Kitchen Shears: The Most Versatile Tool For Food Prep

A good pair of kitchen shears is one of those utensils that seems to get used for any number of purposes (most of which they weren’t really designed for), and should be included in any basic kitchen plan.

Top Rated Kitchen Shears For Your Home | Foodal.com

A wonderfully useful tool, they’re a bit like the Swiss Army knife of the kitchen.

Many folks like to use them to open plastic food packaging, or they end up performing other routine household duties more often than not.

But did you know:

Food shears are often used in many parts of Asia to cut up proteins, herbs, and smaller vegetables? Your stir fry at the restaurant was probably cut up with a combination of Chinese cleavers and food grade scissors. But have you tried this at home?

Bottom Line Up Front: Our 10 Best Reviewed Kitchen Shears and Scissors

  1. Shun Kitchen Shears
  2. Tojiro-Pro Separable (FK-843)
  3. Kershaw Taskmaster
  4. LamsonSharp Forged Hi-Carbon Stainless Steel
  5. Miyabi Kitchen Shears
  6. Wusthof 5558-1 Come-Apart
  7. Global GKS-210 Stainless
  8. R.H. Forschner by Victorinox
  9. All-Clad C3220908 Stainless Steel
  10. Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Select

Note: the links above lead to pricing, customer reviews, and more information and specifications on Amazon or other major retailers.

If you’ve ever had Korean BBQ, you’ve probably witnessed the versatility this tool brings to the table (quite literally “at the table” in the case of Korean BBQ, as the hostess cuts up your meat while it is grilling).

Kitchen shears being used to cut up Korean BBQ | Foodal.com
Meat, mushrooms, and vegetables served with Korean barbecue are often cut up into bite-sized chunks right on the grill (which sits on or is embedded into the dining table).

Try it. You’ll be surprised by the various cooking and prep-related tasks that this everyday device can simplify.

Often, they’ll come as part of knife set. However, not all scissors are created equal, and if you purchase them separately you’ll have the opportunity to get a good set that will provide outstanding performance for years to come.

Shears vs. Scissors

Have you ever wondered about the differences between shears and scissors?

While they both have two blades and handles, the basic design differences are in the shape and size of the handles, and length of the blades.

The handles on scissors will have equally sized and symmetrical handle loops, and their blade length is usually 6” or less.

Shears will usually have blades 6” and longer, with the bottom handle being larger and more oblong in shape – except kitchen snips, which have shorter blades of 4-5” to provide extra leverage and force when needed.

Aside from the standard kitchen snips, there are also specialty cutters for poultry, fish and herbs. So let’s look at some features to help find the right tool for the job.

Features

Lower fulcrum, or pivot point

Placing the fulcrum further down the blade is necessary for achieving greater leverage when cutting through dense materials, such as bone or cartilage. On a set of kitchen snips, the blades will be shorter than scissors with the rivet closer to the blades, to enable the user to exert the necessary force.

Adjustable pivot screw

Unless they’re professional grade, kitchen shears usually don’t have an adjustable screw for tightening or loosening tension. Without an adjustable screw, the blades may be loose at the pivot and pop apart when exerting pressure.

This is because they’re designed to come apart easily for cleaning. One blade will often have a notch that slips over the stationary pivot point on the other, and in lower quality sets, the fit can be less than precise.

Blades and handles all in one

On high end tools, the blade and tang (the piece that extends into the handle) will be constructed of one piece to prevent the handles from breaking off or twisting out of shape when cutting through dense, challenging material.

Balance

Models that have a tang extending into the handles will balance evenly if you hold them on one or two fingers around the middle point. If they don’t, and tip toward the blade end instead, you may have problems with lightweight handles that break or crack.

Carbon steel vs. stainless

Professional grade cutters will often be made of carbon steel, as it holds an edge better than those made of common stainless steel (i.e. 404), it can be made much sharper, and it is easier to sharpen. Because carbon can rust, these will often have a coating of stainless, chrome or nickel.

