I have tried different brands and styles of utility knives over the years, and so far I’ve found Dewalt’s Carbide-Edge to be the best.
These Dewalt Carbide Edge blades have a tungsten carbide cutting edge that is deposited via high powered laser, making the edge harder than the steel base material and with greater edge retention.
In other words, it stays sharper for longer.
Carbide is more brittle than steel, but I haven’t encountered any issues so far. The blades still have typical amount of slight flex to them, since only the cutting edge is modified.
Dewalt says that the blades stay sharper 10X longer than traditional blades.
At Home Depot, for the sake of comparative pricing, you can buy a 50-pack for $18, or 36 cents per blade. A 75-count of Dewalt “heavy duty” blades are $15, or 20 cents per blade.
The “heavy duty” blades are said to last 3X longer than standard blades, compared to 10X for the carbide blades. So, the Carbide Edge blades should have up to 3X longer sharpness in comparison, for roughly double the price.
Amazon has a 50-pack for $15, or 30 cents per blade.
Different brands’ “standard” general purpose utility knife blades are usually priced at $10 for 100, or 10 cents per blade.
I haven’t quantified how much longer the Dewalt Carbide Edge blades last for me, but I can tell you that I absolutely notice when I use lesser blades.
The Dewalt Carbide blades do last considerably longer in my experience, and are my go-to choice.
If you know of something better for me to try, let’s hear it.
Buy Now: 5-Pack via Home Depot
Buy Now: 50-Pack via Amazon
Buy Now: 50-Pack via Home Depot
These blades are made in the USA with global materials. There might still be some made-in-UK versions as well. I have bought and used both, but haven’t noticed any differences.
These blades have actually been around for quite a while. Stanley launched their Carbide blades 10 years ago, and Dewalt launched their similar Carbide Edge blades 7 years ago.
I might have to give these a try. My blade-buying is usually driven by the cheapest price – I have a pretty good store of them, so I just wait for a deal and buy what’s cheap to keep it stocked, then toss my blades out with abandon as they wear because I know I’ve got tons of cheap replacements.
The price and claims for these Dewalt blades make a case that there could be a better way to do it.
These are my favorite standard utility blades as well, though generally speaking I prefer a 25mm snap blade knife with Olfa “Extra Heavy Duty Ultra Sharp Black” blades. HBB series. 5-pack is HBB-5B, 20-pack is HBB-20B.
That’s exactly my go-to “utility knife” as well.
Though I keep a bunch of conventional ones around mostly because other then losing one they too last forever. Not the blades but then I must have a half dozen miscellaneous nearly full dispensers. And that’s after giving a bunch to Habitat for Humanity after loving the OLFAs you first mentioned.
Live and learn.
I have had great luck with those Olfa snap off blades. I find myself using them more and more.
Olfa HBB gang represent! When you hear that ratchet lock go “click-click”, you know we’re about to regulate on wannabe liner locks. Milwaukee Fastback? More like A$$-Whack.
About the Dewalt carbide blades, I’ll politely disagree. Tungsten carbide is alright for power tools, but definitely not something I want for a knife. I’ve used them, and they performed as I expected: held the same dull edge for a long time.
If y’all love the HBB, as I also do, have you tried the LFB Speed Blades?
I mostly use 18mm, and these are phenomenal with the flourine coating on the blade bevel, just like those canary cardboard knives – in like applications, they generally last even longer than the ‘standard’ super-hard blades.
They are dangerously slick though– if you’re slicing cardboard and expecting resistance.
Recently built some sculpture transport boxes out of triple-wall with ease, and the cuts were so clean.
Oh swell. Now I’ve got to try yet another OLFA snap off blade series….
Matt the Hoople
Come on now. If y’all are gonna tout a product so much, please provide some links. I can google it up but, with the way yous guys are ravin about these, wanna make sure I’m looking’ at the right thing.
The LA-X is a good place to start. Amazon’s sold out, but Home Depot might have it for pickup.
DeWALT actually makes 25mm snap blades as well. Identical to the individual trapezoid single blades, but built to snap off. And, yes… they will fit your OLFA knife just fine.
