High-quality knives are essential tools in any kitchen, and the way your knives are stored can affect their longevity and accessibility. Available in many shapes and forms, knife storage solutions can help organize your knives while keeping you and your family safe from accidents and preventing your knives from dulling prematurely. The best knife block for your kitchen depends on your cooking workflow, available space in your kitchen, and design style.
- BEST OVERALL: Kuhn Rikon Vision Transparent Storage Block
- RUNNER UP: Shenzhen Knives 20-Slot Universal Knife Block
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: KITCHENDAO Universal Knife Block
- UPGRADE PICK: Boker 30402 Wood Magnetic Knife Block
- BEST UNIVERSAL: Cook N Home Universal Knife Storage Holder
- BEST MAGNETIC: Woodsom Powerful Magnetic Knife Strip
- BEST IN-DRAWER: Noble Home & Chef In-Drawer Bamboo Knife Block
- BEST UNDER-CABINET: The Drop Block Under Cabinet Knife Block
- BEST WITH SHARPENER: Kitchen Seven Bamboo Universal Knife Block
Types of Knife Blocks
There are many options when it comes to buying a knife block. Learning about the four commonly used methods of storing high-quality knives can help narrow the choices.
Upright Knife Block
The standard knife block that sits on your countertop is known as an upright knife block. Countertop knife blocks ensure that your knives are close at hand when you need them. They come in a variety of materials and styles to suit you and your home’s decor.
While some are designed to be paired with specific knife sets, others are made with a universal design that offers flexibility with the size of blades that fit into them. This design includes a tight arrangement of vertical flexible plastic or rubber rods that can conform to the shape of your knives and hold them in place. These rods can often be removed for easy cleaning.
Upright knife blocks do take up counter space, so they may not be a good choice for those with small kitchens. Knife blocks that allow you to insert the knives at a diagonal angle take up more counter space, while knife blocks that let you insert the knives vertically are more compact.
In-Drawer Knife Block
Storing your knives loose in a drawer can be dangerous and simultaneously risks causing damage to the blades of your knives. In-drawer knife blocks are inserted into your kitchen drawers and allow you to store your knives off the counter while keeping them organized and protected. These are ideal if your counter space is limited. They typically come in single-tier or dual-tier designs. Both offer varying options for how many knives they can hold. Because in-drawer units typically have knives resting on their blades, this type of storage can cause premature dulling.
Magnetic Knife Block
Because the knives’ blades have limited contact with any other material, magnetic knife storage is considered to be ideal for the longevity of knives. This option is sanitary and allows you to see all your knives so that you can easily select the right one. There are two types of popular magnetic knife storage solutions:
- Magnetic Knife Blocks are similar in shape to upright knife blocks and are meant to go on the countertop. The knives are held in place to the exterior of the block by powerful magnets.
- Magnetic Knife Strips are installed on a wall, cabinet, or backsplash. Those with both limited counter and drawer space would be well-served by this style of knife storage. The metal strip is meant to support the weight of your knives, making them easily accessible. It’s important to ensure that wall-mounted magnetic knife blocks are secured properly to avoid potential accidents.
Under-Cabinet Knife Block
Under-cabinet knife blocks are installed securely on the underside of your upper kitchen cabinets. They are typically constructed with hinges to allow you to pull the block down or out to access your knives. Under-cabinet knife storage is a great space-saving solution for those who don’t have room on their counters or in their drawers for knife storage. This also is a great option for families with young children, because the knives will be safely out of reach.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Knife Block
After figuring out which type of knife block would most efficiently serve your needs, there still are more factors to think about. Read on to find out what to consider when shopping for the best knife block for your home.
Perhaps the most important consideration when shopping for a knife storage solution is the available space you have in your kitchen. The model that makes sense for you may depend on whether you have room for storage in your drawers, on your counters, or on your walls. Those with extremely limited space would be better served by an under-cabinet knife block, which doesn’t take up valuable counter space in your kitchen.
Knife blocks are made from a variety of materials. Not only can the material affect the performance of your knife block, but it also can determine the style that suits your home.
- Wooden knife blocks are popular but are not dishwasher safe and can be difficult to clean. There also is risk of damaging the blades, as the edges are dulled when the blade is repeatedly inserted into the slots and has contact with the wood.
- Bamboo is often used as an alternative to traditional wood. While it’s an eco-friendly option that offers natural moisture absorption, it has the same downside of being difficult to clean and risking damage to your knife blades.
- Translucent materials make it easy for you to see the blades of your knives and grab the right knife for the job.
