Honing vs. Sharpening: A Glance at Diamond Steel Knife Sharpener Rod

May 24, 2022

A knife debate has been waging on for years: is it better to hone or sharpen your knives? Well, we found a type of knife sharpening rod that may just settle the score. 

No, you're not sharpening a knife when you hone it. At least, not according to the experts. So what's the difference? What's the point of honing? And why should you do it before every use? And we'll share our thoughts on diamond steel knife sharpener rods.

Continue reading to discover what makes this product unique.

Honing vs. Sharpening: What's the Difference?

When keeping your knives in top condition, you may have heard of both honing and sharpening. So, what's the difference? Both processes aim to produce a sharp edge on your knife, but they do it differently.

Honing is all about realigning the edge of the blade to the center so that it is straight. It can be done with a knife honing rod and a gentler process that realigns the existing edge. It doesn't remove any metal from the blade, which means honing can be done more frequently without damaging the knife. However, because it doesn't create a new edge, it's not as effective at fixing a truly dull knife.

Sharpening, in contrast, actually removes or shaves metal from the edge of your knife to create a new, sharp edge. It is usually done with carbon steel or a ceramic rod knife sharpener. Over time, metal can become dull and fractured, and sharpening is the only way to remove those imperfections and create a new, sharp edge. 

However, it also removes a small amount of metal from the blade each time it's used, which can eventually lead to thinning and weakening of the blade. For that reason, it's important only to sharpen when necessary.

A good guideline to follow is to hone your knives after every use and only sharpen them once or twice a year. Then, with regular care, your knives will stay sharp and perform their best for years to come.

knife sharpener rod - knife sharpener and knife on a cutting board

How to Sharpen a Knife With a Rod

Any chef knows that a razor-sharp knife is a kitchen essential. But keeping your knives in top condition can be a challenge. Over time, even the best knives will start to dull. So then it's time to bring out the sharpener. 

You can have your knives looking and feeling like new again in just a few easy steps.

  1. To sharpen your knife with a rod, start by finding a rod made of a material that's harder than your knife. The most common options are diamond, ceramic, and steel.
  1. Then, hold it at a 20-degree angle to the blade and use light strokes to move it from the base to the blade's tip. And make sure to do this for the two sides of the knife evenly.
  1. And finally, cut a piece of paper with the blade's edge to test its sharpness. If it cuts cleanly, you're done! If not, continue sharpening until the desired results are achieved. With just a little work, you'll be able to keep your knives in peak condition for years to come.

Diamond Steel Sharpening Tools

Trying to find a real sharpening rod is hard. Most of the metal rods you'll find for sale these days are honing rods, which are great for keeping your knife edge in good shape but won't actually sharpen a dull blade.

Diamond knife sharpener rods are carbon steel coated with an industrial-grade diamond coating, making the rod gritty. And we all know diamond is harder than steel, thus, sharpening the edge of a knife's blade.

How does a diamond steel rod exactly settle the score between honing and sharpening? It's simple. Once the rod's grit has faded, you can use it for honing. There's no clear winner in this debate. Both honing and sharpening are necessary to keep your knife in good shape.

Diamond vs. Ceramic Rods

When it comes to sharpening your knives, you have two main options: diamond and ceramic sharpening rods. Both have their pros and cons, so it's up to you to pick the ideal rod for your needs. These are the major distinctions between the two:

Diamond Sharpeners

  • Diamond is harder than steel, so it can quickly sharpen even the dullest blades.
  • Some people find that diamond sharpeners can remove too much material from the blade, making it thinner and more likely to chip.
  • Diamond sharpeners are typically more expensive than ceramic sharpeners.

Ceramic Sharpeners

  • Ceramic is softer than diamond, so that it won't remove as much material from the blade. It makes it a good choice for those who want to maintain the original thickness of their blade.
  • Ceramic sharpeners are typically less expensive than diamond sharpeners.
  • Some people find that ceramic sharpeners take longer to sharpen a blade than diamond sharpeners.


Honing and sharpening are two different ways of maintaining the edge of your blade. The major distinction between honing and sharpening is that honing straightens the blade, whereas sharpening actually grinds away a tiny portion of the blade to generate a fresh edge. A honing rod is a type of tool used to maintain the sharpness of blades by straightening them.

There are two types of rods—diamond steel and ceramic. Diamond steel rods are made with tiny diamonds embedded in the steel, which helps to sharpen knives quickly. Ceramic rods do not have much abrasive power, but they are non-corrosive and will not damage your knife's blade. So if you're looking for an easy way to keep your knives sharp, honing and sharpening with a diamond steel rod is the way.

If you're looking to sharpen your blades another way, check out our other reviews and guides to find the perfect sharpener for you.

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