Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone Review

This double-sided model put an edge on both of our knives that none of the electric or manual knife sharpeners CR evaluated could match

Sharp Pebble Stone knife sharpener seen on a cutting board with two sharp knives and strips of cut paper. Photo: Paul Hope/Consumer Reports

I wouldn’t wish a dull knife on my worst enemy. As the primary cook in my house, and a former chef, I jumped at the chance to assess eight knife sharpeners as part of Consumer Reports’ Outside the Labs program. I sized up each sharpener by repeatedly dulling and then sharpening two of my favorite knives from our recent chef’s knives test: the J.A. Henckels Forged Premio 8-Inch Chef’s Knife, which is a German-style knife, and the Global G-2 8-inch Chef’s Knife, a Japanese blade.

My pick for knife enthusiasts who are willing to put in the work to keep their blades sharp is the Sharp Pebble Premium Whetstone Knife Sharpening Stone, $40.

For thousands of years, sharpening stones were the only option for sharpening knives, and in my opinion, they remain the gold standard for anyone who finds knife sharpening fun and wants total control. They require a fair amount of skill—users control the sharpening angle as you drag the knife blade across the stone, alternating sides as you go. A separate tool called a bevel gauge—available at home centers and hardware stores—can help you get the angle exactly right. You use a coarse stone for restoring a really dull blade, then progress to a finer stone for polishing the edge. The Pebble Premium is double-sided, with a coarse and fine side on the same stone. 

More on Knives and Kitchen Prep

With any sharpening stone, coarseness or grit is measured with a number—lower numbers, like 220 or 320, indicate a stone is coarse and better suited for removing lots of metal to restore an edge that’s been damaged or neglected for years. Higher numbers—often 1,000 or higher—indicate a finer stone for polishing an edge. (These are the same measures that manufacturers use to delineate sandpaper.) 

Our stone was 1,000 grit on the coarser side and 6,000 on the finer side—perfect for sharpening and polishing a dull knife. But again, you’ll need something coarser to restore anything with a damaged edge. We picked this combination because it’s the best-selling configuration on Amazon, and because we were starting with a knife that was dull but not damaged. A coarser, 400-grit stone for the Sharp Pebble is available for about $28. 

You need to soak the stone in water for 10 to 12 minutes before sharpening, so you probably want to sharpen all of your knives in one shot.

That said, it put an edge on both of our knives that none of the electric or manual sharpeners could match, and I found the process relaxing, making it my top choice for cooks who are serious about sharp blades.

Where to buy: Amazon, Sharp Pebble, Walmart

This product evaluation is part of Consumer Reports’ “Outside the Labs" reviews program, which is separate from our laboratory testing and ratings. Our “Outside the Labs” reviews are performed at home and in other native settings by individuals, including our journalists, with deep subject matter experience or knowledge and are designed to offer another important perspective for consumers as they shop. While the products or services mentioned in this article may not currently be in CR’s ratings, they might eventually be tested in our laboratories and rated according to an objective, scientific protocol.

Like all CR evaluations of products and services, our “Outside the Labs” reviews are independent and free from advertising. If you’d like to learn more about the criteria for our lab testing, please visit the Research and Testing page on our website.

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Paul Hope

As a classically trained chef and an enthusiastic DIYer, I've always valued having the best tool for a job—whether the task at hand is dicing onions for mirepoix or hanging drywall. When I'm not writing about home products, I can be found putting them to the test, often with help from my two young children, in the 1860s townhouse I'm restoring in my free time.