Even if your kitchen is equipped with a full set of knives, chances are, there are going to be instances when using a pair of shears is the better option. Don’t worry—shears aren’t nearly as expensive as kitchen knives; Plus, they’re quite easy to use and they offer a multitude of convenient uses. From cutting herbs and produce to slicing through pizza, quesadillas, meats, shellfish, and fine bones, shears can accomplish plenty of useful kitchen tasks.
Before purchasing a pair, it’s important to consider what sorts of tasks you’ll be using your shears for, how much you’re willing to spend, and if you plan to sharpen them yourself or have them professionally sharpened.
Not all shears are the same, so we researched some of the top-rated options and tested them at home side by side. We ranked the kitchen shears on design, handle comfort, versatility, sharpness, ease of cleaning, and overall value. So before you take the leap and buy a pair, here are some of the best kitchen shears that you should know about.
OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb Scissors
Sharp, durable blade
Shears come apart for cleaning
Herb snipper is excellent
Doesn’t have additional features
These great value, easy-to-use Oxo kitchen shears quickly became the overall favorite during testing. They got just about any job done, from snipping herbs and produce to cutting through meat and fine bones. Sometimes, you don’t need to dole out a ton of money for a pair of shears that handles whatever task you throw its way.
The stainless steel blades of these shears are incredibly durable, and the plastic grip is comfortable. It never slipped out of our hands, even when used to spatchcock poultry. The deep serrations on the blade also prevented any unwanted slipping and sliding as they helped grip the food securely. The shears have wider handle loops than other models and an ergonomic curvature, which leads to a lot less fatigue.
The shears were able to cut cleanly through parchment paper sheets and maneuver at a fast pace through herbs, vegetables, a crusty pizza, and even small bones in chicken. The herb snipper tool was easy to use, and we were able to work fast on a bounty of thyme salvaged from the last of our late autumn garden.
The shears come apart for easy cleaning, which is always appreciated after cutting meat and poultry. We washed the shears in the dishwasher multiple times without any dulling effects on the blades and found that we didn’t need to sharpen them even after continuous use. Sharpening the non-serrated edge of the blade, however, was easy with a sharpening stone.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 10.48 x 4.76 x 1.14 inches | Weight: 3.52 ounces | Care: Hand wash only
J.A. Henckels International Kitchen Shears
Works for both right- and left-handed use
Lifetime manufacturer warranty
Shears don’t come apart
These shears have micro-serrations that are on the edge of the blade. This made it easy for the shears to grab food and made for slip-proof cutting. The shears are super versatile, and we used them to open bottles, jars, and screw caps, and cracked open a few nuts as well. The cuts on meat were super clean, and there was no tugging or tearing of any meat or skin.
We chopped a bunch of herbs with these and sliced green onions, cut a pizza into small slices, chopped stems off of flowers, and also used them to crack some shellfish. All the cuts were clean and sharp and the shears were comfortable to use.
We were glad to see that the design of these shears worked for both right- and left-handed use. The one drawback of these shears is that they are not designed to come apart for cleaning. While we washed the shears multiple times in the dishwasher, the manufacturer recommends hand washing them.
Price at time of publish: $20
Dimensions: 10.25 x 3.75 x 2.75 inches | Weight: 4 ounces | Care: Hand washing recommended
Shun Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears
Built-in features including nutcracker and jar opener
Soft and comfortable grip
Grip not suitable for large hands
This pair of feature-rich, Shun kitchen shears is adept in slicing, snipping, and cutting. The shears also come equipped with a nutcracker, jar opener, bone notch, lid lifter, and two screwdriver tips, making them extremely versatile.
The blades are sharp and stayed sharp throughout the testing duration. Cutting chicken along with the skin was a breeze as the shears got a good hold of the food and cut neatly. The composite handles are ridged for a secure grip and are extremely comfortable and easy to maneuver. The shears did not slip, even with wet hands. The blades easily come apart when it’s time to clean or sharpen.
The shears cut herbs and vegetables without bruising, and we were able to cut them really fine. Although the nutcracker will not work for large quantities of nuts, we found it handy to crack open a few nuts for a salad. The blades are on the longer side, which helped with continuously cutting rounds of parchment paper and cutting a cauliflower into florets. The cuts were clean and the grip felt comfortable throughout. We did note that larger hands might have more trouble with comfort, however.
Price at time of publish: $52
Dimensions: 9 x 3.63 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 5.4 ounces | Care: Hand wash with warm water and mild detergent, then rinse and dry immediately.
