12 Best Letter Openers for 2020 – Reviews and Buying Guide
When Bob joined high school, his mother got married to a man who turned out to be a little abusive, often making Bob run errands for him during the evenings, thus denying him time to study. But something good would be born out of it.
You see, Bob’s step-father owned a small courier services company with operations in Jacksonville, Oregon, which also happened to be the family’s hometown.
So, after school and during the weekends, Bob would join his new father in delivering letters around the little town.
As a person of an amiable spirit, the boy quickly bonded with the clients, most of whom were elderly. Often times, his clients would ask him to open and read the letters for them. When he was starting out, he would use his hands to tear the envelope, a process which took time and sometimes resulted in inadvertently mauled contents. One day, Mrs. Madison, a client who liked him intensely, introduced him to the letter opener.
Mrs. Madison, now late, gave Bob a gift he wouldn’t forget and which he uses to this day – a small D-shaped gadget with a blade on the inside. With it, he opens letters in a flash and leaves a clean cut, never reaping the letter inside.
When Bob finished high school, he dedicated more time to the small company and managed to expand it tremendously. Though he’s the CEO and the biggest shareholder over there, he still finds time to deliver letters to his old clients in Jacksonville. They love the way he opens those envelopes so quickly and neatly.
Now, whether you’re a freelancer, a homeowner, a business owner, an employee in an office somewhere, or just a student, the best letter opener will be a great addition to your collection of stationery.
Read on to discover the top models and brands and find out how to use this incredible tool.
Need a quick decision? Here's my Top 5 Letter Openers picks:
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
What Is a Letter Opener?
Sometimes referred to as the paper knife, the letter opener is a tool used to cut paper folds. Some letter openers have a sharp blade while some have a dull blade.
These tools are made from materials like wood, plastic, ivory, or metals like stainless steel and pewter. Some varieties feature the design of a plastic handle with a retractable blade on the inside.
An eclectic mix of sizes and shapes is available for these devices, and while some are suited for office use, others fit home use.
If you normally open enveloped documents like letters, you probably know how frustrating it can be to use just your hands.
It’s not uncommon to end up mauling the document inside in the process of trying to open the envelope with your fingers. Not to mention the time wasted and the mess created by the ripped paper sleeves.
A letter opener comes in handy not only for speed but also organization. It transforms an otherwise mundane task into a fun task and increases your letter opening efficiency tremendously.
The tool is also very helpful for decluttering your space in that well-cut paper looks less messy than paper that is cut chaotically. You also feel more motivated to clean up afterward if there’s less mess.
And you know what? The best models, such as the ones covered in the reviews below, feature awesome, elegant designs and look good on a work table.
Let’s dive in and have a closer look.
Our Top 12 Best Letter Openers Reviews
1. MY DESK Letter Opener
The first item on the list is for those of you with a tight budget. This pack, which goes for just around 6 bucks, comes with four pieces. That means less than 1.5 dollars for each!
Yes, cheap is expensive, but that’s not the rule at play here. Great value is the real reason why this product is at the top of our list. Allow us to show you how.
When you’re out shopping for a letter opener, you have the option either getting a straight blade or the recessed-blade kind like the MY DESK Letter Opener. Both types are great, but while the former type delivers a cleaner cut, the latter happens to be faster.
Thus, if you’re looking for speed, then MY DESK’s little gadget fits you perfectly.
The opener has a sharp blade on the inside that is thin and very sharp, so it grips the surface well and cuts smoothly and seamlessly, delivering a neat cut swiftly.
The blade is made of plastic but not to worry; it’s really durable plastic. Besides, unlike metal, plastic doesn’t rust. The case is also made of plastic (hard plastic) that lasts.
And, it’s got a great design with black paint and a nice “My DESK” signature on it.
There’s a little hole at the handle, which you can use to hang the tool. Some people run a thin string through it and tie the cutter to the trash can so that they can open letters from there and leave the envelope in the can. Works great!
Our only concern with this model is that the space where the blade sits is a little wide, so you want to be careful not to cut your finger. And thus, it’s a bad idea to give this to a child as they could cut themselves.
2. Ram-Pro 3pc Letter Opener
Do you love colorful items? We recommend you get the Ram-Pro 3pc Letter Opener Set. It comes with three cutters, colored yellow, red, and light gray.
This set also offers you great value for the money, as you get three pieces for just around 6 dollars.
