The Best Utility Knife For Drywall Reviewed

You can’t install and finish drywall without quality tools, but which is the best utility knife for drywall? Though drywalling is within reach for most dedicated DIY-ers, anyone who’s done it can tell you it calls for a ton of specialty and dedicated tools, especially if you’re looking for the easiest cleanup, quickest installation, and most professional finish. Luckily, when it comes to a utility knife for cutting drywall, you can afford to invest in a quality tool. Utility knives come in handy for endless projects, chores, and tasks around the home and workshop.

Number one on this list goes to Milwaukee Fastback II Flip Utility Knife. It’s not the cheapest utility knife, but the price point is so low for all these knives that it’s worth a few extra dollars for a quality tool. One of the best parts of this knife is the magnetic blade holder that stops extra blades in the handle from rattling around when in use. 

Utility Knives In This Review

What Makes A Good Utility Knife?

A Utility knife is an indispensable tool around the home, in your truck, and on the job. You want a well-made knife that holds up to tough jobs, drops, and regular wear and tear, and a utility knife that’s comfortable and easy to use. When looking at knives, consider the following:

Ergonomics. Will you be wearing gloves while using the knife? If you’re using it to trim and cut drywall, you might not be, so a bulky handle may not be a priority. Drywall knives should be easy to grip and use – if you’re cutting drywall for an entire house or large project, you’ll be using the knife a lot, and a weak grip on a utility knife can mean major injuries. 

Blade storage. Some utility knives have a storage compartment on the knife itself for extra blades. This is handy for large projects where you don’t want to waste time going back to your toolbox for extra blades. It’s also just an easy way to keep track of loose blades. Some people don’t like to hear and feel the blades wobbling around inside the knife and opt for a magnetic compartment that keeps the blades in place. 

Folding vs. retractable blades. The classic utility knife and the least expensive models typically feature a retractable blade on a solid body. This tried and true design is usually sturdy, though it lacks a folding utility knife’s compactness. The higher-end utility knives are usually the folding models that make the knife extra safe, with two layers of blade protection. You have to press a button or flick the blade out to use, which some users find tiring. 

Snap off blades. One of the least expensive types of utility knives is the snap-off blade types. While the ease of use is good, some people don’t like snap-off because they tend to be slightly flimsy. However, if you’re looking for a low-profile blade, these are very light and narrow. 

How easy is it to change the blade? On some models, especially older utility knives, changing the blade requires a special tool, or a least something flat like a coin or screwdriver. The knives on this list all feature toolless blade changes but know that a cheaper or older knife might slow you down when you have to change blades. 

The Best Reviewed Utility Knives

Milwaukee Fastback II Flip Utility Knife 

Milwaukee Electric Tool 48-22-1902 Fastback Knife/Storage
  • Tool Free Blade Change
  • Gut Hook - Cut without opening up blade
  • Wire Stripper - Up to 10 gauge wire

 Milwaukee is a well-known brand with an excellent reputation, and this utility knife does not disappoint. It is not just any old boxcutter. This utility knife will last you for years. Its stand-out feature is a magnetic blade holder that lets you carry around up to four spare blades without that annoying jingle of loose blades rolling around in the handle. As inexpensive as utility knives are, this is almost a must for your toolbox. 

Some Users note that the extra blade storage makes Milwaukee a bit bulky. It’s best for projects where you’ll be doing most of your drywall trimming all at once. 


  • Tool-free blade change
  • Spare blade holder (up to four extra blades)
  • Wire stripper
  • Belt clip
  • One-handed flip opening
  • All metal handle

OLFA 1072198 Heavy-Duty Utility Knife

OLFA 18mm Heavy-Duty Utility Knife (LA-X) - Multi-Purpose No-Slip Grip Utility Knife w/ Reinforced...
  • RAZOR SHARP 18mm BLADE - Preloaded with LBB Heavy-Duty Ultra-Sharp Black Snap-Off Blade from Japanese tool steel for unmatched sharpness and edge retention. 18mm blade has 8 razor-sharp snap-off segments for industrial or construction applications.
  • FIBERGLASS REINFORCED HANDLE - Chemically resistant, fiberglass-reinforced handle with wraparound rubber grip ergonomically designed for comfort and control. The stainless-steel channel keeps the blade securely in place for safe operation.
  • SAFE AUTOLOCK CONTROL - Our knife is designed with safety in mind. The auto-lock mechanism allows the blade to retract into the handle. Tactile and audible clicks at each stop assure correct blade placement.

