6 Types of Safety Knives [GUIDE]
Cutting various materials with hand knives is necessary in almost every workplace. But when it comes to knives, it is necessary to think about the safety of the user. Therefore, safety hand knives have become very common nowadays.
- Concealed Blade Safety Knives
- Auto Retractable Safety Knife
- Semi-Automatic Safety Knife with Spring-Loaded Blade Retraction
- Retractable Safety Knife
- Paper Roll Slitter Knife
- Metal Detectable Safety Knives
What Is a Safety Knife?
A safety knife is a hand knife with improved design and features that guarantees a safer cutting process as compared to utility knives and box cutters. Safety is usually ensured by such features as: a hidden / concealed blade, spring loaded blade and automatic blade retraction, rounded blade tips, ergonomic and user-friendly design, convenience of using the safety knife for both right and left-handed users.
Below we have reviewed in detail the main types of safety knives, their functionality and features, which will help you choose the right safety knife for your cutting tasks. Each type of safety knife has specific strengths over other safety knives and finds its user and application. We will describe the types of safety knives in descending order of their degree of safety for the user.
Safest - Concealed Blade Safety Knives
Description: Concealed-blade safety knives include all types of safety knives and cutters whose blade edge is concealed and protected for the user. They are considered to be the safest cutting tools available. The method of cutting with such safety knives is most often pulling. Such knives have a hooked design and the user pierces the material with the end of the hook and pulls on it. Often such knives have a tape cutter separately on the blade.
It is impossible to reach the blade with your finger and cut yourself. So avoid touching the blade.
There are safe cutters with replaceable blades and fully disposable knives with irreplaceable blades. The last mentioned ones are disposed of completely after the blade gets dull.
Some facilities have a safety protocol where employees never touch or change the blade, so this type of knife is ideal for those environments.
Below, let's take a look at the main types of the safest knives with hidden sharp cutting edges.
Types of safety knives with concealed blades:
- “Parrot” safety knives
- “Fish / shark” safety knife
- “Penguin” safety knife
- T-shaped safety knives
- Bag cutters
- Foil / plastic film cutters
The most important factor when choosing a safety knife with a hidden blade is the distance or we can say the dimension of the exposed blade. The picture shows what is meant by this. It is this distance between the plastic protective parts of the safety knife that determines how much and how thick material can be cut with this knife. You will often find this information in the safety knife specifications.
Application: This safe cutting tool is ideal for cutting plastic film, plastic packaging, plastic bags, plastic tape, paper, plastic strapping bands, envelopes and more. Suitable for opening boxes and wrapping large quantities of products, making the safety knife with hidden blade ideal cutting tool for warehouse and packaging workers. The main cutting tool option for companies with a strict safety policy and those wishing to improve safety at the workplace.
Material to cut: The material that is cut with such safety knives is thin, most often it is plastic film, wrapping packaging, tape. But depending on the model, this knife can cut thin materials such as plastic film and polypack, up to double-walled corrugated cardboard. The hidden blade is designed to allow the user to start cutting the stretch film at the top of the pallet and cut along the entire length.
Features: Suitable for both left and right handed users. Maximum cutting material thickness of 1 cm. Available with replaceable and non-replaceable blades. There are variants of safety knives with a tape cutter.
Recommendations: Safety knives with concealed replaceable blades: MARTOR Secumax 320, 350, Easysafe 121001, Opticut 436; Klever XChange KCJ-XC-20Y, PLS-300XC-20. Disposable options: Klever Kutter Box Cutter KCJ-1Y, MARTOR Secumax 150, Sollex 1512, 1413, 1510.
Very safe - Auto Retractable Safety Knife / Fully Automatic Safety Knife
Description: Fully automatic blade retraction knives have a high level of safety and are designed so that the blade retracts automatically. As soon as the blade leaves the material to be cut, it retracts automatically and instantly into the handle, even if the user keeps his finger on the slider extended or squeezes the trigger on the handle. It is very difficult to cause accidental cuts with automatic safety knives when cutting.
