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Review - Folding Box Cutter Roundup (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

Discussion in 'Gear Reviews' started by bruner, Feb 7, 2007.

    bruner Loaded Pockets

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    01 - Camillus Speed Assist folding box cutter
    02 - Sheffield dual blade, mini folding box cutter with additional folding blade
    03 - Camillus Cross Fire folding box cutter
    04 - Gerber EAB folding box cutter
    05 - Kobalt folding box cutter (older model)
    06 - Kobalt folding box cutter (newer model)
    07 - Super Knife SK Edge folding box cutter
    08 - Kobalt mini folding box cutter
    09 - Super Knife SK2 folding box cutter

    Introduction
    I really get a kick out tiny mechanical things, hence my interest in knifes, flashlights, lighters, pens, multi-tools, etc... Folding box cutters are a very "mechanical" variety of knives. They all seam to incorporate a lock of some sort and they all have different methods for holding a replaceable blade. Some models provide built-in storage for extra blades. Some have pocket clips. My collection of these is not vast, but I feel like it's a good representation of what is available out there. I hope you find this review useful and I'll be happy to try and answer any questions you might have. Now we'll get started. Click any image to view the full size picture.

    01 - Camillus Speed Assist folding box cutter
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    As far as I know, this is the only folding box cutter on the market with assisted open. Assisted open means that there is an internal spring, which helps to open the blade. Sort of like a switchblade, but not. Opening the knife simply requires you to "start" the blade by pushing up on the thumb stud. Once you "start" it, the spring takes over and flings it out into the fully open position. Now, that's a nice idea, but on this particular model, it doesn't "assist" all that much. You can tell that the feature is there, but it does not crack open like some of my other assisted open knives do. The mechanism used to hold replaceable blades is a simple spring with a nub on it that engages one of the grooves on a standard utility blade. This method is not very strong and one can feel a good bit of play in the blade when it's in position. I'm not so sure that it will hold a blade all that well when doing some serious cutting so be warned. This model also features a liner lock and a pocket clip.

    02 - Sheffield dual blade, mini folding box cutter with additional folding blade
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    I don’t' know how readily available these are. I found mine at a Big Lots store... As with most Sheffield products, we are not talking high end quality, but it's a nice blade all the same. The body appears to be aluminum and it has rubber grips on both sides. The blades are coated/painted black. The regular blade is about 50% serrated. Both blades open with a thumb stud. The blade holder is simple, but effective and some of the other manufacturers could learn a lesson from this one. It's nothing fancy, you simply lift up on the part that says open and the blade will slide out the front. The blade holder puts a solid "post" all the way across one of the grooves on the blade making it impossible for it to come out. On this model there is very little play in the blade and I feel confident that it wouldn't come out during heavy use. I'm not sure how "standard" the blade is though and perhaps someone here can clarify that for me. It is not a standard utility blade. It is smaller and longer. This model features liner locks on both blades, but has no pocket clip, which is a downside.

    03 - Camillus Cross Fire folding box cutter
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    Now this is a fun one. Designed by Blackie Collins, the body is completely made out of Zytel. The locking mechanism is unique. It allows you to open then knife with the thumb stud, but then snaps into place and must be pushed back towards the base in order to unlock and close the blade. The blade holder is a simple clamp. Loosening the thumb stud allows the blade to be removed and replaced. It is very strong and I have confidence that it can handle tough cutting jobs. The handle contains storage for up to 6 extra blades. The storage area is accessed from the bottom of the handle. All you have to do is twist the end to unlock and open the door. This model also features a pocket clip.

    04 - Gerber EAB folding box cutter
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    As far as I know, this is the smallest folding box cutter that uses a standard size utility knife blade. Gerber basically designed the body around the blade and I like what they came up with. As you can see, it is very small and very thin. One might even consider using this as a money clip. The build quality is strong and it snaps open and closed smoothly. Detents in the liner lock prevent the knife from opening up when in your pocket when closed. It locks open by means of a liner lock. The blade I held in place by a small recessed Philips head screw. I have discovered that if you hold the closed knife properly and flick your wrist just right, you can flick it open with a nice “snap”. The only concern I have with this knife is what appears to be a finger guard that covers the lower half of the utility blade. It’s obviously there to protect your fingers when gripping the knife, but I choose not to grip it in that location most of the time. I’m don’t worry about it when cutting something easy, but anything that is very thick and might require more than usual pressure, I don’t grip it there… Anyhow, these are a new offering in the Walmart knife display for 2007 and a great deal at less than $10.

    05 - Kobalt folding box cutter (older model)
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    A product from Lowe’s, this folding box cutter seems to be pretty popular among people I work with. It’s a bit heavy, but it’s built pretty rugged and the price is right for most people at around $8. This model and it’s features are very similar to some Sheffield models I have seen available. The blade holder is a bit clunky, but it is one of their earlier designs and they have since improved it on their newer model. To release a blade you have to lift the upper arm out of the way then slide the blade cover down. When put back together, that upper arm snaps down onto the blade cover, which keeps it in place and prevents it from sliding open thereby holding the blade. This knife also features a lock back and a pocket clip.

