Are diamond sharpeners better than stone?

Answered by Phillip Nicastro

When it comes to sharpening tools, the debate between diamond sharpeners and sharpening stones is a long-standing one. While both options have their merits, there are certain aspects where diamond sharpeners fall short compared to sharpening stones.

One major disadvantage of diamond sharpening plates is their limited range of grit grades. Grit grades determine the coarseness or fineness of the abrasive material on the sharpening surface. Sharpening stones come in a wide range of grit grades, allowing for more control over the sharpening process. This is particularly important when it comes to honing and achieving a fine, polished edge on a tool.

Diamond sharpening plates typically have a coarse grit that is effective for initial sharpening or re-profiling of blades. However, when it comes to honing, they cannot produce a surface with a mirror finish, which is often desired for tasks like slicing or precision cutting. This is where sharpening stones excel, as they come in finer grit grades that can be used for achieving a polished, mirror-like edge.

Another drawback of diamond sharpeners is their tendency to remove more material compared to sharpening stones. The aggressive nature of diamond abrasives can lead to faster material removal, which can be problematic when trying to maintain the original shape or profile of a tool. In contrast, sharpening stones allow for more precision and control, enabling you to remove just the right amount of material to achieve a sharp edge without altering the tool’s shape significantly.

Personal experience has shown me that diamond sharpening plates are great for quickly restoring a dull edge on tools that require a more aggressive approach, such as garden tools or certain kitchen knives. However, when it comes to achieving a finely honed edge on delicate blades like pocket knives or woodworking tools, I always turn to sharpening stones.

While diamond sharpeners have their advantages in terms of speed and initial sharpening, they are not as versatile or effective as sharpening stones when it comes to honing and achieving a mirror finish. The wider range of grit grades and the ability to remove material with more precision make sharpening stones the preferred choice for those seeking the highest level of sharpness and edge refinement.