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The 11 Best Utility Knives and Box Cutters for EDC in 2021

Jonathan Tayag
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The 11 Best Utility Knives and Box Cutters for EDC in 2021

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Knives can be very versatile as an EDC tool, but they are not always the best one for every job. Opening boxes lined with tape and breaking down cardboard and clamshell packaging can really mess up your knife edge, layering it with gunk and adhesive while simultaneously dulling even the most meticulously sharpened blade. For that kind of dirty work, a retractable utility knife would be a better fit, taking the brunt of the work with replaceable blades that require minimal maintenance and keeping your EDC knife sharp for more crucial tasks.

In this guide, we take a look at convenient and pocket-friendly utility knife options and box cutters that can help save your primary EDC knife  from unnecessary wear and tear. From knives as tiny zipper pulls to highly functional multi-tools that integrate a retractable utility blade, we round up the choices that could deserve a spot in your shirt or pants pocket, organizer, or daily pack.

Gerber Prybrid Utility Knife

Gerber Prybrid Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Integrates seven other functions
Tough and textured G10 scales
Cord cutter foregoes opening the main blade
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Metal spine with G10 scales
Size
4.25" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$
This re-engineered box cutter maximizes functionality by adding seven other functions to the build. Textured G10 scales sandwich a steel-cased slide mechanism for the blade, while the spine of the tool provides a rigid platform for a prybar, wire stripper, nail puller, flathead drivers, and an always useful bottle opener. Under the tool there’s a nifty cord cutter notch that functions like a gut hook, allowing you to sever cordage without having to deploy the main blade.
Outdoor Edge Slidewinder Utility Knife

Outdoor Edge Slidewinder Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Carries extra tools on its stainless steel frame
Removable pocket clip
Affordable
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Stainless steel frame, polymer scale
Size
3.5" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$
The Slidewinder presents an affordable utility knife option that carries a few useful tools on its chassis. Aside from the standard-sized replaceable blades, Philips and standard screwdrivers plus a bottle opener are cut into the stainless steel frame. Blade deployment is via the slide mechanism which has a button for immediate retraction. On one side, a glass/ nylon polymer scale helps with grip, while a removable pocket clip on the other keeps the Outdoor Edge Slidewinder nearby when you need it.
Screwpop Ron's Utility Knife 3.0

Screwpop Ron's Utility Knife 3.0

Purchase
Key Features
Magnetic
4-step adjustment
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Stainless
Size
4" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$

With such a minimal, open construction, this is the closest you'll get to carrying around an unguarded razor blade in your pocket. A built-in magnet cleverly keeps blades from falling out when the lock is disengaged, and makes it easy to stick to metallic work surfaces, or your fridge. It's especially convenient thanks to its bottle opener on one end. On the other end, the large ring in the lock pivot lets you carry the tool on your keychain or lanyard.
Gerber EAB Lite Utility Knife

Gerber EAB Lite Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Folding design
Liner lock
Money/Pocket clip
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Stainless steel
Size
2.8" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$
Gerber's classic "Exchange-A-Blade" EAB comes in an even more compact and lightweight design as the EAB Lite. This folding utility knife has a pocket-friendly footprint, complete with an included clip that can double as a money clip or even a belt clip. Once deployed, its standard-sized blade is secured by a liner lock, keeping it ready for your home improvement and other cutting tasks. It's a reliable, affordable lightweight option with a more refined look.
Olfa Craft Utility Knife 34B

Olfa Craft Utility Knife 34B

Purchase
Key Features
Slim design
Sliding locking 30º blade
Lanyard hole
Specifications
Blade Type
OLFA XB34
Material
Metal
Size
4.6" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$
If you want to carry a compact craft knife with a longer, more usable blade, the 34B is the tool for you. It offers 2.2” of usable cutting edge without much handle bulk. The blade deploys with a brass thumb wheel that you can swap on either side of the knife. A small hole at the end of the handle works great as an attachment point for a paracord lanyard to make up for its lack of a pocket clip.
BigIDesign TPT Slide Utility Knife

BigIDesign TPT Slide Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Camping fork
Multiple integrated tools
Pocket clip and lanyard
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Titanium
Size
4"
EDC Rating


Price
$$
If you're looking for a utility knife that really puts an emphasis on "utility," look no further than the TPT Slide. Its titanium housing deploys a standard sized blade (or its included finger-safe package opener/camping fork hybrid blade) via an ambidextrous, one-handed slide mechanism. The rest of the tool is jam-packed with EDC features, including a flathead screwdriver, bit driver, scraper edge, and universal wrench set.
Slice 10495 Utility Knife

