Utility knives are a key part of any person’s toolkit, whether you’re a DIY hobbyist or a highly-skilled professional. There are very few situations where it’s detrimental to have one, and you never know when you’ll need to slice through a certain material or make a quick cut to mark out a measurement you’ve taken.
However, not all knives are created equally, and utility knives are no exception. However, unlike conventional kitchen knives, the differences aren’t just in the sharpness and aesthetics – some will allow for varying lengths or interchangeable blades, and others might be built purely for slicing up a certain material. Buying the right tool is important, especially if you’re planning to use it quite often.
Below is our list of ten utility knives that stand out from the rest, along with some reasons why they might be perfect for you.
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View the Best Utility knife, Below.
- Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife
- Craftsman 9-94835 Lockback Utility Knife
- Stanley 10-099 6 Classic Retractable Utility Knife
- Milwaukee 48-22-1903 Fastback 3 Utility Knife
- Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife
- Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives
- DEWALT DWHT10035L Folding Utility Knife
- Kobalt Foldable Utility Knife
- Irwin Industrial Tools Fixed Utility Knife
- Alltrade 150003 Utility Knife
1. Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife
This pocket utility knife is small, simple, and easy to use, allowing you to cut through thin surfaces without carrying around a bulky knife that'll weigh you down. The handle can be clipped to your pocket for easy carrying, and the blade itself can easily be removed and replaced if it gets damaged or dented from overuse.
The main body of the knife is made from stainless steel, improving its durability without adding to its weight or bulk, and the rounded edges on its design mean that you won’t accidentally cut stab yourself with a sharp corner while you’re trying to slice something open. When closed, the entire knife shrinks down into a tiny almost-rectangular shape that you can store nearly anywhere.
This utility knife is small, convenient, and can be stored almost anywhere, making it an ideal tool for emergencies where nothing bigger is available.Check Price on Amazon ➞
2. Craftsman 9-94835 Lockback Utility Knife
This two-piece set of utility knives comes with both a full-sized and miniature knife, both of which use the same general design and components on different scales. The Lockback blade mechanism allows you to secure the front half of the knife by simply unfolding it, rather than having to lock it manually every time you want to use it.
Made out of heavy-duty steel and using an ergonomic grip, both knives are ideal for slicing through a range of different materials and surfaces, with the larger knife being double the size of the smaller one. The smaller piece has its own keyring-style attachment, allowing you to clip it to a belt or bag for easy access, and both can be folded up to lose about one-third of their unfolded size.
These utility knives are durable, sharp and complement each other well, with the larger knife's cutting power being offset by, the smaller ones more maneuverable body.Check Price on Amazon ➞
3. Stanley 10-099 6 Classic Retractable Utility Knife
This retractable utility knife hides a three-position blade that can be pulled back into its handle for safe storage, allowing you to quickly pull out and extend your knife without worrying about catching your hand on the blade. As expected with Stanley knives, the body and blades are made out of heavy-duty materials that can last a long time, even in bad weather or after frequent use.
The interlocking nose is designed to keep the blade as steady as possible, especially while you’re using it to cut something. It takes a lot of force to push it back into the handle, meaning that you won’t bread it or make it retract during normal use.
This utility knife mixes durability with safety, giving you a tool that’s great for all kinds of tasks without putting your hands at risk.Check Price on Amazon ➞
4. Milwaukee 48-22-1903 Fastback 3 Utility Knife
This flip-open utility knife has plenty of storage space for extra blades, with room for up to four replacement blades at any given time. This allows you to quickly swap them out if one gets damaged, rather than having to go and find or buy another one. Thanks to its rotating design, you can lock the blade at a 45-degree angle to create a razor-style cutting tool for extra force.
However, even when it's locked in the normal blade position, there are still some useful features on offer. The wire stripping compartment lets you quickly and easily strip wires without needing an extra tool, and the gut hook in its design means that you can cut certain objects even while the knife is closed.
This utility knife is incredibly simple in concept, but offers a lot of extra features and ways to cut objects, combining the jobs of multiple different tools into a single body.Check Price on Amazon ➞
5. Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife
Designed for cutting open boxes, this utility knife uses a lightweight and easy-to-move design that’s perfect for making quick slices into thin materials, such as cardboard. The aluminum handle and snap-lock mechanism give you plenty of grip and stability when you’re working, with some design inspiration taken from standard lock-back knives. The handle itself uses an easy-to-grip texture that makes it much harder to accidentally drop the knife, even if it’s slightly slippery from the rain.
