10 Best Drywall Knives in 2021 – Reviews & Buyer’s Guide
A drywall knife is a must-have if you do this kind of work, whether you’re a DIYer or a professional contractor. It’s essential to get clean and precise cuts. That will save you time and money in the long run. You’ll waste fewer boards and get pro results with the right tool for the job. These products aren’t expensive, which belies their importance.
Many of the features fall into the dealbreaker/dealmaker category. You’ll notice many things are fine-tuned with user-friendly options. Those are things we really love about these tools and their manufacturers. It’s often these specs that push one product to the head of the pack. Drywalling isn’t the most enjoyable task. Anything that makes it easier is welcome.
Our guide will give you the intel you need to make the right choice for the work that you do. We’ll discuss features in detail to help you make an informed choice. We’ll start with detailed reviews that set the stage for choosing your drywall knife. Let’s get started with the cream of the crop.
A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
|Best Overall||Fiskars 770060-1001 Pro Drywaller's Utility Knife||
|Best Value||Stanley 15-556 Jab Saw||
|Premium Choice||DeWalt DWHT20123 2-in-1 Folding Jab Saw||
|Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife||
|Klein Tools 31737 Folding Jab Saw||
The 10 Best Drywall Knives – Reviews 2021
1. Fiskars 770060-1001 Pro Drywaller’s Utility Knife – Best Overall
The Fiskars 770060-1001 Pro Drywaller’s Utility Knife is a deluxe model that you’ll likely find differnt uses for it other than cutting drywall, which increases its value. The manufacturer has a reputation for well-made products. This one is no exception. The balance is fantastic. It feels good in your hands, with an ergonomic design that reduces hand fatigue.
The company sweetens the pot with a lifetime warranty. We appreciate a manufacturer who stands behind their products. The design is user-friendly from several viewpoints. It’s easy to use and has the necessary safety features. The price is right, too. Overall, it’s a great buy.
2. Stanley 15-556 Jab Saw – Best Value
The Stanley 15-556 Jab Saw is our pick for one of the best drywall knives for the money. It’s our first jab saw that packs a lot of punch in for the price. It’s a good size at 20” L. That means fewer hand sweeps for more efficient cutting. It’s both lightweight and ergonomically designed to reduce hand fatigue. It gets high marks as a user-friendly tool.
The saw handles drywall like a dream. It slices through it efficiently, albeit a bit rough because of the larger teeth. The handle is comfortable to hold for those longer jobs. The price is also right, even if it’s a one-dimensional tool. The ROI more than justifies the price tag. Of course, there is also the reputation of this manufacturer that has set the bar for quality products.
3. DeWalt DWHT20123 2-in-1 Folding Jab Saw – Premium Choice
The DeWalt DWHT20123 2-in-1 Folding Jab Saw is a multi-dimensional tool that includes both a jab saw and a rasp. The inclusion of the latter is sketchy, depending on whether you’ll use it. We suppose that some will think it’s a selling point but ironically not something you can use with the primary tool. On the positive front, it has triple-ground teeth that will last long and add to its value.
The jab saw is stainless steel, which adds to its strength and affordability, even as a premium choice. We liked the locking mechanism that made it safer to use. It has an ergonomic design that has a good hand feel. It’s an excellent choice for a compact saw that you could use for light-duty jobs. We prefer something with a fixed blade to deck out larger projects.
4. Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife
The Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife is a hefty tool. Its dimensions are 8.9” L with the blade extended and 4” long when closed. The stainless steel blade measures 2.5” L, which is plenty for cutting drywall. The rest of the construction is aluminum, which keeps the weight down to reduce hand fatigue. It also has a quick-change feature to avoid delays on the job.
The manufacturer is reputable, with over 80 years in the industry. That’s evident in the user-friendly features, such as the ergonomic thumb stud and handy belt clip. The thing that it doesn’t have that we wish it did was a place for extra blades. It also isn’t the easiest tool to maintain, either.
5. Klein Tools 31737 Folding Jab Saw
The Klein Tools 31737 Folding Jab Saw is a well-made product with one purpose—cutting drywall. The tool measures nearly 12” L of which 5.2” is the carbon-steel blade. It has an ergonomically designed handle that has a good hand feel to it. It also has some heft at almost 9 oz. It has triple ground teeth for excellent cutting power that you can use both ways.
The jab saw folds when not in use. It also has a convenient hole for storage. It has a locking mechanism so that you can use it either at 125 or fully extended at 180. Overall, it’s easy to use and gets the job done right. The company also has a stellar reputation in the business and is USA-based. The product comes with a 1-year warranty.
6. Goldblatt G08500A Drywall Wallboard Saw
The Goldblatt G08500A Drywall Wallboard Saw is longer than the previous product at 12” L with a 6” carbon-steel blade that is Teflon-coated. The handle is comfortable and sure to prevent hand fatigue. It also is triple cut blade with a point on the end for scoring drywall to give you a jump on the task. The blade has just the right amount of flexibility to make it easier to use. It holds its edge well, too.
