The Best Utility Knife (22 Tested)

If you need to get a job done, get the most effective tool you can. Don’t just pick up whatever is lying around your home tool box. The best utility knife should have an incredibly sharp edge, and quality of life features making it ideal for grunt-work involving jobs too difficult for scissors. Plus, by using the best safety knife you wont have to risk damaging a valuable pocket knife or your house keys. You could break down a box in 5 seconds with the best utility knife, or at least, you should be able to. We put in hours of research and tested over a dozen knives to find that the Pacific Handy Cutter S5 is the best utility knife. 

My favorite box knife

I work in a grocery store. This is the box cutter that our store provides for us. I love this box cutter…

– Patrick N. from the United States
July 2, 2018

Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Safety Cutter

The Best Value

The S5 Safety Cutter allows for safe, precise cutting with added convenience features such as an integrated film cutter, tool free black changes, and a compartment to safely store 5 blades.

get the best

The advantages of the Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Safety Cutter Utility Knife is convenience and safety. The S5 has right and left hand versions to make it comfortable for everybody (how thoughtful). It’s unique handle makes sure you can always get a grip without sacrificing security. Unlike other knifes, changing blades is very simple and doesn’t require any tools. Plus, you can store up to 5 blades.

For those that work in grocery stores or warehouses, you might already be familiar with tape cutters, but the S5 has an integrated tape cutter to make your job even easier. And despite all these features, the S5 has a slick and sturdy design with an optional holster and replacement blades to make this your everlasting buddy at work. It’s no wonder employers and managers across the country agree that the S5 is the best utility knife.

Does a great job!

I bought one of these more than 6 months ago, and ended up buying another because it was so great!

– Reviewer from the United States
Dec 29, 2020

Pacific Handy Cutter S4 Safety Cutter

Best Selling Cutter Ever

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

get the best seller

The S4 Safety Cutter from Pacific Handy Cutter is the younger brother of the S5 and share many of the same features: tool-less blade change, integrated 5 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 left-handed variation.

Because it doesn’t have the integrated tape splitter, some grocery store and warehouse workers may end up carrying two tools. But for people at home that just need to open their Amazon, Ikea, or ButcherBox order safety, the S4 Safety Cutter is a dream. This spring-loaded cutter automatically retracts when not in use, keeping the user, workplace, and merchandise safe from exposed blades. The average cost of a laceration injury is $36,000 – and an S4 Safety Cutter is only $6.59 (at the time of writing this review). That’s a small price to pay for safety!

The S4 for many years was the best utility knife and is good by itself, but its worth an extra dollar for the newest model if you ever need a film cutter. If you’ve ever worked with an s4 or s5 you know they have a tendency to grow legs and walk off if you leave it at work – so we recommend the optional holster and replacement blades to keep your friend safely holstered on your hip.

High quality blades for your demanding needs

Yes, this is just what you are looking for – high quality and long-lasting replacement blades for your Pacific Handy Cutter (PHC)…

– Kenn C.
Jan 23, 2018

Pacific Handy Cutter Safety Point Blades

A Great Buy!

Whether you get the S4, S5, or another utility knife, you need good blades. These blades last up to 3x longer than off-brand blades and are made with high grade carbon steel.

as low as 12 cents a blade

These Pacific Handy Cutter SP017 Safety Point Blade for PHC Safety Cutters are an example of PHC’s relentless innovation. If you’ve only ever used a generic box cutter or utility knife, then 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 you can. Many safety hazards arise from dull and worn blades that catch on material rather than making straight cuts.

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

Why Should You Trust Us?

Good question and I’m glad you asked. I have a long history with utility knives and feel a connection to them. I don’t sleep with my utility knife, I do dream of utility knives – like Jiro Dreams of Sushi but with safety cutters. In my dreams Santa presents me a PHC S5 safety cutter. Having only ever used the least expensive box cutter I could find at Home Depot, the S5 was a big step up. Santa did good. Although that was just a dream, the S5 safety cutter is real and according to our tests is the best utility knife. I keep one at home and use one regularly in the warehouse.

Nobody is an island and consulted carpenters, warehouse workers, and handymen for their feedback. Keep in mind that many states don’t allow utility knives to be carried openly, check your state’s laws here. The most positive feedback came from warehouse and grocery store workers who benefited from the tool’s ease of use and multi-functonality.