The size of your knife collection will dictate what kind of knife block you need. It’s also essential that the knife storage method you choose is compatible with the knives you own. Since some knife blocks are meant to accommodate only blades of specific dimensions, it can be preferable to choose a knife block with a universal design that can hold knives of varying sizes, including smaller steak knives and paring knives. Knife blocks typically hold between seven and 20 or more knives, with most models having a capacity of between 12 and 18 knives.
Safety is a primary concern when it comes to knife storage. When using an upright countertop knife block, it’s important that it’s stable and that there is no risk of it tipping over. While heavier wooden and bamboo knife blocks easily stay upright, more lightweight plastic products are at risk of toppling if they do not have weighted bases to keep them balanced.
Keeping your knives sharp is essential to ensure optimal performance. Some knife storage solutions come equipped with built-in knife sharpeners that can be used to refresh the blades of your knives. Many experts advise against using knife blocks with built-in sharpeners, especially for high-end knives, because they run the risk of causing damage to the blades. Typically, knife sharpeners that are included with knife blocks are not an ideal substitute for using a dedicated sharpener or having your knives professionally sharpened.
Your cooking workflow is another important consideration when it comes to choosing a knife block. It’s ideal to store your knives near the area where users are most likely to perform food preparation tasks.
While countertop knife blocks may seem to be the most accessible, they do obscure the blades of your knives, potentially making it difficult to find the one you need at that moment. Some modern upright knife blocks, however, are made with translucent materials that allow you to see the blades of your knives so you can quickly grab the correct one.
Depending on the style of your kitchen, you may or may not want your knives to be on display. If you like to keep your knives out of sight, either in-drawer or under-counter options are ideal. Countertop models come in a variety of materials and colors to better suit your particular aesthetic preferences. Most knife blocks have a wood-grain or metal finish, but there also are plastic options in a multitude of colors. Magnetic, wall-mounted strips lend an industrial look to your kitchen.
Ease of Cleaning
Knife blocks require occasional cleaning, but some types are easier to clean than others. There are options that are dishwasher safe, while others may require handwashing and have slots that are tricky to access.
- Traditional wooden knife blocks are notoriously tough to clean because it’s difficult to access the interior of the knife slots where dirt, dust, food particles, and bacteria can accumulate.
- Universal knife blocks with removable plastic or rubber rods are ideal for cleaning and are often dishwasher safe.
- Magnetic, wall-mounted strips are a sanitary option that requires little cleaning, though your knives are exposed and may come into contact with more dust and dirt.
Our Top Picks
Whether you need an upright, magnetic, in-drawer, or under-counter storage solution for your knives, we’ve gathered our top picks recommendation for each of those categories. These products include features mentioned above, including accessibility, storage capacity, aesthetic, and ease of cleaning.
While this knife block may not have a traditional appearance, it allows you to easily see all your knives’ blades so that it’s easier to find the one you need. It has an upright style and a universal design. The flexible blade separator keeps your knife blades from touching one another, helping prevent damage or dulling prematurely. It can hold up to 18 knives or other kitchen tools with blades up to 8 inches in length.
It has four rubber feet to keep the block securely in place. The insert and base can be separated and cleaned by hand with warm soapy water.
The dimensions of the block are 8.5 inches long by 3 inches wide by 8.5 inches high.
While more modern, innovative knife storage styles are becoming increasingly popular, many shoppers still prefer the aesthetic of a traditional upright knife block. This model by Shenzhen is made from bamboo, which is more durable than many hardwood alternatives and is less likely to warp over time. Because the angled knife slots have wide openings, there’s less risk of damaging your knives when inserting or removing them.
This block is made with two tiers. The lower tier can hold knives with blades of up to 5.75 inches, while the deepest slots on the upper tier can hold knives with blades of up to 10.5 inches. This knife block accommodates 19 knives and has an extra slot for scissors or a honing rod.
The dimensions of this block are 5.25 inches wide by 8 inches high by 11 inches long.
The transparent barrel of this universal knife holder allows you to see the blades of your knives, helping you easily choose the right one for the task at hand. Even though knives are stored close together, this knife holder is made with parallel slots that prevent the knives from touching one another. Because the blades won’t come into contact with any hard material, this knife block won’t accelerate dulling. Depending on the size of your knives, it can hold between eight and 12 blades, and it has a slot for scissors.
This knife holder can accommodate knives with blades of up to 8.9 inches long and 2.5 millimeters thick. The base features a stainless steel plate to help with balance and prevent it from tipping over. The components of this knife block are detachable for ease of cleaning.
Magnetic knife storage is ideal for the longevity of your knives and provides a sanitary option that allows you to easily see and access the knife you need. This magnetic countertop knife block provides the easy accessibility of a traditional wooden knife block but doesn’t run the risk of dulling your knives’ blades. It can store up to seven knives of varying lengths due to the cascading design.
