Whether you’re getting started as a model builder, or need to replace a long-serving tool, it’s important to have a quality hobby knife in your toolkit. Clippers are ideal for getting miniatures off the sprue, and files can clean up plenty of imperfections, but nothing is quite as versatile as a hobby knife. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best options available for you to consider.
If you’re a modeller who loves painting miniatures, we have other guides covering the best paints for miniatures, the best miniature paintbrushes, as well as the different options for contrast paints on the market.
These are the best hobby knives:
- Excel Light Duty Knife – the best budget hobby knife
- Tamiya Modeler’s Knife Pro – the best all round hobby knife
- WINONS hot knife cutting tool – best for rapid plastic cutting
- No. 11 X-Acto knife blades – the best general hobby knife blades
Excel Light Duty Knife
The best budget hobby knife
The Excel Light Duty Knife has a lightweight aluminum body which is textured for better grip. It includes five no.11 blades and a plastic safety cap. For general hobby use this is all you need, and while it’s not fancy, it’s durable.
Tamiya Modeler’s Knife Pro
The best all round hobby knife
The Tamiya Modeler’s Knife Pro doesn’t cost the earth, but it has a number of quality of life features that we can recommend. This knife’s elastomer grip is more comfortable to hold than bare metal, and Tamiya’s production standards are extremely high. The knife comes with three straight blades, two curved blades (suitable for working on soft materials), and two chisel blades.
WINONS hot knife cutting tool
Best for rapid plastic cutting
Cutting neatly through sheet plastic is difficult, as it requires multiple cuts tracing exactly the same path. WINONS hot knife cutting tool aims to speed that process up by heating the blade, so that the cutting action is assisted by thermal energy which splits the chemical bonds in the plastic. Some clean-up is still needed as the heat will create burrs of melted plastic, but you’ll need to make fewer cuts.
No. 11 X-Acto knife blades
The best general hobby knife blades
A No. 11 X-Acto blade is suitable for most modelling activities. It’s a straight edged blade with a triangular body. It offers a good balance of precision and strength, making it suitable for cleaning up mold lines, removing imperfections left after clipping a model from a sprue, and cutting through moderately thick plastic.
Its neck is narrow enough that it will fit into all standard hobby knife bodies, though this does mean it is not strong enough for heavy duty work – for that, consider the larger no. 11-M, or the jumbo no.2, which will require a slightly larger hobby knife.
Always store hobby knives safely out of reach of children. Replace blades as soon as they start to dull; you’ll get worse results, and will be at greater risk of accidents from a dull blade.