I purchased this product myself. This review is not sponsored. There are no affiliate links on this page.
TL;DR: The Wicked Edge is pretty wild. It’s “too much sharpener” for the casual blade owner. For pros and enthusiasts who already spend money on diamond stones (or who want the sharpest edge possible) I think the Wicked Edge is worth it.
Table of Contents
- The WE60 / “Wicked Edge GO”
- Setting Up & Testing The Sharpener
- The Verdict
- What’s To Like?
- What’s Not To Like?
- Wicked Edge’s Other Sharpeners
- Quick Recap
The WE60 / “Wicked Edge GO“
The WE60 is the model I’m reviewing. This version of the Wicked Edge Sharpener includes an aluminum base with a C-clamp, blade-holding vise, guide rods, angle slides, and a practice knife with instructions.
The sharpening stones’ rods pivot on ball ends. The slides allow you to adjust the angle you want to sharpen your edge with.
The sharpener adjusts to between 13 and 31 degrees on either side. The WE60 is the only version of these sharpeners that can be purchased with no stones included, freeing up some cash to buy only the ones you really need.
An extra tabletop base is available, but it’s not necessary. I compare this model to Wicked Edge’s other sharpeners at the end of this review, and explain why this model (the cheapest one) is the best choice.
Setting Up & Testing The Sharpener
The Wicked Edge is packaged well, double-boxed in shipping. Inside you’ll get the sharpener, a practice knife, a blade indexer with a ruler, any included or purchased stones, an Allen key for the vise, and a set of written and video instructions. I give props to Wicked Edge for their video instructions.
I come from the world of video production, and was pleased at how well they presented their sharpeners with a “how-to” video series.
First impressions: Everything is very nicely machined. I had high expectations given the cost. The sharpener delivers on fitment, finish, and overall quality. Beautiful anodizing.
The CNC work on the angle slides and base is impressive. I work with firearm receivers. I know milling all these small curves and shapes is time-consuming and expensive.
All the adjustment knobs are knurled and threaded nicely.
The slides glide and lock up easily, but I’ll be applying some grease to protect the anodizing between them and the base.
Setting up the angle slides is simple. Loosen the horizontal knurled knobs, then remove the little white balls protecting the rods’ ball end mounts.
I’ll hold onto these, just in case I ever need to pack up the sharpener for transport.
To set up the rods, insert their ball ends into the slides, and hand-tighten the knobs.
You don’t want to over-tighten the rods, as they’ll just feel stiff.
The Wicked Edge comes with a pronged blade indexer. It fits into two sets of holes atop the vise, to align and support the spine of the blade until you tighten the vise. This ensures the knife edge is level when clamped down.
The top two holes in the vise are for blades measuring 1″ and smaller. The bottom two holes are for blades wider than 1″. The transparent ruler is for referencing where your blade’s tip rests once clamped.
You can mark the ruler with a Sharpie for your various blades’ tips, then use those measurements to index them when they need to be sharpened again. The Allen wrench is provided for tightening the jack screw and clamp bolt on the vise.
I checked my ego and decided to learn the motions with the practice knife, before grabbing my own knives.
The practice knife was so dull that it measured almost 800g on my Edge-On-Up Sharpness Tester.
That’s incredibly dull. A new knife with a factory edge typically measures between 180g and 300g.
With the 800/1,000- and 2200/3000-grit stones, I knew I could put a pretty honed edge on this cheap, sad, dull knife.
The question was, how long would it take? If I were free-handing it, I’d expect this to take about 45 minutes to an hour.
NOTE: If you’re new, you should use the “Sharpie” index method: Apply some permanent marker to the entire edge of the blade.
Do a few test passes with the stones, and verify the marker is being removed across the entire edge of the blade.
If your knife edge looks like either of the examples above, then your angle is either too steep or shallow (top), or your knife is too far forward or rearward (bottom).
Adjust the position of your blade inside the vise until you get a clean pass, with all the marker being removed from heel to tip.
I’ve used enough diamond stones to know these work no differently: I simply made sure my angle was set correctly — 20 degrees is what the instructions suggest for the practice knife — and started sharpening.
