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Review: OLFA has a bigger and better selection of utility and snap-off blade knives

From crafts to home improvements, Olfa has a knife and blade combination to tackle your cutting projects.

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Olfa Utility Knives and Cutters

I’ve used the typical utility knife for years, but at some point questioned whether there was something better, and in my view there is. I discovered Olfa cutting tools, and unlike traditional utility knives, the brand has a slew of cutters to choose from; each one allowing me to better match a particular cutting need.

  • At the core of the utility knives is a stainless steel blade channel, which is wrapped in varied handles across the 3 different sized knife options.
  • Find a large range of blades. Use the knife you have grown accustomed to and comfortable with, yet be able tackle differing cutting tasks with a simple blade change.
  • Snap-off blades allow longer intervals between blade changes, and when the need does come to change the blade, you’ll appreciate the no tool blade change design.
  • Choose the knife and blade lock combination that best suites you. (i) Safety auto retract » blade automatically retracts when not in use. (ii) Auto-lock » quick and efficient blade placement. (iii) Ratchet wheel » allows the blade to be placed specifically where you want, and no worries of accidental bumping of sliders(auto-lock) and blade movement.
WARNING: Olfa doesn’t recommend extending snap-off blades past each blade score. When doing deeper cuts, use solid blades, which are available for 9mm and 18mm knives.

These cutters prove useful during many projects

I put Olfa snap-off blade knives through numerous cutting experiments, along with using them on several of my own home improvement projects, and the range of Olfa knives and blades always perform amazingly.

  • Score and cut drywall
  • Score and cut foam board
  • Cut and trim plastic sheathing
  • Cut EPDM rubber gaskets
  • Cut rope to length

Find many more uses from the Olfa project section.

Olfa doesn’t limit you to one size fit’s all

The 9mm knives are ultra-compact and great for intricate cutting and package opening. These space-saving cutters are relatively inexpensive and so convenient that I have several of them throughout the house and garage. A minimal investment to always have a cutting tool on hand without wondering all over the house in search of.

The Olfa 18mm heavy-duty series offer a much lighter and slimmer body to the comparable standard utility knife.

Choose the 25mm knives for extra heavy-duty cutting.

Prefer the conventional style utility blades? Olfa has a selection of safety utility knives too.

Olfa vs Standard Utility Knife

Knife Size Comparison to Exact Scale

Standard-Duty (9mm blades)

OLFA describes their 9mm knives as “great for lighter cutting jobs such as packaging, shrink wrap, vinyl, window film, wallpaper, caulking, foam board and other materials.”

  • Compact size takes up minimal drawer space, yet the bright yellow bodies are easy to locate.
  • 9mm snap-off blade refills have 13 blade segments to allow a fresh cutting blade in seconds without hampering work progress.
  • All models feature a stainless steel blade channel, no tool blade change, pocket clip and built-in blade snapper.

I find the 9mm knives to be the perfect lightweight, compact and safe cutting tool for purse and car compartment storage too.

OLFA 9mm snap-off knife features

Heavy-Duty (18mm blades)

OLFA describes their 18mm knives as “ideal for cutting everything from construction materials, including: drywall, linoleum, carpet, flooring materials, insulation, and roofing materials. They feature heavy-gauge blade channels.”

  • Bright yellow bodies are easy to locate.
  • 18mm snap-off blade refills have 8 blade segments to allow a fresh cutting blade in seconds without hampering work progress.
  • All models feature a stainless steel blade channel and no tool blade change.

Check out Olfa’s article to help find the right 18mm blade for the job.

OLFA 18mm snap-off knife features

Extra Heavy-Duty (25mm blades)

OLFA describes their 25mm knives as “designed to efficiently cut through industrial materials like gaskets, fiberglass, laminates, leather and rope.”

  • Bright yellow bodies are easy to locate.
  • 25mm snap-off blade refills have 7 blade segments to allow a fresh cutting blade in seconds without hampering work progress.
  • Larger blades than ordinary utility knives.
  • All models feature a stainless steel blade channel and no tool blade change.

