This Might Just Be the Best Utility Knife You’ll Ever Own
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Give this top-notch Family Handyman Approved utility knife a try.
Every household should have a basic toolbox with a few of the most commonly used tools — a hammer, a few screwdrivers, a set of hex keys, some pliers and so on. If I was putting a toolbox together, I’d include two more: a tape measure and a quality utility knife.
I’ve used utility knives at nearly every job I’ve ever had. From breaking down boxes as a teenager in a fast food restaurant to scoring and cutting drywall in recent years, a utility knife has proved valuable again and again.
Not long ago, while browsing the aisles of my local home center acquiring materials for a weekend roofing project, the Irwin ProFlip Utility Knife caught my eye. Roofing offered the perfect test of a utility knife’s quality and durability, so I purchased one and gave it a try.
What Is the Irwin Pro Flip Utility Knife?
The Irwin ProFlip gets its name from the trademarked ProFlip mechanism, which lets the user quickly open and close the knife one-handed. Other key features include a protected blade change button that prevents accidental blade releases, onboard blade storage, and a sturdy metal belt clip to keep it with you at all times.
I immediately noted the bright blue knife’s comfort and durability, and how easily and smoothly it opened and closed. Then I took it up on the roof.
How We Tested It
I assembled a roofing crew of experienced friends, brothers-in-law and nephews. By mid-morning Saturday, rain had abated and we were ready to go.
After tear off, we laid down nearly 1,500-sq.-ft. of ice and water barrier and synthetic underlayment. This would be the easiest action the Irwin ProFlip would see all weekend, but its comfortable grip and stout belt clip were already noticeable.
I used the Irwin ProFlip more as we started shingling, first by cutting the tabs off the shingles to make starter strips, then by trimming sections from each shingle for proper lateral spacing.
I’ve long been a fan of folding utility knives. However, on many occasions a weak hinge in the center tends to be the knife’s downfall. The Irwin ProFlip did not have this issue. It cut through shingle after shingle with incredible strength and precision, without any play or movement at its pivot point.
After a day and a half of roofing, the only task remaining was trimming the long, hanging shingles from the gabled ends of the house. This is a Goliath task for any utility knife, and the Irwin ProFlip shined.
Thick asphalt shingles tend to destroy blades almost every five minutes, so having a quick blade change lever and onboard blade storage came in handy. The change lever worked splendidly, though I wish it held more than one spare blade.
Reliability and durability are crucial to a job like this, and the Irwin ProFlip passed with flying colors. I’m happy to keep the Irwin ProFlip in my toolbox for its next task.
What I Like
- Comfortable grip;
- Strong belt clip;
- Sturdy hinge;
- Helpful quick blade release lever;
- Reliable and durable;
- Onboard blade storage.
What I Didn’t Like
- The onboard blade storage can only hold one extra blade.
Q: Can the blade be retracted for safety?
A: Yes. When folded, its sharp blade is safely contained.
Q: The knife’s hinge stops midway through the opening process. Why?
A: This reveals the protected blade change lever. By designing the Pro Flip this way, Irwin prevents you from accidentally releasing the blade in the middle of a cut.
Honestly, the Irwin Pro Flip is one of the best utility knives I’ve ever used. It’s comfortable, user-friendly and well-built, with convenient features like a quick change blade lever, sturdy hinge and belt clip. I’m impressed, and I’m confident you’ll be as well.
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