10 Best Utility Knives in 2021

Stuart Wellbert
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Whether you’re a professional contractor, a serious handyman, or a home DIY hobbyist, you need a utility knife in your toolbox if you’re going to get the job done properly. For professionals, the utility knife is an essential tool for everyday use, while for DIYers it’s a way to save money, time and effort through the make quick work of mundane tasks.

Until just a few years ago, the market was dominated solely by sharp, single-edged knives. Crafted from metal, they were primarily used for thinning, or cutting in an arc, where two cuts were needed in quick succession.

In recent years a new type of knife has entered the market. These clever new blades are a fusion between two existing products: a normal safety knife, and a hugely popular disposable utility knife. The result is a single blade knife that can easily be used for both purposes.

Utility knives are available in both retractable and foldable blade styles. Both have their pros and cons, and the decision comes down to your personal preferences.

The most common utility knife brands in the U.S. include Gerber, Leatherman, and Stanley.

NameCategoryProduct
Craftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife SetBest OverallCraftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife Set
Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility KnifeBudget PickStanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife
Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi PackUpgrade PickHusky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi Pack

1. Craftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife Set

Our rating: 9 / 10

Craftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife Set

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easily takes replaceable blades
  • Can be conveniently attached to your waist with the included belt pouch
  • Compact blades are great for smaller hands
  • Blades are easy to install and remove
  • Great for craftsmen and hobbyists
  • Offers a lifetime warranty
  • Blades are easy to clean

Cons:

  • Blades can’t be sharpened
  • Blades are prone to rusting
  • Blades can get dull and may need replacing more often

The Craftsman 9-94835 Lockback utility knives are great for both mechanics and hobbyists.

The small frame of the Craftsman is perfect for smaller hands, and the provided belt pouch helps you keep the utility knife handy.

The included stainless steel blades are easy to install and remove, and are great for small jobs.

2. Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife

Our rating: 9 / 10

Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife

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Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Versatile and sturdy
  • Quick changing of blades
  • The cover of blade is locking

Cons:

  • Poor choice for making precise cuts
  • Requires some getting used to the “lock” for unlocking the blade for folding

Recently, I’ve had need of a utility knife that could do a number of things. I needed a knife that would cut carpet, and rubber. I also needed to cut through wallboard and the drywall. However, I don’t normally do flooring work or drywall work. I’m a teacher and I spend my day in my classroom teaching. So the last thing I need is to be dragging around some big knife that I don’t use much and have sharp blades on.

I trust the Sheffield name. Sheffield makes a large range of products to include, shoe horns, utility knives, handcuff keys, dental instruments, saw blades, and so much more. I trust their ability to make quality products that will last. And the Sheffield Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife meets all of my requirements. It has no sharp blade. No need to worry about being cut while getting into my car. The blade also locks into the folded position when I release it allowing me to safely store it in my bag, or pocket.

3. Kobalt Utility Knife & 11 Blades

Our rating: 8 / 10

Kobalt Utility Knife & 11 Blades

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Pros:

  • Great Safety Features
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Wide range of useful cutting accessories
  • Quick change blade system
  • Easy to switch out and store accessories
  • Includes a built-in ruler to help you cut things exactly
  • Opener can be used as a flathead screwdriver as well

The blades in your utility knife should be easy to change and come in a variety of sizes so that you can cut a wide variety of materials and objects without having to stop and switch blades constantly.

For this reason, I can’t stress enough the importance of safety. Your utility knife blade should be very easy to change quickly and with one hand. After that, the next most important feature is the safety of the opening mechanism.

4. Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife

Our rating: 8 / 10

Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife

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This brand new utility knife has a tapered nose design and retractable blade for increased performance and safety. It comes with an etched depth scale and side cutters for heavy duty cutting.

The blade is constructed from high-quality steel. The handle gives a comfortable grip so that you can power through tough tasks. The handle is built to last.

It comes with a lifetime warranty from Stanley. The warranty guarantees that the knife will never fail to live up to Stanley’s standards.

5. Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Squeeze Utility Knife

Our rating: 8 / 10

Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Squeeze Utility Knife

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Pros:

  • Durable and long lasting
  • Versatile
  • Easy to use and adjust
  • Ergonomically designed handle

The Alltrade 150003 Auto-Loading Squeeze Utility Knife is a versatile tool that’s ideal for cutting, stripping, and scoring.

The versatile cutting blade is made of durable metal, and the blade is heat treated for maximum durability. The safety blade release ensures a secure grip when the blade is extended.

You can easily adjust the blade tension for lots of cutting power during your project without any trouble.

6. Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife

Our rating: 7 / 10

Gerber EAB Lite Pocket Knife

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Pros:

  • Popular for its pocket clip
  • Extremely lightweight
  • Sliding safety
  • Rubber grip
  • Uses titanium coating for its blade
  • Overall great quality for price

Cons:

  • Small size might be uncomfortable for some buyers
  • Might be a bit small for cutting some thicker materials
  • Doesn’t include a lanyard

This handy little knife comes at a great price. Despite being on the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Gerber EAB Lite still provides a fantastic amount of value if you’re looking for a lightweight, compact knife that can easily fit in your pocket.

Weighing in at only 2.5 oz, this knife is very light. In fact, we would consider it one of the lightest knives in our top 10 best pocket knives list.

The Gerber EAB Lite has a locking blade that is ambidextrous, meaning you can easily open it with your left hand if you’re a lefty. It also has a pocket clip if you intend on storing it in your shirt pocket.

7. Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi Pack

Our rating: 7 / 10

Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi Pack

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Pros:

  • Durable
  • Easy to use
  • Fits in pocket
  • Not expensive

Utility knives have a wide variety of uses to help you with dozens of projects around your home. Since many people do a combination of indoor and outdoor activities around the house and yard, having a stable knife can really help keep you organized and efficient.

Utility knives like the ones produced by Husky can be used for slicing carpet, linoleum, hoses, foam and even cardboard (which could be used to create moving boxes).

This 3-piece utility knife set from Husky includes three knives with three different colored handles. The set also comes with three replaceable blades.

8. Milwaukee 48-22-1903 Fastback Flip Utility Knife

Our rating: 7 / 10

Milwaukee 48-22-1903 Fastback Flip Utility Knife

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Pros:

  • 3 knives that can all be stored in one integrated body
  • Durable metal body
  • Removable storage that can hold up to 4 utility blades
  • Grip is designed with a locking mechanism for safety
  • Gut hook and wire stripper are integrated into the body
  • This utility comes with both a pocket clip as well as a belt hook
  • Also has storage for screwdrivers or scissors

Cons:

  • It has difficulty with large cross-section tasks
  • The colorful body makes it attractive to kids

If you’re looking for a utility knife that can do it all, you may have come across the Milwaukee Fastback. This model is a unique little gadget, but it offers several useful features.

This knife features a classic black, all-metal body that’s sure to last a long, long time. Its grip comes equipped with a locking mechanism to keep it safe when the body is extended. The locking mechanism is located at the point where the blade slips into the handle. The knife also comes equipped with with a gut hook and wire stripper. The knife’s blade is removable, and you can store up to 4 blades in the integrated storage.

9. IRWIN Utility Knife

Our rating: 6 / 10

IRWIN Utility Knife

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This is one of the best utility knives on the market. It’s extremely sharp and has ultra-durable precision ground blades. The handle is really comfortable to hold and fits comfortably in your hand.

The utility knife is extremely affordable for what you’re getting. It is also the most comfortable of all the knives we tested. The knife blade comes extremely sharp. The blade releases easily and locks securely into place.

10. DEWALT DWHT10035L Folding Retractable Utility Knife

Our rating: 6 / 10

DEWALT DWHT10035L Folding Retractable Utility Knife

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Pros:

  • Powerful enough for heavy-duty tasks
  • Stays sharp for a long time
  • Easy to retract, suitable for large tools/baseboards
  • Very comfortable grip

Cons:

  • Can be hard to retract, suitable for smaller tasks
  • A bit too heavy and bulky for easy transport
  • Bit too sticky

SURPRISED? WE WERE TOO. DEWALT KNOWS HOW TO MAKE CUTTING TOOLS. Their flagship utility knife isn’t messing around and can handle pretty much any job or material you throw at it. We’re particularly fond of this model because it has a super comfortable, cushy grip that is perfect for extended use.

These knives cost a bit more than the plastic ones you’d find at your local hardware store. However, they’re very durable and they’ll last much longer.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What's the best utility knife on the market?

That depends on your particular tastes and needs. When it comes to utility knives, it's important to consider what you plan on using it for and in what type of environment you intend to operate it.

Many of the knives on this list have a variety of power outputs, grip options, and carrying methods, so there is bound to be an option which meets your needs.

People often find themselves in a situation where they need to cut, pry, or breakstuff and the few seconds it takes to get out a knife and open it is too long when you're holding a material in your hands. So don't let a cheap knife stand in the way of you reaching a goal. A quality knife will be with you for years and save you countless minutes of time.

What is the safest type of utility knife?

It's hard to find utility knives that are safer than others. The best way to ensure safety is to follow the tips below:

Prematurely scraping the blade against hard surfaces causes damage to the microscopic teeth that help grip the blade. This is dangerous because it can cause the knife to slip, increasing the chances you'll be cut.

Never touch the blade with your hands. Metal blades can easily conduct heat–rubbing your thumb against the blade might feel hot, even if the rest of the knife isn't warm.

Keep knives away from children. Teach them that knives are not toys.

Always cut away from yourself. Keep the direction of the blade pointed away from you and other people.

What are the top 10 knife brands?

Utility knives are among some of the most popular tools for both residential and professional construction projects. In this buying guide, I will list the best utility knife brands to consider.

Stanley, Craftsman, and Milwaukee are all very popular brands. However, there are alternatives to consider. My list will include various brands, kits, and tools perfect for either contractors or homeowners. I will put an emphasis on the quality of the products and tools we review, as well as the value youʼre getting for your money.

So, letʼs dive right in and get started. Here are the 10 best utility knife brand:

What is the coolest knife in the world?

Conclusion

Before you begin any woodworking, interior decorating, or crafting task, you’ll need to purchase a utility knife. Useful for a myriad of household and craft tasks, a utility knife gives you the ability to make even the smallest cuts. The best utility knives have a quick release button that makes them easy to install and remove from their holder. Have a look through our utility knives guide to find the best utility knife for your household needs.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Craftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife SetBest OverallCraftsman 9-94835 2 Piece Lockback Utility Knife Set
Stanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility KnifeBudget PickStanley 10-099 6 in Classic 99® Retractable Utility Knife
Husky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi PackUpgrade PickHusky Folding Sure-Grip Lock Back Utility Knives Multi Pack