You’ll rarely find any prepper who goes forth without a knife. An essential part of an EDC (everyday carry) setup or packed ready for use in the gravest extreme inside your bag, knives are among the most elemental tools at our disposal.
You can use a knife for all kinds of tasks: building a fire, cooking and eating dinner, emergency extrication or even shelter creation. Knives are the original multi-tool. You can, of course, use knives for self-defense also, against a man or beast.
Is a rare outing that a knife will not accompany you and see some use. But even simple chores like opening envelopes, cutting twine and slicing tape will inevitably dull a knife’s edge, reducing its cutting power, slowly, incrementally over time until you’re forced to saw away frantically with it for even a simple job.
Aside from being frustrating and inefficient, this is downright dangerous. Your granddaddy knew what he was talking about when he said you’re more likely to get cut by a dull knife than a sharp one.
If you have to work extra hard with your knife to cut something, you’re more likely to slip and cut yourself. That doesn’t have to happen if you keep your knife sharp. Keeping a knife sharp means you’ll need a knife sharpener.
Whether you’re out on some adventure or escaping from a disaster you’ll need a knife sharpener small enough to go with you. in this article, we’ll be looking at 10 of the very best pocket-sized knife sharpeners.
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Let’s all get honest here: Most of us sharpen our knives when we absolutely have to, or once a year, if that. Actually, most of us don’t even do it then. It may come as a surprise to some of you, but knife sharpening is not a biannual activity.
Knife sharpening is something you should do fairly regularly whether you’ve been using your knife heavily or not. Cutting, poking, prying and scraping will all dull a knife’s edge, and it won’t be quite as good when it comes time for the next task.
And don’t come at me with some claims about crazy super steel that perpetually holds an edge or anything like that. Even the finest modern steels, and there are some really great ones out there, all dull with use.
It’s for this reason you’ll see professional guides and other hard-use professionals who use their knives regularly and really depend on them pull their knives out and sharpen them often. a little touch up, a little honing of the edge and it is back in tip-top shape.
Taking a sharp edge to razor sharpness, or a pretty good edge back to just sharp is a whole lot easier than taking a dulled or mangled edge to even workable sharpness.
Yes, we’ve all gotten a little lazy in this technologically advanced age. You may rely on a friend at a local knife shop or outfitter to sharpen your knives and keep them in good shape. You might get your knife sharpened when you get your oil changed.
It doesn’t have to be that way. And it doesn’t have to be a big chore, either. Maintaining a tool should not be some huge ritual. The little things, done regularly, make the biggest difference in longevity.
A Sharp Knife Close at Hand
Many of you will already have a sharpening getup. Maybe you’ve got water and Arkansas stones on your bench. Maybe you have some contraption designed to hold the knife at a certain angle to sharpen it properly.
If you’ve gone all out, you may even use a motorized device like a belt sander or a specialized power knife sharpener. There’s just one problem with all of those, as good as they work: you don’t take them with you!
Most knife sharpeners of any description are large, bulky, and typically need to be set up on a bench or flat surface to really do a good job with them.
What most of us need instead, or as a supplement, is a light, handy tool that can sharpen our knives right out of our hands. No fuss, no muss and no extra setup. you know, considering that we carry pocket knives, why shouldn’t we have pocket sharpeners?
What a concept! That makes too much sense to me. imagine a sharpener so small, so handy they can ride in your shirt or pants pocket and you’ll hardly notice it’s there.
That way, when you have a spare moment and inclination you can pull out your knife and the sharpener and, with a few seconds’ work, keep your knife’s edge as sharp as it can be.
Aside from sheer convenience making it more likely for you to sharpen your knife often, thereby keeping your knife in prime condition, these compact sharpeners take up next to no space and weight in your pack.
As all preppers know, ounces make pounds and pounds make pain. Every gram of weight that you decide to shove in your BOB must be justified. These super-compact sharpeners will help you save room and weight for even more critical items.
The 10 Best Pocket Knife Sharpeners
Below you’ll find a selection of ten excellent, compact knife sharpeners. Each has a list of pros and cons.
No matter how good something is, nothing is perfect and rather than ranking these in order of efficacy or something like that, I’ll tell you what’s good and what’s bad about each of them so you can make a decision that’s right for you.
Disclosure: This post has links to 3rd party websites, so I may get a commission if you buy through those links. See my full disclosure for more.
The Lansky Puck is a classic knife sharpener, and an all-time favorite among those who commonly carry hatchets, mauls and axes afield.
This sharpener is an object lesson in simplicity: two sides, one coarse and the other medium grit. Compact, reasonably light, and with no other parts to lose or break the park is a great grab-and-go solution for handling larger blades in the field.
Well designed to work on larger blades like the aforementioned tree felling tools, the puck is also right at home on machetes, larger field knives, and even pocket knives.
It is used by holding it in your hand, making sure to keep your fingers well clear of the sharpening surface that you’ll be swirling across the edge of the tool you’re working on.
Has no guides of any kind, so you’ll need a good grasp of sharpening techniques to get the most out of this one.
- An elegant and compact way to sharpen all kinds of knives.
- No parts to lose or break aside from itself.
