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Horl 2 vs. Copycats: Rolling Sharpeners Comparison

The concept of a rolling sharpener is extremely simple you just roll on both sides of your knife and the knife will eventually get sharper. You have a magnetic angle-guided knife holder and a roller with replaceable abrasives. So if you are going to copy the homework from the original Horl 2 you surely can’t mess it up! I’ve tested several rolling sharpeners to help you make an informed decision.

Note: A full review of the Horl 2 will follow shortly.

#1 Generic Rolling Knife Sharpener (Horl 2 Copycat)

Generic Rolling Knife Sharpener #1 (Horl 2 Copycat)

The cheapest roller that you can find rebranded to whatever logo or brand name you want to put on it. This roller cost me $35 (32 Euro) it is an exact copy of the Horl 2 with cheap wood and other cheap materials. The angle-guided knife holder comes with 15 and 20-degree angles. The first thing you notice after attaching a knife to it is that the magnetic strength is extremely weak. It is so weak that I can’t recommend anyone using it as that is very dangerous. With just a light touch the knife moves and detaches easily from the knife holder.

The second thing is the roller, it is very simple as it comes with 2 ball bearings and a metal rod, and on both sides, you can attach abrasives. There are a few problems with this roller, the first thing is it resists your roll. So with each roll, it simply adds resistance. The more you roll the less resistance it gives. And that is because the abrasives are unscrewing themselves. That is a bad design flaw, and the included abrasives are of poor quality. If this was my first rolling sharpener I would have never tried any other rolling sharpeners again.

#2 Rolling Knife Sharpener with a Magnetic attachment USD 46 (43 Euro)

Rolling Knife Sharpener with a Magnetic attachment #2

Now on to the more similar priced one around 46 dollars, It comes with an interesting magnetic attachment for the abrasive plates. And they included a modification on the magnetic knife holder. They added a parking stand for the roller and included 2 additional angles but forgot to include rubber padding on the magnets. If I were to design the angle-guided knife holder I would not include 18 and 22-degree angles. If they have an R&D department I would include a 17 and a 25 degrees angle.

But that aside the bigger angle guide makes it less comfortable to hold and the magnetic strength is similar to the cheaper rolling sharpener making it a very weak magnetic knife holder. The roller suffers from the same rolling problem as it resits each roll and unscrews the abrasives just like the cheaper rolling sharpener. The magnets sounded very nice but also suffered from the same weak magnetic attachment and the rubber plate did nothing to prevent the abrasive from staying in place. When trying to roll on a knife without barely touching the abrasive it would not hold on to the plate and rotate with the roll making the abrasives ineffective. This roller is worse than the cheaper one.

#3 Rolling Knife Sharpener $73 (68 Euro)

Rolling Knife Sharpener #3

The more you pay the better the product is right? This product cost me around 73 dollars, and the quality of this product and its packaging were certainly impressive to see. You get better corundum abrasive quality, however the standard abrasives and the corundum abrasives wear out a lot faster than the original. The magnetic knife holder includes a parking stand and each side of the magnets and on the parking stand has a rubber cover. The magnetic strength is good! Very surprised by that. However, if they had an R&D department I would not have chosen 18 and 22 degrees but 17 and 25 degrees.

The magnetic abrasives had a hole in it that prevented the abrasive from standing still in place which is a clever solution. And the real showstopper is that the attachment does not come off no matter how hard you roll. And that is because they added some screw glue on the threads.

This sharpener improved on all the flaws the other magnetic one has. And I was happy to see the improvements until I tried rolling with the sharpener. The roll felt heavy and it actively stops and brakes on each roll. And after inspecting the issue I found the problem, the middle wood part touches the side of the metal. This is a horrible design flaw as it deteriorates the entire rolling experience. I would not list this product in my store if I had a webshop or a retail store because of this major design flaw. It came so close as a promising Rolling sharpener and yet so far away that I simply can’t recommend the product.

#4 Generic Rolling Knife Sharpener 73 USD (68 Euro)

Generic Rolling Knife Sharpener #4

After many disappointments, I bought another higher-priced copy of the Horl 2. This one has some added functions on the magnetic knife holder. The first thing you notice is the cheap plastic used on the holder but the magnets were surprisingly good. It came with a 15 and 20-degree angles.

The roller’s body was made from aluminum instead of wood, and to my surprise, the disk does not come off either no matter how much you roll. The rolling feel was better than the others but not better and miles away compared to the original Horl 2 which rolls a lot smoother. The abrasives wear out a lot faster than the original which counts for both the diamond and corundum abrasives. The abrasives used are of poor quality pretty much the same as the other 2 cheaper versions.

While the many added add-on abrasives are impressive to see, the problem is how you replace the abrasives. One side was screwed very tight and I had to pry it loose a few times which improved over time. But replacing the abrasives makes it a tedious task as you have to constantly reassemble everything. The roll also resists too much if you press a little bit harder stopping the entire roll. Not only that the aluminum is hitting the sides making the rolling experience less smooth overall. The aluminum body is also loose and not fixed in place. While this roller is better than the other 3 it does not come close to the Horl 2 in terms of the overall experience and ease of use.

The add-on for a strop is also ridiculous, It amazes me that they even thought of selling you a stropping attachment that won’t work, as it will dig into the knife destroying the strop. Out of the 4, this one is better but compared to the Horl 2 they are quite far away for the overall user experience.

Update: Once I fixed the prying problem to loosen one side, this roller also unscrews itself depending on what direction you roll. Making it just as bad as the other copycats Roller 1 and 2 with the same problem but the roll was the best out of the 4 copies but miles away from the Horl 2.

The Original Horl 2 Rolling Knife Sharpener is better!