The disadvantage of fully automatic knives is that the blade slides in momentarily when there are vibrations, reposition the blade. The user has to extract the blade forward many times, which can be annoying. Semi-automatic safety knives have more control over the blade. In turn, automatic safety knives offer greater safety and less risk of accidental cutting.
Application: Safety knives with automatic blade retraction are ideal for workers who cut a lot and exhaustingly, cut long rolls and materials, and have to make sprawling and fast movements while cutting.
Material to cut: cardboard, plastic wrapping, sacks/plastic bags, stretch and shrink film, adhesive tape, bubble wrap and plastic strapping, layers of paper or foil, rubber, foam etc.
Features: very safe, very robust, very ergonomic, very versatile, safe blade change, user-friendly design, automatic blade retraction. Suitable for both left and right handed users. Depending on the knife model, the cutting depth varies from 1 cm to 3 cm.
Safe - Semi-Automatic Safety Knife with Spring-Loaded Blade Retraction
Description: Safety knives with a spring loaded auto-retracting blade are quite safe and very widespread among different industries. There is also a huge selection of semi-automatic safety knives with different designs and properties on the market.
The user extends the blade using a slider located most often on the side of the safety knife or squeeze grip on the knife handle. Once cutting begins, the operator removes the thumb from the slider. The blade will remain engaged with the material being cut, but once it is out of the material the blade will return to its original position in the knife handle. When cutting, the user can change the cutting direction without blade retraction by holding the slider forward.
If you need to cut long lengths of material, stop and reposition the blade, it is more convenient to use a semi-automatic safety knife because the blade remains stationary during repositioning.
Application: Semi-automatic safety knives will find their use in most workplaces, especially warehouses, packing and sorting centers, production facilities, and wherever a lot of cutting is required.
Material to cut: cardboard, wrapping, stretch and shrink plastic film, coated and laminated plastic film and foil, tape, plastic strapping band, layers of foil and paper, foam, rubber, textile, felt.
Features: optional blade with rounded tip, comfortable design and ergonomic handle, blade extension by sliding or squeezing the handle, easy blade replacement without tools, high level of safety, wide range of safety knives to choose from.
Retractable Safety Knife
Description: The retractable safety knife is considered the simplest type of safety knife and the least safe of all. It looks like a regular utility knife or box cutter, but has a slider so the user uses the thumb to extend the blade and control the length of the blade extension. Sliding the blade back into the handle is also done manually by the user. The safety of such knives can be guaranteed by the installation of blades with a rounded end, the grip comfort and improved design.
Application: The retractable safety knife can be used in workplaces such as warehouses, distribution centers, construction.
Material to cut: Cardboard, boxes, plastic, drywall, rubber, packaging materials.
Features: Replaceable blade, ergonomic design, adjustable blade length.
Recommendations: 1400 Sollex safety knife.
Tip. Prefer the safer types of safety knives described above, as this type can cause accidental cuts to the worker or damage to the goods. It is also important to dispose of used blades safely, namely by throwing them away in special containers for collecting used blades, such as this one 9810.
There are also other versions of safety knives for special applications.
Paper Roll Slitter Knife
Description: These safety "knives" are made entirely of plastic and do not have a blade, but are used to cut paper or other thin material directly rolled on coils or bobbins. The knife is designed to cut in the direction away from the user. Insert the tip of the knife into the side of the roll to separate several layers of material and slide the knife over the surface.
Application: Suitable for cutting layers of paper and paper materials on rolls.
Material to cut: Paper and paper materials.
Features: Made entirely of plastic. Does not have a blade. Long-lasting. Solid grip.
Recommendations: 77.0.000 Mure & Peyrot Craste.
Metal Detectable Safety Knives
Description: The pharmaceutical and food industries may require metal detecting knives. They can be any variant of those listed above, but made not of ordinary plastic, but of special metal detector plastic (plastic with metal particles evenly spread). Most often metal detector safety knives are colored blue.
Application: pharmaceutical and food industries
Material to cut: Depending on the type, metal detecting safety knives are suitable for cutting materials such as plastic film, cardboard, foil, cardboard, paper, tape, rubber and more.
Features: For right and left handers, metal detectable, X-ray detectable, non-corrosive.
Read also our other article "How to choose the right safety knife".