Best Knife Blocks

Updated October 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we tested

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

140 Models Considered
1 Experts Interviewed
800 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Buying guide for best knife blocks

Last Updated October 2019

Your knives are the most important tools in your kitchen. To keep them sharp and well organized, a knife block is a classic choice that can be as decorative as it is functional.

Are you looking for an environmentally friendly bamboo block or a sleek stainless steel design? Does your kitchen call for an upright design with a small footprint, or can you opt for a larger design that conveniently angles the knife handles? Finding the right knife block that perfectly matches your set of knives can be challenging, but some designs are universal and can accommodate almost all blade sizes and shapes. Others are magnetic and work similarly to magnetic knife strips.

To find the perfect knife block that will last you for years, check out our shopping guide, which includes all the factors that go into selecting the perfect knife block and some first-rate options to consider.

A good knife block eliminates the need to keep track of individual sheathes and presents an easy way to access your blades.

Is a knife block right for you?

If you purchased your knives individually, as many knife aficionados do, you may not have received a knife block with your purchase as is common with many sets. Knife blocks keep your blades safe and sharp and allow for easy access to your tools. When you find the perfect one, it may be the last knife block you ever buy. However, they’re not for everyone.

If you have small children who tend to be curious about everything, you can place it out of view or out of reach. However, the whole point of a knife block is that it provides you with easy access to your knives. In that case, storing your knives in a drawer may be your best option (but be careful to store them so that their blades do not come into contact with one another). Knife blocks may also be awkward in smaller kitchens where counter space is prime real estate.

For a sleek option that is considerably easier to clean, a magnetic knife strip works well in kitchens (but again, not a good choice for families with curious children).

DID YOU KNOW?

Knife blocks can hold anywhere from five to 20 knives, so choose your block according to the number of blades you need to store.

Key considerations

Slots vs. universal vs. magnetic

Most knife blocks have slots that can fit knives of up to a certain size. These also limit the number of knives you can store in your knife block. While these blocks are restricting, they are the best option for organizing your knife set if you can find a block that meets you needs. Measure your knives carefully and compare their dimensions to those of the slots of the knife block before making a purchase.

  • Universal knife blocks typically use plastic bristles that can accommodate any knife shape. Because there are no designated areas for each blade, there’s no specific limit to the number of knives these blocks can hold — the only limit is the space offered by the block. Ultra sharp blades may damage the plastic bristles, however. In addition, this style lacks the simplicity and classic look of traditional slot blocks.

  • Magnetic knife “blocks” imitate magnetic strips, holding knives in place with powerful magnets. While these designs are often more expensive, they are also easier to clean and allow you to easily see your blades — no more pulling out the wrong knife again and again.
     

Material

Knife blocks are typically made from wood, but with modern designs, a handful of materials are available.

  • Plastic knife blocks may use slots or universal designs. While these are affordable, they are not the most durable.

  • Stainless steel knife blocks are sleek and classy and somewhat more durable than plastic models. They tend to be easier to clean than wood blocks, because steel does not absorb water. However, in some cases, the slots may be plastic or steel — plastic is susceptible to wear, and steel may damage your blades.

  • Wooden knife blocks may be made from bamboo or other less expensive woods. If you’re hoping for an environmentally friendly design, take note of whether a block is fully bamboo or simply has bamboo veneers and a wood core.

    Bonus: Wood absorbs moisture, which can help reduce blade corrosion.
     

Vertical vs. diagonal design

A diagonal design is the classic choice, as it offers the handles at a comfortable angle for easy removal. However, these designs typically have a wider footprint and take up more counter space.

Vertical designs are usually the better choice for kitchens with limited counter space. However, they require more vertical room to fully lift the knives free. If you have overhanging cabinets, you may have to pull your knife block out every time you want to remove a knife. You can easily determine whether you will have enough room by measuring the length of your longest knife (likely your bread knife or chef’s knife) combined with the height of the knife block.

Slot angle

The angle of the knife slots can determine how you remove your knives and how much wear is done to the edges.

  • Horizontal slots protect the edges of your blades, because they won’t rest against the slots. However, they can be somewhat more dangerous as there’s no clear orientation for storing blades.

  • Vertical slots offer a more natural motion when removing knives. However, the blades will rest against the bottom edge of the slots, which may wear them down if you don’t remove the blades carefully.

    Note that with vertical knife blocks, the slot direction doesn’t matter since you can simply rotate the block.
     

Self-sharpening slots

More expensive knife blocks may have ceramic “self-sharpening” slots that can actually sharpen, rather than dull, your knife edges as your remove or insert them. If you already have a knife sharpener, you may not need or want this feature. While it can improve the sharpness of your blades, this is no replacement for a proper knife sharpener.

EXPERT TIP

While many knife sets include knife blocks, your best bet is to purchase the two separately so you can handpick your blades.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

A knife block will not only prolong the lifespan of your blades, but it will also keep you safe in the kitchen by keeping those sharp edges covered.


Staff  | BestReviews

Knife block prices

Inexpensive: Entry-level knife blocks for $15 to $30 come in a variety of designs and materials, despite the price. Anything from vertical to diagonal to universal to magnetic designs are available. The main differences lie in the quality of the materials and the storage space, as these tend to be smaller knife blocks with cheaper glues that can wear out over time.

Mid-range: For $30 to $60, you’ll find knife blocks that are more commonly made of high-quality materials, like solid bamboo or stainless steel. Some models in this range may have built-in knife sharpeners.

Expensive: Knife blocks for $60 to $120 often have distinctive looks and use only high-quality materials. Expect plenty of storage and solid wood or stainless steel construction in this price range.

Tips

  • If you have a knife block with slots, remove the knives by pressing the dull edge against the slot so the blade does not make contact with the block. This can help to prolong the life of the blades and the block.

  • Wood blocks may become damaged by the hot water of a dishwasher, as they can disintegrate the glue that holds the wood pieces together.

  • Knife blocks with slots can be cleaned by shaking out debris and cleaning the slots with pipe cleaners and soap or a bleach solution.

Other products we considered

While we love our top recommendations for knife blocks, there are a few unique designs that caught our eye and didn’t make it onto the list. For a stylish, easy-to-clean magnetic knife block, the Böker Wood Magnetic Knife Block works well with most knife sets and has an unusual half-spiral design. For something less expensive, the Kapoosh Urban Universal Knife Block has a fun design in several vibrant colors. Customers have very few critiques of this universal block that is dishwasher-safe and can easily hold ten knives. If you want a universal knife block that also displays your blades, the Kuhn Rikon Vision Clear Slotted Knife Stand/Block has a clear plastic design that shows off your blades and allows you to easily pick the right knife every time. If you have an eclectic collection of knives, this is a reliable universal knife block that looks great on any counter.

Once you purchase a knife block, there’s a good chance you will never need to purchase another as long as you take proper care of your block.

FAQ

Q. Can knife blocks damage ceramic knives?

A. If handled improperly, it is possible to chip the tip of a ceramic knife when putting it into a knife-block slot. However, a knife block can be a perfectly safe way to store ceramic knives.

Q. How often should a knife block be cleaned?

A. No matter what type of knife block you have, you should clean it thoroughly about once a month to prevent bacterial buildup.

Q. Should I purchase a knife block first or the knives?

A. It’s your knives that are the more important tool, not the knife block. Buy knives first when possible, then find a block to store them later. However, you don’t want to leave knives clattering around in your drawer unsheathed.

The team that worked on this review
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer
  • Steph
    Steph
    Writer

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