What of the quality? You ask. It’s excellent! Unlike most cheap openers, which have a blade made from scrap metal, this opener’s blade is made of high-quality stainless steel. The blade cuts efficiently and cleanly.
And because it is stainless steel, you don’t need to worry about rusting or easy damage. The tool is pretty sturdy, lasting years.
Some envelope openers have a thin blade that bends easily especially when used to cut thick paper, and that can be a pretty frustrating situation.
Though the Ram-Pro cutter’s blade is also thin, it’s very firm and doesn’t bend when cutting different types of paper. That’s very beneficial if you’re dealing with a large number of letters and want to complete your task quickly.
Because of the blade’s strength, the opener is quite versatile, and you can use it to open a variety of packages, including cracker wrappers and even bags of fries.
The positioning of the blade cannot be termed totally safe, but at least it’s concealed enough to offer some protection. Unless you’re totally unscrupulous while dealing with it, you’ll never hurt yourself with it.
But, we highly advise against giving it to kids. Their little fingers can reach in there and get cut.
3. Westcott Rosewood Handle Letter Opener
Now, this design is different from the previous ones. It features a slim and straight blunt blade and a slim wooden handle. The length of the item is roughly 9 inches.
The thing we liked most about this is the aesthetics. The blade is stainless steel, and the handle is quality wood, and the design looks just perfect. If you have a wooden work bench, it will most definitely look great lying there.
There’s only one item in the 5-dollar pack, and that’s a fair price considering the quality involved.
The blade comes rather dull, and you can use it as it is though you should know that the the dull blade will slow you down. If you’re looking to move faster, then you can go ahead and sharp it with a whetstone or any other blade-sharpening device you have.
We bet you will love the weight. Weighing in at just about 0.3 ounces, the object is lightweight and easy to handle. Moreover, the long handle provides you with enough gripping surface to ensure you’re as comfortable as you’d want.
And what of the longevity? As mentioned before, the blade is made of stainless steel, which we all can agree is a robust material. Many users of this product have reported to us that the Rosewood used here is sturdy and doesn’t wear down.
From our studies, it’s quite clear that the opener is good-looking, easy to use, and durable.
4. Presto Letter Opener
Let us start by saying this is without a doubt, the best letter opener ever, and anyone will be thrilled they bought it.
Similar to the first two, this one has a recessed blade, but while those go for around 6 bucks, this one is 10-buck. Don’t be first to skip it; it’s a worth every penny.
Apart from our independent research, we went through other online reviews, including those on Amazon and noted that this is one of the most loved items of its kind on the market. Almost everybody talks about how useful and flawless this tool is.
One of the exceptional features of the Presto Letter Opener is that of safety. While other openers have a wide gap under the blade, this one has a very narrow gap there, making it super safe.
There’s just no way you’re going to insert your fingers in there and cut yourself. The gap is too narrow even for kids, so if you’re looking for a kid-safe letter opener to gift your child, this one would be a good pick.
The pack includes 5 blades, so each comes at an average price of 2 dollars. If you asked us, that’s pretty cheap for such high quality.
Best part? The stainless steel blade is super durable. It takes years of use or thousands of envelopes before going dull. And when the blade goes dull, you have four more openers to go.
The gadget’s design is also quite exciting. It looks like a credit card only with a carving at the lower part to accommodate the blade.
The handle is made of a plastic-like material that is hard and also durable, and it has nice round edges. The brand’s logo on the side looks quite classy.
5. Martin Yale 1624 Letter Opener
Maximum ease of use; that’s the crux behind the making of the Martin Yale 1624 Letter Opener. This is a powered cutter that opens envelopes extremely fast and saves you lots of effort.
The blades are completely enclosed in the machine, meaning, therefore, that safety is guaranteed. For that reason, the opener is safe for everyone, adults and kids alike.
This item weighs in at 4 ounces and the longest edge measures around 5 inches. We’d like to believe that’s compact for most people and if you have a drawer, the device will fit in there without any issues.
As said before, ease of operation is what this machine is about. We talked to one user, Mary, who had a paralyzed right hand and she told us how incredibly helpful the tool was to her.
You see, to use the manual opener, you need both hands. One hand will grab the envelope while the other feeds the opener through. But with the Martin Yale 1624, you just need one hand.
So, Mary said she’d use her left hand to operate the device and use her right elbow to keep the envelope in place. You’d have a pretty hard time using most openers that way, but this one makes the process a breeze.
The gadget smoothly zips off just around 3/32-inch from the edge, so you needn’t worry about the contents
Only complaint – the tool isn’t well suited for envelopes that have many pieces of paper inside. It jams and stops.
