Honing Steel vs. Sharpening Steel – What’s the Difference

Last Updated on March 6, 2022 by Maidul

Knives are probably the most important tools in our kitchen as we can’t get much cooking done without them. Just as it is important to have knives to chop things up, we also need to make sure the knives we are using are good enough to get all the work done.

This is what honing steel and sharpening steel helps with. Now the main matter is honing steel vs. sharpening steel; which one does what, and how are they different from one another?

I will try my best to explain how they differ from one another, so you know which is the better option for your knives.

Honing vs. Sharpening

What Makes the Knife Blade Dull?

One of the primary reasons for knives becoming dull is frequent use. The more often the steel is used, the more likely the very edge of the knife is going to round out.

The rounding of the edge is what causes the dullness, and that later leads to inefficient use, as well as the output of the knife.

Another reason why the knife dulls is that it rolls over. As the edge is no longer pointed, it is unable to pierce through the surface, and therefore, the cuts are very choppy and take a much longer time than they would have otherwise. 

Another problem we tend to face in this situation is that we use a lot of force and therefore end up hurting ourselves with the knife.

Honing vs. Sharpening 

Sharpening Steel vs Honing Steel

There are two ways for you to revive your knife. You can either hone it or sharpen it; both are very good methods to use if you want to bring life back into your knife.

Sometimes you will see your knife becoming dull with time when you use the wrong knife. There are knives made specifically for cutting meat, chopping vegetables, fruits, as well as fish. If you employ a vegetable knife to cut meat, then they are very likely to lose their sharpness.

So, when using a knife, know which is used for which task. Not only will it stay sharper for a long time, but it will also result in the best possible output.

  • Honing

In simple words honing is a process that straightens the blade of the knife so that it isn’t rounded. The surface of the knife is not scraped off. So all that happens is steel is used to correct the flaws in the edge of the knife.

  • Sharpening 

In order to sharpen the knife, special material is used. The process is that a layer of the knife is scared off so that a new sharp edge is formed. The cuts you will be able to make using a newly sharpened knife is truly amazing.

Honing and Sharpening Tools

Honing and Sharpening Tools

There is a need for different tools in order to get the best results from honing and sharpening knives. Without the right tools, you are unlikely to get the best results.

  • Sharpening Stone

Finding the right sharpening stone might be a quest of its own. There is a process of trial and error before you find one that is the right fit for your knife. There are a number of things you have to keep in mind while selecting a sharpening stone.

Firstly it needs to be a harder material than that of the knife. The stone should be able to scrape off the knife’s surface to sharpen it. Another thing is that it should not cause any harm or damage to the knife. Diamond and ceramic are best for the job.

  • Honing Steel

The task of honing steel is different than that of sharpening stones. This is going to center the blade for the best cuts.

It basically consists of a steel rod with which you are to rub the knife. This motion is what sets the blade right. You will not be scarping off the surface as the material is usually not harder than the material of the knife.

There are honing steels of different lengths and thickness, which you need is going to be determined by what knife you are honing.

Maintain Sharpness With Regular Honing

It is always better to prevent than to cure. The same can be said about your knife. You would much rather hone it regularly, so it stays good for a long time. Also, it is better to hone than to sharpen, as you won’t be taking layers of the surface off with a stone.


When it comes to honing steel vs sharpening steel, it is always better to hone before the blade gets too dull. However, with sharpening, you will get the best results that will last for a very long time.

If you have any questions about honing or sharpening, then all you have to do is ask; we are always here to help you out.

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