Co.Design

Wanted: A Safer Box Cutter, No Matter How You Slice It

With a ceramic blade and ergonomic handle, this tool is a cut above the rest.

Box cutters are indispensable to countless retail employees, and yet they’re dangerously sharp, difficult to grip, and have barely a safety feature, unless you count the retracting function. We hereby bring you a revolution in box cutting (yes, seriously): a tool that not only is more ergonomic (it has a protective wraparound handle) but safer—it’s the first of its kind to use a ceramic blade, which is safe to touch when idle.

Designed by West Coasters Scot Herbst and Alfredo Muccino for Slice, the box cutter sports a unique handle (the result of dozens of user studies), which wraps around the knuckles to protect the hand from cuts and lacerations from sharp edges or fragments such as staples. The curved handle also doubles as a hook for hanging on one’s pocket, as opposed to sticking the thing inside a pocket, where, Herbst tells Co.Design, "most accidents occur, as the blade can mistakenly still be out . . . ouch!"

The bulk of the innovation resides in the ceramic blade, which is ten times sharper than steel and therefore holds its edge much longer, which cuts down on the number of blade changes—another opportunity for accidents. And the blade’s nano-molecular structure allows it to be incredibly effective when running across a surface but dull to the touch when still. The patented design has rounded edges, as Herbst says, he "found absolutely no benefit to the ‘knifelike’ sharp ends on a traditional steel box-cutter blade." The product has been picked up by both the MoMA Design Store and Home Depot. "If that’s not a testament to the versatility of this little guy," the designer says, "I don’t know what is."

Herbst and Muccino donated their design services to Slice, which dedicates at least 1% of sales to autism research, and were rewarded with a 2011 Red Dot. The box cutter is available for $19.99 here.

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5 Comments

  • Thomas Szigeti

    How is that safer than the swift safety box cutter? Where the blade is encased, ie: impossible to touch... just google it. and see the design...

  • Thomas the Swift Safety Box Cutter is great for certain applications such as removing pallet banding and pallet wrap. It uses a common hook-design plus recessed blade - a design that's been around for decades. It cannot be used for the endless applications that require an exposed blade. There are millions of factories all over the world, making tens of millions of different products where this "hook design" won't work for their application. I'm always amazed when I visit customer factory locations at all the unique "cutting" applications that are out there that require so many different types of handles (and blades) to get the job done. Part of the reason our product is safer vs. a traditional box cutter is the Slice ceramic blade - it's much safer to the touch vs. a traditional metal blade. You can see a video of it in action at https://youtu.be/qAjymTW-haQ and of course on our website at http://www.sliceproducts.com/product/auto-retractable-box-cutter