Stainless is very rust and stain resistant, but the common alloys do not hold an edge for very long, and they dull quite easily. Special stainless steels, such as VG10, have been developed to mimic (and often surpass) the edge retention and sharpeness traits of carbon, but the steel is expensive and the cost is passed through to the customer.

Separating blades

The blades of shears used on food products, particularly meat, fish and poultry, should come apart for cleaning.

This is important for sanitation, because any food particles that remain in the pivot screw are a breeding ground for bacteria. And being able to separate the blades make sharpening much easier.

Serrated edges

Having mini serrations on the edge of one or both blades allows for better gripping of slippery materials.

Designed for left and right handed use

Many kitchen snippers have been designed with the proper balance for ambidextrous use. Keep an eye out for this, especially if you are left handed.

Comfort

Models that have a rubber or synthetic grip will usually be more comfortable when cutting through tough materials, and they also reduce slipping when your hands are wet.

Handle size

Select a pair of cutters that will be the most appropriate for your hand size and shape, and that will allow for a roomy grip.

Multi-purpose

Although not necessary for cutting food, many clippers will have additional features such as a bottle opener, a center toothed grip for cracking bones and nuts, notches on the handles for jar opening, a screwdriver tip, etc. and are surprisingly handy in the kitchen.

Choosing the Best Kitchen Shears | Foodal.com
Make quick work of light herbs such as chives with a set of general purpose food snips.

Care and Maintenance

  • While most kitchen pruners are dishwasher safe, hand washing is recommended in order to keep the blade edges sharp.
  • If your blades are constructed of carbon, wipe them with a lightly oiled cloth – any cooking oil will do.
  • For a set of shears with an adjustable pivot screw, a drop of oil on the screw will help to keep them operating smoothly.
  • Sharpen your non-serrated snips with a whetstone, keeping in mind that you only sharpen one edge.
  • For serrated edge blades, professional sharpening may be necessary. Each serration needs to be honed individually with an awl-like tool, which is fairly labor intensive. If you’re not sure where to get this done, contact your local fabric shop or culinary supply store – many will offer a mobile sharpening service every week or two, with the necessary tools for sharpening serrated edges.

General Purpose Kitchen Shear Reviews

Foodal's top rate/best in class badgeShun Kitchen Shears

These professional grade shears from Shun showcase 4” blades in an overall length of 9” that come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening, and full tang extensions into the handles. They are constructed of composite VG-10 super steel for precise and crisp cutting, and have one micro-serrated edge.

Shun Kitchen Shears

The large D-shaped bottom handle is made of composite rubber for comfort and safety, and is suitable for right handed use only. The pivot stays secure while cutting, and this model also has a bone notch. Made in Japan, where quality is still important. See what the hub bub is about on Amazon now.

What Others Are Saying

Satisfied shoppers like the heavy-duty capabilities of cutting through bone and cartilage, the sturdy construction and heft, their sharpness, smooth cutting action, and the comfort of the handles.

Foodal's top rate/best in class badgeTojiro-Pro

From Tojiro, these high quality stainless steel shears are made with one piece construction for durability, with the blades, tangs and handles cast in one piece. The micro-serrated blades are 4” long within an overall length of 8”, and the 3” loop handles are of equal size and shape for right or left handed use.

Tojiro-Pro Separetable Kitchen Shears (FK-843)

This pair comes with a bottle opener, jar opener, and two screwdriver tips. They also feature an adjustable pivot joint that separates at 95 degrees for thorough cleaning and sharpening. The only downside to this pair is the fact that they are made for the domestic Japanese market, and the handles may be a bit small for some larger pawed westerners.

Tojiro is well known in the world of Japanese kitchen knife aficionados (yes, there are folks that collect and, more importantly, use Japanese steel as a hobby, and many professional western chefs have also made the switch). Their claim to fame is that their blades are reasonably priced yet very high quality, and these kitchen shears are no exception.