6. Paul Revere Nickel Plated Envelope Opener
The nickel-plated Paul Revere Opener is a beautiful, stylish opener and a perfect selection for someone who loves a touch of elegance and class.
This is a straight cutter with a blunt blade and a truly magnificent design; looks a bit like a tiny sword. It has a nice glossy nickel plating and a silver hue that is often compatible with a modern décor.
Holding the tool, you notice from the weight that it has to be made from high-quality materials. It’s relatively heavy (not too heavy to hinder ease of use), weighing in at around 3 ounces.
Because of the high-grade construction, the opener holds out very well, operating flawlessly for years on end.
The blade, as mentioned earlier, is blunt, making it safe for you. Using it, you have no worries about accidentally getting cut.
You might be wondering about the effectiveness of cutting now that the edges are dull. Well, the technology used in the manufacture of this product ensures that it cuts paper folds cleanly.
It’s not as fast as the sharp recessed-blade cutters, but it still works. Plus, it delivers an even cleaner cut than the recessed-blade cutters and seldom rips the paper.
Storage for this tool is a piece of cake as the tool is compact. It has a length of about 9 inches, and with a slim body, it can be stored in a drawer or left lying on the desk.
7. Cosmos Retractable Utility Knife (12-Pack)
Versatility, efficiency, and value for the money are the three words that excellently describe the Cosmos Retractable Utility Knife.
The pack comes with 12 pieces, and going for less than 6 bucks, we’re convinced this is the nicest deal for the budget-minded buyer.
First off, it features an innovative design, composed of a little box and a sharp blade on the inside. The blade is retractable, and there’s a small button on the side that you push with your finger to expose the blade. Pulling back the button hides the blade.
The best thing about this operation is that it takes little effort and as the button locks in place, the blade remains in place whether in the retracted or exposed position until you manually pull it back or forth with the button.
As said, the blade is pretty sharp, so it makes the cutting job extremely easy. You just insert it in the fold and feed it through. With such ease of use, you’re able to complete the job in seconds and can cut dozens in just a few minutes.
We have to mention, also, that the design of the boxes is cute. The boxes have different colors, like blue, white, and pink, and the overall form is awesome.
The dimensions of each box are also little, with the longest side measuring around 2.2 inches, and the weight is also miniature (just around 0.3 for each box).
The compact, lightweight nature is convenient not only for use but also storage.
Best part? It works for different materials including envelopes and plastic/tape wraps.
8. Natico Curve Letter Opener
The incredible design of this mail opener is the main reason why we embarked on a journey to find out what it’s about. Studying it closely, we realized the Natico Curve Letter Opener was packed with awesome features and decided we had to inform you about it.
First and foremost, the design is cool and highly apt for you if you have a keen eye for aesthetics and design. It’s an L-shaped stick with a cutting edge on one side.
It’s made of stainless steel, which is not only durable but also quite good-looking but it doesn’t end there. There’s a nice sterling silver finish all over that enhances the looks beautifully.
There’s a thin glossier strip going around on the side, and it makes the tool look the more elegant and cooler.
The entire tool has a length of around 8.5 inches, with the cutting edge measuring about 6 inches. That’s a good balance that provides you with enough space for holding and for cutting.
If you hold the implement, you will immediately feel the quality in the smoothness and weight. The smooth surface makes it comfortable for you to use the tool and the weight tells the story of quality. It weighs in at around 3.5 ounces, which is at just the right level.
Its longevity is another factor that makes this tool so appropriate and worth the price. You’ll use it for years and years without seeing any rust on it or dealing with a dwindling efficacy, and that’s because the materials used to make it are high-grade.
9. Universal UNV31803 Letter Opener
The Universal UNV31803 comes as 2 packs, each containing 3 pieces. So, that’s a total of 6 openers, currently going for 5 dollars. That’s less than a buck for each, and for the quality offered here, we have to say it’s an awesome deal.
Now, remember, prices often vary so if you wait, you might find a different price tag.
One of the advantages of this item is the card-like gripping surface; it’s adequately huge, giving you enough room for holding the tool. The surface is also smooth to give you some coziness when you’re at work.
Being made of high-quality plastic, the gripping surface holds up great. The blade is made of steel, which makes it long-lasting as well. We talked to one user who’d used this model for two years, using it every day, and she confirmed that the tool never let her down.
She’d used it every day for two years and it worked great and didn’t show signs of deterioration.
