Kitchellence 3-Stage vs. Zwilling 4-Stage 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
Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Review
Zwilling Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Knife Sharpener type
manual
manual
Power
0W
0W

Our Verdict

8.3
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    6.9/10
  • Design (15%)
    9.2/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    9.8/10
6.2
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    4.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    7.5/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    7.8/10

The Kitchellence 3-stage sharpener wins hands down in the most critical areas. Whether it’s sharpness, time efficiency, or stability that you’re looking for in a handheld sharpener, it presented itself as the better choice compared to the Zwilling sharpener. The fact that it’s only a fraction of the latter’s price just makes it even more attractive.

The Zwilling’s main appeal is in its ability to sharpen to two different grind angles; however, it took way too long and couldn’t reach the level of sharpness the Kitchellence could. It sports a strong, robust body and an impressive look, but its design was rather gimmicky and didn’t serve well in practice.

Performance

6.9
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    4.8/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    7.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    7.7/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    9.0/10
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
4.8

Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon

1.0
  • Sharpening Time: 2 minutes 5 seconds
  • Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth

We spent 125 seconds with the Kitchellence to bring a knife from uselessly dull to cutting through a lemon in one single draw. The cut was effortless and did not require significant hand pressure.

The sharpening time is rather slow; but note that we blunted the knife to an extreme degree for the test. Most cooks wouldn’t wait until their knives become so dull. If you maintain your blades properly, you should be able to make them serviceable after about one minute on this device.

  • 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, 2 swipes)

After sharpening on the Kitchellence for 6 minutes, the knife slid through a ripe tomato effortlessly, so we went on to try it on raw chicken breast with skin. It went through the chicken breast in two slices. 

This isn’t an exceptional result, but the knife was only at Level 8 when brand new, so it’s safe to say the Kitchellence almost brought it back to its factory level.

  • 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
Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Edge Smoothness

The Kitchellence produces some of the smoothest edges among pull-through devices we tested. Thanks to its stability and the thickness of the sharpening rods, it was easier to maintain a consistent pull force through each draw. As a result, the edge came out smooth and even from tip to heel. 

We could find no remaining burrs or metal flakes on the edge. The ceramic rods in the final stage did a good job straightening the edge and removing little burrs.

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.

9.0

Material Retention

6.0
Kitchellence 3-Stage Material Retention
Kitchellence Material Retention
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

The Kitchellence’s substantial sharpening rods and blades are braced tightly together so they sharpen very well, but don’t remove much material from the knife edge at a time. The ‘swarf’ is more fine dust than chips, hinting at a fine edge.

This is mostly thanks to the design of the tungsten carbide blades themselves. However, the Kitchellence is also one of the rare cases where the bulky diamond rods really work to ‘prepare’ the edge for the peeler slot.

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

9.2
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    9.3/10
  • Grip (25%)
    9.0/10
7.5
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    7.8/10
  • Grip (25%)
    6.5/10

Dimensions

Kitchellence 3-Stage Dimensions
  • Length:
    8.1" (20.6 cm)
  • Width:
    1.8" (4.6 cm)
  • Height:
    3.0" (7.6 cm)
  • Weight:
    6.4 oz (181 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)

9.3

Build Quality

7.8
Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Build Quality

We’ve had our hands on a few others that look very similar to the Kitchellence, and they were all lightweight and shoddy. So it was a nice surprise how well-built the Kitchellence is.

The device is made of high-quality ABS with a nice finish. It’s solid, sturdy, weighted, and every part fits together tightly and seamlessly. It didn’t create the rattling sound heard on many others as we shook it or used excessive force to sharpen. 

The only thing we didn’t like about the build is the tiny and somewhat flimsy silicone pad underneath the grip.

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.

In the Box

Kitchellence Knife Sharpener In the Box
  • The Kitchellence sharpener
  • 1 x user’s guide
  • 1 x safety glove

The Kitchellence comes in one piece, with a solid ABS plastic body. It has a distinctive matte finish that’s very soft and comfortable to touch. 

The package includes a glove and a user’s manual that offers instructions on how to sharpen metal and ceramic blades.

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.

Working Section

Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Working Section
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Coarse, Medium, Fine
  • Abrasive:
    Diamond rods, tungsten carbide blades, ceramic rods
  • Mechanism:
    Pull-through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    20 degrees

The Kitchellence sports three stages of sharpening, marked with the numbers 1, 2, and 3. The Coarse slot (1) removes larger burrs and straightens the edge, the Medium slot (2) removes material and refines the edge, and the Fine ceramic rods (3) hone the edge. 

Though the working section is easily removable, it’s not sold separately. So once the rods have worn out and the tungsten blades are no longer keen, the whole device will have to go to the trash bin. That being said, with its thick rods and quality build, we suspect it will last for years.

The sharpening rods on the Kitchellence are also larger than on other pull-through sharpeners, such as the Cubikook or Wamery. They feel firmer and more sturdy, and the larger size also means they may last longer.

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

Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Base
  • Material:
    ABS plastic
  • Feet Type:
    non-slip rubber base

The device tapers at the base and has a patterned pad underneath it. The pad is soft, thin, and doesn’t help much with keeping the device stable.

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.

9.0

Grip

6.5
Kitchellence Knife Sharpener Grip
  • Material:
    ABS plastic

Among all the devices we tested, the Kitchellence offers the best grip. It has an ergonomic handle with finger nubs. The cover is a special kind of ABS plastic that feels like a matte silicone — it’s so comfortable on the skin a lot of the time we just skipped using the glove altogether.

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.

Ease of Use

9.8
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (20%)
    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
Kitchellence 3-Stage Slot Arrangement

The Kitchellence has a very intuitive design, with the slots arranged in a progressive order. There are numbers engraved on the stainless steel cover on each slot, and on both sides too, so it’s more difficult to get it wrong than right. You won’t need other visual cues or instructions.

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
Kitchellence Manual Sharpener Insertion

The slot openings are not the widest among those we tested, but they have reasonable width and depth. Insertion was effortless and didn’t require much anticipation or forethought.

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

We like that the sharpening rods are larger on this device than most others of its type. They created a firmer, touter brace of the knife edge as we pulled the knife through. Unlike some other devices, this brace hasn’t loosen up after six months of heavy-duty use.

The U-shaped holder stays clear of the working section, so we never once cut into it even when we deliberately increased speed and lowered the knife tip at the end.

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
Kitchellence 3-Stage Stability on a Clean Surface

Despite its small and tapered base, the Kitchellence is stable when working on a clean surface. This is thanks to its solid structure and an additional piece of metal placed underneath the working section for increased weight and a lower center of gravity.

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
Kitchellence Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

Facing the slippery countertop challenge, the thin and small rubber feet showed their weaknesses. The working section’s location high above the base didn’t help either. As a result, the device slid and wobbled a little.

The solution is easy: keep your countertop clean and the device will be safe to use. If you have shaky hands and want to be extra safe, however, the Cubikook may be a better choice.

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.