Hand washing and drying is recommended. Made in Japan.

What Others Are Saying

Not a lot of reviews, but those in favor like the high quality materials and construction of these kitchen scissors, their sturdiness in blade and handles, and the separating pivot joint for cleaning. One complaint about the blades coming apart at a 95 degree angle (but it’s supposed to). Check them out on Amazon now.

This stamp represent the best budget product any any catergory Foodal reviewsKershaw Taskmasters

The Taskmasters are built of high quality cutlery grade stainless steel and measure just shy of 9” in length, with 4” blades that come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening, and a sturdy pivot lock for secure, tight cutting.

Balanced for ambidextrous use, they’re equally efficient for right and left handers.

Kershaw Taskmaster Shears available on Amazon

The blades have a combination of one straight edge blade and one serrated, with a bone notch for cutting through tough materials. Additional features include a bottle opener, small and large size jar openers, screwdriver tips, and non-slip composite handles. Made in Seki City, Japan (the Japanese center of knife making).

Lots of folks don’t realize this, but Kershaw and Shun are both owned by the same parent company. Kershaw has inherited Shun’s excellent fit and finish – but not necessarily all of the newfangled (and expensive) special stainless steel material, which keeps the price point a bit lower.

What Others Are Saying

Fans of the Taskmasters like the high quality of materials used and the construction, the locking pivot which ensures that the blades don’t come apart under pressure, the sharp blades, and comfort when using. The naysayers report the handles are on the small side and are a bit uncomfortable. Read all of customer reviews on Amazon now.

LamsonSharp

Lamson brings us these shears of polished high-carbon stainless steel. Forged of one piece blades and tangs for strength and longevity, the bottom blade has micro-serrations for better gripping and the blades have a slight inward curve for smooth precision cutting.

LamsonSharp Forged Hi-Carbon Stainless Steel Kitchen Shears

8” in length with 4” blades, these scissors will cut through a variety of materials. They also break away at the pivot lug for cleaning and sharpening, and are for right handed use only. Hand wash and dry. Made in China.

What Others Are Saying

Satisfied shoppers are keen on the good balance and powerful leverage, their strength and the sharpness of the blades, the effective pivot lock and their easy clean up. There were a couple of critical reviews about rust spots and the pivot nut stripping. Read more on Amazon.

Miyabi

A branch of the Zwilling J.A. Henckles Company, the Miyabi brand kitchen shears are crafted of stainless steel, using precision-sharp blades with micro-serrated edges for superior cutting of everything from basil to heavy-duty packaging materials.

Miyabi Kitchen Shears

With comfortable D-shaped ABS handles of equal size for left and right handed use, bottle and screw top openers, and a notched bone cracker. Well balanced and made in the tradition of Japanese sword makers. Hand wash and dry. Made in Japan.

What Others Are Saying

“Awesome.” There’s one review with one word, and that’s what it is. And the combination of Zwilling’s high standards of quality with that of traditional Japanese knife making makes it quite believable. Available from Amazon.

Wusthof Come-Apart

Wusthof has been manufacturing forged knives since 1814, and these 8”shears show the same high quality construction their reputation is built on. Sharp and sturdy, they come apart for easy cleaning and sharpening, and are evenly balanced with symmetrical handles for both right and left handed cutting.

Wusthof 5558-1 Come-Apart Kitchen Shears

With a smooth and exact slicing motion, the one serrated blade edge gives extra grip for non-slip cutting and the strong sure-grip, synthetic handles make for a safe, slip-free grasp when your hands are wet.

This pair has steel tooth inserts on the inner handles for opening bottles and jars. Made of German high-carbon stainless steel from Solingen, they’re fabricated in China. Check out all of the customer reviews on Amazon now.

What Others Are Saying

Satisfied customers report that they’re strong enough to cut through small bones, sturdy, sharp, easy to clean and durable. However, there are numerous complaints of them coming apart too easily when cutting, and a couple of comments about rusting in the dishwasher.