The blade is sharp, cutting through different thicknesses of paper fast and smoothly. If you have a bunch of mails to open, several minutes will be enough with this amazing cutter.
Being concealed, the blade keeps your fingers well protected from harm. The space at the blade is too small for most adults’ fingers but for little children, it’s big enough, and it could cause them harm. Therefore, we recommend you keep the tool from your kids.
10. Walking Dead Official Katana Envelope Opener
Hey, do you love the legend of the Samurai? Or do you love the Walking Dead book/Tv series? Or better yet, do you love the character Michonne and her Katana sword?
Well, you have a chance to get something precious that is associated with them. The Walking Dead Official Katana is a little replica of the Katana sword used by Michonne in the Walking Dead series and also by the legendary Samurai.
This little sword comes packaged beautifully in a leather and genuine ray skin handle and a mini stand.
The blade is dull to protect the user, and it measures 5 inches in length. The overall length of the sword is 7.5 inches.
Even though the blade is blunt, its cutting effectiveness is splendid. It delivers a smart, uniform cut and in the hands of an experienced user, it almost never rips the paper.
The blade is polished to a nice shiny finish, and it looks truly magnificent.
See the way Michonne opens the heads of zombies with her katana? That’s the ease with which you can cut folded paper with this little katana.
Master Cutlery, which is one of the largest makers and sellers of knives in the US, happens to the manufacturer of this great product. They make it with exceptional quality and even provide you with a certificate of authenticity.
Psst, this will make a perfect gift for your child.
11. Westcott All-Purpose Letter Opener
If you’re looking for a straight knife-style cutter with a sharp edge, then this is it. Unlike most of the knife-style cutters out there, which come with a dull edge, this one comes very sharp.
That, of course, makes it easy to get a nice, unfrayed cut but it reduces the safety. So, be careful while using it and keep it away from kids.
Due to the sharpness of the edge, the opener is also good for speed. This is the reason why the people that work in mail rooms prefer it over other models.
We bet you also want to hear about the longevity. The blade is made of stainless steel, making them firm and tough.
One user who works in a mail room told us that he’d used it for a year and the cutter held up very well. The blade gets dull with time, but as he said, that’s not really a problem because you can just sharpen it with a whetstone.
The handle is made of plastic, but even this holds up well.
Weighing in at just around 1.5 ounces, the cutter is lightweight enough to allow cozy use. The overall length is about 8.5 inches, and the grip is big enough so the user can hold the tool comfortably.
There are various colors for the handles, and that’s where the main complaint about this product lies. The seller doesn’t give you the liberty to choose your preferred handle color. It’s a minor problem considering the great quality of the implement, but we hope they rectify it soon.
12. US Office Supply Value Pack
Last on our list is the US Office Supply Value Pack. This set comes with 5 pieces and going for just about 4 bucks, it’s one of the cheapest best letter opener sets on the market.
The razor sharp nature of the blades makes the US Office Supply openers ideal for opening mail and packages. These concealed sharp blades slice through the paper smoothly and create a perfect cut without any fraying.
There’s a big space under at the site of the blade, and this creates a good entry point for the paper and makes it super easy to use the gadget. To cut, you just insert the paper into the space and glide the tool through the paper.
Being made of stainless steel, the blade is super strong and durable. It doesn’t bend easily or break; you can use it for years.
There are two little holes cut into the blade, and these can be used for tying the tool somewhere to keep it suspended. Some folks tie it to the recycle bin and cut the paper from there.
We mentioned that there’s a large opening at the site of the blade. While this is a boost for the ease of use, it isn’t very helpful for keeping your fingers safe.
Thus, use the opener meticulously and keep it away from children.
Things to Consider Before Buying a Letter Opener
Sellers are known to convince people to buy products, often without telling them why those products suit them. The truth is, every user has their own tastes and preferences and if they’re to get what suits them, they shouldn’t buy blindly but ought to scrutinize the features.
Here are a couple of considerations you should make when you’re out shopping for a letter opener if you want to get what fits you.
Size and weight
One of the attributes to look out for is the weight. The tool should be light enough to hold and use without spending too much elbow grease.
The weight shouldn’t be more than just a few ounces. 0.3 to 3 ounces is a good level.
Another closely related factor is the size, as it affects both the ease of use and storage. For the concealed blade cutters, a size bigger than a credit card is too bulky while for the straight blade cutters, a length more than 10 inches is too long.
There are two major designs – recessed blade openers with a card-like grip and a hidden blade and the exposed straight blade openers.
