I was scouting out Amazon’s tool deals when I came across this X-Acto precision knife set, which is apparently currently on sale.
It comes with 3 X-Acto knife handles of different sizes and styles, an assortment of 10 blades (13 total), and a soft case to store it all in.
X-Acto is no longer the only name in the precision knife market these days, but their products have held up quite well over the years.
Their blades are also exceptionally good. I’ll use Stanley precision knife blades on occasion, but tend to prefer X-Acto blades.
It might surprise you to know that I generally only use one blade size, the standard #11 blade. I’d like to try out the #16 blade, but the last time I checked I could only find it in assortment packs or 100-count bulk packages.
With this kit being priced very reasonably, it might find its way into my Amazon cart. But do I need that #2 knife? I think I used to have a heavy duty knife as part of an assortment – the one with the plastic handle grip – but I don’t remember. I can’t remember what happened to the small wood-boxed assortment either.
Sale Price: $12.90
Buy Now(via Amazon)
If you don’t need a whole selection like this, there’s a #1 knife with Z-series #11 blade at a very reasonable price (as of the time of this posting).
See Also(#1 Knife with Z-Series Blade)
I’m still a little annoyed at X-Acto. They had a free Z-series blade sample offer a few years ago, but I never received my sample blade. I’m still interested in seeing if the blade is any better than their standard blades.
While we’re on the subject of hobby knives, I might as well mention my affinity for Excel, and their knives. They have cushion grips – at least the one I have – and what I find to be a better blade clamp. To lock blades in place, you tighten a knob at the bottom of the knife, instead of at the forward grip section. The Excel knives are made in the USA and also come with safety caps.
See Also(Excel Hobby Knives via Amazon)
Excel also offers a USA-made assortment similar to the X-Acto one above. It’s priced at just under $20 via Amazon. The X-Acto set is made in China, although it’s not clear if that includes the blades too, which I thought were still made in the USA.
The X-Acto kit mentioned above does not seem to come with caps, but the “See Also” mention of their standalone #1 knife with Z-series blade does come with a cap. If you plan on keeping your hobby knife out in the open, they make a stand that keeps the blade down and the handle up and ready for use.
I purchased the same set you have in the photograph about 2 or 3 months ago from Amazon when it was a 12 or 13 dollar special. It has been extremely useful. The fact that it’s in a case makes it much more difficult to lose so that has been kind of an added bonus. I’m a fan of disposal scalpels but having the larger, solid handles is nice, especially when doing detail work.
I’ve started using scalpels instead of exacto knifes.
Depending on they blade you need and how hard you use them, they are way better.
Also way cheaper, as you can get ~100 blades for ~$10.
I always like xacto type knives but would try the scalpels. Where do you get them
If you just want to try them out, there are plenty of “100 #__ scalpel w/ free handle” (where __ is a style) on amazon. Though the free handle can be hit or miss, one I got had the groves cut wrong.
If you want to buy fancier, the “Swann Morton Retractaway Premium Metal Handle Retractable Scalpel Safety Handle” is highly reviewed by the crafting/modeling communities. It’s not on the US amazon, but I got it of ebay easy. This one makes a great EDC.
NOTE: always use pliers while inserting or removing a blade. ^_-
One of the first real tools I got as a Christmas gift was a set of X-acto knives in a wooden box. This was I the late 1950’s – when they were made in the Bronx NY. I was in the boy scouts – had done woodcarving merit badge in scout camp and had used the tools. I still have it – and you can still find them on eBay:
Put the cheap junk away, and get an Excel blade set.
They are all rather junky compared to my 60 year old stuff. But maybe that is more nostalgia, familiarity and remembrance of things past rather than a statement of scientific fact. I can say that I had a batch of Tamiya blades – made in Japan that seemed exceedingly sharp. What I can’t say is that I’ve done any side by side comparisons with the Tamiya’s, versus X-acto, Excel or TechniEdge. But, like you, I have noticed that X-acto blade quality seems to have slipped – and some of the newer handles look rather tinny.
One of my favorite tools is my Swann-Morton # 6B nickle handle scalpel, with which I use # 25A blade. It was hard to get (the handle) and expensive, but the feel in your hand is wonderful, the blades are much more durable than hobby blades, and the combination is a pleasure to use. Yep, you will pay 10X more for the handle than your basic X-Acto #1 , but it will last a lifetime. You can also get the handle in plastic if you want to try it out; those can be found on eBay for $ 6 bucks which gets you a pack of 3. A pack of 100 # 25A blades will set you back $ 25-30 dollars.
Looks like a nice set, decent for the price.
Sad that X-Acto stuff is almost all made in China these days. I still have a my USA-made X-Acto handle and a few boxes of #11 blades that I keep for critical cuts.
For general use, I just got a set of the Hyper Tough brand that came with a handle, 20-or-so different blades, tweezers, a sharpening stone, all in a hard plastic case, plus it had a screwdriver bit/handle set in the case too. All for about two bucks.
I guess I’d go with the above X-Acto or Excel sets if I needed something better for daily use.
I’d say it’s worth having a blade handle and a box of #11 blades in the toolbox, whether you’re an auto mechanic, woodworker, tradesman, etc. They’re great for everything from cutting out gaskets to trimmming plastics, fabric, anything where you need a utility knife, but smaller.
I think you meant X-Acto instead of Z-Acto in the first paragraph 😉
That’s what happens when you type X-Acto and Z-series too many times. =)
As far as the knife set is concerned, it is decent for the price, but make no mistake – this is cheap junk.
The packaging requires a chain saw to open and the included case is absolute trash – the inside knife trays don’t meet up properly so the case is very difficult to close.
I too, have the old wood cased set from 50 some years ago and the quality differences are staggering.
There is absolutely nothing to recommend this set unless you need a cheap, junky set. The blades are fine although the blades appear to be protected by being wrapped in a saran wrap like substance.
Does anybody knows who is the Chinese manufaturer of the X-Acto tools?