7 Best Japanese Waterstones Review in 2020 To Make Your Knife Sharp

best japanese waterstone

If you are noticing your kitchen knives getting duller and duller, it’s not time to ditch them all just yet. What you need is the best Japanese Waterstone. These Waterstones are hard, porous bricks that you fill with water, and when they’re wat, you can use them to sharpen your knives until they are as sharp as ever again.

There are various Japanese Waterstones that you can buy today. The six Waterstones that we will be looking at are known to be the most popular and reliable, from brands such as King, Sharp Pebble and KnifePlanet. For each of these Waterstones, we will observe how each of them work, as well as point out any problems that they might have. Which is the best Japanese Waterstone? Read on to find out.

Top Rated Sharpening Stones Comparison Chart

Image

Name

Grade(s)

Material

Price

Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stone Review (Top Pick)

1000, 6000

Aluminum Oxide

Whetstone Cutlery Stone - Best Sharpening Stone Set

400, 1000

Silicon Carbide

BearMoo Sharpening Stone - Best Japanese Whetstone

3000, 8000

Senior White Corundum

Culinary Obsession Whetstone Review

1000, 6000

Aluminum Oxide

King KW65 Sharpening Stone Review

1000, 6000

Ceramic

KnifePlanet Japanese Whetstone Set​

400, 1000, 3000, 8000

Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Oxide

The 6 Best Japanese Waterstone Reviews

1. Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stone Review

Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stone Review

Sharp Pebble’s Waterstone comes in a knife-sharpening kit. The stone itself is a double sided whetstone; one side 6000 and the other is 1000. It is like owning two different stones at once. For containing the stone is a bamboo base with bevels. The stone itself is made of aluminum oxide.

The whetstone is durable and long lasting, enduring up to hundreds of knife sharpenings. No matter which kinds of blades or knives you own, this stone can sharpen them easily. It can sharpen scissors, pocket knives, axes, hunting knives and razors, in addition to your typical kitchen cutlery.

The base that comes with this stone works well. In between the base and the stone is a silicone coating so that the stone never moves when you are sharpening a knife. The bevels also come in handy so that you can sharpen your knife with any angle.

This is an easy-to-use Waterstone that is easy to set up. All you need is water to help you sharpen; no oils or mess that comes with the experience.

Because the base is made of bamboo, it is prone to mold and mildew. Since you are using water to sharpen your knives, be extra careful to not put your Waterstone away watery and wet.

Pros​​​​​

  • Can sharpen any kind of blade
  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Comes with a base
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • The base is prone to mold

2. Whetstone Cutlery Stone - Best Sharpening Stone Set

Whetstone Cutlery Stone - Best Sharpening Stone Set

The next Japanese Waterstone comes to us from Whetstone Cutlery. It has a nice design to it, with two shades of greyish green. This also is a double-sided stone, with grades of 400 and 1000. Not as high grade as the previous stone from Sharp Pebble, but it may just be all you need for the kitchen, and it is much more affordable.

This Waterstone is made of silicon carbide for a smooth sharpening experience in your kitchen for a handful of years. You can use this stone to sharpen any kind of blade, from razors to pocket knives to even gardening tools.

To use, you will need to submerge the stone in water for in between five to ten minutes. This stone does not include its own base, so you will need to lay it on a damp cloth in order for you to sharpen with it. This is not a real problem if you don’t have a spare cloth, but some people might find the preparation time to be too long.

You will also soon realize that this stone is too coarse for knives that you own that are meant to stay fine, such as a sushi knife. With that considered, it’s a better idea to buy another Waterstone that comes in a grade that is higher than 1000.

Pros​​​​​

  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Has a great color scheme
  • Feels great when sharpening knives 

Cons

  • Stone cannot sharpen fine knives that well
  • Takes a long time to prepare

3. BearMoo Sharpening Stone - Best Japanese Whetstone

BearMoo Sharpening Stone - Best Japanese Whetstone

Bearmoo’s Japanese Waterstone is also a double-sided stone, with a pinkish red grit that is 3000 grade, and a white grit that is 8000 grade. This stone is made of senior white corundum. Also included is a black, non-slip base.

