The kitchen life comes with some basic go-to items. A knife is one of them. All the butchering, chopping, and cleaning involves a knife. However, there is one type of knife that is mostly used outside of the kitchen, commonly known as a utility knife. If you want to buy one for your home, the first thing you may want to learn is what is a utility knife used for?

However, before getting into its uses, it is better to understand its design and the purpose it is designed for. As the name reflects, utility means it is designed for general purpose use.

What is a Utility Knife?

Today, utility knives are mostly available in the form of retractable-blade or folding knives. These are multi-purpose knives that can be used for a range of things, both indoor and outdoor. A utility knife, based on its design and use, is also called carpet knife, pen knife, X-Acto knife, folding knife, box cutter, or Stanley knife.

Here are some of the most common designs of utility knives.

  • Fixed blade utility knives
  • Folding blade utility knives
  • Retractable blade utility knives
  • Replaceable blade utility knives

As they are designed as general-purpose knives, they are safe to carry (which is why foldable or with retractable-blades), portable, and lightweight. This allows you to keep them in your pocket or carry bag without any worry.

In most cases, utility knives are used by contractors working on construction projects, or in warehouses and other commercial projects. However, with its multi-purpose use, it is also a must-have for people to do basic stuff in their homes with these knives.

For example, if you want to cut through a cardboard box or a piece of carpet, you will find it almost impossible to achieve the desired result with an ordinary kitchen knife. For such things, you need a good utility knife.

Types of Utility Knives

The use of a utility knife also depends on the type of knife you own. Utility knives are available in different types, with their own set of features and uses. Some of the most common types are listed below.

  • Fixed blade utility knives, also known as X-Acto knife
  • Workplace utility knives with retractable (or replaceable) blades

Fixed blade utility knives are mostly used by professionals. They are also not easy to carry and not common for household use. On the other hand, workplace utility knives are commonly used in both workplaces and in households. They are safer, portable, and offer more versatility.

What is a Utility Knife Used for?

A utility knife is one of the most versatile tools you can find in a toolbox, even more than a hammer. This is why it is a compulsory part of every toolset.

Some of the basic uses of a utility knife are the following:

  •   Incision and marking of a particular part
  •   Breaking through sealing of cardboard or packaging covers
  •   Clipping excess material from plastic or rubber
  •   Cutting fastened material like cords, books, packages
  •   Peeling off plastic paints or layers of smooth and hard materials off a surface
  •   Scraping off carpet

As the blades of a utility knife are usually very thin, they can cut through almost anything with ease. Some utility knives use snap-off blades, which are even thinner, like razors. First made in Japan, these snap-off blade utility knives are mostly used for scraping.

You can also snap the part of the blade off when it gets dull, making it long-lasting. This way, you don’t have to buy a new utility knife every time or replace the blade.

Some expensive utility knives also come with ceramic blades. These are much stronger than steel blades and last around 11 times longer.

Some Unique Utility Knife Uses

In addition to the above-listed uses, you can also use a utility knife in many other ways. These include removing the paint from screws, cutting foam, slicing carpet, stripping wires, and removing grout.

You can even use a utility knife to sharpen pencils. For those who want to get creative with a piece of wood, a utility knife can be used to carve wood. As a utility knife comes with a sharp edge, it makes it really easy to carve fine details on a piece of wood.

Similarly, if you can’t find wire strippers, don’t worry; a utility knife can do the same. You can also use a utility knife to cut through old carpet to make smaller pieces for your cats or foot mats. To put it in simple words, you can get as creative as you want with a utility knife. You can even use the edge of the utility knife as a screwdriver when you don’t have one.


Here are some commonly asked questions about the use of a utility knife.

Can you use a utility knife as a weapon?

Well, anything with a blade or sharp edges can be used as a weapon. However, a utility knife is not designed to be an offensive weapon.

Can you use a utility knife in the kitchen?

Not in most cases. You can never get the desired result using a utility knife instead of a kitchen knife as they are both designed differently.

However, if you know how to handle a utility knife, you can use it to cut some fruits and vegetables, slice cheese and sandwiches, and cut through meat, but only if you can’t find a kitchen knife.

Is a Utility Knife Safe to Use?

Well, retractable utility knives are designed to keep you safe from cuts and injuries. However, injuries by utility knives are common, mostly due to first time users who don’t have any experience, or when they try to use them as a kitchen knife. It is also advised to keep it away from children.


Now that you know what is a utility knife used for, we are sure you want to buy one for your home. As they are very useful and come with wide applications, they are a must-have for every home, especially if you’re someone who wants to fix things on his own.

Simply put, it is one of the most versatile tools you can add to your toolbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.