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Small Wire Rack

Published February 2019
A Perfect Match
This small wire rack pairs perfectly with our favorite small rimmed baking sheet (quarter-sheet pan). To read more about full-size wire racks and baking sheets, and to find detailed brand comparisons, visit here and here).

How we tested

A wire rack is certainly useful for letting cookies, loaves of bread, and cakes cool. But when set inside a rimmed baking sheet, a wire rack becomes the perfect surface for holding breaded foods before and after frying, for roasting or broiling meat, and for glazing and decorating showstopping confections such as Chocolate-Almond Coconut Cake. After recently naming the Nordic Ware Naturals Quarter Sheet our favorite small rimmed baking sheet, we knew it deserved a wire rack to match.

In our review of full-size wire rack, the Checkered Chef Cooling Rack received our highest recommendation for its stability and durable construction. Could we recommend the smaller version as well? To find out, we tested the Checkered Chef Quarter Sheet Cooling/Baking Rack, checking how well it fit inside our favorite small rimmed baking sheet and using it as a wire rack for cookies and to elevate sticky glazed spareribs to ensure good airflow as they roasted.

The small wire rack proved to be stable. It easily held more than a pound of pork spareribs, and testers felt comfortable maneuvering the full wire rack into and out of the oven. Neither plastic nor metal spatulas caught on the metal bars, making it easy to add just-baked cookies and remove cooled cookies (it was big enough to hold 12, a half-batch of many cookie recipes). Although there was a bit of wiggle room when it sat inside our favorite small rimmed baking sheet, this did not adversely affect its performance.

If you’re looking for a wire rack for your small rimmed baking sheet, we recommend the Checkered Chef Quarter Sheet Cooling/Baking Rack. It fits inside our favorite small rimmed baking sheet and is the perfect tool for scaled-down cooking and baking tasks.

Methodology

We tested the small version of our winning wire rack, noting how the rack fit inside our favorite small rimmed baking sheet and how well it held up when performing a variety of kitchen tasks.

Rating Criteria

Stability and Usability: We transferred delicate cookies onto the rack, looking to see if both plastic and metal spatulas slid across it without snagging or bumping. To evaluate its stability, we noted how it performed when piled with 1¼ pounds of spareribs as they roasted.

Baking Sheet Compatibility: We tested to see if the rack fit in our winning small rimmed baking sheet, the Nordic Ware Naturals Quarter Sheet. We wanted the rack to fit snugly and not slip or slide around too much in the sheet.

Cleanup: We washed the rack by hand throughout testing and in the dishwasher at the end of testing. We checked for any warping or discoloration.


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The Results

Winner
Recommended

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.

$248.64*
Recommended

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.

$141.90*

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.

$67.99*
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.

$49.93*
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.

$129.95*

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.

$99.95*

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.

$24.99*

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.

$35.88*