The stone is placed right inside the base; The base is designed with edges that lock in with the stone so that the stone does not move when you are using it.

The case is not beveled, but it is small and simple enough so that it won’t get in the way of angled knives that you are trying to sharpen on your counter. The base’s bottom has a silicone coating, so that the base itself is not guaranteed to move around, either.

This Waterstone is resistant to corrosion and heat, making it aver resilient stone that you can rely on for years. It is designed to endure hundreds of different sharpenings, even if they occur quite often. You can sharpen scissors, pocket knives, gardening tools and more than just kitchen knives and tools. Two blades that this stone cannot shapen include ceramic knives and blades that are serrated.

To use, the stone must be submerged in water for five minutes. Their process for sharpening the knife takes about half an hour, recommending you to sharpen your knife with the pink side for 15 minutes, and then with the white side for an additional ten minutes.

Pros​​​​​

  • Has a simple design
  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Comes with a base
  • Has a high grade 

Cons

  • Takes a long time to prepare

4. Culinary Obsession Whetstone Review

Culinary Obsession Whetstone Review

Culinary Obsession’s Japanese Waterstone looks almost identical to Sharp Pebble’s Waterstone. They are also priced similarly. Here is what these Waterstones have in common.

Their appearance is similar, with a light blue grit of 1000 and a white grit of 6000. They are both 7.25 inches long, 2.25 inches wide and one-inch thick. They both have a bamboo base that is designed in the same way. It is like one company copied the other, albeit we are not sure which one judging by what we know.

They also can sharpen any kind of blades, thanks to their aluminum oxide materials. They can sharpen replica swords, scissors, axes, pocket knives and more. They are also easy to use with water, so no oil is ever needed or warranted.

So what is actually different about this Waterstone from Sharp Pebble’s Waterstone? Firstly, purchasing this stone gives to a 100-percent money back guarantee for a whole year. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, you can get a full refund.

The bad part about this stone is that once it is wet, the silicone bottom underneath the base can be quick to fail. If you are in the middle of using this stone, the base can budge with enough pressure exerted. This is not a good thing, as you will want your Waterstone to be completely still when sharpening your knives.

Pros​​​​​

  • Can sharpen any kind of blade
  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Comes with a base
  • Comes with a money back guarantee 

Cons

  • The base can easily slip around

5. King KW65 Sharpening Stone Review

King KW65 Sharpening Stone Review

The King Japanese Waterstone has a nice, natural look to it. This too is a two-sided whetstone. On the tan grit, is a 6000 grade. On the brown side is a 1000 grade. A plastic border separates the two sides of the stone. This stone comes with a plastic base that is beveled.

This Waterstone is slightly bigger than the other Waterstones. On one hand, homeowner can enjoy bigger surfaces and edges to sharpen with. On the other hand, it might just be too big for your current counter space, shelf space and/or drawer space, and arrangements should be made in order to fit everything in your kitchen.It will be the best whetstone for kitchen knives.

To use this Waterstone, submerge only the brown side of the stone. Do not soak the lighter side, otherwise it will crack and break. You can sharpen your kitchen knives and blades flawlessly, making this a very useful stone.

This is a rather simple Waterstone, but its quality is certainly questionable at best. This stone is made of ceramic, for one, which while still is a viable material for sharpening, it is not one that can last long or survive an aggressive stress test. We recommend to not buy one online, as it could crack or break during transportation. With that said, we aren’t sure where this stone is sold in stores. Perhaps as the seller what can be done to ensure this Japanese Waterstone a safe trip home.

