Best Utility Knife in 2020 Complete Reviews with Comparisons

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A utility knife is one of the most commonly used utensils, both in households and industries.

They’re multi-purpose tools that can be used for opening boxes, breaking down corrugated fiberboard, sharpening carpenter pencils, or even in DIY projects.

However, your choice of utility knife depends a lot on the task you’re doing. In terms of specific features, it should be dependable and have razor-sharp edges.

In this article, we’ll outline what to consider when choosing the best utility knife, and review the top utility knives and their key features. Keep reading to learn more.

Comparison Chart

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OLFA 5006 H-1 25mm Rubber Inset Grip EHD Utility Knife
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Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife, 1-Pack
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Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Squeeze Utility Knife
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Heavy Duty Utility Knife, Retractable, Adjustable, with Wire Stripper, Klein-Kurve Handle Klein Tools 44133
WORKPRO Quick-Change Utility Knife, Wood Grain Handle Lock-Back Work Folding Knife with Clip

Best Utility Knife Reviews

OLFA 5006 H-1 25mm Rubber Inset Grip EHD Utility Knife

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Olfa is a decade-old Japanese manufacturer of utility knives, known for its strict quality checks on every product that comes out of their factory. Their products are long-lasting, reliable and sturdy – and this knife is no exception.

Product Highlights

From the moment you pick up the knife, you can feel its sturdiness. It’s made from steel, ABS plastic, and features a little bit of brass in the ratchet.

One of the features of this knife is the blade holder at its tip. When you secure the ratchet mechanism, it keeps the blade from jiggling, ensuring your safety. The knife uses extremely sharp 25mm blades, which you can simply snap off when they become blunt. The ratchet mechanism provides unlimited blade position, allowing you to determine the depth you need for cutting.

It’s also quite versatile, compared to other standard utility knives. You can use it for tough jobs, in your DIY projects, when cutting foam insulation, or drywall.

There’s a life-long warranty on the knife, meaning if anything happens, you’ll be able to quickly replace the blades.

What I Like

This knife can be used for cutting boxes, a whole host of projects, including heavy-duty jobs. Versatility is one of its best features. For that reason, DIY enthusiasts, electricians, and carpenters are big fans. Plus, its blade lock gives you a sense of security when cutting.

What I Don’t Like

The 25mm snap-off blades are hard to find. This lack of availability turns off many people from purchasing the knife. The knife is designed symmetrically so that both left-handed and right-handed people can use it. However, left-handed people have complained of it feeling a bit uncomfortable because of the plastic fastening the blade.

Pros

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Safe
  • Multi-purpose
  • Can tackle extended cutting

Cons

  • Blades hard to find
  • Uncomfortable for left-handed people

Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife

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When a company has been making knives for over 150 years, they must be doing something right. Stanley is a reputable manufacturer, often associated with long-lasting, innovative knives. And this knife’s their cornerstone. It can be used by professionals and for jobs around the house.

Product Highlights

If you’re trying to lead a plastic-free life, you’ll be glad to know this knife is entirely made of carbon alloy steel. It’s got a sleek design, paired with robust construction. This gives you a safe grip without accidental slippages.

This utility knife has three double-ended blades of different lengths. This means that when the blade becomes blunt, you can just flip it and use the other side.

What’s more, they’re the standard kind. Therefore, you won’t have issues finding replacements. For convenience, you can store the extra blades inside the knife.

If you need different lengths, you can extend the blade for safer cutting or trimming. For more delicate work, you can extend the blade out just a little bit.

For bigger cuts, you can extend it to its full limit. The knife is very sharp, so you won’t have to worry about it becoming dull in the middle of your work.

What I Like

For less than $5, you get a knife with a great fit and finish that feels great to the touch. Plus, the retractable blades make it a genuinely safe knife to use.

To start using the knife, you have to press the mechanism on its side, meaning you don’t have to worry about accidental cuts with an open blade.

What I Don’t Like

When you first handle the knife, you  initially don’t see the blades. This can be quite confusing as they’re hidden inside the knife itself.

To get them out, you’ll need a screwdriver. Some users have complained of the low-quality screw that’s difficult to remove and requires a lot of force.

Furthermore, screwing it on again can also be difficult as it often gets jammed. The knife also doesn’t come with any assembly instructions, which can pose inevitable problems.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Retractable double-ended blades
  • Multi-purpose
  • Very sharp

Cons

  • Difficult setup
  • No set-up instructions

Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Squeeze Utility Knife

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You might want to check this utility knife if working fast is vital for you. Removing the blades takes just a couple of seconds. You can fit the new ones within a couple of seconds and continue with your work. Because of its convenience, this knife’s a valuable asset in many toolboxes.

Product Highlights

Sometimes you just need a knife to cut open a box, and you don’t have time to open it with a screwdriver, load the blades, and start cutting. If you’re looking for a convenient utility knife you can start using immediately, this squeeze knife might be the right choice.

The knife feels sturdy and reliable. It has a rubber grip, so it’s easy to control. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about it slipping from your hands while cutting boxes.

