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The Best Utility Knife (22 Tested)

Get the most effective tool if you need to get a job done. Don’t just pick up whatever is lying around your house. The best utility knife should have an incredibly sharp edge and quality of life features, making it ideal for grunt work involving jobs too tricky for scissors.

By using the a safety knife, you damage your valuable house keys and end up stuck outside, waiting for a locksmith. Plus, you wont strain your wrist.

From our research and testing, we found that the Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Safety Cutter is packed with features. Beyond the tool-free blade change, it features a fixed metal guard that doubles as a tape splitter. There’s even more if you keep reading.


Table of Contents

  1. Best Utility Knife: Pacific Handy Cutter S5
  2. Most Convenient – Slice Mini Box Cutter
  3. Best Folding Knife: Sheffield Ultimate Folding Utility Knife
  4. Toughest Cut-Resistant Gloves: HexArmor 9011
  5. Why Should You Trust Us?

Everything we recommend

Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Safety Cutter

The Best Value

The S5 Safety Cutter allows precise cutting with convenient features such as an integrated film cutter, tool-free black changes, and a compartment to safely store five blades.

The advantages of the Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Safety Cutter Utility Knife are convenience and safety. The S5 has right and left-hand versions to make it comfortable for everybody (how thoughtful). Its unique handle ensures you can always get a grip without sacrificing security. Unlike other knives, changing blades is simple and requires no tools. Plus, you can store up to 5 blades.

You might already be familiar with tape cutters for those in grocery stores or warehouses, but the S5 has an integrated tape cutter to make your job even more accessible. The S5 has a slick and sturdy design with an optional holster and replacement blades to make this your buddy at work. It’s no wonder employers, and managers across the country agree that the S5 is the best utility knife.

Pacific Handy Cutter S4 Safety Cutter

Best Selling Cutter Ever

The S4 is the highest-selling safety cutter for safety, convenience, and price. Unlike the S5, it does not contain an integrated film cutter.

The S4 Safety Cutter from Pacific Handy Cutter is the younger brother of the S5 and shares many of the same features: toolless blade change, integrated five-blade storage, and a tape splitter. The S4 also has a comfortable ergonomic design with two models – the S4R is the right-handed version, and the S4L is the left-handed variation.

This spring-loaded cutter automatically retracts when not used, keeping the user, workplace, and merchandise safe from exposed blades. The average cost of a laceration injury is $36,000. An S4 is a small price to pay for safety!

If you’ve ever worked with an s4 or s5, you know they tend to grow legs and walk off if you leave it at work – so we recommend getting the s4 with a holster and lanyard to keep your friend safe holstered on your hip.

Pacific Handy Cutter Safety Point Blades

A Great Buy!

It would help if you had good blades, whether you get the S4, S5, or another utility knife.  

Pacific Handy Cutter SP017 Safety Point Blades for PHC Safety Cutters exemplify PHC’s relentless innovation. If you’ve only ever used a generic box cutter or utility knife, you’ll immediately notice the ease at which you can slice through boxes with the right blade. Slices should be quick, efficient, and safe. Even if you don’t have the best utility knife, you should get the highest-quality blades. Many safety hazards arise from dull and worn blades that catch on material rather than straight cuts.

Safety point blades minimize or eliminate injuries such as puncture wounds. These 0.017″ thick blades are long-lasting, sharp replacements for worn-down, dulled blades. They come in a box of 100 and pair with several cutters made by Pacific Handy Cutter, including the S4, S4S, S5, S7, S8, EZAR, AR3, EZ2+, EZ4, EZ7, and GSC3, RZ3, and EZ. For best results, replace often.

HexArmor 9011 Cut Resistant Gloves

Excellent Protection!