Secondly, using this stone on a ceramic knife will sure to wear out the knife, rather than sharpen it. Like using a metal blade to cut metal, the life of the knife will certainly accelerate rather than extend.

Pros​​​​​

  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Comes with a base
  • Has a great color scheme 

Cons

  • Made of ceramic

6. KnifePlanet Japanese Whetstone Set

knifeplanet japanese whetstone set

This last Japanese Waterstone has an additional Waterstone. In this set by KnifePlanet, you get two Waterstones and a bamboo base. The first stone is two shades of greying green with grits of 400 and 1000 grade. The other stone is pink and white, with grits of 3000 and 8000 grade.

The green stone is made of silicon carbide, specifically for rough knives. The white and pink stone is made of aluminum oxide, which you can use to sharpen finer knives. Either stone needs to be submerged in water for about ten minutes before use, and must be kept wet while sharpening.

The bamboo base houses one stone at a time, but you can swap the stones when needed. The underside of the base is made of textured rubber that guarantee that it will not move.

Because you are paying for two stones, this is the most expensive set in this review that you can buy. You might consider this expensive if you just intend to use one stone, but it can be a real value if you are looking for a stone to sharpen coarse blades and one to sharpen fine blades.

Pros​​​​​

  • Has two different grades to sharpen with
  • Comes with a base
  • Come with two Waterstones

Cons

  • Takes a long time to prepare

7. Sharp Pebble 1000/6000 Premium Whetstone

Sharp Pebble is a brand that offers high-quality sharpening stones at a very good price. This is a premium quality 2-side whetstone has a grit of 400/1000 and comes with its own non-slip rubber base as well as a flattening stone. You will also get a knife sharpening guide with this bundle.

You will only need one stone from them to sharpen all your damaged, battered, and dull knives. You can use the 400-grit side when your knives get really dull and the 100-grit for all the regular knife maintenance. Since it uses water, you won’t have to worry about any oil and post-sharpening cleanups.

It’s a multi-purpose stone that you can use to repair any dull blades, whether it’s a kitchen knife set or a steak knife. You can also sharpen hunting knives, sushi knives, cleaner knives, pocketknives, and many more. The dual side grit is made from highly durable silicon carbide material.

On a side note, you will really love the flattening stone that it comes with. This allows you to use the sharpening stone to its full potential as it acts as a leveler for all kinds of sharpening stones. Not only will you be saving a lot of money with this stone, but you will also get your sharpening done much faster. 

Pros​​​​​

  • Multi-purpose dual grit sharpening stone
  • It comes with a flattening stone
  • Affordable price

Cons

  • Not suitable for expensive knives

How & Why You Should Choose the Best Japanese Sharpening Stones

In this section, I’m going to show you what you should look for in a good Japanese sharpening Waterstone because each of these stones will offer something different. The hand-feel, sharpening speed, and feedback are all relevant. And there are also other factors that come into play.

Brand Reputation 

For those who are getting into sharpening stones for the first time, are the majority of people that won’t buy a specialty stone from a brand that is not well known. Or a natural whetstone which is very expensive.

And some of them are very inconsistent in terms of the result you will get. That’s why you should always stick to the product that has a good brand reputation. They will have a good reputation for offering you consistency and a reliable rating of grits that you guys can count on.

Material 

Entry-level stones are made from silicon carbide, and as you get to the higher quality ones, you will get aluminum oxide stones, and the highest quality ones are the Japanese Waterstones that actually come from Japan.

Silicon carbide is the hardest material you will find on a stone, and that’s not a good thing. You need it to be hard, but you also need it to be soft enough for it to wear away as you sharpen your knife.

As it wears away, the stone exposes more polishing properties of the stone. The famous Japanese Waterstones are natural stones from Japan and are the highest quality sharpening stones you will find on the market.

These are much more expensive than synthetic stones, and for those of you that love specialized tools, there is nothing like it.

