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The first thing any good cook needs along the path of becoming a great cook are a few sharp and capable knives. The second thing all good cooks need is a place to keep those knives. Knives, being the dangerous yet helpful things that they are, need a home to go to at the end of a hard working day. A home where they won’t become entangled with others of their kind, creating chips and rifts and scratches that will take away their shine and power. Enter the magnetic knife holder. They’re good-looking, adaptable to different kitchens, and can store your new chef's knife alongside your new kitchen shears. Plus, they do a great job of keeping those knives just as they should be: sharp and safe.
"I store my favorite knives on magnetic racks. I really like the magnetic rack. It cuts down the clutter in my prep area," says Quintin Middleton, Artisan Culinary Knifemaker at Middleton Made Knives on Saint Stephen, South Carolina. "Also, it secures the knife and it is not banging against other cutlery or other kitchenware."
To help me find the top magnetic knife holders, I tested all the holders here in my own kitchen. I placed knives on and off of them to note magnet strength as well as whether you'll knock your knuckles against the wall. I looked over the installation instructions and included parts to figure out how easy or difficult that will be. And lastly, I left knives on them to see if any slipped off.
For the new-to-knives home cook, Middleton has great advice. "The best practice I advise is to hand wash your knife after you finish cooking," he says. "Do not leave it in the sink! Then store it away." Once that knife is thoroughly dried, here are the best magnetic knife holders to store it.
Best Overall: Zwilling JA Henckels Magnetic Knife Holder
What We Love: Solid performance, strong magnetic hold, large enough for your full knife set
What We Don’t Love: Requires installation
This is a serious tool for people who are serious about their knives. There’s nothing lightweight about the Zwilling JA Henckels Magnetic Knife Holder—I’m even tempted to call it a “monster” knife rack. Solid metal with a 22-inch long and 2-inch high magnetized surface, you’ll definitely get the feeling that your knives are in safe hands here.
Once out of the package, the only downside is installing this. During testing, I found the installation instructions on the back of the package were very clear, but you'll need a drill, plastic anchors, and screws to install the holder. Unless you're "handy" and accustomed to working with these tools, you'll need help from someone with practice in this kind of work. But once it's attached, you'll fall in love. The magnet is exceptionally strong and can hold up to 8 knives with no gapping in-between. It was easy to pull the knives off of the magnet without bumping my knuckles on the wall, and the bar itself didn't damage the knives in any way.
If you need to clean this magnetic knife holder, it's very easy to wipe down and a quick washing by hand is advised before installing. It does come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Material: Brushed steel | Length: 22 inches | Installation Gear Included: Yes
Best Budget: Home Basics 13.25-Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Holder
What We Love: Good for all-purpose use, very affordable
What We Don’t Love: Magnet is not as strong as some others
This Home Basics knife holder proves that you don't need to break the bank for a great knife holder. At 13 inches long, it's big enough to hold a small knife set, making it perfect for someone learning their way around the kitchen. It's made from rust-resistant stainless steel and the knives sit slightly raised from the base, which helps protect them from damage.
While testing, I found that this is great for holding medium to lighter weight knives and kitchen tools that otherwise would be getting knocked around in drawers. The magnet has a medium pull, so knives can be removed without needing a lot of strength. When I placed large, heavy knives on it, they felt like they would slip off, but none did. It comes with plastic anchors and screws required for installation, but you'll need a drill and a screwdriver to install and some measuring will be needed.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 13.25 inches | Installation Gear Included: Yes
Best Fridge-Mounted: Modern Innovations 16-Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar
What We Love: Easy to attach and take off a fridge, sturdy with strong magnet
What We Don’t Love: Slightly close to installation surface, easier for small hands to remove knives
If you’re looking for a knife holder with a strong magnet that doesn’t require installation, this holder from Modern Innovations could be the one. It’s sturdy, with the magnetic power to hold heavier knives, and can be simply attached to the side of a refrigerator or other metal surface with no drilling needed.
During testing, I was able to get this up and ready to use in just a few minutes from start to finish! Just use caution when removing the metal plate from the back—the magnet is so strong that it can pull the plate back on and pinch your thumb between the two if you're not careful. Once on my fridge, it was pretty easy to grab a knife, though, since there's no mounting, your fingertips might knock against the surface. There are no gaps in the magnets along the surface, so you can easily fit 8 or 9 knives on the holder. You can also attach this to a wall in the future, and it includes all the installation hardware.
Material: Stainless steel | Length: 15.75 inches | Installation Gear Included: Yes
Related: The Best Knife Sets
Best Countertop: Zwilling Italian Magnetic Knife Block
What We Love: Absolutely gorgeous design, incredibly strong magnets, protects tips of knives as well as blades
What We Don’t Love: Expensive
This is the ultimate in magnetic knife blocks. It’s really where craft meets art in a kitchen tool! The initial response this Zwilling knife holder evokes is that it’s beautiful, and that assessment is immediately followed by how easy and pleasant it is to use.
Since this is a countertop model, there's no installation to worry about. When I tested it, it had a tight, strong magnetic grip, and it was very easy to place and remove knives. Add to that the exceptional fact that it’s protecting the tips of the knives as well as the blades. It’s not inexpensive, but it will last a lifetime. Add this to your gifting list and it will be truly appreciated! The biggest surprise of all is that placing the knives in the magnetic slots and removing them is even more comfortable, ergonomically, than reaching up to a wall mounted model to do the same thing.
