We Tested 9 Magnetic Knife Holders to Find the Best, Most Secure Ones

Our top pick is the Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder.

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a group of magnetic knife bars against white subway tile

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Straight to the Point

Our favorite magnetic knife strip is the Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder. It was easy to install, with the strongest magnetic field of all the strips we tested. We also like the Benchcrafted Mag Blok. Installation was also easy, and the extra length accommodated more knives.

Generally, we don’t recommend knife blocks. They eat up counter space. And all those slots don’t often match up with knives you actually own. Instead, when it comes to knife storage, we suggest a cork-lined knife holder or magnetic knife strip. 

Let’s focus on the later: magnetic knife strips come in different lengths, so you can choose a smaller one to keep just your most-used knives within arm’s reach, a larger one for extra storage, and even buy two and put them side-by-side or stack them vertically for even more space.

Most magnetic knife holders are fairly easy to install, though they all require a power drill. However, some have weaker magnetic fields, causing knives to shift and move around as you attach or reach for them. Others feel loose when mounted. To find the best magnetic knife holders, we tested 9 of them, in a variety of finishes and at different price points.

The Winners, at a Glance

The Best Magnetic Knife Holder: Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Also available at Etsy.

The Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip is our favorite model. Installation was simple and it had the strongest magnetic field of all the strips we tested, with eight knives clinging easily to the wood strip without moving or shifting. The holder itself features handsome wood, with metal “polka dots” peaking through.

The Best High-Capacity Magnetic Knife Holder: Benchcrafted Mag Block

Benchcrafted Mag Blok

The Benchcrafted Mag Blok was fairly intuitive to install, though no instructions were given. It had one of the stronger magnetic fields and knives easily attached without shifting. The strip was 18 inches long—slightly bigger than the other holders we tested—and accommodated 9 knives without crowding. It also comes in a  a 12-inch model, if you want something smaller. Both versions are available in five different wood finishes.

The Tests

a magnetic knife bar with several knives on it affixed to a wooden pallet

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

  • Installation Test: We mounted each magnetic holder onto a wooden pallet—propped up vertically, to simulate installing the strip onto a wall—to see how intuitive and easy they were to put up. We then uninstalled and removed each strip to see how difficult it was to remove them.
  • Magnetic Strength and Capacity Test: We tested each holder with a Gauss meter to check its magnetic field and to see how strong its magnet was. Then, we loaded each strip to its maximum capacity, using a variety of knives (including a large heavy cleaver, chef's knife, nakiri, santoku, serrated bread knife, utility/petty knife, and a small paring knife), to see how many fit and how secure they were.
  • Durability Test: We placed and removed a cleaver on the holder 25 times. We checked to see how easy the knife attached and came off, We also checked to see if repeated use damaged the strip or the knife.

What We Learned

Material Was More Than Cosmetic

seven magnetic knife strips stacked on top of one another
We preferred wooden (or at least mostly wooden) surfaces to metal ones.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

While you might think that the surface of a magnetic knife holder is an aesthetic choice, this wasn’t the case. We preferred wooden strips (or at least where the metal was nearly entirely covered by wood, like with our top choice from Jonathan Alden) over metal ones. Every time a knife was placed on a metal strip, it would make a clanging noise and shift slightly. This happened less with the wooden strips. The softer wood material not only cushioned the knife as the magnet attached to it, resulting in less sound, but the texture of the wood created slight friction, inhibiting the knife from sliding around.

There’s a worry, too, that metal knife strips will ding a knife’s blade when you’re attaching it. While we didn’t experience this, wooden strips alleviate this worry entirely and offer a more blade-safe surface.

However, there is a downside to wood (not enough to not recommend it, but it's still worth mentioning): it's less durable than metal and needs more upkeep. We found darker finished wood showed nicks and scratches more easily than light finished wood. Over time, wood also potentially needs re-waxing or oiling to maintain its appearance and finish.

No matter the material, make it a best practice to ensure knives are always completely dry before placing them on a magnetic holder. Due to the porous nature of wood, water can damage or warp it. Conversely, metal strips won’t absorb any water. This means water will get locked onto the strip where the knife is in contact, potentially creating rust spots on either item.

The (Magnetic) Force Was Strong with These Ones

a variety of different knives hanging from a magnetic wooden knife holder
A strong magnetic field and continuous magnet were essential for knife security.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

We tested magnetic strength on each of the strips by using a Gauss meter, a device designed to test magnetic fields. Unsurprisingly, the most powerful magnetic fields led to the most secure magnetic strips that held knives in place without them shifting or moving. Our favorite magnetic strip, the Jonathan Alden, had the strongest field at 2352.1 Gs. The Benchcraft Mag Blok had a respectable 1882.7 Gs, which was the third strongest field of all that we tested. In comparison, the lowest magnetic field was the NorPro Aluminum Magnetic Knife Bar, with only 642.3 Gs. Knives released easily from the Norpro...too easily. It didn't instill confidence that a knife couldn't be accidentally jostled and sent flying off the holder.

