Utility Knife vs Box Cutter: Differences, Uses, and Types

You’ve most likely seen the terms “utility knife” and “box knife” used interchangeably, almost as if they’re the same tool. While they share many similarities, there are also some subtle differences in their design and usage. And of course that begs the question, what’s the difference between utility knives and box cutters?

The main difference between a utility knife and a box cutter is what they are used for and what they can cut. The utility knife is more of a multi-purpose tool with the ability to cut everything from wood to food. The box cutter is mainly used for cutting boxes, tape, plastic strips and more.

It takes more than a few simple sentences to really tell the difference between these two valuable tools. In this article, you’ll learn what each is used for, what they can cut, and some safety tips to avoid injury.

What can utility knives cut?

A utility knife has many uses. Utility knives allow you to cut various objects such as cords and rope. You can also do other tasks like reshaping wood, cleaning fish scales, scraping hides, and more. This blade is longer than a paring knife but narrower than a chef’s knife.

Interestingly, you can also use a utility knife to cut fruit, tender cuts of meat, and sandwiches. Think of a utility knife as one of the best utility knives on the market.

What are utility knives used for?

Utility knives are widely used in factories, warehouses, construction projects and other places that require a tool to mark cutting lines. The utility knives are also used for trimming plastic or wooden items, or cutting tape, wire, strapping, cardboard, or other packaging material.

In addition, depending on the type of utility knife, it can also be used in the kitchen to cut various foods. However, make sure you don’t use your food knife to open the packaging and vice versa.

What can box cutters cut?

Box knife blades are razor sharp enough to cut through any box, especially thick cardboard-like apple boxes and moving boxes. For this reason, you will often see warehouse workers with box cutters in warehouses and stores. They make it easier to cut boxes, disassemble and cut through the thick tape without getting stuck.

What are box cutters used for?

A box cutter, often known as a utility knife, is a common tool in today’s workplace. While its main purpose is to cut and open boxes, it can also be used for other tasks such as cutting plastic cords, stripping materials, making precision cuts, etc.

Are box cutters illegal?

Cardboard cutters should not be in the hands of anyone under the age of 18. Although box cutters are not illegal as a whole, they may be regulated in certain states or localities. Therefore, it is important that you check with your local authorities to find out the legalities surrounding box cutters.

However, there is one nationwide truth, and that is: Any person who sells or offers a box cutter to anyone under the age of 18 is breaking the law.

Which is the safest blade for opening boxes?

The safest blades for opening boxes with a box opener are Slice safety blades. What sets these particular box cutters apart is their unique grinding process; They have a safety edge built into the design.

The blades are made with zirconia blades or ceramic blades and can cut the skin. They also don’t rust and last up to 11 times longer than metal blades.

Types of cardboard cutters

Find out which box cutter is ideal for the job. Your best bet is to look at the different types of blades out there.

There are six different types of blades available:

  • Serrated Blade: A serrated blade cardboard cutter may be a better choice for those who need to cut stiffer materials like drywall. These edges are similar to those of a steak knife.
  • Round tip blade: As the name suggests, rounded tip blades are box-cutting blades with rounded ends. People who want to cut but don’t necessarily want to penetrate will use these blades.
  • Serrated Blade: The serrated blades are great for cutting through styrofoam to avoid any potential mess due to this ability.
  • hook blade: Construction workers installing carpet or linoleum, as well as roofers, often use a hooked blade. The hooked edge helps with piercing and controlling the cut.
  • Pointed Blade: An excellent one Option for people who need to cut plastic or fabric.
  • snap-off blade: A snap-off blade is segmented so you can snap off the blunt part and immediately use the sharp edge.

Cardboard cutter sizes

Cardboard cutters come in different sizes depending on the task. For example, there are mini cutters that correspond to a pocket knife. These are often retractable and compact, making them great for use around the home.

Or there are larger box cutters that are great for opening large packages in a warehouse. The size to use depends on how much control you want to have over the blade and the project at hand.

Is a carpet knife sharper than a knife?

A box cutter is sharper and smoother, but it still requires a lot of blade-to-blade switching, so it’s a slightly harder edge. However, it is incredibly sharp as they have to be mass-produced for hygiene reasons.

A box cutter can be a risky piece of equipment due to the sharp blade and regular use. Cuts account for around 30% of all accidents at work, 70% of which involve hands and fingers. Although box cutters are necessary, they can be deadly if misused. It is therefore ideal to use the Safety Blades to further reduce these risks.

Safety tips for box cutters and utility knives

Since knives and box cutters are pretty dangerous tools, there are some safety tips around these tools so you can protect yourself and those around you.

Make sure you wear gloves

If possible, use cut-resistant gloves when using box cutters. This protects you from being cut by the knife when cutting. The gloves also help you hold the box cutter while cutting and prevent it from slipping out of your fingers.

Keep the blade short

You can adjust the blade length on retractable utility knives for a more comfortable cutting experience. You can efficiently apply pressure to the object to be cut while avoiding the possibility of breaking the blade by briefly holding the blade.

Make sure the knife is retracted when you’re done

Always remember to properly retract the boxing knife after use. All retractable box cutters have side locks that prevent the blade from moving during use and when not in use.

Cut away from you with the blade

Make sure the box cutter blade movement is not pointed at you when cutting an item. If you make a mistake while cutting, the box cutter can slip towards your body and cut you.

Instead, angle the blade away from your body so that in the event of an accident, the box cutter can fall or fall beside you instead of toward you.

Replace rusty blades

Because not all blades are made of stainless steel or ceramic, aged blades are prone to rusting, especially in warm, humid environments. In this case, it’s time to replace the rusted blade or snap off the blade parts.

In addition, rusted blades are no longer sharp and require a lot more force to cut things through. This is a safety issue as putting more pressure on the box cutter reduces its control.

Make sure the blades are sharp

Blades dull over time. In this case, replace or sharpen the blade if possible. A dull blade will not produce a clean cut and may require more force to achieve one. Box knife blades are inexpensive and easy to replace, which is a godsend for you.

A snap-off blade is included with some box cutters. When the tip of the blade dulls, users can snap off a section to reveal the sharp edge of the following segment.

Which is better: a carpet knife or a utility knife?

While both tools have their merits, their versatility makes utility knives better suited for everyday use. They are compact and easy to store, just like box cutters. On the other hand, utility knives offer greater blade control options, increasing your safety when you need to use your instrument quickly.

When it comes to everyday carrying, utility knives can be the way to go. However, it is important that you make sure you have the tool that is best suited for the tasks you face on a daily basis.

Heather Robbins

Heather is a passionate writer who loves all things DIY. Growing up she learned everything from home repairs to design and wants to share her tips with you. When she’s not writing, she’s mostly wandering or looking for her next DIY project.