To get excellent service from your knives, you need to maintain them regularly. One of the maintenance practices to perform is honing. Contrary to popular belief, honing is not the same as sharpening.
Its primary purpose is to have the edges at a straight angle. In other words, it does away with bends that may come from consistent use. A honing steel is a go-to tool for this practice.
In this piece, we review the finest honing steels in the market today.
Number One Pick
This honing steel is one of the finest in the market, with resiliency and convenience are its principal selling points. It is a professional-grade tool, which you may use for different kinds of knives. At 10-inches, it is long enough to ensure your cutters have a perfect alignment.
The DALSTRONG rod has an impressive construction, featuring stainless carbon steel. Furthermore, the material’s composition features chromium for enhanced resiliency. It makes it durable and will have your back for a long time.
Another fantastic thing about this Gladiator series model is its ergonomic handle. This part’s design allows for maximum maneuverability while offering protection and comfort. This product has a uniquely designed bolster that boosts protection and balance. Triple rivets on the shaft make it more stable.
Maintenance is a straightforward affair for this tool as regular cleaning will have it in good form. You may put it in the dishwasher with other cutlery. Being rust-resistant, you do not have to worry about its degradation.
The lightness of this implement boosts its usability. At 1.87-pounds, handling it is effortless.
- An excellent length of 10-inches.
- Suitable for different kinds of knives.
- A durable build.
- A comfortable handle that provides balance and maximum maneuverability.
- It is safe to use, supported by features like the bolster.
- A dishwasher-friendly tool.
- It is light.
- When not used correctly, it may make the knife’s edge dull.
Our second pick is an excellent option if you want a looker. It resembles a sword, an awesome addition to your cutlery set if you are into minimalistic art. The aesthetic factor of the ZWILLING sharpening steel should not sway you from its functionality.
It is user-friendly, with contributing factors being its lightness and 12-inch length. The length also works towards its versatility, where you can use it on various cutters. Further on adaptability, you can use this implement for honing and sharpening.
The shaft feels natural on your hand, with a grooved design giving you a good grip. The grooves, together with the bolster, protect you from injuries. At the shank tip is a hanging ring for safe storage when not in use.
Durability is a top factor to consider when getting kitchen tools. This ZWILLING model has stainless steel as its primary material, translating to hardiness.
- A fantastic aesthetic appeal.
- Its lightness allows for effortless handling.
- It is long at 12-inches.
- Ideal for different types of knives.
- This honing steel also works as a sharpener.
- A comfortable grip.
- Safe to use and has a hanging ring for storage.
- You may notice the handle breaking apart after prolonged use.
Top Budget Option
If you are on a budget, you can go for this honing tool. You get a decent value from this acquisition, courtesy of its many features. A noticeable attribute of the Utopia Kitchen honing steel is flexibility.
It is 12-inches long, which allows for its wide use with many cutters. This implement will do a good job for kitchen, pocket, and even hunting knives. Still, on adaptability, it is a sharpener. This means you have two tools in one.
The Utopia Kitchen honing rod sports carbon steel and chrome plating as its main materials. They are very robust, giving this utility an edge of durability.
An ergonomic handle assures you of comfort and its design makes it suitable for both right and left-handed individuals. To add on, this part has slip-resistant rubber for easy and safe use, enhanced by a stable bolster.
An essential part of maintaining honing steel is cleaning. It is a simple engagement for this Utopia Kitchen model, whereby, a quick wipe will retain its shine. For intensive cleaning, you may put it in the dishwasher.
- A 12-inch length.
- Compatible with kitchen, hunting, and pocket knives.
- Easy to clean.
- It supports knife honing and sharpening.
- It is long-lasting.
- Safe and comfortable.
- The blunt tip makes it prone to slipping when using it. For safety, do not use it on a flat or smooth surface.
Best Diamond Option
The Wusthof 10-inch steel is an excellent example of a diamond honing tool. It is a convenient utensil when looking at its use and maintenance. A 14-inch length lets you use it on the kitchen, sporting, and general outdoor knives. Its convenience gets more boost from its lightness, as it weighs 0.6-pounds.
Maintenance mostly focuses on cleaning, a trouble-free affair with this utility. It is dishwasher-safe, though it does not require consistent washing.
The Wusthof diamond sharpening steel guarantees you safety. Supporting features include a sturdy anti-slip handle and a bolster. The handle is pleasant to the touch, presenting minimal risks of wrist fatigue.
