I am no expert but I've learned a lot here so I'll share my thoughts. Since I'm still in learning mode however, my thoughts today may change tomorrow or sometime in the future. Anyway, I've accumulated stones so I can finish the edge any way I want. I have up to the 16k Shapton glass stone for the Edge Pro which gives a very smooth edge. But I can also stop after the 2k or whatever. I have the 500, 1k, 2k, 4k, 6k, 8k and 16k in the EP size. I have diamond and ceramic bench stones and some balsa, leather, kangaroo and nano-cloth strops and some of the CBN and diamond sprays. I can get an edge VERY VERY sharp with a Spycerco UF (approx. 3 micron) stone. For pocket knives this is super sharp and no stropping is needed at all. But if you want the edge can be refined a bit with different strops and different compounds or sprays. I like the boron carbide 1 micron on balsa after my last stone then some .5 or .25 micron on leather. Then as a last touch I'll strop on bare kangaroo. I keep my kitchen knives and pocket knives sharp and play with them all with different stones and stropping progressions. I do this just for fun though because I believe after a 2k Shapton glass stone and a balsa strop with the Boron carbide and edge is adequate for about anything. I am not a chef at all. Therefore I don't appreciate a sharp paring knife like people who enjoy cooking would.
Someone mentioned the higher the grit the more skill is needed to get the results the stone is capable of. I agree with this 100%. Until about 5 or 6 years ago I only used an Arkansas medium stone to sharpen any knife I sharpened. I also had a fine grit stone but it always ruined the very sharp edge I got using the medium grit. Now I know my skill was not adequate to maintain a a consistant edge angle throughout a stroke. I believe that is why I quit using the fine grit Arkansas stone. Now however, after doing some reading on forums, asking questions and getting some better stones I can now get a very sharp edge using only stones. But, after the stones if I want to I start with a grit or micron that would be next in line be it a stone or strop. I won't use a strop with DMT 6 micron paste if I finished with an 8k Shapton glass stone that is 1.84 micron.
I think what I now say is accurate. If you (or anyone) were to buy every grit 500 thru 8k and is starting to learn to sharpen you will get good results with the 500, 1k and 2k stone and your knife will be very sharp. You can shave arm hair even if it takes two or more passes. Then if you try the 4k and/or 8k stone you may ruin the edge you had after the 2k stone. If that happens regulary, just quit using the 4k and up stones until your muscle memory gets more consistant. Then one day in the not too distand future you'll try the 4k stone and will have an edge smoother than ever before. Also, you should have already be getting your 2k edges to pop hairs off your arm with one pass. Everyone has different ways to determine how sharp an edge is. I like to slice phone book paper. How easily the edge tears, slices or glides through the paper is how I determine knife edge sharpness. This way my arm doesn't have bald spots.
I'm still in learning mode though so my input may or may not be that accurate. It's just how things seem to me right now. One final thought about progressing from stones to strops. Three years ago (for example) I NEEDED a strop to get the sharpness I can now easily get using only stones. My skill has improved. Of course improving my stropping skill will then improve the edge also BECAUSE WHEN I START STROPPING THE EDGE IS ALREADY SHARP ENOUGH FOR THE STROP TO WORK. For any grit stone or strop to be benificial the edge needs to be sharp enough for that grit to help. You could not help an edge using a very high grit stone after using a very coarse stone. The edge would not be sharp (or refined) enough for a grit leap of that magnitude. This is probably basic knowledge but it was an amazing revelation when it sunk in through my thick skull. This revelation seems to be even more important at the higher grits.
I also apologize for being so long winded. I also would like to be corrected if any of my thoughts or opinions are incorrect. I'd rather learn faster if possible from other's mistakes and/or experience that taking the time to make the mistakes myself.