular choices of many people.

But of course, there are still other options to choose from.

Q: How often should you sharpen a survival knife?

The frequency of sharpening depends on how often you use your knife. If you always use it, it should be sharpened consistently, too, to maintain its edge.

A: Stainless steel survival knives should be sharpened every two to four uses. Carbon steel blades should be sharpened after you use them. 


These are the essential aspects that you should understand about knife sharpeners. Their quality will define the performance of your survival knife, so you have to be extra careful in choosing one. 

Be sure that you will get the best survival sharpeners so that you'll be able to keep it in its top shape. 

Do you have other questions about these knife sharpeners, feel free to drop them in the comment section below. 

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