Best Utility Knives In 2019
When researching utility blades, you can easily find dozens of different options available. As can be the case with any tool, not all utility knives are made equal, and choosing the best utility knife to fit your needs can be important. To help simplify the process of shopping for utility knives we’ve compiled a list of what can be considered the best options available. Hopefully, after reading it you can feel well-informed about what you want from a new knife.
How We Choose Our Ratings
When looking for the best brand and style of a necessary product it can be important to not only consider the information listed by the manufacturer, but to also take into consideration customer reviews and testimonials. The utility knives listed below were chosen as the top 7 after considering a variety of brands using information from several sources. The descriptions of the knives on the list should include both the best and the worst traits of each to help you make an unbiased and well-informed assessment of all the different options.
Top 7 Best Utility Knives
Important for almost any DIY project, utility knives can be a tool you don’t want to find yourself without. Replaceable blades and the wide variety of designs available can make them a practical option that can get work done without breaking your bank account.
While the many different available brands and styles of utility blades can be a good thing for somebody looking for a knife for a specific project, it can also make it challenging to pick out the blade that is right for you. There are a few options that can set apart certain brands from the average utility knife, and certain features may help some knives go above and beyond to give you functionality and durability. Take a look at these top seven utility knives so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Milwaukee Fastback II
With one-handed deployment and secure position locking, the Milwaukee Fastback can be a great all-around utility knife. It has a sturdy design and is easy to use, getting the job done without hassle. Thanks to the hook on the handle, opening containers or bags can be simple to do without even having to open the blade. The handle has a comfortable grip, and the knife should be about the right size to fit comfortably into your pocket. The ability for it to quickly and easily release can allow you to open it using only one hand, which can be a very useful feature.
The Fastback II can be a great knife for work that requires attention to detail or for use in situations where you just need a good sturdy cutting tool. It comes with only one replacement blade, which can be a problem if you end up breaking more than one and don’t have a third backup, and the handle is made of plastic as opposed to the studier materials used on some other knives. Despite this, it can have more pros than cons and be a good tool to get the job done. All-around it scores a high 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Olfa 5003 L-1
If you’re looking for a straightforward, heavy-duty knife, then the OLFA 5003 L-1 should cover just about all the basics you need. With a simplistic design and retractable blade, it can be a very straightforward knife that skips all the extra fluff to give you pure, high-grade functionality. That being said, if you’re looking for something to use for detail work, then this knife probably isn’t for you, as its meant more for cutting through the tuff stuff than giving you an overabundance of control.
The blade of the Olfa 5003 is made of carbon steel and is mounted in a simple handle. While it can be very functional, some people have found that the handle design is uncomfortable to hold. Despite this, the knife is very high quality and ranks equal to the Milwaukee Fastback with 4.5 out of 5 stars.
If the plastic handles of the Milwaukee Fastback and Olfa 5003 aren’t for you, then you might find the Bessey D-BKWH is just to your liking. It has the same one-handed deployment capabilities as the Fastback, but the handle features beautiful wood grain. It is also a good size to fit in your pocket and is a durable knife that functions well in most situations, while having the bonus of a pleasing aesthetic.
The D-BKWH can be different from most other utility knives and feel more like a large pocket knife than a utility knife. While this can be a great feature, especially if you’re used to working with a pocket knife, it may not be the best for professional use. It can handle most average tasks but may prove a bit flimsy in heavy-duty situations. It can also be a bit on the expensive side as compared to other brands, but since utility knives are a fairly cheap tool anyway, this may not be a major issue. The Bessey D-BKWH scores 4 out of 5 stars.
Kobalt Utility Knife
Part of the beauty of a utility knife is that the blades are disposable. Unlike a fancy, expensive pocket knife, you should feel fine wearing down the blades of a utility knife in order to get jobs that require heavy cutting force done. The Kobalt utility knife can be a great option that combines straightforward functionality with the durability and style that you can want from a high-quality knife.
Kobalt utility knives feature a quick-release function that can allow you switch out blades quickly on the job. It comes with 11 spare blades, which should be plenty to keep you going for a good amount of time. While the responses to this knife can be mostly positive, there can be some issues with the blade release button being accidentally pressed while using it, causing the blade to fall out. Other people have noticed that the knife itself can be a bit lower quality than some others and may break after extended use. The knife can still be a very good choice, scoring 4 out of 5 stars.
