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Sharp Pebble Knife Sharpeners: A Detailed Review

By trk

Last Updated: January 12, 2024

kitchen knife sharpeners, knife sharpener review, Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble is a reputable company that makes several knife and tool sharpeners, including whetstones, pull through sharpeners, honing steels, and strops. This review looks at sharpening tools for kitchen knives only.

Sharp Pebble Sharpeners at a Glance

Here are the Sharp Pebble sharpening products for kitchen knives. They also make tool sharpeners but we're only looking at products you'd use for kitchen knives.

These are the most popular products. To see the full line of sharpening stones, see the Sharp Pebble website.

All Sharp Pebble products are manufactured in China.

Sharp Pebble Pull-Thru Sharpeners and Honing Rod

Product

Features

Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Thru Sharpener

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Through Sharpener

-5 sharpening angles: 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 degrees

-3 slots: coarse, medium, fine

-ABS plastic body

-Rubberized grip and non-slip rubber base

-Designed for right-handed users

-About $40.


Orange Ninja 4-Stage Pull-Through Sharpener

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja 4 Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener

-4 settings: coarse, medium, fine, and serrated

-Coarse is carbide, medium is diamond, fine is ceramic 

-Rotating disc

-Good for right- and left-handed users

-ABS plastic body

-Rubberized grip and non-slip rubber base

-About $25.

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Honing Rod

-10-inch carbon steel rod

-Detachable 17- and 20-degree angle guides

-ABS plastic handle

-About $20.

Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stones

Stone

Features

1000/6000 Sharpening Stone

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble 1000:6000 Whetstone

-1000/6000 grit Corundum whet stone

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Bamboo base with non-slip bottom

-Silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included

-Angle guide included (20 degrees)

-About $40.

1000/6000 Sharpening Stone with Angle Guides

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble 1000:6000 Sharpening Stone with Angle Guides

-1000/6000 grit water stone

-Built in angle guides: 15, 17, 20, 22 degrees

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Non-slip base

-Flattening stone included

-About $40.

400/1000/6000 Sharpening Stone

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble 400:1000:6000 Whetstone

-400/1000/6000 grit water stone

-Silicon carbide and corundum

-Extra large (8x2.75x1 in.)

-Bamboo base with non-slip bottom

-Silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included

-About $70.

Sharp Pebble 400:1000 Sharpening Stone

-400/1000 grit sharpening stone

-Japanese silicon carbide

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Non-slip silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included

-About $24.

3000/8000 Sharpening Stone

see it on Amazon

see it at Sharp Pebble

Sharp Pebble 3000:8000 Sharpening Stone

-3000/8000 grit sharpening stone (for finishing)

-Japanese aluminum oxide

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Bamboo base with non-slip bottom

-Silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included

-About $35.

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Why Your Kitchen Knives Need to Be Sharp

Knives are one of the most important cook's tools, and sharp kitchen knives should be a priority. Here's why.

Safety

You may have heard the saying "A sharp knife is a safe knife." This is true, but it's good to understand why: obviously, a sharp knife can be a deadly tool, so it's not that sharp knives are inherently safer than dull knives. Sharp knives require deep respect and careful handling to avoid injury, so never, ever take a sharp knife for granted (or even a dull one, for that matter).

The reason people say sharp knives are safer than dull knives is that a sharp knife cuts with less pressure, so you don't have to use as much force. Less force means there's less chance of the knife slipping and cutting something you don't want it to cut. 

Ease of Use

A sharp knife is a pleasure to use, and a dull knife is awful to use, not just because it can slip more easily, but because it takes more work to prep your food. Your knife should glide through your food smoothly, making prep work easier (not harder).

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How Often Do You Need to Sharpen Your Knives?

Wusthof Honing Steel

Regular steeling means less frequent sharpening.

Sharpening varies depending on use, type and material of knife, and how much of a stickler the cook is for a sharp blade. We can't put knives on a sharpening schedule because everyone is different, but in general, knives need sharpening at least a couple of times a year, and more if you aren't steeling them regularly before use. 

Also in general, harder steel (a rating of 59 HRC and above) needs less frequent sharpening than softer steel, and expensive blades need less frequent sharpening than inexpensive blades.

