When you use a hunting knife in a rugged environment day in and day out, you’re bound to eventually run into the problem of your knife going dull. Not to worry, there is no reason why you have to throw that knife in the trash; a good sharpener for your hunting knife will bring that knife back to what, in some cases, may even be sharper than factory condition.
I’ve had plenty of hunting knives in my time, and I’ve sharpened more than I’d care to admit; let me show you my top picks for a hunting knife sharpener, so that you can skip the headache of buying subpar products. It’s also worth noting that we picked sharpeners that are pocket sized and will travel well in a pack. There are better knife sharpeners than the ones in review today but they are too bulky to consider on a hunting trip.
The best way to keep a knife in top shape is to do your sharpening at home and use your hunting knife sharpener just to touch up as you work in the field.
Table of Contents
What to Look For in a Hunting Knife Sharpener
There are a few things that you want to keep in mind when looking for a sharpener for hunting knives. In my experience, the three big things you want to keep in mind are the size of the knives you’re going to sharpen, the size and portability of the sharpener, and the simplicity of use.
Size and Type of Knife to Sharpen
If you’re using something like a Bowie knife, you’re going to have a hard time trying to sharpen it in something like a standard slot based knife sharpener that you’d see in a kitchen.
Bowie knives and Machetes are known for being particularly thick. Trying to fit them into a slot that’s not designed for something of that size can potentially damage not only your knife but also the sharpener. Although considering the strength of the Bowie knives that I have I’d be more worried about the sharpener.
You might also want to consider what other tools you will be using out in the field, will you be taking an Axe for lumber processing? A sharpener that can also work on your axe would be pretty useful.
The Size and Portability of The Sharpener
There are some knife sharpening systems and tools that are far more complicated than they need to be. If you sharpen a few knives per year, then having something extremely complicated taking up tons of shelf space is probably not ideal. However if you have tons of knives, or perhaps have a career that involves heavy use of knives, a hardcore knife sharpening system that takes up tons of space may be worth it.
Even for someone like me who has tons of knives, I find it to be nice to have a small sharpener to throw in my bag if I’m going on something like a hunting trip and want to have a quick and easy solution that’s also quite portable.
The Simplicity of Use
A basic slot based knife sharpening system is extremely straightforward to use. However for the most flexibility and the best results, there are a number of limitations. For example, some knives need to be sharpened on both sides whereas others may only have a single side of the blade that is sharpened. A slot-based system will not work with this kind of a knife, whereas something with more precision and flexibility will.
Best Hunting Knife Sharpener Reviews
There are a number of features that are central to this product. It comes with a number of different sharpening rods that can be used for sharpening your knife at various degrees of precision. You can start off with one of the coarse rods and then continue to one of the finer rods for a nice finish.
Additionally I was pleasantly surprised with the ease of use for this ,some shopping can be intimidating to a novice and something like a whetstone for example can even cause damage when used incorrectly, a mistake that I’ve seen all too frequently. However, even if this somehow isn’t straightforward out of the box, which it was for me, it also comes with an instructional DVD, which makes this extremely easy to follow along with even with no experience whatsoever.
The main selling point to this kind of a system is that it can work with any knife of any size or shape. You could even use this knife sharpening system for something crazy like a battle axe or a katana and still have a good result because of the flexibility that it provides both in terms of the sharpening angle as well as the numerous options for sharpening rods that can be used.
Overall, this was my favorite product out of everything that I’ve included on this list. I tested the system with a number of different knives of various different sizes, shapes, lengths, and purposes, and I was able to sharpen every single one of them with no problem at all.
One thing that I like about this particular model in contrast to other whetstones is that it has angles around the edge, which can make it easier to sharpen a blade without needing to readjust or reposition as much.
When using this personally, I had no problem sharpening up a few blades. Of course, it’s worth noting that I have a fair amount of experience using whetstones and similar for knife sharpening. If this is your first time, there can be a bit of a learning curve. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the process, since improper use of a whetstone can potentially damage your blade.
However, none of that is designed to scare you off from this product. Whetstones are one of the most iconic methods of knife sharpening for a reason. It’s easy enough to learn, and once you have it down you’ll be able to sharpen any knife with no problem.
Overall the puck provided by Sharp Pebble is an amazing value for the money. It sharpens basically any knife with no problem, and also looks great.
There are two big selling points for this product. First of all, it’s extremely small and lightweight. This allows for it to easily be carried, for example, if you go on a hunting trip and want something simple to keep with you. Additionally, this product comes at an excellent price; if you’re on a budget and want something that will do the job without breaking the bank, I’d recommend this in a second.
Personally, there are a few things that I really like about this product. First of all, it’s extremely sleek and comes with a nice carrying kit. Even though I have more hardcore sharpening methods and tools, I find myself throwing this in my boat when I go out fishing, just because it’s so easy to have it with you in your bag.
On the other hand, I did find it to be a little bit small. For a quick sharpen, the size is no problem. But, if I had something like the Spyderco Tri-Angle Sharpening Set in front of me, there’s no question I would be reaching for that. But that’s not to say that this isn’t still a very strong product.
The main selling point for this knife is that it’s very flexible in terms of what it can sharpen, while still remaining compact. This makes this an excellent, portable tool to throw in your truck or boat. Many smaller, portable sharpeners are limited in what they can sharpen, so this is a big plus for something in this size and class.
This is a nice sharpener to have around or to take with you on a trip. It’s extremely compact, which is its obvious advantage. For extended use, you may want something larger. However, it is great for something like a quick sharpening of a pocket knife or similar. Plus, the price is great.
Overall any of these knives are a solid addition to your tool set. they’ll bring new life into any of your hunting knives, and no matter what you pick, you’ll have much sharper blades for a long time coming.
But, if I had to narrow it down just a few final contenders that I’d be considering, they’d be the following.
Coming in at first place in terms of pure value is the Spyderco Tri-Angle Premium Sharpmaker Set. As far as knife sharpening systems go, this is one of the most flexible options that is still accessible to beginners. If you’re looking for something that will sharpen a hunting knife, this is a great option. A lot of more basic sharpeners are designed more to be used with a standard kitchen knife, but that’s not always a viable option with a hunting knife, particularly because they tend to be larger and thicker. The knives that I sharpened with the set were able to easily cut through newspaper, even the ones that were quite dull before.
In terms of the best value for your money, the Sharp Pebble disk/puck is a great option. The one drawback to the system is it is a little bit more complicated to use than some of the others, but once you get the hang of it, you can pretty much sharpen any knife up no problem. The product feels high-end, especially considering the price that it’s offered for. Plus, it’s flexible enough to work with larger blades as well, such as axes and machetes.
If you want something quick and simple, the Spyderco 303MF is a great option on a budget. Even Spyderco’s more basic products like this one are reliable and functional. Again, the size was just a little small for my taste, but it does give this option a big strength in terms of portability. While you can definitely use this as your main sharpener, it’s also something you might consider if you just want something simple to throw into your bag when you’re going off on a hunting trip.
So which one of these options is your favorite? let me know in the comments below; I’d be glad to hear what you have to say.