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Review: OLFA Utility and Snap-off Blade Cutters

Olfa (Japan) utility and snap-off blade knives are a great alternative to the traditional utility knife, which can be unnecessarily heavy, bulky, and not as convenient for switching to a fresh blade.

At the core of the utility knives is a strong metal blade channel that’s wrapped in a lightweight nylon body. Choose from the many ergonomic designs and sizes that can hold various blade types for specific cutting.

Olfa offers several advantages over the typical utility knife:

  • Large range of blades – A single utility knife can be converted into multiple cutters with the change of blade type, creating the most user-friendly cutter for your specific needs. This is important for me. I can use the cutter body I have grown accustomed to and am comfortable with. In addition, I was able to reduce the clutter of the standard bulky utility knives by replacing them with small packages of various blade styles, instead.
  • Quick and easy blade changes with tool-less design for the entire product range
  • Various blade lock devices – (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.

Varying features across knife models include:

  • Stainless steel knives and blades – Wet weather compatible.
  • Rubber cushioned handles.
  • Ergonomic handles.
  • Blade cutting guide.
  • Extra length solid blades for deeper cuts.
  • Blade storage.
  • Auto load.
Olfa vs Standard Utility Knife
Knife Size Comparison to Exact Scale

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

The Olfa Heavy-Duty series knives with the 18mm blades offer a much lighter and compact body, while being just as strong and reliable for cutting as a standard utility knife. Yet you have the smaller 9mm knives that are even more compact and better suited for intricate cutting, and the larger 25mm knives for extra-heavy duty cutting.

The 9mm knife collection has compact bodies that take up very little space, are relatively inexpensive, and so convenient that I have several of them throughout the house and garage. A minimal investment to always have a sharp edge on hand without wondering all over the house in search of.

Lenox Gold Utility blades vs Olfa Ultra-Sharp Black 18mm Snap-blade:

The Olfa 18mm snap-blade knife cut as well, if not better, in all comparisons performed. Yet, OLFA also makes speciality blade variations to cut many of these objects even easier.

  • Drywall scoring (wallboard)
  • EPDM rubber (1/4″)
  • Leather (1/8″)
  • Plastic  Sheathing (6mm)
  • Foam Board (up to 2″)
  • Rope (up to 1/2″: nylon, polypropylene, manila, synthetic manila)
WARNING: Olfa doesn’t recommend extending snap-off blades past each blade score. For deeper cutting use the solid blade option which is available 9mm and 18mm knives.
OLFA Blade Disposal Holster DC-5
OLFA Blade Disposal Holster DC-5

How to safely dispose of OLFA blades?

Once the snap-off or solid blades are dull and no longer usable for cutting; OLFA sells several disposal cans to best accommodate your preference. We also wrote about safe disposal of sharp objects.

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OLFA 9mm standard-duty utility knife

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.
  • Accepts 9mm Silver Snap-Off blade refills (AB-10B).
  • Accepts 9mm Black Ultra-Sharp Snap-Off blade refills with a 25% sharper edge for less cutting resistance (ABB-10B).
  • Accepts 9mm Stainless Steel Snap-Off blade refills (AB-10S).
  • Accepts 9mm Solid blade for deeper cuts (ASOL/10B).

In my experience the thin 9mm blade makes stripping objects like inner electrical wire sleeving a little easier than a typical utility knife blade.

Stripped Electrical Wire

Models Include:

  • ES-1
  • SVR-1
  • PA-2
  • NA-1
  • A-1
  • DA-1
  • XA-1
  • Wheel-Lock 300

**Check local home improvement and paint stores for availability
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OLFA 18mm heavy-duty utility knife

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.
  • Accepts 18mm Silver Snap-Off blade refills (LB-5B).
  • Accepts 18mm Black Ultra-Sharp Snap-Off blade refills with a 25% sharper edge for less cutting resistance (LBB-5B).
  • Accepts 18mm 18mm Snap-Off Speed blade refills (LFB-10B).
  • Accepts 18mm Solid blade for deeper cuts (LSOL-10B).
  • Accepts 18mm Solid Serrated insulation blades (LWB-3B).
  • Accepts 18mm Snap-Off Hook blades (LH-20B).

**Find the right 18mm blade for the job.

Models Include:

  • L-5
  • NOL-1/BB
  • L6-AL
  • L-6
  • CL
  • NL-AL
  • XL-2
  • L-1
  • L-2
  • LA-X
  • OL
  • SL-1
  • DL-1
  • NOL-1
  • PL-1

**Check local home improvement and paint stores for availability
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OLFA 25mm extra heavy-duty utility knife

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.
  • Accepts 25mm Silver Snap-Off blade refills (HB-5B).
  • Accepts 25mm Black Ultra-Sharp Snap-Off blade refills with a 25% sharper edge for less cutting resistance (HBB-20B).

Models Include:

  • EH-1
  • XH-AL
  • XH-1
  • H-1
  • NH-1

**Check local home improvement and paint stores for availability
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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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