Planning & Prep

How to Store Knives: The Pros and Cons of Popular Options

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Last Updated: Apr 1, 2022

A high-quality knife is an important kitchen tool. When kept sharp, your kitchen knives will make preparing meals much easier and safer. Some knives can be quite expensive, so when you invest in good ones, you’ll want to do everything you can to take good care of them.

When it comes to the question, “What is the proper way to store a knife?”, there tends to be a sharp contrast in opinions. One thing is for sure, you definitely want to keep them clean, dry, and in a place where they won’t cause injury.

If you’re trying to figure out the best way to store your kitchen knives, you’re in the right place. Here’s a look at the most common methods and the pros and cons of each.

1. How to store knives in a knife block

Many households have a knife block on their kitchen counters—but should knives be kept in a block? The answer to this is… it depends. If you have the exact number of knives in the right sizes to fit in the slots and you have space on your countertop, then there’s probably no harm in it.

A knife block will provide sufficient protection for the knife blades as long as you don’t try to shove them into slots that don’t fit. One disadvantage is that using a knife block can leave you wondering where to store the knives that don’t fit (hello meat cleaver!), so you’ll need another option as well. It can also be difficult to keep your knife block sanitized, as water and crumbs can sometimes get into the slots.

If possible, it’s a good idea to put your knives in the block upside down, so they’re resting on the top rather than on the blade. This will help keep the constant pressure from dulling the blade.

Set of Kitchen knives in a knife block with the chef knife laying on a cutting board, isolated on a black background

2. How to store knives with a magnetic strip

A wall-mounted magnetic knife strip is a great option for storing a wide variety of knives. This frees up both countertop and drawer space. If you mount the strip near your food prep area, you can also be sure that your knives will always be just a quick reach away.

While a knife strip can make an eye-catching display, if you have pets or small kids who climb on counters, this can create a safety hazard. If you’re not careful, you may also find that the repeated impact of the blade against the bar can scratch or even chip your knives. While this may not impact their functionality, it can create an eyesore.

You’ll also need to be conscious of where you hang your strip. Make sure it’s not in a place where you can accidentally bump it, or you could knock a knife off and have it come tumbling down on your foot. Lastly, since this method keeps your knives out on display, you’ll need to learn how to clean stainless steel knives and take steps to keep the rest of your knives looking their best.

Chef's Knives are hanging on Magnetic Storage Bar

3. How to store knives with a magnetic stand

A magnetic knife stand combines the advantages of a knife block and a magnetic strip. These stands take up less room on the counter than a block and remove the need for wall space. They’re attractive and easy to clean, but since they leave the blade of the knife exposed, they can still be a safety hazard. This is especially true if you have small children whose curiosity may compel them to reach out and grab ahold of them.  

4. How to store knives in a drawer

Want to keep your knives in an out-of-the-way location? A drawer is a common choice, but you don’t want to just toss them in. Instead, you’ll want to find a knife storage tray that is designed to protect the knives’ blades and has enough cushioning to keep them secure. While this can be a much safer way to store your knives, one drawback is that you’ll need to have some empty drawer space to accommodate them.

5. How to store individual knives

If you have some individual knives that won’t fit into your block or drawer organizer, you’ll still want to protect them. One of the best ways to protect a single knife is to use a lightweight sheath. This will keep the blade from going dull and protect users from getting cut—but there are some potential disadvantages.

Having loose knives rattling around in a drawer can be annoying, and you’ll have to unwrap and rewrap your knives each time you use them. If your knife isn’t completely dry when you put it away, moisture can also get trapped between the blade and the sheath, causing rust and corrosion.

6. How to travel with knives

If you’re a professional cook or you’re heading out for the weekend to an ill-equipped Airbnb, you may want to take some of your best knives with you. In this case, it’s a great idea to invest in a knife bag.

These compact cases are excellent storage solutions. They’re compact and can hold many different types of knives. Since you can move them around wherever you want, you also don’t necessarily need a set space in your home dedicated to knife storage. Just make sure you choose a heavy-duty bag that’s designed specifically for carrying knives. Otherwise, this could create a safety hazard. 

Shop for knife storage solutions

No matter which knife storage solution you decide to use, you can get started without ever having to leave your house. You may be surprised to learn that Instacart isn’t just about grocery and alcohol delivery. You can also have a professional Instacart shopper pick up a wide variety of household items and other goods.

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