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Lid Holders

Published May 2017

How we tested

Here’s a scenario familiar to most cooks: You lift the lid of a pot to stir or add ingredients and have nowhere to put that lid without taking up and dirtying valuable counter or stovetop space. Lid holders promise to save that space and keep your work zone clean. We were skeptical as to whether any of these gadgets were really worth buying, so we put them to the test, gathering four models priced from $11.99 to $80.00 and using them to hold nine lids of different sizes (from 6 to 13 inches in diameter and from 9 ounces to nearly 6 pounds in weight) and materials (steel, glass, cast iron). Three were essentially heat-resistant stands with troughs that cradled the lids and contained any drips; a fourth model held lids faceup, so they couldn’t drip in the first place.

One of the lid holders failed at its primary function—lids of every size rocked and slipped around in the shallow trough, never quite finding a good resting place. The other three models did a good job of handling lids of different sizes. In general, we preferred petite lid holders to big ones. Though smaller models caught slightly fewer drips when we made them hold hot, tomato sauce–laden lids, their more modest footprints meant they took up less room on the counter. All the lid holders were easy to clean and reasonably durable, surviving our abuse testing (placing and removing a heavy Dutch oven lid 100 times for each) with just minor scuffing. Better still, most could simultaneously hold the lids as well as dirty ladles, spoons, or spatulas.

But one particular lid holder’s versatility really won us over. The Yamazaki Home Ladle and Lid Stand ($18.00) held every lid and utensil we asked it to, and it was the only model that could also hold tablets and even magazines—doing so just as securely as our favorite tablet stand. This sturdy, compact lid holder took up very little space, and it’s so chic and handy that we wouldn’t mind keeping it on the counter all the time.


We tested four lid holders priced from $11.99 to $80.00. We evaluated their stability, footprint, and basic function with lids of different sizes and materials. We also tested their mess retention with hot, spattered lids that had sat over simmering tomato sauce for 10 minutes. We tested their additional uses (holding utensils, holding tablets, and acting as a trivet) and then evaluated their durability by setting down and removing the lid for our favorite 7.25-quart Dutch oven 100 times. All models were purchased online, and they appear in order of preference.

LID ACCOMMODATION: We awarded more points to models that securely held lids of different sizes and materials.

DESIGN: We awarded more points to models with small footprints that sat stably on the countertop.

MESS RETENTION: We gave more points to models that did a better job of containing any drips that fell from the hot pot lids or utensils.

The Results


Design Trifecta 360 Knife Block

Admittedly expensive, this handsome block certainly seemed to live up to its billing as “the last knife block you ever have to buy.” The heaviest model in our testing, this block was ultrastable, and its durable bamboo exterior was a breeze to clean. Well-placed medium-strength magnets made it easy to attach all our knives, and a rotating base gave us quick access to them. One tiny quibble: The blade of our 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a little.


Schmidt Brothers Downtown Block

This roomy block completely sheathed our entire winning knife set using just one of its two sides—and quite securely, thanks to long, medium-strength magnet bars. Heavy, with a grippy base, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard made this model extra-safe but also made it a little trickier to insert knives and to clean; the wood block itself showed some minor cosmetic scratching during use.


Schmidt Brothers Midtown Block

This smaller version of the Downtown Block secured all our knives nicely, though the blade of the slicing knife stuck out a bit. With a base lined with grippy material, this block was very stable. An acrylic guard afforded extra protection against contact with blades but made it a little harder to insert knives and to clean; the wood itself got a little scratched during use.

Recommended with Reservations

Swissmar Bamboo Magnetic Knife Block

This small, scratch-resistant model had a stable, rubber-lined base and could hold all our knives, though the blade of the 12-inch slicing knife stuck out a bit. But inch-long gaps between its small magnets made coverage uneven and forced us to find the magnetic hot spots in order to secure the knives. Its acrylic guard made it safer to use but harder to insert knives and to clean.

Not Recommended

Messermeister Walnut Magnet Block

This handsome block was done in by its shape—a tippy, top-heavy quarter-circle that wasn’t tall or broad enough to keep the blades of three knives from poking out. It lacked a nonslip base, and its extra-strong magnets made it unnerving to attach or remove our heavy cleaver. Finally, it got a bit scratched after extensive use.


Epicurean Standing Knife Rack 12"

This magnetic block sheathed all our knives completely, though with a bit of crowding. But it was hard to insert each knife without hitting the block’s decorative slats on way down, and because the block was light and narrow, it wobbled when bumped. Worse, we couldn’t take it apart, so splatters that hit the interior were there to stay. Additionally, the outside stained easily, and when we wiped it down, the unit smelled like wet dog.


Kapoosh Rondelle Knife Block

This model stabilized knives with a mass of stiff, spaghetti-like bristles that shed and nicked easily after extensive use, covering our knives with plastic debris. While all our knives fit securely, several of the blades stuck out, making this unit feel less safe overall. Finally, though the bristles could be removed and cleaned in the dishwasher, their nooks and crannies made this block hard to wash by hand.


Kuhn Rikon Vision Knife Block, Clear

This plastic block required us to aim each knife into the folds of an accordion-pleated insert that was removable for easy cleaning but got nicked easily with repeated use. Because we could only insert the knives vertically, longer knife blades stuck out; a cleaver was too wide to fit. The lightest model in our lineup, this block was dangerously top-heavy when loaded with knives.