Best Utility Knives in 2020 – Safe, Quality, Affordable

by | Jun 30, 2020 | Latest, Reviews and Buying Guides | 0 comments

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Whether you’re working in the garden, around the homestead, DIYing, or you’re out on a worksite, having a compact and easy-to-use utility knife is critical for getting the job done quickly and precisely. You want a tool you use so often to be the best one for the job.

We looked at 37 top-quality utility knives to find the ones that combine the best balance of comfort, durability, and features to make sure you choose the right one for the job.

Top Picks

What to Consider When Buying a Utility Knife

Good utility knives get used constantly, so you want a durable knife made of quality materials that can withstand heavy use and the occasional fall from a workspace.

These tools will be in your hands often, so you want to look for a knife that has an ergonomic handle that won’t cause blistering or discomfort.

You’ll also want to make sure your knife allows you to exchange blades quickly for convenience and has added storage for extra blades so you’re not hunting for a replacement when you need one fast.

1. Gerber EAB Pocket Knife [22-41830] – Best Folding Utility Knife

Super compact knife that’s easy to carry and convenient to use

Gerber EAB pocket knife folds to close, so it’s incredibly compact at around 1” x 2.4” when closed. This can easily be carried in a pocket without causing any bulging or discomfort.

The small size does make it slightly uncomfortable to use for extended periods, but this will be the case with any folding knife. But it’s very well suited to emergency situations, camping, and other outdoor activities where you need to travel light. And, for those who always like to be prepared, this compact little knife slips neatly in your pocket so it’s always ready to go.

It features a simple opening and closing mechanism, so you can operate this folding razor blade knife with one hand when on a ladder or while stabilizing your cutting material.

There is a clip to attach the knife to your pants or shirt, but it’s very stiff, so you’ll probably find you store this knife in your pocket for easy access.

There is also no extra blade storage, as is common with a folding razor blade knife.

What I Liked

  • Folds up for convenient storage
  • Is easy to open and close one-handed
  • Includes pocket clip so you don’t lose it

What I Didn’t Like

  • May be uncomfortable for long periods of use
  • Doesn’t have any extra blade storage

Get it on Amazon

2. Milwaukee Fastback II Flip Utility Knife – Best Premium Utility Knife

Super high quality knife with gut hook and wire stripper

If you don’t mind spending some extra money on a high end utility knife, the Milwaukee Fastback II Flip might be a smart choice for you. This knife is lightweight but durable, with its all-metal body, so you won’t be replacing this tool anytime soon.

The handle is thick and easy to hold, and it’s nicely shaped to match your hand for the safest grip possible. The handle doesn’t have a rubber grip, but it is ergonomically shaped, so your fingers won’t slip and the knife is comfortable to hold. There is storage for extra blades in the handle as well, and you can fit up to four blades inside.

The knife locks open and closed for safety, and when closed, you’ll still have access to the gut hook and wire stripper features.

This knife opens and closes with one hand, and the no-tool blade changing mechanism is quick and simple.

What I Liked

  • High-quality all-metal body
  • Easy and safe to use
  • Internal blade storage
  • Locks open and closed
  • Includes gut hook and wire stripper
  • Blade changing is simple

What I Didn’t Like

  • No rubber grip
  • More expensive than other options

Get it on Amazon

3. Stanley 10-099 6in Classic 99 Retractable Utility Knife – Best Budget Utility Knife

Simple and reliable, this no-frills knife has serious longevity

If you’re looking to save a couple of bucks but still want a utility knife that will last through years of use, this is the one for you. The classic Stanley Knife has been a market-leader for decades – and for good reason. Does it have lots of fancy features? No. It’s super-basic. But it’s a strong contender for one of the best retractable utility knives, nevertheless. If you need a budget-friendly utility knife that gets the job done right, I recommend the Stanley Classic.

This knife is made entirely out of metal, so while it’s not the most comfortable to hold, it will last, even in demanding conditions. I love these knives so much, I have several around my homestead – the garden, my craft room, the garage, the workshop, with my outdoor gear and our emergency supplies.

This is another retractable knife, so it is unavoidably bulky. The size does make it easy to hold and safe to use, and it allows storage of extra blades in the handle.

