13 Best Honing Steels: Reviews and Ultimate Buying Guide [2021]

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The sight of a chef effortlessly cutting through meat or vegetables is insanely satisfying. Who wouldn’t want a knife that glides through ingredients and chops them up in no time at all?

Honing Steels

But for most ordinary people, dealing with wobbling knives that they need to forcefully saw through tough cuts of meat. This takes a lot of time, and can even be dangerous as it leads to accidents.

So how do the best honing steels work to fix this? There is the idea that sharpening your blade will make things easier, but that’s only half the battle. Honing your knife is a great way to lengthen its life and make it work better.

And so, this article will look at the various honing steels available on the market. We’ve compiled the best ones out there and will take a nice and thorough look at them, how they work, and why we chose these particular products.

If you have trouble keeping your knives in tip-top shape, you might want to give this a read!

What are Honing Steels?

There is often some confusion over what honing steels are. Many people think they are the same as sharpening steel, and many honing knives are marketed as such. 

However, this isn’t true. There is a key difference in the honing steel vs sharpening steel debate.

The best sharpening steel will do what the name suggests; it will sharpen dull blades. However, honing steel realigns the edge of a blade so that it stands straighter and more upright than before.

The tiny points of your blade start to recede and move away from the edge. The edge of any good knife or blade is defined by its fine point. But that point will gradually start to fall to the side and lose its precise and sharp shape.

Although you can’t really see this process in real-time, it still happens. Because of this, having a straight edge can make the knife feel “sharper”.

Knowing When You Need to Hone Your Knife:

Here’s how you will know when your blade needs honing instead of sharpening:

  • Your knife will start to catch on food
  • You will need a little more power or a few more passes of the knife to cut something properly.

Top 13 Honing Steels: A Quick Look

Here’s a quick summary of the products we chose and what they are like.

Rank
Picture
Name
Shops
#1
ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Honing Steel

If we could spend the rest of our lives with one honing steel, it would be with this one. It is the perfect size for a number of different knife lengths and kinds. At the same time, it works very well and will last for a long time.

  • Sturdy and long-lasting.
  • Superb quality hardened steel.
  • Double cut steel can be used for honing and polishing.
#2
DALSTRONG Honing Steel

This 10-inch honing steel is the ideal length for most kitchen knives people own. Dalstrong products are always a hit and this tool is no different. It realigns the blade in no time at all and improves the way your blades cut through things.

  • Very comfortable to use.
  • The triple-riveted design makes it suitable for heavy-duty use.
  • Excellent craftsmanship and construction.
#3
Mac Knife Ceramic Honing Rod

Want the best ceramic honing rod that stands the test of time? Together with the best chef knife sharpener, you can keep professional-style knives working for years and years on the end.

  • Long-lasting and durable function.
  • Stable, shock-absorbing design.
  • Great value for money.
#4
Professional Knife Steel

Need a honing rod that is a little more affordable than others on the market? This one is budget-friendly, yet functions a lot like the pricier ones. At the same time, it is constructed to last and is a good choice for your kitchen.

  • Magnetized rod makes it much safer to use.
  • Easy to use and hold.
  • Made from high-quality steel.
#5

Want something that can tackle even the largest and heaviest of kitchen knives? We’ve got just the honing steel for you. This honing tool is so effective, it almost works as a sharpener as well.

  • Comfortable and easy to use.
  • Sharpens knife as well.
  • Sturdy and durable.
#6
Wusthof 10-Inch Diamond Sharpening Steel

Like indulging in all sorts of fancy kitchen equipment? This Wusthof honing steel is pricey for sure, but works beautifully and is elegantly crafted. Moreover, it lasts for a long time, making it a great investment for your kitchen.

  • Thick and substantial.
  • Splendidly crafted and well-designed.
  • Easy to use.
#7

Home cooks and professional chefs need to make sure their knives are working properly. Whenever your blades need a little pick me up, this ceramic honing rod will bring them back to life. Made from ceramic, it is a great alternative to the best diamond sharpening steel out there.

  • Multipurpose and versatile.
  • Lightweight and slender.
  • Good value for money.
#8
Steel Sharpening Rod

This extremely affordable honing tool is special because you can do a lot with it. You can use it to fancy up all kinds of kitchen knives, as well as other blades such as sporting, fishing, and pocket knives. If versatility is your cup of tea, we say go for this one!

  • Durable and works for a long time.
  • Can be used on all sorts of blades.
  • Works as a sharpener as well.
#9
Shun TDM0790 Premier Combination Honing Steel

Want a high-end, rustic-looking honing rod? This 9-Inch premium combination honing steel by Shun was designed to maintain blades between professional sharpening sessions. This is a great tool for kitchen knives used by pros and home cooks.