    06 - Kobalt folding box cutter (newer model)
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    This is Kobalt’s newer folding box cutter with an improved blade holder. Like the older model, it’s available at Lowe’s and is a bit on the heavy side. Like it’s predecessor, it’s built pretty strong and I think it would hold up to rugged use. Again, the price is nice for around $8. The blade holder is a definite improvement. Similar to the Super Knife SK Edge, releasing the blade is as simple as pushing down on the thumb stud. Doing this will lift a locking arm and allow the blade to slide out. One downside to this is that the blade could be accidentally released. This knife also features a lock back and a pocket clip.

    07 - Super Knife SK2 folding box cutter
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    A very well designed and well made product. My two favorite features are the blade holder and the deep setting pocket clip. In order to release a blade you have to push down on a little tab near the thumb stud. This allows the thumb stud to be rotated 180 degrees letting the depressed tab spring out and up thereby releasing the blade. This is one of my favorite blade holders yet. There is virtually no way for it to be accidentally opened. The knife folds open and closed with a nice click and detents in the liner lock prevent the folded knife from opening up when in your pocket. The deep setting pocket clip allows almost the entire knife to set below the line of your pocket. Some people prefer this feature as it prevents helps to “hide” the knife in your pocket. I simply prefer the way it looks and the added benefit that there is less sticking out of your pocket to get caught up on something. This model also features a liner lock.

    08 - Kobalt mini folding box cutter
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    This one is also available at Lowe’s for about $6. You could call this a key chain box cutter because it is so small. It uses special blades, that I am not sure are a commercial standard. Perhaps someone reading this can clarify that. It’s a neat little knife. The body is plastic, but has a rubberized type of coating on it that improves grip. There is a small black switch on the body that releases a spring loaded compartment cover where 5 extra blades can be stored. It’s a nice feature, but I’m not sure how well it stands up to repeated use. This is actually the second one of these for me as the switch that opens the compartment broke on the first one. Lowe’s was kind enough to replace it for me without any hassle. The blade holder is very similar to the Kobalt Folding Box Cutter (older model), just miniaturized. To release a blade you have to lift the upper arm out of the way then slide the blade cover down. When put back together, that upper arm snaps down onto the blade cover, which keeps it in place and prevents it from sliding open thereby holding the blade. This knife features a lock back, but does not include a pocket clip. It would be best suited for key chain carry.

    09 - Super Knife SK Edge folding box cutter
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    This knife was pictured separately because I no longer have it in my collection. I had to look back deep into my imageshack uploads to find some pictures of it. The reason I no longer have this one is because the blade holder refused to work properly. It was simply too loose and would release the blade if too much resistance was encountered when cutting. It’s a shame because I really liked the idea behind the blade holder. The thumb stud on either side could be pushed down, which would lift a locking arm and allow the blade to slide out. I don’t know if the folks at Super Knife have resolved this problem yet, but I would like to give them good points for customer service. You see, I returned this knife to them and they replaced it with the same model. Unfortunately the replacement behaved the same. When I returned the replacement, they kindly exchanged it with the newer, higher quality SK2. The Super Knife SK Edge model also features a liner lock and a pocket clip.

    That's it for now. Hope you enjoyed. Again, I'll be happy to try and answer any questions you might have.

    Thanks for looking,
    Dan
    :)

    dinoadventures Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    That gerber one looks interesting.

    Thanks for the reviews, Dan!

    wolf54 Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Nice job,Thanks!

    I like that Gerber EAB myself. Looks interesting.

    parnass Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Dan,

    Great article and photos. Thanks.

    bruner Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Thanks guys,

    I enjoy putting reviews like this together. Gives me an excuse to play with everything ;)

    Dan

    Lunal_Tic Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Gerber EAB folding box cutter looks pretty slick. I'll have to get one of those to check out. Thanks for all the work Dan. :thumbsup:

    -LT
    • Moderator

    Lugsalot Uber Prepared

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (8 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    That EAB does look intriguing, and at that price it looks hard to beat.
    A few years back I was EDCing an old model Super Knife (with the separate retention screw), and now that it's all old and busted I have a decent excuse to pick up something else.
    Kudos for the extensive research and great pics, Dan!

    houdini28 Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Great work! I saw the Gerber in Wal-mart a week or two ago and I couldn't decide whether it was a great deal or a poor one. Thanks to your review I'm going to get it!
    • +1 Supporter

    abarnhart Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Saw the title of this thread and figured it could only be one individual...

    Excellent pics and info as usual!

    Soo.... what's your top pick? And why?

    bruner Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    My top pick would have to be the Gerber EAB folding box cutter. It is so small and so well designed. If I didn't carry any other knife, this would be the one that I carry.

