The passivation process of a tool is a necessary step in the manufacturing process, which could improve tool life and machining efficiency by removing microscopic defects of in tool surface (such as burrs and micro cracks) after grinding or polishing. The abrasive water jet passivation (AWJP) is one of the most commonly used processes for carbide, ceramic and steel materials tools. Nevertheless, the complex action law from passivation to machining performance is indistinct, which makes passivation parameters rely on empirical summaries. To fill this gap, this paper concentrates on the detailed review of AWJP and comprehensive assessment between machining performance and AWJP parameters. Firstly, the mechanism of AWJP is analyzed, and the influence law of jet parameters on the tool nose radius is investigated. Secondly, the effect of tool nose radius on the force in turning and milling are summarized and analyzed. The jet pressure, abrasive concentration and jet time are positively correlated with the tool nose radius. Additionally, then the tool nose radius is positively and negatively correlated with cutting force and tool wear, respectively. Finally, future directions regarding the different parameters in AWJP and the machine tool for tool passivation are proposed: to reveal the complex nonlinear relationships between the parameters in AWJP. Develop economical, practical and efficient tool passivation machine tools to improve passivation efficiency and passivation accuracy and apply them to domestic tool passivation technology.