Amesser A-65 vs Zwilling 4-Stage Manual Sharpener Side-by-Side Comparison

Anh Ngo
Anh Ngo
Reviewer
Nguyen Ntk
Nguyen Ntk
Visual Specialist
Reviewed
Our recommendations are made independently through research and testing following our review procedure. We may receive commissions from purchases made via our links at no additional costs to you.
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Nov 28, 2022
Tested Using Methodology v1.1
Updated Nov 28, 2022
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Zwilling Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Knife Sharpener type
manual
manual
Power
0W
0W

Our Verdict

7.6
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    6.3/10
  • Design (15%)
    9.3/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    8.8/10
6.2
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    4.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    7.5/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    7.8/10

The Zwilling 4-stage sharpener has a lot more potential on paper, but when put to the test, it couldn’t perform to the level the Amesser A-65 did. 

The Zwilling sharpener has a solid, weighted body that really matches its high price tag, but it also suffers from an awkward grip and a narrow base. Despite impressing-looking abrasive blades, it was slow to make an improvement on the sharpness of the knife’s edge.

The Amesser has a more common design, but it’s strong, sturdy, and keeps its balance well. It’s not a fast sharpener, per se, but performed significantly better than the former in our speed test. The two gained similar scores in terms of sharpness, edge smoothness, and material retention. 

In the end, its faster speed and better usability make the Amesser the better choice. The cheaper price is just the cherry on top.

Performance

6.3
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    5.2/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    7.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    7.7/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    6.0/10
4.7
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    1.0/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    7.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    7.3/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    6.0/10
5.2

Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon

1.0
  • Sharpening Time: 2 minutes
  • Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth

The Amesser clocked 120 seconds to restore a blunted blade back to use on a lemon. 

This is double the ideal time (60 seconds), but is still within acceptable ranges. It’s actually a few seconds faster than its identical cousin, the Kitchellence. If your kitchen knives are regularly maintained, you should be able to get them ready for a cooking session within 30 - 60 seconds on this sharpener.

  • Sharpening Time: 3 minutes
  • Cutting Feel: Slightly forced

The Zwilling is, sadly, one of the slower sharpeners even among its category. It took 180 seconds to sharpen a sandpaper-destroyed knife to the lemon-cutting level, and even then, the cutting motion didn’t feel completely effortless. Three minutes may feel like nothing if you’re used to working with a whetstone, but for a convenient device like this one, one would expect a much shorter time.

7.0

Maximum Sharpness Achieved

7.0
  • Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
  • Sharpness Level: 8 - (Chicken breast, two swipes)

On a ripe tomato, there was no need to apply any extra effort. The tomato split cleanly without leaving behind any trace on the chopping block.

The next checkpoint—chicken breast with skin—was a slight challenge. The test knife did well on a small piece, as indicated in the video. However, on a larger piece of breast, it failed to sever the tough skin and slippery fat in one go, hence our final score of 7.0.

  • Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
  • Sharpness Level: 8 - (Chicken breast with skin, 2 swipes)

While it failed quite miserably in the speed test, the Zwilling sharpener got decent results when given more time. The test knife passed the tomato test with flying colors and could cut through the muscle and runny skin on a fresh piece of chicken breast with two light and easy swipes. 

We tried it on beef tendon too, which it took two heavy strokes to sever. The device was marked as failed for this level, but we think its efforts would be sufficient for most food prep needs.

7.7

Edge Smoothness

7.3
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Edge Smoothness

Here are the magnified shots of the test knife after sharpening with the Amesser A-65.

The edge came out straight and well polished with minimal signs of chips, burrs, or other defects. In comparison to the other handheld sharpeners we’ve experimented with so far, this sharpener did a good job of straightening and restoring the edge. And it’s no surprise that the result is almost a mirror image of what the Kitchellence produced.

ZWILLING Edge Smoothness

Although the Zwilling peels a lot off the knife, we have to give it credit for the pretty edge it left. There are long and deep grooves along the edge—we could tell from the swarf alone—but overall, the edge is straight and consistent, and without visible chips or teeth. 

However, with its ceramic blades chipped after only a few uses, we’re at best skeptical about the device’s ability to maintain delivery of this edge quality.

6.0

Material Retention

6.0
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Material Retention
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Material Retention 1
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

You can bet that all knife sharpeners grind away a certain amount of material from the blade to reform the edge: the only difference is the length they go to. In just one minute, the Amesser A-65 took a heavy toll on the knife’s edge, as evident by the pictures here.

We were rather astonished how this tri-stage sharpener managed to shear off almost as much metal as ones with fewer stages. Indeed, the quantity of swarf collected was somewhat similar to that produced by the Sunrise Pro and KitchenIQ.

