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A good pair of kitchen shears is an indispensable tool for food prep that can serve multiple purposes.
Strong and sturdy, they’re more versatile than standard scissors. The blades are sharp and precise for delicate tasks like snipping herbs and leafy greens, and tough enough to cut through dense poultry joints and small bones, or to open challenging plastic packages.
Many models have integrated gizmos like bottle opens, screwdriver tips, and nutcrackers that add extra convenience – and they’re perfect for eliminating several single-purpose tools from the junk drawer!
A staple in Korean barbecue prep and serving, they’re also handy for portioning foods for grilling season, and ideal to easily access delectable shellfish meat.
Basic or multipurpose, you’ll love having a pair in the kitchen. Join us now for a look at nine of the best kitchen shears on the market today, followed by a rundown of what makes kitchen shears different from scissors, and their various features and care requirements so you can make the best selection.
Here’s what’s covered:
9 of the Best Kitchen Shears
- Cuisinart Multipurpose BBQ and Poultry
- Ergo Chef Pro Series
- Miyabi Large Handle
- OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb
- Progressive Seafood
- Winco Detachable
- Wusthof Come-Apart
- Zwilling Deluxe Poultry
- Zwilling Twin L
- Shears vs. Scissors
- Features for Consideration
1. Cuisinart Multipurpose BBQ and Poultry
Cuisinart’s multipurpose BBQ and poultry shears are a handy tool for meal prep, easily handling tasks like cutting crab and lobster claws, cutting a rack of ribs, or deboning poultry.
Cuisinart Multipurpose BBQ and Poultry Shears, available on Wayfair
The sharp, curved blades are made of high-quality stainless steel that makes deep, clean cuts and a notch secures bones in place for clean precision work.
The spring-loaded plastic handles add comfort and leverage while preventing hand strain and fatigue. An easily engaged locking mechanism keeps the blades closed for storage and is released with a simple squeeze of the handles.
The Cuisinart shears measure nine and three-quarter inches in length and weigh six ounces. They come with a limited one-year warranty and are made in China. Hand wash only.
Sleek and effective, prices and customer reviews can be found at Wayfair.
2. Ergo Chef Pro Series
Our choice for the best multipurpose tool, the Ergo Chef Pro uses high-carbon German stainless steel for excellent sharpness, strength, and rust-free performance.
Ergo Chef Pro Series Shears, available on Wayfair
The sharp, durable blades feature convenient design elements like a serrated edge to firmly grasp slippery skin, a fish scaler, a vegetable peeler, and a sturdy bone-breaker notch.
Large, teardrop-shaped handles are made of ABS plastic for strength, durability, ergonomic comfort, and a secure, non-slip grip.
Other features include a bottle opener, flathead screwdriver, lid puller, and twist cap opener/nutcracker, and the blades come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening.
The Ergo Chef Pro measures eight and three-quarter inches and weighs five ounces.
These come with a limited lifetime warranty and are made in China. Hand wash and towel dry only.
Robust, handy, and highly versatile, you can find prices and check customer reviews at Wayfair.
3. Miyabi Large Handle
Miyabi’s shears are skillfully crafted of high-grade Japanese stainless steel for long-lasting sharpness and excellent cutting accuracy, and they are designed with large, D-shaped handles for a roomy, secure grip.
Miyabi Large Handle Shears, available on Zwilling
The precision-sharpened blades have an integrated bone-breaker notch, and the edges are micro-serrated to keep slippery surfaces like poultry skin in place, improving cutting accuracy and efficiency.
The distinctive, D-shaped handles are made of durable, stain-resistant ABS plastic and give ample room for comfortable use. Extra features include convenient screw cap and bottle cap openers that are integrated into the handle bases.
They have an overall length of eight and three-quarter inches and weigh four ounces.
Hand washing is recommended. Made In Japan, they come with Miyabi’s limited lifetime warranty.
Sharp and precise, customer reviews and prices are available at Zwilling.
4. OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb
Dependable and user-friendly, the OXO Good Grips kitchen and herb scissors are engineered with high-carbon stainless steel. Generous, soft-grip handles ensure precision cuts and an easy, secure grip.
OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb Shears, available at OXO
Sharp take-apart blades have one micro-serrated edge for grabbing slippery fish, meats, and poultry skin, and one straight edge for clean, smooth cuts.
The roomy, comfortable handles are made of soft, non-slip thermoplastic rubber (TPR) with extra cushioning to absorb pressure and reduce hand fatigue.
Plus, two herb-stripper notches are built into the handle base for added convenience.
The Good Grips scissors measure eight and three-quarter inches and weigh six ounces.
Hand wash only. Made in China, OXO’s lifetime satisfaction guarantee is one of the best – if damage results from deficiencies in material or workmanship, return them for a full refund or a new pair of scissors.
No frills, but these are sharp, well-built scissors. Find prices and check customer reviews at OXO.
5. Progressive Seafood
For the crustacean lover, Progressive’s seafood scissors are engineered with robust stainless steel blades to crack and cut crab, crayfish, lobster, prawns, scampi, and shrimp.
Progressive Seafood Shears, available at Amazon
The stainless steel blades are durable and sharp, with a unique curved design and pointed tip to easily cut through claws, legs, and shells to quickly release the meat. And they cleanly remove fins from fish as well.
The red ABS handles are designed for a comfortable and secure grip. And the entire inner edge, from pivot to handle tip, is ridged for cracking through hard shells of almost any size.
These scissors measure six and one-quarter inches in length and weigh one and one-half ounces. Dishwasher safe, they’re made in China and come with a limited one-year warranty.
Highly effective at quickly reducing mounds of shellfish, this is a budget-friendly must-have for your next crustacean-filled feast. Read customer reviews and check prices at Amazon.
6. Winco Detachable
A popular choice in commercial settings, Winco’s detachable kitchen shears are made of high-quality stainless steel for long-lasting sharpness, stain resistance, and strength.
Winco Detachable Kitchen Shears, available at Meat Processing Products
One blade has a micro-serrated edge to securely grasp slippery, wet proteins like chicken or fish, and the other has a clean, sharp edge for fast and efficient cutting.
The large, oval-shaped handles are made of tough and long-lasting ABS plastic and have a built-in nutcracker/twist cap opener at the base. And the blades include an integrated bottle cap opener as well.
Winco’s detachable shears measure 11 inches and weigh three and one-quarter ounces.
The detachable blades come apart for easy cleaning or sharpening and are dishwasher safe. Made in China.
Sturdy and dependable, customer reviews and prices are available at Meat Processing Products.
7. Wusthof Come-Apart
Wusthof’s robust come-apart kitchen shears are made of high-carbon stainless steel for excellent and long-lasting sharpness.
Wusthof Come-Apart Shears, available at Amazon
The high-grade steel retains a keen edge, and the blades are designed with a slight inward curve for precise, smooth cuts that are suitable for both right- and left-handed users. One blade edge is micro-serrated for improved gripping action while cutting.
A plastic cap over the pivot screw pops off to disassemble the blades for easy cleaning or sharpening, and prevents accidental separation.
The thick polypropylene handles are slip-resistant and molded for a comfortable, sure grip, and they have a nutcracker/twist cap opener integrated in the base.
They measure eight inches in length and weigh four ounces. Hand washing is recommended. Made in China, they come with a limited lifetime warranty.
Well-made and reliable, customer reviews and prices can be found now at Amazon.
8. Zwilling Deluxe Poultry
For outstanding German engineering and manufacture, the Zwilling Deluxe poultry shears have curved blades that smoothly cut through joints, rib racks, and poultry, moving easily with contours for clean, precise cuts.
Zwilling Deluxe Poultry Shears, available at Zwilling
The forged blades are made of high-carbon stainless steel and precision honed for a superbly sharp cutting edge while micro serrations provide a firm purchase on tough materials like fat and skin. An incorporated bone-breaker notch gives extra leverage for cleaving bones.