- Very easy to cut yourself using it if you’re not paying close attention.
- Sharpening Surfaces may need prepping what sandpaper for best effect.
Get the Lanksy Puck on Amazon.
Lansky Quad Sharp
Lansky’s second entry and the first of the super compact sharpeners on this list, the QuadSharp is a tiny powerhouse, barely larger than a key fob and just as much at home on your key ring.
The QuadSharp is a pull through-style sharpener, with four sets of carbide sharpening surfaces for various angles depending on your preferences, and your knife. With 17 degree, 20 degree, 25 degree and 30 degree sharpeners built-in, no matter what you need it’s ready to go at once.
What sets the QuadSharp apart from some other similar offerings is its built-in ceramic sharpening surface, ideal for cleaning up the rough edge that sharpeners of this style typically leave on your knife.
The ability to sharpen with multiple angles without adjustments helps the QuadSharp stand out as a convenient choice.
- Ultra compact; rides easily in pocket or on key ring.
- Multiple, fixed options for sharpening knives with various grinds.
- Ceramic sharpening surface helps you apply a finer edge.
- As with most sharpeners of this style, finished edge using carbide pull through openings is not great.
- Ceramic sharpening surface is so short you’ll have to section off the edge of larger knives.
Get the Lansky Quad Sharp on Amazon.
CRKT Knife Maintenance Tool
A pocket-sized offering from CRKT, the Knife Maintenance Tool is a multi tool for your knives. this sharpener was designed to do more than just take care of the edge of your blade.
The Knife Maintenance Tool includes the typical pull through tungsten carbide field sharpener, and another one the features ceramic surfaces refining the rough edge put on by the first set.
This sharpener also features a pair of flip-out driver bit holders with included T6 and T8 Torx bits.
They’re sized for the typical fasteners found on CRKT knives, but torx bits are increasingly common on all kinds of knives and firearms, helping to make this one of the handiest knife-centric tools you can carry.
It also features the ubiquitous bottle opener and a handy key ring with a flat surface that works as a flat head screwdriver or scraper.
- Two grades of pull through sharpening surfaces quickly tune up almost any edge.
- Flip-out drivers are supremely handy and the bits can be replaced with ones specific to your knife.
- Once again, pull through sharpeners remove a lot of material and don’t leave a very good finished edge, even with a finer version.
- Glass-reinforced nylon body is slippery when wet.
Get the CRKT Knife Maintenance Tool on Amazon.
Victorinox 43323 Knife Sharpener
From the makers of one of the most famous pocket knives in the world comes an equally handy and easy to carry knife sharpener. Victorinox’s 43323 knife sharpener has the profile of a common pen and the features you need for touching up knives wherever you are.
This knife sharpener features a two-part case like the body of a pen. Within is the sharpener. That has a pull-through ceramic sharpener on one end, and a typical sharpening Whetstone on the other.
Between the two you can quickly get a badly mauled edge back into shape and then refine it with the whetstone. Whichever end you are not using plugs into the long side of the case to make a convenient handle.
It cannot be overstated how terrifically easy to carry the sharpener is. Any place you can stash a typical ballpoint pen, you can stash the Victorinox 43323.
- Ultra-convenient and easy to carry.
- Covers most field sharpening needs.
- Ceramic pull through sharpener is not as aggressive as tungsten carbide, making it of questionable utility for restoring badly damaged blades.
- You need to know what you doing with this one: the sharpening stone has no guides of any kind.
Get the Victorinox 43323 Knife Sharpener here.
DMT Slydr Sharp
The DMT slider is a unique, compact, knife sharpening option that will cover almost any possible need in the field. From serrations to touch-ups, the Slyder can do it! This clever sharpener features an out-the-front operating mechanism for its twin sharpening surfaces.
One of these sharpeners is a rod style diamond grit coated surface, and the other is a flat plate coated with the same material. Both are 600 grit, which is a good all-purpose choice.
The plate can handle almost any kind of conventional edge While the rod works ingeniously on all kinds of serrations; that is a feature that your traditional flat sharpening surfaces of any kind just cannot handle.
Between these two you can take care of any kind of knife be it, partially serrated, fully serrated or anything in between. The body of the unit is rubber-coated for a sure grip. If you have a preference for serrated blades, be sure to give this unit a close look.
- Twin sharpening surfaces cover all your bases, including serrations.
- Out-the-front operating mechanism is easy and fast to use.
- Rubber coating provides traction which is welcome in wet conditions.
- Different grits on one or both surfaces would have been nice.
- A tad on the large side for pocket carry.
ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener
Alpha Tek’s Palm sized, paddle-shaped sharpener was designed to rapidly touch up hunting knives in the field. Hunting and skinning knives dull quickly when working over the carcass of an animal and pressing on with a dull one is a great way to get injured.
This handy sharpener can be used out of hand cautiously or easily benched on any flat surface for extra stability. This is another pull through sharpener featuring a coarse and fine side.
It features a pair of tungsten carbide blades that remove an awful lot of steel in a hurry, perfect for getting rid of nicks, rolls and gouges in the edge. The fine side is a pair of crossed ceramic rods, which will refine an edge even further and restore a great degree of sharpness.