Replacing the blade is easy, and you don’t need to take apart anything to access it – you simply have to remove the metal frame holding it in place and insert a fresh blade, then you’re ready to start cutting again. Thanks to the built-in belt clip, you can carry it on a belt or bag rather than having to keep it in your pocket.
This utility knife is ideal for any situation where you need to cut through soft materials, using sharp blades and a simple body to make even the most tedious jobs slightly easier.Check Price on Amazon ➞
6. Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives
This three-pack of lock-back utility knives gives you three identically-powerful tools to work with, all of which have the same excellent design features. Each knife uses a textured grip to provide you with better control of where your knife is going, even if it's wet, as well as a fold-in design that allows you to keep the blade safely squirreled away inside the handle when you're not using it.
The belt clip and lanyard loop on each knife's handle gives you an easy way to carry them around while still keeping them easily accessible. Since you have three, you can keep two in a safe place (such as a bag) and carry the third on your belt, ready to use at a moment's notice.
These utility knives are an excellent choice for situations that need heavy-duty gear, but they’re also safe enough to use for almost any purpose, even small DIY projects around the house.Check Price on Amazon ➞
7. DEWALT DWHT10035L Folding Utility Knife
This folding utility knife boasts an excellent Rapid Load system that makes changing blades incredibly simple, even if they’re damaged or wearing down. The built-in blade storage means that you can carry spares with you even if you’re leaving your toolkit behind, and its retractable nature combined with the folding design gives you two different ways to ensure that it’s safe to hold.
The two-part is another added bonus, with the metal keeping the blade sheltered and the non-metal grip ensuring that the components aren’t rusted by the rain. You can unfold the blade one-handed if needed, something that many designs forget to include, allowing you to quickly pull it out while you’re carrying something or you’re holding onto a ladder.
If you need a knife that you can quickly and easily pull out to take care of unexpected mistakes, this may be one of the best on the market, thanks to its rugged and one-hand-friendly design.Check Price on Amazon ➞
8. Kobalt Foldable Utility Knife
This folding utility knife uses a heavy-duty, aviation-grade handle that provides a massive boost to its overall durability, keeping the essential internal components safe from both weather-related and physical damage. Made of stainless steel, its metal parts are similarly well-protected and can take a lot of damage before showing any signs of wear and tear.
This knife comes with ten spare blades, as well as one already mounted and ready to go, as well as a belt clip that allows you to keep it connected to your belt or bag rather than leaving it in your pocket. With no particular bias towards a specific material or situation, it's great for all kinds of general-purpose cutting jobs, especially in situations that need durable and reliable tools.
This utility knife is built to cut, and can work well in nearly any situation. It doesn’t lean towards any particular material, so it will slice through most thin surfaces and materials if given enough time.Check Price on Amazon ➞
9. Irwin Industrial Tools Fixed Utility Knife
This simple, ergonomic utility knife is designed to be as easy-to-use as possible. Getting into its body to replace the blade is incredibly simple and doesn’t even require any tools, and the angled grip uses plenty of padding to ensure that it won’t slip out of your hands while you’re using it, helping you get the perfect cutting angle every single time.
The knife includes three of Irwin's blades, and you can store up to five inside the handle, allowing you to quickly swap in new ones if one of them breaks or dents. This makes it an excellent knife for traveling since you can bring up to six blades with you – enough to last a long time, even if you're using it constantly.
This utility knife is simple and effective, avoiding any obstructive gimmicks and giving you a simple tool that can cut through a surface cleanly and efficiently.Check Price on Amazon ➞
10. Alltrade 150003 Utility Knife
This high-quality utility knife focuses on heavy-duty materials and extra durability, creating a long-lasting tool that can take a lot of punishment and keep on cutting. The built-in blade storage means that, even if you break a blade, you can pull out a new one and switch them out in under three seconds.
The high-quality components mean that the knife will have a long lifespan, even if you’re using it in situations where weather damage and/or physical damage is common. This makes them great for professionals or people who like to take on big DIY projects, and although there aren’t adjustable settings like some other knives, the “all out or all in” design means that it’s much more stable and sturdy as a result.
