7 Basic Types of Knife Holders You Should Know About

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If this isn’t your first time to come across our reliable write-ups about knives, this also wouldn’t be the first time that you’d read about our assertion for you all to get high-quality pieces that aren’t just functional but also beautiful and long-lasting.

You have also probably seen this as a common tip in our reports: one way to protect your kitchen investments is to store them properly.

Here are the most common knife holders in the market today:

Conventional Countertop Blocks

This is a block with slits on top where you can slide the blade of your knives into. It is the most popular because of several reasons:

• The pieces are within reach

• The blades are well-protected because these are kept in individual slots

• The whole set can be moved when needed

• It comes in various sizes, materials, and colors so you’ve got a lot to choose from.

Drawback:

Most designs are quite bulky and take a bit of space, especially if your workspace isn’t that large.

Brand Options:

Zwilling Super Knife Block (for 20 pieces), Wusthof 17-slot Block, Tescoma wooden block (for 5 knives and a pair of shears)

In-Cabinet Trays or Docks

While placing your knives inside the drawers is safer especially if you have young kids, this is not advisable because the pieces could rattle around and against each other when you’re opening and closing the drawer.

But with this nifty in-drawer storage with slots, the blades lay flat in the slots and are kept from dulling caused by the accidental clattering against the wood and other metals.

Drawback:

Most designs available have fixed measurements and might not readily fit in standard-sized drawers (it will be smaller)

Brand Options:

Wusthof 7-Slot Wooden Tray, OXO Good Grips Organizer, Oceanstar In-Drawer Bamboo Organizer

Wall or In-Cabinet Magnets

A favorite among the minimalistic crowd, this features a magnetic strip that can hold steel knives and other metallic items.

Although it comes in various styles – plain grey or silver band or covered in thin wood veneer – this is usually mounted on the wall closest to the food prep area.

However, other people install this inside their drawers so that the knives can lay flat on the surface but won’t clatter like they normally would when cabinets are opened and closed.

Drawback:

Unless you buy a really good brand, your knives might just fall off the strip which is quite dangerous. Also, most of those really good brands are quite pricey.

Brand Options:

Cucino Magnetic Strip (adhesive), Modern Innovations Stainless Steel Magnet Bar, Premium Dark Walnut Magnet Knife Holder

Wall Hangers or Slots

Just like magnetic strips, this is affixed on the wall for convenience, blade protection, and user safety.

Different variants can be found in the market today:

• Hooks on adhesive bars

• Rods that can be drilled close to the wall

• Metal racks with individual slots on top

Drawback:

Usually made of metal, these hangers may blunt the blades every time it gets pulled out or inserted back in.

Universal Holders

This is similar to the conventional knife block described above except that this doesn’t have individual slots.

Instead of the carved spaces, the block is filled with flexible rods made of plastic (much like that children’s toy kinetic sand) which will adapt to any piece that is pierced through it.

This is becoming all the rage these days because it is a real ‘one size fits all, especially for home cooks who buy knives per piece instead of per set.

Drawback:

This can be incredibly expensive.

Brand Options:

Cook N Home Natural Bamboo Holder, Mantello Stainless Steel Universal Knife Organizer, Kuhn Rikon Glass Block with Flexible Inlay

Bag or Rolls

Commonly seen among chefs, knife bags or rolls are essential organizers for kitchen professionals and culinary enthusiasts who are often on the go.

Although this comes in various fabrics, the design is pretty standard: a long piece of sturdy cloth with individual pockets for the handles and a top flap that can be folded over the whole set. Once covered, this can be rolled and then secured with laces or a button.

Drawback:

This is not a convenient option for home cooks.

Brand Options:

Ayasa Canvas Roll Bag, Elite Chef Waxed Canvas Knife Case, Dalstrong Nomad Heavy-Duty Knife Roll

Sheaths

The oldest type of protective casing for blades is the sheath.

And this is still the favorite among campers, hikers, and people who love the outdoors in general because they can just bring one or two knives, keep them in sheaths, and then place them in their backpacks or slung in their belts safely.

Drawback:

These are best made to order because sheaths, whatever material was used for it, will only work if it is snug around the blades.

Let’s Recap

Here’s a quick look at all the knife holders based on the factors you should be considering when you’re thinking about what to get for your kitchen:

Space Usability Sanitation Safety Price
Countertop Blocks Bulky For all Hard to clean Very safe Fair
In-Cabinet Trays or Docks Substantial For all Moderate Very safe Fair
Magnetic Strips Compact For all Easy to clean Good enough Pricey
Wall Hangers and Slots A bit bulky For all Easy to clean Good enough Fair
Universal Holders Substantial For all Hard to clean Very safe Pricey
Rolls or Bags Compact For a few Easy to clean Very safe Fair
Sheaths Compact For a few Hard to clean Very safe Pricey

What Should You Get?

On top of the aspects noted in the chart above, the most important consideration is the number and type of knives that you use daily.

For example, if you only have the five essentials and have no plans of adding to them, a magnetic strip or a universal handle would work well for your simple and sparse air.

But if you have a wide array of blades, go for those 20-slot knife blocks and maybe a few trays for your drawers – especially if you’ve got those pieces that you don’t use that often but don’t want to let go of.

The important thing here is that you have a good place to keep your knives well-protected.

Last Updated on October 7, 2021

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My name is Andy Wang, and I'm a retired chef. I used to work at the City Vineyard restaurant in NYC. I also had a culinary degree from the Institute of Culinary Education in New York. And this blog is where I share my love for knives and cooking with people like you.