A reader asked me to review the Coast DX126 mini utility knife. I have not had the greatest experiences with Coast folding knives, and I had reservations about this design right off the bat, but I was curious. This compact utility knife retails for $12, and so I picked one up to test out.
My immediate impression was that this is more of an EDC utility knife for infrequent “just in case” purposes. I personally don’t like the knife, but I also haven’t found objective reasons to dislike it. In other words, this Coast knife isn’t really for me, but it does have its merits.
Coast DX126 Knife Size
As is evident in my in-hand images, this is a very small utility knife. The Coast DX126 measures around 3″ long when closed and 5-1/4″ inches open.
Coast DX126 Knife Handle
The knife has a textured fiberglass-reinforced nylon (FRN) handle. Coast says the blade is stainless steel, but that means nothing after your first blade change.
Coast DX126 Knife Pocket Clip & Carrying
The pocket clip is oriented for tip-down carrying. I’ve got no complaints about the clip – it works as well as can be expected. There is also a small lanyard loop, which can also fit smaller split rings. Compact carry is the priority here, and it’s hard for Coast to get things wrong.
Coast DX126 Opening Action and Liner Lock
This is a two-handed knife. You need to grip the handle with one hand, and fold the knife open with the other. Closing also requires two hands – one to release the liner lock, and the other to fold the knife closed.
I wasn’t very comfortable closing the knife at first, but I’ve gained a little more confidence with further use. I don’t have the same hesitations or uneasiness with other types of folding knives, even smaller ones, but this one has a different feel to it.
I’m far less intimidated by the knife than I was one month ago. Its motions are more familiar to me, but they’re not yet second nature.
Coast DX126 Secondary Handle Lock
The Coast DX126 has what the brand calls a Double Lock feature. They say when you need to make more rugged cuts, push the Double Lock switch forward to block the liner lock from possibly disengaging and allowing the blade to close on your hand.
On one hand, this is a safety mechanism. On the other hand, what do you mean the knife could possibly disengage and close on my hand?!
I think it’s more about peace of mind. Who is going to use a knife this small to make “more rugged cuts?”
The secondary lock is rudimentary, involving a small metal tab that is rotated into position to block the liner lock from moving, but it works.
This seems to be a “better to have it if you want it, but you’re not paying much extra for it” type of feature.
Coast DX126 Utility Knife Blade Changes
Blade changes require a little effort until you get the hang of it. To remove a dull blade, you first press the release button and then carefully pull the blade out. The knife works with standard two-notch double-ended utility knife blades. I tested it with Stanley, Dewalt, and Milwaukee blades.
To insert a fresh blade or cutting edge, carefully insert the new blade and press down on the lock release to allow the blade to slide through.
I found that the Coast DX126 to be acceptable for EDC type of intent, where a user might want to have a folding knife or utility knife in the pocket, bag, or tool box.
Speaking about my subjective preferences, I tend to prefer utility knives for frequent use, and folding knives for less frequent use. If I know I’ll be scoring materials or breaking down cardboard boxes, I grab a utility knife. For incidental use, I might carry a multi-tool or pocket knife.
This knife is more of an incidental use knife than a utility knife. The benefit here is that it has a reversible and replaceable blade, so that you don’t have to worry about having to sharpen folding knife.
Coast does describe the DX126 as a Pro Razor Knife, rather than a utility knife.
The handle is no more or less comfortable than you would expect for a knife of this size.
Overall, the knife feels solidly constructed. The metal frame is largely made from laminated steel sheets, which could be a cost-cutting measure, but it’s also a smart way to create slots for the utility knife blade. The FRN handles aren’t solid slabs; there is actually more steel inside the handle scales than I realized, giving the handle a stronger and more rigid feel.
This knife isn’t a good fit for my needs and preferences, and something about the way it opens and closes with a much-exposed blade edge makes me a little uneasy.
However, I’m not finding anything objectively disagreeable. I wouldn’t use this knife for anything but light duty use where cutting depth doesn’t need to be controlled, but it achieves Coast’s goal of making a compact knife that works with standard replaceable blades.
This isn’t a knife I plan to use a lot, but it’s still useful and usable (unlike Dewalt’s newest folding retractable utility knife).
Pricing & Availability
Street Price: $12
Unfortunately, the knife looks to be out of stock at the time of this posting. This is a new product, and it seems that Amazon, Coast, and other dealers sold out of the first production run.
The Competition: Gerber EAB
The Coast DX126 is the latest knife to take on the popular Gerber EAB, which has been updated several times over the years.
One of the biggest differences is that the Coast has a tool-free blade change mechanism whereas the Gerber requires a small coin or screwdriver.