Best Folding Utility Knives 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews
Folding utility knives are great for situations where you need superior cutting power but need it in a form that you can fold down and keep in your pocket. There are a ton of models out there today, and if you’re like us, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to try and sort through all of the options you have available.
We want you to be able to shop with confidence. Our list of reviews of the top folding utilities of 2020 is designed to make it easy to compare the best models and find the ones which best meet your needs. We strive to show you the good and the bad about each model so that you can find the model that has the features you need and avoid the flaws that would drive you nuts.
We’ve also included a buyer’s guide so that you can learn everything you need to know to make a well-informed purchase, even if you’ve never owned a folding utility knife before.
Comparison Table (last updated in 2020)
|Best Overall||Milwaukee Fastback 3 Folding Knife||
|Best Retractable Utility Knife||DEWALT DWHT10035L||
|Best Value||Sheffield 12113 Folding Knife||
|Fancii Folding Pocket Knife||
|Klein Tools 44131Folding Knife||
The 6 Best Folding Utility Knives
1. Milwaukee Folding Utility Knife – Best Overall
The Milwaukee Fastback 3 Folding Utility Knife is the best overall model for those looking for a great folding knife. This model comes with the option to unfold to both the classical 90-degree position, or you can stop it short at the 45-degree mark to add extra leverage to your cuts for those extra-tough projects. This model also comes with a wire stripper, so you won’t have to reach for an additional tool to get the job done. Also included is a gut hook, which is traditionally used for hunting, but comes in handy for cutting thread, fishing line, or cloth.
This model also comes with blade storage for up to four extra blades. If your blade goes dull on you while you’re working, you’ll be able to get back to work without too much of an interruption with this model. Our only gripe is that the unlocking button requires a lot of force to work. If that mechanism was smoothed out, we’d like this model even more. Despite that small flaw, this model is still easily the best overall value for the money and a buy that will leave most people very happy with their purchase.
2. DEWALT DWHT10035L – Best Retractable Utility Knife
The DEWALT DWHT10035L is the best overall retractable utility knife on our list. It folds in half when not in use and can easily fit in a pocket when not in use. That makes it a great tool for quick jobs where you just need a few cuts and then want to be able to free your hands for other tasks. This model also comes with a retractable blade, so you can precisely set the depth to which you’re cutting. That feature comes in handy when you’re only trying to remove the top layers of something. It also comes with fast blade changes. It’s a bit quicker than most models in this area, so if you want to spend more time working and less replacing blades, this model is a good choice.
It also comes with blade storage in the handle, so you’ll have a safe place to keep your blades while you’re working. The only real downside to this model is that it’s not the most comfortable one you can find on the market. Consequently, this model is better for people who need to do quick jobs with a utility knife and value portability over comfort.
3. Sheffield Folding Utility Knife – Best Value
The Sheffield 12113 Folding Utility Knife has one of the most unique blade quick-change mechanisms, and if you find traditional systems to be hard to use or slow, then you’ll really like what this knife brings to the table. This model also comes with an aluminum handle. You get all the strength you’ll need out of a tool you’ll expect to last years, but it will also be light enough that you will hardly notice you’re carrying it around. This model’s belt clip is another handy feature that makes it good for situations where you’re not using a tool chest or belt, but still, want to have easy access to it.
However, the best thing about this model is its price. You can get it for less than half of what you’d pay for the top model on our list. In fact, it provides the best overall value for the money on our list. The only downside to this model is that it lacks a positive stop when closing, so the blade takes some extra wear inside the handle. Still, if you need an inexpensive folding utility knife that won’t let you down, you can’t go wrong with this model.
4. Fancii Folding Pocket Utility Knife
The Fancii Folding Pocket Utility Knife is a good example of a product that does everything you expect of a folding utility knife, but with a lot of extras added that needlessly drive up the price. This model comes with an aluminum body, which provides a nice combination of low weight and high strength. It also comes with five blades. It’s nice not to have to buy your own blades, though many people will have already found a blade they like, and the included ones likely won’t outcompete those. This model also makes it easy to push the safety locking button, fixing a problem found on many similar knives.
