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Nerdy Science in the Kitchen

Henckels Knife Block Sets: With or Without Knives? We Pick



eight knives piled on black table
Your knives are an investment. Keep them safe in the right knife block for your kitchen.

Just as how you make a big deal about cleaning and maintaining your kitchen knives, you should be giving the same type of attention to how you’re storing them.

If you’re just throwing your knives in a drawer, you should know that improper knife storage can damage your knives’ fine edges like washing in a dishwasher–not to mention that you’re constantly in danger of cutting yourself when looking through them for the right knife.

Storing your knives properly doesn’t only protect them (and your fingers), though. It will also free up some counter and drawer space.

There are a lot of different ways to store your knives, but the most common and convenient way to store and display your expensive knives is in a knife block. If you’re looking for a good knife block, you’ve definitely come to the right place.

We’ve reviewed our favorite knife blocks from J. A. Henckels that you can buy individually (without knives) or as a set (with knives). Since Henckels isn’t the only knife block manufacturer out there that we love, though, we have included a couple of others that we also love at the bottom of the article.

See our favorite Henckels knife block (without knives) at Amazon.

But first, why do we love Henckels’s knives and blocks? Because the company is known for their excellence in knives.

A word about the company Zwilling J.A. Henckels: “Zwilling” means “twin” and is the equivalent of the zodiac sign Gemini in German. The company’s Twin logo was first introduced in 1731, making it one of the oldest trademarks in the world.

The logo has undergone several changes since the original was created. The current one has been in use since 1969.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels and J.A. Henckels International are two brands that produce many lines of knives. The former is the original brand that offers high-quality products from Germany and Spain.

J.A. Henckels International was established in 1895 and is a separate brand from the mother company. Its logo is that of a person holding a spear. It caters mainly to budget-conscious customers by offering them knives sourced from Spain, China, and Thailand. The products may cost less but they adhere to the same set of high standards as Zwilling.

As Zwilling is the premium brand of the two, its products are usually the more expensive ones. This is primarily because the knives are made from special formula steel. They are also “ice-hardened” to make them more durable. The Henckels International knives are made from ordinary but high-quality steel and do not go through the ice-hardening process, but their quality still is of the highest.

Our Favorite Knife BlockWhy We Like It
1. Henckels 20-Slot Super Knife Storage Block horizontal knife slots keep edges of knives from dulling
2. ZWILLING TWIN Knife Block, 18-slot great for Henckels Pro Series knives with curved bolsters
3. ZWILLING Magnetic Knife Block modern magnetic bamboo design is sleek and attractive
4. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Extra Large 22 Slot Design Hardwood Knife Storage Block this model holds 22 knives and includes space for honing rod as well
5. ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Block Set includes utility knife and chef’s knife to add to your growing knife collection
6. J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with Block comes in 6, 7, 15, and 20-piece sets, including sharpening steel
7. J.A. Henckels International Graphite 14-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set included self-sharpener to hone knives every time you take one out or replace it
8. J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 19-piece Knife Set with Cherry Block new design of handles provides easy grip and better control over blades
9. HENCKELS Forged Synergy East Meets West Knife Block Set all knives but steak knives have German fully-forged blades
10. Boker 30402 Wood Magnetic Knife Block magnetic modern design shows off knives while storing them safely
11. Bamboo Universal Knife Block – Extra Large Two-tiered Slotless Wooden Knife Stand, Organizer & Holder traditional-looking model has rods rather than slots so knives can be stored at any angle

The Best Henckels Knife Blocks

Henckels 20-Slot Super Knife Storage Block

Henckels 20-Slot Super Knife Storage Block

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If you want safe and easy storage for your large knife collection, we suggest you go with this 20-slot knife storage block from Henckels. It can hold a variety of knives, with smaller slots for steak knives graduating to larger slots for 8-inch cleavers.

I like that the slots are horizontal rather than the more common vertical types. The horizontal slots are actually for a purpose: they will keep pressure off the fine blade edges of your prized knives.

This knife block is made from durable hardwood (beech) that can hold a multitude of knives. You will appreciate that the block is easy to wipe clean. Its elegant hardwood design will blend well with almost any kitchen decor, too.

This block has four rubber feet to keep it from scratching or sliding around on your counter.


  • 20 slots to hold different types of knives
  • Horizontal slots eases the pressure off knife blades
  • Made from durable hardwood (beech)
  • Rubber feet to prevent it from sliding


  • Slots may sit too close to each other

ZWILLING TWIN Knife Block, 18-slot, Walnut

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels ZWILLING Pro Knife Block, 18-slot, Walnut

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This is the best storage for your J.A. Henckels Pro Series knives that have a curved bolster for a comfortable grip. It’s because of this curve that they won’t align correctly in a standard knife block. They can fit snugly and sit straight in this one, though.