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

  • Ease of Use
  • Safety Features
  • Value for Money

    Utility knives are good are cutting open boxes, carpeting, dry wall, rope, and flooring. But no matter the intended application, if you struggle with changing the blade then your utility knife is suddenly an annoyance in your life. We want to lessen the stress in your life, so that’s why we value quality of life features in our tools.

    Ease of Use – Does changing the blade require tools? Is their integrated storage for the blades? 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 knife should be designed 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 design of the knife 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? Have their 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 their own knifes or contract our manufacturing to a third party? Ideally, we looked for a company intimately involved in the design, production, and sourcing of raw materials for their knives. The best utility knife has to 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. Don’t settle for whatever your boss hands you, especially when your safety is in question. If spending $5-$7 ensures your safety, its worth it. We didn’t look at any knife that costs more than $20 because that is frankly ridiculous. Some companies have been attaching their brand to knives that only cost $5 on aliexpress and dropshipping them for $20+ on amazon. We can’t in good conscience recommend anything of that nature. In our experience, the best knife you can find is priced between $6 and $15. We also looked for knives that are built to last – the fast fashion model doesn’t work with tools in our experience.

    The Experiment

    In order to determine what is the best utility knive, I put each knife we considered through the ringer. 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 ( and along with a coworker tried each knife for at least 3 hours. After this week in the warehouse, I tested each blade with the rote task of breaking down cardboard. Because every utility knife has a multitude of 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.

    For each hour of cutting through cardboard, we noted any inconveniences or potential safety hazards. After a week in the warehouse and many hours cutting through cardboard, I tabulated the results and found the S5 safety cutter to be the winner and the S4 to be the runner-up. Below I write about the S5 in greater detail and also mention the other dozen knifes we experimented wth. One interested discovery we found is that price does not necessarily guarantee quality. The $20 knife you found on amazon might just be overpriced. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment below that post and we’ll get back to you.

  • Our Pick for the Best – Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Utility Knife, 3-in-1 Safety Cutter with Integrated Film Cutter and Blade Storage


    My favorite box knife

    I work in a grocery store. This is the box cutter that our store provides for us. I love this box cutter…

    – Patrick N. from the United States
    July 2, 2018

    Pacific Handy Cutter S5 Utility Knife

    The Best Utility Knife

    The S5 Safety Cutter allows for safe, precise cutting with added convenience features such as an integrated film cutter, tool free black changes, and a compartment to safely store 5 blades.

    get the best

    We settled on the S5 Safety Cutter as the best utility knife after weeks of testing and countless hours breaking down boxes. 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 especally love the S5 Safety Cutter. It has three locked in blade depths for convenience and multi-functionality. There are no tools required for a quick and easy blade change. Just stow blades in its easily accessible blade storage compartment with up to 5 extra Safety Point Blades. You will literally never be caught out with a dull blade for more than a moment.

    The blade stays secure in all three positions. The handle is ergonomic, with right and left handed variations to ease comfort on both sides of the aisle. Its secure grip is especially useful 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 cutter – clean, convenient, and safe. For those that love keeping their tool belt minimal, you’re in luck

    Both 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 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. Basically, the S5 Safety Cutter is the 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 to you when needed. An old school box cutter are workhorses, but lack modern safety and quality of life features. For one, Pacific Handy Cutter has been improving on their design for over a decade. If you’ve only ever used a classic box cutter, make the switch 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 the improvements they have made 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 to be 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 ths 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 made a choice to be as cost effective as possible and we pass those savings onto you. When it comes to using your knife, you wont be disappointed with an S5.

    You could end up spending well over $20 for a metal knife that has less features than this one, and wont cut any better. Some people may get too focused on the aesthetics of a knife rather than focusing 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 depend on the S5 Safety Cutter everyday to get the job done.

    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 both safety cutters and utility knives. You might be surprised to know that there is a difference. 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.

    We discovered the best utility knife after testing 8 brands of knives. The brands we tested include the following: Pacific Handy Cutter, OLFA, Spellbound, Klever Innovations, ADCO Industries, SafeCutters, 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 good most of the time. If you only ever cut open a package once in a blue moon, it’s fine. But if cutting boxes has to do with your work, then definitely 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 knifes 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 hand’s of somebody you don’t know. That’s why you can trust – 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