OLFA 25mm snap-off knife features

Safe Blade Disposal

Once the snap-off or solid blades are dull and no longer usable for cutting; OLFA offers several practical disposal containers to best accommodate your preference.

We also wrote about safe disposal of sharp objects that can easily be achieved with many empty food containers.

OLFA snap-off blade disposal containers

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. However, not all products listed in this buying guide have been purchased and independently tested by our staff. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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Hand Tools

Uses of a pick-up retrieval tool and how they work

Eliminate the frustration and struggle of recovering items in tight spots.

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4-Claw grabber tool buying guide

A pickup retrieval tool may be better known in the automotive world to recover bolts, screws, and washers that have fallen in hard to reach areas, but there are also plenty of uses in the household for these specialty tools.

For any object that has fallen…gotten stuck behind…or under a very confined area, you will be greatly aided with a compact grabber tool for retrieval.

Many times over the years I’ve found these to be great go-to tools in recovering:

  • Laundry that has fallen behind washing machines and dryers, or furniture.
  • Batteries that have rolled under washing machines and dryers, or furniture.
  • Anything that may have fallen down a sink drain.
  • Keys or small toys between car seats.

Flexible Claw Pick-up Tool

OEMTOOLS 4-Claw lighted pick-up tool 25293
OEMTOOLS 4-Claw lighted pick-up tool 25293 Maxcraft 4-claw lighted pick-up tool 60184 Mayhew 4-claw lighted pick-up tool 45046 OEMTOOLS magnetic lighted pick-up tool 25209

The small diameter flexible shaft easily fits in most tight spaces and the 4-claw models are good for non-ferrous items that magnetic models alone cannot attract.

Try one of the claw and magnetic combination pick-up tools for the ultimate in retrieving magnetic and non-magnetic items.

LED models are available to help see in those low lit spaces.

Update: As of 2017, the Tekton tool brand has discontinued both their claw and magnetic retrieval tools, but existing inventory may still be available online.

How To Use 4-Claw Models: Press the top knob while holding the grip with your index and middle finger. The claws will extend out and apart. Release the knob to collapse the claws, and grab hold of the object. Repeat Step 1 to free your object.

Telescoping Magnetic Retrieval Tool

Telescopic magnetic pick-up tool
Telescopic magnetic pick-up tool Tekton LED Telescoping Pick-up Tool 7610 Tekton telescoping pick-up tool 7601 General Tools telescoping pick-up tool 759398

These telescoping magnetic pick-up tools can mimic the look and size of a pen when completely collapsed, but extend in increments of up to 2-feet or more when needed.

This small, yet long, tool is great for retrieving batteries, screws, or any other ferromagnetic object that has rolled under or fallen into tight spaces.

Want a larger grip area and stronger magnet? There are models available to fill those needs too.

How To Use: Extend shaft to needed length for retrieval. Completely collapse shaft for easy storage.

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. However, not all products listed in this buying guide have been purchased and independently tested by our staff. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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Hand Tools

Safely check for voltage with a non-contact voltage detector

A non-contact voltage detector is a simple, safe, and relatively affordable device to detect the presence of voltage.

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Santronics Ultimate AC Voltage Detector

This is one of the easiest tools to use. Simply touch a cord or insert the tip into an outlet. The tip of the detector will light up if power is present, while some models also have an audible alarm as a secondary indicator. These are very safe and useful tools to address any home electrical project.

Replacing or testing a switch or receptacle: I’ve been guilty of using a small appliance or portable fan as my power indicator to confirm that I’ve turned off the appropriate power breaker. Not 100% safe. These voltage detectors have a tip that fits inside the receptacle to properly detect power and are 100% safe.

Open ended wires: If you ever locate or discover open-ended wires, you want to know if power is present before addressing.

Power strip troubleshooting: A power strip may have one or more outlets that are not working. You can test if the power strip itself is receiving power or an individual outlet is not transferring power.

Broken wire: Go along a cord or wire path and see where the power is disrupted. When testing power cords keep in mind that the internal wires are wound together in a spiral. You may have to move the detector around or along the cord to find the live internal wire. Also, non-contact voltage detectors do have sensitivity variations between brands and models.