Global

Produced by the Yoshida Metal Industry, this set of Global kitchen cutters is fabricated with one-piece construction of CROMOVA 18* stainless steel for solid balance, heft and durability in the blades and tangs.

Global GKS-210 Kitchen Shears

The finely serrated edges measure 4.5” and are extremely sharp, with double beveling and ergonomic design for ambidextrous use, and precision cutting. Straightforward cutters with no extra features, hand wash and dry. Made in China.

What Others Are Saying

Happy customers report on the high quality of construction, their nice heft and superb solidity, sharpness and strength, as well as the comfort. One complaint about rust on the blade shortly after purchase. Purchase them on Amazon now.

* Japanese CROMOVA 18 is a type of stainless steel made of 18% chromium (CRO), which contributes to good stain resistance, plus molybdenum (MO) and vanadium (VA) for good blade edge retention.

Victorianox

Made in Germany of high-quality carbon stainless steel, these scissors are hand finished in Switzerland by skilled craftsmen. Measuring 10” overall, the 4” blades and have a 55-57 hardness rating on the Rockwell scale for extra tough duty, and the tempered edges can be re-sharpened time and again without any loss of performance.

R.H. Forschner by Victorinox Kitchen Shears

The ergonomically designed handles are made of polypropylene for comfort and safety, and their equal size and shape are good for ambidextrous use.

They’ve also been NSF approved (National Sanitation Foundation).With an insert for jar and bottle opening, these snips also come apart for easy cleanup and sharpening. See this set’s low price on Amazon now.

What Others Are Saying

Happy customers like the sharp blades and their ability to cut through a variety of items, the smooth cutting action, and the comfortable handles. The main drawback seems to be the lightness of the handles, as the tang does not extend all the way into the nylon, and there are also a few complaints about the handles being on the small side for comfort.

All-Clad Stainless Steel

These sleek shears from All-Clad are constructed of heavy duty brushed stainless steel construction, with a one-piece blade, tang and handle for strength and durability. The balanced, even-sized handles are good for right and left handed cutting.

All-Clad C3220908 Stainless Steel Kitchen Shears

With finely honed edges and a micro-serrated upper blade, smooth action and precision cutting are notable features.

These scissors are 7.5” in length and the blades come apart for easy cleaning in warm, soapy water. They also feature a bone notch for cutting through joints and small poultry bones, a built-in bottle opener, and steel teeth for opening small jars. Made in China.

What Others Are Saying

Only a couple of reviews to date, but they are favorable – not surprising, given All-Clad’s high standards for materials and construction. Check the price on Amazon now!

Zwilling Henckles Kitchen Twin Select

Henckles brings us the Twin Select shears, made of one piece high-carbon stainless steel for a sturdy tang and handles.

Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Select Kitchen Shears

With an overall length of 8” and blades measuring 3”, these shears have an adjustable pivot screw for secure and precise cutting – the blades do come apart for cleaning and sharpening, but they’re not the “pop and lock” variety.

Can be used with both right and left hands, and the clean blade edges stay sharp for a long time. Extra features are the built-in bottle opener and steel tooth jar opener. Made in Italy.

What Others Are Saying

On the pro side, these shears are well balanced, of very high quality, and sharp. They don’t pop apart when cutting, are well constructed and finished, and very durable. The only complaints are about the size of the handles – one says too big, while another says too small. See more of what others are saying.

And that concludes our look at kitchen shears. Know what your requirements are and look for the best set you can afford, and you’ll be rewarded with years of sturdy, reliable service.

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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.

34 thoughts on “Kitchen Shears: The Most Versatile Tool For Food Prep

  1. We have a pair of kitchen scissors that i never use for anything other than opening things. I know that that is not what they are used for but i never knew what. I saw a commercial where they where cutting fish with them and i had an idea but that was eaelier today. I was shocked honestly. I did not think that they were that strong. Well now I know.

