Posted on March 4, 2019
After several hours of research, I finally made my selection of the 4 best blocks of knives among more than twenty models available on the market.
My favorite is the Aicok: this low-cost model, relatively compact, is composed of a basic set of knives but very good quality. And not to spoil it, it can find its place in all kitchens, including the smallest.
Big blow of heart for the Dalstrong Gladiator: although it represents a significant investment, it is a must have for lovers of cooking.
You will also find at the end of this article a buying guide to select a block of knives perfectly in line with your needs and your cooking habits.
The best cheap kitchen knife blocks
There is an impressive amount of entry-level models, but most have the same weaknesses.
We will first check the weight and stability of the block. The design of the blades should also be checked. Last point to check: the ergonomics of the handle, which leaves too often to be desired on cheap knife blocks.
Aicok: the best cheap
Stable block, smartphone and tablet support
Aicok is a company founded in 2015 by former employees of Google. Since Silicone Valley, where she is based, she has established herself as one of the most popular brands of low cost household appliances.
If it produces robots and fruit extractors that benefit from an excellent quality / price ratio, it also ensures when it comes to traditional utensils. Demonstration with this block of knives very successful!
Not surprisingly, this set is a basic, consisting of 5 knives. We therefore find essential: the chef's knife (20.32 cm), the bread knife (20.32 cm), the carving knife (20.32 cm), the utility knife (12.7 cm) and the paring knife (8.89 cm).
The blades are of a quite impressive quality, given the mini price of this model. Combining high quality stainless steel and carbon, they are forged in one piece. They have excellent strength and the edge is more than satisfactory.
In fact, it is advisable to be cautious when first used, otherwise you will be injured. In the long term, it will of course be necessary to sharpen them regularly so that they maintain their sharpness.
The ergonomic pakka handle is designed to minimize the fatigue of the hand and fingers. And indeed, it offers an excellent grip.
The block itself is very well designed: with its heavy pine body, but quite compact (equipped with antislip pads) and its metallic foot, it combines nice design and excellent stability. Note also that this support pin allows you to install the smartphone or tablet, to easily follow a recipe.
In terms of maintenance, nothing to complain about. The selected steel (X50Cr15) guarantees excellent resistance, both in time and in rust. So just clean and dry the knives after use, then put them back on the block, so you can use them for many years.
As usual, Aicok stands out from its competitors at low prices, offering a product of excellent quality. Admittedly, the set consists only of the 5 basic blades.
The fact remains that this block of knives is doing remarkably well. This is one of the best value for money currently available on the market.
The best mid-range kitchen knife blocks
The mid-range models are distinguished by the particular care given to the support. Quality material and / or original design: in this category, we combine aesthetics with practice.
The knives are equipped with sturdy and sharp blades of good quality, usually forged in one piece. These are still relatively small sets, composed of 5 basic blades.
Mercer Culinary Genesis: the best mid-range
Vertical support poorly adapted to small spaces
Mercer Culinary is an American brand well known to food lovers. It equips both chefs and private chefs.
If it offers products inspired by professional equipment, it remains affordable. No mystery: if the brand is based in New York, its products are made in China … It is none the less on extremely reliable products.
In terms of design, the Mercer Culinary knife block is not necessarily the most impeccable in its catalog, but the quality of the blades is well and truly at the rendezvous.
This knife block consists of a very nice stand and five basic knives: a chef's knife, a bread knife, a boning knife, a paring knife and a utility knife.
On the knife side, nothing to complain about. Mercer Culinary has made the choice of safety by opting for a steel X50CRMOV15: its high carbon content therefore ensures you have robust blades. We note that they are extremely sharp: caution, therefore, not only when using knives … but also during cleaning!
The anti-slip grip and ergonomics of the Santoprene handle ensure a good grip and a very good comfort to use. In terms of maintenance, we are always on the classic: cleaning and drying carefully, before placing the blade on the block. And of course, regular sharpening.
In short! Nothing to blame the knives. The small weakness of this block is precisely the support.
Composed of wood and glass, it has a contemporary design really attractive – and enough mat. With clean lines and a suitable weight, it enjoys excellent stability. We regret all the same the lack of care given to finishes …
True problem with this support: the knives are stored vertically. It takes a certain height to be able to grab a knife or replace it on the block with one hand. Not necessarily practical, on a worktop surmounted by hanging cupboards!
You may then have to lean the block, or even move it, to handle the knives without bumping into your closets.
It will be understood: in terms of knives, we find all the qualities specific to the products offered by Mercer Culinary. Maybe a small reserve on the support, which could have a hard time finding a place in a kitchenette or kitchen whose cupboards are a little too low.
The best high-end kitchen knife blocks
The high-end models allow you to enjoy a variety of blades. You have everything you need to cook vegetables, meat, poultry and fish. I
It is common for the knife block to accommodate a pair of kitchen scissors and a sharpening rifle, so these are self-sufficient models. These knife blocks are usually quite large, and it should be reserved a nice space on the work plan.
