Earlier today, Ben posted about Starrett’s Hidden Edge utility knife. Starrett’s Hidden Edge knife is a different take on safety knives than I’ve seen, and from what I can tell, it looks to be more practical to use, despite its larger size.
But if you’re looking for a safety utility knife in a standard form factor, there are many numerous models to choose from.
I’ve been using a Stanley safety utility knife for a couple of months now. I haven’t had any issues with regular utility knives or pocket knives, but decided to keep a Stanley safety knife near the front door for opening up boxes.
I also leave the safety knife there for my wife to use. I figure she’s more inclined to use a knife to open packages than scissors if it’s easy to close.
Spring-retraction safety knives self-retract when you release the blade extension button. Push the button when you want to use the knife, use it for a task, release the button, place the knife down or away, and you’re done. You don’t have to manually retract safety knife blades, making them somewhat safer to use than regular utility knives.
If you should accidentally drop a safety knife, the blade will retract safely within the knife’s housing before it hits the floor.
My safety knife came with a rounded-tip blade, and replacements are readily available. You can also buy these blades for your regular utility knives in most cases.
Blunted safety knife blades are useful for opening packages, as they are less likely to damage carton contents. With a regular utility knife, there’s a chance that you can score or damage the contents of a box if you extend the blade too far. This is more of an issue with folding utility knives, but can still happen with retractable ones.
Using safety knives is different, in that you MUST keep your finger on the retraction button. Otherwise, as soon as you release pressure, the blade pops back into the knife. This can make safety knives a hassle to use at times.
Starrett’s Hidden Edge knife works differently, and allows you to adjust and pre-set the blade extension length using a thumbwheel. When you hold or squeeze the two parts of the handle together, the knife deploys and stays deployed.
Regular safety knives work okay for what I use them for, but if I were required to use a safety knife in a workplace setting, I would definitely have my eye on the Starrett.
But also, if I were buying knives for others to use at a workplace setting, I would buy Stanley, Irwin, or Milwaukee safety knives, as they’re less expensive than the Starrett and easier to use without having to figure out the safety and adjustment mechanisms.
In addition to my Stanley, I also have a Milwaukee safety knife, but I haven’t a clue as to where I put it after I bought it. If I find it soon I’ll give it a quick review.
If you’re interested in a safety utility knife check your local home improvement store. In-store prices are occasionally better on these things.