Discussing utility knives can be confusing because these handy tools can serve professional and household purposes. As a result, a utility knife can mean different things to different people. It helps to have the right type of utility knife for your task.
The most popular types of utility knives by blade design are pointed-tip, hook-blade, and serrated-edge. The fixed blade variety is the favorite utility knife body design type for professionals. The ideal utility knife should accomplish your task, be comfortable on your hand, and last a long time.
Working with the right utility knife can make your job enjoyable and safer. This guide will help you choose the perfect type of utility knife for your professional, DIY, or household tasks.
Read further to discover the most popular utility knives.
1. Pointed-Tip Utility Knives
As the name implies, the blades have a sharp pointed tip. The blade material is mostly metal, which can be carbon steel or stainless steel.
These knives are best for punching a material to begin the cut. They’re excellent for cutting drywall, plastic sheets, and fabrics. Some blades are sturdy enough to cut through thin metal sheets.
Pointed-tip knives are among the more popular types of utility knives for construction, manufacturing, and other professionals. For example, the knife’s pointed tip is ideal for making intricate cuts, such as creating details on a material. As a result, this can be a handy craft knife.
This type of utility knife comes in various blade lengths. The ideal pointed-tip knife should come with replaceable blades or the ability to sharpen the edge when it dulls.
This knife is generally safe but still requires careful handling. The pointed tip poses a high risk of causing injury from accidental drops.
2. Hook Blade Utility Knives
These knives have a cutting area shaped like a hook. They’re best for cutting tough materials, such as carpets and linoleum. They also work well for trimming the edges of roofing shingles. Moreover, you can use this blade to cut strings and wires.
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The hook blades are available in wide and narrow design options. This is a popular cutting tool for construction and manufacturing professionals. Hook blades can also fit various DIY and household purposes.
However, hook blades are among the types of utility knives with limited application. As a result, this knife is great as an extra in your toolbox but not as an all-purpose handheld cutting device.
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3. Rounded Tip Blade Utility Knife
These are the safest type of utility knives, and they pose a low risk of nicking the user. They’re ideal for slicing delicate materials that could be damaged by accidental punctures.
They’re excellent for cutting cardboard, foam, and plastic banding. The blades can be made of stainless steel, carbon steel, or ceramic.
Rounded-tip knives are also great for opening package boxes because they limit incidents of accidental damage to the carton content. These blades come in various lengths and shapes, making it easy to find a suitable tool for your task.
Although rounded-tip utility knives can fit many applications, they can disappoint if you’re looking for an all-purpose cutting tool. For example, this type of knife won’t do the job in cutting tasks requiring punching.
4. Scalloped-Blade Utility Knives
These knives have gentle dimples along the blade’s edge, but some varieties have scallop dimples more to the blade’s side to offer a little smoother edge. The dimples can all be of the same size or vary in length and depth.
Side-scalloped blades may also come with alternating dimples on opposite sides of the edge. Alternating dimples can enhance the knife’s strength, giving you a sturdier tool with a long lifespan.
Scalloped knives are excellent for kitchen applications. For example, they make your work easier when cutting through wet, clingy, or soft food items. Therefore, this utility knife is suitable for slicing or cutting meat, bread, fruits, and vegetables, and it gives a cleaner cut than the traditional paring knife.
While scalloped knives can be a great tool in the kitchen, they can be challenging to sharpen when the blades become dull. A knife with scallops on both edges may serve you longer before you need to sharpen it.
5. Serrated-Blades Utility Knives
This knife blade is similar to the scalloped type, except the notches along the blade’s edge come out as rough, saw-like teeth. As a result, you move the knife like a saw while cutting through a material.
Serrated-blade knives are excellent for cutting through dense, fibrous, and tough materials. Although they have more limited application than smooth-edge utility knives, serrated knives can be deployed indoors in the kitchen and outdoors for DIY and professional projects.
