Honing a Knife vs Sharpening: What You Need to Know


To keep a blade useful, you’ll either hone it or sharpen it. Pretty confusing, huh? Don’t worry for we’re about to give facts about honing a knife vs sharpening it.

The good news is that honing and sharpening are two different things. There’s really no sense in comparing these techniques. Once you realize how different they are, it will be easier for you to decide whether you’ll use a honing steel or a knife sharpener.

In fact, honing and sharpening go hand in hand. Each has a different purpose, but using them both will make things easier while you’re slicing stuff.

Learn more about honing and sharpening below:

Honing is done even if the knife is still sharp.

Honing is a maintenance technique. When you maintain something, you preserve the quality – not fix it. So, even if your knife is still in perfect condition, you have to hone it regularly.

Honing must be done once a week. If you’re cooking every day, do it more frequently. You may follow the three- or four-day interval.

What exactly happens when you hone a knife? The honing steel forces the blade’s edge to return to its original position. When you slice ingredients for several days straight, the metal surface of the edge eventually curves a little bit to the side.

Before the curve becomes even more apparent, avoid it by honing the blade on a regular basis.

Sharpening is the ultimate fix a dull knife needs.

Once you’re having a hard time slicing food, ditch your honing steel and get your knife sharpener. A knife’s edge really loses its sharpness in the long run even if you’d hone it frequently. Deterioration is faster with heavy use.

Looking closely at the process, sharpening a knife removes a small portion of the blade. It specifically eliminates the worn-out metal that’s making the blade dull.

While honing is a regular thing, sharpening is only required when your knife becomes a hassle to use.


When somebody asks you to choose between honing a knife vs sharpening it, there’s really nothing to tell because you have to do them both. Honing is for maintenance while sharpening is for fixing a dull blade.