We are all familiar with knife sharpeners, but do you know what a honing rod, otherwise known as a honing steel, is? This is a rod, generally made of steel or ceramic, that straightens out a recently sharpened knife edge. This gives the knife better performance. When you hone your knives, you do not have to sharpen them quite as often.
Let’s find out about some of the most popular honing rods available on the market today:
This affordable 12 inch honing and sharpening rod has a surface fineness that is 40% sharper than a normal knife sharpener. This prevents damage to the blade during sharpening and prolongs its life span.
It is made of high carbon steel, and plated with nickel-chrome. It has a hardness up to HRC62, which is higher than the hardness of similar products (HRC56). The hardness makes this product suitable for many types of knives, and makes the process of honing easier.
Simply hone your knife two or three times and then wipe the honing rod with a cloth. This product hones quickly and safely. It will give your dull knife blades a new lease on life.
This honing rod is made with strong magnetism, which prevents metal particles from flying around when they are generated during the sharpening process.
The handle is comfortable, which makes honing your knives easier.
Make sure to hone your knife at a 15 to 20 degree angle. Using the wrong angle can make your knife’s blade less effective.
- 12 inch honing rod and sharpening steel
- Surface fineness 40% sharper than regular knife sharpeners
- Hardness up to HRC62, which is harder than similar products
- Hones quickly and safely, and makes dull knives like new
- Strong magnetism prevents metal particles from flying around during sharpening
- Comfortable handle
This 10 inch honing rod is a high quality, single piece, full tang model. It will do a professional job at maintaining your knife edges in peak form and perfectly aligned.
This handcrafted honing rod is made of solid, high quality, carbon steel and has a classic black pakkawood handle. It is super durable with good heft. It is wear-resistant, and precision-forged with a hardness of 55 Rockwell. It has added chromium for stain resistance and it is precisely tempered for added durability.
The 10 inch length is perfect for honing most knives without being too long to easily transport or store. This honing rod has tiny grooves along the surface which help restore and straighten your knife edges
The beautiful, premium quality handle is triple-riveted for durability and strength, and it has a contoured, ergonomic grip. The handle is shaped to provide the ultimate in comfort and maneuverability.
This honing rod has an attractive bolster that allows you to use the entire length of the rod. The bolster keeps your hand protected. There is a second stainless steel bolster that balances out the rod and adds distinction.
It can be engraved and makes a great gift, and is also low maintenance and easy to clean.
- High quality, single piece, full tang, 10 inch honing rod
- Keeps knife edges in peak form and perfectly aligned
- Made of solid, durable carbon steel with added chromium for stain resistance
- Classic black pakkawood handle with comfortable, ergonomic grip
- Attractive bolster keeps your hand protected
- Can be engraved
This 12 inch sharpening steel is different from the others in that it is made of ceramic, and it sharpens and hones at the same time. It makes the honing process easy and provides a polished and refined edge. Also, unlike with steel honing rods, after using this device on your knives, you won’t have to oil them.
If the 12 inch size is too large for you, there are smaller sizes available.
This tool is lightweight yet sturdy, unbreakable, and wear-resistant. It is built for performance and works fast, in just five or six light strokes, compared to about 30 strokes with other models. It is also very portable.
This tool uses micronized monocrystalline diamonds to provide a uniform diamond surface. The surface has slightly recessed holes that collect any metal pieces that come off your knives during sharpening.
You can use this tool on small edges as well as large ones. Use it for your carving knife, chef knife, paring knife, boning knife, fillet knife, bread knife, and garden knives. It will also sharpen and hone your pocket knife, axe, hatchet, machete, woodworker’s knife, and more!
It has a thick, solid, sanitary plastic handle, with a wide crossguard to protect your hands.
This honing tool is easy to maintain. Always put it away dry and store it in a dry environment, wrapped in paper towel or a cloth.
- 12 inch ceramic sharpening and honing rod
- Provides a polished and refined edge
- No need to oil knives after sharpening and honing with this tool
- Lightweight yet sturdy, unbreakable, and wear-resistant
- Works in just five or six light strokes
- Solid, sanitary plastic handle, with wide crossguard to protect hands
This affordable 11 inch ceramic sharpening and honing rod is lightweight and made of top quality ceramic. It is gentle enough to do light honing, and tough enough to sharpen German and Japanese knives. You can even use it to sharpen and hone hunting knives and butcher knives. Read the instructions to determine the amount of pressure you should use for various knives.
This tool has a hardness of 9 Mohs, Rockwell hardness over 100, and a 1500 grit. It is highly durable and will last for years.