Only example I could find, but I know in-store they have refill packs for something stupid like 20 for $8, or something. I know my Mother has had this ancient 25mm knife since before I was born, and everyone in the house has always been afraid to tell her the last blade was dull… A few years ago I got angry at her for keeping it around so much, stormed off to Home Depot, and got a pack of DeWALT Carbide 25mm blades. Comes in a dispenser box of its own. Slide the slide, it dispenses a full refill fresh blade. I know that sounds like the individual utility blades, but no, these are snap-off blades.
They do make them, they’re either black or silver (they only had the black back when I bought them.) and they’re exactly as sharp and long-lasting as the carbides I keep for my folding utility knife.
Lots of explanation because I can’t find them listed anywhere that is in both countries in North America… And I don’t know if US stock will be different than up here.
The reviews at homedepot.ca are really bad.
On that one knife? Yes. And I agree with those. The snap off blade knives from DeWALT just aren’t as good. And the blades they ship with are… well they’re garbage… but I bought refills of just the blades, and put them in a 40+ year old knife of unknown origin, and the blades work magnificently. When I bought them they only had the Black Carbide blades in stock, so I think I got… a 25 pack? A 10 pack? It’s in another room, and I don’t feel like going and counting them. The knife is currently used by my Mother to open pill packs every day, and there are times I cut plastic lids to create straw holes with it… and that has been the case for something close to 8 years now. We’re still on the very first strip, and have only snapped off one blade.
You also have to remember… This particular knife held a dull blade for 40-ish years, because everyone else, other than myself, was afraid to touch this knife because my Mother was somehow sentimental about it, or something. Finally, all I did was get it some DeWALT Carbide Blades as replacement, and it has been in full service since. I know nothing of what brand the knife itself is, its exact age, or why it was kept with the same blade for so long. This also means I don’t know if the longevity of the blades I bought are due to the blades alone, or something about the rigidity of the knife itself holding them, that has contributed to the longevity of these particular blades. I loaded the first blade in the pack, and since then have only snapped it off once.
Also… I’ve been googling for the past… I would say hour… and I can no longer find the Black Carbide blades I bought anywhere… They had Black edition and Standard edition at the time. Identical edges, just… for some reason they chose to do a black coating on this model, and I would not call them expensive, even with a gun to my head. And, yes, I bought them from Home Depot. It’s really frustrating that I can’t find them to explain what I mean with a link, rather than me rambling. I’m sorry.
I have a few of these and I don’t recall buying them. I don’t use my standard utility knife often – but this is what’s in it right now.
I will say they cut clean.
Otherwise my go too has become that olfa with the hardened blades as well
What are you cutting? I do a lot of flat commercial work. Some days We are cutting up rubber, pvc, tpo, torch down. Lately been cutting lots of dexcell (cement board) blade don’t last long. 5 guys cutting can go through 20+ blades in a day. Usually get 10, 50 or 100 paks at a time that’s on sale. Will have to see if they hold up and worth the extra money.
Cardboard, rubber, clamshell plastic packaging, foam, misc. plastic, sometimes drywall.
Nothing will last very long cutting cement board.
These definitely are my favorite blades and they do last longer than the regular DeWalts or Milwaukees.
I’ve only used one that was included with the knife, but the Fiskars blades seem pretty good. They might be worth comparing with the DeWalt at some point. The most demanding application I’ve ever used a utility knife for, though, was definitely cutting cement backer board. You could watch the tip disappear off the knife as you cut. For something like that, would the DeWalts be noticeably better? Or is a large pack of normal blades better?
You’d still see the blade disappear before your eyes, it would just be slower. Cement backer board eats blades no matter what.
I haven’t tried it on that particular material, but Lee Valley sells Scalloped Blades for more rugged materials.
They’re almost like tiny saw blades… and I don’t know if you would find it worth it or not. It’s just a thought, based on the material. I have no experience with the material, but I’ve tried several different blades to see how they do for me.
As to comparing Fiskars to DeWALT… Might be interesting… might also be kinda futile… All of my experience with Fiskars has been with scissors, but I believe their entire brand can be held to the same standard. They make them insanely sharp… Sharper than they should be sometimes… and they stay sharp for seemingly forever, until they just stop being sharp one day. It could be perfect cutting the day before, and the next day, same material, they’re done.
