Don’t throw away your knives the first time that you notice a dull spot around their edges. You could put them all to good use quickly, provided you have the right tools. There’s nothing more annoying than reaching for a knife when preparing a meal and being unable to work the blade into whatever you’re cutting.
Maybe you have a natural cutting technique that bends the edge, or maybe the knives in your kitchen are sensitive. Whatever the case, honing rods are the perfect tool to get all your knives back to their original sharpness.
Featured below are ten of the honing steel products you’ll find online, each of them made of dense materials that’ll assist you in getting your knives back to a sharpened, new-like state.
And don’t think that you must settle for those in the kitchen.
Each is perfectly able to sharpen outdoor cutting tools such as pocket knives and even some scissors. Find the one that interests you, then head over to the summary for a brief listing of the most recommended product. Let’s get started!
Best Honing Steels
1. Utopia Kitchen Honing Steel Knife
The Utopia Kitchen Honing Steel is one of the knife-honing steel products built for long-term use. It’s not one of those cheaply-made rods that must be thrown away after only having it for two months.
It’s built to accommodate moderate or heavy use and makes a great gift for professional chefs or occasional usage in the home.
Some who have used the Utopia Honing Steel had problems with finding the correct angle to straighten their knives. So long as you’re careful to sharpen at a 10 to 20-degree angle, the edges should come out fine.
Take your time if you’ve never done this before and refer to a tutorial if you must. You’ll find that this honing steel is extremely useful for anything smooth cutting blade that you throw at it (don’t use it to sharpen a serrated blade, however). Highly recommended for all.
- This rod can be purchased as one, or as a set of 30.
- There are two sizes available, 10 and 12 inches as measured from the base.
- Consisting of a combination of carbon steel and nickel plating the rod is suitable for regular use.
- It works best to prevent dulling from happening in the first place.
- However, some sharpening can be done.
- Sharpens just about any knife, including knives used outdoors
- No damage will incur during the sharpening
- The handle is built to suit any hand orientation
- Easy to damage a knife is honing at a bad angle; some practice is needed
2. Kota Japan Diamond Carbon Honing Steel Professional Knife Sharpener
The Kota Japan is more of a combination of a knife sharpener and a honing steel rod. Although the difference might not seem like much to some, this means that you can sharpen dull knives with the product just as often as you would hone them.
There’s a hook on the handle for you to place your finger in as you work, a good way to protect your hand from accidentally slipping when sharpening in a vertical position.
While the product and its sharpening were complimented, some users didn’t like that the Kota is marketed as a honing rod for Japanese knives but is made in either China or the US.
Truthfully, this doesn’t affect the quality of the tool itself so try it out if you have knives with an HRC that’s equal to or less than 63.
- The Kota is plated in a diamond coating.
- This is key to its ability to sharpen fast since a diamond, even as provided here, is extremely dense.
- Your knives will come out sharp with fewer passes needed to finish them off.
- The steel and diamond exterior gives the rod a Rockwell rating of 63, which is enough to use in tandem with knives of a lower hardness (meaning the majority of indoor and outdoor cutting knives for food).
- Lightweight design that’s easy to handle
- Puts a sharp edge to any blade, with no fast wear
- Good handle grip that doesn’t slip
- Recommended to be used with a sharpening stone before edging (for dull knives)
3. Winware Stainless Steel Honing Steel
The Winware Stainless Steel rod is recommended when cleaning is of concern. Some honing steel rods require careful cleaning to be done every time that they’re used, with either a damp cloth or cooking oil.
While you can do it with either of these, wiping it down with a cloth can rid the rod of all the steel particles that you cannot see. As a result, the rod will last much longer, thanks in part to there being less built upon its surface.
Remember, what you’re getting won’t measure 12 inches at the base, which caused some confusion with users trying it out for the first time. You probably won’t notice it but for people with large hands, this could make the rod feel a little smaller than anticipated.
Other than that, there’s nothing physically wrong with the Winware. It’s made too long for a long time and does a great job of getting most knives back to a razor-sharp edge.
- This rod is hard, consisting of steel and ceramic along with the handle.
- Its Rockwell rating is 60, so getting your old knives sharp again should be easy for you to do.
- All rods sold by the company are 12 inches long, not beginning at the base; there aren’t any available in a smaller size.
- Don’t worry too much about this, however, since a longer length is ideal, more so when handling knives of varied sizes.
- It’ll last you for a least a year. Of course, you could extend this by acquiring the bundle of six.
- Residue doesn’t cling to the surface after being wiped down, easy to clean with a mildly damp cloth
- Sharpens mildly dull knives with ease
- Not so dependent on stroke angles as some honing/knife steel rods are; suitable for beginner use
- The rod itself is a little smaller than the 12 inches specified
4. Best Professional Carbon Honing Steel Knife Sharpening Steel
Next, up is the Best Professional Carbon Steel Knife, outfitted with a nice handle that’s built to grip your hand without slipping.