Even the safest knife can benefit from a fail-safe. That’s where HexArmor 9011 Level 7 Cut Resistant Gloves come to the rescue. HexArmor’s development team works hand in hand with their customers to create the safest that won’t get in the way of your work. HexArmor takes your feedback seriously, and their relentless pursuit of their customer’s safety led to new patents and advancements in material sciences. Every decade, they receive recent awards and achievements for their cut, puncture, needle, impact, and abrasion-resistant gloves. The HexArmor 9011 has a bright red cotton shell, a wrinkle rubber palm coating for superior grip, and an interior palm layer of SuperFabric® brand material. This glove is a lightweight combination of comfort and safety. Its cut resistance is certified as ANSI/ISEA A7 cut resistance. The palm coating allows them to work in various temperatures with a sure grip. They excel in working around medium-duty hazards. If you’re unsure, check with your safety manager. If you don’t have a safety manager and make your own decisions, then know these gloves are suitable for mid-level tasks such as breaking down boxes, sorting junk, mechanical and electrical work, general maintenance, recycling, and more.

Why Should You Trust Us?

Good question and I’m glad you asked. I have a long history with utility knives and feel connected to them – like Jiro Dreams of Sushi but with safety cutters. Having only ever used the tiniest expensive box cutter I could find at Home Depot, I loved exploring all the different options on the market.

We sought feedback from warehouse and grocery employees that we have done business with and worked at local companies. Remember that many states don’t allow utility knives to be carried openly, so check your state’s laws here

Methodology

How did we decide on what utility knife is the best? We ranked utility knives based on three criteria:

  • Ease of Use – Does changing the blade require tools? Is there an integrated storage for the edges? Are the ergonomics the same for right and left-handed people? Is the handle large enough to provide a secure grip? This prevents the hand from slipping forwards over the blade and reduces the force required to hold the knife, which helps prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Is the handle designed to reduce excessive wrist bending? The blade should be prepared to do the job without undue pressure (which also helps prevent MSDs). We looked for knives that feel safe to operate with one hand and have a strong track record of success verified by thousands of customer reviews.
  •  Safety Features – Does the knife’s design impede your ability to do your job safely? Are their integrated features that make the knife safer to use? Have any injuries been reported due to design defects in the knife? Has there been any factory recalls? What is the history of the manufacturer producing the knife and the blades? Where is the factory located? Does the company manufacture its knives or contract our manufacturing to a third party? Ideally, we looked for a company intimately involved in designing, producing, and sourcing raw materials for their knives. The best utility knife must be made by a company that lives and breathes utility knives.
  • Value For Money – The best utility knife is always the one your employer gives you for free until that knife causes you to get injured. Refrain from settling for whatever your boss hands you, especially when your safety is in question. Spending some money ensures your safety. We also looked for knives that are built to last – the fast fashion model only works with tools, in our experience.

 The Experiment

To determine what is the best utility knife, I put each knife we considered through the wringer. Although I don’t work at a grocery store anymore, I did take a week to work in the warehouse at Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies (HarmonyCR.com) and, along with a coworker, tried each knife for at least one busy work day. After this week in the warehouse, I tested each blade with the rote task of breaking down cardboard. Because every utility knife has many blades to choose from, I didn’t base these ratings on blade sharpness. But after a week of heavy use, I didn’t have to change any PCH blade, so that must be a good sign for quality.

We noted any inconveniences or potential safety hazards for each hour of cutting through cardboard. After a week in the warehouse and many hours cutting through cardboard, the S5 safety cutter emerged as the winner. 

Our #1 Pick – Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Utility Knife

The Best Utility Knife

The S5 Safety Cutter allows for precise cutting with added convenience features such as an integrated film cutter, tool-free black changes, and a compartment to safely store five blades.

After weeks of testing and countless hours breaking down boxes, we settled on the S5 Safety Cutter as the best utility knife. The knife offers the best bang for your buck. For those that need a film cutter, it’s a no-brainer. This Pacific Handy Cutter can store five extra blades within the handle. It manually retracts and has a safe thumb guard to reduce workers comp claims. Plus, it includes an integrated tape splitter. The easy-to-use device has a three-position slider to adjust the blade extension.

