General Purpose Tools

OLFA Auto-Lock Utility Knife


A nicer snap-off utility knife

I have searched for years for a really handy, safe, convenient marking knife for use in woodworking (knives give a finer, clearer line than pencils). Snap-off utility knives are nearly perfect. The blade is thin enough to hug a straightedge, and since the blade is sharpened on the long edge instead of the short bevel edge, it is easier to bear down while making a cut. The blade retracts, making the knife pocketable. The blade also locks, making it safe to bear down on. Moving the blade in and out is fast and fluid, making it easy to use. Lastly the blade is always sharp, since you can easily snap off a dull section and expose a sharp new point.

However, most snap-off knives have cheap plastic bodies which can break, and their locking mechanisms are not very sturdy. I always wanted a nicer, more durable version. And Olfa’s SVR-2 is it.

The knife is quite slender, though it is slightly heavier than it might appear, being made of stainless steel. It is almost exactly the length of a Sharpie, and has a clean, modern, almost luxurious look. I could see engraving them for gifts or corporate swag. The clip is springy and sturdy, and pops off to act as a blade snapper. Nifty!

The SVR-2 is auto-locking, meaning that once you extend the blade out with the black slider, it is locked in place until you actually move the black slider back. Ordinary pressure on the blade will not make it retract. It is very easy and fluid to use.

The slightly cheaper SVR-1 does not lock automatically. To lock the blade you move the slider backwards just a bit (those cheap plastic ones work the same way.) To me that is a somewhat less safe option

— Karl C.

The Kobalt Stainless Steel Snap-Off Utility Knife is basically the same product, complete with autolocking feature, but less than half the cost ($3). I keep two of these in my car at all times. One as a seatbelt cutter, and the other for everyday tasks. I usually buy 1 or 2 whenever I’m at Lowes, and have one in almost every room in the house. The blade is durable, and I usually end up losing them before I snap the entire blade down.

— Eric Kuck