That is a really good feat of engineering to achieve that, in my opinion, but compare that to the DeWALT range that is deliberately consumable, and the result is that they stay sharp a very long time, but the entire time they have been getting gradually dulled. I’m genuinely unsure of whether Fiskars can be compared to DeWALT’s Carbide blades… their methods of “Staying Sharp For Longer” are apples versus oranges from eachother. If it can be examined or tested though, I would trust Stuart to find a way. In the case of Fiskars… my brain goes to a test of both blades through various materials of increasing difficulty to cut, then putting them both under an electron microscope to see which one has a more consistent edge following the test. The two lines are just too difficult to judge with any less precision than that, I think. And I don’t know if Stuart has any Material Sciences connections to check with an electron microscope… He does have a Doctorate in the field, but I don’t know if there is a campus near to him that would allow him to use the equipment, with his PhD credentials as a pass.
My old records show that we tried these scalloped edge blades in 2010 – but then did not buy more beyond the first batch. That usually meant that there was not a groundswell of positive feedback – but maybe we just didn’t pass enough of them around:
Lee Valley’s are from a different brand, and I have since cut off the brand packaging to keep the storage. Also, those have round scallops, and the ones from Lee Valley have Trapezoid scallops… so there’s something like 7 cutting edges per scallop.
I find they work best when they can be used a bit like a saw. When drawing the knife, it doesn’t work great as just a splitting edge, it works better at an angle, where the scallops can eat through the substance you’re cutting.
I think the best example may be heavy rubber or PVC tubing, of small diameter. Lots of short cuts, rather than one long cut, seems to be where these types of blades work best. And I’m still not positive they’d work on the concrete backing board, I just know they’re for more resistant materials.
The only other thing I can think of for something so abrasive would be a power shear tool, or a diamond-edge rotary disc. Both of which may well be severe overkill for the job… but they’re just guesses, because I’ve never even touched concrete backing board. I have no experience, I only have a broader knowledge of “Thinking outside the box” on some of these issues.
I’ve mostly used the scalloped style blades on fibrous materials, like carpet, and I’ve found them to work well for cardboard as well. You certainly can cut backer board with a diamond wheel on a grinder, and you have to do something like that or another power tool for backer over 1/4” thickness. I wonder if there’s a diamond edge utility knife blade or something similar that could work as well. Anyway, just a thought. Thanks for chiming in, Joe and fred!
The blades in Lee Valley’s picture are marked “D455.057”
That same marking appears on the 2ZRP1 blades from Rapid-Edge and on the ones that Grainger sells under its Westward brand:
so maybe there are some differences (or not) and/or the OEM in China may just rebrand them.
We never found any blades that the guys liked better than ones from Tajima for a combination of sharpness, durability and longevity. We had tried many different blades including Stanley 11-800, 11-921, 11-931 plus Irwin and Lenox bi-metal blades. That experience is now approaching being 10 years old – so something new may be better – but the Tajima blades are probably still worth a try:
No surprise there. Tajima is what I ordered during my shipping and receiving stint.
Project farm agrees. I think his point about the being expensive is a little overstated once you start buying in bulk.
I would say the biggest promotion for them is that they’re never in stock at my store! I think they’re worth it just to avoid blade changes so often.
Dave the tool
I will give them a try when I run low on my blades! Definitely a huge difference between cheap priced blades and those of higher grade manufacturing. Thus far the Stanley Fat Max blades are my favorite but since I bought a bulk of them on a deal years ago, I haven’t had to purchase utility blades in awhile. Good article and hopefully those that use the “cheap” blades may be convinced to try the higher priced ones!
I’m almost done with my 50 pack. I won’t buy them again. Tips break off real easy, no surprise there. The biggest problem for me is they aren’t as sharp as the steel ones. If you have to cut a lot of thin materials like shrink wrap it tends to tear it rather than cut. If I was using it for cardboard or nylon webbing exclusively it would be great. For me they don’t work well for general purposes use.