Molded plastic handles provide a comfortable grip and these are fiberglass reinforced for shatter-proof durability. A barrel spring opens the blades after each cut, and a convenient thumb-controlled sliding lock keeps them safely closed for storage.
The Zwilling poultry shears measure 10 inches, weigh eight ounces, and are dishwasher safe. Made in Germany, they come with Zwilling’s limited lifetime guarantee.
Top quality and long-lasting sharpness are key features of this pair. Prices and customer reviews can be found at Zwilling.
9. Zwilling Twin L
The sleek and sturdy Zwilling Twin L kitchen shears are designed with quality steel and superb sharpness for multiple kitchen uses, from cutting herbs and twine to opening packages.
Zwilling Twin L Shears, available at Zwilling
High-carbon stainless steel blades are ice-hardened for a strong edge that’s sharp and long-lasting. One blade is serrated for improved gripping action and the other has a straight edge for clean, exact cutting.
Roomy, reinforced polypropylene handles are durable and stain-resistant, with a seamless surface that’s contoured for an ergonomic, comfortable grip. A built-in rotary opener can be used for cracking nuts or to open screw caps.
The Twin L pair measures seven inches and weighs four ounces. Though these are dishwasher safe, handwashing is recommended. Made in Germany, they come with a limited lifetime warranty.
This pair provides excellent quality and dependable performance. Find prices and read customer reviews at Zwilling.
Shears vs. Scissors
In the mechanical world, scissors are first-class double levers consisting of three parts:
- The single-edged blades, which give the output cutting action (load).
- The handles, which deliver the input force (effort).
- A fulcrum between the blades and handles that joins and pivots the two sides.
In general, shears are designed for heavier cutting than scissors. The basic design differences between them are found in the handle shape and blade length.
Scissors typically have blades less than six inches in length, with symmetrical handles of equal size that accommodate a thumb and a single finger.
Shears have blades longer than six inches and usually have large, D-shaped handles or a combination of circular and D handles – the smaller or circular one is for the thumb while the larger handle fits two to four fingers.
However, the kitchen variety is an exception to the blade length rule, and it has shorter blades of three to five inches. This results in extra leverage in the handles, which provides the force needed to accurately slice through tough materials.
Also, the handles are often offset to provide a smooth, comfortable cutting action on a counter or chopping block.
And in case you’re wondering, the correct terminology is a pair of scissors – grammatically, they’re considered a single object that uses a plural form!
Features for Consideration
Shears can be plain-Jane and basic, or they can be loaded with additional features for greater performance and added convenience.
Let’s take a look at the features you’ll see in the various models available today, starting with the materials the blades are made from.
Carbon Steel vs. Stainless Steel
Professional-grade pairs may be made of carbon steel. Compared to stainless steel, it takes a sharper edge, holds an edge better, and is easier to sharpen.
But carbon steel rusts easily. If it’s not coated with a layer of chrome, nickel, or stainless steel, regular maintenance with oil is required.
Shears for the home market are usually made of stainless steel, selected for its durability and excellent rust and stain resistance.
To enjoy the best traits of both materials, look for brands that use high-end stainless steel alloys developed to mimic the traits of carbon steel such as hard cutting edges, edge retention, and sharpness.
Handle Comfort and Grip
For extended use or for work with hard materials, look for handles made of rubber or ABS plastic that provide cushioned comfort and a safe, slip-resistant grip.
Also, select a pair that best suits your hand size and shape, and that provides a roomy grip.
Left- or Right-Handed Use
Left- or right-handed use is determined by which blade lifts up when the levers are opened.
On right-handed pairs, the blade on the right side always lifts up and the left blade always drops down – this is true even when they’re flipped over.
On left-handed pairs, the blade on the left always lifts up and the right blade always drops down.
When the handles of a pair of scissors are squeezed, the two cutting edges are pressed together – the cut happens where the blades meet. But when held in the non-dominant hand, the squeezing action actually pushes the blades apart, resulting in off-center, messy cuts.
True ambidextrous scissors require double-edged blades with handles that can be rotated 180 degrees – not exactly the most convenient design.
