Best Stanley Knife

by Sam Wood | Last Updated: 23/10/2020

The humble Stanley knife, the box opening, strap cutting, little piece of design excellence. The Stanley knife has become a staple of British toolboxes since the 1920s. If you are in the market for a new Stanley knife make sure you also read out best stanley knife holder guide.

Stanley FATMAX

Our Top Pick
Stanley FATMAX Knife

The STANLEY FATMAX Retractable Folding Knife features a foldable Lockback design, the knife fits easily in the pocket. Its ergonomic design with rubberised thumb pad makes it ideal for heavy-duty applications. The retractable blade ensures safety when storing the tool.

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This is the Stanley knife I use day to day. It is the best Stanley knife I have ever owned; in fact the entire FATMAX range is excellent quality. The larger ergonomic handle feels much more secure in your hand while cutting. While I have no proof, I feel like this large rubber handle reduces the injury risk when using this knife. 

Best Stanley Knife Stanley FATMAX

The knife also folds up small, allowing you to fit it in your work pants so you will always have a knife to hand when needed. When folded out, there is a secure locking mechanism which seems robust; you don’t lose any rigidity by this Stanley knife being foldable.

Stanley FATMAX Folding Lock

Stanley FATMAX Folding Lock

At the cutting end of the knife, there is also a push-button which released the blade, this is such an easy way of changing the blade, and I love it. The rubber part of the handle also pops off and reveals hidden blade storage within the handle. Unlike some older Stanley knifes no tools are required to change the blade or access the blade storage.

Stanley FATMAX Blade Holder

Stanley FATMAX Blade Holder

After becoming known for cheaper, low-quality tools in recent years I believe the FATMAX range is a return for form for Stanley, long may it continue.

Why is it called a Stanley Knife?

The first manufacturer of utility knives was Stanley, in the UK as well as Australia and New Zealand; this has now become the default name for utility knives. Think of it like hoover and vacuum.

How to snap a Stanley knife blade

Depending on the model of Stanley knife you purchase you may need to snap the blade to get your new sharp blade. The blade on these style of knives is one long blade with separate score marks whee you can snap the blade.

To snap the blad hold near the scoreline and then pull down to snap along the scoreline. Ensure you keep you fingers well away from the sharp edge so you don’t cut yourself.

How to change a Stanley knife blade

This will vary depending on the model of Stanley knife you have. For the FATMAX listed above, you push the red button and pull the blade out. You can then push a new blade in.

Some older Stanley knives have a large, single screw on them. Undoing this allows the knife to come apart in two halves. You will then be able to replace the blade, just ensure it is correctly seated before fastening the knife back up.

Stanley Knife Screw

Stanley Knife Screw

How to load a Stanley Knife blade

On the FATMAX you just need to remove the old blade by holding the red button and pulling the blade out. To load the new blade hold the red button down again and push the blade back in.

Stanley FATMAX Blade Changing

On the older style Stanley knife there is a little sled that the blade loads into. You can see an example of this sled below.

Stanley Knife Blade Sled

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Wood by name, wood by nature. I am a fully qualified, time-served, award-winning joiner with an NVQ Level 3 in Carpentry and Joinery as well as an HNC in Construction. Beyond my joinery qualifications, I have also earned a degree in building surveying. I believe these qualifications make me perfectly positioned to provide expert advice on many different areas of DIY as well as share all of the tips I have picked up in over a decade working on building sites!