There may be no other knife that sees as much daily use as the utility knife. In fact, the best utility knife is used so much that the changing of blades is integral to the design of modern models. In other words, the blade on a utility knife sees so much action, it’s simply not time or cost-efficient to re-sharpen it.
While the utility knife is an absolutely necessary tool for people doing supply, shipping, and other work involving cardboard boxes and tape, there are many other trades that benefit from these knives as well. Several construction trades use these tools daily. Hobbyists and craftsmen often keep one or two around for trimming and carving a wide assortment of materials.#
Indeed, the utility knife is an understatedly remarkable piece of equipment that brings the function of a surgeon’s scalpel into a far less delicate (and useful) form.
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What to Look For in a Utility Knife
As one might expect from such a useful tool, there is an immensely wide variety of utility knives available for purchase. There are some that are long-lasting and worthy of adding to your own tool collection, and there are others that are quick and cheap offerings designed to last only long enough to get your money.
This is why our review team carefully considers each selection against a set of criteria that is custom-suited to the type of knife being reviewed. After all, it isn’t fair to judge a kitchen knife by a military combat knife’s standard, is it?
The first area we considered with these utility knives was their overall safety. This includes the sturdiness of the housing, the grip, ergonomics, as well as any safety features included in the knife’s design.
Generally speaking, utility knives are used in work environments where they are picked up to make a cut, then placed back down. These actions are often repeated throughout the day, which can lead to complacency. Therefore, utility knives that take extra steps to ensure their users’ safety should always be chosen over cheaper alternatives that do not.
Easy Blade Changeout
Another thing to consider is how easily the blade can be flipped or changed out. As we mentioned, these knives see a tremendous amount of repetitive use, sometimes on materials that are a bit unforgiving. Some kinds of work will require several blade changes throughout the day, and that if that process is quick and easy it brings great benefit.
Some of the things to look for are blade trays that (safely) overextend, latches that are easy to open but stay shut otherwise, or similar innovative designs that simplify blade change out without compromising safety. Some people may favor utility knives with blade compartments, allowing there to always be fresh blades on hand.
Value vs Quality
We also mentioned earlier that there is an abundance of knockoffs and cheap utility knives out there. We can all appreciate frugality and the importance of value in anything we spend our hard-earned money on. However – don’t fall into the trap of compromising quality in exchange for an illusion of value.
Coming here and researching is a great start, and you can rest assured that all of our selections are carefully considered to meet the criteria we are discussing now. Whatever you do, carefully consider the quality of the knife you choose and be certain it is up to the task you intend it for.
Utility Knife Reviews
The Prybrid Utility’s retractable blade features a cord-cutting notch to slice through rope, twine, or paracord without having to extend the blade. Additionally, the slide-lock mechanism prevents dangerously over-extending the blade – until you are ready to replace the blade.
Perhaps the most unique (and impressive!) feature of this utility knife is its pry bar. The butt-end of the knife’s body is formed into a hardened flat bar with a slot for nail-pulling. The pry bar end is also designed to be used as large & small flat drivers, a wire stripper or bottle opener, and also includes a lanyard hole.
The ambidextrous button allows for lightning-fast one hand opening. it is fabricated from stainless steel that is finished in a bright red for visibility. The ergonomics of the entire knife are well designed with texture bumps, spine jimping, and a smoothly curved contour that are all easy to overlook but make the final difference.
This knife, admittedly, looks like many of the similar designs offered by big brand retail stores like Kobalt, Sheffield, etc. – but that’s where it ends. Once you pick this well-built utility knife up in your hand, you feel why it is the professional’s choice.
The design of this knife implies its suitability for heavier duty tasks, while the rubberized grip should help with comfort and gripping with wet hands. This utility knife features a blade storage compartment for holding up to 5 extra blades; these are the blades used during the auto-fill process, of course.
We’ve reviewed many knives of this style that try to include all sorts of gimmicks within the housing. The intent is to capitalize on all available space within the housing and provide the knife with more features (we told you it was a competitive market). In this style of utility knife, you do often see a blade storage cabin, but the Auto-Load mechanism is a stroke of brilliance!
This knife brings great value, with the 2-for-1 pricing, but the lack of a blade cabin or any other unique features allowed the other selections to surpass it in review. It still outperforms many comparable utility knives on the market in terms of quality, and notably in grip. The rubberized wrapping looks slick but allows for excellent grip – even with sweaty hands.
Well-suited for working environments such as shipping and receiving, or ther light-duty work. These knives aren’t designed to take tons of abuse, so don’t plan on dropping them on concrete or try them out cutting inappropriate materials.
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The blade opens and locks on a lock-back design, with the release button located on the spine. We have noticed this style is often easier to operate for those unaccustomed to using knives, as the design is pretty intuitive.
Each of these knives is an excellent choice for Everyday Carry (EDC), riding comfortably and snugly in any pocket. The aluminum frame is durable and it’s construction is solid. A perfect choice for anyone that wants to keep their knife handy for any quick cutting task that might come up.
As we conclude our review of utility knives let’s quickly reflect on what we covered here. First, we discussed how important it is to consider safety features, blade change out methods, and the value against the quality. With so many options available, it can be easy to waste money on a knife that isn’t suited for the job or worse – isn’t suited for any job!
Our Best Overall pick went to the Gerber Prybrid, a utility knife built to do work and outlast any other utility knife you’ve ever known. With its tough G-10 handle designed for prying and the abundance of other features packed into this knife, it will be the last one you ever need to buy.
Our pick for Best utility knife went to the PrvnPro folding utility knife, owing considerably to its top-notch construction and attention-to-detail. The knife is an example of great craftsmanship and demonstrates very well that utility knives don’t need to be cheap throwaways. If you’re looking for a utility knife you can carry every day in your pocket, this is going to be one worth looking at.
And finally, our selection for Best Budget utility knife went to Orientools Auto-Load Box-Cutter. The auto-loading feature is just too cool (and safe!) to ignore, especially for DIY types or people that may not be as comfortable around these knives as someone who uses them every day.
We hope you found the information here to be both insightful and helpful, and that maybe you even found exactly what you were looking for! In any case, if you’re here you’re on the right track. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!