Its dimensions are 11.25 inches high by 10 inches wide by 6 inches deep. Because there are no slots to worry about, this knife block is easy to clean with soap and water.
With an exterior of bamboo, this upright knife block has a traditional look, but the universal design means that it can fit a wide variety of knives. It uses flexible plastic fiber rods to hold the blades in place and prevent them from incurring damage. It can accommodate knives and other kitchen tools with blades that are up to 8 inches long.
The universal plastic rods are removable and are dishwasher safe for easy cleanup. The dimensions are 5.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches long by 10 inches high.
This magnetic knife strip from Woodsom uses niobium magnets along its length to keep your knives securely in place. This means there aren’t any nonmagnetized dead zones, so you can attach your knives safely from end to end. The magnets are faced with a natural wood surface that is made to withstand scratching.
This strip comes in a variety of lengths from 8 to 36 inches but also can be customized to the exact length you need for your kitchen. It is available in several different materials, including walnut, pine, maple, oak, and hickory—all of which have a different aesthetic to fit your home’s decor style. The wood has been treated with food-safe butcher block oil for a lustrous finish.
It includes a mounting kit for easy installation to walls or cabinets.
This in-drawer knife block is a two-tier system, with the upper tier made to fit smaller knives and the bottom tier meant to accommodate larger blades. This makes it a great pick if you have a collection of steak knives that you’d like to store alongside your task knives.
Because the block features an angled handle-rest, the knives will stay in place when your drawer is opened and closed, preventing the blades from scraping against the bamboo. It holds 12 knives and has a designated space for a honing steel. It’s made with eco-friendly Moso bamboo which can be washed with soap and water.
It can fit bolstered blades up to 10.25 inches long or unbolstered blades up to 15 inches long. It’s made to fit the majority of standard kitchen drawers, with dimensions of 17 inches by 9 inches by 2 inches.
While this option holds 12 knives, those with larger knife collections could be well served by the 16-knife option.
If you don’t have counter or drawer space to spare, an under-cabinet knife block is a space-efficient choice. This product by The Drop Block features three strips of rare earth magnets that can hold a collection of knives of varying sizes. Two strips are horizontal for storing larger knives while one is vertical for paring knives, steak knives, or scissors. The heavy-duty hinges allow you to lower the knife block to view and access your knives, keeping them safely stowed away from children.
This block is available in three sizes. The dimensions of the small version are 18 by 9 inches, while the exterior dimensions are 19.5 by 10.5 inches.
This block, which can hold up to 16 knives, actually comes equipped with two separate knife sharpeners to suit different needs. The first is a ceramic rod to finely sharpen and polish metal blades, while the second is ultra-hard tungsten steel meant to coarsely sharpen V-shaped blades.
It also has two-tiered storage, with the bottom tier built to accommodate smaller knives with blades up to 5 inches and the top tier made for larger knives with blades up to 8 inches. The case is made from eco-friendly Brazilian bamboo, which is naturally water-resistant.
This knife block lends itself to easy cleaning because the plastic rods used to hold the knives in place are removable and washable. The rods prevent your knives from dulling because they offer a soft and flexible surface for the blades to rest.
FAQs About Knife Blocks
With so many choices available, shopping for the best knife block can be a bit overwhelming. If you still have some lingering questions, these answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about knife storage may help.
Q. Are knife blocks sanitary?
Whether a knife block is sanitary or not depends on the style of knife block. Because ease of cleaning varies depending on the type of knife storage solution you choose, some blocks are more sanitary than others. Traditional wooden knife blocks are the least sanitary because they can more easily accumulate dirt and food particles, and the knife slots can be difficult to clean.
Q. Are magnets bad for knives?
Magnetic knife strips are used in many professional kitchens and should not damage your knives. A good rule of thumb when using magnetic storage is to avoid forceful contact by touching the spine of your knife to the magnet first, rather than the blade.
Q. How do you put knives in a knife block?
In order to avoid dulling the blades of your knives, it’s important to put pressure on the spine of your knife, rather than the blade, when sliding it into a slot in a knife block. If your knife block allows for it, it’s actually ideal to slide your knives in upside down, so that the spines are on the bottom.
Q. How do you clean a knife block?
The cleaning method depends on the style of knife block. Traditional wooden knife blocks, which are difficult to clean, should be held upside down and shaken to release crumbs and debris that may have accumulated inside. The block can then be handwashed with soapy water. A pipe cleaner or baby bottle brush may help clean inside the slots.