You know the saying, “a sharp knife is a safe knife.” So here’s our guide to find the best pocket knife sharpener for you. Small enough for your pocket!
If you are out in wild, whether on a hike, a camping trip, or out hunting, nothing is more frustrating than a dull knife. All tools need some maintenance occasionally, and your knives are no different. Unlike most tools, the knife is an easy one to maintain in the field. Now, of course you can’t bring your typical knife sharpener with you from the kitchen, those are far too big. With pocket knife sharpeners, you have a handy little tool that fits right in your pocket but works just as well as the big kind.
A dull knife is not only annoying, it could be dangerous. You have heard the old saying, “a sharp knife is a safe knife.” That’s because a dull knife forces you to push harder when trying to cut something and increases the likelihood that the knife will slip. Not a good combination.
Best Pocket Knife Sharpener: What to Look For?
When forming this list of pocket knife sharpeners, we looked at a few basic metrics. First, the abrasive surface of the sharpener should have enough grit to work with just a few strokes of the knife.
Many knife sharpener’s also have useful safety precautions to protect your fingers from the knife edge. We prioritize sharpeners which have a good track record of safety.
You also want a sharpener that is not too oddly shaped or cumbersome to use. The sharpener should be small and easy to maneuver around knives of any style.
Pay attention to the geometry of the knife edge, because different knives required different angles of sharpening. The best pocket knife sharpener’s have adjustable angles to work with most any knife.
Furthermore, a good knife sharpener should feature multiple stages of grit, because different knives need a different treatment. This way, you don’t use the big guns, on a knife that just needs a little polishing.
Keep in mind that carbide sharpeners, which are present in many of these pocket tools, are aggressive and designed only for the dullest blades. Don’t sharpen with carbide if you don’t need it. The same is true of V notches, can shorten the lifespan of your knife if used improperly or excessively. When it comes to knife sharpening, less is often more.
If you have a serrated knife, know that the sharpening technique is different, and will involve using a rod-shaped sharpener, and running it along the knife edge between serrations, perpendicular. Thankfully, most of the options on this list feature such a rod in a handy, fold-out arrangement.
Smith’s PP1 Pocket Pal Knife Sharpener
This knife sharpener features Carbide V plates to give your knives a wicked cutting edge and it includes a gentler ceramic component. The carbide portion should be reserved for only the dullest knives, while the ceramic side is more suitable for every day touchups. Don’t underestimate this little sharpener just because of how small it is, that is one of its best features. Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, this awesome device can even go on your keychain. Finally, we love the fold out rod designed for sharpening serrated knives. Simply run the rod perpendicular to the serrated portions of your knife. For such a small sharpener, this pocket companion can really handle any knife and would make a could great addition to your outdoor gear collection or every day carry keychain. -BUY IT
This 4-inch sharpening steel looks more like a tactical flashlight, then it does a knife sharpener. Simply twist off the knurled aluminum handle to unsheathe the sharpening rod. Because it is a rod sharpener, it does take some more finesse to use properly. You should know what you’re doing and what the best angles are, if you plan to use this rugged, yet sturdy, choice. Thanks to its length, in just a couple swipes you will have an incredible edge on your knife of choice. Despite its metal construction, it is incredibly to keep on your person and forgot about it until you need it. -BUY IT
Smaller than a USB thumb drive, this small sharpener is more like a nail file. But that does not mean this sweet option can’t pack a punch. At a mere 23 g, this is diamond monocrystalline pocket knife sharpener is incredibly effective and long lasting. Due to its small rectangular shape and open face, it can be maneuvered anywhere and in between anything, which means you could sharpen other gear such as a shovel. This pocket knife sharpener also fits on a keychain, and makes a great, low-profile, option for any outdoors minimalist. -BUY IT
Yoyal Folding 360/600 Grit Diamond Knife Sharpener
Think of this pocket knife sharpener as the DMT’s bigger brother. With its larger size, and fold out carrying case, this clever device has all the benefits of your typical diamond-based sharpener, with a wonderful safety mechanism. This sharpener has an open face, but unlike most, also has a handle which forms out of before out protective case. These plastic pieces serve double duty, because they protect the knife sharpener when you’re not using it, but protect your hands when you are. Just bear in mind that this makes the sharpener larger than some of the other options on our list, but it’s still small enough to toss into your bag without a second thought. -BUY IT