You'll know your knife needs to be sharpened when a honing steel no longer brings a knife back to usable condition. You should be steeling your knives at least every other time you use them. If they are soft steel or inexpensive knives, you should steel them before every use.

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About Cutting Angles

Cutting Angle Diagram 15 degrees

Diagram of a 15 degree cutting angle (30 degrees inclusive).

The cutting angle, or bevel, is the angle to which the blade is sharpened. 

It's important to know a knife's cutting angle if you want to keep it in original condition as the maker intended.

At one time, it was standard for Western knives to have a 20 degree cutting angle (40 degrees total) and Japanese knives to have a 15 degree cutting angle (30 degrees total). Today, cutting angles can vary quite a bit from this norm, with most Western knives have a cutting angle closer to 15 degrees than 20 degrees. A narrower cutting angle makes a blade thinner and thus slightly more fragile, but also gives a knife a more nimble feel that slices through food rather than wedging through food. (And, most Western steels are durable enough to handle a 15 degree cutting angle.)

Here's a table of some popular knife brands and their cutting angles. Even knives of the same brand don't always have the same bevel:

Knife Brand/Type 

Cutting Angle

Wusthof Western blades

14 degree double bevel

Wusthof, Zwilling, Henckels santoku/nakiri

10 degree double bevel

Zwilling/Henckels Western blades

15 degree double bevel

Chicago Cutlery

13 degree double bevel

Victorinox

15-20 degree double bevel

Global Classic and UKON

15 degree double bevel

Global SAI

12.5 degree double bevel

Shun (sold in Western market)

16 degree double bevel

Today, most kitchen knives in the USA have a double bevel around15 degrees, true for both Western and Japanese knives. This means a 15-degree pull-through sharpener will probably work for most of your knives (or be close enough). But as you can see from this table, there are exceptions. 

Do you need to keep the original cutting angle? No, but if you've invested in expensive knives, you should, because they were designed this way for a reason--particularly true for good Japanese brands like Miyabi, that are likely to have a thinner cutting angle. 

If you have knives with different cutting angles and want to keep the original cutting angle, your best bet is a sharpening stone because you can sharpen to an infinite number of angles. If you're new to using a sharpening stone, we recommend practicing with inexpensive knives and using angle guides for best results. It can take practice to get the hang of using a sharpening stone (even with angle guides), and you don't want to risk ruining your good knives.

If you don't want the learning curve of a sharpening stone, you can go with a pull-through sharpener with adjustable angles, like the Sharp Pebble with 5 sharpening angles. Just be sure that the sharpener has the cutting angles you need.

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About Pull-Through Knife Sharpeners

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Through Sharpener

Pull-through sharpeners come in manual and electric. Sharp Pebble makes two manual models (and no electric models).

When buying a pull-through sharpener, there are three main considerations: angle, number of stages, and sharpening material/abrasive.

Angle: This refers to the cutting angle discussed above. Most pull-through sharpeners aren't adjustable and are set at either 15 or 20 degrees. Some pull through sharpeners are adjustable, with up to 6 sharpening angles. 

Sharp Pebble makes a one-angle pull through sharpener and one with 5 angle settings. They don't say what the angle is, but we suspect it's 20 degrees.

Number of stages: Pull-through sharpeners can have one, two, or three slots, for coarse, medium, and fine sharpening.

Three settings is nice, but not essential, especially if you keep your knives in good condition. In most cases, you sharpen knives on the medium setting and polish them on the fine setting. The coarse setting is reserved for extremely dull or damaged knives, which would need this setting to straighten out the blade and minimize damage before using the medium setting to sharpen.

If your pull-through sharpener has just one setting, you can use a honing steel to polish the blade when you're done sharpening.

Some pull through sharpeners also have a serrated setting for serrated blades, including this Sharp Pebble model. This is not a great way to sharpen a serrated edge, which really needs to have each tooth filed individually for best results, but it will give a serrated blade a bit more bite. 

Sharpening material (abrasive): Sharpening abrasives in pull-through sharpeners are typically ceramic, diamond, or carbide. All provide decent sharpening, with diamond probably being the most abrasive. 

Is a pull-through sharpener the right choice for you? Here are reasons to go with a manual pull-through sharpener: 

  • Easy to use
  • Inexpensive
  • Small, light, and easy to store.