This honing instrument is long-lasting, as it is heavy-duty steel construction. Unlike others, it does not lose its rasp fast. While it is primary purpose is edge retention, you may use it as a sharpener. This rod has a hanging ring on its shaft for storage.
- Convenient to use
- A sturdy steel construction.
- You may use it as a sharpener.
- Works with many knife varieties.
- Guaranteed safety.
- Cleaning is an effortless affair.
- If not correctly used, it may dull the edges.
Best Ceramic Coating
The DALSTRONG 10” scratch-free rod is an excellent ceramic coated utility. At 10-inches, the shaft length is usable with most knives. This size enhances its convenience. It is not bulky, allowing for hassle-free blade edge retention.
The other impressive facet of this utility is its construction. At the core is high-grade carbon steel, which is very sturdy. To enhance its resistance is a scratch-free ceramic coat. As earlier hinted, the outer layer is gentle on knives.
More on its convenience, you have a smooth handle. This part’s design lets it naturally rest on your palms. If correctly wielded, you have zero chances of wrist strain. A bolster works towards its safety. The triple-riveted design makes the shank sturdy.
At its tip is a silicon case. This part is practical when honing on a smooth or flat surface. The casing offers a great grip, curbing slipping, which can lead to accidents.
The DALSTRONG scratch-free rod has a fascinating look. This attribute makes it a great addition to your kitchen if targeting a high-degree aesthetic appeal.
- This rod is gentle on your utensils.
- A high-quality construction.
- Amazing looks.
- A comfy and stable handle.
- Its silicon-cased tip gives it a firm grip.
- A 10-inch length.
- It is brittle, and the ceramic coating may break on impact.
Other Selections to Consider
This honing tool is stainless steel construction. This material is very hardy and lends this quality to the sharpening rod. The other benefits of stainless steel is the ease of cleaning and its shiny appearance.
Winware’s sharpening steel is relatively long, at 12-inches. The longer the shaft, the more adaptable it is for use on different blades. Additionally, the length offers ample maneuverability and balance.
A look at its design; you will appreciate the detail on the shank. While it looks short, it is efficient, offering a nice grip. You have to hold it properly to curb straining. This part’s main material is heavy-duty plastic, which upholds its durability.
Cleaning can be stressful with some kitchen utensils, but that is not the case with the Winware stainless steel model. Wet wiping followed by oiling will preserve its condition. You can clean it in the dishwasher.
At 0.85-pounds, this implement is very light, making it more convenient. For storage, you hook it by its hanging loop.
- A long-lasting construction.
- The rod has a 12-inch shaft.
- An efficient handle that offers an excellent grip.
- You can put it in the dishwasher.
- Light in weight.
- It has a hanging loop for storage.
- The grooves wear out with prolonged application.
The Kota Japan diamond carbon steel does not disappoint in longevity. Carbon steel, its prime material, boosts its durability. Resiliency extends to its compact handgrip, which has anti-slip properties
The rod offers precise honing, ideal for professional or commercial settings. It is 12-inches long, perfect for many types of blades. The good thing with diamond honing rods is their efficiency in achieving a balanced edge. There is no need to overwork with this utensil.
An oval cross-section ups its efficiency and stability. The handle is practicable, with safety and comfort being its defining characteristics. This section of the rod has a hanging loop for hooking on storage.
The Kota Japan carbon steel is a multipurpose instrument. This comes from its grooves’ design that allows for sharpening and edge angling.
The rod’s tip has a rubber seal for steadiness when restoring your blades and offers a firm grip, thus preventing slips.
- A user-friendly utility.
- It is versatile, courtesy of its 12-inch length.
- A practicable and safe shank.
- Enhanced safety and stability, coming from its oval cross-section.
- Ideal for sharpening.
- A rubber seal on the tip to prevent slips.
- The rod is hollow on the inside; as such, it is prone to bending.
A downside with most ceramic sharpening steels is their brittleness. It makes them prone to breaking on impact. This is something you bid goodbye to with the Green Elephant ceramic rod. This product has a silicon seal between its ceramic coat and handle. It works with a plastic end cap to absorb vibration shock on impact.
Additionally, it will last you for a long time, as it is a stainless steel craft. At 11-inches, the Green Elephant rod has an average length. This makes it flexible, as it will work with household and outdoor cutters.
