I know how I like to store my knives. However, when evaluating your options for storing knives, your priorities and considerations may not be the same as mine. What are the criteria that we may consider? The first and foremost criteria for most of us is probably available space. But, depending on whether or not we have children or how clumsy we are, safety may be a concern. Even so, any good storage option must not damage the knives.
How Not to Store Knives
Of course, you may ask, what does it matter? Many people just stuff their knives into a drawer. If you have knives that you care about and you want to stay sharp you should never put them loose into a drawer. The knives will slide around and ping off one another which can damage and even knick blades. What’s more, reaching into a crowded pile of knives to get the one you want can be dangerous. You can easily slice a finger on an exposed blade.
While examining your options you will probably come across many innovative solutions for knife storage. I’ll go over some of the most common here. I will not attempt to cover every possible way, but this should provide you with enough information to make an informed choice.
If you don’t already have the knives you need, the good news is that you only need, at most, three or four, depending on what kind of cooking you do. Therefore, you don’t need as much storage space as some of these options might suggest. For help selecting knives see the guide to choosing kitchen knives.
Magnetic Knife Strip
My favorite way to store knives is on a magnetic strip. These are strips of wood with magnets running along them. They can very easily be mounted on a wall. Then, you simply place your knives on them and let the strong magnets hold the knives. Depending on how many knives you have, you may need more than one of these. You can also store other metal utensils on them. A popular choice is the Modern Innovations 16 Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar.
Of course, if you don’t have enough wall space in a location that makes sense for you, hanging your knives on magnetic strips won’t work. And, while many people consider this the safest option for knife storage, it’s actually pretty easy to have a knife fall while placing it on the strip or to dislodge another knife. Depending on the angle of the rack to you, this could be dangerous. And, if small children can reach the handles of the knives, this could be a nightmare waiting to happen. Even if the knives are mounted out of reach of children, a curious child may want to climb up to investigate.
But, a magnetic strip will not damage your knife blade, it is very convenient, and many times, you’ll be making use of wasted space on a wall.
Under Cabinet Knife Rack
Or, if you don’t have wall space, you can purchase an under-counter magnetic knife rack such as the Drop Block Under Cabinet Knife Rack. These come in several colors so they won’t clash with your cabinetry and they tuck the knives away in a handy hinged cubby underneath your upper cabinet. This will make them less visible to children and, although I’m not sure, it may be possible to childproof the rack so your child cannot open it. This is a great option if you have that space underneath your cabinet available, but it still isn’t the safest out there.
In terms of personal safety, a knife block, which many knife sets come with, is probably the safest. And, while they don’t lock your knives away from children, it is less likely that a child will pull a knife down on themselves.
However, the knife block has some drawbacks. One, it takes up space on top of the kitchen counter. If you’re like me, such space is at a premium. And, knife blocks usually have sized openings to fit different sized knives, limiting your options for storage.
A nice feature of knife blocks is that they often come with several small slots for steak knives as well as a place for your honing steel. For the average cook, they should be a good solution. I especially like this Cook N Home Bamboo Knife Storage Block with 19 Slots. It has six slots for steak knives, a very wide slot for a cleaver, and spaces for a honing steel and even a pair of kitchen shears.
Since you’re sliding the blades of your knives into a wooden slot, it is possible to damage the edges over time. Storing your knives with the edges facing up may help mitigate this but there is one other problem that is not often considered: Unless you are able to tuck your block out of the way, moisture could get into the slots which can, over time, grow mold inside the spaces, which could be transferred to your knife blades as they slide in and out. I would suspect that as long as you keep the block away from sources of water and make sure you knives are clean and dry before storing them, this shouldn’t be a big concern. It would be a good idea to give your knives a rinse and a wipe-dry, however, before using.
In-Drawer Knife Block
If you don’t have the counter space needed for a traditional knife block, another popular option is an in-drawer knife block. These fit inside most drawers and have slots for safely storing knives. This may be the safest for child-proofing as you can place a child-proof lock on the knife drawer.
Depending on the design of the block, you may be able to safely store your knives with the cutting edge facing up. This can help keep them from becoming damaged. This Shenzhen Knives In-Drawer Knife Block will hold 10 to 15 knives depending on what size knives you have.
Wait, didn’t I say you should never store your knives loose in a drawer? You shouldn’t. Unless they are protected. If you only have a few knives, you can purchase knife edge-guards. These are like sleeves for the blade of your knife, protecting them from damage while also protecting your fingers. If you have many knives, this may be inconvenient, but if you only have one or two, knife sleeves will allow you to store them “loose” in a drawer. Messermeister has edge-guards in many sizes. This Messermeister 4-Piece Edge-Guard, which has sleeves for an 8-inch chef knife, a 10-inch slicer, a paring knife, and a utility knife will cover the basics for most home cooks.
Which One Is Best?
I can only give you my opinion on which way is the best way to store knives. I think that the magnetic knife strip or the under-cabinet magnetic rack is the best way to store knives in terms of versatility and knife maintenance. In terms of child-safety, however, an in-drawer knife block is probably the best. When possible, it is always advisable to lock away dangerous items when children are in the house.
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