Buying the best CNC drag knife is essential to fetch a perfect outcome when you’ve just got your CNC router and don’t know where to start looking. Whether you’re planning to use it on professional projects or DIY projects as a hobbyist, there are some must-know facts that you’ll need to consider before choosing anyone. The task may seem intimidating at first look, but the process is pretty straightforward once you organize your priorities and needs. Such as the material of the knife and its body, density, and thickness of the substance to be cut, the design, etc.

Thin materials, such as vinyl, cardstock, chipboard, cardboard, wax papers, etc. possess low shear strength making the section pretty easy. On the other hand, if the material in question is thick, or has highly elastic properties, then not choosing the right blade will end in a mess. The right drag knife makes the task so much easier than trying to accomplish it with a regular knife. There is no scarcity of options with the present market with similar attributes. So, we’ve put together this article which shows 3 of the best products that the market can offer. Without further ado, let’s start!


5 Best CNC Drag Knives of Present Market

  1. Dog River Tools Drag Knife Cutter

The dog River Tools Presents a multifunctional CNC tool that features a universal size designed to fit directly into any CNC Router or spindle with ¼” collet easily. It also isn’t mandatory to run it in the spindle, since it’s not designed to rotate.

The overall construction of the knife is downright impressive, they hardly left anything to complain about. The non-toxic exterior is made from high-quality CNC milled aluminum with a black anodized finish, it ensures a great degree of heat resistance and superior protection against decomposition. The design also showcases a protective cover for the blade.

The drag knife is manufactured in a way that any utility blade will fit right in like a glove. This model is one of the best options if you want to engrave sharper corners, as it offers two depth options. You can utilize the ¼ inch collet’s blade position to cut 0.25 inches approx. and similarly the ⅛ inch can be used to reduce corner radius on thinner materials. They take pride in this design because no other drag knife of this quality level offers a double depth option such as this. Even in Donek Tools, you’ll have to get both D1 and D2, these two different knives two reach this depth option.

Thus, you can work on a wide number of materials without facing any issue, go for thicker or thinner. Anything that can be cut by a utility knife can be cut by this too, be it wood veneer, sign vinyl, any type of paper, plastic, stickers, cardboards, etc., without any hassle. The precision and the sharpness of this CNC drag knife will not let you down.


  • Adjustable depth configuration.
  • Heavy-duty build.
  • Universal fit to most CNC Routers.
  • Applicable on a variety of materials.
  • Equipped with a safety guard.
  • Ideal for hobbyists.


  • Doesn’t include instructions.
  • Not recommended for strictly professional use.


  1. Donek Tools D4 Drag Knife

It’s impossible to research about Drag knives and not to hear of Donek Tools, they rule a huge portion of this community’s customers. And this reputation is earned through constant delivery of high- standard products. No matter what kind of engraving task your job demands, the Donek Tools is designed to execute so. The sharpness goes through any material like butter, with enhanced precision.

The D4 series of Donek Tools is mainly designed for working with thicker materials, from 0.010 inches to 0.250 inches. It can fit into any ¼ inch collet and CNC plotter. Whether you’re a DIY artist or a professional, you can count on it like no other. Its ability to cut thicker materials makes it perfect for woodwork, i.e., the furniture industry. The D4 knife provides a maximum cutting depth of 6.3mm, so you can also work with it on projects involving snowboards, wood veneer artworking, ski-based materials, leather, cardboards for customized packaging, etc. at ease. You can also make intricate designs on thinner materials, for the thickness of materials over 3.1 mm, you get a minimum cutting radius similar to the thickness of the material in question.

Like all other Donek Tools, the D4 drag knife presents a robust build. It features a superior design made from aluminum and stainless steel, which is meant to last for a long time without giving you any headache while serving higher performance than any other. This drag knife uses a particular type of consumable utility blade which is made affordable since the blades wear down quite fast due to abrasion caused by regular use on thick and solid materials.


  • Excellent for working on thicker substances.
  • Features anti-corrosive coating.
  • Affordable replacement blades.
  • Comes in an attractive wooden case.
  • Sturdy build.


  • Doesn’t come loaded with spring.


  1. Donek Tools D3 CNC Drag Knife

The D3 series from Donek Tools is a great choice for handling thinner materials. It doesn’t account for any advanced skill set. Like all the other models from Donek, it’s useful for both professional and DIY enthusiasts alike. Achieving precise and sharp designs is no problem at all if you own a D3 model.

The package comes in a quality-grade wooden case, the slots inside house the drag knife, a spare blade, and a hex key. The knife is designed with a sturdy body constructed of stainless steel and aluminum, giving it a rugged look along with durability. The consumable utility blades of the knife are cheap and accessible easily through Donek Tools; since abrasion causes them to lose edge faster. Sharpening the blades will pose a hassle, where replacing them is half of it.

The assembly of the blade is pretty straightforward, the form of the drag knife allows it to be configured into any ¼ inch CNC router collet. Position it in the router, then screw in that place with a spanner or wrench. You can achieve intricate engraving with a minimum cutting radius of 1/16 inches with a 1/16 maximum cutting depth of 1/16 inches supported by a ¼ inches shank. Because of its delicate engraving style, you can even use the D3 Drag knife to work on glass. You can also cut all kinds of papers, ABS Plastic, foam-boards, coroplasts, sticker vinyl, etc. Apart from thin materials, you can also handle paper-backed wooden inlays, leathers, etc.

Donek Tools have you covered with its drag knife line, to work on thick materials check D2 & D4 drag knives, while D1 and D3 are ideal for thin materials. The D3 drag knife only requires a minimum amount of pressure and operating it is very straightforward, you can take help from YouTube tutorials too.


  • Fits all kinds of CNC router collets.
  • Ideal for working on thin materials.
  • Can be used on glass engraving.
  • Versatile application.
  • Built-to-last construction.


  • A costly option compared to others.



Q: What should I prioritize in a CNC Drag knife?

A: Among many other things, compatibility with CNC plotters is one of the most vital points to get the best outcome with the available mediums. The build of the product is also something to look into, the ability to endure wear and fatigue can never be set aside. Then there is the required engraving depth, Donek presents the most clear-cut options in this arena.

Q: What else can I use as the alternative to CNC drag knives?

A: There aren’t many effective options out there, but to engrave thin materials Cricut knives can be a valid alternative. Vinyl cutter blades can also be useful to some extent. You may also find ER collets and point cutters useful in this domain.

Q: Will I need any specific software?

A: Not unless you require pointy corners in your design. Any CAD-CAM software such as AutoCAD, toolpath, etc. is highly efficient for the task. However, for an optimal outcome, rounding off the corners is recommended, while making sure the same orientation is maintained is of utmost importance. If you do need sharp corners in your tool path then you’d have to venture for more ranking software, they are designed to make details and precision-work flawless.



Final Verdict

Drag knives are the crafty little tools that can execute a wide range of work with precision as long as you’ve designed a clear pathway for it using any toolpath software. Depending on the thickness of the material and optical positioning system you can achieve high-speed cutting with the best CNC drag knife. Replacing the blades is fairly straightforward too, as they lose edge faster than other kinds of blades because of continuous abrasion. So, it’s seen that replacement is more advantageous than sharpening them. Hopefully, the models shown above will check all your boxes, happy shopping!

Write A Comment Cancel Reply