A good garden tool sharpener should be versatile in that it can sharpen just about every garden tool you own that needs sharpening from loppers to secateurs and knives to machetes.
I especially love multipurpose sharpeners with multiple sharpening surfaces to cater to different tools.
Regularly sharpening your garden tools makes gardening work like pruning easy and less tiring on your hands. It also protects your plants from damage and disease. Plants heal quicker from smooth and sharp cuts using a sharp tool.
In this buying guide, I review the best garden tool sharpeners in the UK, and give you a few tips on how to choose the best one for your garden tools.
Features To Consider When Choosing A Garden Tool Sharpener
A. Type of Sharpener
Garden tool sharpeners range between basic metal files to diamond coated steel sharpeners. The best type of sharpener depends on the kinds of gardening tools you have and the results you want.
Diamond sharpeners consist of a steel (or some other material) base with a thin diamond coating. Diamond sharpeners are great for restoring very dull blade as they take off a lot of material in a short time.
Because diamond is very hard, diamond sharpeners last a long time without wearing. On the downside, they are the most expensive garden tool sharpeners.
Carbide sharpeners (usually tungsten carbide) are a cheaper alternative to diamond sharpeners. Tungsten carbine is hard, thus able to take off a lot of material to quickly sharpen a dull or an old garden tool.
If you are on a budget, look for a whetstone. Whetstones can either be natural or synthetic. Natural whetstones are great for everyday sharpening and they last long. On the downside, they lack a precise grit, so you have less control over the kind of edge you can give your gardening tools.
Synthetic whetstones like ceramic have precise grit, thus you can buy the perfect sharpening stone for your needs. You can even have multiple stones with varying grits: a fine grit stone for tools that need a razor sharp edge and a coarse grit stone for tools that work best with a rougher edge.
Note that some whetstones may need water or oil lubrication.
If you want something even cheaper, get a metal file. Metal files sharpen tools quickly but tend to leave a rough edge (not ideal for fine edge tools like knives and machetes). They are also highly prone to rusting.
Buying a sharpener for each gardening tool is expensive and inconvenient. Get a sharpener that can sharpen as many tools as possible.
A versatile sharpener will have different sharpening surfaces to handle different types of blade angles, curves and shapes. It can have a flat sharpener for sharpening flat and curved blades, sharpening slots for double bevelled knives and angled sharpeners for single bevel blades on scissors and shears.
Some sharpening stones offer dual-grit functionality. One side will be coarse to quickly set the edge of a dull blade while the other side will be fine to provide a smooth edge finish without any burring.
C. Comfortable and Safe to Use
Garden tool sharpeners with a soft contoured grip are the most comfortable to use. You can sharpen multiple tools without getting tired.
Also, check how safe the sharpener is to operate. The most common safety feature is a hand guard, which protects your hand from the tool edge that you are sharpening.
- Tip: Keep some mineral oil around and apply a bit to the edge of gardening tools after sharpening. This prevents rusting. Some garden tool sharpeners come with oil that you can apply on both the sharpener and your tools to keep out corrosion.
Best Garden Tool Sharpeners: Top 5 Reviews
1. FELCO Model 903 Diamond Steel Sharpener
It is a bit pricey but the FELCO diamond steel sharpener has unmatched sharpening performance. Just a few swipes are enough to sharpen secateurs, pruning shears or knives.
It’s much faster than a whetstone, and is especially good for dull or old tools. The hardened grit of the diamond coating quickly sets a sharp edge with minimal pressure.
Another advantage of investing in a diamond stone like the FELCO 903 is its durability. The hardness of diamond means the FELCO sharpener will hardly show any wear even after years of use.
The curved edge of the FELCO 903 makes it ideal for sharpening and honing curved blades on tools like secateurs. But it can also work on straight blades.
The sharpener is around 11cm long. That’s big enough to fit comfortably in your hand and small enough to sharpen small blades on chisels, small knives and other small tools.
The only two things I don’t like about the FELCO 903 is that it’s easy to lose it because of its size and that it lacks a handle, which puts your hand too close to the sharp edge of whatever you are sharpening.
