Which knife block is best?
Good knives are a cook’s best friend, but they can be tricky to store properly. It’s not safe to keep them uncovered in a drawer, but keeping track of individual sheaths can be annoying. Improperly stored knives will also get duller faster. Even if you only cook every once in a while, protect the investment you made in your knives by keeping them in a knife block.
The perfect knife block looks great on your countertop and is the right size for your needs. The Cook N Home Bamboo Knife Storage Block has room for 19 knives and comes in two different finishes.
What to know before you buy a knife block
Knife blocks live on your countertop and are ready to go at a moment’s notice. If you’ve got curious kids who like to play in the kitchen, a knife block may not be the right choice for you. While most knife blocks have rubber feet on the bottom to prevent sliding around, they won’t prevent the entire unit from falling over.
If you’ve got an inquisitive little one or a pet that likes to get on the counter, a secure knife drawer might be the better option. On the other hand, if you don’t have kids or pets, you may prefer a magnetic knife strip that keeps your knives hanging securely above your counter in the open air.
Slot blocks or universal blocks
If you’ve decided that a knife block is for you, now decide on slot blocks or universal blocks. Slot blocks feature precut storage spaces of various widths and depths. Some slots are intended for big knives and others for small knives. You should buy the block that best corresponds with the knives you already have.
Universal blocks have a single opening with tightly packed plastic bristles that keep your knives in place. This is a good option if you’re seeking a block that takes up less counter space or if you only have a few knives.
If you decide to go with a slot block, there’s one final consideration. Some blocks have horizontal slots that protect the edges of your blades. The problem with horizontal slots is that there’s no correct direction to store them, which can cause confusion or potentially even an accident.
Other blocks have vertical slots for easier removal. The trade-off with vertical slots is that the tip of your blades will rest up against the block material and may dull over time. Vertical slots also require more free and clear space above the block, which could cause a problem if you’re placing your block under a low cabinet.
What to look for in a quality knife block
Wood is the most traditional material for knife blocks. Wood absorbs moisture, which can save your knives from corroding or building up germs. Wood models come in a variety of finishes. Bamboo is also a popular favorite.
Plastic and stainless steel knife blocks are starting to become more common. Many universal blocks are made of plastic or stainless steel. While stainless steel looks great in theory, keep in mind that it requires a special cleaner and attracts fingerprints and water spots immensely.
Ease of use
Some knife blocks have slots along the top, and some knife blocks have slots along a diagonal. Most users find diagonal slots easier and more natural, but test both options out if you can.
Ideally, you should buy your knife block, figure out the perfect place for it and never have to move it again. For this reason, it’s important to measure where your block will go and be realistic about how much counter space it will use.
Some knife blocks have special slots for big knives such as machetes or cleavers. Others have special slots for steak knives and other smaller utensils. If you use food scissors, look for a model with a space for them right in the front.
A few high-end knife blocks have self-sharpening slots. This can be a great way to keep your knives at peak performance in between regular sharpenings. Some models also come with magnetic strips along the side to store bottle openers and other small metal utensils.
How much you can expect to spend on a knife block
Small basic knife blocks start around $15-$25, while bigger knife blocks made of higher-quality materials run $25-$60. Premium knife blocks with unique designs and extensive storage can be found for $60-$125.
Knife block FAQ
Are knife blocks bad for knives?
A. You might have heard from a food lover or a chef friend that knife blocks are bad for knives. This is a case of a few cheap models giving the entire product category a bad name. Home cooks shouldn’t have a problem, provided they wash their knives properly and take them in and out of the block with care.
Should you purchase knives or a knife block first?
A. You should purchase knives first. They’re the tool you’ll be using, so they’re the most important. If you’re concerned about proper storage, buy a knife set that comes with a block. Many sets do, especially sets intended for newlyweds or college students.
What’s the best knife block to buy?
Top knife block
What you need to know: With room for 19 knives, you’ll never run out of space with this attractive bamboo block.
What you’ll love: It fits a cleaver, food scissors and eight steak knives. Its durable construction with a bottom won’t slide around on your countertop.
What you should consider: Slots may not match up exactly with the knives you already have.
Top knife block for the money
What you need to know: This knife block is a good solution if you only need to keep a few knives handy at any given time.
What you’ll love: Its compact stainless steel cylinder holds a surprising number of knives. Plastic slots keep blades sharper for longer.
What you should consider: Some users reported issues with smaller knives not staying in place.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is elegant knife storage and protection from a centuries-old company.
What you’ll love: Available in six finishes, this knife block is a heavy-duty statement piece made of bacteria-resistant wood.
What you should consider: The block may be too large for smaller kitchens with limited counter space.
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.