For example, you can use this tool to cut bread or cut through insulation foam and vinyl flooring tiles. These knives are available in varied length options, giving you the flexibility to choose the suitable tool for your task.
While a serrated blade is a great additional cutting tool, sharpening them can be challenging for some people. You may have to purchase a new knife if the old one gets dull.
6. Snap-Off Blade Utility Knives
These are also called breakaway utility knives. They have a long, segmented blade. You use a blade segment at a time and snap it off when it becomes dull to make way for a fresh, sharper one behind it. A blade may have up to 13 sections, allowing you to renew blades conveniently.
These knives are ideal for cutting tasks that dull blades quickly. They make it easy to refresh the sharpness of the blade.
While snap-off knives can handle light to medium-duty tasks, their major drawback is that you can’t change the blades to bring on a more powerful one for heavy-duty cutting tasks. As a result, this is more of a hobbyist’s utility knife than a professional tool.
These are the popular utility knife body design types:
7. Fixed-Blade Utility Knife
This type of knife has a fixed-length blade that stretches out from the front of the handle. The blade and handle can come in various shapes and sizes.
The handle material may be rubber, plastic, wood, or metal. The blade can be stainless steel or carbon steel.
Fixed-blade utility knives can offer excellent service in heavy-duty cutting tasks. Since the blade is firmly secure in place, it provides stability and makes this knife ideal for precision cuts.
Fixed-blade utility knives offer easy access, making them suitable for one-handed operations. Think of a situation where you’re supporting the item you want to cut with one hand and need to operate the cutting device with the other hand. As a result, these knives are favorites for professionals.
Fixed-blade utility knives usually cost more than other options. Fixed-blade utility knives are worth considering if you don’t mind paying a little more for a sturdy hand-cutting tool with a broad application.
While some fixed-blade knives allow blade changing, others come solidly tied to the handle. Those that support blade changing are often compatible with various blade designs.
Fixed-blade knives that don’t change blades may be more sturdy. However, the inability to change blades can be inconvenient if your task requires varying blade lengths or strength in the cutting stages.
Although you may lack the flexibility to change blades or vary blade length, fixed-blade knives are easy to sharpen when dull.
Moreover, this utility knife requires careful handling because it can be prone to accidental nicks. Keep the knife’s blade sheathed when not in use to minimize accidents.
8. Retractable Blade Utility Knives
This knife comes with a blade that pulls in and out of the handle. As a result, the handle also provides storage for the blade. The knives come in straight or curved body designs options.
The retractable knife allows you to vary the blade length. That enables you to easily vary the cutting depth depending on your need. The ideal retractable knife allows you to adjust the blade and lock it into place at various positions.
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Many retractable knives support blade changing and accept various blade designs.
The blade adjustment is achieved through a thump-operated slider. Some retractable utility knives come with an auto-retract feature. In this case, the blade pulls itself back into the body when not in use.
With self-retracting knives, you must press and hold a button while cutting. The blade pulls back when you release the button. The auto-retracting feature enhances the knife’s safety.
Retractable utility knives can be difficult to work with in heavy-duty tasks. For example, sliding the blade in and out or holding the button can be tedious and uncomfortable.
As a result, the retractable knife is ideal for light and infrequent cutting tasks. This is also more of a DIY favorite than a professional tool.
9. Folding Utility Knives
As the name implies, a folding utility knife can be folded to conceal the blade. Folding allows you to reduce the tool’s size for easy carrying in a pocket or toolkit. As a result, this utility double can also serve as a pocket knife.
Moreover, the folding feature serves a safety purpose as it hides the blade and reduces accident risks.
You may have the option to sharpen or replace the dull blades of a folding utility knife. Some of these knives have a blade storage space in the handle. Moreover, some folding utility knives come with retractable blade features.
Apart from cutting, some foldable knives come with a bottle opener.
A major drawback of folding utility knives is that they can be difficult to work with in one-handed operations.