J.A. Henckels International 2-Piece Kitchen and Herb Shears Set
Easy to clean
Good for large quantity of herbs
No added features like bottle opener or nutcracker
Herb shears not suitable for small quantities
This budget-friendly two-piece set comes with a pair of kitchen shears and herb shears so that you have an entire tool dedicated to herb snipping. For a cook who's doing a lot of herb prep in the kitchen (or perhaps you have a blossoming garden), having a pair of shears that are geared toward herbs is certainly ideal. In testing, the herb shears in this set went through large quantities of herbs in no time; However, the cuts were slightly bruised. For small quantities of herbs, these shears proved slightly difficult to use as the herbs got stuck inside the blades and had to be removed with the help of the small scavenger pick that comes with the set.
The take-apart kitchen shears in the set have roomy finger rings, are ambidextrous, and the handles are comfortable to grasp. These shears were tested on poultry, herbs, flower stems, trimming a pie crust, and breaking down a cauliflower into florets, and we found that they were easy to use, with clean cuts and good balance. They were also able to cut up bacon and twine, cut open bacon packaging, and cut out rounds of parchment. We also loved how these shears did not tax our hands while working through bones and skin in poultry—but did note that the take-apart shears required sharpening after just a few days.
Price at time of publish: $27
Herb Shears Dimensions: 4.9-inch blade | Take-Apart Shears Dimensions: 3-inch blade | Weight: 12 ounces | Care: Dishwasher safe
Best for Easy Cleaning
Wüsthof WU5558 8-Inch Kitchen Shears
Blades separate for easy cleaning
Makes clean cuts
Jar opener works well
Not suitable for larger hands
Grip isn’t always comfortable
A pair of shears that’s easy to clean and maintain is dependent on whether the two blades come apart. This pair from Wüsthof is super easy to disassemble so that you can clean or sharpen each blade one at a time. It’s also very simple to put the blades back together.
In testing, we found that these shears worked for both right- or left-handed cooks. You can open jars easily using the jar opener. These shears did not flinch with heavier-duty tasks like snipping chicken bones and cartilage. The cuts were clean and the shears went through even larger bones. Because of the size of the handle loops, the shears became slightly uncomfortable to use, especially for heavy-duty tasks like cutting meat.
These shears excelled at cutting herbs. We used them to chop down some chives for garnish and the cuts were neat without much bruising. The cutter blade is sharp and the blades are held together with a medium tension at the fulcrum, which resulted in improved maneuverability. While they aren't technically dishwasher safe, we ran them through a few cycles anyway and found they didn't lose any sharpness.
Price at time of publish: $25
Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 3 inches | Weight: 4 ounces | Care: Hand wash with warm water and mild detergent, then rinse and dry immediately.
Global Kitchen Shears
Handles lack nonslip grip
Handles can get uncomfortable
These are by far one of the most expensive pairs of shears you can buy. They stand out because they are sleek and appealing in design. The Japanese blades are made of quality stainless steel, and they're super sharp right out of the box. The blades are finely serrated, which helps prevent any unwanted slippage during use. Because of the double-beveled edge, you are able to use them both right- and left-handed.
There are some downsides to this beautiful pair of shears, however. The fulcrum of the shears isn’t very low, so maintaining balance and creating more leverage while using them was a bit difficult. While cutting a pizza with these, we weren't able to maintain a smooth cutting motion. While fabricating poultry with these shears, we felt that the grip was uncomfortable and slippery. The cuts were clean, but required more force, which resulted in the grip being a bit uncomfortable. Still, the shears worked great on herbs, twine, parchment paper, rosemary stems, and even flower stems and provided nice clean cuts without too much pressure or force.
The shears don't come apart for sharpening and cleaning (and are not dishwasher safe), but they did remain sharp throughout testing.
Price at time of publish: $79
Dimensions: 4.5-inch blade | Weight: 4 ounces | Care: Hand wash and dry immediately
We awarded the Oxo Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors the top spot because these shears are versatile and great for the everyday cook. They performed incredibly well in testing, cutting through everything thrown their way, and we appreciated their comfort. If you often cook with herbs, aside from just meat and bones, then look to the J.A. Henckels International 2-Piece Kitchen and Herb Shears Set, which comes with both herb shears and take-apart kitchen shears, allowing you to tackle a variety of kitchen tasks with ease.
How We Tested
After thorough research, we sent eight pairs of top-rated kitchen shears to our experienced chef and product tester to evaluate side by side. Each pair was used to cut herbs, flower stems, a whole raw chicken into parts, a pizza, twine, plastic packaging, and parchment paper. Additional features, like nutcrackers and bottle openers, were also tested. Our tester noted balance and grip, as well as whether or not they were suited for right- and left-handed people. Each pair of shears was also cleaned and sharpened. Finally, our tester rated each one on design/comfort, versatility, sharpness, ease of cleaning, and overall value.