It has 16 slots–8 wide slots for knives, 8 small slots for steak knives, 1 for shears, and 1 for a sharpening steel. The slots for steak knives can also be used to hold serrated utility knives or peelers instead.

Another great thing about this knife block is it’s made from hardwood with a walnut stain finish. It is also fitted with rubber feet for stability.


  • Has 18 slots
  • Pro Series knives can fit snugly and sit aligned in this knife block
  • Made from hardwood material with walnut stain finish
  • Has rubber feet for stability


  • Knives longer than 10 inches will stick out at the bottom of the block

ZWILLING Magnetic Knife Block, Bamboo

ZWILLING Knife Block, 12" x 8" x 11", Bamboo

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This countertop magnetic knife block simply looks wonderful! It’s made of sturdy bamboo and has an innovative design that is also very minimalist–a refreshing alternative to the traditional knife block that we’re all familiar with.

As modern and sophisticated as this block is, its look is not why you will want to get this Zwilling magnetic knife block. The powerful magnets hidden inside the block are strong enough to hold the heaviest knives. However, they’re not so strong that they make removing the knives a hassle.

Their knives’ handles remain exposed and you can grasp them firmly for safe and easy retrieval. The rubber feet on the bottom of the block ensure that it is stable so you won’t have to worry about it tipping over or sliding when you’re removing knives.


  • Can hold 4-6 knives
  • Powerful magnets can hold heavy knives
  • Rubber feet prevent knife block from slipping
  • Safe and easy retrieval of knives


  • Longer knives have to be tilted so that the bottom part of their blades are not exposed

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Extra Large 22 Slot Design Hardwood Knife Storage Block

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Extra Large 22 Slot Design Hardwood Knife Storage Block

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All J.A. Henckels knife blocks are made with the best craftsmanship, and this 22-slot model is no exception. This block is perfect for cutlery collectors who want the best storage for their knives that will protect their edges at the same time.

The slot types are for steak knives, utility knives, cleaver, and kitchen shears. There is also a slot for a honing steel.

Make your meal prep easier when you have your favorite knives close at hand with this knife storage block that is made from solid beech wood. It was even designed to be slightly slanted to provide for an easy reach.


  • 22 slots including one for honing knife
  • Slightly slanted for easy reach
  • Can hold a cleaver
  • Made from solid beech wood


  • Not enough slots for big bladed knives

6-Pc, Black/Stainless Steel

ZWILLING J.A. Henckels Twin Signature Knife Block Set, 6-Pc, Black/Stainless Steel

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This knife block doesn’t come alone; this set includes a utility knife and a chef’s knife. Together with a set of kitchen shears, sharpening steel, and a 10-slot birch wood block, they make up the smallest set that comes from Zwilling J.A. Henckels.

If you are just starting to create your kitchen, or if you want to avoid clutter by having only basic knives and a couple of important accessories, this is for you. But you should add at least some steak knives to really cover the basics.

That’s what the extra slots in the knife block are for–knives that you already own or knives that you plan on purchasing in the future. If you like this block but would like more knives to complete it, there are 11-piece and 19-piece versions of this model available, as well.


  • Polymer handles provide a better grip than steel handles
  • Being stamped knives, they are thinner and more lightweight than forged knives
  • Made from very durable high carbon stainless steel and undergone the ice-hardening process
  • Knives are very sharp because the edges are laser cut and then hand-honed


  • Because of their natural thinness, the knives may bend when cutting hard items

The Best Henckels Knife Block Sets

J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with Block, 12-pc, Chef Knife, Steak Knife, Bread Knife, Kitchen Knife Sharpener, Light Brown

J.A. Henckels International Statement Kitchen Knife Set with Block, 12-pc, Chef Knife, Steak Knife, Bread Knife, Kitchen Knife Sharpener, Light Brown

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Included in this set are a paring knife, a Santoku knife with a hollow edge, a bread knife, a chef’s knife, and 6 steak knives. The sharpening steel and hardwood knife block are counted as items in the set. This model also comes in 6, 7, 15, and 20-piece sets.


  • Blades are made with high carbon stainless steel and are also ice-hardened. These are why the knives keep their edges for a long time.
  • Knives are hand-honed to make them amazingly sharp.
  • All the knives are cut out from one metal sheet or what they call stamped. They come out thin and weigh less than forged knives.
  • The handle is ergonomically designed, easy to hold, and fastened with 3 metal rivets to the knife’s tang.