Material: Solid beech wood | Length of Longest Slot: 11.75 inches
Best Slotted: Maggie Magnetic Knife Block
What We Love: Great look and performance at an affordable price, easy installation
What We Don’t Love: Knives must be slotted in and out
Sometimes, you don't want your knives just hanging out on a magnetic rack, and would like them to be contained. This affordable knife rack from Etsy creator JBWoodTurn needs no installation and offers a good-looking slim profile on the side of a refrigerator or wall.
This is a solid but light slotted knife holder, with strong magnets in a handmade well-crafted style. The entire length of the slots is magnetized, so you can store more knives. Placing knives in and taking them out is smooth and comfortable. The longest slot is 8.5 inches long, but when testing I found that the tips of longer knives can go through the slot opening in the bottom. It comes in two models, one that attaches to the side of a fridge with magnets, the other attaches to a wall with the double-sided tape provided.
Material: Cherry veneer plywood | Length: 8.5 inches | Installation Gear Included: Yes
Related: The Best Knife Sharpeners
Most Stylish: Schmidt Brothers Acacia 18-Inch Magnetic Wall Bar
What We Love: Solid and beautiful, comes in two different types of wood and in two different lengths
What We Don’t Love: Requires installation
This Schmidt Brothers knife holder has an architectural aesthetic that gives the kitchen a professionally designed look. It’s available in an acacia or a black wood tone, and in an 18-inch length or a 24-inch length, which is great for people who own a lot of knives.
Some, like Middleton, find an advantage of wood holders over metal ones. "I would prefer it be made out of wood," says Middleton. "The reason why is that I don’t want my knives hitting something metal because that would damage my cutting edge."
During testing, this product was the best of all in terms of ease of use by anyone with large hands. This was due to the fact that the distance between the wall and the front surface of the holder is a little more than 1.5 inches. There are magnets all along the length of this holder, and the strength is just right—strong enough to hold the knives up, but not so strong you have to pry the knives off. When it comes to installing, everything is included though you should have a drill on hand.
Material: Acacia wood, black wood | Length: 18 inches, 24 inches | Installation Gear Included: Yes
Related: The Best Japanese Knives
If you're ready for the commitment of a wall installation, the Zwilling JA Henckels Magnetic Knife Holder (view at Wayfair). If you’re looking for a knife holder with no installation that’s ready to go, the fridge-mounted Modern Innovations 16-Inch Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Bar (view at Amazon) offers a consistent quality experience.
What to Look for in a Magnetic Knife Holder
Knife holders come in a variety of models, some of which require fairly complicated installation, but most do not. Before installing, always be sure to measure twice to make sure your drill holes are correct. For any install, you'll most likely need a drill, and be sure to use wall anchors. You won't need to drill into your studs though, your drywall should be strong enough to hold up your knife collection.
Before buying, lay the knives you know you'll want to store on the holder side-by-side. This will let you know how much space they’ll need when placed in or on the knife holder. If you’re buying a strip knife holder, it’s possible to buy some in extended lengths or to install two or three. If you believe that you'll be expanding your knife collection in the near future, it might make sense to leave some empty space on your holder for the new additions.
Embedded Magnets vs. Magnet Strip
Most magnetic knife holders today have magnets embedded within the body of the holder. There should be no gaps in the strength of the magnets anywhere along the length of the entire strip. There are holders which have the magnets installed as an external part of the length of the strip, or spaced evenly along the strip. These work just as well, though you'll ultimately ended up with wasted space.
Are magnetic holders bad for knives?
They’re actually good for knives if used correctly. Holders keep the blades from getting damaged, which can happen if you store them unprotected in a drawer or other container. They can be bad in a few ways, though, which can be easily avoided.
If you have delicate knives that are stored on a magnetic knife holder where the magnet is very strong, the blade can be stressed when placing it on or removing it from the holder. "One thing I dislike about the magnetic rack is sometimes I see some so strong that it snapped the knives," says Middleton. "Think about breaking a paper clip. Bending it back and forth over time it will break but I’ve only seen that in rare cases. All in all, magnetic racks are great."
For these knives, a less potent magnet is advised. It’s also possible to dull or nick the blades of knives if they’re not placed carefully onto the holder or taken off. As with all kitchen tools, they require a bit of attention to work their best.
Should you ever clean magnetic holders?
Each holder is different, but the majority of magnetic holders can be cleaned as often as you wish by wiping them down with a clean damp cloth. If you install your holder near the stove, where splatters and airborne grease are common, it's advisable to wipe it down more frequently. Some wooden holders can be oiled to improve the tone of the wood. Always check the information that’s included with the product.
Why Trust Simply Recipes?
Karen Resta is a NYC-based writer specializing in food culture and history, cooking, pastries and restaurants. A former executive chef who began her professional journey as a pastry chef, she travels around the globe as a photographer and writer, finding the best authentic food and pastries along the way. She recently added another magnetic knife holder to the one she’s had for years and is looking forward to buying some great knives for it! She’s passionate about finding quality ingredients within your given budget and believes that having the right tools and knowing how to use them makes all the difference in the kitchen. She curated this list with that in mind.
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