While many of us would never think of going camping without bringing along some sort of hunting, camping or pocket knife, it’s also a good idea to bring along a reliable sharpener as well. We’ve covered lots of the best electric knife sharpeners and manual sharpeners in our reviews section. So in this post we’re going to take a look at some of the better portable sub $25 sharpeners on the market and give our advice on which is the best pocket knife sharpener to pack in your gear.
In addition to all of the things a regular knife sharpener should do a portable sharpener should have a few other attributes as well. As with anything you take with you into the woods it should be relatively light, easy to use, and durable.
#1. Lansky BladeMedic
The Lansky BladeMedic is one of the most flexible pocket sharpeners on the market. While all three of our top 3 are great products, the fact that you can do so much with the Lansky at such a low price is what has it edging out the competition. Here are a few of the details.
First and foremost you can sharpen a wide variety of knives with this guy. It’s got a slot for carbide blades, ceramic, and even serrated. Both the carbide and ceramic slot are set to 22.5 degrees for a combined sharpening angle of 45 degrees. This is perfect for most hunting and outdoor knives.
The serrated sharpener will sharpen even the smallest of serrated blades efficiently and effectively sharpening into the smallest serrations. The tungsten carbide sharpeners will quickly and easily bring even the dullest knife back to a factory edge. Just 10 to 12 swipes is often all it takes.
Finally the diamond honing and maintenance rod is perfect for a quick touch up to keep your blade in great shape. While the BladeMedic is relatively heavy, this is due to it’s metal construction and is also the reason for it’s durability. It’s small size makes it easy to pack and carry. Inexpensive to begin with, it’s worth every penny.
#2. Smith’s 3 in 1 Field Sharpening System
About the only reason the 3 in 1 from Smith comes in second is because it costs twice as much as the BladeMedic. Given that both are under $20 this may not be much of a concern.
The Smith’s list of features is truly impressive for a field sharpening kit. The 3 in 1 has pre-aligned carbide blades that can be reversed and replaced when they wear out. There’s 750 grit 4″ x 1″ diamond stone that is perfect for quickly restoring an edge to anything from knives to tools. And theres a ‘Micro Sharpening Pad’ for using on smaller tools.
The length of this stone also contains a groove that is designed for hook sharpening. The teardrop shaped ceramic rods that are included with this kit work well for a variety of blades including flat and serrated.
This sharpener from Smith is often compared to the Spyderco Sharpmaker, which is considered one of the best knife sharpeners on the market. (Though the Spyderco is priced significantly higher). It’s main advantages are it’s flexibility and compact size.
Given it’s feature set, this sharpener could easily be number one in our guide, but we placed it in second due to the higher price. That being said, it could easily be the best pocket knife sharpener around
#3. Smith’s Diamond Combo Sharpening Stones
While the previous two sharpeners are great for those that don’t have a great deal of experience sharpening knives, this tool from Smith is intended for those that are comfortable using only a stone surface to sharpen and maintain their blades.
This sharpener comes with two stones of varying grits. The first stone is a coarse (325 grit) diamond and the second is a finer (750 grit) diamond stone. The coarse side is probably more aggressive than most would need for outdoor and kitchen knives, but it is ideal for restoring an edge to tools that receive more wear and tear. The fine grit stone is ideal for bringing your knives back to a factory finish.
The stones are perforated to allow for maximum efficiency and they can be used with or without water as a lubricant. There is a small non-perforated area of stone for sharpening smaller items and fishhooks. The size of this piece like the others in this comparison are what make it ideal for using it in the woods. The stones are stored in the handle, so this guy takes up almost no room in a pack or tackle box. The handle is rubberized and provides a secure grip during sharpening.
All in all it’a great piece to take with you into the outdoors. Again, the only caveat for this sharpener would be that a bit of sharpening skill and technique is needed to properly use this product. For those with less experience to the two previously mentioned sharpeners might be a better fit since they have grooves through which you pull the knife.
While performing the same work as a sharpener that is used in the home or garage a tool that is good for taking into the field has to have a couple other attributes as well. First and foremost it must be small and lightweight. With a limited amount of room to pack equipment, the last thing you want is a sharpener that takes up a bunch of room.All of the sharpeners we’ve selected for this comparison are easily stowed in a backpack or tackle box.
Secondly it must be durable. The last thing you need from a piece of equipment you’re taking into the field is for it to fail on you. Just like everything else you carry, it will be subject to a certain amount of wear and tear. A good sharpener should be able to stand up to this use and still function exactly as it was designed. Now let’s take a closer look at each of the top 3 sharpeners and we’ll point out why they made the list.
All three of these portable sharpeners are a great value. Again the Lansky wins out because it basically has the same feature set as the Smith’s but at half the price. But all of these products are compact and flexible enough to make them a must have tool for sharpening pocket knives and tools while you’re deep in the woods.