If you’re looking for the most economical product, this OLFA is for you. It’s great for a spare utility knife to throw in your toolbox or keep around the house – even throw it in your back pocket in case your main knife gets misplaced on the job site. 

The OLFA is a good knife at a great price. It’s a snap-off blade, which means exceptionally quick changes, and comes with a spare blade. It accepts standard snap-off replacement blades. 


  • Snap-off blade
  • Rubber anti-slip handle
  • metal pick
  • snap-off replacement blade included

Fiskars 770030-1001 Pro Utility Knife

Fiskars Pro Retractable Folding Utility Knife - Box Cutter with CarbonMax Blade- Work Gear -...
  • UTILITY FOLDING BOX CUTTER: Retractable, folding utility knife with replaceable CarbonMax blade with reinforced metal end; Ideal for on-the-job projects and cutting through cardboard materials
  • MAXIMUM POWER AND PRECISION: Utility knife constructed with full-body metal to withstand drops and impact; Fiskars CarbonMax blades stay sharp 24x longer than standard blades
  • LONG LASTING AND RELIABLE: Full-body metal construction tested to withstand drops and impacts; Dual-locking system prevents accidental blade release; Fiskars tools and materials are built to last

Here is another beautiful utility knife at a reasonable price point. The brand is known for quality tools and comes with a great warranty. Users love the construction and durability. Take this knife everywhere – they’re great multi-tools and fold down safely. 

Some users felt that it was a bit bulky. It is very well built and compact, but the folding design means that it isn’t a super-slim knife you can slip into an apron.


  • Ergonomic design
  • One-handed, flip-open design
  •  Dual-locking system

Stanley 10-499 QuickChange Retractable Utility Knife

This is an exceptional tool for anyone looking for another utility knife to keep at home or in the workshop or who wants to buy several knives for the job site. Low price point but great results, this is a low profile knife that fits easily in pockets and aprons. 

It might not be the most comfortable to use, but it’s still a great utility knife to have around the house.


  • Pop-out tray
  • Plastic handle
  • Six dual blade replacements included
  • Quick, tool-less blade change
  • Three-position retractable blade
  • Swing-out blade storage magazine, easy access to blades
  • String cutter
  • Accepts standard blades

Stanley Fat Max Retractable Utility Knife

Stanley Fat Max 10-778 Stanley Fat Max Retractable Utility Knife
  • Blade wiper removes excess dirt and protects knife
  • Blade clamp eliminates blade wobble, gives more control
  • Ergonomic design for ease of use

This is a brand that usually delivers, and this utility knife is no exception. It’s a great knife for anyone that’s trimming drywall all day. The super thick handle is easy to hold with gloves, and the design keeps the blade very steady for heavy-duty work.

This utility knife also lets you carry extra blades around, great for anyone putting in major work on their utility knife all day. 


  • Five blade storage
  • Blade wiper
  • Blade clamp for more control
  • Ergonomic handle design
  • Soft-touch handle panels
  • Pop-up blade dispenser for easy blade access
  • Push-button blade release

Choosing A Utility Knife

When choosing exactly which utility knife is right for you and your drywall project, you want a well-made tool, but just as important are your work environment, work style, and personal preferences. All these knives will cut drywall and pretty much work for any other project that requires a sharp cutting blade, but each has its pros and cons. Every handyman, DIYer, and construction worker has their style, and you should choose the utility knife that suits you. Consider how you’ll be using it and what projects you have lined up. 

How much drywall are you cutting? If you are cutting a lot of drywall, you’ll want a quality tool and one made for extended use. A cheaper, snap-off blade design or a low-profile tool might not be for you. You want something with a comfortable grip, an extra sharp blade, and a very durable knife. Drywall is hard on utility knives, and if you’re slicing through sheetrock all day, you will want extra blades and the ability to carry them with you easily. 