Dalstrong Gladiator: the best upscale
Very complete knife set
Medium quality support
Dalstrong is one of the most famous cutlers in the United States. The brand is renowned for the maneuverability and excellent quality of its blades.
The care taken in the design of its products regularly earns him a prize. With this model, the cutler proposes a set of knives to the height of its reputation … which is perhaps not quite the case of the support!
This knife block is one of the most complete on the market. It consists of a stepped support, hosting a set of interesting blades: 1 chef's knife of 20.3 cm, 1 kiritsuke chef's knife of 21.6 cm, 1 Nakiri knife of 17.8 cm, 1 Santoku knife of 17.8 cm, 1 bread knife 22.9 cm, 1 cutting / slicing knife 22.9 cm, 1 boning knife 15.2 cm, 1 utility knife 16.5 cm, 1 serrated knife 15.2 cm, 6 steak knives with a 12.7 cm smooth blade, 1 paring knife of 8.9 cm and 1 paring knife of 7 cm.
The set is completed with a 25.4 cm sharpening rifle and a gift box.
Let's evoke directly the weakness of this model: the wooden support is not of an irreproachable quality. He will always do his job, but whether it is wood or finishes, it is still a little "cheap".
This is all the more regrettable as it is far from compact: it will not go unnoticed on the work plan. For a high-end knife block, we have the right to expect better!
As for the quality of the knives, however: nothing to complain about. From design to finishes: Darstrong lives up to its reputation.
The pakka sleeves ensure a pleasant grip and a good working comfort, especially as the knives are not too heavy and perfectly balanced. The cutting edge is of course at the rendezvous, and the hardened steel blades, polished by hand, have a remarkable robustness.
Side maintenance, we prefer to stay on a hand wash, making sure to dry before replacing them on the block, otherwise the rust will appear quickly enough.
We note that Dalstrong strives to live up to its end-to-end reputation. The cutler takes special care in packaging and offers a responsive after-sales service in case of problems.
If we can only regret the average quality of the support, the knives that make up this set are of a very good quality, and they are particularly pleasant to use. An excellent investment for food lovers.
Zwilling J.A. Henckels: a regrettable quality decline!
Complete set: 12 blades + 1 scissors
Average price / quality ratio
Zwilling J.A. Henckels International – commonly referred to as Zwilling – is a famous German cutler. The company has had time to establish its reputation since it was created … in 1731!
It has built its success on the use of high quality steel, which ensures the strength and sharpness of the blade. Unfortunately, to remain competitive, the brand seems to have made some compromises with the quality …
This knife block consists of a support and 12 knives and a pair of scissors. We are therefore on a complete set, perfectly adapted to the needs of the kitchen fans. Vegetables to mince at work with meat and fish: there is plenty to do for budding chefs!
Nothing to report at the wooden support. This model is more classic. With more than 3.5 kg, it is very stable – especially since it is equipped with anti-slip feet.
In terms of knives, however, be careful: you could be disappointed! When you buy, the blades are not very sharp.
Do not panic at this level: it is rather a bias of the manufacturer. Unlike a block like the Aicok or the Mercer Culinary Genesis, no risk for beginners if you use the blades in the state. Confirmed cooks will only have to sharpen to get a formidable edge.
The real concern is the choice of steel. The brand has built its reputation on the quality of its blades, robust and sharp: so far so good! They are also supposed to resist corrosion and there … things go bad!
No, the blades do not have an absolute resistance to rust. Like most models in this selection, they must be cleaned and carefully dried before being placed back on the block. Otherwise, the blades will be quickly stitched.
This is the case for most knives, even of high quality. The reason is simple: they are made in China. Now, if the steel is worked according to the German method, it is not so good.
Normally, a little discipline is enough to overcome this small weakness. But if this little trick passes for another manufacturer, difficult to forgive Zwilling. The "afficionados" know it: the quality of the knives has drastically dropped during the last ten years. But the price is still high.
That the brand strives to remain competitive, why not? Especially when they are well maintained, these knives are doing their job very well.
But the vagueness maintained by the brand around the manufacture and quality of materials is more troublesome. No, this is no longer the irreproachable brand we knew. It must be known: the price / quality ratio leaves something to be desired.
The products of my selection on offer at the moment
Meat, fish, fruits or vegetables …. In the kitchen, you always need to cut, slice, peel or boning! Have a good block of knives on the worktop, it is a pledge of comfort and safety.
This system allows you to have a complete blade set to make cuts as easily and quickly as possible. Grouped and easy to grasp with one hand, your knives are also optimally stored to preserve the quality of the blades.
The set of utensils
By definition, a knife block is designed to accommodate … knives! The set can vary radically from one model to another.
The most basic models offer a set of essential blades in the kitchen: the chef's knife, the bread knife, the carving knife, the paring knife (for fruit and vegetables) and the all-purpose knife or universal knife (similar to the paring knife, but a bit bigger).