Aluminum oxide and silicon carbide stone

Size

The general rule of thumb is you want to have the stone as close to the longest length of your knife that you are going to be sharpening with. If you have an 8-inch chef knife, a 7-inch sharpening stone will be more than adequate. Longer would be better, but closer to the length will be sufficient.

Different Grades & Their Uses

If you have a knife that goes dull fast or it has chips on the blade, you need to use a rough stone that is graded between 120 to 140 grit. The medium ones are between 700 to 3000 grit and are often used for regular sharpening.

For buffing and polishing, you need to use a smooth water stone. They have a grade between 3000 and 10000 grit. Buy these stones to save money. On each set, you will get at least one rough, medium, and smooth whetstone.


Benefits of Japanese Waterstone

I like them more than all the other stones that exist. Why? Here are the reasons. It’s just my personal preference, but that doesn’t mean that you should avoid using other sharpening stones.

1. The water stone will take just enough steel of your knife to make it sharp. Some other stones will take too much steel off for no reason, but the Japanese stone doesn’t.

2. Also, you are playing with water. Which is clean and fun, and you can do it in the house. It’s not a mess, and it’s not like oil. 

3. Thirdly, if you are the kind of person the likes to polish your bevels like a mirror polish, you can do that with ease.

4. You can use them for scissors, plane blades, razors, scythes, and chisels. 

5. From polishing to sharpening, these versatile stones can be used with ease. 

6. They don’t require expensive sharpening oil. 


Tips to Sharpen A knife Using Japanese Sharpening Stone 

With the higher quality sharpening stone, you should only use water. You soak them in water for an hour, depending on the specification of the manufacturer.

You should hone your knife 15-20 degrees, depending on the usage of the knife and the durability of the edge you want on it.

The higher the sharpening angle, the more durable your edge is. The lower the angle, the sharper it will be, but at the same time, it will less durable.

When utilizing a sharpening stone, it’s all the technique. Spread your fingers across the blade as you sharpen the knife to get even pressure.

Never use oil on a Japanese water stone. There is a reason why they are called Waterstones.

Some Important FAQ About Japanese Waterstone

If you still aren’t sure on which Japanese Water stone to buy and thinking what grit sharpening stone do I need, here are some answers to questions that may be on your mind at this point.

What is Japanese Waterstone?

The Japanese water stone is a type of traditional whetstone that is considered as the best tool for sharpening and polishing kitchen knives. These stones are primarily sourced from the Narutaki district, which is in the north of Japan.

The key characteristics of these stones are that they gentler on knives, and since they are also available in both synthetic and natural materials, Japanese water stones are widely used for keeping cutlery items in top shape.

The clay composite and fine grain silicate of these stones made Japan stand out from the rest of the whetstones available on the market. Even to this day, there is a high demand for these stones.

What are the different types of sharpening stones?

Among all the sharpening stones out there, if you want to choose the right model, you need to understand about the differences in materials. I can talk hours and hours about them, but if you want the straight, no-nonsense details, you are in the right place.

The most common types of sharpening stones are water stones, oil stones, and diamond stones. Each of them has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Oil Stones: These traditional water stones are familiar to many because they are quarried here in Arkansas. They are made from either Silicon Carbide, Aluminum Oxide, or Novaculite. You might also know them as Arkansas stones, and there are different grades of them. 

Water Stones: Water stones are available in both synthetic and natural materials. A good example of a natural water stone in the Japanese water stones. However, the synthetic ones are widely used because of their low price and faster cutting rate. 

Diamond Stones: The last type is the Diamond stones. They contain an as small amount of diamond attached to the face of the metal place. These are industrial-grade diamonds that are very hard and allow for a much faster cutting rate. This also allows them to retain their flatness permanently.

Types of sharping stone

What do the grit numbers mean?

Grit numbers measure the fineness of blade sharpening. The higher the number, the finer the blade that you need in order to sharpen it right. Grits can range from 100 to 8000.