In most cases, the recessed-blade openers have a sharp blade while the exposed straight blade openers have a dull blade.
The sharp blades are easier and faster to use but apparently, the exposed straight blade openers, even with their dull edges, are more effective at making a straight even cut.
Some straight blade openers can be sharpened with a whetstone.
Note that there are both manual and electronic letter openers. The manual ones are more widespread in use than the electronics ones, which are more suitable for commercial purposes.
The material that the opener is made from will determine how long it lasts. Some openers have all their parts, including the handle and the blade made of plastic, and though these are cheap, they don’t hold up well.
If you want a truly long lasting opener, get one with a stainless steel blade and hard plastic or wooden handle.
Guideline for using a letter opener:
Using a paper opener transforms the mundane task of opening mails and packages into an exciting activity. There are different styles of letter openers, ranging from the hidden blade to the straight blade varieties. Some varieties look like royal swords or Samurai katanas to make things even more fun.
The way you’re going to use your opener depends on the specific type of opener you have, but the fundamental principle remains the same, and luckily, it is straightforward and effortless.
What Is The Best Letter Opener Brands on The Market?
If there’s one thing we’ve come to learn, it is that buying by brand is a safe tactic. There are countless models of products out there, and since most of don’t have the time to go checking the features of each, the best we can do is follow the patterns.
In other words, we can just buy from the reputed brands in the industry.
Now, in the letter openers industry, the following names almost never disappoint.
Westcott is a Connecticut brand that makes and sells cutting and measuring equipment.
Established in 1872 by Henry Westcott, the company has proven its exceptional ability to provide customers with great value and reliability.
For almost a century, Westcott was run by as a family company and was based in New York till it got sold to the Acme United Corporation in the 1960s. It is the new owners that transferred the headquarters to Connecticut.
A family owned company, Ram-Pro operates from New York with one great objective – to offer the best-quality car care and hardware hand tools ever, of course, while making a good profit.
The company sells its goods mainly on the internet from their website, but it also has a powerful presence on the top retail stores including Walmart and Amazon.
Shipping more than 40000 items per month, Ram-Pro is without a doubt one of the top sellers and a preferred brand among the consumers.
Founded in the 1940s, Martin Yale is known for these three things – engineering, design, and manufacturing.
So, for almost eighty years now, the company has been a global leader in providing office products for cuting, folding, and creasing.
Quality is what this brand is known for excellent service and value. They sell high-grade products that are reliable, durable, and that have a good warranty. The best part is, these products are offered for a great price.
Short form for the National Import Company, Natico was founded in 1947. The company’s aim was to create high-quality products like clocks and sell them in the US market.
The word “Originals”, which was incorporated into the company’s name, was adopted to denote the products that the company sells are unique and genuine.
For more than 70 years now, Natico Originals has been offering some of the highest-grade cutters at the most favorable prices.
AMC is a name we’re all familiar with. Besides providing us with some of the most amazing TV series in the world, the AMC offers us a diverse selection of products including cooking systems and cutting tools.
In the letter opening sector, the AMC is certainly one of the top brands, offering the customers openers that are not only great in quality but also reasonably priced.
Its Walking Dead Official Katana is a tiny model of the Samurai sword used by Michonne in the Walking Dead series to slice open the heads of zombies.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do letter openers work?
Letter opening tools work according to their style, though they use the same basic principle. You just insert the blade under the fold of the envelope and shove the tool across, all the way to the end.
Are letter opening tools sharp?
The recessed-blade type is predominantly sharp while the straight-blade kind is mostly blunt. Some blunt openers are, however, sharpenable.
Is paper knife the same as letter opener?
Yes, some people call paper openers paper knives. Paper knife, is, however, a term that was used more in the past.
What things should I consider when looking for a letter opener?
You got to think about the material. If maximum durability is what you’re looking for, go for something with a stainless steel blade and hard plastic or wooden handle as it will hold up for years.
Are letter openers safe?
The important aspect to think about is the sharpness of the blade. Openers with a sharp blade should be used with care and definitely kept out of reach of children. Openers with a blunt exposed blade or a sharp blade that is totally hidden are generally safe.
Strength, ease of use, and durability are some of the features that define the best letter openers. These are the factors we looked for when choosing the items in our list, and we’re certain that you’ll find them quite handy.
Go over the features and pick one or more that go well with your style. Oh, and hey, why don’t you tell your friends about this post so they too can have an easy time opening their letters?