Although the blade is thin, it delivers excellent cutting action. Overall, the design is top-notch for cutting drywall and other like materials. The only downside is that you can’t replace the blade. However, the price is right, making it a wise investment.
7. Grabber K1992-V Utility Drywall Knife
The Grabber K1992-V Utility Drywall Knife has a lot of features that make it stand out—literally! The bright yellow color is a welcome change from the muted hues of other tools. You won’t lose this one. The all-metal body of the utility knife measures 6” L and weighs just over 7 oz. It has storage for extra blades, which we appreciated. The tool has a large center screw that makes replacing a quick task.
The texture on the knife is okay, but it also has a slick feeling that we didn’t like. Also, individuals with large hands may find the tool hard to hold steady. The design just misses the mark at being ergonomic, too. On the positive side, it feels well-made with the all-metal construction that gives it some extra weight and good balance.
8. LENOX 20997TFHS618636 Tools Jab Saw
The LENOX 20997TFHS618636 Tools Jab Saw is a folding tool, measuring 14” L with a 4” blade. It only weighs 3.52 oz, with its aluminum construction. That fact alone makes the saw feel cheap. Unfortunately, that’s not reflected in the price, which is spendy for what it is. However, the blade is sturdy and can take a lot of punishment.
On the positive side, there are three locking positions, which makes it an excellent choice if you’re working in spots where accessibility is an issue. While you can get replacement blades, they are proprietary, even to the model number. The jab saw cuts well, but it isn’t the easiest tool to use. It is sometimes hard to open and close.
9. IRWIN 1774103 Utility Knife
The IRWIN 1774103 Utility Knife is a well-made tool that has some desirable features, such as the safety locking mechanism and blade storage. It even comes with three to get you started on the job. The all-metal body measures 9” L and weighs just under 4 oz. It has a screw on the center of the knife for changing blades. However, it is awkward to use.
The negative thing that stands out with this product is that it has a non-retracting blade. That’s an accident waiting to happen. There isn’t any texturing on the body, giving the utility knife a slippery feel. While it works well, the safety miscues put it in the dealbreaker category for us.
10. DeWalt Fixed Blade Utility Knife
The DeWalt Fixed Blade Utility Knife seems like a quality product. It is 6” L and weighs just over 7 oz. It is all-metal construction with the manufacturer’s proprietary Bi-Material on the grip. While it feels secure in your hand, it isn’t comfortable to hold, especially for long stretches. The center screw for swapping blades is in the wrong spot.
However, the utility knife has storage for extra blades and comes with five to get you started. It is a fixed blade tool with a non-retracting blade. We could see dust and debris getting into the mechanism, making frequent cleaning imperative. That adds to the maintenance and reduces its value as a drywall knife.
You have two options when it comes to cutting drywall. You can use a utility knife with a fixed blade. As long as it’s durable and long enough, it’ll get the job done well. The advantage of this tool is in the name. It’s a jack-of-all-trades that you can use for a variety of tasks. However, you’ll find several takes on this simple theme, which we’ll discuss in detail.
The other option is a jab saw. It looks like an icepick with coarse teeth. The size of these tools varies, but it typically is 4 or more inches long. There’s no doubt that it’s a useful piece of equipment for the task. The problem is that you probably won’t find many other uses for it other than cutting drywall. In any case, the features and traits that you should look for include:
- Blade Storage
We’ll talk about each factor in detail, with some tips along the way so that you can get the most out of your purchase.
This feature is probably the most critical of all we’ll discuss. It’ll play a direct role in how satisfied you are with the product. Strength is the main benefit. This trait isn’t cut and dried. Instead, it’s more complex. We can speak of a material’s impact strength, which measures its resistance to shattering. We can also talk about its tensile strength, which considers its stretch resistance.
Comprehensive strength looks at a material’s resistance to compression. However, the spec that matters most with a drywall knife is its yield strength, which measures its ability to withstand bending. That’s the main concern with these tools. The last thing you need is for it to snap in the middle of a cut. You’ll usually see three main materials for these tools. They include:
- Stainless steel
- Carbon steel
- Blue steel
Stainless steel is the least expensive of the three. It provides outstanding strength, thanks to the addition of chromium. It comes in at number 9 on the Mohs Hardness Test. Only diamonds are harder. That’s both a good and bad thing. It’s excellent because of its durability. However, it is also less flexible, which can make it harder—pun intended—to use. This material is also more challenging to sharpen.
Carbon steel provides more flexibility, but it has a lower impact strength. Its other shortcoming is its propensity to rust. That means more care is involved in keeping it in decent shape. Hence, there is the last material on our list. Blue steel is carbon with a rust-resistant coating. The name refers to its color. There is no loss of flexibility, either. You must oil it between uses, which is a minor tradeoff for its benefits.
