- Performance (50%)8.0/10
- Design (15%)8.5/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Performance (50%)6.0/10
- Design (15%)7.8/10
- Ease of Use (35%)7.5/10
The Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener and the Smith's 50264 are built with different philosophies: The former is all about well-roundedness, while the latter sticks to the job of making the knife as sharp as possible.
The Smith’s is tuned for achieving great sharpness. It boasts thick carbide blades that get the job done more quickly and effectively than most others, the Cubikook included. The blades are adjustable to accommodate different grind angles. Unfortunately, they also peel off a great deal of metal from your knife and leave a wavy edge behind.
The Cubikook, meanwhile, strikes a much better balance between sharpness and usability. It features a more solid build, a large, flat base, and low working section, which makes it much safer and more effortless to use. It doesn’t sharpen as quickly as the Smith’s, but it does create a much finer edge and doesn’t remove so much material.
- Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)7.6/10
- Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)8.0/10
- Edge Smoothness (20%)8.7/10
- Material Retention (25%)8.0/10
- Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)8.0/10
- Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)8.0/10
- Edge Smoothness (20%)4.5/10
- Material Retention (25%)3.0/10
Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon
- Sharpening Time: 1 minutes 30 seconds
- Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth
The Cubikook does a quick job of bringing life to a dull blade. After only 90 seconds on the device, our sandpaper-destroyed test knife could cut through a lemon with one swift draw. This placed the Cubikook in the top tier of pull-through sharpeners in terms of speed.
Most kitchen knives should see improvements after about 30 seconds on the second slot.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute 25 seconds
- Cutting Feel: Light and smooth
The Smith’s Pull-Thru completed the lemon-cutting test in 85 seconds, thus easily securing its place among the fastest sharpeners. It performed consistently well in this test through our repeated attempts over the months, sometimes overriding its own record to reach the 70 seconds mark.
If immediate sharpness is all you ever need, this one won’t disappoint.
Maximum Sharpness Achieved
- Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
- Sharpness Level: 8 (Chicken breast with skin, 1 swipe)
After 6 minutes of sharpening, the test knife could cut through a fresh piece of chicken breast with the skin still on. The gristly fat under the skin kept running, but we managed to sever it with a little effort.
We tried the knife on a piece of raw beef tendon (Level 9) and it took two forced swipes, so we decided it hadn’t progressed beyond a sharpness level of 8.
- Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
- Sharpness Level: 8 (Chicken breast with skin, one swipe)
We had smooth, almost effortless slices with tomatoes, and the thick flesh and slippery skin on a raw chicken breast didn’t pose much of an obstacle for the knife, either. This is the same keenness level as when the knife was brand new, so we’d say the sharpener did an excellent job of reviving a knife from dead dullness.
We were able to slice through the thick and stringy fibers of a piece of beef tendon with two swipes, but it was rather forceful, so we decided to grant it an 8 in sharpness at the end.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute
- Target Sharpness:
While effective, the Cubikook doesn’t remove a lot of material. This is one of the advantages multi-stage devices have over single-stage ones such as the Sunrise Pro. The first stage (diamond-impregnated rods) helps straighten the edge before you put it through the tungsten ‘peeler’ stage. Finally, the third, ceramic stage acts as a final honing step to leave your blade as smooth as possible.
The benefit of single-stage devices is that they sharpen your knife quicker. That’s possible because they simply pull off more metal at a time. That means your knife will get eaten up faster, so you have the choice between quick sharpening or long overall blade life.
- Sharpening Time: 1 minute
- Target Sharpness:
Compared to other manual sharpeners in the test, this one ranked last in terms of material retention ability. As the photos indicate, it sacrificed a significant amount of material in exchange for sharpness. Over time, it can eat away at the blade, reducing the knife’s overall lifespan. You could practically whittle the knife away to nothing on this device if you want to!
The Cubikook creates a smooth edge. It came out looking much better than many single-stage and even multi-stage versions like Smith’s 50264 or Chef’s Choice ProntoPro. In fact, we scored this device better on the edge smoothness test than any other we’ve tested to date. It creates the straightest line with barely any visible chips, while the grooves on the primary edge were also even and narrow.
This fine edge is the result of good design choices. The device’s working section is placed low and fastened tightly to the base, which helps distribute pressure evenly against the delicate edge regardless of how much force is applied. The ceramic rods in the final stage help remove any remaining burrs or metal particles, thus minimizing edge deformities.
