In the modern world, people are increasingly looking for clever ways to save space at home. Many apartments have small kitchens that make storing food and equipment a big challenge. To enjoy a stress-free and safe cooking experience, you must find a secure place to store your knives.
Innovative under-cabinet knife storage frees up space elsewhere in the kitchen and keeps you safe from sharp blades. Magnetic knife holders can be mounted to the underside of a cabinet so that your knives hang underneath. A more advanced design features a magnetic drawer that unfolds from below the cabinet.
Some under-cabinet knife drawers are not magnetic. Another option is to keep knives in a block attached beneath the cabinet. With this setup, you could accidentally hit the protruding knife handles as you walk past and pull one out. Some manufacturers produce knife blocks that can rotate to hide the handles for safety.
If space is tight in your kitchen, you need to use it wisely. These storage solutions are fantastic because they take up space that is normally unused. In the next sections, we will discuss how each storage method works. We will also see how they perform in terms of safety and cost.
Table of contents
What are the important aspects of knife storage?
Knives can be useful or dangerous depending on how you use them. It is not enough to take care when cutting with knives; you have to ensure that they are stored safely as well.
Safe knife storage means that the knives will not accidentally fall out of place when you, and your family members, are nearby. There should be no risk of cutting yourself when you take a knife out of its storage. When you do so, the handles should be visible so you can avoid touching the blades.
Children must not have easy access to knives in the kitchen. If you do have children, you may want to consider a storage plan that keeps knives high up or out of sight. However, anyone could have accidents with sharp knives, so safety is certainly a top priority with regards to your knife collection.
Some storage methods cost more than others. If your kitchen requires a custom-built design, that will raise the price of the storage. If you decide to build a knife rack or block yourself, it may not be very secure. So, you might save money but compromise safety.
If your knife selection is not very big, it is perhaps not worth investing in a big storage station for your kitchen. With just a few kitchen knives, your best option is to store them in a drawer with their own sheaths. Two or three kitchen knives will not take up much space anyway.
As a chef or home cook, you want your knives to have a safe and secure storage location. Yet, it should not be inconvenient for you to access your knives. While preparing a meal, you often need multiple blades in a short period. If your knives are very hard to reach, this could slow your progress when cooking.
There is sometimes a trade-off between convenience and safety. If knives are easily accessible, your children can find them too. If you are worried about this, then you can store knives in a more secret location. Some under-cabinet knife holders have ingenious designs that are both convenient and secret.
With some knife storage plans, you keep the knives on the countertop. This can be fine if you have enough space in your kitchen. But maybe you do not have extra kitchen space. Or maybe, you dislike how countertop knife storage looks.
Either way, this is the real strength of under-cabinet storage. It gives you back valuable space on your countertop that you can use for other appliances. This type of storage can also have very clever designs that save space while making your kitchen safer and more beautiful.
Under-cabinet knife storage options
Fixed magnetic rack
This is a very basic storage plan that hangs knives directly from the underside of a kitchen cabinet.
Rather than being attached to a wall, a magnetic strip is fixed beneath the cabinet so you can quickly remove and replace knives while cooking. This arrangement costs the same as mounting a rack on the wall.
A potential danger comes from the invisibility of such a rack ― because it is below your line of sight, you cannot see the knives when standing up. Unless you bend down to look, a blade edge could cut your hand as you reach for a handle.
The magnet is the only thing holding onto the knives. If the magnet is weak, small vibrations could dislodge a knife from the rack. If this happens, you will have no warning. A falling knife could hit your body at high speed and cause serious damage.
Overall, an under-cabinet magnetic rack has no benefits over a wall-mounted rack. A wall-mounted version saves space and is much safer since you can see the knives when you reach for them. You also have time to react in case a knife does fall.
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Magnetic drop-down rack
This is a definite improvement on the fixed magnetic rack. Unlike in the previous design, knives do not hang freely from the cabinet. Instead, they are securely fixed to a magnetic strip within a wooden drawer that folds down from the cabinet’s underside.
The drawer is attached to the cabinet with hinges and provides easy access to your knife selection. Once you have selected or returned a particular knife, the drawer can be swiftly folded to conceal the knives.
