Drywall Utility Knife - Drywall 101 Tools

Drywall 101
First Published:
September 08, 2014
Last updated:
May 03, 2024

Utility Knife

picture of a grey standard drywall utility knife with new razor bladeWhether doing small repairs or hanging hundreds of sheets of drywall, a utility knife is essential for installing drywall. Utility knives are simple so here we will provide a few tips for buying the right utility knife for cutting drywall.

The most important part of a utility knife is the blade. Drywall utility knife blades come in one standard size. When buying a knife make sure that it uses standard replacement blades. Replacement blades are best purchased in multi-packs of 50 or 100, so it is good to buy a pack of replacement blades when buying a utility knife. A drywall hanger will usually go through at least one blade per day when hanging Drywall. A utility knife blade has two sides so when one side dulls, the blade can first be rotated to the new side before completely replacing the blade.

Utility knives are marketed with various features designed to appeal to the inexperienced carpenter. Retractable blades should be avoided at all times when purchasing a utility knife for cutting drywall. Even if it has smooth action in the store, moving in and out freely and easily, after cutting several sheets of drywall it will quickly become clogged with drywall dust and stop working properly. Drywall dust gets into the moving parts and exerts pressure on the blade, causing it to malfunction. Some knives have built-in mechanisms to allow you to quickly replace blades. Here again, drywall dust can easily penetrate the moving parts and cause them to fail.

When buying a drywall utility knife, the most reliable design is a simple one. Look for a knife with a metal housing, usually aluminum, and a simple anchor screw holding the two sides of the metal housing together. Though you may hesitate about having to remove a screw every time you have to replace the blade, this type of design provides the durability needed when cutting thousands of sheets of drywall. After dealing with the hassle of cleaning the moving parts associated with quick-release or retractable blades, and trying to unfreeze a frozen utility knife, you will quickly come to appreciate the simple durable design a basic drywall utility knife provides.

Drywall utility knives are simple yet essential for hanging drywall. If you stick with a simple knife with no moving parts, it will be a durable, practical tool that will serve you well for years.