The Best Utility Knives Reviews in 2018

Best Utility Knife Reviews

The utility blade is the fast friend of every handyman and DIY enthusiast, we highly endorse the Vermont knife! They’re pretty much indispensable for a lot of tasks and they take a lot less work to keep ready for hard tasks than a pocket knife. Unfortunately, many seem to just go with a dollar store blade and don’t bother to invest to make a real choice when it comes time to choosing one of these knives. Make the investment in a quality razor knife, however, and you’ll never look back.

One of these knives is sure to meet the needs and budgets of pretty much anyone. Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at each so that you can see just how they’ll benefit you.

Best
overall
pick!

Vermont Best Folding Utility Knife

Best overall: Vermont Utility Knife

This might just be the best folding utility knife ever made. Period. If you can afford it, you should add it to your tool kit as soon as possible.

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Top 5 Best Utility Knifes

Name Type Rating
Vermont Folding Folding with Standard Knife Blade 5 Check Price
3-pack Utility Knife Set Sliding 4.5 Check Price
Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Button Press with Unique Mechanism 4.5 Check Price
Magnelex Folding Utility Folding 4 Check Price
Kobalt Utility Knife Folding 4 Check Price

1. Best Overall

Vermont Best Folding Utility Knife

Vermont Folding

Product Rating
5/5




Looking for something a little bit fancier? This 2-in-1 blade might be exactly what you’re looking for. Once you can tear your eyes away from the wood paneling on the handles, you’ll find it’s a solid choice for nearly anyone.

The razor section is of the most value for a home handyman and it constitutes the main cutting edge you’ll be using. It comes with a handy liner lock which most people familiar with pocket knives will be able to work naturally, just press it over and fold the blade back.

The frame of the knife and the regular blade are made of stainless steel, so it’s sure to last a long time.

Speaking of the regular blade, there’s a couple of issues. The knife is serrated for about half of its length and it’s made of stainless steel which can mean it’s hard to sharpen with traditional methods.

Of course, since you also have a razor blade on the other end, sharpening won’t be a problem and the serrations can come in handy when you need to cut something a bit thicker than the razor will handle.

The only issue is that it uses a thumb screw to release the razor, as opposed to a single button press. This is a little bit inconvenient but the quality of the frame and the addition of the knife blade still place it far ahead of anything else available.

Pros and Cons

  • High build quality
  • Regular knife blade
  • Liner lock
  • Folding with pocket clip
  • Expensive
  • Thumb screw for changing blades

2. Best Budget Knife

HDX 377 784 x3 Retractable

3-pack Utility Knife Set Knife with Rubber Handle

Product Rating
4.5/5




These are pretty much your bog standard utility knives, made by the company HDX. They’re of fair quality, but nothing special at the end of the day.

What’s great about this set is the ability to pick up three for a surprisingly good price. Three knives means that you can lose one or two and not be completely out of luck, and most people have lost a utility knife or two in their time.

They also have rubberized grips, which make them great for working in hotter environments where your hands are getting sweaty. Cutting up ducting and insulation in an attic? You’ll be glad for it, trust us.

Three position blades can be useful for some purposes, like opening boxes without damaging the goods inside of them, but as far as DIY goes they’re not really a necessary feature. Nice to have, but useless for most of us.

They only come with one blade per knife, and there’s no quick release mechanism for when you need to change blades, however. Buy a box of good quality blades if you decide to pick these ones up.

These are great for the novice who just wants to make sure they have a serious utility knife around without spending a whole bunch of money.

Pros and Cons

  • Three knives
  • Super cheap
  • Rubberized handle
  • Three position locking on blade
  • Nothing special
  • Only one blade per knife

3. best Auto-Loading Knife

Alltrade 150003

Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading

Product Rating
4.5/5




Most people who work with utility knives frequently end up preferring folding blades, but this is the Cadillac of sliding blades. It’s easy to open and the unique mechanism includes blade storage and makes it amazingly fast to replace blades.

Let’s face it, razors dull out pretty quickly. That might be fine for cutting open boxes and even drywall, but if you’re into precision applications like cutting carpet then a sharp blade is worth it’s weight in gold.

