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The Box Cutter: Everything You Need to Know


What is a box cutter? There’s a wide variety of knives that can be considered box cutters. Rather than relying on a specific design style, the box cutter definition simply comes down to whether or not a given tool can cut boxes.

How does a box cutter work? This depends, of course, on the handle design you choose. A number of different designs exist, each with their own benefits and challenges and your choice will depend on your needs. It’s important to consider where and how often you’ll be using your box cutter, for what kind of boxes, and whether you’ll want to use your tools on other materials as well.

Another area to think about is safety, which should be an important consideration for everyone. Box cutters are notorious for causing injuries, which are painful and can be expensive and life-altering.


Knowing the high rate of injuries from box cutters, manufacturers have for years redesigned their handles to reduce blade exposure and therefore make box cutters safer. Changing box cutter handles addresses some safety concerns, but redesigning box cutter blades, as Slice has, addresses far more risks. After all, what cuts you, the handle or the blade?

Table lists risks associated with knives and which risks can be prevented with better handle design or a safer blade
Notice how many more safety issues are addressed by a safer blade. Slice redesigned the handles and the blades for safer versions of everyday tools.

Aside from safety, Slice® ceramic blades have some definite advantages for industrial use, not least of which is longevity.

Ceramic blades and longevity

Diagram illustrating the Mohs relative hardness scale
The Mohs scale shows the relative hardness of various materials. As you can see, Slice ceramics are much harder than steel.

Slice ceramic safety blades last an average of 11.2 times longer than dangerous metal blades because of their material: zirconium oxide. This advanced ceramic material is much harder than steel and therefore holds its edge much longer. Home users find they rarely have to look up how to change a box cutter blade, while industrial users save money over time with fewer blade changes. It is this wear resistance that allowed Slice to develop our patented finger-friendly® grind that cuts materials effectively but resists cutting skin.

Many industries with specific needs also prefer Slice blades for the inherent properties of our ceramics. These benefits include blades that are:

  • Rust free
  • Chemically inert
  • Safe up to 1600 degrees Celsius
  • Non-magnetic
  • Non-sparking
  • Maintenance free
  • Non-conductive

These special properties allow many industries to find a safer version of the dangerous metal box cutters they’ve been using, thus reducing injuries and costs. All Slice box cutters benefit from the properties of advanced ceramics and our patented finger-friendly grind. But each model offers different features that work better for different applications.

The Original Slice Box Cutter

The Slice 10400 Manual Box Cutter is more ergonomic and safer than traditional knives
Slice Box Cutter handles are a safer and more ergonomic alternative to traditional handles.

Slice’s original box cutter was designed specifically for single- and double-walled corrugated material. The handle provides the correct blade depth for double-walled cardboard with no extra blade exposed, which protects the contents of the package. The distinctive J-hook handle is ergonomic and protective, keeping fingers away from staples and other hazards. This Red Dot Design Award winner comes in two styles: the 10400 Manual Box Cutter and the 10503 Auto-Retractable Box Cutter. The following video gives an overview of the 10503’s main features.

Slice Utility knives

The Slice 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife, with ceramic safety blade extended
The Slice 10558 features Smart Retract technology for added safety.

For triple-walled corrugated, or materials that require more blade depth than our box cutters, Slice offers three styles of utility knife: the Slice 10550 Manual Utility Knife, the Slice 10554 Auto-Retractable Utility Knife and the Slice 10558 Smart-Retracting Utility Knife.

All Slice utility knives offer a longer, 24 mm, version of our finger-friendly blade. Their elongated handle shape makes them maneuverable and able to handle corner cuts. And the new Smart-Retract™ feature offered in the 10558 model gives an additional layer of protection. It’s designed to retract automatically when the blade loses contact with the cutting material, even if the user’s thumb is still on the slider button.



Pen Cutters

Slice pen cutters have a smaller profile than the utility knives and use the same replacement blades as the box cutters. The pen cutters’ 11 mm blade depth handles most household packaging while their slimmer design gives them more versatility for hard-to-reach areas. Two models exist: the Slice 10512 Auto-Retractable Pen Cutter and the Slice 10513 Manual Pen Cutter.

Slice Auto-Retractable Pen Cutter

The Slice Mini-Cutter: Ultimate Versatility

The Slice 10514 Mini-Cutter may be our most versatile box cutter because of its convenient size and on-board magnet, which makes it easy to store on a fridge or tool box. This small, retractable-blade cutter handles most household packaging, including single- and double-walled corrugated, clamshell packaging, plastic film, and onion bags.


And a Bonus: The Safety Cutter

In the strictest sense, the Slice 00200 Safety Cutter isn’t a box cutter because its micro-ceramic blade isn’t deep enough to cut corrugated. However, most cardboard boxes come with a packing tape seam, and the Slice Mini Cutter can easily handle tape, paper, and cardstock.

This is another versatile tool that, like the Mini-Cutter, opens most household packaging and has an onboard magnet. Its micro-ceramic blade is approved for travel in carry-on luggage in aircraft and we’re always learning of new industrial applications that our customers have found for the Slice Safety Cutter, such as cutting lab liner in medical settings.


Which Box Cutter Will Work For You?

The best box cutter for you will depend on your needs. If versatility is most important to you, consider the pen cutters, Mini-Cutter, or Safety Cutter. When you need a deeper cut, we recommend the Slice utility knives. In a shipping and receiving or retail environment where workers open a lot of boxes over the course of a shift, a Slice box cutter will reduce ergonomic strain and provide a protective handle that also acts as a guide. 

Further Reading


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