On the other hand, pull-through sharpeners have drawbacks, too:

  • Won't get a blade as sharp as a stone or guided rod system
  • Limits you to just one (or a few) cutting angles
  • Not the most durable choice.

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About Sharpening Stones

Using a Norton Whetstone

A sharpening stone can sharpen any blade to any angle.

Sharpening stones provide the ability to sharpen any knife or tool to an infinite number of angles: with a sharpening stone, you are in complete control of the process.

When buying a sharpening stone, considerations include type of stone (water/synthetic or oil/natural), stone material, and grit. 

Type of stone: Sharpening stones come in two varieties, wet stones and oil stones. ("Whet" is an old English term meaning "to sharpen" and includes both types of sharpening stones). All sharpening stones require lubrication: water or oil. Water stones are less messy to use and can put just as fine an edge on a blade as an oil stone. 

All Sharp Pebble sharpening stones are synthetic water stones. 

Water stones are usually softer than oil stones, which is why a flattening stone is recommended: it helps to keep the surface of the stone flat, which is essential to getting a good edge on your knives.

Stone material: Synthetic stones are usually aluminum oxide or silicon carbide, including Sharp Pebble sharpening stones. Natural stones can be aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or novaculite (also called Arkansas stone). 

Grit: Sharpening stones come in different grits, and understanding them is essential to getting the edge you want. Grit is a measure of the density of the abrasive particles. The lower the number, the coarser the grit. According to Wikipedia, grit size ranges from about 200 up to about 30,000. 

To sharpen a dull or damaged knife, you'd start with a very coarse grit of 200-500, then switch to a medium grit of about 1000-4000 to sharpen the blade, then finish by polishing the edge with a fine grit of 4000-8000.

To fully sharpen a blade, you need at least two different grits, and preferably three (just as with pull-through models). People who are really into sharp, polished edges can use several stones (and a lot of time and effort), but you don't have to to get an excellent, razor-sharp edge. 

Here are the advantages of a sharpening stone:

  • Can get any blade extremely sharp
  • Can sharpen an infinite number of cutting angles and blade types (not just knives)
  • Many stones are two-sided, with different grits for sharpening and polishing
  • Fairly inexpensive and will last for a long time.

Here are the disadvantages of a sharpening stone:

  • Learning curve: takes a lot of practice to do right
  • Doing it wrong can ruin your knife
  • You need at least 2-3 different grits to sharpen properly (can mean buying more than one stone).

If you're new to sharpening stones and want to learn the craft, this is just an introduction. We recommend you do more research and watch some videos before attempting to sharpen a knife. When you're ready to sharpen, start with inexpensive knives because it's easy to ruin them until you get the hang of using the stone.

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About Flattening Stones

Sharp Pebble Flattening Stone

Sharp Pebble flattening stone.

See the Sharp Pebble flattening stone on Amazon

About $30

A flattening stone is used to keep the surface of the sharpening stone flat, which is essential to getting the edge you want.

Over time, you'll create grooves into your sharpening stone because the sharpening process wears away the stone as well as blade metal. A flattening stone restores the flat surface to keep a sharpening stone in usable condition by rubbing it over the sharpening stone until the surface is level again.

In general, synthetic stones are softer than natural stones, so they wear faster. But they're easier to use, so most people prefer the greater wear to using a natural (oil) stone. Most Sharp Pebble sharpening stones include a flattening stone, which is a nice feature, but they're small, which means they take longer to use, so you may want to invest in a larger flattening stone, like the one shown here.

You don't need a Sharp Pebble flattening stone because any flattening stone will work. But Sharp Pebble's pricing is hard to beat.

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Review: Sharp Pebble Honing Steel

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Honing Rod

See Sharp Pebble honing steel on Amazon

See Sharp Pebble honing steel at Sharp Pebble

About $20

Features:

  • 10-inch carbon steel rod
  • Detachable 17- and 20-degree angle guides
  • ABS plastic handle

The Sharp Pebble honing steel has a lot of great features. At 10 inches, it's long enough to steel any blade but not so long that it's hard to use. The handle is comfortable, and the switchable angle guides are a great touch. It feels well made and durable. And at about $20, the price is hard to beat.

The carbon steel rod isn't our material of choice (that would be ceramic), but it straightens out blades pretty well without removing any material (as a ceramic rod would). 