  • Easy to use.
  • Comfortable to hold for longer periods.
  • Durable and sturdy.

#10

Victorinox Diamond Honing Steel Oval

Need a honing steel that doesn’t have a hollow core? This powerful and elegant looking tool is a must-have for your kitchen. It is compact and sturdy and everything you could want in a honing rod.

  • Lightweight and compact construction.
  • Works very well with butcher knives.
  • Will work for years on end.

#11

Mercer Culinary German Honing Steel

Mercer knives are always among the best kitchen tools, and their honing rod is no different. It is a mid-ranged honing steel, and the long length makes it convenient to use for all kinds of knives, regardless of their type or size.

  • Easy to use.
  • Very functional and efficient.
  • Good value for money.

#12

Shun TDM0790 Premier Combination Honing Steel

Shun products are always a delight to work with when it comes to quality and performance. This is a great tool to keep your fancy cutlery and knives in great shape at all times.

  • Very lightweight and compact.
  • Finetunes knives and blades quickly.
  • Results last much longer.

#13

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Oval Honing Steel

If you want something that hones your knives in the least time possible and with very little exertion on your part, we suggest giving this tool a try. It works beautifully, is constructed well, and will last a long time, making it a solid and reliable option.

  • The black synthetic handle provides a firm grip.
  • Comfortable to hold and use.
  • Effective and efficient functioning.

01. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Double Cut Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 17.63 x 1.5 x 1.13 inches
  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Brand: Zwilling

If we could spend the rest of our lives with one honing steel, it would be with this one. It is the perfect size for several different knife lengths and kinds. At the same time, it works very well and will last for a long time.

If you have a set of pricey knives, you will want a tool like this to make sure they keep doing their job properly. The double-cut honing steel is quite easy to use. There are also two textures of steel which also makes it suitable for different kinds of knives.

All you need to do is pass the knife along the surface of the steel 4-5 times and your knife blade will be as good as new. It is also pretty heavy and substantial, promising its long life. 

This high-quality sharpener is easy to use due to the comfortable handle and will be one of the most useful tools in your kitchen.

Why We Recommend It:

This is the perfect tool for the regular maintenance of your kitchen knives. They are what keeps that nice, sharp edge on your blades. It will realign the blade, unlike sharpening that takes metal off of your knife. 

You can use the honing steel to polish and straighten your blades in one go. As a result, we found it to be the best knife honing steel.

Pros:
Cons:

02. DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 19.17 x 5.39 x 2.4 inches
  • Weight: 1.85 pounds
  • Brand: Dalstrong

This 10-inch honing steel is the ideal length for most kitchen knives people own. Dalstrong products are always a hit and this tool is no different. It realigns the blade in no time at all and improves the way your blades cut through things.

It’s designed with miniature grooves along the surface of the steel that brings the blade back and straightens the edge and improves overall alignment. The bolster included is attractively shaped to serve to protect your hands. This lets you use the whole length of the steel when honing longer knives.

The Pakka wood handle is quite eye-catching and has been sourced from Spain. This is a hardwood that is extremely durable while being comfortable to hold. 

The handle is also ergonomically designed with a solid grip handle that is contoured for a perfect fit. Because of this, you can use it for honing very long knives with ease.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a good option for maintaining your knives, whether you need them for home use or commercial kitchens. It can realign blades on all sorts of kitchen knives and even other blades. The entire unit is well crafted and looks attractive while functioning beautifully.

Passing your blade across the honing surface just once or twice is all it takes to realign the blade. Best of all, your hands will be protected when working with the blades, making it a good choice for people new to honing blades.

Pros:
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03. Mac Knife Ceramic Honing Rod

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 10.5 x 1 x 1 inches
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Brand: Mac

Want the best ceramic honing rod that stands the test of time? Together with the best chef knife sharpener, you can keep professional-style knives working for years and years on the end. This ceramic model makes a nice change from steel honing rods as well.

You can use the rod to keep refreshing your cooking blades. The black ceramic is much stronger than white ceramic and steel, which makes it much sturdier than other honing tools. This 10.5-inch honing rod has a nearly 2000 grit surface that polishes your edge to smoothness. 

The rod has a steel core with rubber in between to strengthen the rod while providing shock absorption.  The tip has a rubberized plastic end cap that further absorbs shock and stabilizes the rod against your cutting board while in use. The new rods also feature two grooved sides for more thorough honing.

