Best Knife Sharpening Steels & Honing Rods (Review)

So you want to keep your knives sharp so you have two accessories to choose from: honing rods and knife sharpening steels. Many think that honing rods and knife sharpeners are the same thing because using them seems to produce same result, however they do completely different things:

  • Honing rods: Realigns the edge of knife back to the center and straightens it resulting in knife that cuts better. Honing rods remove barely any material off blade if any at all. Honing should be done often, some chefs do it before each use of knife.
  • Knife sharpeners: Removes metal from blade to make sharp edge. Sharpening shouldn’t be done more than few times a year, sometimes once is enough.

Ideally you should have both in your kitchen, but if you have to choose between one I would advise honing rod. Knife sharpeners usually wear out much faster than honing rods and in nearly all cases realigning the edge of knife is enough to make it sharp again and honing rods removes barely any if any material at all.

I have done extensive research to help you choose the best knife sharpening steels and honing rods out of 15 different models. Find out which knife sharpening steels and honing rods you should consider and which ones to avoid!:

#1 Noble Home & Chef Honing Rod

Noble Home & Chef honing rod is made of hardened carbon steel and is chromium plated to prevent rust. It’s also magnetized to prevent you from breathing tiny metal particles that might be released into air when sharpening your knife. The honing rod is 12 inches long not counting the handle, with handle it’s 16.75 inches long.

Noble Home & Chef honing rod works well – with just few passes the knives become very sharp. Overall constructions feels solid, handle is of good quality too (they are often badly made).

Noble Home & Chef honing rod is machine washable. You don’t have to wash it after each use but it’s advisable to clean it with wet cloth.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Chromium plated carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.375 inches (0.3125 at the end)

#2 F. Dick 11-inch Fine Cut Multicut Steel (7650428)

F. Dick 11″ Fine Cut multicut steel restores knife’s edge with few strokes better than any other steel. It’s made from 7 different steels with grooves in between them. With light pressure it has honing effect on the blade, whereas with stronger pressure it has grinding effect. The large grooves straighten the deep dents, after that the blade doesn’t enter in the large grooves and is honed by the fine surface. The end result is astonishingly straight and sharp edge on your blade. It works well even with the hardest knives. Many chefs with decades of experience consider this to be the best honing rod on market. Only nitpick you could have is that the rod could be 1 inch longer.

It’s rated at HRC 66 hardness. The handle is very comfortable and it has loop on it for hanging.

It’s made in Germany and the quality is outstanding, however you still have to be careful not to drop it as it could chip the hardened coating. However if you take care of it then it will last a really long time, there are multiple accounts of it lasting 10+ years.

The only reason it’s #2 in this list is because it’s far more expensive than other steels, rendering it too expensive for most consumers and therefore one could argue it’s not the best value for money. But when it comes to honing rods there is no other product that compares to this one.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 11 inches

#3 Utopia Kitchen 12 Inch Honing Steel

Utopia Kitchen 12 inch honing steel is made of carbon steel and is nickel-chrome plated. With the handle it’s 18 inches long. Restores knifes blade well and makes it very, very sharp.

Handle feels comfortable in hands, it does feel a bit cheap but it’s sturdy enough.

It’s not machine washable! It’s suggested to clean it with non-woven cloth that has been soaked in cooking oil, after the cleaning you should let it dry. If you wash it with water be sure to wipe it completely dry and hang it to air-dry.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Nickel-chrome plated carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches

#4 Dexter-Russell DDS-12PCP Diamond Sharpener

Dexter-Russell DDS-12PCP diamond sharpener is 12 inches long (not including the handle). It’s very effective in sharpening steel and with just few swipes your blade will be super sharp. However the diamond grit does wear pretty fast, if you use the sharpener often you will need a replacement in no time. It’s comfortable to use.

The handle is 5 inches long and is made from polypropylene.

Dexter-Russell DDS-12PCP diamond sharpener is made in USA.

  • Type: Sharpener
  • Material: Steel with diamond dust coating
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches

#5 Chefast Honing Steel

Chefast Honing Steel is of chromium-plated carbon steel. The steel rod is 10 inches long and the handle additional 5.5″. Works well and gives knives very sharp edge. Considering the low pricing the value for money is really good.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Chromium-plated carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 10 inches

Package includes:

  • 1 x 10-inch Honing Rod (+ 5.5 inch handle)
  • 1 x Specialized Cleaning Cloth (7.8 x 7.8 inches)
  • 1 x Synthetic Leather Carry Bag (16.5 x 3.3 inches)
  • 1 x Quick Instructions Sheet

#6 Cooks Standard Professional Ceramic Rod Knife Sharpening Steel

Cooks Standard Professional ceramic sharpening rod is made of alumina ceramic. Works very well and makes even old, dull knives sharp. Just follow the poorly translated but understandable instructions and with some practice you will be able to make any blade super sharp! It works both as knife sharpener and honing rod at the same time. It aligns edge but also has abrasives that remove metal and makes knife sharper.