The angle guides merely help you get started, they don't guarantee you'll get the right angle. But they do give you a feel for the angle you need. We would prefer a 15 degree guide, as that is the most common angle, but 17 and 20 are useful for a lot of blades.

Some negative Amazon reviewers complained that the instructions weren't very good, but this should only be an issue if you're new to caring for knives.

10-inch carbon steel rod  -Detachable 17- and 20-degree angle guides  -ABS plastic handle

buy sharp pebble honing steel:

Amazon buy button

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Review: Sharp Pebble Pull-Through Sharpeners

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Through Sharpener

Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Thru Sharpener

See Orange Ninja Adjustable Sharpener on Amazon

See Orange Ninja Adjustable Sharpener at Sharp Pebble

About $40

Features:

-5 sharpening angles: 12, 15, 18, 21, 24 degrees

-3 slots: coarse, medium, fine

-ABS plastic body

-Rubberized grip and non-slip rubber base

-Designed for right-handed users.

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja 4 Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener

Orange Ninja 4-Stage Pull-Through Sharpener

See Orange Ninga 4-Stage Sharpener on Amazon

See Orange Ninga 4 Stage Sharpener at Sharp Pebble

About $25

Features:

-4 settings: coarse, medium, fine, and serrated

-Carbide (coarse), diamond (medium), ceramic (fine)

-Good for right- and left-handed users

-ABS plastic body

-Rubberized grip and non-slip rubber base.

If you want the easiest possible way to sharpen knives, the pull-through sharpener is the way to go. They're also inexpensive and easy to store and transport. 

Compared to other pull-through sharpeners, the Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja sharpeners do a good job. They did a decent job in testing, putting an acceptable edge on a dull knife. The non-slip base is excellent and the handles are both comfortable to grip.

You won't get the edge you'll get with a sharpening stone, but that's a given for any pull-through sharpener. 

Most reviewers liked both of these sharpeners, with a few complaints about nicks in the abrasive, that it didn't last more than a year, and that it didn't get a blade very sharp compared to a sharpening stone (but of course it didn't).

The Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja pull-through sharpeners are quite affordable and do a good job, but which one is right for you?

Get the Adjustable Orange Ninja if you want more than one sharpening angle. Best for right-handed users.

Get the 4-Stage Orange Ninja if you want one sharpening angle (20 degrees) or want to pull through in either direction.

The serrated setting isn't going to do a great job because of how serrated blades are designed: No matter how many times you pull a serrated blade through a sharpener like this, you'll only be sharpening the tips of the serrations. So we don't recommend buying this sharpener just for serrated knives, as it will produce disappointing results.

Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja Adjustable Pull-Through Sharpener

buy sharp pebble orange ninja adjustable angle pull through sharpener:

Amazon buy button
Sharp Pebble Orange Ninja 4 Stage Pull Through Knife Sharpener

buy sharp pebble orange ninja 4 stage pull through sharpener:

Amazon buy button

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Review: Sharp Pebble Whetstones

Sharp Pebble 1000:6000 Whetstone

1000/6000 Sharpening Stone

See 1000/6000 stone on Amazon

See 1000/6000 stone at Sharp Pebble

About $40

-1000/6000 grit corundum (aluminum oxide)

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Bamboo base with non-slip rubber bottom

-Silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included

-Angle guide included (20 degrees).

400/1000/6000 XL Sharpening Stone

See 400/1000/6000 stone on Amazon

See 400/1000/6000 stone at Sharp Pebble

About $70

-400/1000/6000 grit silicon carbide and corundum

-Extra large (8x2.75x1 in.)

-Bamboo base with non-slip bottom

-Silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included.

1000/6000 Sharpening Stone with Angle Guides

See 1000/6000 stone with angle guides on Amazon

See 1000/6000 stone with angle guides at Sharp Pebble

About $40

-1000/6000 grit silicon carbide

-Built in angle guides: 15, 17, 20, 22 degrees

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Non-slip rubber base

-Flattening stone included.

400/1000 Sharpening Stone

See 400/1000 stone on Amazon

See 400/1000 stone at Sharp Pebble

About $24

-400/1000 grit sharpening stone

-Japanese silicon carbide

-7x2.25x1 in.

-Non-slip silicone stone holder

-Flattening stone included.