But it wasn’t just about the strength. Some of the models we tested (with strong magnetic fields) lacked continuous magnetic strips and instead had a number of smaller magnets housed in them. This meant smaller knives, like paring or utility knives, would only attach securely to specific areas of the bar, and not to others.

What Size Holder Should You Get?

All the magnetic knife bars we tested ranged in size from 16 to 18 inches. In the end, our favorite knife bar, the Jonathan Alden, was 16 inches long. Though a longer knife bar, like the 18-inch Benchcrafted Mag Blok, did accommodate more knives (one more chef's knife, to be specific), the 16-inch knife bar still fit eight knives—including two chef's knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife. (This is a solid collection of knives for most home cooks.)

Installing the Magnetic Knife Holders Was Mostly Intuitive

two wooden magnetic knife holders screwed onto a wooden pallet
It was fairly easy to both install and un-install most of the magnetic knife holders.

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

Most of the bars did not come with installation instructions, though they did include screws. To mount all the bars we tested, we need to first drill a hole, then use the included screws to attach the bar to the wall (or wooden pallet, in our case) by different methods. This included attaching a metal plate to the wall and having the bar magnetically adhere to the plate, hanging the holder via holes on the back of the bar, drilling and screwing the bar directly into the wall, using plastic pieces on the side to slide the bar onto the screws, and, in once instance, attaching a mounting piece of wood with a built-in level onto the wall then sliding the magnetic bar onto it.

While all of these methods worked alright, some were more intuitive than others. Both the Jonathan Adler and Benchcrafted bars were the most straightforward, with the Jonathan Adler bar including instructions and a paper template so you knew exactly where to drill the holes and the Benchcrafted bar with holes on the strip itself, so you could mount the bar directly onto the wall. All three of the metal bars, as well the Meissermester strip, had you mount a metal plate onto the wall then attach the strip to the plate magnetically. This sounds relatively easy, but was actually the most dangerous and we found that our fingers nearly got pinched between the two magnetic fields.

Uninstalling bars were equally intuitive, as long as you could get the screw out of the wall. The metal strips were the most difficult here, but not impossible. They just required a little brute strength, strong fingers, and a firm grasp so your fingers didn't get pinched yet again when prying the strip off of the metal plate. Bars that were mounted on screws or screwed directly into the wall were much easier to remove.

The Criteria: What to Look for In Magnetic Knife Holder

A magnetic knife strip with a cleaver on it and text points positioned around it

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin / Grace Kelly

We preferred wooden over metal holders. Wood was gentler on knives, quieter, and prevented them from moving around. Though wood does require a little maintenance, its pros outweigh this con. 

Magnetic knife holders with strong magnetic fields and continuous magnets kept knives in place and accommodated knives of all sizes easily. And while we recommend a 16-inch knife strip for most people/knife storage needs, we do have an 18-inch recommendation for those that want something larger. If you just want to keep a few of your most-used knives at arm’s reach, a 12-inch knife strip will probably be fine. 

Finally, make sure the knife holder you select is easy to mount on the wall and is stable once installed. Most of the strips we tested fit this criteria, but there were one or two models that felt unstable or wobbled when installed, making us leery of them.

The Best Magnetic Knife Holder: Jonathan Alden Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Magnetic Wooden Knife Bar Holder Strip

Also available at Etsy.

What we liked: The Jonathan Alden wooden strip had the strongest magnetic field of all the holders we tested. The 16-inch bar held eight knives comfortably—including two 8-inch chef knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife.

Knives attached easily to it and didn't move once in place. Heavy cleavers felt secure, small lightweight paring knives didn’t shift if accidentally knocked, and long chef's knives didn’t swing or tilt when placed on the strip. 

However, the strong magnetic field still allowed you to grab the knives by their handle and easily remove them. The strip itself was made of medium finished wood, with punched holes showing inlaid metal and creating a “polka dot” look. We thought this modern design looked handsome and the contrasting metal dots also helped hide any superficial nicks and scratches on the wood.

Unlike most strips that seem to assume you know how to install them, the Jonathan Alden model came with installation instructions as well as a paper template, which made drilling holes into the right place on the wall easy. Once the screws were installed, the magnetic holder hung securely on them.

What we didn’t like: Because the bar had a wood surface, the magnetic knife holder will periodically need to be waxed or oiled for maintenance.

