Studio Neat’s Keen: The World’s Best Box Cutter

New from the dynamic duo at Studio Neat: Keen, a $95 box cutter.

Yes, a box cutter/utility knife that costs about $100. A $100 tool to replace the sort of disposable thing that costs like a $1 a pop. Until about a year ago, those disposable plastic jobbies were what I used, and I kept losing them. About a year ago, after losing track of the last one in my office, it occurred to me that I lose them because I don’t care about them. I already owned a nice keychain-sized pocket knife from The James Brand, which I love, so I bought the Palmer, their $59 box cutter. 11 months later and I haven’t misplaced it once. And I’m happier for owning it: it’s way nicer to use than any disposable I’ve ever had.

A few weeks ago, though, my pals at Studio Neat sent me a pre-production Keen. I prefer it to the Palmer in every single regard. First, it’s thinner and smaller, but in no way too small. Second, it’s easier to change the blade. But most importantly, the Keen offers a completely original design for opening and closing the blade: a spring-loaded slider. It’s so different from any box cutter design I’ve ever seen that I wondered if I’d even like it at all, let alone prefer it, because it does not lock into place. Turns out though I much prefer it. It feels both more convenient and safer, because it’s impossible to leave the blade extended while you aren’t holding it. And when released, it springs back so quickly that if you drop it, the blade will retract by the time it lands.

Pens are so cheap you can get them free at most bank counters, but many people who care spend more to get a really nice one. (Studio Neat, in fact, has you covered there as well, if you’re interested, with their Mark One and Mark Two. Me personally, I remain devoted to the $1.75 Zebra Sarasa.) A box cutter is no different. Given how many packages I receive each and every week of the year, it’s one of my most-used tools. So why not buy the best? The Kickstarter is already fully-funded, but the eventual retail price will be around $25 higher than the Kickstarter price.

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Tuesday, 5 September 2023