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Utility Knives

What Is a Utility Knife?

Utility knives are hand tools that cut corrugated packaging, plastic, and other materials. Commonly used for both household and industrial applications, the best utility knives feature safety measures to prevent lacerations, a major cause of workplace injuries. Some allow you to choose different fixed-position blade lengths to match the depth of the material you're cutting, while others have retracting blades, which prevent accidents when the tool is not in use.

The Slice Manual Utility Knife features multiple blade position settings, while other options include standard blade-retraction technology or innovative smart-retract blades that retract as soon as the blade loses contact with your cutting material.

What Is a Utility Knife Used For?

Industrial utility knife uses include removing packaging, trimming flash from plastic components and cutting raw materials to shape on the factory floor. Slice utility knife blades are made of zirconium oxide, which is chemically inert and safe for use at temperatures of up to 1600 degrees Celsius, making them an excellent option for labs or extreme environments.

Are Utility Knives and Box Cutters the Same?

All Slice knives use our patented ceramic safety blades and include many of the same features, but they offer a variety of handle designs and blade lengths. The shorter blade of a box cutter knife, like the Slice Auto-Retractable Box Cutter or Mini Cutter, easily opens packing materials while minimizing blade exposure, thereby reducing the risk of an accident or damage to the box's contents. A Slice utility knife has a longer blade and can cut a broader range of materials. The best utility knife or box cutter for any job is the one that makes a clean cut in one pass with the smallest amount of blade exposure.

What Sets Slice Utility Tools Apart?

All Slice tools feature zirconium oxide ceramic blades. The advanced ceramic material used in Slice utility knife blades is rustproof, non-conductive, anti-magnetic, and won't spark. The hardness of this material means it dulls very slowly compared to steel. While steel blades are dangerously sharp at the start of their service life and quickly wear to a dull edge, Slice's slow-to-dull blades start at an effective sharpness and retain their proprietary safe cutting edge for up to 10 times longer than steel.

This means that tools like the Slice Auto-Retractable Utility Knife provide a consistent edge that is finger friendly and outlasts comparable steel-bladed knives. Fewer blade replacements, as well as a reversible (double edge) blade design, significantly reduce maintenance costs. The Slice tools featured on this page ship with double-edged, rounded-tip utility knife blades. Replacement blades offer both rounded and pointed tip options.

Slice utility knives and box cutters have handles with sturdy glass-filled nylon suited to heavy use. Most, like the Slice Smart-Retracting Utility Knife and Slice Manual Box Cutter also have ambidextrous handles and controls. While Slice box cutters have a J-hook handle that hooks on pockets, keeping the blade away from the body, other Slice products feature a lanyard hole so you can secure your safety utility knife when it's not in use. In addition to a lanyard hole, the Slice Mini Cutter's handle is magnetized to keep the tool within easy reach.

All utility tools from Slice feature tool-free blade replacement. Slice pen cutters, Mini Cutter, and box cutters all use the same model of replacement blades.

What Blade Control Options Do Slice Utility Knives Have?

These tools feature one of three types of blade controls. Products like the Slice Manual Pen Cutter have a simple slider that adjusts the blade position, while the Auto-Retractable Pen Cutter is a retractable utility knife; the blade retracts when the user releases the slide button. The Slice Smart-Retracting Utility Knife has an ergo-pull™ blade control. Using a pull motion to extend the blade requires less effort than a push, and the utility knife blade automatically retracts when it loses contact with the cutting surface. This innovative safety feature retracts the blade even when the user's hand is still on the slider, preventing injuries from slips.

What Does Ergo-Pull™ Mean?

Slice’s Ergo-Pull technology was introduced with the 10558 Utility Knife. While reevaluating every aspect of design, we looked at the ergonomic impact of the slider used to unsheath the blade in typical blade retraction mechanisms. What we discovered is that, while most sliders require a push action to activate the blade, a pull action is in fact more ergonomic. Think of it this way: you’re already pulling the tool towards you during the cut, so pushing the slider down at the same time creates tension in your hand. Pulling the slider instead is a more natural action.

To test the effectiveness of our new idea, Slice hired US Ergonomics in September 2016 to run comparisons between the 10558 tool and a typical (non-Slice) push-slider knife.

Their conclusion? “The Slice [Ergo Pull] resulted in lower forearm and hand muscle effort than the standard push blade lever utility knife.”

For more details on our ergonomic testing, check out the FAQ: How Do I Know Slice Tools Are More Ergonomic?

What If I Need to Do Detailed Work in a Small Space?

Slice makes a variety of handles because we know there are a variety of applications and personal preferences out there. We encourage customers to find the best Slice tool for the job. Some specialty applications require the strength of a utility knife, but take place in a very narrow space, or need more control than a typical everyday knife can offer.

If none of the tools in this category are slim enough for your needs, head over to the Precision Knives category. These tools offer a higher degree of control and a smaller handle profile. Their compatible blades are smaller and thinner than those used in this category, but they are still made of extremely hard advanced ceramics and have all the same benefits. This means they have a finger-friendly edge, are non-sparking, non-conductive, and safe up to 1600 degrees Celsius. If you need a handle that’s thinner still, consider our Ceramic Scalpels. These use the same blades as our precision knives.

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