Why We Recommend It:

Many people need something more powerful than steel honing rods. The black ceramic is a lot more efficient than its white counterpart or steel. 

It has a lot more grit than traditional steel which makes blades much smoother and more polished. We found that this is the ideal honing rod for Japanese blades and more professional chef’s knives.

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04. Professional Knife Steel Magnetized Honing Rod

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 14.75 x 1.75 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Brand: Noble

Need a honing rod that is a little more affordable than others on the market? This one is budget-friendly, yet functions a lot like the pricier ones. At the same time, it is constructed to last and is a good choice for your kitchen.

What makes this rod special? When honing steels realign the blade points, they also cause tiny metal particles of your blade to become airborne. This honing rod is magnetized to prevent these particles from being inhaled or landing on nearby food.

It is made from reinforced carbon steel and this can be seen as soon as you hold it in your hands. It feels reliably substantial, and looks well-designed, making it a welcome addition to your kitchen tools. Besides smoothing out your blade, it also polishes the metal on the blade surface.

Why We Recommend It:

From the first impression onwards, you will notice how well this honing steel works. It is so aggressive that it seems to work as a knife sharpening stick as well. 

Your blades will be straighter, smoother, and even sharper. This makes it one of the most impressive honing tools because despite its price it functions just magnificently.

Pros:
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05. Kota Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 17.32 x 2.17 x 1.42 inches
  • Weight: 6.7 ounces
  • Brand: Kota

Want something that can tackle even the largest and heaviest of kitchen knives? We’ve got just the honing steel for you. This honing tool is so effective, it almost works as a sharpener as well.

This honing rod is 12 inches long, which means you can smooth out all sorts of knives. It has diamond electro-plating which reinforces the honing properties, refining the edge of the blade. As a result, it is the best honing steel for Japanese knives and keeping them in great shape.

The handle is ergonomically designed, making it both aesthetically pleasing and comfortable to use. This hollow rod is smooth and works quickly and easily. 

You can use it to realign things like meat cleavers, paring knives, and everything in between. Also, regardless of the material, your knife is made of, this tool can whip them back into shape.

Why We Recommend It:

If you don’t like multiple tools, this is a good all-in-one option. It works well to both realign the edge of your blade and sharpen it at the same time. 

As a result, dull blades are transformed and renewed and you can cut your ingredients quickly and safely. With this honing rod, all it takes are a few passes before your knives are ready to go!

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06. Wusthof 10-Inch Diamond Sharpening Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 14 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Brand: Wusthof

Like indulging in all sorts of fancy kitchen equipment? This Wusthof honing steel is pricey for sure, but works beautifully and is elegantly crafted. Moreover, it lasts for a long time, making it a great investment for your kitchen.

It has a pretty average size of 10 inches which is suitable for most knives and kitchen blades. It also features a diamond-coated steel shaft that reinforces the whole unit and makes it all the stronger.

Furthermore, the slip-resistant plastic handle fits in the hand comfortably. This gives you a firm grip and prevents accidents when honing your blade. 

Cleaning this tool is also very easy, as all you have to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth after use. It has a very coarse grit and this makes it very good for severely neglected knives.

Why We Recommend It:

This knife sharpening tool is a great tool for reviving all sorts of blades and cutters, regardless of their material. It is so coarse; it aligns the blade points perfectly and gives the blade a cleaner and sharper edge at the same time. 

It is very sturdy and lasts a long time while including a limited lifetime warranty, so you get your money’s worth.

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07. Green Elephant Ceramic Sharpening Honing Rod

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 3 x 0.2 x 16.6 inches
  • Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Brand: Green Elephant

Home cooks and professional chefs need to make sure their knives are working properly. Whenever your blades need a little pick me up, this ceramic honing rod will bring them back to life. Made from ceramic, it is a great alternative to the best diamond sharpening steel out there.

As with other ceramic honing rods, this tool is especially sturdy and durably, requiring little upkeep. It is very hard and very gritty and is guaranteed to last for years. Also, the special vibration absorbing design protects your ceramic sharpening rod from breaking when dropped.

The silicone seal between the handle and ceramic, along with the plastic end cap is designed to keep the ceramic rod safe when you use it. 

Despite its reinforcements, it is still pretty lightweight and easy to store. You can easily use it, even if you’ve never honed a blade before.

Why We Recommend It:

If you have German or Japanese knives, this is the perfect tool to keep them working properly. With just a few strokes you can restore poorly-performing blades to their former glory. 

It is perfect for honing, realigning, and sharpening kitchen knives. Cleaning it is also easy as you just have to clean it with a wet cloth and allow it to dry before storage.

