The Best Utility Knives for Everyday and Artful Needs

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A good utility knife should be something you want to reach for over and over again. Deploy it for general everyday tasks, like opening cardboard boxes and slicing tape, or more specialized projects in the studio, like cutting canvas panels or trimming fabric. When choosing a knife, it’s important to think not only about sharpness but also comfort and safety. We’ve done the research for you; check out our favorite utility knives below. 

X-Acto Surgrip Retractable Utility Knife
This solidly constructed knife is sharp, precise, and comfortable. Its handle features evenly spaced ripples for your fingers to rest in to maximize control over each cut, and the tool feels substantial but not heavy in the hand. The retractable blade can slice through heavier materials including cardboard and even sheet metal, and switching it out is a breeze. With its flat sides, this blade won’t roll off your table, but should you drop it, the handle will shield the blade from impact.

Olfa Snap-Off Blade Utility Knife
The first thing to know about Olfa’s knife is that it’s loaded with an extremely sharp blade. Just one stroke is needed to slice smoothly through a cardboard box. The knife is loaded with a long blade divided into eight 18-millimeter sections. The carbon steel blade stays sharp for a very long time, but when you’re ready for a new one, simply snap off the blunt section along a perforation to reveal a fresh edge. Each knife comes with five long blades.

Beyond by Black+Decker Utility Knife
This knife features an all-metal body and consequently weighs more than our top pick, but it can withstand substantial pressure and demanding jobs. The blade emerges at the smooth slide of a thumb switch and can be adjusted to any of three positions depending on what cutting depth you need. Store three extra blades in the knife handle and rapidly switch out a blunt one by pushing a side button to loosen it. Sold in a two-pack, this knife also doubles as a twine cutter.
Buy: Beyond by Black+Decker Utility Knife $12.86

Slice Manual Utility Knife
This is a people-friendly knife. Its blade is made of ceramic rather than metal, keeping the strength and well honed edge that you’d expect from a knife but without the dangerous piercing capabilities of steel. You can still use it to cut thick material such as cardboard. The ceramic is also long-lasting—according to Slice, each blade lasts 10 times longer than a steel blade—so can spend less time switching out used ones. We like that it has five adjustable blade depths so you can cut material thin or thick. Plus, its symmetrical shape is easy to hold whether you’re a right- or left-handed user.

Excel Blades Folding Utility Knife

If you need to keep a knife on your person for quick access, consider this handy model. Made of lightweight aluminum, it folds in half to slip into a small pocket; it also comes with a belt clip for fast, one-handed retrieval. A safety release mechanism ensures that you won’t accidentally nick yourself while opening it. The handle is not cushioned, but it does feature comfortable ripples to settle your fingers into. The blade is satisfyingly sharp and durable and is easy to switch out with a quick-release button. This knife comes with a pack of five replacement blades.

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