Chef's Choice 4643 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
Chef’s Choice 4643 manual knife sharpener Review
Zwilling Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Knife Sharpener type
manual
manual
Power
0W
0W

Our Verdict

6.5
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    4.3/10
  • Design (15%)
    9.3/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    8.4/10
6.2
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    4.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    7.5/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    7.8/10

The Chef's Choice 4643 and the Zwilling are multi-angle sharpeners and both belong to the more expensive side of the price spectrum. Unfortunately, neither offered a performance to match its price.

Each took 4 and 3 minutes respectively to complete our speed test, against an average of a few seconds over 2 minutes. They both produced a sharper edge but not to any significant degree. The former fared better in terms of material retention while the latter produced a smoother and straighter edge.

The Chef's Choice 4643 enjoys better stability thanks to its wide base and low center of gravity. The Zwilling sharpener, while seemingly made of premium materials, features a narrow body that kept threatening to tip over during sharpening.

Performance

4.3
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    1.0/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    6.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    5.2/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    7.0/10
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
1.0

Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon

1.0
  • Sharpening Time: 4 minutes
  • Cutting Feel: Slightly heavy

The Chef’s Choice took its sweet time to sharpen and was consistently among the slower ones in all our test attempts. It took a whopping 4 minutes to bring the test knife from uselessly blunt to adequately usable on a lemon. Even then, the knife needed a little more force than usual to execute the cut. You’d get better results within the same time using a whetstone.

We wouldn’t count on this one as a convenient sharpener to prep our knife before a cooking session.

  • 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.

6.0

Maximum Sharpness Achieved

7.0
  • Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
  • Sharpness Level: 7 (Ripe tomatoes, 1 swipe)

The blade had no trouble slicing its way through a ripe tomato in one swift motion. The chicken breast posed much more difficulty: Its slippery skin made it impossible for the test knife to slice clean-off in one go. Two rather heavy attempts were needed to sever the pieces, so we decided to keep the Sharpness Level at 7 instead of 8-.

This sharpness level should allow your knives to complete most food prep tasks with mild effort, but we usually expect more from a device with such a high price tag. We can’t count the number of sharpeners that cost one half or even one third of its price that can offer a better performance.

  • 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.

5.2

Edge Smoothness

7.3
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Edge Smoothness

Chef’s Choice advertises ‘two distinct facets set at different angles that form a longer lasting, arch-shaped edge’. The sharpener indeed created what looks like a double edge on our test knife. 

Unfortunately, while the secondary edge emerged sharp and convincing, the abrasives’ effects on the primary edge were so subtle they were unrecognizable even under a magnifying lens. The discs on the Honing slot were either too fine to make a difference or were placed at an angle that did not allow contact with the knife edge. 

That explains the lack of sharpness on the test knife—the secondary edge helps, but it can only do so much.

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.

7.0

Material Retention

6.0
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Material Retention
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

The Chef’s Choice 4643 took off more steel from the test knife than its sharpness suggested, but the amount wasn’t significant. As typical of wheel-type sharpeners, the residue was fine dust rather than coarse shavings, suggesting highly controlled grinding.

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%)
    9.0/10
  • Grip (25%)
    10/10
7.5
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    7.8/10
  • Grip (25%)
    6.5/10

In the Box

Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener In the Box
  • Chef’s Choice 4643 AngleSelect Knife Sharpener
  • 1 x instruction manual

The Chef’s Choice snugly fits into a plastic blister pack with a user’s guide included (which is also available online). The package can pop open quite easily, so there’s no need to cut it with scissors.

Besides the sharpening techniques, the manual also guides you on how to test the knife’s sharpness, and provides helpful tips to keep your knives in their best condition.

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

Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Dimensions
  • Length:
    9.3" (23.6 cm)
  • Width:
    2.0" (5.1 cm)
  • Height:
    2.8" (7.1 cm)
  • Weight:
    6.6 oz (187 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)

9.0

Build Quality

7.8
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Build Quality
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Build Quality 1

Its materials do not scream ‘top-notch quality’, but the Chef’s Choice 4643 benefits greatly from an ergonomic design and robust build. The parts are well reinforced and screw-tightened, though it can be disassembled piece by piece. Finish is near perfect and matches its high price tag.