To see the full line of Sharp Pebble sharpening stones, see the Sharp Pebble website.

If you want to get into sharpening stones or are looking for new ones, Sharp Pebble offers a variety of affordable water stones. These stones are good quality and they include many features that make them easy to use: many include a non-slip base, a silicone holder, an angle guide (or more than one), and a flattening stone to keep the sharpening stone flat (crucial to getting a good edge). With other brands, you have to buy these things separately.

We tested the 400/1000/6000 stone and the 1000/6000 stone with angle guides. Both provided good sharpening, as good as other pull-through sharpeners we've tested. 

Instructions for use are limited, but Sharp Pebble provides links to online tutorials to help, and you can also find helpful videos on YouTube. 

Which stone to buy? It depends on what you're looking for: 

If you're new to using sharpening stones, we recommend the 1000/6000 with angle guides: the guides will help you get the feel for the right angle to hold the blade while sharpening. On the other hand, you can buy angle guides separately for any angle you need, so if you don't need the guides included, get the other 1000/6000 stone and buy the angle guides you want. 

If you want the most comprehensive option, go with the 400/1000/6000 Extra Large sharpening stone. It's more money, but cheaper than buying a third stone you may need for extremely dull or damaged blades.

However, if you keep your knives in pretty good shape, the 1000/6000 grit, which are considered medium and fine, should work. Or take a look at all of Sharp Pebble's sharpening stones and choose one that fits your needs.

Finally, if you're new to using a stone, be sure to do your research and learn how to do it properly, and don't try to sharpen your expensive knives until you're confident in your skills.

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FAQs About Sharp Pebble Knife Sharpeners

Here are some common questions about Sharp Pebble sharpening stones.

Are Sharp Pebble Sharpening Stones Good Quality?

Yes, Sharp Pebble sharpening stones are good quality. There are higher end stones available, but they are more expensive. Sharp Pebble stones are synthetic, so they're softer than natural stones and will wear down more quickly, but this is true of all synthetic stones.

Is a Pull-Through Manual Sharpener a Good Choice?

Pull-through sharpeners are a good choice if your priority is ease of use, as they are the easiest way to sharpen a knife. The drawback is they won't give you the razor sharp edge you can get from a sharpening stone or guided rod system.

Are Sharpening Stones Easy to Use?

No, sharpening stones are not easy to use. They have a pretty steep learning curve, and you can ruin a knife if you don't know what you're doing. Angle guides can help, but you have to practice a fair amount before you get the hang of using a sharpening stone. We recommend reading, watching tutorials, and practicing on inexpensive knives to get the hang of using a sharpening stone.

Do You Have to Use a Sharpening Stone Wet?

Yes, lubrication is required for proper sharpening. A water stone should be thoroughly soaked in a bowl of water before using for 10-30 minutes. It should also be rinsed thoroughly when you're done to wash away all the metal shavings.

How Do I Know I'm Using a Sharpening Stone the Right Way?

You'll know by how sharp a blade gets. Test the blade occasionally by slicing through a piece of paper or a tomato to see how the knife performs. Keep going until you get the edge you want. If you're new to sharpening stones, use an angle guide to be sure you're putting the angle you want on the blade.

Which Is Better, an Oil Stone or a Water Stone?

Both do a great job. Overall, water stones are easier to use and clean. 

How Many Grits Do You Need to Fully Sharpen a Knife?

You need at least two grits to sharpen a knife properly. If the knife is only slightly dull, you can start with a medium grit, around 1000, to sharpen, then switch to a finer grit, around 6000, to polish the blade. If a blade is extremely dull, you should start with an even coarser grit, around 400. The coarser the grit, the faster it will remove blade material; trying to sharpen a very dull knife with a medium grit will take up to 5 times longer than if you start with a coarse grit.

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Final Thoughts on Sharp Pebble Knife Sharpeners

Sharp Pebble 1000:6000 Sharpening Stone with Angle Guides

Sharp Pebble makes good quality knife sharpeners and are a good choice for kitchen knives. If you want the easiest sharpening solution, go with one of their pull-through sharpeners--we like the one with 5 adjustable angle options.

If you want razor sharp knives, then go with a stone, but be sure you know what you're doing before you try to use a stone on your good knives--there's a learning curve.

Thanks for reading!

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