Why try to choose between a flip release knife or a retractable one when you can get the best of both worlds with the DeWalt 10030? With the ability to switch between both styles of release, it can give you all the steadiness of a retractable blade with a reduced chance of the blade accidentally closing with pressure.
With a very secure locking position and compact design, you can easily carry this blade around with you for whenever you might need it. In addition to the switchable release feature, the 10035 is also equipped with a wire stripping tool. It is a very well-constructed tool that can be water-resistant and very durable. One common issue with the 10035 is the handle which, while very sturdy, can be a bit difficult to grip and may be easily dropped. Despite this, the knife is still a good, high-quality option and ranks a formidable 4 out of 5 stars.
A handle that is comfortable and easy to keep a grip on can be a valuable feature on a utility knife and can help you avoid accidents. The rubber-edged handle on the Stanley Dynagrip can easily give you a lot of grip on the knife, even when you’re wearing gloves or cutting something from a difficult position. The Dynagrip is a retractable knife that is sturdy enough for straightforward jobs, such as cutting shingles or drywall, but may not be the best for heavier substances as the blade may retract on its own if there’s too much pressure applied on it.
While it is a good knife overall, many people can have issues switching out the blades and find it much more difficult to do than with other utility knives. The handle is a great feature that you may not find on many other knives and helps the Dynagrip to earn a reasonable 3.5 out 4 stars.
Tape King Box Cutter
A very economical option, the tape king box cutter meets the intersection of basic, functional, and affordable. With 12 blades coming in a set that costs about as much as any single one of the knives listed above, they are a good choice to use and throw away after they wear out. Since they are so cheap, you shouldn’t be surprised to know that these knives can fail to live up to any big expectations. They are about as basic as it gets, with a retractable design and blade that is strong enough to cut through boxes, mat board, or other soft materials.
Many people who used Tape King Box Cutters claim to have had issues with the locking mechanisms breaking after only a few uses. These aren’t the knives to buy if your looking for any heavy-duty capabilities, but they can be handy to have around for basic tasks. The tape king box cutter earns 3 out of 5 stars.
When purchasing a utility knife, choosing the best option can really come down to finding the knife that fits the specific job you are planning on doing. Most utility knives are built in one of three styles. These styles are:
The different designs may be suited for different tasks. For example, fixed blades can be the strongest and most durable, but can also be overly large and hard to control. They can be best suited for professional use in construction and other heavy-duty purposes. Folding blades can be easy to use and store, while still having a strong enough design for cutting through tough materials, but they may be a bit wobbly and less secure than other designs. A retractable knife can offer you all the steadiness of a fixed blade with the compactness of a folding blade, but they can be bad for hard materials such as wood, as they can often retract on their own when too much pressure is applied.
Evaluating the List
The knives listed above should cover the best of the folding and retractable knives available. Most are well under $20 on Amazon with a few being under $10, so experimenting a bit to find out which knife you like the best shouldn’t be too expensive. Since a utility knife isn’t generally a very big investment, you can feel comfortable buying one without too much stress. If you’re looking for a professional-grade blade, then you may want to consider another source that focuses more on the fixed-blade options, as this article mostly covers the style of knives that are suited for use around the house for routine tasks and DIY projects.
A few points you can consider when purchasing a utility knife are:
- the sturdiness of the design
- the ease with which you can grip the handle
- whether or not the knife is suited for heavy-duty cutting
- whether or not the knife is good for detail work
- how easy it is to switch out the blades
You will probably find that many knives are strong in one or two areas and weak in others, so prioritizing the features that are most important to you can be helpful in making a choice. Cost of replacement blades can also be a wise thing to consider as utility knife blades are made to be disposable and you can expect to need to switch them out often.
While the top options on this list can be the Milwaukee Fastback II and the Olfa 5003 L-1, any of the knives listed above could be the right one for you. Considering the rankings of each knife and comparing them to your own specifics needs can help you make the best choice for you. In the end, you may find that the cheaper option of the Tape King Box Cutter knife makes more sense for you to purchase, or that you want the visually pleasing, sturdy design of the Bessey D-BKWH. In the end, the strengths and weaknesses of each knife can make them better or worse suited for different individuals with different needs.