Carpet Knife vs Utility Knife: What is the Difference?

Carpet Knives and Utility Knives are terms that are sometimes used interchangeably. Wikipedia will tell you a Utility Knife is sometimes called a Carpet Knife, while other sources say they’re different things. When you’re shopping for tools, you want to be sure you have the right knife for the job. So what’s the difference between a carpet knife and a utility knife, really?

The main difference is in their intended use. Utility knives are sharp, retractable knives used for all-round purposes such as box-cutting, stationary, card, plastic, etc.  A carpet knife is specially made for cutting through fabrics, particularly touch carpet backing. 


Key Differences

For quick reference, here is a rundown of the key differences between carpet and utility knives. These will be expanded on further down the page.

Versatility: Carpet Trimming knives are best for cutting fabrics, while utility knives are more versatile, being used for multiple types of projects in crafting, opening boxes, woodworking and DIY.

Type of blade: Carpet knives can have straight, square, concave or hooked blades, whereas utility knives generally just use straight blades. 

Handle Shape: Some carpet knives have an angled handle to make cutting alongside floors and skirting easier. Utility knives all have straight handles.

That said, there are more similarities than differences and for most models, there is little to distinguish them. All utility knives can be used as carpet knives, provided they have a strong enough blade. However, not all carpet knives can be used as utility knives.

Handle Shapes: Carpet Knives vs Utility Knives

While some carpet knives, such as the Janser Dolphin knife, are similar in design to any standard utility knife, there are many designs. Some carpet knives have handles suitable for use in small spaces and awkward corners, such as the Crain 729 Pivoting Knife. This handle has a bend just before the blade mounting, helping create a comfortable grip and distributed pressure when cutting carpet against floors or skirting. 

Others may have a ‘hook handle’, which is easier to grip when the material is tough.

Different Blades for Carpet Knives and Utility Knives



By design, a carpet knife can cut through fabrics of different strengths, and can easily trim other materials as well, although anything that may blunt the blade should be avoided.

Blades can come in lots of different shapes, depending on the user’s preference. 

Straight Blades are standard equipment in both utility knives and carpet knives, good for general use and straight cuts.

Concave Blades have a sharp point and a curve, allowing greater visibility and accuracy when cutting.

Hooked Blades are a favourite for carpet fitters because they ‘hook’ under the carpet from above, slicing the backing as you pull through. This reduces errors because you don’t need to fold over the edge of the carpet to get to the backing, which can be awkward.

Square Blades help carpet fitters avoid cutting too deep and damaging the skirting or flooring beneath the carpet, and are less likely to snap during use.

All of these types of blades can be mounted in carpet trimming handles or utility knives as needed, but most utility knives only use straight blades. 

A carpet trimming blade needs to remain sharp, so should not be used for anything tougher than vinyl, such as cardboard, wood or hard plastic.

In both utility and carpet knives, the blades are replaceable. However some utility knives use snap-off blades, so when the edge is blunt you can simply snap along a pre-scored line and extend the new edge. 

What are the Similarities Between Carpet Knives and Utility Knives?

While this article is mainly about the differences between carpet and utility knives, there are plenty of ways in which they are similar. 

  • Both utility knives and carpet knives have retractable blades 
  • They fit neatly in the palm with an ergonomic design
  • The blades can be replaced easily
  • They are good all-around tools that are easy to use.

Check out our blog on using a carpet-cutting knife for tips and tricks of the trade.

Best Carpet Knives

At ReNew Flooring Tools, we stock a wide range of carpet trimming blades and carpet knife holsters. Carpet knives that we recommend to flooring fitters include:

Janser Dolphin Carpet Knife

The Janser Dolphin Knife is among the most used in the flooring trade. Its contoured body is comfortable to grip and use. It has a blade retraction wheel and a storage compartment inside the handle for spare Janser blades, so you’re never caught out.

Janser Dolphin Knives are available in a wide range of colours and are supplied with the Dolphin Knife Holster in most cases.

Crain 726 Pivoting Knife

The Crain 726 Pivoting knife has an angled handle, making it easy to hold the knife parallel to the floor and get a smooth cut through the toughest carpet backing. With square blades, this knife helps you avoid scratching hardwood floors.

The Crain Pivoting knife is easy to open even without a screwdriver, as it has a thumb screw that folds down. The knife pivots open along a central seam, allowing fast and easy storage of blades. 

Wolff Knife

Wolff Tools is a well-known brand among floor fitters. These trimming handles are designed to be more durable than others as they do not wear at the base of the blade mount, a common problem with many blades. This Wolff Trimming Handle comes with a highly visible, bright green plastic holster, and has room for internal blade storage so you can always keep spare Wolff blades to hand.

Crain Hook Handle Utility Knife

The Crain Hook Handle Knife has a contoured body with a wide grip and a hook at the rear, allowing leverage of the little finger when pulling through tough materials. The handle can be pivoted and opened using the drop screw, and there is space inside to store spare blades. 

Carpet Knives and Utility Knives at ReNew Flooring Tools

Supplying carpet and flooring tools for the industry across the UK, ReNew Flooring Tools have a wide range of knives, carpet trimmers and blades ready to order from our online shop. With plenty of colour options and top blade brands, it’s worth browsing our range to find something that works for you. We also stock adhesive spreaders, rollers, floor strippers, tile cutters and more.