Slice 10495 Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Safe touch blade
Spring-assisted deployment
Ambidextrous
Specifications
Blade Type
Ceramic blade insert
Material
Glass-filled nylon, thermoplastic, polymer, carbon steel
Size
3.9"
EDC Rating


Price
$
Slice designs the replaceable ceramic blades in their utility knives to be sharp enough for cutting through boxes and packaging but still finger-friendly and safe to the touch. This makes it a good option for handing to people who are not as familiar with the safe use of sharp tools, but it’s also useful to have when your attention slips especially at work. And with the Slice 10495, they’ve put together a compact folding EDC-friendly blade that’s a fraction of the weight and size of a standard contractor’s utility knife, and yet it’s comfortable enough to hold in either hand for long periods of time.
Exceed Designs Titanium Utility Knife

Exceed Designs Titanium Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Frame lock
Flipper deployment
5.6 oz
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
Titanium
Size
5"
EDC Rating


Price
$
If you’re a fan of titanium-handled folding flipper knives but you don’t want to use a standard EDC blade for breaking down cardboard, the Exceed Designs TIRANT RAZOR is for you. It features a 6AL4V titanium handled design with a frame lock and a folding replaceable blade holder that fits a standard contractor blade insert for your convenience. With that frame lock design it will stay locked far better than the standard folding design of regular utility knives, and the minimal look of the titanium handle will look good with the rest of your everyday carry to boot.
Nova SK-022 Slim Auto-Retract Utility Knife

Nova SK-022 Slim Auto-Retract Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Adjustable blade length
Auto-retract safety design
5mm thick
Specifications
Blade Type
Nova SK blades
Material
Plastic
Size
6.5"
EDC Rating


Price
$
If you’re looking for a step up from the standard segmented replaceable utility blade you should look at the Nova Slim Retractable Precision Cutter, with a 5mm slim design that fits like a pen in your pockets or your pouches. The blade auto retracts after use for safety, so when you set the knife down there’s no sharp edges for other people to get cut on while you’re away from your work station. It also means that you can change the length of the blade depending on the task you’re trying to accomplish, which is something you can’t do with the standard box cutter.
CountyComm Slide Lock Ti Utility Knife 2.0

CountyComm Slide Lock Ti Utility Knife 2.0

Purchase
Key Features
Compact size
Twist retract slide lock
Great for backup use
Specifications
Blade Type
No. 11 hobby blade
Material
Titanium
Size
1.85" closed
EDC Rating


Price
$
The compact nature of the CountyComm Slide Lock Titanium Craft Knife 2.0 means it’s a great option for EDC (and especially for backup use). While it can hold its own as a primary box cutter, it’s a good thing to have on hand if you forget a full sized utility knife, saving you from having to use your keys or other makeshift tool to get boxes and packaging open when you really need it.
Gil-Tek RUK-S Utility Knife

Gil-Tek RUK-S Utility Knife

Purchase
Key Features
Made in the USA
Tool-less blade exchange
0.36 oz
Specifications
Blade Type
Standard
Material
6061 T6 Aluminum
Size
3.4"
EDC Rating


Price
$
The RUK-S is the latest incarnation of Gil-Tek’s community-favorite exchangeable utility knife design, offering easy one-handed operation and tool-less blade change that make it a great EDC whether you open packages on occasion or find you have to do it a lot at work. And the one-piece design of the RUK-S means that there’s less chance that the knife will fail even during constant hard use. The end result is a great American-made EDC box cutter design that’s minimal yet extremely practical especially when you factor in that it accepts a standard contractor utility blade insert too.

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Discussion (10 total)

Terry ·
The Prybrid really leaves a lot to desire. Just got mine. Utility blade was terribly dull out of the box (not a Gerber issue), there are hot spots that dig into the hand on use and trying to change the blade is rough at best. Speaking of rough, the fluidity of opening the blade is ok at best. Doesn’t want to slide very well out of box. May have to take it down and lubricate. Although I read reviews online that the screws strip upon removal. And no pocket clip? Really? I guess I shouldn’t expect much from Gerber and the price tag.
NUNQUAM NON PARATUS ·
Mossy Oak makes a neat little folding utility knife that is very minimalist. $15 for a two pack on Amazon.
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