How Long Do Box Cutters Last?

Box cutters are just like other tools, in that they do not last forever. But how long do they last? Find out in this post.

Box Cutters Longevity

Box cutters are rugged cutting tools that can last a long time. In fact, box cutter blades can last for years under the right conditions.

In order for box cutters to last and remain effective, they must be stored in a safe place. This means that box cutter blades should not be left open or exposed to the elements, as it will cause them to rust and dull more quickly.

Many factors affect box cutter longevity. These factors include:

  • The blade material (either steel or ceramic).
  • How the box cutter is cleaned and how often.
  • Where a box cutter is stored.
  • The humidity level in the air.
  • Dropping it from heights.
  • Driving over it in a car, truck, forklift, etc.

In general, keeping a box cutter clean will increase its life longer than if you do not sanitize it after each use. Grime can have moisture in it which can contribute to rust.

How Long Do Box Cutter Blades Last?

The longevity of box cutter blades depends on the hardness of the material being cut, how much pressure is applied, and the type of material the blade is made of.

Box Cutters Orange Handle

Stainless Steel Box Cutters Blades Longevity

Stainless steel box cutter blades can last a long time. The more they are used, the more likely they will break or chip over time. Stainless steel can easily rust, so make sure to keep them dry and apply a drop of lubrcating oil to them from time to time.

Steel is made of iron and will crumble to bits when rusted or corroded over time. Stainless steel is made from iron mixed with nickel and chromium. The amount of chromium in the steel greatly affects its ability to withstand rust. The more the chromium, the less likely the entire steel blade will rust. Instead it will form a protective layer over the steel by forming a thin layer of rust only on the surface.

This is why box cutters are made of stainless steel, and not ordinary steel.

Ceramic Box Cutters Blades Longevity

Ceramic box cutter blades are much stronger than stainless steel in certain ways. They also do not rust.

However, if they are dropped they can chip because the ceramaic material can be fragile. Overall, ceramic blades are often advertised as lasting several times longer than stainless steel blades.

Box Cutters Lifespan

Box cutters can have a suprisingly long lifespan. In fact it might be more likely a person loses their box cutters before breaking them. They are simple but effective tools for cutting open boxes, bags of chips, plastic wrap and the like.

A box cutter’s main failing is that it can often cut through too much or be unable to slice through whatever it was intended to cut. It typically will not fail until its user has already exerted some effort into trying to pry their blade back out.

Most box cutters are simply misplaced long before they break.

Do Box Cutters Rust?

Yes, metal box cutters rust. Stainless steel box cutter blades and casing will rust when exposed to moisture over time.

However, plastic box cutter handles, with ceramic blades will not rust, except of they have metal parts within them. Adding general purpose lubricant or oil to the box cutter blade will help prevent rust from forming.

Box Cutters And Rust

What causes rust on box cutters?

Rust forms due to water and oxygen coming in contact with the metal. This creates a natural chemical reaction.

If you live near the ocean, the salty moisture in the air will speed up the corrosion process. This is the same reason why large metal bridges near the ocean need to be painted continuously.

Stainless steel box cutters will rust, while plastic and ceramic ones will not. The paint on the box cutter handle will help prevent rust from affecting the metal, but over time the paint will chip off.

Box Cutters Life Expectancy

The life expectancy of a box cutter depends on how its cared for, if it breaks or rusts, and how often it is used. Eventually, all tools and knives will wear out.

It also depends on how cheaply made the box cutter is. Box cutters have moving parts, and these tend to wear out with use, unlike quality made kitchen knifes. The retractable mechanism can break.

The blade is likely to break or wear out far sooner than the box cutter itself.

A metal box cutter can last only a day or an entire lifetime. A defective box cutter will not last long at all. Sturdier, higher quality box cutters will last a lot longer.

How To Break Box Cutters?

Box cutters can definately break. Certain types of box cutters are more susceptible to breaking than others. A key point of breakage are the seams between the two handles that can split. Also, plastic box cutters are not as strong as larger, metal versions.

Dropping Box Cutters

Dropping box cutters should not harm them too much. They are made to be tough. Dropping them while the blade is extended could break it. If that happens, the blade can be replaced, or extended for a new segment.

Many workers use box cutters while standing on ladders or elevated platforms. This means the box cutters can fall from great heights by accident (6+ feet). Box cutters can also fall out of a toolbelt.

Driving Over Box Cutters In A Car


Driving over just about anything will break it. Driving over a box cutter will make it dull and rusty, not to mention flat. The average car weighs ~4000 lbs. which puts a tremendous amount pressure on whatever it is driving over.

Driving over a box cutter with a car…

Driving Over Box Cutters In A Forklift

Since box cutters are tools easily carried on a person, in their pocket or toolbelt, they can easily fall out onto the ground. If there are forklifts around, they can drive over the box cutter. This

Forklift wheels are made of ? They weigh each? A forklift weighs?

A box cutter is hollow and made of stainless steel. At the very least a box cutter will be damaged by a forklift driving over it.

Breaking Off The Box Cutter Blade Tip

Box cutter blades are thick and strong, but they can break, especially the tip. If the blade tip breaks off, you can usually continue using the blade if you are careful. Just be sure to keep the broken end pointed away from you and other people. If the blade is really broken off, or if the blade has a dull edge, it’s time to replace the blade.

Trying to Dig The Blade Into Hard Materials

Digging the tip into wood trying to guauge out a hole will cause it to break off. This can be tempting, especially when trying to get a job done quickly and the box cutter is already in your hand.

It is better to stand back and use a proper drill than to try and cut a hole out of hard material with a box cutter.

Ruined Box Cutters – What To Do With Them?

Yes, box cutters can be ruined, regardless of how tough they seem. There are many ways for this to happen, whether through misuse of the box cutters, or if they’re used on some massive surface that can cause irreparable damage. Other times, they’re simply made poorly and will always be ruined.

Broken Box Cutter Handles

The handles of box cutters are usually made out of metal or hard plastic. Plastic handles will break sooner than metal ones.

What To Do With Ruined Box Cutters?

Ruined box cutters but it might just be worth buying a new one. They are not expensive and can be easily found at a number of different stores.

So, you can try to fix them, thrown them away, or recycle them.

Where Can You Buy Box Cutters?

Box cutters can be found at many physical retail and online stores, including:

  • Walmart
  • Target
  • Home Depot
  • Walmart
  • Graingers

In Closing

Box cutters are rugged and long lasting cutting tool when treated well. However, they may not last a long time. Regardless of how long they function, it is more important to keep safey in mind when using them because they have a very sharp blade.

Did you find this useful? If yes please share!
Nick Klamecki, Author
About Nick Klamecki, Author

Nick Klamecki is a certified Fire and Workplace Safety expert with 15 years experience in product research and testing. He has a degree from U.C. Davis, is an active outdoorsman and spent years ensuring the safety of special needs children. Nick researches and tests workplace, industrial and safety products and provides advice on their safe use. Learn more about Nick here or connect with him on LinkedIn | Medium