A hook is provided as well, helping users to keep their fingers still while sharpening. The outside material of the rod is nickel with a chrome finish, though this won’t peel off as you sharpen it.
Make sure that you dry the rod thoroughly after you’re done wiping it down. If not, rust and corrosion could develop, particularly near the handle.
Store in a dry location as well since humidity could cause browning around the rod as well. If you take care of this carbon knife after using it, you’re guaranteed to have it last for as long as a year.
- There are 10 and 12-inch versions of this blade available, although you might not notice the size difference too much since the handle size doesn’t change.
- You can position it horizontally or vertically, whichever way is easier or safer for you.
- The handle has a stop where the rob meets the plastic, so even if your hands do get sweaty during sharpening, you won’t accidentally slide down toward the knife.
- Easily straightens up dull knives of all kinds
- The nickel-chrome exterior doesn’t wear down quickly
- Both the ten-inch and 12-inch versions are long enough to sharpen standard-sized knives, without feeling too small
- Corrodes easily if left in an area with high humidity
5. Wüsthof – Knife Sharpening Honing Steel with Loop
The Wusthof is a ten-inch knife sharpening rod that’s easy to clean. All it takes is a lightly moist cloth or some cooking oil that’s stored in your pantry. When it’s time to test it out of your knives, you’ll love how the rod stays put on your working surface, thanks in part to its grip near the tip.
You won’t have to clean the rod after every knife you sharpen, either. Instead, finish off several at a time; the outer layer of steel is magnetic and can gather up all the steel bits so they don’t end up floating in the air.
The Wusthof is a popular sharpening rod, and most that have used it liked the steel-plated exterior and its ability to find the right angle and position for working.
However, some found the handle to be a bit slippery. If you have palms that sweat easily, be sure to use the hook at the handle’s end to protect yourself. If this is doable, then you won’t be disappointed.
- Like most honing rods, the Wusthof has a metal ring at the tip of the handle for you to lock your hand into place during sharpening.
- There’s only one size provided, so you’ll have to look at one of the other products if the ten inches here are too short for your knives.
- It has a Rockwell hardness of 58, good for general-purpose knives of the same or lower gauge.
- Can be cleaned either with cooking oil or a small amount of water
- Capable of sharpening multiple blades without the need to clean in between every knife
- Durable hook at the end for quick storage
- The handle is a bit slippery, especially for people with sweaty hands
6. Noble Professional Knife Honing Steel
The Noble Professional Knife is suggested for people who have had problems with their honing rods rusting in the past. Although the rod itself consists of a steel coating, no rust will develop after you clean it for the first time.
This ensures that the product will last you for several months before needing a replacement, although this is considered if you use it regularly. For those that will break it out only on occasion, expect to extend the rod’s lifetime by much longer.
Like others who have tried out the Nobile Pro, it might be better for you to use this rod with a sharpening stone if there are numerous dull knives in your collection.
The duller the knife, the quicker you’ll wear away the exterior. But on its own, the rod is still recommended and will give you satisfactory results for months to come.
- Rockwell hardness is at an acceptable 58 and can prevent decent blades from ever getting to a dull point.
- But even for those that are a bit dull, this is recommended.
- The handle is made of plastic but doesn’t scratch easily.
- If you dropped it from a short distance, the rod wouldn’t shatter, either.
- It contains all the safety features that you would expect to see on a standard honing rod, with no unexpected flaws in the design.
- Strong magnetic rob that prevents metal particles from leaving its surface (until cleaned)
- Anti-rust/corrosion rod
- Safe for automatic washing (dishwasher)
- Unless used with a sharpening stone, some dull knives may not come out as sharp
7. Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener
The Messermeister Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpener is a butcher honing steel but is also suggested for anyone who frequently uses knives or cutting boards. As you probably are aware, cutting boards, while useful, can quickly bend the sharp edges of a knife.
This can occur even when you don’t think it is. Durable and built to last for a long time, you’ll finally have a tool at your disposal that’ll keep you from throwing away your dull knives at the first sign of bending.
Many found the Messermeister to be easy to handle and sharpen, even after many months of continuous sharpening. If you can avoid dropping it while working, this rod might be the best choice for people with large hands.
- This is a ceramic rod, so you’ll have to use it to not drop it during your sharpening.
- Yet ceramic has some advantages, mostly being easier to align knives of various edge sizes and few passes.
- This is a 12-inch rod, with no smaller sizes sold.
