Utility Knife Basics (Hand Tools DIY)

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A utility knife has many uses in the kitchen and is an important part of your kitchen cutlery. The utility knife came into existence around the 1930’s and was placed between two other highly used kitchen knives, namely the paring knife and chef’s knife.

The guide contains the different uses of a utility knife and the benefits provided to you by the utility knife. Along with that, there are many factors that you need to keep in mind when buying a utility knife.

Read on to know what exactly a utility knife is and why you should invest in one.


What Is A Utility Knife?

A utility knife is a kitchen knife often confused with the retractable knife used for small tasks. This knife is smaller than the chef’s knife and bigger than the paring knife. There are a variety of tasks that are done best only with a utility knife. The knife is often overlooked by is one of the most important tools of your kitchen set.

The utility knife’s size ranges between 4 inches and 7 inches, perfect for most kitchen tasks. Equipped with an extremely straight edge, this lightweight knife can slice through tough skins, peels, and meat without much effort.

Many utility knives have serrated edges that help to saw through the food. You can choose the edge of the knife based on your need. If you want to cut smoothly, then the best would be to use a straight-edged knife. However, for cutting hard food items, it would be better to opt for the serrated knife.

Even though the utility knife is lightweight, it is very sturdy and good for tough tasks. It will feel strong in your hand and not a delicate knife you will struggle to work with.

Utility knife


What Are The Benefits Of Using A Utility Knife?


The utility knife is more compact and smaller than the chef’s knife. This makes it easier and safer to carry the knife around with you. Waiters mostly keep the utility knife on them to carve roasts for the customers on the restaurant table. You will also find bunters carrying a utility knife to field-dress the game while on the field.

The utility knife is seen as a good replacement for most tasks performed by a chef’s knife. Due to the compact size, it is not too much of a hassle to safely carry the utility knife like a chef’s knife.


The sharpness of a kitchen blade is extremely important since it is used to slice and dice through food items. The utility knife is used to cut meat, vegetables, and other items for which sharpness is essential. You cannot slice meat with a blunt knife. Since the blade of the utility knife is quite thin, it can be sharpened appropriately.

The utility knife’s edge is very sharp, and it helps to slice through food very easily. There will be no rugged cuts, which will also help make precise cuts without dragging the knife.


The chef’s knife is an important kitchen knife, but there are instances where the chef’s knife may be too bulky or hard to use. On the other hand, a paring knife is weak in the same circumstances. The utility knife comes into the scene since they can do what the other two knives cannot.

Suppose you need to carve a whole chicken roast and need a knife to be maneuvered through the food cavities. Here the chef’s knife would be too big to fit into the spaces, which the utility knife would do with ease.


What Is A Utility Knife Used For?

The utility kitchen knife is used for many different purposes that are:

  • Cutting vegetables and medium-sized fruits like cucumbers, small squash, apples, etc.
  • Slicing cheese
  • Cutting citruses like organs, limes, and lemons
  • Slicing sandwiches
  • Cutting meat


Things to Consider While Buying a Utility Knife

When buying a utility knife, you need to be very aware of certain factors, as mentioned below:


The construction of the knife will depend upon the brand you are choosing. While some brands have very durable constructions, some are not good at all. You need to invest in a utility knife that can sustain itself in different conditions for best use. Since the kitchen is an area that is constantly heated, the knife should be resistant to heat and not bend with time.


The material used in making the blade of the knife is a very important factor to be considered. Most of the kitchen knives that we see these days are made from stainless steel. One thing about stainless steel knives is that they need to be sharpened frequently. Some knives are made from carbon stainless steel.

Carbon mixed stainless steel is a more durable material, but it is also very costly. There are other alternatives, such as the ceramic knife that is constructed of Zirconium oxide. These knives are quite lightweight but extremely hard.


If you are in the habit of not washing your knives after every wash, then they will be prone to corrosion and rust. You need to ensure that the knives you choose are not susceptible to both and remain sharp and shiny for the long term. However, for this, you would need to wash your knives every time you use them.


You will find handles made of wood, metal, and plastic. When it comes to handling, no one type fits all. Every person has a different comfort zone and balance. You need to choose a handle that is durable and fits perfectly in your hands.


Price is another very important factor when it comes to utility knives. There is a wide price range, and you need to be sure that you choose a knife that is worth the price. Do not choose an extremely cheap knife which will break after one or two use.

Summing Up

You need to take care of the utility knife to remain sharp and functional for a long time. Cleaning the knife after every use and sharpening it at proper intervals are two of the most important knife maintenance factors. With the right utility knife, you will perform most kitchen tasks related to cutting and slicing perfectly.

Thank you for reading!

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