Universal Knife Blocks

Buying a Knife Block

A knife block can be an attractive addition to your kitchen that also protects your valuable knives and helps keep them sharp. It’s important to ensure you get a knife block that is a match to your knife set so that all your blades fit well.

People who need very sharp knives for their cooking should invest in a knife block in order to keep their knives dry, safe and razor edged. High-quality knives, or even ordinary knives, can dull and sustain damage from sitting in a sink or getting cleaned in a dishwasher. Just as important is where and how those knives are stored. Even sitting in a dry drawer may not be the best place for your knives. If you really want to ensure they stay sharp and safe, you’ll need a knife block.

How to Find the Best Knife Block Sets

The best knife block set depends heavily on the type of knife set you have. Often, you can buy knives and a knife set together from the same manufacturer. This is helpful since it means your block and knives will be perfectly matched.

If you are trying to protect knives you already own, you can refer back to the brand or store where you got those knives to find a knife block. But there are some criteria worth keeping in mind as you shop, including:

  • Do you have small children at home who you don’t want getting into the knives?
  • Do you have counter space for a knife block?
  • Do you have space for something like a magnetic, wall-mounted knife holder?

Knife blocks are easy and safe, but can take up a lot of space in a cramped kitchen. Plus, many knife blocks are made with diagonal slits so you can slide knives in at an angle. This will take up a lot of space but also means that you don’t need to buy a knife block specifically tailored to the brand and style of knives you purchased. These diagonal blocks are suitable for most types of knives, so you can store a diverse collection of knives that may not have all come from the same manufacturer.

If space is among your primary concerns, you will want to look for a knife block that has slots on the top instead of diagonal slots on the side. Knives that go in straight down from the top don’t protrude and eat up extra counter space.

No matter what type of knife block you get, placing the knives in the block requires some care. You should place your knives in the knife block by pressing the back side of the knife against the wood. This keeps the blade from running around the edge of the slot, which will make it duller over time.

Knife Blocks: Magnetic Knife Blocks

Magnetic knife blocks can be hung on the wall. This offers easy storage that also looks modern and shows off your knife collection in your kitchen.

However, magnetic knife blocks can also chip your knives if the magnets are too strong. And in some cases it places your knives within easy reach of children who should not be handling sharp blades. You also need to make sure you have enough free space in your kitchen for a large strip to hang your knives on.

  • Require a lot of space
  • May end up within reach of children
  • Can damage knives if the magnets are too strong
  • Allow you to display your knives in a modern, sleek aesthetic
  • Provide very easy access to your knives

Knife Blocks: Universal Knife Blocks

Universal knife blocks are perfect for people who have collected their own knives over time and from a variety of sources. Unlike knife blocks that have set slots for specific sizes and types of knives, universal knife blocks are designed to accommodate a wide range of knives.

Some universal knife blocks also use magnets. This is different from the type of magnets that are mounted on the wall for holding knives. These magnets hold the knives within the block. Instead of magnets, though, other universal knife blocks will secure knives with bristles or folds.

Magnetic universal knife blocks tend to be more expensive but also better for storing your knife collection. A magnetic universal knife block will cause less damage to your knives over time as the knives are inserted and removed from the block. This is well worth the extra initial investment, as you won’t be replacing your knives as soon.

  • Work with any sharp, type or style of knife you have
  • Sometimes have magnetic securing mechanisms to keep knives secure without causing damage
  • More secure than a magnetic wall strip

Knife Blocks: Self Sharpening Knife Block

Self sharpening knife blocks often come as part of a knife set. The knives and knife block are packaged together to offer a product that is specifically designed for certain kitchen tasks.

Self sharpening knife blocks can save you the hassle of having to worry about sharpening knives yourself or taking them elsewhere to be sharpened. You also won’t have to worry about the knives being damaged via their storage, since the knife block is designed to keep them sharp. But you will likely have to buy the knives and knife block as a single set, which can get quite pricey.

  • Ensure your knives stay sharp
  • Don’t cause dulling or damage over time
  • Usually sold as a complete set - knives and knife block - which may be more expensive than other options

DIY Knife Block

Some people prefer to make their own knife blocks, especially if they have a very diverse set of knives. While you might save money by making your own knife block, you will have to invest significant time, and have the tools and knowledge necessary to make a knife block.

  • Save money by building your own knife block
  • Tools, time and know-how will be necessary to make a DIY knife block
  • Some resources for DIY knife blocks include The Family Handyman, Bob Vila and P&G Everyday

Knife Blocks without Knives: Good Idea or Unnecessary Hassle?

No matter which style or type of knife block you choose, you will eventually need to decide whether to buy your knives alongside your knife block or buy them separately. There are pros and cons to both decisions.

If you buy your knives with your knife block:

  • You’ll know you’re getting a matched set
  • You’ll know your knives will fit perfectly in the knife block

If you buy your knife block without knives:

  • You can store knives you already own
  • You can store a diverse range of knives
  • You can save money by buying only the knife block