It has shock absorbing qualities which can help prevent the tool from shattering if it falls on the floor. There is a silicone seal between the ceramic and the handle which absorbs vibrational waves to keep this tool safe.
It has a lightweight 5.5 inch polypropylene handle that is easy to grip. The comfortable handle makes the sharpening and honing experience effortless and safe.
When honing, make sure to use an angle of 20 to 22 degrees. This is approximately the same as the angle of your German knife. For Japanese knives, use an angle of 15 degrees.
This sharpening and honing tool is easy to clean. Just use regular detergent and then air dry.
One drawback is it does not have a protective covering for storage.
- 11 inch ceramic sharpening and honing rod
- Gentle enough to do light honing and tough enough to sharpen large knives
- Highly durable and will last for years
- Hardness of 9 Mohs, Rockwell hardness over 100
- Shock absorbing qualities to prevent shattering
- Lightweight 5.5 inch polypropylene handle is easy to grip
This 12 inch honing rod is made of carbon steel plated with nickel chrome, for rigidity. It has a fine grit surface which prevents it from damaging your knife blades while honing. It can hone any style and size of blade – both straight and serrated – and thus can work with any knife you might have. It even works on ceramic blades.
The handle is made of slip-resistant rubber. It is comfortable to hold and fits perfectly in the hand, which makes it easy to hone well. It can be used by both right and left handed users. The handle has a protector ring to keep your fingers safe.
This honing rod is durable and easy to maintain. Simply use a cloth with oil for cleaning and then wipe off with water and dry off (do not put this tool in the dishwasher). This rod also has a ring at the bottom so you can hang it up for storage.
One drawback is, the super fine grit makes it harder to realign your knife properly. Also, it has a curved surface, while most other honing rods are flat.
- 12 inch honing rod
- Made of carbon steel plated with nickel chrome, for rigidity
- Has fine grit surface which prevents it from damaging your knife blades
- Can hone any style and size of blade – both straight and serrated
- Comfortable handle is made of slip-resistant rubber
- Handle has a protector ring to keep fingers safe
This 12 inch sharpening and honing tool is affordable and basic. Despite its low price, it is solid and sturdy. It is also magnetized, meaning it will hold onto little pieces of metal that come off your knife during sharpening and honing.
It is elegantly designed and comfortable to hold. The five inch ergonomic handle is made of quality plastic and has a secure grip. This makes it easier for you to sharpen and shape your knife.
This tool is easy to maintain. Simply clean with a damp cloth. Or you can put it in the dishwasher! It has a hanging loop for storage.
One drawback is this tool is rather large compared to other honing rods. Also, it is a bit heavy compared to similar tools so it might be hard for beginners to use.
- 12 inch sharpening and honing tool
- Solid and sturdy
- Magnetized, to hold onto little pieces of metal that may come off your knife
- Comfortable to hold with a secure grip
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe
- Has hanging loop for storage
Choosing a honing rod
Honing rods are available in a variety of materials.
Stainless steel is popular and comes in smooth, ridged, round, or square versions, but the steel can wear away quickly. As a result, while stainless steel rods can do a great job with sharpening and honing, you may have to replace them frequently. Also, stainless steel rods cannot sharpen or hone Japanese knives very well (a ceramic honing rod or one coated with diamond will work better).
Ceramic honing rods are great for regular honing but they tend to break easily. You need to be careful with these.
Honing rods coated with diamond are very tough, and they can sharpen and hone easily, but they are too rough to use on a regular basis. Only use these honing tools occasionally.
A strong and comfortable handle with a good grip can make honing safer and easier. The handle should be slip-resistant, if possible. Some handles also have a guard to protect your fingers.
Check the sizes of your knives. If you have 10 inch knives, look for a honing tool that is about 10 inches long. You can go larger if you wish – many people like to have a 12 inch honing tool – but preferably not smaller, and this can cause injury.
Look for a honing rod that needs little maintenance. In general, steel and diamond rods are easier to maintain than ceramic.
The rod will accumulate little metal particles from your knives so you need to make sure these pieces do not get into your food. Some honing rods are magnetized to hold onto those metal pieces.
How to use a honing rod
To use your honing rod, simply hold it upwards and place your knife blade against the steel. The knife tip should face slightly upward and there should be a 15 degree angle between your steel and the knife blade.
Slide the blade down the steel with slight, consistent pressure and make sure to maintain the 15 degree angle. Repeat this process about five times on each side of the blade. Then wipe your blade with a clean cloth. Your blade should now be ready to use.
Through practice, a honing rod can become an integral part of your knife set. It can help protect your knives and keep them working smoothly for years to come.