Utility Knives

A utility knife is an indispensable tool that can be used for many different jobs

Utility Knives Buying Guide

No toolbox is complete without the presence of a utility knife. Whether it features a retractable, fixed or breakaway blade, a utility knife will undoubtedly prove to be one of your most indispensable tools. This guide will teach you the different types of blades are available and their ideal use.

Safety: When using utility knives, always wear eye protection and make sure the blade is properly seated and locked into place prior to cutting. Keep retractable blades sheathed when not in use. Look for blades with rubber nonslip handles to provide a better grip.

Tip: When cutting through thick materials make more than one pass if needed. Make sure blades are sharp because dull blades can easily slip.

Retractable vs. Fixed-Blade vs. Breakaway Knives

Choose between several different types of blades based on your needs.

Retractable knives are a good choice for general or everyday use.

  • Easy to quickly adjust the sharpness and cutting depth of the blades.
  • Blades can be fully retracted into the handle when not in use.
  • Simple knives have a thumb-operated slider that lets the blade slide all the way out and then lock into place. More advanced knives allow you to lock the blade into multiple positions.
  • Knife bodies may be straight or ergonomically curved to fit your hand.

Fixed-blade knives are ideal for heavy-duty cutting jobs.

  • Blades are securely locked into place
  • Offers greater stability for tough jobs
  • Accepts a wider variety of blades for more versatile use
  • Handle sizes and widths vary

Breakaway-blade knives are usually housed in a brightly colored plastic casing and feature segmented blades that can be broken off in sections to provide a fresh, sharp edge whenever you need it.

  • Ideal for tasks that constantly dull or otherwise affect blades.
  • Best used for light- and medium-duty cutting tasks
  • Blades usually have between 8 and 13 segments
  • Do not accept different blades for specialized tasks
  • Break off blade tips as soon as they become dull

Blade Types

There are a number of other specialized blades in addition to standard utility blades designed for different tasks, including carpet, hobby and craft, hook and linoleum knives.


  • Features double-edged blades used for cutting carpeting

Hobby and Craft

  • Used for cutting, carving, whittling, modeling, trimming and scoring a wide range of materials.
  • Often constructed from strong, light-weight aluminum and have a round, slender body for more precise control.
  • Blade designs include low-angle and curved


  • Used for cutting and trimming roofing, carpet and flooring materials as well as cartons
  • Won’t cause damage below the cutting surface
  • Oversized blades are available for thicker materials


  • Used for making clean cuts in vinyl or linoleum floor covering and similar materials

Round-Point Utility

  • Designed for general cutting tasks
  • Blunt ends help prevent stab injuries while aiding in penetrating the cutting surface


  • Used for scoring deep grooves to make clean breaks in acrylics, laminates and other
    sheet materials


  • Used for cutting sheet materials of varying thicknesses
  • Perfect for general cutting tasks

Personalize your utility knife to your needs by choosing from features such as self-retraction, hang holes and safety shields.

  • Folding fixed-blade: Knives fold up so they are not exposed and are easier to fit in your pocket or tool pouch.
  • Self-retraction: Requires you to keep a button depressed while you are cutting. Once you release the button, the blade automatically retracts helping to prevent accidents.
  • Blade changes: Blades stored internally are easy to change quickly and efficiently. Use guides or magnets to keep blades in place since loose blades can dull over time.
  • Hang hole: A hole at the end of a utility knife makes it easy to hang on a nail or to run a lanyard through for easy access.
  • String-cutting feature: A small slit in the body of the knife located just behind the head of the blade, ideal for sliding strings and twine through for quick, easy cuts.
  • Safety shield: Keeps your hand safe from abrasive surfaces and hazardous materials.