Sharpening your garden tools may not be at the top of your priority list, but putting it off for too long can leave you with dull, ineffective blades. Experts recommend using a whetstone every few weeks, and having a longer sharpening session a couple of times a year to make sure your tools continue performing well.
The good news is that most of the best whetstones for tool sharpening are relatively inexpensive, and you can use them again and again.
How to use a whetstone for sharpening tools
Whetstones need moisture to work at their best, so you’ll need to submerge them in water for 5-10 minutes before using them. Then, if you have an angle guide to help you get the right technique, add it to your blade.
The higher the ‘grit’ number, the finer the whetstone, so start by using rough ones up to 1,000-grit, before polishing your blade with a higher grit.
Always remember to rinse and dry the blade and whetstone after sharpening sessions to keep them in good condition.
9 whetstones for sharpening garden tools
Niwaki Sharpening Stones
Niwaki prides itself on its high-quality selection of Japanese-inspired garden tools. It’s always a go-to brand for us, so its sharpening stones deserve a spot on this list.
Their curved top section makes them some of the best whetstones you can buy, helping to reach any hard-to-access areas on items like secateurs and shears.
Either choose a specific whetstone or buy Niwaki’s bundle, which comes with three different grits: 220, 1,000 and 3,000. Opt for the multi-pack and you’ll be able to bring your blades back up to standard, no matter whether they’re damaged or just a bit blunt.
DDF iohEF whetstones
Another option is this two-in-one whetstone combining 1,000 grit and 6,000 grit. The standout feature of this pack is its silicone angle guide, which won’t scratch the blade as you move it.
The whetstone itself is made from corundum, which is both heat- and corrosion-resistant, so it should last a long time.
The distinctive circular shape of this whetstone sets it apart from others on the market, and makes it easy to hold in the hand. You can use it on everything from lawn mower blades to axes but, thanks to its low grit values, it’s ideal for badly damaged surfaces.
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The brand has created lots of two-in-one whetstones with different grit combinations, so you can buy the one you need or invest in a few to bulk out your collection. Currently, you can choose between: 120/240; 150/280; 180/320; and 320/500.
Stanley Sharpening Stone Oil and Honing Guide
Stanley is a well-regarded brand when it comes to knives and other bladed tools, so it makes sense to trust its sharpening stones too.
This set provides everything you need to bring damaged blades back to their former glory. It has a 120-grit side and a 240-grit side; ideal for repairing the blade’s burr.
The pack also includes lubricating oil and an angle gauge with pre-set markings for 25°, 30° and 35°.
Stellar Knife Sharpening Whetstone
Stellar’s two-in-one sharpening whetstone offers 400 grit and 1,000 grit, so you can neaten up any rough edges before polishing blades to remove bluntness.
Like many of the best whetstones for sharpening garden tools, it arrives in a non-slip cradle for safety and convenience.
Vogue Dual Grit Whetstone
Another mid-range option is this combination whetstone from Nisbets. You can buy it in your choice of grit values, with one rough side and one much finer side. Just alternate between the two to get the best result for your blades.
As an added bonus, this whetstone comes with a base to help you avoid accidents while sharpening.
Wickes General Purpose Sharpening Stone
If you don’t want to spend a lot, try this inexpensive sharpening stone from Wickes, which comes in at under £10.
It’s made from silicone carbide stone and is double-sided to give both a fine and a medium surface for restoring blades.
Global Combination Whetstone Knife Sharpener
Global’s whetstone knife sharpener comes with a hefty price tag, but it’s earned lots of positive customer reviews.
It categorises the whetstone’s two sides as ‘rough’ and ‘medium’, so it’s ideal for sharpening blunt and badly chipped blades.
This set comes with a grippy base, as well as large and small guard rails to help you achieve the right angle for effective sharpening.
Why not pick up this knife sharpener from ProCook on your next shopping trip? It combines a coarse 600-grit panel and a fine 2,000-grit side, so it’s a good all-in-one tool.
You’ll also get a handy tray for storing the whetstone.
Alice is a digital writer with a knack for tracking down the most innovative and exciting products to hit the market. Working across several of Our Media's special interest brands, she's written for publications including Countryfile, Gardens Illustrated and Science Focus. Outside of work - and lusting over homeware and gardening products - you’ll find her rambling in the great outdoors or watching an old film.