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08. Utopia Kitchen Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 15.5 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Brand: Utopia Kitchen

This extremely affordable honing tool is special because you can do a lot with it. You can use it to fancy up all kinds of kitchen knives, as well as other blades such as sporting, fishing, and pocket knives. If versatility is your cup of tea, we say go for this one!

This honing rod is made from carbon steel and is plated with nickel-chrome; it is less gritty than many on the market. The fine surface of the steel rod stops the cutting edge from getting worn when honing or sharpening.

It can both realign the edge of the blade and sharpen it at the same time. Also, it is pretty easy to use and the ergonomic handle is suitable for both left and right-handed people. The slip-resistant rubber base results in your sharpener being easy to handle, staying in place when it is in use.

Why We Recommend It:

This is a cheap and easy to use honing blade that is reliable as well. It works quickly and you don’t need to keep sawing your knife on the surface to get results. 

As a result, you can sharpen all your blades in no time at all. It can handle all kinds of blades and also work to keep them functioning properly for much longer.

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09. Shun Premier Combination Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 13.88 x 1.25 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 0.57 Pounds
  • Brand: Shun

Want a high-end, rustic-looking honing rod? This 9-Inch quality honing steel by Shun was designed to manage your blades between professional sharpening sessions. This is a great tool for kitchen knives used by pros and home cooks.

The honing steel features a very smooth surface for every day honing, as well as a micro-ribbed surface for weekly and more vigorous maintenance. 

It has a walnut-laminated Pakka wood that provides maximum comfort as it is a D-shaped handle. This also makes it much safer to use.

To use this honing steel, hold the steel tip down on a sturdy surface, and then gently drag the blade down from base to tip 3-4 times. Repeat on the other side. Do not clean the rod in a dishwasher, as it is meant to be cleaned by hand.

Why We Recommend It:

We liked this honing steel because it does exactly what it claims to do. It levels the blade points and makes it straighter and more even. 

The handle makes it really comfortable to use and you don’t have to worry about accidentally nicking your hands. Moreover, it looks pretty attractive and makes a lovely addition to your kitchen toolset.

Pros:
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10. Victorinox Diamond Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 17 x 2 x 1.5 inches
  • Weight: 0.2 pounds
  • Brand: Victorinox

Need honing steel that doesn’t have a hollow core? This powerful and elegant looking tool is a must-have for your kitchen. It is compact and sturdy and everything you could want in a honing rod.

The 12-inch rod of this honing steel makes it perfect for honing knives and kitchen blades of all sizes with ease. The regular cut means that it is more efficient than a fine cut rod and it straightens edges of dulled knives more quickly. It also works on knives that need to have their edges thinned.

With this rod, you can hone down countless knives without getting fatigued. The regular cut also helps keep sharpened knives the sharpest they can be without having to use a knife sharpener. 

This honing steel has 4 sides with 2 smooth and 2 finely grooved edges opposite of each other. As a result, it performs extremely well with most kinds of knives.

Why We Recommend It:

This can have your knives back to normal with no effort at all. It has an attractive design and looks more than just a knife honing tool. 

Because it has so many sides, you can use it to even out most types of knives. The tool is gentle and will not damage your delicate blades.

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11. Mercer Culinary German Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 17 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 0.75 pounds
  • Brand: Mercer Culinary

Mercer knives are always among the best kitchen tools, and their honing rod is no different. It is mid-ranged honing steel, and the long length makes it convenient to use for all kinds of knives, regardless of their type or size.

It is made with quality German steel, which ensures resilience and long-term use. The grit is medium-fine, which is just the right amount for the average kitchen knife. It also functions as a sharpener for steel blades, so you can use it for general knife maintenance.

The handle of this tool is made from a black polypropylene handle and has a ring for added security. As it is 12-inches long, it is a good choice for bigger knives and cleavers. This tool straightens the edge of the blade and realigns it so that it functions properly.

Why We Recommend It:

This honing oval is a unique option, especially if you are tired of the usual options on the market. The gritty surface gives it the ability to smooth and even out the edge of your knife, so you can keep using it for longer. With regular use, you find it indispensable for cooking and slicing your ingredients.

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12. Shun Kanso 9-Inch Combination Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 13.75 x 1 x 1.25 inches
  • Weight: 9.5 ounces
  • Brand: Shun

Shun products are always a delight to work with when it comes to quality and performance. This is a great tool to keep your fancy cutlery and knives in great shape at all times.

With each use, any knife’s edge bends over slightly by themselves which results in a reduction of cutting precision. This honing steel realigns micro-bends along the blade edge without damaging the blade. As a result, you can slice, peel, dice, cut, chop, and mince more effectively with less effort.