Spiral Wound Electrical Wires

Terms and Descriptions

Voltage Rating: Depending on the voltage range you want to detect, be sure to choose a detector or possibly multiple detectors that suit your needs. Some voltage detector models come with dual-range, so you can detect low and high voltage.

A typical single household circuit ranges from 110-240 VAC. The difference between a 600 or 1000 VAC detector will most likely not be an issue for homeowners. The high ratings are for professionals that want to read full voltage coming into circuit panels, etc. Again not something typical of a homeowner that is not experienced, trained, or properly licensed to work with.

Low voltage wires, e.g. thermostat or doorbell, are typically rated for 24 VAC and lower.

Automotive electrical systems range from 12-16 VDC.

CAT III: Refers to measurements on hard-wired equipment in fixed installations, distribution boards, and circuit breakers. Other examples are wiring, including cables, bus bars, junction boxes, switches, and socket outlets in the fixed installation.

CAT IV: Rated test instruments are designed for testing on the primary supply source, which also includes 120V or 240V overhead or underground lines that power detached buildings or underground lines that power well pumps. The CAT IV rating covers the highest and most dangerous level of transient over-voltage.

WARNING: Electrical Hazard. US household outlets range from 120-240VAC and can cause serious injury or death. Turn off power at the breaker panel when working. Contact a certified Electrician or HVAC tech if unsure of your DIY capabilities.

Comparison Guide

All non-contact voltage detectors have an LED indicator light and replaceable batteries.

Some models come equipped with an audible alarm as well, which may have a silence option.

Product availability and specs may change. Please check a manufacturers website for the latest information.
Manufacturer
& Model
Voltage
Range
CAT
Rating
Audible
Indicator
Work
Light
Power
Switch
Battery
Type
Extech DV40 + IR Thermometer 50 – 1000VAC CAT III – 1000V 3 x LR44
Extech 40130 100 – 600VAC CAT III – 600V 2 x AAA
Extech DV20 100 – 600VAC CAT III – 600V 2 x AAA
Extech DV24 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Extech DV25 Dual-Range 24 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Extech DV26 100 – 1000VAC CAT III – 1000VAC,
CAT IV – 600VAC
2 x AAA
Extech DV30 Adjustable Sensitivity 12 – 600VAC CAT III – 600V 4 x LR44
Extech DVA30 + Current 12 – 600VAC,
200mA to 1000A
CAT III – 600V 4 x LR44
Fluke 2AC VoltAlert™ 90 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Fluke 1AC-II A1 VoltAlert™ 90 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Fluke 1AC II A2 VoltAlert™ 90 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Fluke 1LAC II A VoltAlertT™ 20 – 90VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Fluke 1AC II E1 VoltAlertT™ 200 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Fluke LVD2 Volt Light – Dual Sensitivity 90 – 600VAC CAT IV – 600V 1 x AAA
GreenLee GT-12A 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
GreenLee TR-12A 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
GreenLee GT-16 Adjustable 5 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 1 x AAA
Klein NCVT-1 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Klein NCVT-2 12 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Klein NCVT-3 w/ LED Bar Graph 12 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Milwaukee 2202-20 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Milwaukee 2200-20 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Milwaukee 2203-20 Dual-Range 10 – 49VAC,
50 – 1000VAC
CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Santronics Ultimate AC 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Santronics AC 50 – 1000VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Santronics Low AC 24 – 90VAC CAT IV – 1000V 2 x AAA
Santronics DC 6 – 50VDC N/A
Sperry VD6504 50 – 1000VAC CAT III – 1000V,
CAT IV – 600V
1 x AAA
Sperry VD6505 – Adjustable 12 – 1000VAC CAT III – 1000V,
CAT IV – 600V
1 x AAA
Manufacturer
& Model
Voltage
Range
CAT
Rating
Audible
Indicator
Work
Light
Power
Switch
Battery
type

Final Thoughts

Please view all the brands and models we put together in the buying guide to learn the features and what may work best for your needs. We personally tested and compared a few brands, including: Milwaukee, Klein, Santronics, Fluke, and there were notable differences.