It’s quite simple to use it. Just press the black squeeze lever at the bottom of the handle, and the blade automatically extends — simple as that! When you want to close it, press the small black button. And voila!

If you need to change dull blades, just push the yellow button on the handle. You can safely remove the old blade and simply press the black squeeze lever again to start using the fresh blade.

What I Like

This knife is a really good option for everyday tasks. It’s convenient, cuts through heavy cardboard boxes, and isn’t tricky to use. In addition, it’s well-built, stable, and the squeeze mechanism speeds up your work. The blades retract without much effort, and can be changed in no time, making it a fine choice for everyday cutting jobs.

What I Don’t Like

The knife is a bit bulky and unwieldy, so people may have problems using it. After years of use, some have complained of the blades starting to get stuck, or it being a challenge to pull them out.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Well-built
  • Quick-squeeze mechanism
  • Reliable rubber grip

Cons

  • Too bulky and unwieldy
  • Blades getting stuck

Heavy Duty Utility Knife by Klein Tools 

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The new and improved, curved design of this utility knife will make your cutting a lot easier. With a smooth, elegant feel, its ergonomic cushions will provide a safe and comfortable grip.

Product Highlights

This stainless steel knife isn’t bulky, folds fully and easily, and can fit in your pocket. The handle isn’t too big, meaning it will fit well in your hand. It’s well-made, compact, and durable.

Plus, because it’s ergonomically designed, you won’t have problems using it for a long time over the course of a day.

The release button helps you open and close the knife smoothly. Replacing and loading the new blades is quite easy and quick.

Additionally, you can store them inside the storage compartment, meaning you won’t even have to leave the room to swap them when they become dull.

What I Like

The knife is very comfortable, and you can use it for hours on end. It’s compact and convenient to use. The blade changing button is quick and doesn’t require much pushing.

When one side of the blade becomes dull, you can use the other side. Because of its bright color, you won’t have problems finding it, even if you leave it lying on the worksurface or floor among other tools.

What I Don’t Like

Some users have complained about the blades coming out of the knife, which can be dangerous. When they tried to put them back, they wouldn’t stay inside. There have also been reports of occasional problems with the blades loosening when users wanted to replace them.

Pros

  • Not bulky, fits in your pocket
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Quick squeeze mechanism
  • Safe grip

Cons

  • Blades coming out
  • Folding joint tends to get loose

WORKPRO Quick-Change Utility Knife

This knife is made of high-quality stainless steel, meaning it’ll last you for years to come. For the low price, you get a knife that cuts through paper, cardboard, plastic, PVC, etc.

Product Highlights

When you hold this utility knife, you get a real sense of durability because of its heft. It’s got a hardwood handle and an anti-slip grip, keeping you safe when cutting.

The back lock design prevents the blades from wobbling and locks them in place.

This knife is portable and comes with a belt clip. You can store it in your pocket, toolbox, or just clip it on your belt.

You also won’t have any concerns with it annoying you while doing other tasks or driving, since it’s quite short once you fold and clip it.

This utility knife has a patented blade change mechanism. Here’s what you’ll have to do to change the blades:

  1. Press the head-cover
  2. Now drop-down the cover of the blade
  3. Swap the blades

Note: Although the mechanism is safe, always make sure you take care and wear protective gloves.

What I Like

Since this knife uses standard utility blades, you won’t have any issues trying to find them. You can just buy them at the local home improvement store.

In addition to the knife itself being cheap, the blades are also relatively inexpensive. It’s also got a belt clip and is quite short, so it won’t bother you even if you clip it to your belt.

What I Don’t Like

Although made of stainless steel, you can scratch this knife pretty easily. If you’re someone who likes to take care of their tools, this might bother you. Opening the knife with one hand is hard, as the opening mechanism tends to get stuck over time.

Pros

  • Quite cheap
  • Anti-slip handle
  • Uses standard blades
  • Fits easily in the pocket or on a belt

Cons

  • Scratches easily
  • Opening mechanism tends to get stuck

Buyer’s Guide

When buying a utility knife, there are key features to consider. You’re going to use it on a daily basis for different cuttings, so you should think about these when looking to make a purchase.

Types of Utility Knives

You can categorize utility knives according to their usage and types of cutting they can do. First of all, you can use them for small, quick jobs around the house.

Secondly, when doing various DIY jobs, you’ll probably need a box knife. Finally, professionals use them when cutting cardboard boxes, linoleum, drywall, vinyl flooring, etc.

Types of Material

Utility knives can be made of different materials or even a combination of materials. They can be made of stainless steel, aluminum, plastic, wood, or zinc alloy.

The cheapest ones are those made of plastic, which aren’t long-lasting. The most common material for utility knives is stainless steel for its durability. Furthermore, wood is often used for handles as it prevents slippage.

Blade Position

Utility knives can be categorized by their blades. These can be fixed, retractable, or breakaway. The way blades are attached to the handle will also determine if you can use them for basic cutting, DIY projects, or professional jobs.

