Utility Knife: A Cutting Tool That You Need

Published On: April 14, 20210 Comments on Utility Knife: A Cutting Tool That You NeedLast Updated: February 7, 20244.8 min read

Every home has a toolbox filled with basic tools you may find in a prepared kit. There are usually hammers, screwdrivers, and pliers handy for major and small jobs. What should also be in the box is a multi-purpose utility knife. In fact, having the latter gadget in your tool collection may even eliminate the need for a couple of your tools.

Utility Knife

A multi-purpose utility knife will help with a variety of cutting tasks, and is commonly used by trade workers and crafters. It is sometimes called box cutters, carpet knives, and/or stationary knives. This type of knife is used to scrape, pierce, and cut material such as caulk or crafts. It can also be used to cut carpet, metal sheet, nylon straps, wiring and wood. Let’s explore more about this cutting tool.

How to Find a Utility Knife

In general, utility knives have a simple handle that is flat and made out of either metal, nylon, or plastic. A standard utility knife handle is approximately 4 inches long, although this length does vary. There are smaller, palm-sized cutters on which the handle is only between 1 to 3 inches. Most utility knives have a blade that retracts into the handle when not in use. The handle also has a holder to store spare blades for quick and easy changes. While retractable is the standard, there are folding knives for carrying on a belt or in a pocket.

There are also a few fixed-blade options available. These come with a cap to cover the blade when not in use. However, fixed-blade utility knives are more often used by hobbyists and crafters than handymen or construction workers. It is common for utility knives to have double-sided blades to extend the life of the edge. When the initial side becomes dull, turn the blade around to use the sharper side. You can also choose between rounded and pointed tip blades. Pointed tip blades come in handy when you want to pierce the box or bag you are cutting before cutting.

What Are Some Uses for Utility Knives?

Utility knives are all-purpose knives that are ideal for household needs.

Cutting Carpet

If you are ready to renovate your home, replacing the carpeting is a way to update your décor. Removing carpet is not always an easy task. A utility knife can cut through the stiff backing so that you can remove or repurpose it. When you consider a utility knife for cutting carpet, you need to make sure the blade will extend long enough. Some cutters have multiple blade positions to enable you to cut all the way through the rug. Make sure yours has a long blade or several length options.

Removing Caulk

Weatherproofing your home sometimes requires removing old caulk from around windows. In the bathroom, you’ll have to apply new caulk around tubs and showers over time. Before you do either, you need to strip away the old caulk. Use a utility knife along the seams of the old caulk to loosen the existing pieces. Once the seam is loose, you can grab it and pull it free. With the area free of old caulk and cleaned, you can apply the new sealant.


There are several different crafts in which you can take advantage of the handiness of a utility knife. More intricate details require a penknife or hobby knife. However, a utility knife can still come in handy for more significant cuts. For those who like to carve pumpkins, a utility knife can cut the larger sections out. Then you can use a smaller knife for detailed work. You can also use a utility knife to cut cardstock, vinyl, and even leather to create homemade crafts.

Utility Knife - cutting shingles

Carving Wood

Woodcarving is a hobby that is often overlooked. Getting started learning how to carve in wood is not as difficult as you might imagine. Using a utility knife can help you get started as you’re learning. If you are just starting out, use a pattern that you’ve traced on the wood surface. Use the blade to create a stop cut around the design. Then use the utility knife to carve the pattern into the wood.

What to Look for When Choosing a Knife

When you are looking to purchase a heavy-duty utility knife, there are a few things you need to consider. There are four main types of blades. Non-heat treated blades, as the name suggests, are not heat-treated during manufacturing. They are as strong and/or stiff as other options. Induction-hardened blades are heat-treated and tougher than their non-heat-treated counterparts. Bi-metal blades are composed of two different metal pieces fused together to make a strong blade. Bi-metal blades tend to hold their edge. Ceramic blades are a good choice for those who may be working around electrical equipment. While all these blades (including ceramic) can cut skin, you may consider a finger-friendly blade to reduce the risk of severe lacerations.

Utility knives are available in either retractable or fixed blades. With retractable knives, the edge pulls inward for safer storage. You can choose from manual or automatic retractable knives. With the manual option, you must push the button to open and close the blade each time. Automatic utility knives withdraw the edge if you let go of the button or the blade loses contact with the surface. Fixed blades do not retract into the handle for safe storage. Instead, they come with a cap to cover the edge. Considering the multitude of uses for a utility knife, your toolbox should not be without it. It won’t take long before you find out just how handy this tool can be for your everyday needs.

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