Mueller 4-Stage vs. PriorityChef 2-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
Mueller 4-Stage Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Priority Chef Manual Knife Sharpener Review
Knife Sharpener type
manual
manual
Power
0W
0W

Our Verdict

7.6
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    6.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    9.1/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    8.3/10
8.4
Overall Score
  • Performance (50%)
    8.7/10
  • Design (15%)
    7.8/10
  • Ease of Use (35%)
    8.2/10

The Mueller has a stronger build and more sharpening slots but we’re leaning toward the PriorityChef for better edge retention and knife longevity. 

The Mueller boasts a large and robust body with one sharpening slot for scissors and three for kitchen knives. It produced a sharp edge quickly but not without shaving off a great deal of material. The edge ended up overly narrow and rough, leaving it prone to chipping.

The PriorityChef is more modest both in size and build quality. Fortunately, its working section does the business much better than the rest of its body suggests. Sharpening to the same speed and level as the Mueller, its two abrasive discs only removed a fraction of the amount of knife material. It also gave us a much finer and smoother knife edge.

Performance

 Performance
6.7
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    8.8/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    8.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    4.0/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    5.0/10
8.7
Performance Scores
  • Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon (35%)
    8.8/10
  • Maximum Sharpness Achieved (20%)
    8.0/10
  • Edge Smoothness (20%)
    7.5/10
  • Material Retention (25%)
    10/10
8.8

Sharpening Time to Cut a Lemon

8.8
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute 15 seconds
  • Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth

The Mueller isn’t the speediest of sharpeners, but it works fast enough. We put it through the lemon test twice, and it took 60 and 90 seconds respectively to complete the task. This is quite a reasonable time range, considering how dull we made the knife before testing.

Skipping the diamond rods won’t affect the result. We only used them to rid the knife edge of metal particles and make sure it was as smooth as it could be, but if you’re in a hurry, the ceramic rods alone would suffice.

  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute 15 seconds
  • Cutting Feel: Swift and smooth

Our blunt test knife emerged sharp and keen after 75 seconds of sharpening with the Priority Chef. In fact, it was sharp enough to slice through a lemon in one go after just 60 seconds on the Coarse stage; the extra 15 seconds served only to refine the edge and, consequently, the cut.

Your mileage may vary depending on the conditions of your knives and the hardness of their steel. However, in most cases, you won’t need more than 30 seconds to rejuvenate a dull knife to a serviceable level.

8.0

Maximum Sharpness Achieved

8.0
  • Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
  • Sharpness Level: 8 (Chicken breast with skin, 1 swipe)

After 5 minutes on Slot 2 and 30 seconds on each of the remaining slots, our test knife was able to cut through a raw chicken breast with the skin still attached. It did need a second swipe to sever the tough, slippery fat and skin, but this is the case for most devices.

  • Sharpening Time: 6 minutes
  • Sharpness Level: 8 (chicken breast with skin, 1 swipe)

Even after 6 minutes, our test knife needed two, sometimes three rather heavy swipes to cut through beef tendon. It had no trouble with chicken breast with runny skin and fat, though. Ripe tomatoes, similarly, were a piece of cake.

Since our Control knife was at sharpness Level 8 when brand new, we could say the Priority Chef sharpener can bring it back to factory sharpness after 6 minutes. Of course, you may see different results with knives that are made of particularly hard steel.

5.0

Material Retention

 Material Retention
Mueller 4-Stage Material Retention
Mueller 4-Stage Material Retention 1
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

The Mueller is a disappointment when it comes to preserving edge integrity. We were horrified at the size and amount of swarf the sharpener churned out after every swipe on the tungsten carbide blades. It’s all or nothing with this slot: When it works, it shaves off as much metal as it can. When it doesn’t, your knife simply glides through it, untouched.

The icing on the cake is the obvious unevenness on the two sides of the edge. We can’t quite work out the reason for this, because its sharpening slots look exactly the same as the Longzon, which created a very nice edge in our test. We re-edged the test knife and tried again, and even replaced the test knife in case it was a faulty one, but the end result was the same.

Priority Chef Material Retention
Priority Chef Material Retention 1
  • Sharpening Time: 1 minute
  • Target Sharpness:

For the speed and level of sharpness it can achieve, we were impressed by how little material the Priority Chef removed from the knife after one minute of sharpening. The only debris was dust and tiny chips rather than long curls of swarf, like some others. The device seems to only shave off what’s really necessary to make the edge sharp.