It can be completed to infinity, to offer you specific blades, such as peeling knife or boning knife.
Some blocks offer additional accessories. This is usually a pair of kitchen scissors and a sharpening rifle.
Finally, you can opt for a block with a knife set complementing your traditional cutlery, for example by choosing a model with a set of meat knives.
The choice depends primarily on your habits. However, do not neglect the question of space in the kitchen: the most complete knife blocks are also the most bulky.
The strongest blades are forged in one piece and attached to the knife handle by rivets.
German steel is the material of choice because of its remarkable resistance to impact, weather and corrosion. In practice, it is increasingly difficult to find models that are resistant to rust. To avoid disappointments, dry them carefully before storing.
In recent years, another material has appeared: ceramics. Its sharpness exceeds that of traditional steel: besides, a ceramic knife must be handled with extreme caution.
Very hygienic, the ceramic does not oxidize, but it is quite unsuitable for cutting hard elements, such as bones. Because she is very vulnerable to shocks, and she will break if you let her down.
If some ceramic knives can slip on your block, it will be necessary to mix them with steel models to have a really functional set!
Lovers of cooking can embark on the preparation of dishes that require a long enough work. It is therefore essential that the knives are equipped with an ergonomic and non-slip handle.
A good grip will limit the risk of incidents. Moreover, it is the guarantee of a comfortable work, without pain and without tingling in the hands.
This is a key point to check when choosing your knife block.
Pay attention to the material. The handle can be polymer, wood or metal. If the wood is very aesthetic, it is not recommended because it is quite delicate to clean. Long to dry, it can also become encrusted with dirt, which is the door open to bacteria and corrosion.
Weight and balance
To ensure absolute working comfort, a knife should not be too heavy. It must also be well balanced. A reasonable weight allows you to work without getting tired.
As for a good balance, it is the pledge of a knife that cuts perfectly without having to force, which saves you from fatigue … and incidents!
While many brands offer well-designed knife blocks, kitchen enthusiasts will instead turn towards the confirmed cutlers, even if it means hiring a slightly higher budget.
A knife block can have 3 different types of supports.
This is the most common. It usually comes in the form of a block made of solid wood or polymer, but manufacturers offer more and more design variants, such as the Mercer Culinary Genesis.
It is the safest if you have children at home. However, it requires a little discipline: after use, the knives must be thoroughly cleaned and dried before being put back in place, to prevent the proliferation of bacteria and the appearance of rust.
In addition, each knife has a defined location: it will therefore find your marks to gain speed.
It consists of a plate equipped with magnets, which allows to easily take or rest your knives. This system is quite practical since the blades are exposed: you will not be mistaken in choosing your knife.
It is also the most hygienic since it is very easy to clean. However, be careful if you have young children at home: you will have to make sure that they do not have access to it.
The universal fiber support
It consists of a storage pot, and a block of synthetic fibers. Here, no pre-determined location, so you can place the knives you choose in the location that suits you.
This is the best choice to compose your own knife assortment yourself. Be careful, however, to regularly remove the fibers to clean them thoroughly and let them dry completely before putting them back in place.
The material and the angle of the support
In terms of materials, wood and metal are preferred because they are much stronger than plastic.
When making your choice, do not neglect the question of angle. Magnetic media is no problem since you pull the knife horizontally when you grab it.
The slotted or fiber supports can be inclined: they offer a good grip. Be careful with the models that hold the knives vertically: you must have sufficient height to take them and put them back in place. It is not always easy when the work plan is topped with cupboards!
Whatever support you choose, it must be heavy enough and equipped with anti-slip to ensure stability: no risk of it spilling or moving every time you take a blade or replace it!
To enjoy your knife block for a long time, you need some accessories. Sharpening equipment is essential to keep your blades perfectly sharp.
Warning ! The sharpening rifle actually maintains the sharpness of the blade, but it will soon prove insufficient. Better to invest in a manual sharpener or an electric sharpener.
The little thing more? Chefs also recommend the use of a good cutting board – wood or plastic, but especially not glass or stone – to preserve the blades.
Good to know: before using knives for the first time, it is important to wash them. A simple rinse with hot water is enough.
Whatever block of knives you choose, it's better to resist the marketing arguments: no, we do not clean the kitchen knives in the dishwasher! This could significantly affect their sharpness, unless they are perfectly flat. We prefer to wash by hand.
Ideally, you have to be a little disciplined when cooking. No question of procrastination: we rinse a knife as soon as we have finished using it!
For cleaning, nothing easier, since a traditional dishwashing product does the trick. On the other hand, you should immediately wipe the blade, preferably with a very soft cloth.
Rusty knife blade?
Despite your care, do you notice rust on one of your blades? You can remedy this by opting for grandma's tricks.
The most common is … the potato! Simply rub the blade with a half-potato, then rinse and dry thoroughly.
To prevent rust, you can also regularly rinse your knives with white vinegar. Not only does rust hate it, but it will make the blades shine.