    I love other models that hold extra blades in the handle, but in my profession, I wouldn't need to exchange blades that often.

    If I used a box cutter daily, then I would have to pick the #3 Camillus Cross Fire. I believe that Kershaw has something similar, but I don't know if their model has built-in storage for extra blades.

    I do like the Super Knife SK2 very much. And, if I could get through a solid day without needing a new blade, it would be a top choice as well.

    Thanks,
    Dan

    russianesq Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    The Gerber does not seem to be readily available. The only place to order online seems at this point to be Ebay and they are selling closer to the $20.00 range.

    The Gerber requires a small screwdriver to change the blade, so definitely not for someone who needs to change blades often. The Gerber is very cute. It is a thin so also a heavy amount of cutting is not comfortable. The pressure of the thin handle over a prolonged period of time is not pleasant.

    The Sheffield is a heavy low quality product. However, the heavy cutter is very comfortable in the hand. The blades are however very easy to change, no special tools or screwdrivers required.

    The original Superknife is off much better quality then the Sheffield, however it requires a special tool to change the blade.

    I think it is hard to change the blades in Gerber or Superknife while in the field. Both require another piece of equipment.

    Attached Files:

    Deaths Head Banned

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Great review as usual. The pics are clear and explains how to change out the blades.
    Explanations are concise and to the point.
    Bravo bruner!
    I've been wanting one of those Gerbers, but they are always out at the Wal-Mart next to my place.

    Grits Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    A good review. I went looking for the Gerber EAB box cutter after reading a review a couple of weeks ago on the ETS board. It took a couple of weeks to actually find them in a Wally World because they were sold out during Christmas. I did finally find some and I bought two of them.

    The blade that comes in the cutter is a very heavy duty blade and I have not been able to find any at the local Lowes. What I did find as a replacement blade was some titanium coated blades that seem to hold up pretty well. One thing about blade changes, with the Ti coated blades, I have been able to avoid a blade change by running the blade over a ez-lap diamond knife sharperner. Put it back into super sharp shape in minute. The sharperner has been used for several years and is more like a final touch up than a true sharpening rod.

    I was using the Gerber at work the other day and though that I had lost it cutting box tops and finally realized that I had pushed the clip onto my belt. So small that you hardly notice it.

    Grits Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Podus-I found the titanium coated blades at Lowes. The ti blades are the Lowes in house brand "Kobolt" Just stop in and you should be able to find them along with the other utility knife blades. Sorry I can't provide a link. My internet connection is dialup and I would die a slow death trying to surf the lowes.com website to find a link.

    AH-CHANH Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Was by a Wal-Mart this weekend so ran in to check and they had one EAB left. Bought it at $10. Can't beat that. The Sheffields and such seem to be $10 at Home supply stores.

    Am loving it. In just a couple days what I'm realizing is that it's like my little .380 hand gun. It may be small, but if it's so convenient to carry that you ALWAYS have it on you, then you get used to it, don't notice it, and don't mind it. With bigger knives I find myself dropping it on the dresser and forgetting to put it back on the next day.

    militaryman Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    I have the Gerber EAB and need replacement blades. I tried two different brands and they both do not allow the screw to quite line up to thread. Anyone changed the blade yet and if so what brand blade worked?

    Thanks ;)

    Goldtanker Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    Hi militaryman-

    Welcome to EDCF!

    Denny

    Mojoe Loaded Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    I bought the Gerber last Friday. I love it so far!

    Mojoe

    cratz2 Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    I generally carry the Spyderco Solo II which after removal of the clip, is very slim for a ~2.5" blade knife.

    I bought the Gerber about a month ago and I have nothing good things to report about it. Slim and trim, opens and closes easily. I like it. And it comes with an excellent blade. I never noticed there were utility grade and contractor grade blades. I have a stack of Stanley utility blades and while they are sharp, they are nots having sharp like the blade that comes with the Gerber is. That type of sharpness isn't really needed for cutting cardboard, rope, twine ect..., but it's nice. Of course, after two or three cuts, it's back to utility grade sharpness.

    If it has a fault, it's that I can't get a super strong grip on it safely for cutting down large heavy boxes. The Blackie Collins looks PERFECT for such chores.

    I also have a Kobalt, not sure if it's the old or new model. But it was too thick and clumsy for me. I keep it in the garage with a few other standard Stanley blade olders.

    edakoppo Empty Pockets

    Re: Folding Box Cutter Roundup Review (9 Reviews, over 40 Pictures)

    I've gotta ask--which is the best one-hand opener that will do quick blade changes? I had a Kobalt but nearly sprained my thumb trying to open it one-handed, and I won't open a supposed one-hander with two hands. Also have the Meyerco and agree it's blade holder is flimsy. The Gerber's out because of its blade mount.

    Excellent review but I couldn't figure this out from reading it. Guess I'm more dense than average.