  2. Great article! We have kitchen shears, and I have to admit that I almost never use them. I probably use them to open packages far more often than I used them to cut foods, which is a shame. The next time I need to cut up some foods in the kitchen, I will actually bust them out!

    • It is pretty easy for them to get shoved to the back of the junk drawer troutski, but once you get into the habit of using them, you’ll love how well they perform. Especially on slippery foods like fish and chicken.

  3. To tell the truth, I’ve never used kitchen shears and I think I could use a pair. It might take me a bit to get accustomed to cutting certain items rather than slicing them, but I could see it being super convenient in many cases. Plus I had no idea they could cut through bone or cartilage. You learn something new every day 😀

    • They do take a bit of getting used to, but once you do you’ll wonder how you got on without them. And they’re great for cutting through the cartilage and joints of a slippery chicken etc.

  4. I have shears that came with my knife set, but they haven’t impressed me, so I will probably end up purchasing a set. This is quite a comprehensive article/review, and I see several that interest me. I’m glad you to see the article addresses left handedness and ergonomics, since those are two issues of importance to me.

    • It seems to be an important issue for a lot of cooks Diane, and it’s nice to see the manufacturers respond to issues of comfort, hand strength and left-handedness. And it seems that most shears that come with a knife set are a bit on the flimsy side, good for cutting up packaging but not for tackling tougher challenges.

  5. I keep thinking I should get a pair. My mother always had some. All of these look nice. I’ll have to study up on them a bit, using your handy guide. I can think of so many things I could use them for. I don’t know why I haven’t purchased a pair by now. It would make kitchen life easier.

    Thanks for posting such a well done guide and review. You’ll make choosing easy for me.

  6. I use them all the time. In many cases they are much safer and easier to use than a knife. I can’t imagine going without them. They are a must have in my kitchen.

    • Much safer when cutting through tough or slippery things like a chicken or cartilage. They’re a staple in utensil bin!

  7. I must admit I use kitchen scissor all. the. time. I have three pairs so that I always have a pair ready to use and clean. My favorite pairs are a new Pridebit multifunctional and a vintage Wiss pair with turquoise enamel handles that I just adore. I use them not just for meat and herbs but every day jobs that are much less messy this way like cutting pizza. And of course they also do non-food related duty like opening bags, boxes etc. Yes, I always clean them carefully between uses!

    In terms of food safety I would strong recommend that anything that might be a bacterial risk (e.g. meat, leafy greens) be cut with scissors where you can separate the tines (like with the model you show) and wash them that way, it prevents and nasties hiding away in the hinge and not getting killed in the wash, whether you do it by hand or put it in the dishwasher.

  8. I love this informative post on using scissors for food prep. I am guilty of having used them for things other than food. Who knew how handy they were?

    • Nothing wrong with using them for other things Jasmine, they just need to be cleaned before using on food. They’re a great kitchen tool!

  9. I absolutely love my shears. I have a pair from Cutco. I use them for cutting meat that’s too slippery to cut with a knife, cutting herbs, cutting open plastic, and even for cutting pizza. They’re fantastic. They come apart for easy cleaning or box opening.

    • Thanks for sharing littlefoodie, I’ll have to check out the pair that you’re using. I just love these for slippery meat, especially chicken – takes away the worry about lopping off a fingertip!

  10. This is a great article! I never knew what these were called, I’ve always thought they were scissors. Now, I know better! Yes, I had Korean BBQ before and never knew why they had to use scissors to serve us. I thought it was silly, but at the same time quite smart. Something you get things done a lot faster if you don’t need a knife and a cutting board. I’m also amaze by all the different types of shears. I never knew that there was one that had Carbon handle! I really want one of those, but they are pretty pricey!

    • It’s just a matter of getting used to them Tipes, and once you do they make a lot of kitchen work faster and easier.