  • Some knives do not fit in the large slots of the knife block.

J.A. Henckels International Graphite 14-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set

J.A. Henckels International Graphite 14-pc Self-Sharpening Block Set

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This set includes a paring knife, serrated utility knife, Santoku knife, bread knife, chef’s knife, 6 steak knives, kitchen shears, and a self-sharpening knife block.

It is the knife block that is a must-have piece in this set. Imagine, your knives sharpen every time they are removed or replaced in the self-sharpening block.

This is made possible by built-in ceramic honing wheels in the slots. You’ll enjoy effortless and precision sharpness every time.

Another unique feature is that the slots are labeled for what type of knife should be placed in the slot. Not only is this for proper placement but you can readily identify which knife you are retrieving.


  • Self- sharpening slots in the knife block that sharpen a knife every time it is removed or replaced
  • Aesthetically appealing knife block with beautiful stained ash wood base and stainless steel cap
  • Labeled slots
  • Knives’ fully forged construction makes them more balanced and comfortable


  • Knives may get small rust stains after some use

J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 19-piece Knife Set with Cherry Block

J.A. Henckels International Forged Premio 19-piece Knife Set with Cherry Block

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The knife set includes a paring knife, paring knife, 2 utility knives, boning knife, Santoku knife, bread knife, chef’s knife, 8 steak knives, kitchen shears, sharpening steel, and an 18-slot wood knife block. All the knives, except for the steak knives, are fully forged blades with a full tang.

I think these new knives from Henckels are better than the older sets, which may be partly due to their handles. They’re fastened with three rivets with a metal cap butt that helps to further secure the handle with the blade. They provide an easy grip and better control over the knife.


  • Forged blades with full bolster and tang
  • Surgically sharp
  • Full set of knives
  • Ergonomic design of handles for comfortable grip


  • Knife block is too small for all the included knives making it difficult to retrieve and return them

HENCKELS Forged Synergy East Meets West Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black

HENCKELS Forged Synergy East Meets West Knife Block Set, 16 Piece, Black

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This set includes a paring knife, vegetable knife, utility knife, bread knife, carving knife, Santoku knife, chef’s knife, 6 steak knives, sharpening steel, kitchen shears, and a knife block.

Some people mistakenly think that this is a fully-forged set, only to find out that the six steak knives are stamped. This, however, is understandable, since steak knives aren’t the most frequently used knives. The rest of the knives in the set are forged and come in a handy assortment.

The set has the basic knives you need, and also a small Santoku knife which has small indentations in the blade to prevent food from sticking to it during slicing and dicing.


  • Knives come with fully forged German stainless steel blades
  • Stain-free and rust-free blades
  • Ergonomically designed, heavy-duty, and break-resistant handles
  • Super sharp blades


  • Steak knives are the only knives in the set that are forged

The Best Non-Henckel Knife Blocks

Henckel knife blocks may be among the best, but no brand is perfect for every customer. We also like two other options that you can look into if none of the Henckel products seem to meet your knife storing needs.

Boker 30402 Wood Magnetic Knife Block, Makassar

Boker 30402 Wood Magnetic Knife Block, Makassar

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This knife block puts your knives on display rather than hiding them. And I must say that there is no other knife block that does it better. It doesn’t have the usual slots to keep the knives in place. Neither does it have hooks nor holders. Instead, it uses embedded magnets that allow knives to stick to the block.

Its magnet is strong enough that you don’t have to worry about your knives falling. If at all, it’s almost too strong– you have to twist the knife handle a bit so you can remove it from the block.

This block can store seven kitchen knives. The seventh panel in the center is the best place to store larger knives. The open design makes it more hygienic than the traditional slotted block.


  • Super strong to prevent knives from falling
  • Can store seven knives including larger knives
  • You can readily identify the knife you want to retrieve
  • Hygienic and easier to clean because there are no hard to reach enclosed spaces


  • Need to twist the handle before pulling to retrieve it from the block due to very strong magnets

Bamboo Universal Knife Block – Extra Large Two-tiered Slotless Wooden Knife Stand, Organizer & Holder

Bamboo Universal Knife Block - Extra Large Two-tiered Slotless Wooden Knife Stand, Organizer & Holder - Convenient Safe Storage for Large & Small Knives & Utensils - Easy to Clean Removable Bristles

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This is a universal knife block that looks traditional, but it uses flex rods to hold knives instead of slots. This means that you can fit knives in any shape or size at any angle in the two tiers.

Simply insert the knives however you please and go about your cooking. You don’t need to fit them in their pre-defined slots.

The top tier can accommodate knives with up to 8 inch blades. You can also store cutting accessories here like kitchen shears and honing steel. Without the slots, you will readily find a spot for them. The lower tier can hold blades of up to 5 inches.