Durability is also high on the list of features since you’ll likely use this tool for long stretches. These products aren’t overly expensive, but it’s undoubtedly a pain if it breaks while in the middle of a job. The essential thing to remember is to keep up with the recommended maintenance. That will reduce the risk of corrosion, which will put the tool on the fast track for breakage.
Usability covers several features, including the lifespan of the tool. You can sharpen some drywall knives to extend their usefulness in the case of jab saws. Others don’t have replacement blades. When it’s done, it’s done. That’s something to consider with the price of the product. That’s where utility knives shine because you can swap out dull blades to increase their longevity and, thus, value.
Another consideration is how easy the drywall knife is to use. That includes things such as how easy it is to change blades. Being able to lock it in a particular position is also desirable. We also prefer products that make cleaning them easy-peasy. Debris can quickly dull a blade and slow your progress on the job. Let’s face it. Cutting drywall is a messy task. Anything that streamlines the process is a godsend.
Ergonomic handles are worth their weight in gold. They reduce hand fatigue and can help prevent repetitive activity injuries, such as carpal tunnel syndrome. However, we suggest considering it closely. A rubberized handle is excellent for comfort, but it can also cause your hands to sweat, making it more of a safety hazard if it slips out of your hand.
The other thing to bear in mind is balance. A quality drywall knife has a good hand feel to it. It’s also a plus if it can help with other aspects of the job and double as a tool for punching through materials. Some products like jab saws take on a Swiss Army Knife model with additional attachments to make them more versatile. Sometimes, these features are window dressing. Other times, they’re welcome.
This feature applies more to utility knives than jab saws. We use it to refer to the ability to use different blades. Some products will accept replacements from all the major brands. Knives that only take proprietary blades that strike us as being stingy. After all, this part isn’t the essential focus of these tools. The usefulness rests more with its performance and durability than the cutting edge you use.
This option is also more pertinent for utility knives, but it’s an essential one when you think about your productivity on the job. Some products have a compartment for storing extra blades. That means you don’t have to stop in the middle of cutting to fish out a replacement from your toolbox. The number of blades varies, but even one is a timesaver.
Safety is a vital consideration, no matter what tool you. It’s critical when it comes to sharp ones, such as drywall knives. That’s one reason we mentioned fixed instead of snap-off blades. The ease of changing them also factors into this feature. We like utility knives that have a magnet in the blade casing to keep them securely in place.
One feature that we like with utility knives involves the retraction of the blade. Some products extend them only when your finger is on the proverbial trigger. When you’re not cutting, they are retracted into the casing. We also prefer utility knives with a screw-down attachment mechanism to keep the blade stable and securely in place.
At the very least, you should get a money-back guarantee on your drywall knife to cover any faults in the product. We also believe that extended warranties are in order, considering the heavy usage that these tools endure. Consider it an expression of the manufacturer’s own faith in their products. We suggest reading the terms of the warranty carefully.
Sometimes, companies will offer different periods of coverage, depending on whether you use the tool for DIY projects or commercial jobs. The term, limited is always a red flag, too. Pay attention to any mention of any recommended maintenance, particularly with carbon steel or blue steel tools. Many manufacturers also require that you register your drywall knife to activate the warranty.
The Fiskars 770060-1001 Pro Drywaller’s Utility Knife is appropriately named if just for the design and construction of this tool. It has a good feel that makes it easy to use. We liked that you could clean it quickly, which will extend the life of the knife. We also appreciated the lifetime warranty on the product. It was the only utility knife in our roundup that offered this feature.
The Stanley 15-556 Jab Saw is an excellent choice if you prefer to use this type of tool. Its 20-inch blade will make short work of a stack of drywall. It has a user-friendly design with an ergonomic handle that has a comfortable hand feel. It is also lightweight to reduce hand fatigue. Overall, it’s a sound investment at an affordable price.
We’ve written more articles related to drywall:
- A close look at the other ways to cut drywall
- How do you choose the right drywall stilts for your needs?
- What are drywall screw guns, and how do you choose the right one for your job?
- A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites
- The 10 Best Drywall Knives – Reviews 2021
- 1. Fiskars 770060-1001 Pro Drywaller’s Utility Knife – Best Overall
- 2. Stanley 15-556 Jab Saw – Best Value
- 3. DeWalt DWHT20123 2-in-1 Folding Jab Saw – Premium Choice
- 4. Sheffield 12113 Ultimate Lock Back Utility Knife
- 5. Klein Tools 31737 Folding Jab Saw
- 6. Goldblatt G08500A Drywall Wallboard Saw
- 7. Grabber K1992-V Utility Drywall Knife
- 8. LENOX 20997TFHS618636 Tools Jab Saw
- 9. IRWIN 1774103 Utility Knife
- 10. DeWalt Fixed Blade Utility Knife
- Buyer’s Guide