- Performance (50%)8.0/10
- Design (15%)8.5/10
- Ease of Use (35%)9.2/10
- Performance (50%)4.7/10
- Design (15%)7.5/10
- Ease of Use (35%)7.8/10
The Cubikook CS-T01 3-stage may not have the same fancy features that the Zwilling 4-stage sharpener offers, but that didn’t stop it from outperforming the latter in our tests.
The Cubikook CS-T01 sports a function-oriented design, with a sturdy body, a wide base, and a low center of gravity. This helps it maintain great stability during sharpening. Its abrasives, although looking rather modest in size, did a great job sharpening the knife and left a sharp, smooth, and even edge.
The Zwilling sharpener accommodates both Asian and standard knives and boasts that it can put an edge on your knife after “a few strokes”. However, its performance didn’t quite match up with what we expected from a Zwilling product. It took a long time to sharpen, shaved off a considerable amount of knife material, and couldn’t achieve the same level of sharpness the Cubikook offered.
- 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%)1.0/10
- Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)7.0/10
- Edge Smoothness (20%)7.3/10
- Material Retention (25%)6.0/10
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: 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.
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, 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.
- 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:
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.
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.
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.
- Build Quality (75%)8.8/10
- Grip (25%)7.5/10
- Build Quality (75%)7.8/10
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:9.3" (23.6 cm)
- Width:1.7" (4.3 cm)
- Height:3.1" (7.9 cm)
- Weight:11.2 oz (318 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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: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
- 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%)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
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 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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.