I have been using Milwaukee, Dewalt Carbide, Irwin, stanley and Husky brand blades for several years and I can’t discernibly tell a difference. I am sure there is one but it depends more on the work I’m doing than the blade itself. I cut everything from hardie board to roofing felt, drywall, insulation, etc.
As I’m sure someone has mentioned, project farm on youtube has a demonstration and these are some of the best, if not the best.
I just can’t tell in general construction.
Yeah, General Construction covers way too many variables to narrow down each blade for which use on site. You do too much in a day for it to matter, as long as they’re all the best they can be at what they’re meant for.
Plus, you’ll likely see more proof of what’s best by the ones you don’t throw away as often as the rest. Where more specialized uses of the blades would see the difference in each use of the blade, you have to wait until you throw one out to see which brand dies most often. Otherwise, you’re using all the right blades, in all the right places to extend all of their lives to the maximum.
I totally get it. But man… For testing purposes you’re like… a worst case scenario… Every blade is going to outlast everyone else’s choices, because you’ve got the right blade for the right use every time, and aren’t overly using any one blade in a day. To you, a Swatch is the same as a Rolex in any given day… You use them for telling the right time, and in the right conditions, the one you’re wearing is the one that is right. The Rolex for when you’re upselling your team’s work, Casio or some sort of Smart Watch for when you’re helping get dirty on the build, and a Swatch for paperwork and material runs… You’ve always got the right one on, so none of them are definitively better than the others, only on price.
Very interesting scenario you’re in MFC… Can almost call it “Zen” in a way… You’re always in the sweet spot for these blades. Bravo man…
I wasn’t that impressed with the carbide blades either…not as sharp and didn’t seem much better after trying to hone them a little with a fine diamond sharpener. They were ok, certainly most of them lasted a long time and for rough use I think they’re fine. I thought they were a bit of a PITA in any type of foam and did ok on foamboard only when fresh, not stellar for cardboard either.
I’ll use whatever blade is around usually. I have to say that I was most surprised and impressed with the X-Acto brand utility blades. I didn’t even know they made them but the office I work at now had a couple 100-packs stashed away (which normally would last this office about fifty years…). They are outstanding. Blued steel, properly oiled in the tray with oiled paper around the bundle, and scary sharp with a smooth grind on the edges. These are probably all well over 7-8 years old now so I don’t know if X-Acto has that same quality anymore but these are really great blades. They seem to stay sharp for a good while on cardboard and plastic straps, mostly light to medium duty cutting, and they definitely start out sharper. I’m sure they must have bought them from their office supply distributor and probably paid twice as much as they should have. They seem hard to find, though. Amazon has a listing that appears to show a different blade, but around $35 for the 100pk. Lowe’s lists them for more and can be ordered into the store: https://www.lowes.com/pd/X-ACTO-No-11-Bulk-Pack-Blades-for-X-Acto-Knives-100-Box/1002461356
The last blade I used for myself that I really liked were the old bi-metal Lenox blades. I wish the carbide had been better for my uses but I think the bi-metal is where it’s at for sharpness.
Oh…well…oops. That Lowe’s listing is for the little hobby knife blades. Here’s the Amazon listing for the utility knife blades, but it doesn’t show the nice blued steel. X-Acto still describes them as blued steel so maybe they’re the same.
I am a cattle rancher and i carry a compact Milwaukee fastback knife. I usually sharpen the utility blade with a diamond stone before I go out of the house in the morning. I like starting the day with a very sharp knife. My knife gets a lot of use and abuse during the day.
The best blades for for me have been the older Lenox bimetal blades made before they added the titanium coating. They are sharp when new and resharpen easily many times. The new Lenox bades with the coating have a brittle edge causing little chunks to break off the blade. The Irwin bimetal blades are almost as good as the older Lenox.
I have not tried the new Dewalt blades but I did try Stanley’s carbide blades. The blades were not very sharp new and I could not sharpen them with a diamond stone well enough for my use. I also had some tips to break off.
I have used regular steel blades from other companies and most will take a good edge with a diamond stone but the edge will not be as durable as a bimetal blade.
A 50 pack of bimetal blades and a diamond stone lasts a couple of years for me.
Tajima makes a few styles of blades that i love. economy, extra sharp, and extra tuff