Efficiency is the other impressive thing about this honing steel. To realign your blades, you need 5-10 strokes. This is not draining, and you won’t have complaints of fatigue.
An ergonomic handle is pleasant to your hands and prevents injury. The safety part receives a boost from the bolster. To store it, you can hang it by its loop.
- This item has shock-absorbent properties.
- A long-lasting product.
- Guaranteed safety.
- Versatility, coming from a long honing shaft.
- It needs fewer strokes to maintain your knives’ edges.
- It comes in a secure package.
- The Green Elephant ceramic rod is not dishwasher-friendly.
What is Honing Steel?
As from its name, this tool’s primary purpose is honing. This refers to the maintenance practice of having a blade’s edge at a regular angle.
When using a knife, the edge may bend due to many factors, like cutting hard things. At times, it is due to the degradation of the material. This affects the cutter’s efficiency, as they feel blunt.
The honing rod helps straighten the edges, restoring the knives’ functionality. It is, therefore, a must-have accessory, which you should regularly use. However, some culinary pundits are against its overuse, as it may make the blades blunt.
Related: Best Knife for Slicing Brisket
Are Honing Steel and Sharpening Steel the Same Thing?
Many people have a hard time distinguishing between honing steel and sharpening steel. They are two different tools, though they have many similarities. For instance, you use them in a similar stroking manner, and both aim to preserve your cutters.
Sharpening vs Honing
The removal of material from the blade is the main goal of sharpening. The edge becomes sharper and thinner as a result. On the other hand, honing realigns edges that have already been sharpened.
Frequency is the other point of contrast. You should sharpen your knives more often. It’s okay to do it once or twice every week. Sharpening should be done 3-5 times per year. Avoid overdoing any of them, especially sharpening, since this might cause the blade to become dull. If you regularly straighten the knife’s edge, there is no need to sharpen it.
Sharpening vs. honing tools is another confusing area. For the former, you may use a grinder, sharpening stone, or the standard knife sharpener. For the latter, a honing rod does the job. You may find some honing tools that also function as sharpeners.
Also, check our buying guide for steak knives
Types of Honing Steel
From the review, you will notice that there are many types of honing rods. The categorizations factor in various features. One of them looks at build quality, with a focus on the structure and materials. Highlighted below are the types you get under this category.
1. Stainless Steel
This material is very common, primarily due to its high degree of resistance. Stainless steel is very robust; hence, sturdy rods. Their maintenance is trouble-free, with most being dishwasher-safe.
There are magnetized types, which you can easily store by sticking on a metallic surface. The magnetic rod will attract metal fillings, preventing them from going to your food. The downside to steel is that it may accumulate the fillings on its groove. This may lower its effectiveness.
Typical honing rods may dull the blades, especially when you overdo the straightening. The ceramic type has an advantage, where it is gentle on the edges. For sharpening, it does not remove a lot of material.
The ceramic rod structure will most of the time consist of a steel core with a ceramic coat. While the core is resilient, the coat is quite brittle and may break on impact.
A diamond honing steel is one of the finest. It is very effective due to its hardiness. A few strokes are all you need to have your cutters in working order. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a diamond build. Instead, it is a steel craft, with a diamond dust coat. The coat makes this honing steel very durable.
If not handled correctly, they may lead to the dulling of the edges. They may also be pretty costly.
How Often Should I Hone My Knives?
Honing frequency is a critical aspect to know. It depends on how regularly you use your knives. For daily use cutters, hone them 2-3 times a week. Once a month, for infrequently used ones works just fine.
How to Use Honing Steel?
The honing steel is an easy-to-use tool. Before using it, ensure that it is clean. You may oil its shaft for a better outcome. There are many ways of honing your knives.
A common way is by having your knife on one hand and the steel on the other. Put the knife atop the steel, forming an X-shape. Run the knife over the rod’s length and draw it back on the edge’s opposing side.
Repeat the process for around 5-times for each side.
The other method requires you to place the rod with its tip against a wall or hard surface. You now run the blade down the rod’s shaft and bring it back on its opposite edge. Do this 5-6 times for proper alignment.
Once done, clean the cutter to get rid of metal fillings.
Honing steel is an essential utensil for maintaining knives. In this review, we look at some of the finest pieces you may encounter. When looking for a suitable one, pay attention to factors like durability and safety for excellent service.