While it is true that this sharpener was quick and effective, it was at the expense of the edge’s integrity. From tip to heel and everything in between, the edge was anything but smooth once it had exited the slots.
In the process of sharpening, the abrasives took a massive toll on the knife’s edge and rendered it deformed.
- Build Quality (75%)8.8/10
- Grip (25%)7.5/10
- Build Quality (75%)8.2/10
- Grip (25%)6.5/10
In the Box
- The Cubikook sharpener
- Thank you card
The Cubikook comes in a nice box. Instead of an instruction booklet, the user guide is printed right on the box. We thought that was done to save paper, but then we also found a greeting card that doesn’t really say anything.
- 1x sharpener
- 1 x instruction manual
Rather than a cardboard box, the Smith’s Pull-Thru came delivered in a plastic blister pack molded after its outline. The package wouldn’t pop open, so we had to cut it with a pair of scissors to retrieve the contents inside.
A user’s guide is included with the package and contains plenty of useful information that you may need to know before using this sharpener. An online version is also available on the official website.
- Length:8.4" (21.3 cm)
- Width:1.9" (4.8 cm)
- Height:2.3" (5.8 cm)
- Weight:7.9 oz (225 g)
- Length:10.5" (26.7 cm)
- Width:1.3" (3.3 cm)
- Height:2.9" (7.4 cm)
- Weight:8.8 oz (250 g)
The Cubikook is easily the sturdiest handheld sharpener that we’ve tested. Its working section is secured to the base using metal screws. The device is solid, and because its parts fit together tightly, it feels like it’s one piece throughout.
The only issue is with the label. It is a strip of silicone that’s attached to the grip with glue and is starting to fall off our one-year-old device. This, however, doesn’t affect the sharpener’s functionality.
The finish is nothing to write home about, but it does ensure easy cleanup.
We could tell that the materials that make the Smith’s Pull-Thru Sharpener are all high-quality, and the finish suggests the manufacturer’s dedication to every small detail.
However, its angle adjustability is accommodated by a bunch of movable and removable parts. Even though they’re secured with screws, the device feels shoddy as a whole. Its angle nob and the working section threaten to fall out or break at the first drop.
This Cubikook’s grip is very simple. It’s a thin, flat handle with the brand label on top.
It doesn’t have an ergonomic design or a velvety cover, but we’ve never had a problem maintaining a firm grip. However, we do think it could be even better if it were bulkier.
The grip is connected to the base, forming a closed loop, which further improves the device’s stability. As a small plus, you can hang it on a rack or hook for quick access.
The handle is covered with silicone and has grooves, which makes it grippy. However, in proportion, it’s rather small compared to the whole device . It’s connected to the base, which is good, but part of the base underneath it is flimsy and narrow. This means you will need a strong grip to keep this device stable during sharpening, as confirmed by the stability tests.
- Levels of Sharpening:Coarse, Medium, Fine
- Abrasive:Diamond rods, tungsten carbide blades, ceramic rods
- Mechanism:Pull through
- Sharpening Angle:20 degrees
The device has one slot with diamond rods that shape and straighten the edge, one with tungsten bars that remove burrs and small amounts of metal, and one with ceramic rods for honing.
The working section is secured to the base with screws and is technically detachable. However, you’d have to remove the silicone feet before you can take it apart. Also, the manufacturer doesn’t seem to sell spare parts online. We find it a pity that the whole device has to be discarded once the abrasives wear down, even though the other parts are still in perfect condition.
- Levels of Sharpening:Sharpen, Hone/Polish
- Abrasive:Precision-ground carbide, crossed ceramic
- Mechanism:Pull through
- Sharpening Angle:14°, 16°, 18°, 20°, 22°, 24°
The Smith’s Pull-Thru may look like a typical tri-stage sharpener, but it’s actually a dual-stage model with an extra sharpening slot for serrated blades.
The abrasive system features precision-ground carbide and ceramic stones. They’re tough, durable, and can certainly get the job done.
Except for the serrated slot, which remains fixed at 22.5° per side, the Smith’s sharpening slots are adjustableby 2° increments from 14° to 24°, allowing it to accommodate a wide variety of knives. It’s intended as a fix-all solution for busy cooks who have little time and patience to alternate between different tools.
The device is also one of the very few that allow replacement of the abrasives. You can purchase and change them at home with tiny Philips screwdrivers. If you forget to note the knob's angle while dismantling the parts, the equipment is so designed that you won't be able to lock it into place until you locate the right spot.