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.

10

Grip

6.5
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Grip
  • Material:
    Rubber

The handle extends and slightly arches itself toward the end, forming an ergonomic crescent-like shape. It’s just about the perfect size, and the coating material feels soft and grippy between the palm and fingers. Unfortunately, the handle isn’t loop-shaped. Otherwise, you’d be able to hang it on a hook to keep it within an arm’s reach.

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

Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Working Section
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Coarse, Fine
  • Abrasive:
    Diamond-coated disks
  • Mechanism:
    Pull through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    15° & 20°

The Chef’s Choice 4643’s working section features three sharpening slots that are securely fastened into the base and covered in a shiny stainless steel sheet.

Unlike most manual sharpeners with abrasive bars or rods, it’s equipped withdiamond-coated discs. As the blade passes through them, these wheels rotate with each draw, grinding and reshaping the edge. 

Slot 1 sharpens Asian knives at a 15-degree angle while Slot 2 sharpens Western knives at 20 degrees. 

Interestingly, there’s only one slot for honing (Slot 3) for both types of knives, but the exact grinding angle isn’t mentioned in the manual. We asked the official manufacturer in an email but have so far received no response.

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

Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Base
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Base 1
  • Material:
    Synthetic rubber
  • Feet Type:
    Slip-proof sole (x 4)

With the bottom being a hollow gap instead of a solid whole block, the sharpener is lightweight. However, because the base is wide and the center of gravity low, it maintains its balance very well. 

The quartet of rubber feet attached at the base corners do a great job of creating friction and keeping the device in place during sharpening—we feel this is a more economical and effective design than the large pads usually seen in other devices.

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

8.4
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (20%)
    7.0/10
  • Insertion (20%)
    8.5/10
  • Pulling Through (10%)
    8.5/10
  • Stability on Clean Surface (40%)
    9.5/10
  • Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (10%)
    7.0/10
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
7.0

Slot Arrangement

10
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Slot Arrangement
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Slot Arrangement 1

The sharpener has labeling for the slots’ functions and designated knife types. Depending on the knife you’re sharpening, the intended order goes as 1-3 (for Asian-style knives) or 2-3 ( for European-style knives). 

The slot trios share the identical size, width, and depth, so it’s easy to confuse them. We strongly advise you to look at the labeling carefully before sharpening your knives, especially during the first sessions with the device.

While the Western slot can only blunt an Asian knife, putting your standard knife in the Asian slot can destroy the edge beyond the point of repair. We actually had to throw away a test knife trying that out.

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.

8.5

Insertion

9.0
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Insertion
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Insertion 1

The Chef’s Choice has rather narrow slot openings, so if you’re in a rush, there’s a chance you’ll misplace the knife and cut the cover instead of inserting it into the slot. 

On the bright side, once the knife is at the opening, it’ll be smooth sailing. Because the slots taper downwards and the discs are placed deep below, the knife will slide straight down. Insertion is thus much safer for the knife edge compared to sharpeners with tungsten bars that keep threatening to clash with the edge and cause chipping.

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.

8.5

Pulling Through

7.5
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Pulling Through

Because the slots are deep and run all the way across its width (2 inches), it was relatively easy to keep the knife straight during sharpening to reduce the risk of creating uneven edges. 

That being said, there’s some room for the knife to jig sideways; when it does, you will feel a change in the friction as you pull the blade through. 

As its discs are placed deep down in the slots, the knife kept nicking into the frame, leaving lots of marks and scratches.

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.

9.5

Stability on Clean Surface

Stability on a Clean Surface
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Stability on Clean Surface

This is one of the rare devices that come without a full base and can still offer excellent stability. Despite being lightweight, the sharpener stayed secure and steady on a spotless kitchen countertop, thanks to its well-proportioned structure. Those with weak wrists or shaky hands will really feel a difference with this design.

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.

7.0

Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

6.0
Chef’s Choice 4643 Manual Knife Sharpener Stability on Dirty Surface

Moving on to the simulated messy countertop splashed with cooking oil and peppered with salt: The sharpener’s balanced design continued to keep its footing. The base did lose its traction with the contact surface and moved along with the pull, but only occasionally and not to the extent seen on most other sharpeners.

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.