DeWALT 18MM Single Blade Snap-Off

A very good choice for a replacement (or first) utility knife with a superb carbide blade.

DeWALT 18MM Single Blade Snap-Off Knife

DeWALT 18MM Single Blade Snap-Off Knife

There probably isn't a single toolbox or tool belt in existence that doesn't contain some kind of utility knife, with either a fixed, retractable, or snap-off blade. They're ubiquitous to every trade, simply because they're so compact, useful, and inexpensive. They also have a propensity for 'walking away', which is why a lot of tradespeople keep a few on hand.
There are several features to look for in a good quality utility knife, including on-board blade storage, ease of blade change, blade stability in use, comfort, safety, and replacement blade price.
DeWALT is a relative newcomer to the hand tool market, with just under a dozen utility knives on offer. They recently released a new line of retractable, snap-off knives with blades featuring their new Carbide Blade Technology™.

Top to bottom: 18mm and 25mm single blade, 18mm and 25mm cartridge blade         
There are four snap-off models to choose from: 18mm and 25mm single blade snap-offs, and, 18mm and 25mm cartridge blade snap-offs. The knives range in price from $9.99 to 18.99. I tested their 18MM Single Blade Snap-Off (DWHT10247), which retails at the lower price level.
The DWHT10247 measures a compact 5/8" x 1-3/8" x 6-1/4" and weighs in at approximately 3 ounces. It's one of the lightest knives I've used, which is probably due to the use of plastics for the handle and the fact that it doesn't have any on-board blade storage.
The body is made of a high impact plastic with a rubber overmold grip along the top, bottom and rear of the knife.


Locking wheel holds blade firmly in place          
The blade and locking wheel ride in a stainless steel barrel. A spring steel tensioner mounted in a plastic carriage under the locking wheel applies pressure against the blade so that it can be locked into position at any point along the barrel. The locking wheel is only 3/16" thick, so it can be a bit awkward to hold onto, especially if you have chunky fingers. Still, it effectively locks the blade firmly into position, and you can fairly quickly extend or retract the blade. Once tightened down, there is no chance of the blade inadvertently moving, which significantly reduces the chances of an accident occurring.

A stop limits blade retraction       
There is a stop molded into the body at the rear of the handle. This prevents the locking wheel from exiting out the back of the knife when retracting the blade. To insert a new blade you simply rotate the locking wheel until it just clears the top of the stop, and then pull the locking wheel and tensioner carriage out from the back end of the knife.

Tensioner carriage removed for blade replacement (insert showing spring steel tensioner)     
Installing a new blade takes all of thirty seconds. However, you need to be careful not to completely unscrew the locking wheel from the tensioner carriage. If you do, the tiny spring steel tensioner will pop out of the carriage. Fortunately, reinstalling the tensioner is easy.

It's all in the blade    
Without a good blade the best utility knife is useless. These new snap-off blade utility knives are equipped with DeWALT's groundbreaking Carbide Blade Technology™. This technology uses a laser to bind tungsten carbide powder onto the edge of the blade. According to DeWALT, this makes these blades last five times longer than conventional blades, they stay sharper longer, and they have excellent snap resistance.

A cut above the competition           
I found that the DWHT10247, equipped with its carbide blade, did an excellent job cutting through the thick paper coating on drywall and it's abrasive gypsum core. Likewise it sliced through thick carpeting like nobody's business. The real test was scoring asphalt roof shingles, and this blade was the cat's meow, easily outlasting the high carbon steel blades I normally use two to one.
If you're looking for a replacement (or first) utility knife, then the DeWALT 18MM Single Blade Snap Off (DWHT10247) is a reasonably good choice. It's very light, has a comfortable grip, and you can adjust and replace the blade fairly quickly.
Even if you have an alternate knife you prefer, don't pass over the DeWALT Carbide Edge blades - they're superb. You can purchase a 10-pack of the 18mm blades (DWHT11918T) for a very reasonable $14.99 (or $1.50 per unit), or better yet a 50-pack for $39.99 (only $.80 per unit).



  • 5/8" x 1-3/8" x 6-1/4"
  • High impact plastic handle with rubber overmold grip
  • Stainless steel blade barrel
  • Ratchet wheel blade lock
  • 3 ounce weight
  • Comes with 1 carbide edged blade

MADE IN:Thailand 
SOURCE:Tool & equipment suppliers nationwide

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Carl Duguay
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