The biggest downside to this American made utility knife is the fact that you’ll need to take out a single screw to access the blade storage and to replace blades, but when weighed up against the price and quality, this minor inconvenience isn’t a deal-breaker.

What I Liked

  • Super-affordable
  • Durable and rugged
  • Easy to use
  • Safe to hold
  • Internal blade storage

What I Didn’t Like

  • Not the most comfortable for long periods of use
  • Pretty bulky
  • Need screwdriver to swap blades

Get it on Amazon

4. Dewalt DWHT10295 Premium Utility Knife – Best Construction Utility Knife

Comfortable and easily handled utility knife for quick, reliable cutting

Dewalt is known for quality and durability, and this utility knife lives up to that reputation. This is a solid, hefty knife that is big enough to handle confidently yet precisely. It has a comfortable, angled handle that also holds multiple spare blades.

This is a retractable utility knife which allows quick toggling of the blade, but this means it’s bulky and won’t fold up. It also features a gut hook, so you can use the blade for cutting thin material even when fully retracted.

The blade change mechanism can be a bit finicky, but we think the stability of the blade and overall durability more than make up for that.

What I Liked

  • Durable construction
  • Hefty and east to hold
  • Internal blade storage
  • Gut hook

What I Didn’t Like

  • Bulky
  • Finicky blade change mechanism

Get it on Amazon

5. OLFA 1072198 LA-X 18mm Fiberglass Rubber Grip Heavy-Duty Utility Knife – Best Snap Off Utility Knife

Simple knife with ultra sharp blades for quick, precise cutting

This is a snap-off utility knife ultra-sharp, heavy-duty blades, so it’s great for tough tasks that require a high degree of precision.

The handle is ergonomic and padded with rubber for safety, but it doesn’t offer any storage for additional blades. Blade swapping will also require some tools and isn’t very convenient, but more often you’ll just be snapping off the current blade for a sharper one.

This lightweight utility knife gives you the ability to increase the length of the exposed blade if needed, but too much pressure on an exposed blade can cause the scored piece of blade to snap.

What I Liked

  • Extremely sharp blade
  • Comfortable, rubber-grip handle
  • You control blade length

What I Didn’t Like

  • No blade storage
  • Changing blades requires tools
  • Too much pressure breaks the blade

Get it on Amazon

FAQs

What is the best utility knife?

The best utility knife depends on what you want it for. If you need something compact and lightweight to keep in your pocket or in your backpack, the Gerber EAB is a great choice. If, however, you want something really sturdy and robust that can withstand lots of abuse on a construction site or around the homestead, the Milwaukee Fastback II Flip is a smart option. The best value utility knife is the Stanley Classic, while the best precision utility knife is the OLFA 1072198 LA-X with snap-off blades.

What is the safest type of utility knife?

The safest type of utility knife has a retractable blade and a locking mechanism to keep the blade exposed or retracted. You should also look for a knife that has a contoured handle and/or a rubber grip for extra safety.

Are utility knife blades universal?

No, not all utility knife blades are interchangeable. Most standard blades, like those of the classic Stanley knife, should fit any standard utility knife. However, self-feeding knives and snap-off utility knives require specific blade types and sizes, so it’s crucial to get the measurements right, as a loose blade is a serious safety hazard.

Can a utility knife cut drywall?

Yes, a sharp, high-quality utility knife is a good choice for cutting drywall as it’s simple, affordable, and creates very little dust.

Wrapping Up

When choosing a utility knife, remember that you’ll be using it often, so even small drawbacks can quickly become major annoyances. You want a tool that’s comfortable and convenient that will stand up to constant use, and you should look for a knife that offers safety features as well. For the best folding utility knife and our all-around top pick, we recommend the Gerber EAB Pocket Knife. It combines the safety, ease of use, and compact size you should expect from top quality utility knives.

Katy Willis

Written by Bob Harrington

Bob has been homesteading for decades on land his family has owned for generations. He and his family live a self-sufficient lifestyle in rural Montana, raising livestock and growing crops naturally and organically. Bob is a seasoned homesteader who ensures his family is always prepared.

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