- A grip that stays firm in the hand for the entirety of the sharpening
- Sold with a protective sleeve for safer storage
- Aligns most knives that have been damaged from rubbing against cutting boards
- The handle’s tip is made of ceramic and may shatter if dropped, even from a low height
8. ARCCI Diamond Knife Sharpener Rod Honing Steel
The ARCCI is a knife-honing tool that consists of a powerful rod that can sear and sharpen just as well as its handles. There’s no rusting to worry about, and the hardened tip can straighten quickly regardless of how you have the product angled.
Based on the Rockwell hardness of the knife that you’re sharpening, the diamond coating could wear down fast. Be careful with angling and your rod should last for the specified period that the brands list in their description (4-6 months with consistent usage).
- The outer portion of this rod has a thin film of diamond, which comes into contact with the softer steel of your knives.
- It makes sharpening hassle-free and you might spend more time wiping the rod down than actually repairing your cutting tool with it.
- Coated with a diamond that prevents the dulling of already sharp blades
- Doesn’t rust when wiped down with water
- Slightly abrasive tip at the bottom for better control when sharpened at a vertical angle
- The carbon-coated outer layer wears away quickly
9. Green Elephant Ceramic Sharpening Rod
The Green Elephant is one of the ceramic honing rods lightweight and great for people who have never used a sharpening tool before.
You can find the correct angle quickly, and the handling is excellent. Its shock-absorbing capabilities, whereby the ceramic is less likely to incur damages than comparable rods of the same material.
Like others who found out after this product was purchased, you won’t be able to wash this rod in your dishwasher. You can wipe it down the same way that you do with steel rods. If this won’t be a nuisance, then give the Green Elephant a shot, especially if you’re new to knife sharpening.
- The handle is made of polypropylene and clings to the hand as you sharpen it.
- Starting from the base of the rod, the ceramic portion measures 10.75 inches and has a grit rate of 1500.
- Durable enough to stay intact if dropped
- Less than ten strokes are needed to realign most knives
- Made of tough ceramic that’s great for routine use
- Not safe for dishwashers
10. TUO Honing Steel with Pakkawood Handle
The TUO finishes off the list and is great for people who want a rod that’ll last for a long time. As long as you’re careful with it when working, it’ll last for well over a year (or even longer).
Keep in mind that the handle, while good, can get a bit slippery if you’re working with a lot of knives in one session. The curved tip should prevent your hand from sliding but you will have to be careful when sharpening knives in a position other than vertically.
- Steel is high in carbon and made in Germany. It also has a Rockwell hardness of 56.
- As the name shows, the handle is wooden, Pakkawood to be exact.
- This is often found in knives and handling is about the same.
- Matches other products made by the same brand (wooden handle)
- Even weight distribution
- Easily straightens kitchen knives without wearing them down too fast
- The handle, while visually appealing, can get very slippery when held for a long time
Factors to Consider
One of the biggest areas of confusion when it comes to honing steel rods is the name. Most of the time, this is no fault of the customer.
While honing rods are useful in sharpening knives, they are primarily made to prevent knives from becoming dull.
So if you have multiple dull knives, it’s highly recommended that you purchase a sharpening stone to go along with your rod.
If you’re unsure between a ceramic and diamond honing rod for purchase, understand that the difference mostly lies in the quality of the knife that you’re working on.
For quick touch-ups, a diamond would be a better choice. But for general maintenance and repositioning, ceramic is great. Sometimes, rods may consist of both diamond and ceramic. In this case, sharpening slightly dull knives is better.
Honing Steel FAQ
How to Use a Honing Steel Rod?Here's a quick rundown on the basics: Hold your rod down on a flat, hard surface, preferably one that's at working weight. Grab the knife that you intend to work on, and place it on the rod at a 20-degree angle, beginning at the heel (depending on the knife, you may have to sharpen at a 10-degree angle instead). Move the knife down the rod, being careful to not move the edge of the 20-degree angle. You can repeat this as many times as you like until the blade is sharp, but it should only take two or three strokes for most.
How Do I Clean a Sharpening Rod?You can use a cleaning cloth that's not woven to get your rod free of any debris. Alternatively use a soft brush to do this, then finish it off with a bit of cooking oil in your kitchen. Once that's done, be sure to dry all portions of the rob before it's stored.
How Do I keep Myself from Getting Cut in the Sharpening Process?Always hold the rod with one of your fingers in the loop that's provided with the most honing rods. It will prevent your hand from moving away from the handle during your work.
Making The Decision
Ready to choose one of the products featured above? Given that they’re all recommended in some way, it might be difficult for one to choose.
In this case, the Utopia Kitchen Honing Steel carries the best features for multiple situations, no matter if you’re a professional chef working at a restaurant, or getting prepped for a new recipe at home.
Its steel is dense and the rod itself is your last long after you’ve purchased it. But don’t settle for this one if you believe one of the other nine to be a better fit for your knife-sharpening. Buy now and you’ll never have to use a dull knife to complete your cooking ever again!