Most sliding utility knives will require you to disassemble the knife in some fashion in order to get the blade out and the new one in, but the Alltrade Auto-Loading Squeeze action lets you pull a blade out and slide one in from the storage without any extra hassle.

If you’re planning on using it for boxes, be aware of one thing: the blade isn’t going to slide back into the handle like most squeeze knives will and there’s only one way to lock the blade: all out.

For around the home, however, this is the utility knife you want.

If you’re willing to make the investment and want the best sliding utility knife on the market, this is a solid investment. The unique mechanism puts it head and shoulders above the competition.

Pros and Cons

  • Auto-loading
  • Easy action
  • Ergonomic grip
  • High build quality
  • Blade always locks all the way out
  • Heavy for a utility knife

4. Best Value For The Money

Magnelex Folding Utility

Magnelex Folding Utility Knife

Product Rating
4/5



Not everyone needs a masterful blade, and if you’re just looking to pick up a cheap folding utility knife the Magnelex makes a lot of sense as a first choice.

It easily folds down to make it compact and protect you from the blade. When unfolded, sliding a simple lever will keep the blade locked out.

Folding utility knives are favored by a lot of people because of the quick blade changes which are possible when you have one and the Magnelex is no different. A single button press allows you to remove the blade to change it out for a fresh one.

Meanwhile, the skeletonized handle keeps the entire thing fairly light so you won’t have to worry about it tearing your pocket when it’s clipped on. This seems to have come at the cost of some ergonomics, however, but whether that affects you will depend largely on the task at hand.

It comes with a pack of five extra blades right from the manufacturer, so you can worry about getting more later if you don’t have a huge project in mind.

There’s one final issue, if you’re familiar with knives then you’re likely expecting a thumb toggle. The Magnelex has one, but it’s a flat piece of plastic instead of the usual round switch, making one handed opening a little bit more difficult.

If you want a quality folding utility knife for light work and aren’t interested in spending a whole lot of money, then the Magnelex is just what you’ve been looking for.

Pros and Cons

  • Folding, compact design
  • Single button blade removal
  • Lightweight
  • Extra blades
  • No automatic locking
  • Awkward thumb toggle

5. Best Heavy Duty Knife

KOBALT Quick-Change

Kobalt Utility Knife

Product Rating
4/5



This folding utility knife from Kobalt is a solid tool of professional quality. It’s built extremely well and you’ll quickly find it becomes a constant companion while you’re working.

The body of this one is built of aviation-grade aluminum which makes it tough and light, the texture doesn’t just look cool either, it’ll seriously aid in grip when you need to bear down on the knife. The quick release lever is a nice touch as well, allowing you to quickly switch out blades without having to think about it too much. This will allow you to get right back to work.

The handle is a bit straight, but the groove at the front will allow for some surprisingly agile knife handling. 

The locking mechanism activates as it opens, and you can access it from the back. Those who know their knives will recognize it as pretty much the same thing as a standard buck knife. It comes with an extra eleven blades as well, allowing you some time to figure out which style of blade is best for your purposes later on in the process.

The Kobalt is a solid folding utility knife and the low price makes it an absolute bargain. Go with it for heavy duty tasks without having to spend a whole lot of money.

Pros and Cons

  • Aluminum body
  • Stainless steel clip
  • Top lock activates when opened
  • Quick change blade release
  • Not super ergonomic
  • Thin rubber strip on grip won’t aid much with sweaty hands

What is a Utility Knife?


While there’s a few different types of utility knife around, we focused on razor knives as they tend to be much longer lasting and higher-quality than the razor ribbon strip “box cutters” which can be found cheaply pretty much anywhere.

A utility knife is made to be sharp and provide a clean cutting edge which will cut through nearly anything.

They do this by using a removable razor instead of the standard knife blade you see in most pocket knives.

They’re used very widely for different tasks. Around the home the primary uses will be on drywall, carpeting, and linoleum but they’re also useful for crafts involving thick, hard to cut materials like leather.

What are the Advantages of a Utility Knife?

The primary advantage offered by a utility knife over a standard blade is the fact that they use a razor instead of a permanent blade.

