I am staying with my parents this weekend, and after breakfast my father looks over to me and says:
Retractable utility knives are safer than folding ones.
(He was referring to my brief review of Stanley’s new FatMax utility knife.)
My father’s belief is that retractable utility knives require fewer actions to open and close than folding utility knives. To be fair, my father is somewhat old school. Give him a lockback knife, and he can close it no problem. Give him a slip joint knife, and again, no problem. But a liner lock? A while back I had to show him how to close the blade on his Leatherman multi-tool.
I suppose my father just isn’t aware that folding utility knives often have very secure locking mechanisms. The next time I visit I’ll bring with me an assortment of folding utility knives, and I’m sure he’ll see the appeal after giving them a try.
While I don’t quite agree that retractable utility knives are safer, there are a couple of pros and cons for each knife style.
Retractable Utility Knives
Pros: adjustable cutting depth, longer and more comfortable handles, better ergonomics, internal blade storage.
Cons: larger and bulkier.
Folding Utility Knives
Pros: more compact and pocketable, can be quicker to deploy.
Cons: cutting depth is typically not adjustable, limited internal blade storage, handle grip area is often smaller.
I tend to use both styles of utility knives, and Stanley’s QuickSlide is still a personal favorite. It’s not quite a folding knife, but shares many of the same pros and cons.
If I had to choose one style, I would probably opt for a retractable utility knife, simply because there are times when I don’t want full blade extension. I also find the comfort of full-size retractable knives to be somewhat better more often than not.
Dewalt does make a hybrid retractable folding knife, but its deployment is a bit slow for my liking. Open, slide forward, slice, retract back, close, repeat.
Which utility knife style do you prefer more?