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What is a Utility Knife is Used For?

What is a Utility Knife is Used For?

In an ideal world, you’d have one of every different type of knife in your kitchen – a different knife for every purpose and occasion. You’d have specialized knives for carving meat, filleting fish, chopping up vegetables, and even something that can help you with precision. That way, you’d be able to ensure that you could get just about any job done effectively and efficiently, and because you’d be using the appropriate knife for whatever you’re doing, your knives are far more likely to last longer.

Unfortunately, not everybody can afford to have a full range of fancy kitchen knives, but these days, that’s not the end of the world, because there are certain knives that are so versatile that you can use them for just about anything.

And one of these super versatile knives is the good old kitchen kitchen knives People often describe utility knives as falling somewhere in between a  kitchen knives and a paring knife, mostly with regards to size, length, and the shape of the blade. That is, a utility knife, so it allows for a bit more precision. But it’s bigger than a paring knife, so it’s stronger and more durable.

At the end of the day, if you need to make a choice – choosing one knife that’s going to be the most useful to you – a utility knife is an absolute must-have for any kitchen.

So, we’re going to tell you exactly what a utility knife is, what it looks like, what it’s used for, and the difference between a the two types of utility knife (kitchen versus craft) that you can get.

By the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what a utility kitchen knife is and why you need to have one.

What is a Utility Knife?

A utility knife, not to be confused with a craft utility knife, is a knife that is designed for various cutting tasks in the kitchen. It’s known in particular for its versatility, and it can be used for a pretty wide range of tasks – including general slicing and dicing, as well as chopping small to medium-sized ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and herbs.

Utility knives can range slightly in size, but they tend to have narrow, moderately sharp blades, and they’re normally between four and seven inches long. Thus, as we mentioned earlier, a utility knife will normally be bigger than your paring knife, but smaller than your chef’s knife.

Because it’s smaller than a utility knife, it allows for a bit more precision and control, but since it’s bigger than a paring knife, it’s stronger and able to cut larger fruits and vegetables.

Whether you’ve got a Japanese utility knife or something more ordinary, it’ll be a great addition to your collection because they’re very versatile, and they are ideal for tasks that require something that falls somewhere in between a paring knife and a chef’s knife. They also require a little less maintenance than a chef’s knife, and because they’re small, they’re easy to store and you can quite easily take them wherever you go. For instance, it’s the ideal knife to take on a picnic or a camping trip when you have limited space and can’t take the whole kitchen sink!

So, it’s not difficult to figure out how the good old kitchen utility knife got its name – it really is super versatile, and you can use it for just about anything. Who wouldn’t want a knife like that?

The Construction of a Utility Knife

We’ve already told you about the general aspects of what a utility knife looks like – that it falls somewhere in between a paring knife and a utility knife, the blade is between five and seven inches long, and it’s a bit thinner than a chef’s knife.

But what about the specifics? We’re going to break down the main components of a kitchen utility knife and describe what each part is like.


Starting off with the most important part of a knife, the blade of a kitchen utility knife is normally fairly narrow, and they’re often made from stainless steel.

Why stainless steel.? It’s the perfect material for this kind of high-use knife because it’s corrosion resistant and very easy to clean – ideal for something that’s going to get a lot of use. In addition, the blades are also often hardened to maintain durability and sharpness.


stainless steel. knives, so naturally, their handles are too – they’re in proportion with the size of the blade.

The handle may be made from a variety of different materials, including things like plastic, wood, or composite materials. Boasting ergonomic shapes, the handles tend to be very comfortable to hold for long periods of time.


The tang is the part of the blade that extends into the handle – sometimes it’s visible, other times it’s not. In a utility knife, you’re most likely to come across partial tangs – this means that the blade doesn’t extend into the handle somewhat, but not all the way (if it went all the way, it would be full tang). This has to do with the fact that it’s not necessarily made for heavy duty activities, so it doesn’t really need that extra strength that  may provide.


The bolster is a thick piece of metal that sits at the end of the blade, separating the blade from the beginning of the handle. The purpose of the bolster is to add some weight and provide some balance. In addition, it also helps protect users’ hands from slipping off the handle and onto the blade, so, in a way, it’s kind of like a safety feature.