This utility knife is incredibly long-lasting and is designed to take on extremely heavy-duty situations, making it ideal for people who need one consistent knife that will last them a long, long time.Check Price on Amazon ➞
Utility Knife Buyer’s Guide
Buying a knife is never easy, especially when it’s meant to help you with DIY projects or professional construction/decoration jobs. Exceptionally few utility knives are designed as a jack-of-all-trades, and you’ll often end up comparing knives with entirely different sets of features, especially as you move towards the heavy-duty end of the quality spectrum.
Knowing what to look for and what to avoid in a utility knife is an important step towards purchasing one that actually suits your needs. Don’t just go for the first knife you see – while it might work, it can still end up being a waste of money once you find something much better.
Looking for a traditional and interesting option? A Kukri knife may be just what you’re looking for!
While most utility knives will let you swap out the blades, it’s never a good sign if the default blade of the knife is in poor condition. After all, if a mass-produced blade is in bad shape, how can you know that the rest of the knife isn’t?
The blades that come with your utility knife will also usually be the ones you test it with, and first impressions are everything, especially if you don’t have the budget to order some higher-quality replacement blades right away. Most of the cutting power comes from the sharpness and durability of the blade, not the knife’s body itself, and there are only so many features that can alleviate that problem.
In fact, if you’re really unlucky, the blade might even break and get jammed in the knife – and it’s not easy to pull it out with your hands, even if you’re wearing protective gloves. If it’s shattered inside the knife, you might even have to throw the entire tool away, since it takes a lot of skill and luck to clear a blockage like that without getting hurt.
Certain utility knife blades are also designed for certain materials, and can’t take on others. The most common are the ones you see on some box cutters, which are only supposed to work on cardboard and will break on anything harder – if a tool is advertised for a specific purpose, you can usually be sure that the blades might only be suited for that said purpose, and won’t hold up to other challenges well.
Having a good hold on your utility knife is important for both your own safety and the efficiency at which you’re cutting. It might not sound that important, but taking three extra seconds to make a cut can really add up if you’re doing it hundreds of times per day, and a bad grip can be partially responsible for this. Cutting is as much about the angle as it is the sharpness of the blade, so you need something that can help you get your hand in the proper position.
There’s also the issue of slippery grips – dropping a knife is almost always dangerous, since you have no idea where it will bounce or what angle it will be facing at when it lands. This can be avoided with textured materials or designs, but a smooth grip will still suffer from this unless it’s made out of rubber or some water-resistant fabric. It doesn’t even have to be raining for this to be a problem – water vapor, humidity, and sweat can all lead to your hold on the knife being much looser.
A lack of ergonomics can also be a problem, albeit one that only really affects the user. Using a utility knife that’s not built for human hands properly can get painful, and you might even end up with cramps or sores if you’ve been putting a lot of force into your cutting motions.
While it’s not usually that important for safety purpose (unless it can’t be locked properly), the way that your utility knife unfolds or extends can become an important factor in buying a new knife for experienced users. Most people will eventually start to get used to one method and prefer to stick with it unless they have no other choice, and the muscle memory involved can make it harder to use a different type of knife.
For example, if you’re used to utility knives that allow you to fold them in half once you’re done using them, you might end up putting your hand on the blade of a retractable model when you’re not thinking about it. The opposite is also true: you might go looking for a retraction button that’s not there, or a joint that doesn’t exist. At the very least, you could get stuck fiddling with your knife instead of focusing on your work, and at worst you might even slice open your hand or drop the knife completely.
Unfortunately, if you absolutely need to use a type of knife that you’re not used to, you’ll just have to try and stick with it. The muscle memory that your brain is used to will eventually fade away, but you’ll still need to be careful that you don’t follow your instincts and slice open a finger.
Even the most durable knife blades are vulnerable to impacts from the side – try to avoid bashing the side of the blade into anything. With weaker makes, this might even lead to it snapping in half instantly, possibly getting it stuck in the knife or bouncing right back towards your body.
Did you know?
Gloves can be both a help and a hindrance. Sharper knives will cut right through them anyway, and they can make your fingers feel clumsier, so don’t be afraid to take them off if you’re doing something that needs a much more precise range of movement.