I followed my usual procedure and worked up a burr at 800 grit on both sides. Then I swapped over to 1,000 grit. It only took about 2 to 3 minutes grinding either side to form my burrs. Then I moved over to the 2200/3000-grit stones.
They ran a little slower, as expected. But they were still faster than any other stones I’ve used. I only had to do about 20 passes with the 2200, and about 30 passes with the 3000. I finished off with about a dozen stropping passes on either side.
I did a quick paper test to confirm my edge was doing what I wanted.
Then I set the practice knife in my Edge-On-Up Tester, and pushed it through the test media.
Test Knife Results
Getting a sub-150g score on what amounts to a Dollar Store knife is pretty crazy.
And this took me about 15 minutes. Again, it’d take me at least 45 minutes with regular water stones to get these results.
Sharpening My Most Abused Blades
I wanted to really put the Wicked Edge through some paces. So, I took my biggest, most beat-up camp knives and combat blades, and ran them through the sharpener.
You’ll have to excuse the “less professional” quality of these photos. I was set up in my kitchen and used my iPhone to take these.
Anyway, this sharpener rocks. It is super fast, and very easy to use on big, dull, thick blades.
The convex grind on the Air Force Survival Knife can be a challenge, but I was able to get it down to an edge that tested 200g.
That’s impressive for a knife intended for tearing and chopping more than fine cutting. But the Tanto’s results were really wild:
Yet again, I managed a crazy sharp edge. I ground it at 18 degrees, and got it to measure 120g. An edge this sharp on a massive, thick Tanto like this is really something else.
I guarantee that most folks would not be able to get a blade this wide, big, angular and bulky this sharp by free-hand sharpening with water or oil stones. Especially with an angle this shallow. At least, not without a lot of practice and mistakes.
As you can see from the photo above, this thing is officially a hair shaver. And, yet again, each knife only took about 15 to 20 minutes.
The other thing I loved about using the Wicked Edge was the lack of mess and clean-up. Had I used water stones for all these blades, I would’ve had about a pint of black slush everywhere.
With the Wicked Edge stones running dry, all I had to do was spritz from Windex on my countertop and wipe it down.
So, is dropping around $400 to $500 on a sharpener like the Wicked Edge really worth it?
You might be like me. You love knives. You own quite a few expensive blades made from “super steels.” You cut and play with them a lot, you love super-duper sharp edges. You don’t prefer spending so much time sharpening and cleaning up swarf.
If that sounds like you, then yes, the Wicked Edge is worth it. Again, I only recommend the cheapest model that I reviewed here, the WE60 / “GO.” Its aluminum base and machining are top-notch. The more expensive models don’t provide any real mechanical benefits.
More on that below.
What’s To Like?
These are the things unique to the Wicked Edge that I think make it worth the cash.
A quality set of water or diamond stones costs $250 to $500, sometimes more. Wicked Edge’s stones are priced well. Compared to DMT Dia-Sharps, which are arguably the most popular diamond bench stones, these stones are actually cheaper at $65 to $115 per pair, versus $158 for a single DMT stone.
And as far as quality’s concerned, the Wicked Edge stones are quite nice. I had reservations, having handled a few “proprietary” stones from other sharpeners. But these are, indeed, high-quality.
The handles have a nice heft to them. They’re comfortable and feel solid. The diamond media is durable and the stones compare accurately to their advertised grits.
These stones are fast. The 800-grit chewed through the practice knife, giving me burrs very quickly. The 1,000-grit took about 5 minutes, and I spent another 5 to 10 minutes using the 2200- and 3000-grit stones.
On my bigger knives with harder, higher quality steels, it didn’t matter. Every blade required just under 20 minutes of work.
You’ve probably tried to master free-hand sharpening. It ain’t easy, even with months of practice. I’ve been swinging blades ’round and fixing them back up for years. I still struggle to get a polished finish, and I still manage to scratch my primary bevels or roll an edge once in awhile, because my angle was off. The hand cramps from working with stones for an hour isn’t fun.