Price at time of publish: $64

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 16 inches long, 5/8-inch deep
  • Weight: 10 7/8 ounces
  • Care instructions: Maintain occasionally with wood oil or wax
  • Installation instructions: Included; drill holes in wall using included template, then attach screws to wall and mount bar on screws
  • Magnet strength: 2352.1 Gs
A closeup shot of a cleaver on a wooden knife strip

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Best High-Capacity Magnetic Knife Holder: Benchcrafted Mag Block

Benchcrafted Mag Blok

What we liked: The Benchcrafted Mag Blok is an excellent alternative to the Jonathan Alden magnetic strip, especially if you are looking for something more traditional in style or have a large knife collection. At 18-inches, the Benchcrafted Mag Blok is one of the longer magnetic strips we tested. It comfortably held 9 knives, including three chef’s knives, a heavy cleaver, a nakiri, a santoku, a serrated bread knife, a utility/petty knife, and a paring knife. 

The magnetic field wasn’t as strong as the Jonathan Alden strip, but was still plenty strong to solidly hold all the knives without any issues. Knives attached easily and didn’t move when placed on the strip. The Benchcrafted strip installation was straightforward, with two brass-colored screws that go directly through the front of the bar. The light finished wood blends into most kitchens and didn’t show nicks or scratches as easily as a darker finish might.

What we didn’t like: Like the Jonathan Alden strip, the Benchcrafted bar has a wood surface which will periodically need to be maintained. Unlike the Jonathan Alden strip though, a small tube of "Block-Butter" is included with this holder.

Price at time of publish: $64.

Key Specs

  • Dimensions: 18 inches long, 3/4 inch deep
  • Weight: 1 pound, 6 3/8 ounces
  • Care instructions: Wax or oil occasionally
  • Installation instructions: Not included; screws mounted directly through bar
  • Magnet strength: 1892.7 Gs
a cleaver on a pale magnetic knife holder

Serious Eats / Irvin Lin

The Competition

  • Messermeister Magnetic Knife Strip: This model's magnetic field was a weaker than the Jonathan Alden or Benchcrafted bars, and knives placed on it shifted more because of that.
  • Norpro 18-inch Aluminum Magnetic Knife Bar: This bar had the weakest magnetic field. The plastic edge pieces that are used to mount the bar to the wall felt cheap and fell off mid-testing, making this bar feel unsafe to use.
  • Modern Innovation 16-inch Stainless Steel Knife Bar: This metal bar had a medium strength magnetic field, but the metal had less texture than the wooden bars, which meant knives slid around when placed on it.
  • Schmidt Brothers Acacia Magnetic Wall Bar: While it was fine to put knives onto this holder, the bar shifted slightly when removing heavy knives like a cleaver.
  • Ouddy Magnetic Knife Holder: Like the Modern Innovation, this bar had a medium strength magnetic field and a metal surface that had knives sliding around on it.
  • 360KnifeBlock Bar: This was the most expensive bar we tested, nearly twice the price of our favorites. It also had the most complicated installation system and it didn't seem to have a continuous magnet in it—causing smaller knives to feel less secure.
  • Gorilla Grip Stainless Steel Magnetic Knife Strip: Like the other two metal bars, this medium strength holders had knives sliding around, which felt unsafe.

FAQs

Do magnetic knife strips damage knives? 

Magnetic knife strips shouldn’t damage knives. Because the knife isn’t sliding in and out of a knife block or being banged around in a drawer (both of which can damage blades), a magnetic knife strip is actually a great storage solution.

How do you install a magnetic knife holder? 

All magnetic strips do require you to drill a hole into the wall, preferably where the wooden studs are, and mount the strip on the screws. Some strips are attached by hanging them from the screws, with holes in the back of the bar. Some have screws that attach directly from the front of the bar. And some have mounting mechanisms like metal plates or mounting bars that are used to attach the bar to the wall. When installing the metal plates, be aware of your fingers as you connect the magnetic bar to the plate. The strong pull of the magnetic bar can pinch your fingers.

Can you remove a magnetic knife holder once it’s installed?

Yes! As long as you haven’t stripped the screw and can remove the screw from the wall, magnetic strips can be uninstalled. Some are a little more difficult to remove than others, but no magnetic strip installation is permanent.

Should you buy an adhesive magnetic knife holder?

While the easy installation may seem appealing, adhesive magnetic knife strips just aren't as secure as ones screwed into the wall. And you really want something to be secure when sharp knives are suspended from it.

Should you install a magnetic knife holder on the fridge?

Some magnetic knife holders can be installed on the side of the fridge, as they have a magnetic backings. However, this just isn't a super secure place for knives to be hanging. Can you imagine closing your fridge door and having that knock a knife loose, sending the sharp blade flying onto the floor? Not ideal!