What to consider when choosing cutter blades?

Dec 07 , 2021

Before going online to shop for a pack of cutter blades, there are a few points to consider. The following sections will outline the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the most appropriate blades for your particular knife and the type of project at hand.

1. Material and construction

Almost all knife brands use some type of carbon steel to construct their blades. Carbon steel boasts a high carbon content, which allows manufacturers to make these blades incredibly sharp. However, they aren’t very durable, as coarse materials like drywall or insulation can quickly dull the edge. To improve durability, manufacturers will often heat-treat the blades. They bring them to extremely high temperatures, which changes the metal’s molecular structure. Also, some manufacturers treat their blades with titanium or carbide coatings so the edges will last longer. These extra steps in the manufacturing process do initially result in a higher price, but the blade will often last much longer and cost less in the long run.

2. Type

Cutter blades are available in a variety of shapes. Each type has specific jobs for which they’re most useful.

Standard blades: Standard blades are all-around, general-purpose blades. They have pointed tips that can puncture materials as well as long, straight edges for slicing. These blades are capable of almost any job, from installing drywall to slicing cardboard.

Serrated blades: Serrated blades have teeth similar to a steak knife. These blades easily saw through sinewy materials, so they can be effective for cutting rope and other tough mediums.

Rounded-tip blades: Rounded-tip blades are all about safety, as users are less likely to poke themselves with the tip. The trade-off is these blades are far less useful since they’re only intended for basic slicing of materials.

Snap-off blades: Snap-off blades focus on convenience. These blades are long, with several segments along the way. When the tip of the blade dulls, users can snap it off with a pair of pliers. Also, these blades extend from the knife handle farther than other types, allowing users to slice thicker materials like Styrofoam.

Hooked blades: As the name suggests, hooked blades feature a hook on the tip. These blades are most helpful for ripping carpet, as they hook underneath while slicing and won’t damage the underlying surface.

HSS long cutter blade

3. Versatility

As mentioned at the outset of the guide, cutter blade—and specifically the blades they house—are incredibly versatile tools. Every professional trade uses a utility knife in some manner because these knives can score drywall, mark lumber, slice packaging, trim moldings, and perform a host of other useful tasks. They’re also handy during demolition to help break down large sheets of drywall, cut through caulk, slice carpets, and dismantle large cardboard boxes into more manageable pieces. Part of what makes these blades and the knives that hold them so useful is that they’re inexpensive, and once they dull, you can throw them out. While some users might choose to resharpen the blades, their affordability and quick changes make it a matter of preference over necessity.

Now do you know what should to consider when choosing cutter blades?

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