Review By Dean Bielanowski Stanley Website -

Stanley 10-788 Utility Knife

Stanley 10-788 Quick Change Utility Knife


Reviewed 5th June

A good and reliable utility knife is a must-have item in any household in my personal opinion. It is also an essential tool for the tradesperson or DIY enthusiast. Ensuring you own a quality version will help prevent accidents and deliver reliable service and great results in every day use.

The Stanley 10-788 Quick Change Utility Knife is a tool I have owned and used for about 5 years now. The model has gone through some small design changes, nearly all cosmetic over the years, so the model available now may not exactly match the one you see here, but the major features, shape and components are all essentially the same across the models.

Stanley 10-788 Features:

The 10-788 features a mostly metal body which gives the knife good weight and that feel of quality. Having a heavy tool may not seem beneficial at first, but for a utility knife, it certainly helps as you need to apply a little less force during cutting and scoring actions and when you are working with razor sharp blades that this knife uses, forcing a cut is not a good idea with a sharp blade that close to your hand and fingers.

The total tool length is 6.5 inches. The tool accepts standard blades with the twin central U-notch design in the top of the blade. It can accept standard flat blades as well as hook blades too. In the hand, the Stanley 10-788 is very comfortable and feels solid. There is a little rubber finger/thumb stop grip on the top of the tool closer to the cutting tip. Resting a thumb or forefinger on this grip stop spot provides added security and comfort when using the tool.

It features a tool-less quick blade change design. This design seems to have been the bane of some users. Looking at various reviews, there are a lot of 1-star ratings from owners. Almost all of these ratings are due to the user not being able to easily change blades. I feel this is rather unfair on the tool. The instructions, granted, are not that good. Stanley could do much better in this regard. Do take a look at my video further down this page for instruction on how to change the blades. Once you sort this out, there are few other problems.

Basically, to change a blade, you have to push the blade extension/retraction knob fully forward, even past the first solid indent so it can go no further forward in the slot. Once this is done, you need to press in and hold in the little yellow button (on some 10-788 variations, this may be black). With that pushed and held in, carefully extract the blade from the tool. It should slide out relatively easily. To reinsert, keep that yellow button pushed in and slide in the new blade (or reverse the existing one to use the other side). When you think you have the blade correctly inserted far enough into the tool, release the yellow button and carefully slide the blade in and out until you feel it look into those notches in the top of the blade. When it feels secure, and you can;t pullt he blade back out (with the button released), the blade should now be secure, and you can retract it back into the tool casing. Remember that if you have fully retracted the mechanism into the back (rear position) and you still have blade exposed at the tip of the tool, you have the blade locked in the rear notch of the blade, and need to further insert the blade so it is locked into the front notch on top of the blade, and hence the blade is fully retracted inside the tool body. This is important as when the tool is not being used, you don't have to worry about injury or damage to yourself or materials when the knife is not being used.

Another great feature of the Stanley 10-788 is the onboard spare blade storage. There is a button latch on the top rear-end of the handle. Push this fully down while grabbing the black part of the handle on the underside of the knife. Pull this down and the handle releases to expose the spare blade holder inside. (Again, see the video below for further detail here). You can hold a good number of blades in the holder here - up to 10 according to Stanley. I am not sure if mine will hold 10 spares, but certainly 6 or 7 spares, which should be more than enough for any days work, bearing in mind that each blade is double-ended, so 6 blades is the equivalent of 12 fresh cutting edges/tips.

There is also a slot for cutting string and twine which can be used no matter where the blade is positioned. The slot is narrow enough so as to prevent a finger or nail from being cut by the blade.

Stanley 10-788 In Use

Utility Knives are very useful tools to have around. They have as many uses as a can of WD-40 it seems. Obviously they are great at cutting things, but don;t try to cut a tree down with it. It can be used as a marking and scribing tool that gives far more accuracy than a carpenter's pencil or marker. It can be used to remove some forms of caulking and silicone from around tiles, windows and frames.

Utility knives cut paper and cardboard easily (often these tools are also called "Boxcutters", although this model is quite a posh/exotic one compared to other cheaper boxcutting knives).

They are great to quickly slicing into those almost unbreakable plastic moulded packaging that almost everything small seems to ship in these days.

They are great for scoring edges before cutting with saws or blades to prevent chipping, splintering or furring of cut edges, particularly with wood that tends ot be prone to these problems when cut. The Utility knife is also handy for scoring plasterboard along lines before snapping to size.

The in-built string/twine cutting slot is very useful when you are out in the garden, out camping, or on the jobsite to quickly cut string or twine more safely than using the fully exposed blade in a normal cutting action.

And of course, there are many other uses that are common, and just as many not so common uses for this tool. Perhaps if you have a really great, safe use for a utility knife such as this, send me an email and we can start a bit of a list here on this page!


Please, please, please take any negative reviews you read about this tool with a grain of salt, especially if the written review rates the tool low due to blade change issues. There is definitely a special little trick to changing the blades, and once you figure that out, it is not hard at all. These reviews are unfairly lowering the overall rating of this knife, which really deserves better. The main point I am trying to get across here, is that I recommend spending a little bit extra to buy a heavier-duty utility knife such as the Stanley 10-788. There are thousands of utility knife models on the market, some you can get just for a dollar or two. Try to avoid any plastic-body knives, or any that have flimsy blade retraction mechanisms. These tools are cheap for a reason. Their quality is lacking, and many are likely to be much less safer to use than a higher-end knife. Spend the little extra, and it will certainly pay off in the long run.

Given that when I first purchased this knife, I paid around $15-$16, and now you can get this nice Stanely Utility Knife for less than $9, it is a no-brainer in my opinion. Grab yourself one and I am confident that you will enjoy this knife, and maybe be throwing out those $2 cheapies soon after!

Note that I have always used standard steel blades with the Stanley 10-788. You can also now get Carbide blades for these knives, and these are claimed to be longer lasting and to hold their edge better. I can't comment on this myself, but you might want to grab some yourself as extras and give them a go. If you do, and you find them to be superior (factoring in any extra cost for these blades) then let me know. I'd love to hear your opinion!

For those having trouble changing the blades on the Stanley 10-788 Utility Knife, here is a quick HD video that shows you exactly how to properly perform the task.

The Stanley 10-788 Quick Change Utility Knife Can Be Purchased Below
And don't forget to grab some extra blades too... You can go through them quick, but they are cheap enough if you buy in bulk to not be a major cost concern for the time you will save using a sharp edge.