What I like about it:
- Excellent sharpening performance.
- Great for restoring dull and old garden tools.
- Versatile – works well on different tools.
2. Draper 76765 Tungsten Carbide Multi-Sharpener
If you are shopping for a cheaper sharpener, the Draper tungsten carbide multi-sharpener is a great choice.
Because it has a handle, the Draper sharpener is easier and safer to use compared to the FELCO diamond stone.
The tungsten carbide sharpener is perfect for sharpening small tools, including those with curved or straight edges. You’ll find it easy to move the sharpener along the curved edge of secateurs or swipe it down a straight knife.
I don’t recommend it for large tools like machetes, axes or shears. It is far too small for that.
The Draper sharpener comes with some oil in the handle. Use the oil on the sharpened edges of tools to keep them rust-free.
What I like about it:
- Comes with oil storage.
- Cheaper than a diamond sharpener.
- Easy and safe to use thank to the handle.
- Versatile – sharpens most small garden tools.
3. SHARPAL 103N All-in-1 Knife and Garden Tool Blade Sharpener
If you are looking for a versatile sharpener that works well on both small and large garden tools, from secateurs to axes and even lawn mower blades, I recommend the SHARPAL 103N all-in-1 sharpener.
A double-beveled tungsten carbide coarse sharpener quickly sharpens straight knives. The carbide sharpener is designed specifically for setting the edge of dull knives.
Underneath is a ceramic sharpener for scissors. This is also the sharpener to use for honing an already sharp knife, pair of shears or pruner.
Next to the ceramic sharpener is a flat tungsten carbide sharpener for tools such as shears and loppers.
On the other side of the handle is a wide angled V sharpener for large tools like axes and hatchets. There’s also an angled carbide sharpener for secateurs and pruners.
The SHARPAL 103N is an all-round sharpener that keeps every blade in your workshop or shed in peak cutting condition. It also works perfectly for kitchen knives.
The large contoured handle provides a comfortable grip and protects your hand from sharp edges.
What I like about it:
- Very versatile.
- Oversize handle provides comfort and safety.
- Durable – comes with a 3-year warranty.
4. SHARPAL 181N Dual-Grit Diamond Sharpening Stone
This is another excellent and versatile sharpener from SHARPAL. The SHARPAL 181N is designed mostly for outdoor and off-grid enthusiasts who need to keep their knives, blades and axes sharp.
It even includes a 2.2m long paracord wrapped around the handle for use in an emergency.
The SHARPAL 181N has three sharpening surfaces. Two of them are on the sharpening stone. One side of the stone has a coarse 325 diamond grit that’s perfect for quickly sharpening a dull edge. It’s also great for restoring a damaged edge.
The other side has a fine 1200 diamond grit for honing already sharp tools.
The third sharpening surface is not on the stone; it’s the leather strop that’s included with the sharpener.
The genuine leather surface provides a polished edge for tools that need a razor sharp finish such as knives. The leather strop doubles up as a sheath to protect the diamond stone.
Measuring 10.6cm long (without the handle), the sharpening stone is perfect for small tools like secateurs and fish hooks as well as larger tools like a camping axe or hatchet.
The 10.4cm handle is comfortable to hold and keeps your hand safely away from sharp edges.
What I like about it:
- Three sharpening edges.
- Durable diamond sharpening stone.
- Incudes handle with emergency paracord.
5. Spear & Jackson 4056BS Razor-Sharp 6-in-1 Blade Sharpener
The Spear & Jackson 4056BS is another good choice if you are looking for an ultra-versatile garden tool sharpener.
It consists of four sharpening surfaces for different kinds of tools including scissors, knives, secateurs, shears and loppers.
It also comes with a cleaning sponge and oil to help you maintain your tools in peak condition.
The large handle makes the Spear & Jackson 4056BS easy to use. It provides a soft non-grip slip and reduces the risk that you’ll cut your hand on sharp edges. The handle is large enough that you can hold it comfortably with gloves on.
What I like about it:
- Incudes anti-corrosion oil and cleaning sponge.
- Handle for safe and comfortable operation.
- Low price.