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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 quite the same, so before you take the leap and buy a pair, here are some of the best kitchen shears that you should know about.
Best Overall: OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors
Sharp, durable blade
Not as strong as poultry shears
No added features like bottle opener or nutcracker
These affordably priced, easy-to-use shears are a fan favorite, and for good reason. They can get 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.
These stainless steel blades are incredibly durable and long-lasting while the plastic grip is comfortable and won’t slip out of your hands while you’re using it. The micro-serrated blades also prevent any unwanted slipping and sliding as you’re using the shears. They may not be as powerful as a heavy-duty pair of poultry shears, but if you’re looking for something that can do a wide variety of basic tasks, this is a great starting point. The shears are advertised as dishwasher safe, though it’s recommended to wash them by hand with warm, soapy water.
Dimensions: 10.48 x 4.76 x 1.14 inches | Weight: 3.52 ounces
Best Budget: Our Table Kitchen Shears
Available in a variety of fun colors
Bottle opener attached
Blades don't separate for cleaning
Who says you need to spend a lot of money on a quality pair of shears? At under $10, these kitchen shears match up pretty close to a lot of their competition. They are available in a variety of fun colors and equipped with a sharp, micro-serrated stainless steel blade to help you snip through all your kitchen tasks. The lightweight, polypropylene handle is not only colorful and stylish, but it’s comfortable and easy to hold. Reviewers love them for daily kitchen use (they even have a bottle opener attached), though some note that it is slightly annoying that the blades don’t detach for cleaning and sharpening.
Dimensions: 8.86 x 2.87 x 0.6 inches | Weight: 0.19 pounds
Best Japanese: Shun Multi-Purpose Kitchen Shears
Quality, long-lasting, sharp blades
Built-in features including nutcracker and jar opener
This is a pair of well-made shears that can seriously do it all. Not only is the model adept in slicing, snipping, and cutting, it also comes equipped with a nutcracker, jar opener, bone notch, lid lifter, and two screwdriver tips. Now that’s a tool you definitely want to have in your kitchen.
The micro-serrated stainless steel blades are extremely durable and won’t slip if you’re cutting through skin. The plastic over-mold on the handle is extremely comfortable and non-slip, so you don’t have to worry about it falling out of your hands while using it. The blades easily come apart when it’s time to clean or sharpen the blades. Reviewers are extremely impressed by the sharpness and durability of the blades.
Dimensions: 9 x 3.63 x 0.5 inches | Weight: 5.4 ounces
Best for Herbs: J.A. Henckels International 2-Piece Kitchen and Herb Shears Set
No added features like bottle opener or nutcracker
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. This two-piece set comes with a pair of kitchen shears and herb shears so that you have an entire tool dedicated to herb snipping. The herb shears can turn a large pile of herbs into a finely chopped pile for your garnishing needs.
They’re dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, though you can also opt to take the kitchen shears apart and hand wash them with warm, soapy water. The large, comfortable handles fit well into your hands and they’re easy to grasp. This two-piece set is a great deal, especially for any herb-loving cook.
Herb Shears Dimensions: 4.9-inch blade | Take-Apart Shears Dimensions: 3-inch blade
Best for Easy Cleaning: Wüsthof WU5558 8-Inch Kitchen Shears
Easy to take blades apart
Able to cut through tougher cuts of meat
Not suitable for larger hands
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. Not to mention, it’s very simple to put the blades back together. The high carbon stainless steel is super durable and lasts a long time.
These shears are suitable for right or left-handed cooks and they are equipped with a jar and bottle opener. Reviewers note that they’re able to use these shears for heavier duty tasks like snipping chicken bones and cartilage. Because of the size of the handle loops, many reviewers would not recommend this for users with larger hands, however.
Dimensions: 8 x 0.5 x 3 inches | Weight: 4 ounces
Best for Professionals: KitchenAid Professional Series Kitchen Shears
Stainless steel is durable and long-lasting
Comfortable to hold
No bottle or jar opener
If you’re looking for a pair of shears to outfit a professional kitchen, these KitchenAid shears are beloved by home cooks and professionals, alike. The double-serrated, stainless steel blade makes for quality cuts and extremely easy maneuvering, alongside a super comfortable and firm plastic handle. Polished steel rivets outfit the shears, which help to reinforce and strengthen the blade. This multi-use tool can do it all—anything from cutting up bacon or meat to snipping herbs to tearing through bread and pizza. This is a tool that any chef would want in their toolbag.
Dimensions: 0.6 x 8.2 x 3.4 inches | Weight: 4.8 ounces
Best Mulit-Use: J.A. Henckels International Kitchen Shears
Lifetime manufacturer warranty
Hand wash recommended
These shears are designed with a sturdy, 3-inch, fine-edged steel blade that is great for a variety of uses. The micro-serrated blades are corrosion resistant and the fine grooves make for slip-proof cutting. Additionally, these shears can open bottles, jars, and screw caps, and crack open nuts. These are also sold with a lifetime limited manufacturer warranty, should anything happen to the shears. Reviewers note how long these shears have lasted, recommending to hand wash as opposed to the dishwasher. These are a true kitchen workhorse that could earn a place in anyone’s kitchen.
Dimensions: 10.25 x 3.75 x 2.75 inches | Weight: 4 ounces
Best Splurge: Global Kitchen Shears
High-quality, Japanese stainless steel blades
Double beveled edge for right- and left-handed users
Handles lack non-slip grip
These are by far one of the most expensive pairs of shears you can buy. Despite the high price tag, they are a top performer with a sleek, appealing design. Their design is intended to prevent hand fatigue so that you only need to exert as little energy as possible to get through your kitchen prep. The Japanese blade is made of the highest stainless steel quality and it’s super sharp and durable. The blades are also finely serrated to prevent any unwanted slippage during use. A double-beveled edge can accommodate both right- and left-handed users easily. The fulcrum of the shears is located quite low, which helps to maintain balance and create more leverage while you’re using them.
Dimensions: 4.5-inch blade | Weight: .4 ounces
We awarded the OXO Good Grips Multi Purpose Kitchen Scissor (view at Amazon) the top spot because these shears are versatile and great for the everyday cook. 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 (view at Amazon).
What to Look for in Kitchen Shears
There are a variety of kitchen shears on the market. The most versatile and popular type is multi-purpose 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 multi-purpose 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 non-slip 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.