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Bench Scrapers

From Favorite Ways with the Catch of the Day

How we tested

Also known as a bench knife, board scraper, or dough cutter, a bench scraper has as many and varied uses as its many names suggest. We’ve tested several over the years and favored those with steel blades and comfortable rubber, nylon, or plastic grips. But when we recently ordered a few new copies of our previous winner, we found that instead of the sharp blade edge we expected, these scrapers had a blunt edge that struggled to cut through all types of dough and required real effort to dislodge pie dough. A representative from the manufacturer said that our previously winning model had not changed, but clearly something in the manufacturing had (we ordered multiples to confirm). We decided that it was time to reevaluate, so we rounded up five bench scrapers in a range of styles to square off against our old favorite. For scraping, trimming, or cutting dough into smaller pieces, testers strongly preferred thin, deeply beveled edges, which made it easier to dislodge sticky pie dough from the counter and neatly portion off bread and pizza doughs. One model’s extra-long plastic blade was an advantage for speedy cleanup, but its ultrathin, slippery plastic handle made it unwieldy for much else. A dustpan-shaped scraper scooped up diced herbs and vegetables in a snap and transferred them neatly to a pot, but its edge was too dull for dough work. In the end, a model that we’d liked in the past that had lost to our previous winner because of the latter’s sharp blade (now a nonissue) proved best of the bunch. Our winner has a deeply beveled edge that quickly slid under pie dough and effortlessly sliced bread and pizza dough. Its textured polypropylene handle was just slender enough, making it easy to grasp and keep flat to the work surface for fast and efficient cleanup.

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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*