The drawer hides the knives from children and protects your hands from the sharp blades. Furthermore, the wooden layer ensures that no knife will unexpectedly fall. Even though the knives are well hidden, it is still easy to withdraw a knife from this rack.
This type of rack is more complicated to install and needs to fit your specific cabinet. It is also hard to repair since there are moving parts. Nevertheless, this is an ingenious storage solution with an excellent combination of safety and convenience.
Non-magnetic drop-down rack
This is the same storage plan as above, but this does not feature a magnetic strip to secure the knives. For this storage method to be safe, knives have to be fixed by slots.
As long as the knives are held in place, a non-magnetic drop-down rack offers the same benefits as the magnetic version.
The lack of a magnet can make this type of rack riskier because knives might fall out if you pull the drawer down too quickly.
Under-cabinet knife block
One clear way to free up space on your countertop is by attaching your knife block to the bottom of your kitchen cabinet.
The simplest setup features a completely stationary knife block with its slots facing outwards. With the knife handles on display, you can easily reach and pull a knife out. However, there is a risk of knocking knives out of the block while walking past or opening a cupboard door. Some companies make under-counter knife blocks that rotate so you can hide the handles.
Of course, the slots of the block must fit each knife blade perfectly, otherwise, the loose knives could drop out. The slots in your knife block have to accommodate your whole collection. This is only possible if the block was specifically built for your knife set. If you decide to buy a new knife later, there may not be space available in the block.
Standard knife block issues are present in under-cabinet versions. For example, unless you memorize knife positions in the block, you will probably pull the wrong knife out, which is very frustrating. Most knife blocks are difficult to clean, even more so if they are mounted.
An under-cabinet knife block is suitable if you already like this storage option and hope to gain extra space. For everybody else, this type of knife block can be a hassle.
Knife drawer storage
Under-cabinet knife storage does not only mean hanging knives below your higher kitchen cabinets. There is a smart idea for keeping your knives in lower cabinets too. You can do so by inserting a tray with horizontal slots into a drawer.
When knives are in these slots, they will not move around and scratch one another in the drawer. This knife drawer is safer and easier to clean than the under-cabinet block.
Knife drawers are the most straightforward option, installation-wise. No drilling or fitting is needed. All you have to do is place the rack into a drawer.
Although the setup is similar to the non-magnetic drop-down rack, young children can open the drawer since it is lower down.
How else can I store my knife?
Under-cabinet storage may not be ideal for you. Perhaps you have space available in your kitchen and want to avoid complicated installations. In that case, you have plenty of other options to choose from.
Knife blocks can sit on your countertop. It is still difficult to clean the slots and identify your knives, but at least this method is safer than hanging knives from your cabinet. Similar to the knife block, but more hygienic and organized, is the magnetic knife board. This combines the advantages of the block and magnetic strip for hygienic and convenient storage.
Of course, the magnetic wall strip is a classic choice. If you wish to travel with your knife collection, a knife roll is most sensible. You can read our comprehensive knife storage guide here.
Which storage methods help to retain a knife’s edge?
Every time you need to use a knife, you will withdraw it and then return it to its storage station. Doing this many hundreds of times during a knife’s lifespan may wear it down. For this reason, you should consider which storage option is best for maintaining your blade.
The magnetic under-cabinet knife rack and magnetic drop-down rack do not scratch your blade or blunt the edge. Simply placing the knife onto a magnet will not wear it down.
This is not true of the under-cabinet knife block or knife drawer. Each time you withdraw or return a knife, its blade rubs against the slot and its edge strikes the wood. In the long run, this could lead to more sharpening and repairs for your blades.
Which storage methods protect against water?
Another big consideration is water damage. To keep your metal knives in perfect condition, they need to be in a dry environment when you are not using them. The potential consequence of exposing metal blades to moisture is rust.
Except for the fixed magnetic rack, all under-counter storage choices protect knife blades from the kitchen environment. This means the knives will not come in contact with steam or splashes of water.
A magnetic drop-down rack is the best choice
If you need under-counter knife storage, a magnetic drop-down rack performs best in all categories overall. It is the safest, most convenient, most protective, and looks good. That said, if you have the space, there are equally good knife storage plans for other areas in your kitchen. Once you decide which storage type you like, you need some knives for your collection! Check out our carbon steel knives that are handcrafted to tackle your cooking tasks.