The Cutting Edge

The official blog of Knife Depot

Knife Myths: Dull Knives Are Safer Than Sharp Knives

It seems so obvious. A sharp knife, with its keen edges and stabby points, is much more dangerous than a dull knife. Right?


One of the biggest myths out there is that dull knives are safer than sharp knives. Even on some of the popular blade forums people can’t fathom the idea that a sharp knife is safer than a dull knife.

So we’re here to tackle the myth in all its glory.

Fact: Dull Knives Lead to More Mistakes

So how exactly is a dull knife more dangerous than a sharp one? To start with, the main reason why a dull knife is more dangerous is that it requires the wielder to use significantly more force when cutting than a sharp knife.

For example, if you’re cutting an apple and the blade is really dull, it will need more pressure to get through the apple. Once it’s through the apple, there’s a greater chance for the pressure to lead to slippage or a lack of control.

A sharper knife uses edge geometry to make a cut while a dull knife uses force. A sharp knife will often glide through materials without much effort. A dull knife, on the other hand, is clumsier and less user-friendly.

On top of that, using a dull knife can teach bad habits.

Proper knife technique is learned through repetition. However, things can go awry when you repeatedly practice knife etiquette with a dull knife. You may be using a knife the right way to cut some cardboard but then you need extra pressure with a dull knife. But when use a sharp knife, you apply that same amount of force and cut yourself.

Fact: Cuts From Sharp Knives Heal Faster

Yes, yes, but what about those times when you accidentally cut yourself with a sharp knife? The wound is usually much worse than a dull knife, you might argue.

The truth is that cuts from sharper knives can actually heal faster than those from dull knives. Here’s the logic from someone with no medical expertise: A dull knife leaves a wider and more jagged cut in the skin. The wider the cut, the more time it takes the skin and tissue to repair. On the other hand, even though a sharper knife may cut deeper, the cut is usually nice and thin.

I cut myself on a razor-sharp Swiss Army Knife blade the other day doing something absolutely stupid. The cut was deep and there was a lot of blood. But just a few days later, that cut was nearly 100 percent healed. I can’t say the same thing would have happened had the blade been dull.

Although accidents do happen, the safety of a knife really depends on the person using it and not the blade. But if you’re trying to minimize injury, remember that proper technique is important and a sharp knife is a safe knife.


  1. Timothy K. Toroian

    September 18, 2018 at 10:03 am

    The worst cut I had was from a dull knife. I was cutting cardboard, the knife hit a hard spot, popped out of the cut and right across my knee cap, deep enough I could see white.

    • That white was body fat

    • I’m 15 and back in June I was trying to loosen a knot in a rope and I was using just a $10 pocket knife with a blade that had the sharp part then it went up and extended out. I carefully wiggled the blade through the knot and tried turning the knife but wasn’t paying attention to where my fingers were at. My thumb accidentally hit the blade lock and the blade swung around and cut my middle finger half off in the middle where the knuckle is with a wide gash so it rained blood and I could see the bone off my finger. Well, decided to try to let it heal itself and wore a bandaid for 2 weeks and boy it hurt bad. 3 months later there’s a scar and a little bit of swelling and it’s sensitive to getting hit but I can move it just fine. Be careful out there! 👍🏻

    • You’re a Dumb Ass

  2. If a person is using an expensive knife, DO NOT cut cardboard as it can and usually does heat the blade very hot! This can damage the heat treating (tempering ) of the blade especially if done often. Now, Want is expensive? My answer would be, how much money do you have to throw away? In this knife makers thinking, I would purchase a folding utility knife that blades can be easily replaced. They were made for such. Can be found at hardware stores and places such as Home Depot.

  3. In my 74 years of experience, I have had far more serious injuries from sharp knives than dull knives. They cut quickly and deeply. I only use sharp knives now because they do cut more efficiently, and it is for that reason they are more dangerous in my opinion.

    • I agree.

    • Finally, a plausible answer. I try to keep our knives relatively sharp, but for our purposes here at home a razor sharp knife can be a dangerous tool indeed.

    • Raul E Gonzalez

      January 18, 2022 at 7:33 am

      Accidents are more likely to occur with dull knives. I base this on my several years experience in the meat packing industry and as a machinist for several decades. As a meatpacker I worked as a ham boner. This is a job either removing the bone from a shank of ham or trimming the fat from the same. We worked fast on a production line. The sharp knife cuts easier and cleanly. The dull knife is a danger and takes much more effort. The sharp knife is easy to control while the dull blade requires more force to move through the meat and slippage can occur more easily, endangering you and the man or woman next to you. The dull tool also leads to more repetitive motion injuries. Those who work with meat (poultry, beef, fish, pork, etc.) keep their blades sharp, it is a necessity for health and safety. The sharp tool cuts. The dull tool rips and tears.

    • Thanks Micheal…..I have taken note of who has cut themselves with knives over the last 10 years and am still waiting for someone to cut themselves with a dull knife…all have been with sharp knives

    • I have used all kinds and types of knives for all kinds of purposes (ie: woodworking, electrical, plastic fabrication, even metal work).
      Over my some odd 50 years experience I have used wickedly sharp knives and knives that were less than sharp. Firstly, I never ever wanted to cut myself Meaning, when I did, it was unpredicted. An accident. I slipped and a blade hit me unintentionally. This I will say. When ever I was cut, IT WAS WITH A SHARP KNIFE! I have been hit with dull knives and thanked luck it was less sharp. I have been hit with a sharp knife and bled many times and everytime I go “Yeah, bullshit. Sharp knives are safer.” I would also say, don’t use a knife that is TOO DULL in the first place, at all.

    • Having just come out of surgery following a bad accident with a sharp knife, I agree completely. I was trying to remove an avocado using the (very stupid) technique of using a knife, demonstrated by many chefs. The knife was brand new, insanely sharp and a bit shorter than my regular knife. It went straight through the seed, then right through my middle finger, severing an artery, a nerve and two tendons. Luckily I had a brilliant surgeon and all have been reattached. There is no need to use a knife to remove seeds and also no need to use a very sharp knife to cut things like fruit, mushrooms etc., yet many people keep all of their knives very sharp, when in many cases it just increases the risk of serious injury. I heard some absolute horror stories in hospital. In one of the worst, some fool sharpened the knives in the meal room at work. A poor woman went to cut a mango, sliced the tendons in four fingers and will never have full use of her hand again. I can understand using a very sharp knife (carefully) makes sense for some things (cutting meat, jointing a chicken etc.) but when they aren’t needed (most cooking tasks, and I cook every day) it’s just an unnecessary risk. I’ve lost count of the cuts I’ve had from my sharp knives and never had one from the utility knives I use for everyday tasks and never sharpen.

  4. The purpose of a knife is to cut, a dull knife makes it difficult for the knife to serve its intended purpose, kind of like using a dull chain saw to try to cut down a tree. Maybe you should just be more careful when using a knife.

  5. I have been sharpening my own knives for more than 40 years. The other day I stayed late at the high school where I work and sharpened about 6 dozen knives for the culinary arts classes. The last time I sharpened them was in the before times, so most of them really needed the attention. Can’t be teaching kids knife skills when the tools are not sharp.

  6. A knife is made for cutting…all mine are very sharp. Less accidents with a sharp knife …
    If not , get a chisel.

  7. Does cutting yourself with a dull knife leave you more prone to infection because of the jagged shaped and healing slower?

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