- Material:ABS plastic
- Feet Type:silicone base
The Cubikook has a flat base with two silicone pads underneath to keep it in place. It isn’t particularly large, but because the device is modest in height and tapers at the top, the base area is more than enough to keep it from wobbling. We love that the design is simple but still very effective in ensuring stability.
- Feet Type:Slip-proof soles
The underneath of this sharpener features two rubber soles on both ends.
Do you notice anything missing in between the sharpener’s underside and the flat surface area? With a high center of gravity and a narrow body supported on two tiny soles, it is not surprising that the whole thing feels wobbly with each draw.
Ease of Use
- Slot Arrangement (10%)10/10
- Insertion (20%)9.5/10
- Pulling Through (10%)9.0/10
- Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)9.5/10
- Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)8.0/10
- Slot Arrangement (10%)7.0/10
- Insertion (20%)10/10
- Pulling Through (10%)7.5/10
- Stability on Clean Surface (40%)7.0/10
- Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)6.0/10
With one single working angle and the coarseness printed at each slot, the Cubikook Chef’ Sharpener is intuitive. Swipe through the slots until the knife is sharp — you really can’t go wrong with it. The slot labels are only embossed on one side, suggesting a right-handed orientation, but it functions just as well for southpaws. You just need to remember which slot is which.
The slots on this device are arranged based on a combination of grit level and designated knife type. Instead of medium coarseness in the center, the middle slot is reserved for serrated blades. Even though the sharpening order does progress rightward, it feels disrupted and unnatural.
With only one correct direction to draw the knife, we followed the arrows adjacent to the slots. These handy little cues indicate where to position the blade and which way to go, preventing cooks from making mistakes. It’s not ideal for lefties, though; so if you happen to be a southpaw, you need to choose another tool.
The Cubikook has some of the widest slot openings out of all the devices we tested. Granted, you can still cut into the walls if you have trembling hands or try to insert the blade too fast, but overall, insertion is pretty effortless and doesn’t require much concentration.
During the course of our experiment, we found no discernible difficulty when placing the knives into the slots.
The inserts are wide open on top to comfortably accommodate the knife, while the slots gradually taper downward. Depending on the type of knife you’re working on, you can further tighten or loosen the abrasive blades.
The Cubikook’s stability and sturdiness make pulling a blade through its slots a breeze. The smaller sharpening rods mean their cradle is rather light, but not loose — at least not when the device is still new.
Within a few months of heavy use, one of the two ceramic rods unfastened itself and started spinning whenever we pulled a blade through. This happens on both of the devices we have, so we’re not quite sure if it’s a feature or a fault in design.
We like that the sharpening slots are thin and the U-shape cutouts that frame them sit far below where the rods meet, thus staying out of the blade’s path. We can pull a whole knife through quickly, place reasonable pressure on it, even with the tip downward, and still never cut into the plastic.
The abrasives themselves are hard and well-built; however, because the angle is made adjustable, their frames are not sturdy. As a result, they jostled and squeaked when we tried pressing the knife down during sharpening. This resulted in the excessive loss of metal and a very poor, wavy edge. However, the jostling improved when we reduced the force, so the trick here is to be extra gentle and use just a little more than the knife’s own weight when sharpening.
At times, the knife’s tip scratched into parts of the sharpener, usually the front end facing toward you. This could be annoying but doesn’t really affect the knife edge.
Stability on a Clean Surface
The Cubikook has a low center of gravity, with its working section connected directly to its flat base. The two silicone pads underneath further aid in keeping it in place. It didn’t wobble or slip even when we deliberately applied more pressure than necessary.
Even when positioned on a spotless surface, knife sharpeners with such an elevated body are quite unstable due to their high center of gravity. The Smith’s Pull-Thru is no different.
The friction at the bottom was strong enough to prevent the unit from flying off the countertop, but the more serious issue was the back and forth rocking motions. With its small footprint and slim body, the sharpener shook and wriggled with every draw. Sharpening at times felt unsafe and uncomfortable.
Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface
The Cubikook stands shoulder to shoulder with the Chef’s Choice ProntoPro in this test and beats the others by leaps and bounds. It slipped but never came close to rolling or flipping. Again, a wide base and a working section placed low to its center of gravity are the recipe for success.
If the dry surface test served as any indicator, it shouldn’t be a surprise that the sharpener didn’t fare so well on the oil-stained and salt-sprinkled surface. It kept inching itself away from where we set it down. The friction at the sharpening slots didn’t help, either.
To be fair, most other devices struggle in this test. But the Smith’s Pull-Thru was among the bottom tier of the bracket.