Sharpening Stone Vs Sandpaper | Which One Is Most Effective?

By Gias

Even if you own the best and most expensive knife in your kitchen, still you have to sharpen the knife. It is because any knife will lose its sharpness after a certain period of its use. Hence, along with knife cutlery, you have to look for a sharpening tool as well. That is why people come up with several tools. However, the most compared tools that are discussed are sharpening stone vs sandpaper. 

Well, sharpening stones also known as whetstones are undoubtedly the most premium tool for sharpening any knife. It can create the fine edges of the knife that you always desire. 

However, sandpaper can play a cheap alternative to the whetstone. Sandpaper can also sharpen knives since they can provide almost the same qualities. 

Moreover, sharpening is the process of removing metal from the edge to make it sharp. Thus, this process requires an abrasive. Since sharpening stone and sandpaper both have abrasive traits, they are two different tools.

So, surely there are more to acknowledge. To make things clearer, let’s have an elaborate discussion regarding the topic. 

What is a Sharpening Stone?

sharpening stone use for sharpening knife As we have mentioned earlier, whetstone as a sharpening tool is the best option for any knife to sharpen. Starting from low and coarse grits to fine and higher grits, these whetstones provide a progressive sharpening process

The range from coarse to fine grits brings control over the sharpening process. Hence, the final result turns out to be a perfectly sharpened knife. 

However, sharpening stones have abrasive materials that come in a block shape. They not only can sharp knives but also deal with chisels, spades, and other tools with edges. The manufacturers construct the abrasive material with the best possible components. 

See also  10 Best USA Made Knife Under $50 | Uncovered 2023

Such components include silicon carbide, aluminum oxide, ceramic, natural stone, or industrial diamond chips. 

Generally, sharpening stones have low grits with a coarseness to fix the edge damage first. When the damages are fixed the edge is then sharpened with the higher grits to have a polished edge. 

Moreover, whetstones are flat and hard enough to provide the utmost convenience to the users. However, while removing the steel particles from the edge of a knife, maintaining the right angle is very important. 

What is a Sandpaper?

sandpaper use for sharpening knife ( sharpening stone vs sandpaper)

Sandpapers are also made of almost the same abrasive materials as aluminum oxide and silicon carbide. There are both dry and wet sandpapers that you can use for sharpening your knife. The sandpapers have hard backing. It offers a sharpened edge that is almost like a sharpened edge with the help of a whetstone. 

However, sandpapers are a multi-purpose tool. They have several uses. They are mainly used for polishing or smoothing several surfaces and wood pieces. However, to some rare extent sandpapers are used for sharpening a knife. 

Nonetheless, sandpapers also come in a wide range of grit sizes. With several grit sizes, sandpapers can be applied to several sectors. They are good at preparing any surface by making it smoother for further jobs.

Sharpening Stone vs Sandpaper – Let’s Compare

Since both tools are two different mediums of sharpening knives, there must be some significant differences. Let’s point out them.

  • Durability 

Obviously, a sharpening stone wins the race here. Sharpening stones or whetstones are specifically meant for sharpening knives. Hence, the best sharpening stones will serve you beyond your expectations. They last decades.  

See also  The Best Global Whetstones for Home and Professional Knife Sharpening

On the other hand, you might have to go for frequent replacement if you want to use sandpapers for this purpose.

  • Flattening 

Well, you may have to flatten your sharpening stone first before starting with the sharpening process. It is because whetstones tend to wear out after several uses. 

Sandpapers, on the contrary, do not require flattening once they are set over a metal or granite surface.

  • Convenience

While you have to be careful with the angle direction while sharpening with a sharpening stone, sandpaper can do it without requiring it.

Using sandpapers for sharpening a knife is way easier.

  • Grit Range

The best sharpening stone can come with very higher grits like more than 12000-grit. These types of stones offer an extraordinary polished and mirror finish to a knife’s edge. 

However, sandpapers do not come at this much higher grits. Their grit ranges are lower than those of sharpening stones.

  • Cost

Sharpening stones are a one-time investment. They require money and skill to deal with. The best whetstones might break your bank if you want to buy.

On the other hand, sandpapers come at cheaper rates. You can easily afford them.

Is Sandpaper Good as an Alternative to Whetstone?

Well, since we have declared that sandpapers can be used for sharpening knives so yes, they are a good alternative to the whetstone. However, using sandpaper is a great help especially if you are a noob. 

Whetstone requires the knife sharpening by maintaining the right angle. Otherwise, your sharpening process might fail. Again, a lot of knife users also use the combination of both these sharpening tools to sharpen their knives. 

See also  How to Oil a Japanese Knife?

They use them both because together these tools deliver an excellent knife edge. You can simply settle the sandpaper over a flat surface to make the process easier for you. You can use a steel plate, hardwood, or a granite block. 

Basically, the process of sharpening a knife with sandpaper is the same as that of sharpening stone. So, yes, sandpapers can be a great alternative.

Grit Differences in Sandpaper and Sharpening Stone

Well, there are certain differences between the grit values of sandpaper and sharpening stone. Even the grit ranges may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. To speak fact, there is no industry offering comparative measures between media and abrasive brands. 

However, if you stick only to a specific abrasive then you will get less confused about grits. It is simply because you are not sure if a brand that is offering a 220-grit coarseness will be the coarseness if the same grit is offered by another brand. 

Nonetheless, the measurement of a micron can show you a ray of hope to compare properly. Measuring the micron level refers to a finite measurement. It also refers to the measurement of the physical size of abrasive particles. 

Final Thoughts

Now that you know everything about sharpening stone vs sandpaper, you should make the decision now. 

Buy what meets your need. If you are a beginner, start with sandpaper to sharpen your knife. Again, if you are a professional knife user, a whetstone is the long-term solution. But learn the skills or techniques to sharpen with a sharpening stone first! 


About the author

Introducing Gias, an Engineer and Kitchen Knife connoisseur with a specialization in Japanese Knives. With over five years of dedicated testing, reviewing, and research experience, Gias brings a wealth of knowledge to the world of kitchen knives. Passionate and deeply committed, Gias has created this site as personal documentation of their unwavering love for kitchen knives.