Magnetic Knife Strips

Published November 1, 2011. From Cook's Illustrated.

When you run out of space in your drawers, a magnetic knife strip offers an elegant solution—if you buy the right one.

Overview:

Update: February 24, 2012

We have contacted Messermeister about the current unavailability of our winning magnetic knife strip. The company is switching manufacturers, so they are out of stock at retailers. The product has not been discontinued; new batches should be available in one to two months. Messermeister also noted that they have improved the mounting system to make it easier, added stronger magnets to hold the knives, and will be offering the strip in more types of wood. Once the new strips appear in retail stores, we will purchase and retest this product to make sure we still recommend this model.

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Wall-mounted magnetic knife strips store knives without demanding precious drawer or counter space, plus they can accommodate even the longest knives. (Even our favorite universal knife block fails to sheath a 12-inch blade.) However, if the strip can’t secure a typical range of cutlery—8-inch chef’s, 12-inch slicing, 12-inch serrated, boning, and paring knives,… read more

Update: February 24, 2012

We have contacted Messermeister about the current unavailability of our winning magnetic knife strip. The company is switching manufacturers, so they are out of stock at retailers. The product has not been discontinued; new batches should be available in one to two months. Messermeister also noted that they have improved the mounting system to make it easier, added stronger magnets to hold the knives, and will be offering the strip in more types of wood. Once the new strips appear in retail stores, we will purchase and retest this product to make sure we still recommend this model.

___________________________________________________________

Wall-mounted magnetic knife strips store knives without demanding precious drawer or counter space, plus they can accommodate even the longest knives. (Even our favorite universal knife block fails to sheath a 12-inch blade.) However, if the strip can’t secure a typical range of cutlery—8-inch chef’s, 12-inch slicing, 12-inch serrated, boning, and paring knives, along with kitchen shears—it isn’t worth hanging.

We tested five models priced from $19.99 to $50 and ranging from 12 to 16 1/2 inches long. Two were wood, two were stainless steel, and one had a rubberized plastic surface. We rated them on how easy they were to install, how many knives they held, magnet placement and strength, whether they hurt the knives, and how easy they were to maintain. All were fairly simple to install, though they did require a drill and a spirit level.

To test holding power, we put light and heavy knives on each strip, from a small paring knife to a 15 1/2-ounce meat cleaver, and checked how firmly they held, even shaking the board on which the strips were mounted. All stayed rock steady. Next, we placed and removed a new chef’s knife on each strip 100 times and then checked blades for scuffs, scratches, and dulling. Only one knife holder caused nicks when our blade hit its hard metal strip.

We preferred strips that stretched at least 15 inches—but magnetization from end to end proved just as important. Some left 3/4 to 1 inch of nonmagnetized, unusable space on each side, and one model’s interspersed magnets required direct placement of the blades, lest they slide precariously.

Our winner held knives securely in place, didn’t nick blades, and was the only strip with more than 1 inch of clearance between the wall and the knives, keeping our knuckles scrape-free.

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  • Product Tested

    Results Key:

    Good ★ ★ ★ Fair ★ ★ Poor
  • Prices are subject to change.
  • Highly Recommended - Winner

    Messermeister Bamboo Knife Magnet

    This strip offers ample room for five knives plus a pair of kitchen shears. It was easy to install and clean, and the bamboo surface was gentle on blades.

    • Design ★★★
    • Magnet Strength ★★★

    $50

  • Recommended

    Chicago Cutlery Magnetic Knife Storage Strip

    This simple stainless-steel strip aced almost every test. However, the clearance for reaching between a knife handle and the wall was a less-than-ideal 3/4 inch. Grooves where the stainless steel meets the magnet can trap grime, but this strip can easily be removed from the wall and thrown into the dishwasher.

    • Design ★★
    • Magnet Strength ★★★

    $19.99

    BUY NOW Amazon
  • Recommended

    Mag-Blok

    This handsome wooden strip has a particularly strong magnet that held all the knives securely. We had only two complaints about the model we tested: First, clearance for knuckles was less than ideal. Second, its magnet was too short (you lose an inch on each nonmagnetized end). An 18-inch model ($48) offers more usable space.

    • Design ★★
    • Magnet Strength ★★★

    $35

  • Not Recommended

    MIU France 15-Inch Magnetic Knife Bar

    This strip’s strong magnet and stainless-steel surface were rough on our chef’s knife, nicking its sharp edge. It also affixes permanently to the wall, making cleaning a hassle

    • Design
    • Magnet Strength ★★★

    $39.95

  • Not Recommended

    Bisbell Magmates Magnetic Knife Rack

    Instead of boasting a solid magnet running the length of the strip, this model offers just five round magnets spaced along its length, limiting the number of knives it can hold. Knives that were not directly fastened to one of magnets slid precariously.

    • Design ★★
    • Magnet Strength

    $25

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