Your handy project is only as good as the tools you use. One of the most important in this case is a utility knife. They are useful whether you are a repair man, a tailor or simply a DIY enthusiast with a lot of cutting projects. Here is a comprehensive guide on how to choose the best utility knife.
Table of Contents
What is a Utility Knife?
By definition, a utility knife is a cutting tool with a short blade. More often than not, the blade is less than 5 inches and can either be retracted or folded into the handle. This design is what makes them different. They are distinct from pocket knives in that they usually only contain a single blade and no other accessories.
Types of Utility Knives
- Retractable utility knives : With this type, the blade can slide of the knife body. They also usually feature 3-5 positions that they can be locked to when extracted to access different lengths. They are safe and convenient but limited in terms of blade length.
- Fixed-blade utility knives : The blades on these knives are locked in position. They are also often longer and larger in terms of width. This makes them ideal for use on tougher materials and where deeper cuts are required. However, they are not as safe as the retractable variety with cuts when not in use being more common with fixed blade knives.
- Breakaway utility knives : These have automatic blade-replacement mechanisms for fast, safe and convenient switching. They may hold from 8-13 blades per set. They are good for projects that blunt blades easily like curving.
|Name||Build Material||Our Rating||Price|
|Slice 10514||Ceramic, Rubber, Plastic||4.0||View Price|
|HDX||Aluminum, Rubber||4.2||View Price|
|FC||Steel, Aluminum||4.7||View Price|
|Kobalt||Aluminum, Rubber||4.5||View Price|
|Internet’s Best||Metal, Rubber||4.2||View Price|
|Home Planet Gear||Zinc Alloy, Rubber||4.6||View Price|
|VIVREAL||Steel, Aluminum||4.6||View Price|
|Tarvol||Metal, ABS material||4.6||View Price|
Top 10 Utility Knife Reviews
Here are the highly-rated utility knives for you.
1. Slice 10514 Mini Cutter – Best Mini Utility Knife
This Slice Safety blade is unique from most others on the market as it uses a ceramic blade. This makes it every bit as precise as metallic blades without the vulnerability to staining and the added weight.
The ceramic blade on this knife also offers the benefit of being corrosion-resistant.
Another key feature about this knife’s design is the retractable blade. Using a rubber retractor, you can push the blade out or pull it in to 3 different positions. This also ensures safety when the blade is not in use.
This blade’s retraction mechanism does not have a lock.
You therefore need to hold the rubber retractor while cutting in order to prevent the blade from sliding back in.
- Small compact design for easy use and storage
- Ceramic is rust-resistant
- Limited applicability
2. HDX 60037 – Best Retractable Utility Knife with 3 Extra Blades
This HDX utility knife has a retractable metallic blade. You can slide it open to 3 different cutting positions based on your specific cutting needs.
One incredibly convenient aspect of the design is the fact that the blade locks in place at the different positions. You therefore do not have to worry about losing inches as you cut away.
You also have the 6 inch compact body to look forward to. This makes it very easy to handle while in use.
- The metallic blade is sharp and effective
- Includes 3 extra replacement blades
- The retraction system is difficult to use
3. Stanley 10-099 Classic 99 – Best Stanley Knife
This is yet another utility knife with a 3-position retraction system.
What sets it apart from the other already reviewed is the interlocking nose feature. This holds the blade steady and in its set position as you cut for both safety and easy operation.
The blade is made from carbon alloy steel which is one of the strongest blade materials used on utility knives. It is also stainless and rust-resistant. This ensures both effective cutting and durability.
Finally, it has a key ring hole for easy storage with the rest of your keys. That way you have a free key holder that does more than look pretty.
- It comes with a lifetime warranty
- Strong and durable blade
- It is difficult to open the knife for blade replacement
4. Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife – Best Fold-able Utility Knife
This is a simple foldable blade with a removable 1.5 inch blade. Unlike retractable knives, this model’s blade is fixed. It is therefore ideal for more stable cuts.
It is also a great option if you want a deeper cut because of the blade size. Another great design feature is the 5 finger groove on the handle. This ergonomic design makes it very easy to handle the blade easily and safely during use.
Finally, you have a multi-functional unit on your hands with this knife as it also serves as a wallet with its convenient money clip.
- It has an ergonomic design
- It serves multiple purposes
- The extended blade and fold design make it a safety hazard
5. FC Folding Pocket Knife – Heavy Duty Utility Knife
This knife is the true definition of strength and it is all because of the materials used.
The blade is made from carbon steel which makes it strong and resilient against stains and corrosive elements. The rest of the blade is made from anodized aluminum.
This provides the perfect combination of strength and lightness. That way you get a powerful blade that will not literally weigh you down.
