Last updated: August 11, 2021

Welcome to our big safety knife test 2021. Here we present all the safety knives we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best safety knife for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should be aware of if you want to buy a safety knife.




Summary

  • The cutter knife is known by many different names. But it also differs in its versions and variants. One of these is the safety knife, which promises you the best possible protection at work.
  • There are countless variants of safety knives on the market with different functions and areas of application.
  • Recently, safety knives have become popular whose blades are covered by a hook. This reduces the risk of injury to almost zero, even during the cutting process.

The Best Safety Knife: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a safety knife

What is a safety knife?

A safety knife is a type of knife with a cutting edge 2 to 3 centimetres long. It is a versatile work tool that you can use to cut or work with a variety of materials such as paper, cardboard or foil.

Person schneidet mit Sicherheitsmesser an Lineal entlang

Safety knives come in various designs. What they all have in common is that they are safer to cut with than other knives. (Picture source: 123rf.com / 95222037)

It consists of a handle and a blade that can be moved out of the handle body by means of a slide or button.

The essential feature of this tool is that the cutting edge is held in the handle under spring tension. When using the knife, you slide it out of the sheath into working position and hold it there via the slide.

When you release the slide, the blade springs back into the handle due to the spring action. In this way you can prevent the knife from unintentionally lying open or jumping out.

This system is designed to expose the cutting edge of the knife in a controlled manner during use. In this way you can reduce or avoid injuries as far as possible.

Did you know that there are a few things to keep in mind when using safety knives?

For one thing, you should always use the blade away from your hand. In addition, safety gloves are ideal for protection during work.

There is no standard or uniform designation for these knives. In Germany, the most common names are knife, cutter knife, cutter, carpet knife, utility knife, safety knife, box knife, cutter knife, package knife, folding knife and snap-off blade knife.

What distinguishes a good safety knife?

  1. Ergonomics: A comfortable weight, a stable design, as well as the subject-specific use of the knife as a left- or right-handed person are relevant here. Important for ergonomics are an easy blade change, a secure grip, no disturbing edges or knobs, a light weight (ideally approx. 60-90g), a narrow design and a smooth-running slide.
  2. Blade life: The longer you can use your tool, the better it is for you as a user and the higher the value of your knife.
  3. Robustness: Cutting processes in industry and production can often be wear-intensive for your knife. The more robust it is, the longer it will last.
  4. Blade sharpness: This can be measured. The indicator is the width of the blade. The thinner it is, the sharper it is.
  5. Extras: There are numerous extra functions that a safety knife can have. You should compare products here.
  6. Price: As the stability, safety and extras of your knife increase, so does the price.

Besides the quality of the blade, it is the ergonomics that determine whether you like to use the cutter knife or not. Even 1 to 2 € can make a big difference when buying a knife.

What does a safety knife cost?

Regardless of the design of the knife, the disposable blade provides the necessary sharpness for cutting. If you want to change it, it is sometimes necessary to unscrew the housing. However, there are also knives with tool-free blade replacement.

Some models are also equipped with a continuous, non-segmented blade that can be either extendable or fixed. However, the differences in quality are mainly due to the differently designed handles and housings.

Segment Price
Entry-level 3€ to 15€
Mid-range 15€ to 30€
Professional cutter 30€ to 95€

The different versions are reflected in the price and can be assigned to the different segments of entry-level, mid-range and professional cutters.

Decision: What types of safety knives are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of safety knives:

  • Hook knife
  • Carpet knife
  • Cutter
  • Scalpel

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the most suitable safety knife for you.

What are the characteristics of a hook knife and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

The hook knife is also called a safety knife or nose knife.

You can recognise this knife by its hook, which is part of the casing and hides the sharpness at all times. Neither your fingers nor your goods can come into contact with the blade. You are therefore offered maximum safety from cuts.

The safety knife is ideal for opening packaging or boxes. For example, you can use it to cut adhesive tape, plastic strapping, thin cardboard boxes or foil.

A special feature of this cutter knife is that your goods in or behind the packaging cannot be damaged by the cutting edge. The reason for this is that the protective hook is also in front of the cutter blade during the cut and acts as a "protective shield" for your goods.

There are 2 versions of this tool. The pure foil knife and the universal cutter knife.

Advantages
  • Maximum safety
  • Wide range of use
Disadvantages
  • Difficult cutting angle
  • Wear

Both versions have the same protective function, but you cannot cut corrugated board or cardboard with a foil knife. The reason for this is the construction of the knife. With a foil knife, the housing behind the blade is too thick. This can cause great resistance when cutting cardboard.

The advantages of hook knives are maximum safety for you and your goods, as well as the wide range of applications when unpacking your goods.

We consider the cutting angle to be a disadvantage, as it can happen that you do not cut but tear. The wear of the cutting edge is also greater here. The reason is that only a small area of the blade cuts and this wears out quickly. As a result, you have to change your blade more often.

Incorrect operation or even manipulation of an automatic blade retraction is not possible with this cutter knife.

What are the characteristics of a carpet knife and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

You can also call this type of cutter knife a safety knife, trapezoidal blade knife, box knife, package knife, box opener or universal knife.

