What Is the Best Way to Store Knives?

Published on 01/06/2024 · 6 min readKeep your knives sharp and safe! Learn the best ways to store knives, from magnetic strips to blocks, to protect their edges and ensure longevity.
Di Doherty, Kitchen Expert
By Kitchen Expert Di Doherty

Photo by Mirageart

TL;DR: An important part of knife care is proper storage, which protects both you and the knife. There are solutions for storing your knives on the counter, in a drawer, or on a wall mount.

Proper knife storage is an essential part of caring for your kitchen knives. Not only is it annoying not to be able to find a knife in a drawer, or one that keeps getting put in different places, but it’s potentially dangerous. Good knives are very sharp, meaning that just bumping your hand against the blade can be enough to give you a nasty cut.

Improper storage can also dull the knife edge or even damage your blade. A knife banging around in a drawer is a hazard to itself and everyone around. Safe storage is also a way to protect your knives from moisture and rust.

Being a bit of a knife collector myself, I’ve investigated different storage techniques (I’m running out of space in my small kitchen) to keep my cutlery safe and accessible. I’ve made use of a couple of different knife storage options, like knife blocks and magnetic knife holders, which has allowed me to understand the pluses and minuses of each.

Thankfully, there are several different storage solutions. Kitchens come in all shapes and sizes — a type of storage that works for one situation may be impossible for another. Here are four different knife storage solutions.

In a Knife Block

A knife block in the sunlight. Photo by Brandon Cormier

Knife blocks are the most well-known storage solution for knives, and many knife sets come with one. A knife block is usually made of wood, though there are metal and glass ones, and has slots in it for the knife blades to sit in.

  • Standard knife block: This is going to look like what you imagine when you think of a countertop knife block. Most are made of bamboo or acacia and have slots in them for your knives. If you primarily have a certain manufacturer’s knives, it’s a good idea to get their block — that way you know that the knives will fit properly. If the knife fits too tightly, you’ll be dulling your blade and potentially putting strain on it every time you draw it or put it away.
  • Magnetic knife block: Some of these look more or less like a standard knife block but have magnets on the sides. Others have a more simplistic, easel-like shape, being a piece of wood upright on a stand. Most are made of wood (which I recommend, as it won’t dull your knives), but there are also metal varieties. There are ones that have a clear plastic or glass guard in front of them, which may be good if you have curious children or are worried that your knives may get splashed by the sink but will make it harder to remove the knives.
  • Universal knife block: Some blocks have plastic bristles in the interior to allow you to use the knives wherever you want. Others will have felt slots that allow you to slide knives into different slots. These are handy if you’ve acquired your knife collection through individual knives from different manufacturers.

A universal knife block that has plastic bristles can accommodate any manufacturer’s wares. Photo by Di Doherty

On a Magnetic Strip

A variety of knives on a magnetic strip. Photo by Di Doherty

A magnetic strip or magnetic bar is an excellent way to conserve counter space. These are wall mounted and allow you to store your knives side by side. I like magnetic strips as they keep your knives off the counter and display them, especially if you have ones that are Damascus steel.

You’ll want to test the magnets, if you can, to make sure that they’re strong enough to hold the knives. A knife sliding off can be dangerous for both the knife and you. Conversely, a magnet that’s too strong can be hard on the knives, as you’ll put strain on them every time you remove them. Rolling the blade towards the spine as you remove it is easier on the knife than pulling it straight off.

A magnetic knife strip does leave the knife blade exposed, so it may not be the best if you have inquisitive pets or children who are prone to getting on the counter.

Exhibit A: A curious cat next to a magnetic knife strip. Photo by Nick Karvounis

In a Drawer

Steak knives can be safely stored in a drawer insert with the proper preparation. Photo by Toby Hall

I know that every expert you’ve ever heard has told you to never, ever store your knives in a drawer. What that means is to not throw the knives in one willy-nilly. Drawer storage is a perfectly reasonable option as long as you make some preparations to protect yourself and your knives. If you want to preserve your counter space, here are a couple of ways to safely store your sharp knives in a drawer.

  • Knife organizer: Knife organizers or drawer trays are designed to fit in a drawer and hold your knives in place. These drawer inserts are usually made of hardwood or bamboo and have slots that hold the knife's blade down, saving drawer space and protecting incoming fingers. Like with a knife block, make sure that the knives fit properly so that putting in their slot doesn't dull the blade.
  • Sheath: If your drawers are oddly shaped or you only want to store a few knives in a drawer, then buying sheaths is another solution. These are knife guards that cover the knife's blade, keeping it from getting chipped or dulled. I personally like a leather sheath, but so long as it fits properly or has a soft lining, such as felt, it’ll protect both your hands and the knife.

In a Case

If none of the other storage solutions will work for you, you can always store your knives in a case. Countertop storage isn't an option for everyone, and wall mounts require putting holes in the wall, which may not be possible if you're renting.

  • Box: Many high-end knives come with a box, be it made of wood, cardboard, or plastic. Storing your knives in these will keep them safe and out of the way. This works best if you only have a few knives or tend to move a lot.
  • Knife roll: There are soft, fabric holders for knives as well, often called knife rolls. They have slots that you can slide the blade into, with flaps that cover the handles to prevent rubbing or banging. This type of container helps with both storage — it can be rolled or folded up into a smaller area — and if you travel a lot. Traveling chefs, for instance, will likely use these as a safe way to take their knife collection with them.
  • Wooden case: It’s unusual to find a wooden case for kitchen knives, but if you love to collect them, then it’s not a bad idea. Most are built for pocket knives and aren’t intended for everyday knives, but a wooden case is a beautiful way to display showpiece knives.

An in-drawer organizer. Photo by Niek Doup

Find the Best Knife Storage Solution for You

Every kitchen is different, so every storage solution is unique. If you’re not sure what type of knife storage would be best or want to know more about the available types of knife blocks, knife organizers, or magnetic bars, then start a chat with a Curated Kitchen Expert. Our Experts are available to answer questions, offer solutions, and share their knowledge. And it’s completely free!

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