It feels well constructed however it’s very likely to break into multiple pieces if you drop it so be careful when using it. It has hanging ring so you can hang it to store it. Handle is easy and comfortable to grip.

  • Type: Mixed (Knife Sharpener & Honing rod)
  • Material: Alumina ceramic
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.625 inches

#7 Dalstrong Honing Steel

Dalstrong honing steel 10 inch rod is made of triple riveted stain-resistant carbon steel, the handle is made of hand polished pakkawood. It’s a bit more expensive than other honing rods but you can feel additional price tag in quality. It feels very well made, the overall quality is very high. Feels solid in your hand. Does a great job of aligning blade edge and keeping your knives sharp!

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Triple riveted carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 10 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.42 inches

#8 Satori 10.5 Inch Ceramic Honing Rod

Satori 10.5-inch ceramic honing rod is about 2000-2500 grit and is rated at 8 Mohs hardness. It’s made of black ceramic (titanium carbide – metal titanium with a fixed number of carbon atoms) that has went through hot isostatic pressing process which increases density of the material. Satori ceramic honing rod works well and makes the knifes edge smooth and sharp.

At 0.63 inches diameter the rod is quite thick and won’t fit in the standard knife block hole. It feels heavier than honing rods usually do (which kinda makes sense since this one is quite thick) but it’s comfortable to use. Wood handle feels comfortable in your hands and the metal ring is solid. Rod could be 1.5 inches longer to work better with bigger knives.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Black ceramic (titanium carbide)
  • Rod length (without handle): 10.5 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.63 inches

#9 Green Elephant Ceramic Honing Rod

Green Elephant ceramic honing rod is 10.75 inches long (rod itself, without the handle) and is made out of white ceramic. It’s rated 1500 grit, 9 Mohs hardness (SGS tested) and rockwell hardness of over 100. It does work good and makes knifes edge straight and sharp, but not quite razor sharp.

The main problem with ceramic is that it’s fragile meaning it’s prone to crack if you drop it on hard surface. Apparently Green Elephant ceramic honing rod is designed with shock absorbing technology and in tests it survived drop from 3 feet to tile ground 8 out of 10 times.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: White ceramic
  • Rod length (without handle): 10.75 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.6 inches

#10 Victorinox Fibrox Honing Steel

Victorinox Fibrox honing steel is made of stainless steel and is 10″ long (not including the handle). Quality control seems to be major issue as it does not produce smooth draw. It seems that different parts of steel has different aggressiveness. It does make blades very sharp despite that.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: White ceramic
  • Rod length (without handle): 10.75 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.6 inches

#11 Kota Japan 12 in. Diamond Carbon Steel Knife Sharpener Rod

Kota Japan 12 inch sharpener rod is made of carbon steel and is diamond electroplated. It works very well – with just 3 or 4 strokes on each side the knives become crazy sharp. The rod is rated at 1000 grit diamond. It feels like that smaller radius sides are more aggressive than wider ones. It’s lightweight and easy to handle. It has hanging rod so you can hang it.

You have to be aware that diamond coating will eventually wear out and won’t last forever. How long it will last is hard to predict because it largely depends on how often you use it, but most can expect lifetime of less than 1 year.

  • Type: Sharpener
  • Material: Diamond electroplated carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches

#12 ARCCI 12 inch Diamond Knife Sharpener Rod

ARCCI 12 inch knife sharpener rod is made of stainless steel with nickel plating and diamond particles. It’s rated at 600 grit, 23 microns. It works very well, couple passes and knives are really sharp. The angle between the sharpener rod and knife should be about 20 degrees. Unfortunately diamond particles wear out quite fast, if you use this sharpener rod on regular basis it won’t last long.

  • Type: Sharpener
  • Material: Nickel plated stainless steel with diamond particles
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches

#13 KUMA Kitchen Knife Sharpener (Honing rod)

KUMA kitchen knife sharpener has 8 inches long rod with diameter of 0.37 inches. It’s made of carbon steel. Works pretty well and does a decent job of sharpening knives.  It’s not great for bigger knives because of relatively short rod.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 8 inches
  • Rod diameter: 0.37 inches

#14 Best Professional Carbon Steel Knife Sharpening (Honing) Steel

Best Professional knife honing steel is made of carbon steel and is nickel chrome plated. It works pretty well however the plating won’t last long. It feels solid and well made. Overall it’s not a bad sharpening (honing) steel considering the low pricing but as previously mentioned it won’t last long.

  • Type: Honing rod
  • Material: Nickel chrome plated carbon steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 12 inches

#15 J.A Henckels International 32547-232 Fine Edge Pro Straightening steel

J.A Henckels International 32547-232 Fine Edge Pro is a straightening steel. It’s 9 inches long not counting the handle, with handle it’s 15.6 inches long. Overall it’s a mediocre straightening steel. It works and definitely makes knives a lot sharper but it’s not as good as most effective ones.

  • Type: Honing rod/straightening steel
  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Rod length (without handle): 9 inches

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