Unfortunately, this model has a relatively high price. It comes with a pouch, which most people find unnecessary. The pouch also isn’t of great quality, so even if you wanted one, you may not like the one you receive. Again, this drives up the price of the set, without greatly increasing the value. Ultimately, it’s important that the tools you purchase provide a great experience, which this model does. However, it doesn’t do it for a price that would put it on par with other models that do just as well.
5. Klein Tools Folding Utility-Knife
The Klein Tools Utility Knife (Folding) is another knife that has an impressive look but doesn’t provide the same value on a per-dollar basis. This model comes with a wire-stripping notch, so you can do more with it. It also comes with rubber grips on the handle, so you get a better grip on it, giving you the edge you may need on tougher cuts. While many utility knives ignore this factor altogether, this model is one of the more ergonomic ones you can find on the market today, which is a feature you’ll love if you’re going to use it frequently.
However, this model is very difficult to open one-handed. Instead, you’re going to always have to use two to pry it open, which is both inconvenient and a potential safety hazard. While there are some home remedies you could apply at home, we’d like this model more if it came ready to use. The rubber grips often fall off within the first few days of use, which suggests that the manufacturers may have cut corners. Overall, this model does have some good features, but it doesn’t work well enough or last long enough to justify its price.
6. Realtree Utility-Knife (Folding)
Some inexpensive items are a bargain deal. Others just fall flat. The Realtree Folding Utility-Knife is among the latter. This model does come with an aluminum frame, so it’s both lightweight and reasonably sturdy. That puts it roughly on par with other models on our list. It’s also inexpensive, but that means it comes with a lot of the problems you’d expect from inexpensive products. For example, the pocket clip often comes loose within days of purchase, and while this is a problem you could fix at home, it’s not one you should have to take the time to fix.
Overall, this model doesn’t seem to be of high enough quality to last for years and could potentially fail you within just a few months. Even worse, the blade sometimes pops loose, which can be dangerous, and even if you don’t accidentally cut yourself, it’s a frustrating problem with which to deal. Ultimately, it’s important that you invest in a product you like. This model isn’t one that most people will enjoy using, even at its very low price. The good news is that you can get a much better utility knife for roughly the same price.
Factors to Consider When Buying
When it comes to buying the best folding utility knife for your needs, there are a few things that you need to consider.
The first has to do with blades. The fact of the matter is that the blades which come with a utility knife typically aren’t going to be that great. They tend to be cheap, and more often than not, they don’t last long enough to justify the increase in price. While it may seem like a deal, if you’re going to be doing serious work with your utility knife, then you’re going to do some research and buy your own blades. Aftermarket blades tend to be sharper, cut better, and last longer, so they’re almost always a good investment.
The other things you need to consider are the weight and functionality. You may have gleaned from our reviews that we like models with aluminum frames. These models keep the price low and make for a lightweight yet sturdy tool, and there’s a lot to like about that.
It’s also a good idea to invest in a folding utility knife with a positive stop. These knives will keep the blade from hitting the inside of the case so that they don’t take any unnecessary wear and tear and ultimately last longer, which saves you money in the long run.
The Milwaukee Fastback 3 Folding Utility Knife is the best overall folding utility knife on the market today, as it comes with onboard blade storage, two positions, and a wire stripper. In second is the DEWALT DWHT10035L which folds up very small and has adjustable blade depth, but which isn’t super comfortable, dropping it to second place. The Sheffield 12113 comes with an aluminum handle, a great quick-change mechanism, and a low price, making it the best overall value for the money. In fourth, the Fancii Folding Pocket Utility Knife comes with an aluminum body and blades but is expensive and not of the best quality. The Klein Tools Utility Knife (Folding) includes a wire-stripping notch and is ergonomic but is tough to open and has durability concerns. In the last place is the Realtree Folding Utility-Knife which is inexpensive but has major quality control and safety concerns.
We hope that our reviews and buyer’s guide have helped you find the folding utility knife which is right for you.
- Comparison Table (last updated in 2020)
- The 6 Best Folding Utility Knives
- Factors to Consider When Buying