Lansky PS-MED01 BladeMedic
This is similar to the Smith sharpener, but boasts an ceramic rod integrated into the side, for easy Touch ups and polishing. It’s one of the larger options on this list, at 4 inches in length. It also features a diamond tapered rod for your serrated knives, a Carbide V notch for heavy duty sharpening, and a more mild ceramic the notch for your everyday jobs. Because of its multifaceted functionality, and larger size, it is an excellent choice for beginners. Knife sharpening requires some degree of skill and technique, but the BladeMedic is quite forgiving for those with less experience, but hoping to gain more. If you have not sharpened your fair share of knives, this is an excellent place to start out, without fear of destroying your knives (or fingers). -BUY IT
The Fallkniven DC4 is a simple, but elegant pocket knife sharpener. A flat, rounded rectangle, this two-sided option has a diamond side for you’re more frequent touchups, and a ceramic side for more advanced needs. This minimalistic choice is a no-frills option that has fewer features than some of the other items on this list, but it Is more than enough for most purposes. Just a note that it will not be able to sharpen a serrated knife. If you want a knife sharpener with no moving parts, this bare bone sharpener is reliable enough to do the trick. -BUY IT
The Victorinox lives up to its legendary name and is the most unique looking Choice on this list. Shaped just like a pen or marker, the business end of this sharpener is always protected when you’re not using it. It’s about 5 inches in length, and thin enough to sit in a pocket all day. It has a ceramic V notch as well as a ceramic rod, which is usually more than enough for most jobs ( although it cannot sharpen serrations). With its famous German engineering, it is a pleasure to hold in your hand and is the perfect addition to your Swiss Army knife for all the Victorinox fans out there. -BUY IT
Klein Tools 44151 Pocket-Sized Knife Sharpener
As the only steel rod option on this list, this pocket knife sharpener by Klein tools is built right in the USA and will fit right in with the rest of your hunting kit. One of the coolest features of this sharpener is the embedded magnet which attracts any shavings or dust which come off during sharpening, so you won’t leave any metallic clutter behind. Klein tools are ubiquitous among tradesmen and builders, so you can bet then this space-saving solution we’ll get the job done right and outlast nearly any tool on the market. -BUY IT
ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener
This is our favorite tactical option on the list. This simple pocket knife knife sharpener feels rock solid and tough enough to handle anything you could throw at it. Built with special non-slip rubber feet, with a ceramic side and a carbide side, these preset sharpening angles take all the guesswork out of it and make it a safe choice. Hang it on your backpack, or just leave it in your tacklebox, and you will have quick access doing the best pocket sharpeners out there. You could even toss it the center console of your car so that it’s always with you in the field. This option is unique, as one of the only V notch-based devices with no moving parts. It pairs nicely with any tactical backpack or EDC knife. -BUY IT
In a pinch: Ceramic Mug
By now you know that ceramic is an excellent material to refine a knife edge. Thankfully, ceramic is everywhere, especially in your kitchen cabinet. If you ever find yourself with a dull knife and no sharpener, reach for the nearest coffee mug. Most mugs and plates made of ceramic have a ring on the bottom without any glaze, and will feel kind of rough to the touch. That is the money spot. Simply turn mug upside down and run the knife edge along this ceramic portion, at and approximately 20° angle. Simply give it about 10 strokes on each side and you should be good to go. Just remember, this is an aggressive technique, and there is no accounting for be grit of the bottom of your mug. You should avoid using this method on your most valuable knives, or risk scraping off a bit more knife then intended.
Ultimately, these are the best pocket knife sharpener’s out there today. They all get the basics right, including high quality construction, adaptability to most knives, and raw sharpening power. As you decide which one is best for you, bear in mind your experience level. If you have not owned a pocket knife sharpener in the past, consider how comfortable you are with the basic technique, safety precautions, and which material is best for which knife. And if your pockets are stuffed, keep your sharpener in your Maxpedition Micro Pocket Organizer so it never gets lost in the shuffle!