A box cutter has a replaceable trapezoidal blade or hooked blade. You can usually change these. On old models, they are fixed and cannot retract into the casing.

Advantages
  • Stability
  • Safety knife variant
  • Quick blade change
  • Different blades
Disadvantages
  • Costs
  • Short blades

For several decades, however, versions with automatic blade retraction have been gaining acceptance. Here, the blade is connected to the housing by one or more springs and automatically springs back into the housing after cutting.

Since the blade has no predetermined breaking points, it is very stable. Even if you have to cut once around the curve or want to cut hard materials, such as thick cardboard, rubber, foils on rolls or paper on rolls.

Carpet knives are also available as safety knives with automatic blade retraction. In addition, with good carpet knives you can change the cutting edge in no time at all. It doesn't matter whether you prefer to use trapezoidal or hooked blades. Both can be used.

Since the blades are not very durable, the carpet knife unfortunately costs more. In addition, the blade length of 3 cm is much shorter than that of a cutter knife with 7 to 8 cm.

Trade associations strongly recommend using at least these safety knives as part of injury prevention.

What distinguishes a cutter and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

This knife is also known as a Stanley knife or carpet knife. The cutter, also called a snap-off blade knife, consists of a handle and an elongated blade with several predetermined breaking points.

If it is blunt after several hundred cuts, you can simply break off the front segment and use the next one. It will then be as good as new. With most blades, you thus have an 8-fold benefit.

The standard version of the cutter has an 18mm long cutting edge. There is also a 9mm version for light cutting tasks. For cutting very strong fabrics or for curved cuts, you can also fall back on the more stable 22mm and 25mm versions.

In Europe and the USA, the Auto-Stop mechanism is very popular. It allows you to adjust the blade very quickly in up to 18 steps.

Due to its length, you are very flexible with this knife. For example, it is well suited for cutting thicker objects such as foam. The blade is fixed when cutting, which can also be an advantage in case of sudden pressure loss, such as when stripping cables.

Advantages
  • Flexible to use
  • Blade position fixed
  • Easy to resharpen
Disadvantages
  • Quick blade breakage
  • Lack of safety mechanism

If your cutting edge becomes blunt, you can revert to the next sharp one by simply breaking off a segment.

However, these predetermined breaking points have the disadvantage that they can break if handled incorrectly, which can injure you. Due to the exposed cutting edge, which cannot retract, accidents unfortunately occur relatively often.

What distinguishes a scalpel and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

You can recognise a scalpel by its very thin handle. Its dimensions are similar to those of a pencil. Furthermore, there is a very wide range of different cutting edges. These features make the knife suitable for very precise cuts.

The scalpel is used both in the medical field and in manufacturing companies as a deburring knife. For the manufacturing industry, the cutting edge is optimised for a long service life with relatively high sharpness. The handle of this knife is usually made of sturdy aluminium.

Advantages
  • Precision
  • Blade position fixed
  • Different blades
Disadvantages
  • High risk of injury
  • Fine work only
  • Rapid blade breakage

Since scalpels for industrial and hobby use have different thicknesses and holes for mounting replacement blades, depending on the manufacturer, you must always make sure to get the right blades for your handle.

In summary, you can cut very precisely with the scalpel, as they are very sharp and firmly screwed into the handle. You will also find the right blade shape and thickness for every application.

However, due to the sharpness of the blade and the lack of a protective mechanism, you can also injure yourself very easily. In addition, you cannot carry out heavy cutting work, such as cutting up a cardboard box, because the sharpness breaks very quickly.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate safety knives

In the following, we will show you the most important criteria that you can use to guide you when buying a safety knife.

The criteria you can use to compare the types include:

  • Blade shape
    • Snap-off blade
    • Trapezoidal blade
    • Protective hook
    • Scalpel blade
  • Blade quality
  • Safety level
  • Handle quality

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a tool based on the criteria or not.

Blade shape

Snap-off blade

The best-known blade shape is the 18 mm cutter knife with a snap-off blade. These blades have built-in predetermined breaking points. When the foremost section is blunted by use, you can simply remove it and continue cutting with the next sharp segment.

Snap-off blades are the only type of blade that have the same dimensions across all users. You can therefore also fit them into handles of other brands.

Trapezoidal blade

Carpet knives or parcel knives often have hooked or trapezoidal blades. You can almost always use them on both sides by simply turning them. With a blade thickness of 0.6 mm, these knives are considerably more stable than 18 mm cutter knife snap-off blades with their 0.5 mm thickness.

Did you know that a hook blade is ideal for cutting foil?

When removing foils, hook blades are the best choice. The material is not damaged and deep cuts are avoided.

Protective hooks

Recently, the safety cutter blade with the highest safety level has become more and more popular among commercial users. With this type, the blade is always concealed behind a protective hook. If it slips, you can no longer injure yourself.

Scalpel blade

If you need a knife for precise cuts, e.g. for deburring or to realise an idea in model making, the scalpel or hobby knife is the right choice for you. It is characterised by a pencil-like shape, durability and a large number of different special blades.