Regular honing knives will prolong the blade’s sharpness and lengthens the time before they need re-sharpening. Like many other Shun honing rods, this one has two surfaces: one smoother surface for day-to-day honing and another micro-ribbed surface for occasional maintenance honing. 

With a little practice, you can hone your knives like a pro with this honing steel.

Why We Recommend It:

This particular tool is designed based on Zen philosophy. As a result, it focuses on simplicity and functionality. It sharpens all kinds of blades and knives and will do so with ease. 

It works with precision and accuracy, which makes it a good choice for use in restaurants and other commercial catering businesses.

Pros:
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13. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Oval Honing Steel

FEATURES

  • Dimensions: 18 x 2 x 2 inches
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Brand: Cookware

If you want something that hones your knives in the least time possible and with very little exertion on your part, we suggest giving this tool a try. It works beautifully, is constructed well, and will last a long time, making it a solid and reliable option.

Since it is pretty easy to use, it is a good choice for home chefs who want to realign the edge of their knives and remove any niches or burrs. As a result, you will be able to cut into things more easily, and won’t get snagged on ingredients when in use.

An oval rod is more efficient because it gives the knife more surface contact with the edge, which achieves the same results as a traditional honing rod but with fewer strokes. 

This tapered rod of hard steel alloy works just as well as any, if not better, as it also has a finger guard for safety. Moreover, there is a hanging ring on its handle for easy storage.

Why We Recommend It:

Need a basic honing tool? This one is it. It works astounding well, even though it looks pretty lackluster. 

This tool prevents your blade from going dull and performing poorly over time. Since it has a good handle, you don’t have to worry about it sliding out of your grasp or cutting yourself by mistake.

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Buying Guide: Choosing the Best Honing Steels

Not sure which one of these honing rods is the right one for you? This best honing guide will point you in the right direction.

Honing Rod Type:

Honing rods are generally made from either steel, ceramic, or diamond. Each one has different levels of hardness and this determines how long your honing rod lasts, or how quickly it evens out your blade.

If you traditional honing steels, you will do well with ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Double Cut Honing Steel or DALSTRONG Gladiator Series Honing Steel

However, if you like harder ceramic tools, we suggest getting the Mac Knife Ceramic Honing Rod and Green Elephant Ceramic Sharpening Honing Rod.

Length:

Honing rods come in many different lengths. Length is the most important factor to consider as the steel must be long enough to hone longer knife blades.

Because of this, a 12-inch steel like the Kota Diamond Carbon Steel Professional Knife Sharpener Rod is the best as it can handle all sized knives. If you want something smaller, you can opt for a 10-inch or even 9-inch option.

Weight:

Some steels are lighter and more compact than others. A heavy honing steel will be difficult to use, but one with a nice heft can seem more stable while using it. 

If you want something compact, try the Green Elephant Ceramic Sharpening Honing Rod or the Victorinox Diamond Honing Steel

Meanwhile, the ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Double Cut Honing Steel has enough weight to feel solid and heavy-duty.

FAQs

Below you’ll find answers to questions we get asked the most about honing rods or steels.

01. How are Honing Rods Different from Sharpening Steels?

To put it very simply, the best knife sharpening steel will fix a blunt knife. On the other hand, honing steel will realign the sharp edge of your knife when it starts bending away. In other words, they each correct a specific problem.

02. How to Use Honing Steel or Rod Correctly?

Not used to using honing steel? Relax! We’ll tell you how it’s done

  • Hold the rod firmly with the tip correctly placed on the counter.
  • Keep the heels of the blade against the honing rod. The tip of the knife should be angled upward a little, at an angle of 16 degrees between the rod and the blade.
  • While maintaining this angle and applying light pressure on the knife, glide it down the length of the honing steel in a straight motion.
  • Finish this stroke by making sure that the whole edge of the blade touches the rod.
  • Repeat this process a few more times (or as needed) on both sides.

03. How Can I Keep My Honing Steel Clean?

All you need to do is wipe down all the surfaces of the honing surface with a damp cloth or towel. Then wipe it down with a dry cloth before storing it in a dry and clean place.

In a Nutshell

Now that you know what to look for, our list of the best honing steels will give you a wide range of choices. If you’re still confused about which honing steel is right for you, start by selecting the one with the features and advantages you want the most.

Whether you cook a lot, or occasionally you are going to need something to keep your knives in good shape. This will also save you money as you will not need to replace quality knives. So get yourself honing steel and polish your chopping skills.