Original Horl 2 Rolling Knife Sharpener
Original Horl 2 – Rolling Knife Sharpener

I simply don’t understand that something so simple works so well and none of the copies came even close to the original. Every single aspect of the product is made from better quality and craftsmanship. The roll is amazing and it makes a huge difference in the rolling experience when sharpening a knife compared to the rest. No matter how many times you roll, the abrasives will not unscrew or tighten themselves. The added spacing prevents the wooden body from touching the sides.

The abrasives are of high quality and are built to last, for most home cooks you don’t even need to replace the abrasives for a very long time. Both abrasive sides are easily detachable and replaceable. The magnetic strength on the angle guide is also the strongest compared to the others. Not only are the copies cheaper and made from bad quality, but you are in the end paying more for the abrasives that wear out a lot faster, let alone finding them once the copies stop selling the hype. The Horl 2 has set the bar so high that even the copies can’t manage to copy the original despite the research already being laid out for them.

Do not buy the Generic Rolling Sharpeners copycats

Since I bought the Generic Knife Rolling Sharpeners Copies out of my pocket, and since I will feel like I’m scamming my audience if I recommend any of the copies mentioned in this video. I will probably never financially recover from making this article. However, if you don’t believe me despite my warning. Please use the links below this article, so that you can experience what I experienced here. Because the concept of the Rolling sharpeners is simple each of the items will work but how well it works is a different story. And if you don’t know how good the original is you can’t complain about the flaws and how bad the other 4 copies are.

If I had to summarize my experience with the copycats. I would say that it is like buying a fidget spinner that does not spin smoothly.

Left one simulates Horl 2 vs the other 4 on the right where it does not spin smoothly

The Horl 2 is not cheap, but now I understand the saying: ‘’You get what you pay for”.


Recommended Rolling Knife Sharpeneres:
Horl 2: (Full Review will follow)
Horl Official Amazon Store
Horl Official Website

Not covered in this article but have finished testing it and can recommend:
Worksharp Rolling Knife Sharpener
(Full Review will follow)

Not Recommended, DO NOT BUY!:
Generic Knife Rolling Sharpeners
(Same Knife Rolling Sharpeners Rebranded to whatever brand)
Roller #1 – Generic Cheapest Copy
Also Sold on Amazon

Roller #2 – Generic Cheap Magnetic Attachment Roller
(It has not been Sold on Amazon yet but will be sold as the newer version sooner or later)

Roller #3 – Taidea Proyan Rolling Magnetic Sharpener
Rebranded version on Amazon

Roller #4 – 5-in-1 Rolling Sharpener:
Rebranded version of the same Generic Roller on Amazon:
AldiPro – 5 in 1 Rolling Sharpener
AierLian – 5 in 1 Rolling Sharpener
TMASUN – 5 in 1 Rolling Sharpener
Prochop – 5 in 1 Rolling Sharpener

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Hi, I'm ChefPanko, I have worked for multiple restaurants and have decided to share my experience with you guys. I will share recipes and techniques that I have learned, taken, and improved from the French, Japanese restaurants that I have worked for. I will also explore other cuisines with you guys.

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  1. I have the Horl 2 Cruise along with numerous others brands and styles, including the Ruixin with upgraded . You can upgrade the Ruixin 2Cruise and end with a satisfying sharpening experience. I find it smooth.
    The Horl 2 Cruise had to wait till I felt I was not buying a cheap copy. Hence the Horl 2 Cruise, But wish knife holder would be around 3 to 4 inches long for comfort and stability,
    Mine came with only one abrasive pad for sharpening and setting the angle desired mine is a 20 deg 6,ooo grit and one SS for honing. Neither is replaceable ! While I’m still learning the Horl is enjoyable enough every time out. Good steel will sharpen all you need or want. But I would suggest you need abrasive pads #1-400 gr, #2-6,000 gr, #3-several extra fine gr. See the WWW…… CAREFULLY! Those little nicks become
    only noticeable when you bleed on the way to Bandages!

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience, I have not tried the Horl Cruise so good to read your experience with it. I find the replaceability quite important on rolling sharpeners as you can adjust to everyone’s need. Other than that the big difference is the tolerance of the pressure each roller has. With the copies there is almost no tolerance to harder pressure, barely touching the knife will stop the roll (hence the fidget spinner analogy). For the wider tolerance of pressure that can be applied the Horl 2 and the Worksharp Rolling Sharpener does a great job compared to the copies. What is also interesting is not only the sharpening a knife from a completely dull state but maintaining a knife. When maintaining it with the roller regularly, you drastically reduce the time it needs to make the knives sharp again, and you can effectively replace the honing rod with the roller (where many struggle to find the correct angle to make a honing rod work for them).

  2. What are your thoughts on the Worksharp rolling sharpener? It’s been heavily advertised in the United States lately.

    1. I have the Worksharp Rolling Sharpener, a review will follow too. Right now of the 6 rolling sharpeners I have tested the Horl 2 and Worksharp Rolling Sharpener perform well.

      There are some differences which I will cover in a separate video where Horl 2 and Worksharp Rolling Sharpeners will be compared. You won’t go wrong with either of them.

      I wish Worksharp abrasives lasted longer, and that they released more abrasives grits to cover the entire grit progression spectrum. But they have added some interesting things to their rolling sharpener.

      So in short, you won’t go wrong with either of them in terms of the rolling performers as the Horl 2 and Worksharp rollers do not have the design flaws that the copies/imitations have. Even the magnetic attachment on the Worksharp has been thought out and works miles better than the copies with magnetic attachments.

      For full transparency, I do want to note that Worksharp has sent their rolling sharpener for review just like Horl did both are on the same agreement that they won’t have any previews before the video/article goes; no contracts or NDAs signed I’m free to say whatever I want.

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