While the utility knife has been around for centuries assisting those with various construction tasks, the modern Stanley knife that we all know and love was first launched in 1936. A convenient tool for a range of tasks, it cuts through materials quickly and precisely.
We've put together this guide to help you find the right Stanley knife for your needs and the project that lies ahead of you, with tips on handle construction and whether to choose a snap-off or retractable blade. We've even ranked the top 10 best Stanley knives on Amazon UK!
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The most imperative factor you need to consider when choosing a Stanley knife is whether you require a fixed or snap-off blade. Fixed blade Stanley knives come in many variations, from retractable to folding, but the blade part stays the same throughout.
This variation is for heavy-duty jobs like scoring and cutting robust materials, on-site or at home, such as woods and carpets. While the blades are fixed, almost all incorporate a convenient mechanism, allowing the user to quickly change to a new, sharper blade when required.
Snap-Off blades, on the other hand, are generally considered better for lighter materials and more delicate work. Not only that, but they're handy if you’re cutting materials that can leave a sticky residue, as the blade is quick and easy to get rid of. They can also be sharpened quicker by simply pressing down and snapping off the blunt part.
If you're looking for a reliable place to do your DIY at home, why not check out our folding work benches?
The final factor to consider when opting for a Stanley knife is the construction of the handle or body. As you’d expect, metal handles are sturdier and more durable, and should be top of the list if you're using your Stanley knife regularly.
A great choice for work, or for avid hobbyists who like to get stuck in during their own time, they come in many different sizes. Plus, some will also have belt clips, helping keep the tool handy when you're in the middle of your work.
That’s not to say that plastic handles don’t have a place. This construction is more likely to be found on snap off Stanley knives due to their throwaway nature. So, if you’re only picking up a tool for use around the house in case of emergencies, you can opt for a plastic handle with a fixed blade to keep the cost down.
For more heavy-duty work, consider an electric hand saw
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FatMax Pro Retractable Knife
Durable Stanley Knife With Space for up to 15 Blades
Fastback Foldable Pocket Knife
The Utility Knife Many Professionals Go to Again and Again
Lightweight Retractable Knife
Multiple Blade Positions Make a Flexible Tool for All Tasks
Professional Universal Folding Knife
Fold Away Blade for Easy Storage
Snap Off Knife
A Reliable Stanley Knife, Perfect for Every Task
Quality Construction and Craftsmanship
Snap Off Blade Knife
Solvent Resistant for Easier Cleaning
Quickslide Pocket Knife
Complete Metal Construction That Won’t Break
Duty Metal Handle Knife/Cutter
An Updated Design With Built-in Blade Snapper
A Handy Pair of Craft and Trimming Knives
There was only ever going to be one brand taking our top spot. The question was, which style we would choose? In the end, we've opted for the FatMax Pro as the die-cast aluminium body is not only built for strength and durability, but has the capacity to store up to 15 additional blades.
Aside from the industrial body, you have the brass wheel blade lock for safety and a spring-loaded opening for a quick and easy blade change. It might be the heaviest, but that ensures you'll be able to complete small tasks, such as tapping in nail heads, when required.
Although the Milwaukee Flashback might not have been the first folding utility knife, nor the most inventive, there is a certain appeal that has many professionals picking it up time and time again.
The reason for this is that every feature offered works extremely well. The blade change is clean and quick, and the belt clip is sturdy and secure. The handle is comfortable, and there's also an accompanying gut hook and wire stripper.
It's fair to say that many of the Stanley knives included in this article look for new and inventive ways to modernise this useful tool. However, sometimes it's best to stick to the classics when searching for a reliable choice.
A popular Stanley knife that's been around for decades, it has an ABS (plastic) body that is both shock-resistant and lightweight. Moreover, there is also the option of 5 different blade positions, making it flexible depending on what task you have in front of you.
While this utility knife from Bosch might operate similarly to the other knives when in use, instead of retracting when you've finished, the blade folds away. This makes it easier to store, once you've finished using it.
However, this small size doesn't affect the tool's comfort and cutting ability, with an ergonomic handle that's still easy to operate. Not only that, but the design also comes with a blade compartment for storing your spares.
This offering from Stanley comes with a Dynagrip soft-touch polypropylene body. This ensures a light, strong and, most importantly, comfortable knife for general purpose use.
As with all Stanley products, you can expect a quick and easy cutting thanks to the clever notched wheel system which moves the blade on. It's safe, straightforward and simple, making it perfect for everyone from DIY experts to those who just require something reliable for household use.
While practicality is always the most important factor when it comes to tools, there's nothing wrong with having one that looks pretty cool as well. Thankfully, the Gerber Prybrid delivers on both fronts, with a nifty, compact construction and top quality craftsmanship.
With this Stanley knife, you will get a true utility blade for slicing, cord-cutting, prying, driving screws, stripping wire, and even opening bottles. The only downside is that there isn't a belt clip.
If you're looking for a knife that's capable of cutting through sticky residue without the struggle of having to clean it once you're done, then look no further! As well as being a snap-off system, this tool is also solvent resistant, meaning it's even easier to keep clean.
Furthermore, it has a fast and simple change through mechanism so there should be little trouble when it's time to switch the blade. Unfortunately, the blade lock at the back has been known to come loose, which can be both frustrating and potentially dangerous.
This Quickslide pocket knife from Stanley is housed inside a complete metal body, ensuring that it's solid and durable. So, regardless of the work environment you find yourself in, you won't ever have to worry about it breaking.
The real highlight is the sliding blade, which works seamlessly with just one hand. There's even a slide safety feature that ensures the blade is never accidentally extended. That said, some buyers have found issues with the ergonomics and mechanism due to the tool's small size.
This offering from Olfa is a modern iteration of their classic snap-off cutter that was first released in the 1950s. While it might be small in size and weight, there are a lot of impressive features packed in.
For example, it comes with an auto-lock slide, pocket clip, and built-in blade snapper. That said, it does have one reoccurring issue. The body, although it's made from metal, has a yellow stopper at the back that is prone to popping out.
Here we have a couple of Stanley knives that are slightly different from the others on this list as they're designed to be thrown away. However, as the blades have a decent lifespan, they're still a good option if you're looking for something handy to open parcels, trim plastics or shave wood.
As you'd expect, they're not the sturdiest of options, so we would avoid them if you're looking to get stuck into some tougher projects. Plus, they will require repurchasing at some point. Although, they do come with a plastic guard to protect the blade when not in use.
No. 1: Stanley｜FatMax Pro Retractable Knife
No. 2: Milwaukee｜Fastback Foldable Pocket Knife
No. 3: Stanley｜Lightweight Retractable Knife
No. 4: Bosch｜Professional Universal Folding Knife
No. 5: Stanley｜Snap Off Knife
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