      My mantra with any tools, be they for the kitchen, art, or garden, is to get the best I can afford at the time. It’s an investment that pays back in easier tasks with greater results – when they’re looked after properly that is!

  11. I have a pair of kitchen shears that came with my knife set but after reading this I think I might look into getting myself a higher quality pair. I use them to cut the burnt edges off my garlic bread all the time and I’ve just recently started cutting bacon with them too. I always thought I was doing something I wasn’t supposed to by using them on food though, I never realized that was their purpose! I always have a hard time chopping up my fresh herbs as fine as I’d like them so I’m excited to try this technique instead…I have a feeling I’m going to be testing out my kitchen shears on everything for the next couple days!

  12. Growing up, whenever I needed a pair of scissors in the kitchen for non-cooking uses I would always grab a pair of shears. This often resulted in me getting yelled at for using kitchen shears on arts and craft project (how was I suppose to know there was a difference?!). It wasn’t until I got older and was able to help out around the kitchen when I realized…hey, there really was a difference!

    Since having my own place and kitchen, I’ve been noticing that there always seems to be something missing…and it turns out, I only have a pair of regular cutters instead of specialized, fancy kitchen cutters! It is definitely on the list of things I plan on buying the next time I do some home product shopping…that way I can cut up my roasted chicken without wrestling with it first!

    • Lol! There is a difference indeed tangela21, and dull kitchen shears seem to be more frustrating than none at all! Hope you find a good pair to fill that missing ‘something’ in your kitchen…

  13. I am so stoked about this information. I am and have been in the market for shears. I have been cutting my lobster tails open with a knife. It bugs me that every time I cook them, that is when I remember I’ve yet to purchase some shears. Cutting lobster open with a knife is not pretty and it is a hassle. These suggestions are spot on for me. I really like the Tojiro-pro. They look so fancy. I think this would be awesome for my short ribs too. Hmmm. I’m seeing endless possibilities now.

    • They’re wonderfully versatile niquelene, and it seems the more they get used, the more inspired the user! Glad you found the post useful!

  14. Ooooh, interesting. All of the articles here are very detailed and informative, I’m impressed. 🙂

    I’m not feeling too smart right now, I’ve had a pair of shears for years now (they look exactly like the Wusthof 5558-1 Come-Apart Kitchen Shears) and I have only been using them to cut open milk bags, thinking they were over-sized scissors.. Cutting poultry has always resulted in disaster for me, so I guess I have a new method now.

    I just had one question, is there a very significant difference in the cut quality and the lifespan of carbon steal shears and stainless steel ones? I wonder if it’d be more expensive to buy one good pair that lasts longer, or a few lower quality ones that are cheaper to replace.

    • Personally Hannah, I would go for stainless steel over carbon just because of the rust/staining factor with the carbon steel. And try to get a pair of decent quality – for me, it isn’t about the cost of having to replace inexpensive shears, it’s about the frustration of using a set that won’t perform as I expect them to. Hope that helps!

  15. Honestly these shears look so affordable and useful…it is almost sad to admit I have never used shears to cut food before. Maybe I used them to cut open a bag of frozen veggies or something of that nature…but never to cut food. I have to admit it seems like effortless cooking.

    • They seem to be one of those tools that become more useful the more they’re used sheebah7. And if they’re not used, they’re ‘out of sight, out of mind’… but they do make for effortless cooking with a lot of tasks!

  16. Growing up, my mother never had a standard pair of kitchen shears to do anything with in the kitchen other than opening a stubborn package or bag. However, I recently bought a decent pair and use them for lots of things. The are great for cutting up celery and herbs and have even been handy when I misplace my pizza cutter.

  17. Well, ladies (and men too if any are reading this great post) here is another “off the beaten path” use for kitchen shears. I pack them in with my hunting gear to field clean small game. Great for small bones, skinning, and related imaginative uses. And yes, fishing falls in this category too. A great tool. I’ve had my no-name shears for almost fifty years now. My wife has her own shears for brutal kitchen use.

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