Symmetrical handles can make it easier for lefties to use right-handed scissors, however, the cutting line will always be blocked by the top blade and the opposing pressure will always open the blades to a certain degree.
For lefties to use right-handed scissors, look for ones constructed with slightly curved blades that resist pulling apart and maintain a cutting contact point.
Lower Pivot Point
Unlike most other types of shears, those used in the kitchen have proportionally shorter blades.
The shorter blades allow a lower fulcrum, which gives greater leverage and maneuverability for cutting through dense materials such as bone, cartilage, and joints.
Kitchen shears often have additional features such as a bottle opener, a ridged rotary grip for cracking nuts and shells or opening twist caps, a bottle opener, a screwdriver tip, and so on.
Convenient and handy in the kitchen, the extra features help to reduce the need for a number of single-use tools that take up extra kitchen space. All shears do not act as multi-tools, but if this is something that interests you, be sure to keep an eye out for specific features that will meet your needs.
Kitchen shears are often given tough tasks to handle, like opening clamshell packages, prying open lids, or cutting through dense bones, connective tissue, and joints.
For sturdy performance, look for brands that use one-piece construction with a single blade and tang that extends fully into the handle. A full tang prevents handles from breaking or twisting when cutting through tough, challenging material.
Separating, or come-apart, blades are designed to come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening.
One blade has a contact notch that slips over the stationary pivot point on the other blade, and a twist locks the two blades together.
To separate, twist in the opposite direction to release the blades.
Some pairs come equipped with spring-loaded action that automatically pushes the handles apart after a cut.
This helps to reduce hand fatigue, but because of the spring, some effort is needed to close the blades – which is then converted into cutting energy.
Barrel, compression, flat, and torsion springs are typically used, either located at the base of the handles or integrated into the pivot screw.
Those with a spring typically have a sliding lock or latch to keep the blades closed safely for storage.
However, it should be noted that springs create a welcome environment for food particles to collect and bacteria to breed – extra care should be taken to thoroughly clean the spring area after each use.
Serrated Blade Edge
Several brands have incorporated micro-serrations along the cutting edge of one or both blades.
This provides a better grip on slippery materials like fish, poultry skins, and silver skin when cutting.
Care and Maintenance
While most pairs made of stainless steel are dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended to retain sharp cutting edges.
For blades constructed of carbon steel, wipe with a lightly oiled cloth after each wash and dry promptly.
Using food-safe mineral oil is best. This 12-ounce bottle from Thirteen Chefs can also be used to condition cutting boards. It is available at Amazon.
Occasionally add a drop of oil to the pivot screw as well, to keep the action smooth and easy.
Sharpen as needed, using a sharpening stone, an electric sharpener, or a countertop sharpener that accommodates scissors.
The Sharpal system uses a scissor-specific tungsten carbide blade to keep cutting edges sharp. It is available at Amazon.
A Cut Above
Available in a range of sizes, kitchen shears can be basic like scissors, specialized for specific tasks like cutting poultry or shellfish, or they may include a variety of features for multiple functions.
Look for shears made of high-grade stainless steel for sharp, durable cutting edges and handles that provide ample room for a comfortable, safe grip.
Then enjoy the convenience of this versatile tool for a myriad of food prep tasks!
Which model is the best fit for your kitchen? Let us know in the comments below.
And for more info on essential kitchen gear, add these articles to your reading list next:
- The Best Microplanes and Zesters for Your Home
- Make Healthy Vegetable Noodles with a Spiralizer
- Guide to Salad Spinners: 11 of the Best Models
© Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Product photos via Amazon, Wayfair, Zwilling, OXO, and Meat Processing Products. Uncredited photos via Shutterstock. Originally published on January 20, 2020. Last updated on February 20, 2022.
About Lorna Kring
Recently retired as a costume specialist in the TV and film industry, Lorna now enjoys blogging on contemporary lifestyle themes. A bit daft about the garden, she’s particularly obsessed with organic tomatoes and herbs, and delights in breaking bread with family and friends.