Grocery store and warehouse employees especially love the S5 Safety Cutter. The handle is ergonomic, with right and left-handed variations to ease comfort on both sides of the aisle. Its secure grip is handy when cutting through drywall, and you need a precise line. None of the knives we tested had the grip found on the S4 and S5 safety cutters – clean, convenient, and safe. You’re in luck for those who love keeping their tool belt minimal.

The S4 and S5 have an integrated tape splitter, but importantly the S5 has a pop-out film cutter. So instead of spending a couple of bucks on a film cutter and hauling that with you everywhere, you can get the benefit of a 3-in-1 for less than half the price of a generic utility knife on amazon. The S5 Safety Cutter is packed with value, convenience, and safety features for less than $8 – it’s a no-brainer.

Whether you work in retail, packing, shipping, or stocking shelves, you’ll appreciate having a good safety cutter available when needed. Old-school box cutters are workhorses but lack modern safety and quality-of-life features. For one, Pacific Handy Cutter has been improving its design for over a decade. If you’ve only ever used a classic box cutter, make the switch to the S5 Safety Cutter and be shocked by how great of a value it is.

The Flaws That Aren’t Important

Nothing is perfect, but with over 12 years of working with Pacific Handy Cutter, I know that they take customer feedback seriously. I started with an S3 over a decade ago and am thrilled with their improvements to the design through the S4 and S5 utility knives.

The Current S5 has a few drawbacks. For one, many customers have found the packaging and presentation lackluster. Second, the knife only comes with a single blade meaning you have to spend extra to get a box of 100.

As opposed to metal framed knives, the s5 has a plastic shell. Some may find it disappointing, but at this price point, a metal utility knife with this many features does not exist. No matter what knife you buy, you’ll need to maintain it and replace the blades. PCH chose to be as cost-effective as possible, and we pass those savings on to you. When using your knife, you will be satisfied with an S5.

You could end up spending well over $20 for a metal knife that has more minor features than this one and won’t cut any better. Some people may need to be more focused on a knife’s aesthetics rather than on how it works. Will that shiny new toy outperform the industry workhorse? Probably not. In our warehouse, everybody has a dozen knives to choose from, and every one of them depends on the S5 Safety Cutter every day to get the job done.

The Most Convenient Box Cutter

Slice 10514 Mini Box Cutter allows for frustration-free cutting with a ceramic blade that is sharper, safer, and lasts up to 10x longer than steel.

The Slice 10514 Mini Box Cutter is our pick for the best pocket utility knife for several reasons. 

First, this utility knife has advantages over classic folding knives that are still being prepared to go. There is nothing better if you need a quick and convenient tool to cut open cardboard. This slice cutter will be there for you when you need it, and its blade will automatically retract when not in use. The integrated magnet allows you to stow the cutter on your fridge or metal surface, and the critical role will enable it to be stored on a keychain or lanyard.

Second, the ceramic blade on this pocket knife makes it safer and more inexpensive to operate in the long term. To keep the edge at its best, ensure that it doesn’t come into contact with rough surfaces like concrete that dull its blade quickly. If all you’re doing is opening amazon boxes, this is the tool for you. There is no pocket clip or extra blade storage, but these features are not necessary. The design requires no flat-head screwdriver because it has a 100% tool-free blade change. Slice excels at making the safest cutters on the market for those that prefer ceramic blades.

Third, this pocket knife can be used with different blade types: pointed or rounded tip blades. Slice 10404 replacement blades are recommended because the rounded tip offers additional protection against accidents. Not all accidents can be avoided, but in Slice’s testing, they found the majority of workplace laceration accidents could be avoided by using rounded-tip ceramic blades. And better yet, the rounded ceramic edge is still stronger than steel. Some specific tasks may not be suitable for ceramic knives, as many people who cut carpets still recommend stainless steel. 