4.0

Edge Smoothness

7.5
Mueller 4-Stage Edge Smoothness

The diamond dust and ceramic rods didn’t seem to do much if anything to smoothen the edge: It came out rough with waves and small chips all across its length. I could see it with my naked eyes and feel the chips and small particles as I ran my fingers along the edge. The discrepancy between the two sides just tops it off.

Priority Chef Edge Smoothness

Unlike the V-shaped abrasive blades found on most other pull-through devices, the Priority Chef’s abrasive discs create short, nearly vertical grooves along the edge — and the ceramic fine stage didn’t do much to refine them. We also detected chips and burrs — albeit very small ones — where the edge is narrowest. That suggested that the sharpening discs do not directly contact that part.

That being said, the Priority Chef still created a much finer edge than did its other disc-based cousin, the Chef’s Choice 4643. The Chef’s Choice created a secondary edge, but it left the primary edge completely untouched.

Design

9.1
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    9.1/10
  • Grip (25%)
    9.0/10
7.8
design Scores
  • Build Quality (75%)
    7.9/10
  • Grip (25%)
    7.5/10

In the Box

Mueller 4-Stage In the Box
  • The Mueller 4-stage knife sharpener 
  • Instruction manual 
  • Appreciation card & promotional leaflet 

The Muller KS-4ST knife sharpener comes in a nice cardboard box. Included is a detailed user guide with safety notes and instructions on how to sharpen knives of different dullness levels.

Priority Chef In the Box
Priority Chef In the Box 1
  • The Priority Chef manual sharpener
  • Instruction manual
  • Promotional leaflet 

The Priority Chef comes in a colorful cardboard box. The package also includes instructions on how to sharpen with the device, plus care and storage tips.

Dimensions

Mueller 4-Stage Dimensions
  • Length:
    9.3" (23.6 cm)
  • Width:
    1.8" (4.6 cm)
  • Height:
    3.1" (7.9 cm)
  • Weight:
    8.6 oz (244 g)

Priority Chef Dimensions
  • Length:
    7.9" (20.1 cm)
  • Width:
    2.4" (6.1 cm)
  • Height:
    2.6" (6.6 cm)
  • Weight:
    8.3 oz (234 g)

9.1

Build Quality

7.9
Mueller 4-Stage Build Quality

The Muller sharpener appears to be made from decent-quality materials. There’s also little to complain about regarding the construction: Its parts align well and even when we dropped the device on the floor they stayed together like a one-piece tool. We don’t like its high center of gravity and prefer a more weighted base, but at the same time, we can’t deny how well it was put together.

Priority Chef Build Quality
Priority Chef Build Quality 1

The Priority Chef has a minimalist design with stainless steel and ABS plastic parts. Although more oriented toward functionality than aesthetics, the components fit together well and sport pleasant finishes. The only complaint we have is with the base pad that’s made of a low-quality material and doesn’t fit snugly into the stainless steel frame.

9.0

Grip

7.5
Mueller 4-Stage Grip
  • Material:
    ABS plastic and rubber

The Muller has a grip that’s proportional to its wide working section. It offers lots of space for those with large hands, and there are finger nubs that make it easy to hold on to. We also appreciate the rubber padding on the upper side of the grip: It’s soft and gentle to your palm while also creating useful friction against grease or moisture.

Priority Chef Grip
  • Material:
    Stainless steel

Unlike most other devices, the grip of the Priority Chef is basically a pipe that’s attached to the device via a plastic framework. The stainless steel is easy to clean but can be cold to the touch and feel slippery if your hand is wet or greasy. Other than that, we couldn’t find a problem with it. The low center of gravity really helps, so we never had to employ excessive force to keep the device in place.

Working Section

Mueller 4-Stage Working Section
Mueller 4-Stage Working Section 1
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Sharpen (slot 1, 2, 3), Hone (slot 4)
  • Abrasive:
    Tungsten carbide blades, diamond rods, ceramic rods
  • Mechanism:
    Pull through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    20 degree

The Muller has a large working section with one slot for scissors and three for kitchen knives. It’s placed on a rather thick base — in fact, the Muller is among the tallest of all the devices we’ve tested. Unfortunately, this is not an advantage in the world of handheld sharpeners: A high working section only makes it more prone to toppling during operation.

Priority Chef Working Section
  • Levels of Sharpening:
    Sharpen, Hone
  • Abrasive:
    Diamond-coated coarse disc, ceramic honing disc
  • Mechanism:
    Pull through
  • Sharpening Angle:
    17 degrees

The Priority Chef sharpener has a simple working section with one diamond-coated disc and one ceramic disc for sharpening and honing your knives, respectively. Each is labeled below the slot on either side — it’s equally simple whether you’re left- or right-handed.