Rivets or Pins

Because utility knives normally have at least a partial tang, you’ll find rivets or pins in the handle – this is what keeps the tang in place within the handle of the knife.


The edge of the knife, as always, is the sharp part that you use for the cutting. Since the blade of a utility knife knife, it makes it a little easier to keep it sharp.


The spine, on the other hand, is the blunt side of blade on the other side of the edge – at the top, so to speak. On a utility knife, the spine tends to be noticeably thicker than the edge, and this is what dictates the balance of the knife. It also provides a little more weight – consequently, more strength and stability.


Utility knives normally have blades that taper from the spine to the edge, which ends up forming a wedge shape. This makes it ideal for slicing and cutting.

So, now you know what you’re looking for if you’re on the hunt for the best  utility knife (kitchen, not craft)!

What is a Utility Knife Used For?

As we’ve said, utility knives are super versatile, so they can be used for just about anything, but here are some specific things you can use a kitchen utility knife for.

  • Slicing: Perfect for slicing up fruits and vegetables – you can make nice thin, even cuts.
  • Dicing: A utility knife gives you lots of control, allowing you to be able to dice ingredients into small, uniform pieces.
  • Creating Garnishes: Since it allows you to be precise, you can use a utility knife to create garnishes.
  • Peeling: The narrow blade is perfect for peeling things like apples, potatoes, or oranges.
  • Trimming: Time excessive meat or remove the skin from poultry.
  • Sandwich Prep: Use a utility knife to make a sandwich – for everything from cutting a tomato and slice cheese to cutting your sandwich in half.
  • Herb Prep: Finely cut herbs without bruising them.
  • Slicing Small Breads: A utility knife is ideal for cutting a roll or a bagel in half.
  • Cheese: Slice cheese easily – whether it’s a hard or a soft cheese.
  • Small Fish and Other Seafood: Boasting great precision, utility knives are ideal for working with small, delicate fish – deveining or even filleting.
  • Precision Work: Its narrow, sharp blade allows you to do just about anything with absolute precision because it’s sharp and maneuverable.

So, clearly, we weren’t kidding when we said that utility knives are versatile!

Kitchen Utility Knife Vs. Craft Utility Knife

Now, one question people often have is about the difference between a kitchen utility knife and a craft utility knife, and the answer is that they’re very different.

They’re both known for their utility, of course, but in two very different contexts – the former is a versatile knife that can be used for just about anything in the kitchen, while the latter is a super handy tool that’s ideal for working with all types of arts and crafts. But they’re both versatile and super useful, but in different scenarios.

In construction, they’re completely different. We already know about the kitchen utility knife, but a craft utility knife normally has a retractable blade and a plastic handle. Some people don’t even refer to it as a knife at all – it’s more of a crafting tool.

Therefore, kitchen and craft utility knives may both be versatile, but they’re completely different!

Maintaining and Sharpening a Utility Knife

As always, the most important thing to know is how to look after and maintain your knives – if you can do this properly, your knives are far more likely to last longer and be more effective.

Here are some quick tips for looking after a utility knife:

  • Sharpening: Make sure you’re sharpening your utility knife regularly and that you’re doing it properly. For this type of knife in particular, a whetstone or an electric knife sharpener may be used – or you can get it done professionally. If you use a stone, note that you should go for an angle of 15 to 20 degrees.
  • Washing: Hand wash your knife – don’t put it in the dishwasher – using warm, soapy water.
  • Drying: Gently dry it with a soft cloth or let it air dry – but don’t put it in a drying rack where it can get knocked.
  • Cutting Surfaces: Be aware of the cutting boards you use – try use soft wood or plastic.
  • Storage: Don’t store your knife in a drawer or somewhere it can get damaged. Rather use a knife magnet or something similar.
  • Avoid Excessive Force: Be gentle with your utility knife! Don’t use it on frozen foods or bones.
  • Cutting Technique: Use proper technique to avoid damaging the knife or hurting yourself.
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