The entire unit easily fits in the palm of the hand, is narrow and is easily hung on a pack or stashed in a pouch or pocket. It weighs next to nothing and does a great job.
- Very convenient to carry.
- Equally as fast to use; this can restore even a badly dulled knife in no time.
- Non-skid base pads help keep unit stable on most surfaces.
- Tungsten carbide side is extraordinarily aggressive. Care must be taken to prevent substantial loss of blade material.
Get the ALPHA TEK Pocket Hunting Knife Sharpener on Amazon.
Sharpal 101N 6-in-1 Sharpener Survival Tool
The most prepper-centric sharpening tool on this list is the Sharpal 101N, a gadget that packs in several great sharpening solutions, and a few essential survival tools.
This is another compact sharpener a little bit bigger than a key fob, and has two pull through sharpeners, one tungsten carbide for quick edge-setting and the other a pair of ceramic rods for honing the established edge.
In addition, it has a flip-out, tapered diamond grit rod with a groove for sharpening serrations and fish hooks. as a sweet perk, it also includes a pull-out fire starter and a high-pitched emergency whistle for signaling.
All this is contained in a plastic body with a rubberized gripping surface covered by traction nubs. For minimalist preppers who want to maximize weight and space savings, this is a go-to choice.
- Good assortment of sharpening surfaces will cover most situations and blade styles.
- Whistle and fire starter rod are genuinely useful.
- Diamond grit sharpening rod is a bit too coarse.
- Unit balances oddly in hand; must be placed on flat surface for best results.
Get the Sharpal 101N 6-in-1 Sharpener Survival Tool on Amazon.
Lansky PSMED-01 BladeMedic
The blade medic is Lansky’s super-compact do-it-all knife sharpener. This is another one that’s very at home on a keychain or zipper pull, featuring two pull through sharpeners.
One the now-standard tungsten carbide for coarse work and a ceramic pull through for refinement, along with a flip out diamond grit rod for taking care of serrations, fish hooks, and other odd blades.
Also features a built-in beveled ceramic sharpening surface for putting a serious edge on a blade that was quickly restored by the pull through sharpeners.
Using a series of steps, this is one pocket knife sharpener that can do nearly as good a job as a proper bench setup. The bottom of the body features a notch on the underside to allow you to get a better grip on it for sharpening out of hand.
- Triple threat of tungsten carbide, ceramic and diamond grit I want you to sharpen and stages and produce a good edge on any knife.
- Plastic body is a little slippery and with the limited real estate you have for holding on to it you need to pay close attention to keep from cutting yourself, especially when using the ceramic surface.
- Diamond grit sharpening rod could stand to be more aggressive in order to quickly reshape serrations.
Get the Lansky PSMED-01 BladeMedic on Amazon.
Benchmade EDC edge Maintenance Tool
Here’s a knife sharpener that carries like a pocket knife, clip and everything! Benchmade’s EDC Edge Maintenance Tool has a pocket clip to ride conveniently in a pocket, clipped behind webbing, or anywhere else you wanted it to stay put and be ready to pull out at a moment’s notice.
Featuring a pivoting, swing open body containing a ceramic rod and a leather strop and housed in a sturdy polymer body Benchmade’s easy to carry EDC option is a unique and convenient knife sharpener for preppers on the go.
Weighing a scant 6.4 oz, this is a light and extremely easy to carry and store option for those who want to keep their knives razor sharp in the field. It is easy-to-hold, easy to use and it’s backed by Benchmade’s unswerving commitment to quality.
- Convenient to carry, easy to operate.
- Ceramic rod and leather strop can produce hair-popping edges with a little skill.
- Lack of coarse ceramic, stone or carbide sharpening surface means that badly mauled blades will need a lot of time being sharpened before they’re ready to go again.
Get the Benchmade EDC edge Maintenance Tool on Amazon.
Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
If you want a compact knife sharpener that can truly do everything, look no farther than the Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener.
Featuring the prepper-perfect combination of compact size, sharpener options and ease-of-use there is no blade, hook or pair of scissors that the Guided Field Sharpener cannot tackle!
This sturdy unit packs in a diamond plate, a large ceramic rod, a small ceramic rod, a leather strop and angle guides along with a lanyard hole for secure storage and carrying.
Easily used out of hand or placed on a flat surface this Work Sharp sharpener is your “kitchen sink” option when heading out on your next adventure.
- Can sharpen absolutely anything, and do it well.
- Angle guides are good for knife sharpening novices, or just tired people.
- One of the bulkier sharpeners on this list.
- Sharpening surfaces have no built-in cover or case, and are always exposed.
Any knife you carry into the field is on a countdown to uselessness if you do not also carry along a sharpener. But you do not have to carry a set of heavy, fragile sharpening stones afield to keep your knife in good working order.
Any of the compact knife sharpeners on this list are more than capable of keeping your blades in tip-top shape so they can stay in your hand, razor-sharp and doing their jobs.
Tom Marlowe practically grew up with a gun in his hand, and has held all kinds of jobs in the gun industry: range safety, sales, instruction and consulting, Tom has the experience to help civilian shooters figure out what will work best for them.