  • Each varied on the audible sound levels. I would like to see manufacturers list this in their specs as it is important to some) and frequency of the beep, which could get annoying or welcomed, depending on the person.
  • Some models have no work light, while the Milwaukee units have a very bright light.
  • Static electricity is read by all the units, however will only causes flashes of light and single chirps instead of steady light and steady audible alarms for true voltage. The Santronics is the only brand without an audible off switch, but doesn’t create an audible sound for static electricity, which is a nice feature.
  • We found brands like Milwaukee, Klein, and Fluke are very sensitive. The Santronics had to be much closer, if not touching a wire that was open or has sheathing, before the indicators would activate. Though all brands and models tested had to make contact with the exterior of a cord before detecting voltage.

Note: A response from the Santronic said, “Our voltage testers are manufactured, printed, and packaged in the US.”

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. However, not all products listed in this buying guide have been purchased and independently tested by our staff. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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Hand Tools

Review: The Channellock ratcheting 13 ‘N 1 is an outstanding all-in-one screwdriver

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Channellock 13n1 ratcheting screwdriver

I came across the CHANNELLOCK® 13 ‘N 1 ratcheting all-in-one screwdriver in a local tool house and thought, “this is the first brilliant multi-bit driver worth buying”. And my initial instincts were right.

Of course a solid screwdriver shaft always comes in handy for those random prying needs, but that’s the only disadvantage any interchangeable bit screwdriver has in my opinion.

An interesting, yet welcomed fact when doing research for this article, I came to realize that MEGAPRO makes the driver for CHANNELLOCK. After viewing the MEGAPRO site, I wish I knew about all their great drivers years ago. I no longer need to grab and carry a handful of drivers. All the popular bits are in one unit.

What makes this a great ratcheting screwdriver?

Fit the CHANNELLOCK 13n1 Ratcheting Screwdriver in a tool bag or drawer and you’ll always have a very capable tool when you need to remove or insert a screw. The provided bit types address the most common fastener heads.

Channellock 13n1 Ratcheting Screwdriver

Dimensions: Overall Length = 8.75″ / Handle Length (minus locking collar) = 4.75″

  • Well Built: Solid construction and feel.
  • Comfortable: Rubberized and textured grip.
  • 3-Position Head: Locked | Ratchet forward | Ratchet reverse.
  • Handles Tough Fasteners: 225 lbs. torque allows even the most difficult fasteners to be removed and inserted.
  • 360-degree Bit Carousel: The pull out carousel holds 6 double-sided bits and freely spins 360-degrees when pulled out. The snap shut feature (think cabinet hinge action) of the carousel ensures the carousel stays securely closed when pushed in.
Square Tip Screw HeadSquare Tip Phillips #2 Screw HeadPhillips Tip Slot Tip Screw HeadSlot Tip Torx Head Screw TipTorx Tip
#1 #0 #4 #10
#2 #1 #6 #15
#2 #20
#3 #25
CHANNELLOCK 13n1 360-degree spinning carousel

6 double-sided tips and the 1/4″ hex shaft make up the standard 13 ‘N 1 drive options

The ratcheting action makes quick work and requires less effort compared to a standard screwdriver.

CHANNELLOCK 13n1 drive settings

3 drive options: 2 ratcheting + locked

Bit Type and Replacements

Channellock 13n1 Replacement Bits

The screwdriver comes with ¼-inch bits with a pressure fitted ball for securing the bit, and should always be used to ensure best use.

The pressure fitted bits are the only negative I can think of. Like most bits of this design, the bit is not completely locked in the driver and can remain in a screw head at times.

All products listed in this buying guide were chosen by DIY House Help based on independent research and analysis performed by our editors. Products were purchased at retail locations and not provided by manufacturers as sponsorship. When a retailer is listed, this is purely a suggestion for the convenience of our readers, but we are not obligated to endorse specific retailers. However, some of the links we provide throughout the site may earn us an affiliate commission when you decide to purchase.
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