So, if you do purchase the Amesser A-65, it’d be a good idea to use the second stage only on really dull knives. For milder cases, the ceramic rods in the third stage would suffice.

ZWILLING Material Retention
ZWILLING Material Retention 1
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

For the sharpness level it could achieve, the Zwilling shaves off way too much steel from the knife. We couldn’t help but shudder at the long curls of swarf coming out of the Coarse slot.

Most other devices employ ceramic rods for honing the knife, so even though this function comes in the form of blades on this sharpener, we really didn’t expect the ceramic to be so harsh on the knife edge.

Design

9.3
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    9.2/10
  • Grip (25%)
    9.5/10
7.5
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    7.8/10
  • Grip (25%)
    6.5/10

In the Box

Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener In the Box
  • Amesser sharpener
  • Instruction manual
  • Protection glove
  • Thank-you note

The cardboard package includes the sharpener, a cut-resistant glove, a user’s guide, and an appreciation card from the manufacturer. This product is under warranty for up to 18 months.

ZWILLING In the Box
  • The Zwilling 4-stage sharpener
  • Instruction leaflet

The Zwilling 4-stage sharpener comes protected by a plastic blister pack, with a simple instruction manual. The device is solid and heavier than most others.

Dimensions

Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Dimensions
  • Length:
    7.9" (20.1 cm)
  • Width:
    1.9" (4.8 cm)
  • Height:
    2.9" (7.4 cm)
  • Weight:
    6.4 oz (183 g)

ZWILLING Dimensions
  • Length:
    9.3" (23.6 cm)
  • Width:
    1.7" (4.3 cm)
  • Height:
    3.1" (7.9 cm)
  • Weight:
    11.2 oz (318 g)

9.2

Build Quality

7.8
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Build Quality
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Build Quality 1
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Build Quality 2

This sharpener is well put together and feels sturdy. Shake as hard as you might, and everything stays perfectly intact as if the whole thing is made of one solid block.

At one point, we plucked off the working section and took a quick peek inside the base. It has a metal piece attached underneath and weighs 6.44 ounces, accounting for the majority of the sharpener’s total weight.

The working section has several contact points that lock into the base and click when assembled correctly. Sadly, this part isn’t available for purchase or replacement. Once it breaks, you’ll have to toss the whole thing in the trash and get a brand-new unit.

ZWILLING Build Quality

While its design leaves a lot of room for improvement, the Zwilling is overall a robust, well-built sharpener. Its body feels rigid and solid, the frame and paddings are made of high-quality materials, and every part fits together nicely, leaving no gaps. 

Unfortunately, the device’s weakness is its most critical part: the ceramic sharpening blades. 

Normally, ceramic is used to make honing rods on pull-through sharpeners, but on the Zwilling, it’s employed in the shape of rectangular sharpening blades with their own delicate edges. The chipping we found on those blades after only a few days of testing proved that this break from the norm was an error of judgment. Obviously, being hard but brittle, the ceramic blades couldn’t withstand a rough steel knife edge.

9.5

Grip

6.5
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Grip
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Grip 1
  • Material:
    ABS plastic

In general, the Amesser’s handle offers a great sense of comfort and safety. You can skip using the glove if you want to: the handle’s material feels soft and grippy, while the size is just about perfect for a good, strong grasp. The icing on the cake is a series of finger nubs running along the handle’s length.

ZWILLING Grip
ZWILLING Grip 1
  • Material:
    ABS, EVA

The Zwilling’s grip looks and feels fancier than most other devices’, but we wish the design were more simple. The thumb holder was awkward to grasp, and both of us testers couldn’t seem to align our fingers with the finger nubs. 

We also thought the space between the grip and the base to be excessive — a lower height and center of gravity would immensely improve the device’s stability.

Working Section

Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Working Section
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Working Section 1
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Working Section 2
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Prepare, Sharpen, Polish
  • Abrasive:
    Diamond-coated rods, tungsten steel blades, ceramic rods
  • Mechanism:
    Pull-through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    20°

Each stage of the working section features ordinal numbering and some visual cues that display the slot’s material and function. 

The sharpening process begins with the Prep stage whose main purpose is to straighten the knife’s edge. Following that is the middle stage, used to sharpen the edge. Meanwhile, the final stage is meant for honing or giving a slightly blunt knife some light touch-ups every once in a while. 

On the whole, the Amesser A-65 should handle most types of kitchen knives.

ZWILLING Working Section
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Sharpen, Polish
  • Abrasive:
    Ceramic blades
  • Mechanism:
    Pull through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    15 degrees, 10 degrees

The Zwilling sharpener has a long working section, covering two types of edge angle: standard and Asian. We find the alleged grind angles of 15 and 10 degrees to be surprisingly small—standard knives typically come at 18-22 degrees and Asian knives, 13 - 15 degrees. An edge angle of 10 degrees is probably more appropriate for razors than kitchen knives.

