BLADE Magazine

Utility Knives: A Worker’s Best Friend

Utility Knives Are The Great All-Rounder For The Home. These Small Blades Are Popular With Contractors And Homeowners Alike To Solve All Sorts Of Problems.

Yes, there is a kitchen knife called a utility knife, but if use the phrase “utility knife” in conversation it’s almost a certainty that you’re talking about the diminutive yet mighty knives that are ubiquitous on job sites and in homes around the country. Even if you call it a box cutter, the person you’re talking to will absolutely know what you mean.

Also called a Stanley knife, because of the company that helped to pioneer them, utility knives are compact blades meant to breeze through the small and mundane tasks that can slow down your flow. 

Cutting through some rope? Utility knife. Need to score a piece of glass? Utility knife? Looking for the best tool to quickly open a box? The utility knife has your back there. 

Whether folding, fixed-blade, or even retractable, these are five of the best, most dynamic utility knives on the market today.

Milwaukee Fastback Flip Utility Knife

Milwaukee Fastback Flip Utility Knife

First on our list is this bright red folder from Milwaukee. Traditionally, folding utility knives have needed two hands just to open, but Milwaukee engineered a deployment system that not only drastically cuts down on time but is also a ton of fun to use.

By pressing the button on the handle you’re able to quickly flick the blade out and into a locked position. Sticking with the convenience theme, you can store a second blade in the handle and can change blades without tools. 

The fact that there is also a built-in gut hook and wire stripper that cuts up to 10 gauge is just ridiculous on top of all the other tech in the knife. The ergonomic handle in the famous Milwaukee red sits well in the hand. This knife really does do it all.

MSRP: $15.59

Workpro Retractable Utility Knife

Workpro Retractable Utility Knife

Retractable utility knives allow you to slide the blade in and out of a fixed handle. This model from Workpro is an excellent example of that with the added bonus of having a huge amount of storage.

The multi-color handle is made from a zinc alloy and rubberized, ergonomic grip. The knife features a four-stage deployment system so you can use just the tip of the blade for finite tasks or send out the whole thing to slice through something beefier.

Inside the handle there’s enough room to store five blades so you’ll never be without a fresh razor to switch to at a moment’s notice.

MSRP: $9.99

Gerber EAB Lite

Gerber EAB Lite

This tight little folder from Gerber is great for your pocket or your purse. When folded, it can tuck away easily thanks to a beefy pocket clip, and when deployed it secures via a liner lock to provide a sturdy hold and cutting edge. 

The stainless steel body looks good and will serve you well when in use. At just 2.5 ounces it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to maneuver. The only knock on this knife is that there is no built-in storage compartment like the knives above. Even without the storage, this is a great utility knife to have with you for daily use. You could even make this your EDC.

MSRP: $18

Stanley 6 In Swivel-Lock Fixed Blade

Stanley 6 In Swivel-Lock Fixed Blade

From the company which innovated the utility knife, this multi-dimensional tool from Stanley is robust enough to be a handy companion on a job site. The contoured handle sits well in the handle and won’t slip even when sweaty on a hot day.

The handle swivels open to hold multiple replacement blades and is compatible with most Stanley replacement blades so you won’t need to stress about finding the right ones. It also comes with three replacement blades in the package to get you off on the right foot.

For a knife this inexpensive, it swings well above its weight. Whether a professional contractor or just a home DIYer, this knife would be perfect for you.

MSRP: $7.99

Olfa LA-X

Olfa LA-X

Our list wraps up with the longest blade of the bunch from Olfa. This retractable knife has a massive, by the standard of a utility knife, 3.25-inch blade which is great for long cuts and can be retracted for more precise slices. The blade is also scored so the top section can be broken off to reveal a sharper tip section.

The handle is made from reinforced fiberglass with an ergonomic rubberized grip which gives you a secure hold of the knife when in use. 

The blade does have a few drawbacks at expense of the longer blade. The locking mechanism is a little wiggly and not as robust as some of the other knives on this list, and the flathead screwdriver tip at the end of the handle isn’t as strong as you might want it to be.

The LA-X is great for less intense cutting tasks, especially those when more extra blade length is needed.

MSRP: $12.50

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