The Wicked Edge is just mindlessly easy, and that’s what I like most about it. I clamp my knife, slap my stones on the rods, and get to work while I enjoy some music and coffee. There’s no need to focus. You provide the motion, and the sharpener does the rest.
No blade damage
I also like that there’s no chance of ruining any coatings on my blades, or messing up a bevel. That can be a challenge when you’re trying to sharpen a narrow apex on a thick blade, like my Tanto. You certainly don’t want to scratch a painted finish, or ruin the pattern on your favorite Damascus knife.
I could probably teach my 8-year-old how to hone the edge on my beat up KA-BAR with this sharpener. Maybe when she’s older. We don’t want to lose any kid fingers.
Each set of stones is supposed to last for between 400 and 600 sharpening sessions. That’s according to a Wicked Edge customer service rep named Jude, who I emailed with some questions before placing my order. Unlike oil and water stones, these won’t need lapping over time.
No water needed
Being able to run stones dry is refreshing. Dealing with blackened water or oil staining my hands, shirts, and everything else it touches gets old. The clean-up with regular stones is tedious. There’s none of that here.
What’s Not To Like?
The Wicked Edge isn’t perfect. Here are some of the quirks and my own dislikes.
Very small, thin blades need an adapter.
If you’re trying to sharpen up some tiny lil’ pen knife with a narrow edge, then you’ll struggle to get the stones to clear the vise and jack screw. Wicked Edge makes an adapter for small blades, but it isn’t cheap.
The vise struggles with tapered spines and no flats.
If you’re working with a funky blade that doesn’t have a squared spine, the vise can struggle to clamp it properly. The same goes for double-edged blades and knives without any flats. This is remedied with some shims or tape, but it’s still a minor annoyance.
More expensive options aren’t worth it.
The aluminum base on the WE60 is all you need. The included C-clamp keeps the sharpener locked down, even if you get rough with it. The more expensive versions of the Wicked Edge don’t come with any base. They’re sold separately which is weird, since they cost more.
Below, I compare the other models.
Wicked Edge’s Other Sharpeners
The WE100 ($375)
The WE100 includes 100/200-, and 400/600-grit stones. Its base is sold separately. It provides an angle range of 15 to 30 degrees.
The WE120 ($450)
The 120 also comes with 100/200- and 400/600-grit stones, but its angle slides provide a wider range (13 to 35 degrees). Base sold separately.
The WE130 ($650)
The 130 also has a 13- to 35-degree angle range, the same stones, and its base is, again, sold separately. But it comes with an improved vise with a quick-release lever.
The Generation 3 Pro ($1,100)
The Pro sharpener angles between 14 and 27 degrees, has the upgraded quick-release blade clamp, and a full shelf and table. It includes 100/200-, 400/600-, and 800/1000-grit stones.
If you want a Wicked Edge, get the cheapest one, like I did.
You only need the WE60. The more expensive sharpeners all do the same thing: Provide a blade clamp and angle-adjustable rods for the stones. The Gen 3 Pro looks nice, but doesn’t sharpen a knife any better than the “GO”.
Some of the included stones aren’t very useful.
You’re not going to use the 100/200 or 400/600 stones for sharpening, and the cost of these stones is baked into the more expensive models. Grits this low are for changing an edge’s angle, and re-profiling chipped and damaged blades.
For standard sharpening and maintenance, you should use 1,000 grit. The Pro is the only option that comes with an 800/1000 stone.
Here’s the short n’ sweet:
- The WE60 provides the best value overall.
- More expensive options don’t add benefits for sharpening.
- Wicked Edge sharpeners are expensive, especially the Gen 3 Pro.
- But next to other diamond stones (like DMTs), there is value here.
- The 800/1000 and 2200/3000 stones are all you need for edge maintenance.
- The setup we reviewed costs about $450, or $375 with a military/veteran discount.
- Sharpening very small blades is a hassle, unless you spend $75 on a special adapter.
- Yes, this system will give you the sharpest edge possible in about 15 to 30 minutes.
- If you’re sharpening a knife just once or twice a year, this probably isn’t worth it.