Angles aside, we like how the working section is closer to the base than the rest of the device is. This helps lower the center of gravity even only by a little, and improves the overall balance.

Base

Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Base
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Base 1
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Base 2
  • Material:
    ABS plastic
  • Feet Type:
    Non-slip rubber base

The Amesser’s base is a checker-patterned pad that gradually tapers toward the direction of the handle. The pattern helps with creating friction and thus preventing the device from sliding across the countertop during sharpening; however, it does pick up residue and specks of dirt.

ZWILLING Base
ZWILLING Base 1
  • Material:
    Plastic
  • Feet Type:
    EVA pad

The Zwilling sharpener has a solid, flat base, with a high-quality anti-slip pad underneath. But this is yet another area where it suffers from bad design.

The base is long and narrow, which is not ideal for its considerable height. The pad only partially covers the base, leaving its border hanging in the air— the pad basically adds height while further reducing the already modest width. As a result, the device is very prone to rocking.

Ease of Use

8.8
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (10%)
    10/10
  • Insertion (20%)
    9.0/10
  • Pulling Through (10%)
    9.5/10
  • Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)
    9.0/10
  • Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)
    7.5/10
7.8
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (10%)
    10/10
  • Insertion (20%)
    9.0/10
  • Pulling Through (10%)
    7.5/10
  • Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)
    7.5/10
  • Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)
    6.0/10
10

Slot Arrangement

10
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Slot Arrangement

Like the majority of handheld sharpeners, the slot structure advances from left to right. Each slot has some handy visual cues as a brief introduction to help cooks identify its function and feature. These fine prints are easy to read and they eliminate any unnecessary guesswork that may arise in the process.

ZWILLING Slot Arrangement

The Zwilling has more sharpening slots than most others, but its layout is straightforward. Half of the working section is for standard blades and the other half Asian, as indicated by the print underneath. The slots progress in the same order for each angle type, with their coarseness level printed on their sides.

A transparent plastic cover can be slid over the area you’re not working on, so it’s rare that you will misplace your knife while sharpening.

9.0

Insertion

9.0
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Insertion 1
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Insertion 2

The entries into the sharpening slots are just wide and deep enough to accommodate the blade properly but not comfortably. During the course of the test, there were occasional bumps here and there when positioning the knife into the slots.

We also noticed some wiggle room between the abrasives, resulting in the knife leaning and jigging sideways. This was also the reason why we sometimes had trouble keeping our draw straight, as you can see from these overhead shots.

ZWILLING Insertion

It doesn’t have the widest slot openings, but insertion is still effortless with the Zwilling. Its lowered working section and the rather spacious grip do offer a sense of confidence and safety in this regard.

9.5

Pulling Through

7.5
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Pulling Through

On the whole, the abrasives were tight and solid. The first two stages actually felt a little heavy at times due to the nature of the material. 

It’s unlikely that you’ll overshoot the blade and cut into parts of the device by mistake—the plastic frame is far enough below the abrasives to prevent that.

ZWILLING Pulling Through

The problem with abrasive blades is that sometimes they lose grip of the knife edge, letting it glide through untouched. The fact that its blades are made of ceramic instead of tungsten carbide as a typical sharpener’s would be doesn’t exempt the Zwilling from this issue. 

The thick frame around the slots, while offering great support, does obstruct the knife tip at the end as the downward force is still in place. It gets nicked from time to time, though this doesn’t affect the knife edge or sharpness.

9.0

Stability on a Clean Surface

7.5
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Stability on Clean Surface

Save for some slight backward tilts, the Amesser barely moved at all. Thanks to its well-proportioned body, this sharpener was firm, steady, and stable. For the most part, you shouldn’t encounter any discernible problem with the device’s stability on a clean surface.

ZWILLING Stability on a Clean Surface

The Zwilling’s heavy weight (a whopping 11 ounces) and solidness couldn’t cancel out the effect of its massive height to stabilize the device. Nor did its narrow base and an even narrower anti-slip pad allow it to fare well in our test. The sharpener kept losing its balance.

7.5

Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

6.0
Amesser A-65 Manual Knife Sharpener Stability on Dirty Surface

Prior to this test, we splashed a spoonful of oil and salt on the countertop surface to create an exaggerated mimicry of a real-life messy cooking area. The sharpener lost its footing, slipping and inching away from the original spot after just a few pulls.

ZWILLING Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

The oil- and salt-tainted countertop only amplified all the design problems on the Zwilling. We could only keep it in place with excessive force on the grip, and so we highly recommend ensuring your countertop is dry and clean before using this sharpener.