While a pocket knife can be used for many of the same tasks, the variation in blade shapes and sizes tend to make it a little bit more difficult and sharpening one takes a good amount of time.

Even the slowest utility knife will be quicker to switch a blade than it is to use a pass-through sharpener on a pocket knife blade.

The straight cutting edge provides some mechanical advantage when it comes to exerting downward pressure, but the real advantage lies for those who haven’t spent a lot of time with knives in that fashion. Simply put: it’s harder to draw a curved blade in a straight line.

Razor blades also tend to be quite a bit stiffer and thinner than a pocket knife, allowing you to cut through materials like drywall with a surprising amount of ease while remaining accurate.

Overall, they’re really just an essential part of the tool kit.

What Type of Utility Knives are There?

Most will fall into two categories: sliding or folding.

Sliding Utility Knives

Sliding knives are closer to a fixed blade.

They allow you to exert a greater amount of pressure on the knife without the fear of it breaking and some of them will allow you to lock the blade in multiple positions in order to get just the amount of blade you need at the moment out.

They’re preferred for uses where you have to exert a lot of pressure on the blade. Thick drywall, for instance, can be tough enough for a careless person to break a cheap folding utility knife.

They’re generally more suited for the tool bag than the pocket, however, which makes them unpopular with a lot of people. Those which have a quick release mechanism should just be dropped in a pocket.

Folding Utility Knives

Folding knives usually follow the familiar pattern of a pocket knife, and most of them function in roughly the same way. Essentially, you unfold them and you’ll have your razor in your hand.

As a whole they tend to be lighter, allowing for more agility for precise tasks but the main reason people use them is portability. Almost invariably they will have a pocket clip and there’s no risk of one opening in your pocket.

What to Look for in a Utility Knife?

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There’s only a couple of things that you’ll need to keep an eye on in order to make sure you end up with a good utility knife, but they’re very important at the end of the day.

The Body

What Type of Utility Knives are There

The main thing that you need to be on the lookout for when you’re choosing a utility knife is the construction of the body. Everything else about them is really convenience.

A well-built utility knife body will hold together longer. Most people will end up spending more on blades over time than they do on knives, so don’t cheap out here.

The ergonomics of the handle are very important as well. Utility knives should be able to be used with a lot of finesse so that you can use them for a lot of different tasks.

For a sliding knife, this is really the only concern unless the knife has a truly unique mechanism.

Lock Type

Depending on how often you use pocket knives, this can be an important factor. A lot of us like to be able to open and close a knife one handed and a liner lock is the best way to do that.

Locks on the back of the body of the knife are also acceptable for most people.

Sliding locks are fine for most people as well, but make sure that the knife is locked in place before you begin to use it.

Grip

Textured grips are a nice thing to have, especially if you’re working in hot conditions. This is different from ergonomics, but having a knife slip out of your hands isn’t good for anyone.

Rubberized grips are ideal for most people but they aren’t something to trade in for at the expense of quality in other areas.

Blade Types

While a standard razor works quite well for most tasks, some people will undoubtedly want to make their knives even more suited for the job at hand.

Most utility knives will take both double sided razors and hook blades without any modification. 

Straight edged razors are shaped like a trapezoid with a sharpened bottom and they’re truly the ideal for most tasks that you might find yourself working at. They come in a variety of hardness ratings for different tasks, but there’s really no reason to get into all of that. Investing in a pack of 50 blades will last you for a long time regardless of what you’re doing.

Hook blades, on the other hand, are ideal for cutting material that comes in flexible sheets. Leather and flooring are two of the main uses, since they allow you to hook the blade over and pull towards you to provide an even, controlled cut without risking the material underneath.

Conclusion

A utility knife is something that everyone should have in their tool box or junk drawer. They really are that useful. If you’re planning on any kind of DIY work, ditch the plastic junk and invest in a real utility knife. You’ll quickly find out it’s a small price to pay for the convenience you’ll be afforded.

References

  1. http://www.toolstop.co.uk/
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/
  3. https://www.sliceproducts.com/
  4. https://www.stanleytools.com/






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