  • Flex rods can fit knives of any shape and size
  • Food-grade plastic rods
  • Stylish outer shell is made of eco-friendly premium bamboo
  • Easy to clean removable rods and bristles


  • May retain moisture if knives are not completely dry when inserted


One of the most popular ways to store your knives is in a knife block. They come in different designs, materials, and colors. You can purchase them individually or with an entire knife set included.

Selecting the best knife block is important for your kitchen investments since they protect your knives and can make meal prep more efficient and safer.

You can choose among any of the knife blocks from Henckels, plus a couple from other brands, that we reviewed. One of them will definitely meet your needs and specifications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which Henckels knife set is the best?

The Forged Premio 19-piece Knife Set is the best. It is one of the bigger sets from Henckels. It includes all the knives you will need whether for prepping a week-day dinner to doing complicated cutting work of a formal dinner. To store all these knives is a knife block that comes with the set.

The knives are also forged so they’re thicker and heavier than the stamped knives of other sets. They are also more balanced so you can do precision cuts anytime.

Being forged and having a full tang makes them durable that you can expect them to hold up for decades.

And then there is the blade’s sharpness. They are surgically sharp out of the box. Everything you may be looking for in a knife set, this Henckels knife set has it.

Are knife blocks bad for knives?

Knives aren’t bad, per se. In fact, they afford you the convenience of retrieving and returning your knives during meal prep. Plus, they can protect your knives’ edge while they hold them.

Often included when you buy a knife set, they are typically made of wood with angled slots to slide your knives into. But it is this type of set-up that others say that they can do more harm than good.

This is because the crevices where knives are inserted are good breeding grounds for bacteria and mildew. The truth is, this makes sense. Inserting a wet knife in the block which has already accumulated dust and dirt is a recipe for disaster.

But this is a problem that a little cleaning will not solve. Clean your knife block at least once a month. You have to shake out debris that may have gotten inside the crevices first. Then, use a bottle brush with a bleach solution to clean the inside of the block. Dry it completely before you use it again.

Are Henckels knives any good?

The fact that when the brand J.A. Henckels always lands in the lists of best kitchen knives should remove any doubt on the quality of its products. Its hundreds of years of history are not something you can just ignore.

So confident is Henckels is with their knives that it offers a lifetime warranty to back their claim of excellence. Henckels may cater to the more budget-conscious customers than the more pricey Zwilling brand but it nevertheless adheres to the same standard of quality.

Is Zwilling or Henckels better?

Both brands carry different lines of knives separately. Zwilling carries the premium cutlery lines that are manufactured in Germany and Spain. Their knives carry the twin logo or two little stick figures. It is one of the oldest cutlery brands in the world.

J.A. Henckels International carries the entry-level cutlery lines. The products are manufactured in Spain, China, and Thailand. The knives have the single stick figure logo on the blade.

The Zwilling knives are more expensive since they are made from special formula steel and go through a Zwilling signature process of ice-hardening. Henckels are made from ordinary high-quality steel and do not go through the same ice-hardening process.

If people find Zwilling products better than Henckels is probably because it was meant to be that way. After all, it is the premium brand between the two.

Are knife blocks hygienic?

Knife blocks are difficult to clean and sanitize. But, cleaning your knife block to remove the dust, dirt, and bacteria that might have already grown in the crevices.

Start the cleaning process by turning the knife block upside down over the sink. Shake and then tap it to get all particles of dirt out.

You can sanitize the block, and the slots most especially, by spraying a solution of either distilled vinegar or household bleach. Give the solution a few minutes to work.

Rinse the entire block and place it upside down to completely dry. This may take a while but be patient. You don’t want to use it while it’s wet or you will be defeating the purpose of cleaning and sanitizing.

You can rub mineral oil on the exterior of the block to protect its finish. Washing it with water can damage its wood finish.

Are Henckels knives guaranteed for life?

All Henckel products are fully guaranteed against defects in materials and craftsmanship. This warranty however is limited since it does not cover wood products like handles.

Wear and tear from normal use is also not covered. So is damage to the product due to using it besides its intended use. There are instances, however, when they replaced products that were damaged due to the customer’s fault such as the tip of a blade breaking off after being dropped. Another is a broken plastic handle of a knife after years of being used.

Additional Resources

Kitchen Professor author
About the Author: Bryce Heitman

Bryce is not a real professor, but he's real nerdy in the kitchen. He's been barbecuing, chopping, and generally blazing food for many decades. He thinks there's definitely a better spatula or utensil out there that hasn't been invented yet.

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