Others Options We Tested
- Our Table Kitchen Shears: A previous version of this roundup included the Our Table Kitchen Shears, but after testing, we decided that they really only work well for just a few tasks and ultimately aren't worth it even at the budget-friendly price. These shears are available in a variety of fun colors and are equipped with a micro-serrated stainless steel blade. The lightweight polypropylene handle is colorful and stylish, but it was not comfortable or easy to hold. The blades don’t detach for cleaning and sharpening. The shears felt flimsy and were not easy to maneuver. Even though the shears have a stopper, the tips of the shears do not close correctly. The one thing these shears excelled at was cutting a pizza and they did an okay job of snipping herbs and cutting parchment paper. However, with each task, we had to be careful of the shafts of the shears pinching into our hands.
What to Look for in Kitchen Shears
There are a variety of kitchen shears on the market. The most versatile and popular type is multipurpose kitchen shears, which are ideal for slicing up herbs and other thin, leafy greens, as well as through tougher cuts of meat. If you foresee a need for using your multipurpose shears to cut through bones or seafood shells, it is definitely in your best interest to seek out a heavy-duty pair. Poultry shears are another type that is specifically used to cut through poultry meat and typically are equipped with curved beaks and a bone notch, which are both design features that help them to cut through bones.
Generally speaking, kitchen shears are between 8 and 9 inches long, which makes them large enough to provide sufficient leverage for heavier cutting tasks, such as tough bones or cartilage. Kitchen shears should be a size that is proficient in getting through larger pieces of meat, but not so massive or long that it’s difficult for the user to hold and control them. This means it's important to find the ideal balance between your hand size and strength. A pair of shears that has a blade and grip that are well-balanced is always easier to maneuver than one that does not.
Kitchen shears should provide a natural, comfortable grip on both the handles and the blades. You should seek out nonslip and padded handles to ensure that you can hold them comfortably and easily while you chop up your ingredients. The shears should not come loose even if you have wet or oily hands. In regard to the blades, definitely look for stainless steel micro-serrated blades because this material is highly durable, easy to clean, and rust-resistant. The serrated edge will prevent your items from slipping out when cutting wet, fatty items like poultry skin, shellfish, or flesh.
Aside from the obvious cutting of herbs, meat, and bones, kitchen shears are designed with added features that make them easy to use and clean. Some kitchen shears are equipped with a bottle opener attached, locking mechanisms so they stay closed when not in use, padded sheaths for the blades, and much more. Also, you should consider care and maintenance. Not all kitchen shears are dishwasher safe, so always check the cleaning requirements to keep your shears in tip-top shape. Make sure that the blades can be taken apart because this makes cleaning and sharpening much easier.
What are kitchen shears used for?
Kitchen shears are used for difficult kitchen tasks that might require a more precise cut, such as cutting herbs, snipping flower stems, opening packaging, or even working around small meat and poultry. You can use them to trim produce, such as grapes, canned tomatoes, and green beans, or to cut through thin pizzas and quesadillas. Also, use them to cut up raw bacon or peel the shells off shrimp.
How do you sharpen kitchen shears?
Sharpening kitchen shears involves removing the two blades from one another and stroking the shears against a whetstone, first on the coarse side (about 10 strokes) and then on the fine side. If you don’t have this sharpening equipment, it’s recommended to send your shears out to a professional sharpener.
How do you clean kitchen shears?
Even though some shears are advertised by the manufacturer as dishwasher safe, it’s best practice to hand wash the shears, blades detached, with warm, soapy water.
What's the difference between kitchen shears and scissors?
Kitchen shears are typically larger and more heavy-duty than scissors. Whereas scissors are intended for crafts and small projects around the home, shears are intended for heavy kitchen use, like breaking down poultry and cutting up other foods. Scissors are typically smaller than 6 inches in length, whereas shears can oftentimes be longer.
Can kitchen shears cut meat?
Kitchen shears can cut meat, though sometimes they are not as effective as a pair of specialized poultry shears. A well-sharpened pair of shears should be sturdy enough to cut through smaller, thinner bones in poultry. A good pair of shears will have a breadth of usability—they should be adept in cutting everything from small herbs to tougher cuts of meat.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Sara Tane has written dozens of buying guides for The Spruce Eats, understanding what consumers and cooks need to consider before making a new purchase for their culinary adventures. She is a professionally trained chef with many years of experience in test kitchens. With many years of prepping herbs, meats, shellfish, and other common foods, she is no stranger to the importance of a good pair of kitchen shears. After researching different kitchen shears and their materials, dimensions, and performance, she can help you find the best tool for your kitchen.
Renu Dhar is a classically trained chef and instructor in addition to a food writer, blogger, and product tester. She personally tested each pair of kitchen shears on this list and added her takeaways and insights.