Blade shape Blade
Snap-off blade 18 mm long, 0.5 mm thick
Trapezoid blade 60 mm long, 0.6 mm thick
Protective hook 60 mm long, 0.6 mm thick
Scalpel blade 10 to 15 mm long, 0.3 to 0.5 mm thick

They are usually 0.3 to 0.5 mm thick and have a cutting edge about 10 to 15 mm long.

Blade quality

The quality of the blade is measured by how long it stays sharp enough for you to work with it without problems. This service life is actually the most important thing about a cutter knife.

Unfortunately, manufacturers do not give any information about the service life of their blades, because the service life is influenced by many factors. For example, the longevity is reduced when you cut aluminium than when you cut adhesive tape.

But of course the cutting angle, the speed and force of the cut or the air humidity also have an influence on the service life.

Safety level

Due to different technologies of blade storage, 3 different safety levels have been developed for safety knives.

1. Safety level

In the first level, safety is guaranteed by an automatic, spring-loaded blade retraction. This is also referred to as the will-dependent blade retraction or WAK technology.

First you have to press the slide to push the blade out for the cutting process. If you reduce the pressure or put the knife down, the blade retracts again. So while cutting, you have to release your finger from the slider to trigger this safety technology.

By making a dragging cut and allowing the blade to come into contact with the material being cut, you do not need to press the pusher forward throughout the process.

Should you slip off the material you are cutting during your work, the safety technology reacts and the tension spring that allows the blade to retract is set in motion

2. Safety level

The second level is distinguished by the involuntary blade retraction or WUK technology.

With level 2, the safety mechanism is triggered as soon as you interrupt the cutting process. The blade retracts into the handle regardless of whether you keep the slide or the button pressed.

The second stage is therefore a fully automatic blade retraction, which offers you maximum protection.

3. Safety level

At the third and highest level, the blade is concealed even during the cut. This means that the risk of an accident is extremely low.

However, you must expect restrictions in use, as the cutting surface is very small and can only be used for special applications.

Handle quality

There are big differences in quality and robustness that you should be aware of. From cheap and quickly breaking plastic, to thin sheet metal as a guide rail, to sturdy steel as a rail and a handle made of metal, you can find different manufacturing materials here.

The robustness of your knife in this case stands for:

  • no breakage
  • no abrasion

If your tool should slip out of your hand and fall on the floor, it is important that it does not suffer any breakage. We recommend that you use a metal handle, as this is much more stable than a plastic handle.

In addition, a metal handle hardly rubs off. This is especially important if you are using a cardboard or carpet knife, where you always rub the handle over the cutting material during the cutting process. A plastic housing rubs off very quickly on the surface it is placed on.

If the plastic blade housing is worn, the blade tip will protrude from the housing even when the blade is retracted. This can lead to serious accidents.

Facts worth knowing about safety knives

What extras can a safety knife have?

Cutter knives can have the following extras:

  • Fin
  • Locking wheel
  • Blade magazine
  • Auto loader
  • Transport lock

Fin

This is an extension of the metal rail at the back of the case, which you can use for levering, turning or scraping. An extra that can be very handy.

Locking wheel

With the wheel you can lock your cutting edge so that it has no play when cutting. Since every Auto-Stop slider has a backlash of 1 to 3 mm, this extra is useful for very precise work. In reality, however, it is only really useful for a few applications.

Blade magazine

This allows you to store up to 3 spare blades in the handle under the bar, so you don't need to carry an extra blade dispenser. This is quite practical. But it does not necessarily have to be.

Car charger

Up to 6 additional blades are stored in the rail so that they are automatically recharged. When your blade is blunt, you can simply push the slide all the way forward and remove the blade. Then push it all the way back, which automatically feeds the next blade.

Unfortunately, this mechanism works very unreliably with almost all autoloaders. Even leading manufacturers have clear problems here. The blade often no longer has a firm hold in the slider, so thick materials cannot be cut well.

Transport lock

A mechanism can be used to secure the pusher so that it cannot be moved accidentally.

What should you look for when using a safety knife?

  • Only use knives with sharp as well as undamaged blades!
  • Take your thumb off the blade pusher as soon as the blade is in the material!
  • Wear protective gloves!
  • When changing blades, follow the manufacturer's instructions!

Only use knives with sharp and undamaged blades!

You should only use knives with a sharp and above all undamaged blade for your work. Otherwise you may have difficulties opening packaging material or damage goods with blunt or broken blades.

Take your thumb off the blade pusher as soon as the blade is in the material!

As soon as the blade is in the packaging material, you should take your thumb off the blade pusher that secures the blade. This prevents damage to the fabric and the blade can snap back when it is removed from the material.

Wear protective gloves!

Despite the increased safety, you can take a few additional measures. For one thing, you should always guide the blade away from your body and not towards it. Furthermore, you should always hold boxes or the like when cutting so that you cannot shake them.

As an additional safety measure, we recommend that you wear protective gloves.

When changing blades, follow the manufacturer's instructions!

If you find yourself in a situation where you have to change the blade, you should follow the manufacturer's instructions. This will help you to prevent possible injuries.

Image source: 123rf.com / 68024352

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