For rough sharpening, either to restore a very dull blade or to repair an unusual chip, you should buy a stone that is from 120 to 400 grit. Normal and basic knife-sharpening calls for a stone that is in between 700 to 2000 grit.

Waterstones can also be used to remove scratches from knives as well. To remove small scratches left by a coarse Waterstone, use a Waterstone that is around 2000 grit.

There are stones that are made in 3000, 6000 and even 8000 grit, as stated before. To tell you the truth, these are all acceptable grits that deliver the same results in sharpening fine knives. 8000 grit sharpening stone are more complicated to handle, so if you are inexperienced in sharpening knives with a Waterstone, we recommend a stone that is 3000 or 6000 grit.

If you sharpen knives sporadically, or only intend to sharpen them sporadically, a combination stone will be a good purchase for you. This stone has two halves of two different grits, such as one with a 1000 grit and one with 6000. You can first use the rough side to sharpen your knife, and then use the finer side to sharpen it even further.

Which one is better? Single Grit or Multiple Grit?

Both of their own perks. But if you want functionality and don’t want to spend a lot of money on stones, go for multiple gritstones. They are a multi-functional item that comes with different grades on a single stone.

They take up less storage and save you the trouble of buying several single grits sharpening stone. However, they can be costly. Single grits, on the other hand, are cheap.

You can buy a lot of them with different grades for all your sharpening, polishing and repairing project. They are suited well for a specific task, but you will need to know exactly what type of stone you need.

Why are Waterstones better than oilstones?

The soft, abrasive particles of a Waterstone break off when you sharpen, repeatedly exposing sharp new edges. As you continue to sharpen, those severed crystals are reduced into smaller crystals. These broken off crystals blend with water that is on the stone’s surface, which creates a compound that polishes and refines knives.

The stone must be dried before you store it. Storing a wet Waterstone will result in a development of mold and/or mildew on or inside the stone.

In comparison to stones such as oilstones, there are hard, abrasive particles that these whetstones give off. Rather than breaking off and exposing new sharp crystals after use, these stones take a round shape and grow dull. Furthermore, metal and oil particles occupy the pores of the stone, and smooth out the surface of the stone, rendering them less and less effective with every use.

Should I Use Oil or Water When Sharpening with A Stone?

If you have been sharpening for some time, you have probably heard about using oil on a whetstone. Now, is it better than using water? Let’s find out. You should never use oil when using Ceramic Whetstones, Diamond Whetstones, and Japanese Water Stones.

When you use oil, water won’t work because they don’t mix together. Sharpening a knife using oil has some perks, but the two should never mix. Stones that are used with oil are able to hold their flatness better.

But they also load up faster, and you need to clear them more often than water stones. They also tend to sharpen slower, but there are times when you should definitely use oil on a whetstone that you have already used oil on. Natural Arkansas stones require oil. But you should never use it on a Japanese stone.

How much should I pay for a Waterstone?

Some Waterstones cost as low as 20 dollars, while others can cost as high as 80 dollars. While it can be tempting to buy the least expensive whetstone, they either can be only for coarse knives, or of subpar quality. Finer stones, which can be up to 8000 grade are usually the most expensive. Combination stones, such as the ones in this review, provide a coarse and fine side, and cost you around 25 to 50 dollars.

Final Verdict

Hope, now you can find which is the best Japanese water stones. But Still, if you have confused then there is one Japanese Waterstone that we recommend that you buy, and that is the Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stone.

Aluminum oxide is arguably the best material for a whetstone that you can buy. With grits of 1000 and 6000, this stone offers you a wide range that can sharpen all kinds of knives. You can consider this an all-in-one Waterstone that can serve you well in the coming years.

This stone from Culinary Obsession is the only one that can give you a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with your purchase and want it returned. This is guaranteed to be a quality stone, and if it isn’t, you are sure to get a replacement that is.

About the Author Juan Williams

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