- This knife is highly durable
- It comes with 5 replacement blades
- It has a safe folding mechanism
- It is heavy and bulky
6. Kobalt Utility Knife – Best Box Cutter
This is another option made with an Aluminum handle and steel blades.
Like the FC knife reviewed above, this design makes it strong and durable without compromising on the convenience of light weight.
Something unique about the Kobalt Utility Knife’s design is the presence of a blade dispenser. This can hold up to 10 extra replacement pieces allowing you to safely and conveniently access them when it is time to switch to something new.
- High quality and durable materials
- Compact design for convenient storage
- It is very difficult to open and close
7. Internet’s Best Premium Utility Knife – Best In Grip
This knife has a retractable blade with 3 possible positions.
What makes it stand out is the presence of a quick release button. This not only slides the blades in and out but does so in a swift, safe and convenient manner.
The knife also has a nice ergonomically designed handle for comfortable use. The handle is coated with textured rubber to increase grip.
- It comes with 5 spare blades
- It is comfortable and easy to handle
- Fast blade release and retracting
- Limited applicability
8. Home Planet Gear – Best In Design
This knife model has a 3-position retractable carbon SK5 blade. The material makes it strong and durable.
The 3 point retraction mechanism on the other hand offers the benefit of versatility. You get to choose how long you want the blade to be depending on your needs.
It has a unique handle design that has a closed curve frame. This ergonomic design makes handling the blade not only easy but also safe.
- It is easy to handle
- The blades are extremely sharp and durable
- Easy release and retracting
- It is expensive
9. VIVREAL Heavy Duty Pocket Knives – Best Folding Utility Knife
The blades are made from SK5 blades which is rust resistant.
One unique feature here is the presence of blade cover. This comes in the form of a clear plastic cap that you slip over the blade for safety.
Another great thing about this knife is the stainless steel belt clip. This allows you to hook it onto your belt or waist band for easy access.
- It is easy to use
- It has numerous safety features
- Rust-resistant design
- It is expensive
- It is bulky
10. Tarvol – All Purpose Knife
This model has one of the longest blades with the steel cutters measuring an impressive 4 inches.
This makes it a great option if you want to cut deep whether you are cutting a block of rubber or a thick PVC wire.
It also comes with an auto-lock mechanism. This keeps the blade from retracting while in use or popping out after you pull the blade into the knife frame.
- The blades are very sharp
- It has a non-slip handle
- It is not durable
Buying Guide – 7 Factors to Consider
With so many options to consider, how do you choose the best knife for you?
- Overall size – A blade length of 1 inch to 5 inches should suffice for a utility knife’s application. It is also important to consider the handle size. In a nutshell, the more compact the handle the more convenient it is for you.
- Handle & Grip – A good blade should have rubber reinforcements around the handle. This improves safety by promoting tight grip.
- Blade Quality – For the most part, this is determined by the material use. Carbon steel is by far the best option. However, you can find a few good models out there that use other cheaper materials like ceramic.
- Durability – The frame construction and material will tell you a lot about how long a utility knife will serve you. If it is made from high quality materials like steel and aluminum then you will get full value for your money.
- Ease of Blade Changes – Wearing out of blades with these knives is inevitable and you therefore need to ensure that replacing them will not be a hustle. The best knives are those that allow you to easily replace old blades with new ones without use of any additional tools.
- Blade Storage – Do the blades come in a protective dispenser? If you are looking for value for your money then the answer to this question should be a yes.
- Safety Shield – These are small cap accessories used to cover the blade when not in use. They are great for knives with non-retractable blades. They can also be used with retractable knives when you want to cover the blade without having to slide it back in.
9 Important Safety Tips
- Keep your fingers out of the way of the cutting path
- Use heavy duty cut-resistant working gloves
- Avoid using dull blades
- Throw away old blades in special sharps trash bins with lids
- Invest in blade covers or retractable designs
- Follow a cutting path away from your body
- Keep the knife blade covered or retracted when not in use
- Do not use a knife when intoxicated or medicated
- Ensure that your work surface is stable
What are the different blades on a pocket knife for?
Multi-blade pocket knives will often have about 2 to 4 blades. They differ in length, blade curvature and nature of cutting surface with some being serrated while others are smooth. These are meant to give you options in situations where ordinary blades aren’t up to the task.
What kind of knife should I buy for self-defense?
A retractable knife or a foldable knife with a blade length of at least 4 inches.
When should you use a knife carving?
Knives are great for fine curving when you want to create distinct details in your work.
What are Santoku knives used for?
They are general purpose knives used for cutting needs in the kitchen including cutting meat and vegetables.
What do you use a utility knife for?
A utility knife can be used for cutting thin materials like cardboard, vinyl, plastic and foam.
With all this information you have all you need to go out and find the perfect utility knife for your needs. So start searching and if you need some inspiration you could consult our top 10 list for information on what is available out there.