Rest assured that the professionals at Slice want you to be safe at work and at home. Whether working on a job site or your home improvement project, Slice cutters are ideal for general use and are the best option for most people who value safety and convenience. Ceramic blades allow you to cut materials without much force and can be done in a one-handed operation. For those with sore joints or who have suffered an accident in their hands, ceramic blade knives are the way to go, even if they don’t have the same features as an s5.

One downside is that the cutter is small (obviously), but this makes it less ideal for heavy industrial use cases and people that need to make quick work of thousands of boxes. Although the blade may still last many years, our customers tell us that an s5 utility knife still prevails when working on the job site because stainless steel razor blades can function well across the spectrum of materials it would face. And this mini box cutter has no integrated blade storage, meaning you would have to stop work to get a new blade. But these downsides are separate from the convenience, safety, and cost-compelling Slice 10514 mini box cutter.

The Best Folding Utility Knife

Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Folding Utility Knife offers rugged cutting powder with a safe and convenient folding design. 

The Sheffield 12113 ultimate lock-back folding utility knife is our pick for the best folding utility knife due to its sturdy metal body design and heavy-duty cutting power for the job site and home improvement projects. Many folding utility knives we tested were unsuitable for extended use, but not Sheffield. Even the removable razor blade that comes with the knife is sharper than the generics found on Amazon and Walmart and will impress you with its cutting edge. The stainless steel body is sturdy but also is a trade-off because there is no internal blade storage.

Sheffield has been manufacturing knives for over a century, and they designed the first utility knife, so they know what they’re doing. The 3.5″ texture rubber grip ensures a firm hand without any side-to-side wiggle. This folding knife has many of the same features as the PHC S5, but it does not have any integrated blade storage. There is also no storage for your old blades meaning they will need to be disposed of elsewhere.

Folding utility knives are ideal for pockets, but with the Sheffield, they can also be clipped onto your belt. The entire blade can be changed in less than a minute. The blade you receive with the knife is a pointed-tip stainless steel blade. 

The safety release button is located near the bottom of the blade handle, so you won’t accidentally release the mechanism. However, some have found the location to be inconvenient for work. Also, the lack of blade storage is another chief complaint. Lastly, the button makes it hard for the knife to be operated in one hand. You may need more than these three shortfalls to deter you from the excellent Sheffield 12114 ultimate folding utility knife. 

Sheffield has over a century of experience making knives and still produces them in their factory in the United Kingdom. They also have a manufacturing center in the United States. This knife takes standard utility blades and can even use the cutters made by Pacific Handy Cutter.

We Tested 22 Utility Knives & Safety Cutters

We tested 22 before we settled on the best utility knife. It should be noted that we tested box cutters, safety cutters, and utility knives. You might be surprised to know that there is a difference. It’s mostly marketing, but safety cutters have additional safety and quality-of-life features not found on standard utility knives. Many utility knives have more rugged metal designs and require tools to change blades. Safety Cutters are designed for ease of use without sacrificing safety. Box cutters can be old-school razor blade knives. 

We discovered the best utility knife after testing eight brands of knives. The brands we tested include the following: Pacific Handy Cutter, OLFASpellboundKlever InnovationsADCO Industries, and Slice, along with several generic brands featured on Amazon and Walmart

We found that for light work, a classic box cutter with a sharp blade is always good. If you only ever cut open a package once in a blue moon, it’s okay. But if cutting boxes have to do with your work, then invest the extra $5 into a good knife. The best utility knife is one you feel comfortable working with over long stretches without any safety hazards.

Many knives on marketplaces such as Amazon, Walmart, and Aliexpress have design flaws that can lead to injury. Because the marketplaces aren’t liable for the products sold by third parties, it’s best not to put your safety in the hands of somebody you don’t know. That’s why you can trust SafetyCutters.net – we test the integrity of our products and only sell quality. With competitive pricing, U.S.-based customer support, and fast shipping, you can count on SafetyCutters.net.

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