Base

Mueller 4-Stage Base
  • Material:
    ABS plastic
  • Feet Type:
    Anti-slip rubber pads

The Muller has a base running from the heel of its handle to underneath its working section. The base is supported with two flat rubber pads that offer friction and keep it from sliding across the countertop during sharpening.

Priority Chef Base
  • Material:
    Stainless steel
  • Feet Type:
    Sponge pad

While we love that it’s low and wide, the base is actually the Priority Chef’s least effective component. It’s a stainless steel plate housing a sponge-like pad that feels cheap and is prone to tearing. The pad adds almost no weight or friction, and we suspect that it will come apart long before anything else.

Ease of Use

8.3
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (10%)
    7.0/10
  • Insertion (20%)
    9.0/10
  • Pulling Through (10%)
    7.5/10
  • Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)
    8.5/10
  • Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (20%)
    8.0/10
8.2
usability Scores
  • Slot Arrangement (20%)
    10/10
  • Insertion (20%)
    7.0/10
  • Pulling Through (10%)
    8.5/10
  • Stability on a Clean Surface (40%)
    8.0/10
  • Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface (10%)
    7.0/10
7.0

Slot Arrangement

10
Mueller 4-Stage Slot Arrangement

Unlike many other sharpeners where the diamond rods serve as a “prep” stage, on the Mueller, you start sharpening your knife with the tungsten carbide blades (Slot 2), then move on to the diamond rods (Slot 3) and finish on the ceramic rods (Slot 4). Interestingly, in the Amazon product description, slots 2 and 3 are swapped. 

The tungsten carbide blades remove the most material from the knife, so it makes sense that they’re the ‘coarsest’ stage. However, we found that the diamond and ceramic rods may sometimes dullen a keen edge, especially when you use both of them to ‘polish’ it. As a result, we prefer the more common setting of starting with the diamond rods for the straightening effect.

Priority Chef Slot Arrangement

The device has only two progressive slots. Their relative coarseness is embossed right underneath on both sides of the working section. That eliminates any guesswork or confusion during sharpening. Both work at the same bevel angle and are not adjustable, so the Priority Chef may not be right for all your knives.

9.0

Insertion

7.0
Mueller 4-Stage Insertion

With a long grip and a wide working section, blade insertion into the sharpening slots was effortless and didn’t require much caution. If you’ve been sharpening with mini-size devices such as the KitchenIQ, where you’re gripping right next to the sharpening slot, you will likely notice the lack of stress when working with the Mueller.

Priority Chef Insertion

The Priority Chef has some of the narrowest slot openings among the devices we’ve tested. While this may help keep the blade aligned, it does make inserting the knife a little stressful. 

Luckily, with a large grip and a raised plastic frame, you’re unlikely to cut your supporting hand.

7.5

Pulling Through

8.5
Mueller 4-Stage Pulling Through

The test knife went through the last two sharpening slots with little problem. However, our experience with the coarse slot seemed to be hit-and-miss:  Sometimes, the tungsten carbide blades were almost slippery with no friction or pressure felt, which means they weren’t doing their job. Other times, they were tight and ended up removing too much material from the knife.

Priority Chef Pulling Through

Our test knives slid through the Priority Chef with ease every single time: Both sharpening discs offer a firm and steady brace. The knife tip does cut into the U-shape frame from time to time, but because you don’t have to push downwards while pulling through, the contact is mild and should not affect the knife edge.

8.5

Stability on a Clean Surface

8.0
Mueller 4-Stage Stability on a Clean Surface

The Muller keeps its balance well on a dry and clean wooden table or marble countertop. It’s taller than most devices, but thanks to the flat and frictious base, we never had to use excessive force to keep it in place during our multiple tests.

Priority Chef Stability on a Clean Surface

With a low center of gravity and a full padded baseplate, the Priority Chef is well-balanced. Its anti-slip pad doesn’t exactly measure up to the name, but as long as you can maintain a relaxed grip, the device will stay in place. It may sound counterintuitive, but too much force on the grip will only make the sharpener slip more often.

8.0

Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

7.0
Mueller 4-Stage Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

We had to be a little more cautious on a messy slippery countertop, but as long as you don’t work too fast, balance and stability won’t be an issue.

Priority Chef Stability on a Wet and Dirty Surface

While the ‘anti-slip’ pad was barely effective on a spotless countertop, it was useless on one with oil and salt on it. That being said, the sharpening session was still manageable thanks to the unit’s generous footprint and modest height. Again, it seems to fare better when your grip is not too tight.