With fixed utility knives, the blade is always exposed. In turn, your chances of getting hurt are greater.

The blade is in the secured position, and you can’t adjust it. However, it’s also tightly attached, so it won’t wobble. For that reason, people often use these knives for precise cutting, to cut linoleum, or in DIY projects.

Retractable utility knives are among the most popular for regular, everyday usage. They usually have a button that you can press to expose or retract the blade.

With some, you can choose the length of the blade you need for finer cutting. Therefore, they’re safe, if the sliding mechanism can be a bit wobbly in some models.

Finally, breakaway utility knives have snap-off blades, meaning you don’t have to change the blades when they become dull.

Simply cut them with pliers, and you’ll have a new and fresh blade. People usually use these knives for opening boxes, cutting through insulation, etc.

Blade Storage

Many utility knives have blade storage inside them. You don’t have to go and get new blades in the middle of a work task.

You can just get them from the storage and swap them within a couple of seconds. This makes working a lot easier and efficient.

The storage can usually house up to five extra blades, but this varies. You can open it by pressing the button on the utility knife or using a screwdriver to unscrew it.

Handles

The comfort of the utility knife depends a lot on the handle. You need something that will feel comfortable in your hands.

Moreover, the handle needs to provide a secure grip to prevent the knife from slipping from your hand in the middle of a cut.

Nowadays, many utility knives have ergonomic handles, cushioned for your comfort. It allows you to work more productively for a longer time, without getting injured.

FAQs

What is a Utility Knife Used for?

Utility knives or box cutters are tools that are a part of every toolbox. They’re used by professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike.

People use these knives on construction sites, as well as in their homes. You can utilize them for a variety of things, from cutting paper, cartons, opening up packages, to stripping wires, and cutting drywall.

How Do You Use a Utility Knife Safely?

Utility knives are one of the most used tools around. Although they’re generally safe, accidents can happen.

Therefore, it’s always advisable you wear gloves and safety glasses to protect yourself. This way, if anything happens, both your hands and eyes will be protected if slippages happen or the blades start flying around.

First of all, before using the utility knife, you should always inspect it to see if there is any visible damage.

If the blades are dull or rusted, be sure to change them for sharp ones before you start using them.

Be aware that the blades of your utility knife are sharp enough to do the cutting, but also to injure you.

For that reason, always retract the blade when you finish using it. Also, don’t give the knife to someone else if it isn’t retracted. This can cause accidental injuries.

Make sure the knife is used for its intended purpose. Don’t use it to unfasten screws or to loosen up other objects.

When you start cutting, make sure you keep your body and hand out of the cutting line. Also, start cutting away from your body. That way, if your hand slips, you won’t injure your body.

Finally, when disposing of the old blades, make sure you put them in duct tape and then throw them in the bin.

How Do You Sharpen Utility Knife Blades?

Using sharp knife blades is crucial when doing any job. If you use dull blades, you won’t be able to cut anything properly, and you could also hurt yourself.

To sharpen the blades, you need to use the right tools. One method is to use a sharpening stone, which has a coarse side and a fine side.

  1. First, you should put the stone on a chopping board, with the fine side facing down.
  2. Hold the knife at an angle of around 20 degrees and start sharpening the blades.
  3. Use the long directions to sharpen them.
  4. Now flip the stone and repeat the steps.

Another way to sharpen the blades is by using a sharpening steel. You should hold it vertical and away from your body.

The handle should be on top. Just like with the sharpening stone, your angle should be around 20 degrees. Sharpen the blades in long, steady motions.

How Often Should I Change My Utility Knife Blades?

The blades of your utility knife should always be sharp, to help you work more efficiently and safely. If they start rusting, which can happen quite often, this is a sign you should change them. When your blades become dull, you should get rid of them and load the new ones.

Finally, if you have any problems retracting the blades, they may be jammed. If that’s the case, it’s better to replace them.

Can I Use a Utility Knife to Cut Carpet?

In short – yes. You should make sure your blades are sharp before cutting, though. Here’s how you can cut the carpet:

  1. Make a small hole in your carpet.
  2. Pull it up with one hand.
  3. Use the utility knife in your other hand to cut the raised rug.

Final Verdict

Utility knives are incredibly versatile and valuable tools in any household and on any construction site. There are many different kinds used for a myriad of cuttings.

Our recommended option, however, is the OLFA 5006 H-1 25mm Rubber Inset Grip EHD Utility Knife. It’s well-built, sturdy, and can cut various materials. The ratchet mechanism keeps the blades from wobbling, which ensures your safety when using the knife. It also has an unlimited blade position, useful when you want to determine how deep to cut.

As an alternative, you could check the WORKPRO Quick-Change Utility Knife. This knife uses standard blades, so you won’t have problems finding them. What’s more, it’s affordable, small, and fits in your pocket, or on a belt.

Last but not least, whatever knife you choose, always make sure to follow the safety guidelines on how to use it. We’ve listed them here, so read them and make a mental note.

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