Will you need it for other projects? The great thing about buying yourself a quality knife is the number of applications you’ll end up using it for – cuttings boxes, patching a hole in drywall, stripping wires, and innumerable household tasks. Some of these knives have simple cutting implements like wire-strippers on the body of the tool you can use without opening the knife. So if you find yourself needing to cut zip ties, lengths of twine, or strip wires, a multi-use tool is a great option to invest in. 

Do you carry your utility knife all day? If you’re shoring up drywall and prepping for finishing primarily, and you keep your utility knife on you for just-in-case scenarios, a thinner, lighter knife is probably for you. Folding knives generally have larger profiles, and many reviews state they’re not as convenient to throw into a pocket. Some heavy-duty knives have belt clips, but if you’re drywalling all day, you likely have plenty already on your tool belt. 

Will you be wearing gloves? This might seem like a strange consideration, but gloves make a difference in how you handle your tools. A thicker handle might be better for you. 

Do you already have other utility knives? Not as pressing as some other considerations, but if you’ve already got other single-blade utility knives, or if you’re stocked up on snap-off blade models, you might consider sticking to what you’ve got so you don’t have to buy a bunch of different kinds of blades. Though uncommon, some utility knives do require brand-specific blade refills. 

Tips on Using Your Utility Knife to Cut Drywall

Here are some professional tips and tricks that will make your cutting more accurate, clean and save wear and tear to your blade.

Don’t cut into the gypsum. Drywall is gypsum dust held together between two thin layers of paper. It is very brittle and takes very little to crack, scuff or tear. When you’re trimming drywall, you do not need to pierce the gypsum layer. Use at-square to drag your utility knife lightly across the surface of the drywall to score the paper. Once you can see a clean line across the panel, knock on the backside, and the short end should snap right off. 

Don’t use your utility knife to cut holes. You will need to cut holes for lighting, electrical boxes and cut around corners when you’re attaching your drywall. This is not a job for a utility knife.

Related: Do you install electrical boxes before or after drywall?

You’ll need a roto zip or jab saw to carve out openings for cans and outlets. A utility knife shouldn’t pierce into the gypsum layer of the drywall. Use your utility knife for scoring the drywall paper and snapping off excess drywall, and of course, all those small jobs you come across around your work area. 

Change your blade regularly. When you’re using your utility knife, you’ll end up dipping it into the drywall gypsum. It’s hard on the blade, and it will dull. Dull blades are dangerous. Always carry backup blades and change them frequently. 


Can I Cut Drywall With a Regular Boxcutter?

You could conceivably cut drywall with ordinary box cutters. The problem is with the designs of boxcutters – they are not meant for heavy-duty dragging across drywall. For maximum speed and efficiency, you want a nice utility knife. 

Can I Cut Drywall With a Pocket Knife?

Probably not. You might have a pretty tough traditional pocket knife, but it probably doesn’t have a quick-change blade. Save your pocket knife and get an inexpensive utility knife for any drywall cutting. 

Can I Cut Circular Holes in Drywall with a Utility Knife?

Cutting circles isn’t the job for a utility knife. Some great power tools will do the job: a roto zip or Dremel – but since cutting into the gypsum quickly wears at a utility knife, you’re better off with a power tool or at least a jab knife for any size circle. 

Can I Use a Dremel to Cut Drywall?

You can. However, a Dremel tool is going to be hard to control. If you’re cutting straight lines- a plain utility knife and drywall t-square will do such a better job. For circles, get another power tool like a roto zip. 

What are the Best Refill Blades for Utility Knives?

All the utility knives listed here take either standard double blades or standard snap-off blades. You can buy them in bulk on Amazon or from any hardware store. 

How Often Should I Replace My Utility Knives?

A good utility knife should last many, many hours on the job. Most DIY-ers have multiple utility knives, but as soon as your blade starts to get wobbly – you need to replace the whole knife. When the grip on the blade starts to go, the knife becomes a safety hazard.