Types of Scissors

The Cutting Edge: 8 Types of Scissors You Should Know About

Scissors are so much a part of our daily lives that it’s only natural that we take them for granted. Who really stops to think about their cutting implements (unless, of course, they aren’t doing what they’re supposed to do)? But without these important tools, entire industries would be changed irrevocably. Who can imagine a chef without his kitchen shears? Who can conceive of a surgeon without their medical scissors? And that’s not even getting into the crafts, gardening, and everyday cutting that causes us to reach for scissors more often than we might realize. What is, at its heart, a rather simple machine made from two sharp blades, a screw, and two levers is actually one of the most essential tools in our collective arsenal. Let’s learn about the many types of scissors that make our lives a little (or, in some cases, a lot) easier!

8 – Kitchen Shears

Most homeowners can do without a specialized pair of kitchen shears, since most of what you use these for can be done with other tools – knives, for instance. But if you happen to have a pair, they can come in handy. Not only are they excellent for opening up various food packages, they can be used to snip herbs, break down poultry, and more. If you find that you’re doing a lot of work with chicken and turkey, you might have success upgrading to a fine pair of kitchen shears. They make the going much more effortless. Furthermore, most kitchen shears are equipped with an inner “gripper” area that can unscrew tight bottlecaps and even crack walnuts in a pinch! No fancy chef would be without a great pair of kitchen shears.

7 – Pinking Shears

With jagged blades that create a serrated edge as they cut through fabric, pinking shears are an important tool for anyone who works with cloth. Their zigzagged blades help prevent fabric from coming unraveled as you cut out patterns, which is a big problem as anyone who has tried to use inferior scissors can attest. Most pinking shears come with specialized curved handles as well, which makes it much easier to cut fabric against a flat surface. Not only do these scissors prevent unnecessary amounts of fraying, they can also be used to indulge in decorative edges. One reminder: Do not use pinking shears to cut paper as it will have a dulling effect on the jagged blades.

6 – Embroidery Scissors

Unique for small scissors, embroidery scissors are quickly identified by their exquisitely tiny size and their often embellished design. You can also identify a pair of embroidery scissors via their telltale sharp, fine tips. Sewers and fabric workers use these scissors to get as close as possible to the cloth without damaging it. This is why embroidery scissors are equipped with curved blades that make it easier for the operator to get close to the base of the threads. Many stitchers will pair their embroidery scissors with a good set of thread snips for those difficult occasions when the job is too precise even for the original tool.

5 – Dressmaking Scissors

If you work with fabric, there’s one tool you simply can’t live without: Dressmaking scissors. Instantly recognizable due to their unique almost-but-not-quite-a-right-angle handles, these ultra-sharp scissors can slice through fabric without chewing unattractively through the threads. If you’ve already purchased a sewing machine, a good pair of dressmaking shears should probably be your next purchase. These shears come in a variety of lengths; amateur dressmakers may do well with an 8” pair while professional tailors will often prefer scissors nearing 13” in length.

4 – Barber Shears

Whether you actually call them “barber shears” or hairdressing scissors or something else entirely, we’re referring here to specialized scissors that have been specifically designed to cut and trim hair. Sharper than most other kinds of scissors, barber shears have a smooth edge to the blades that slices effortlessly through the dead keratin we call hair. There are many different sizes in common use, but they typically range from 5 to 7 inches in length. Despite there being many variations in hair-cutting scissors, they all share one thing in common: A hanging finger rest that provides the stylist with extra control over the device as they complete their intricate work.

3 – Safety Scissors

Anyone who has kids (or was once one themselves) will recognize these scissors. Used almost exclusively by children, safety scissors are equipped with a blunted end to help reduce the possibility of an accident. Usually, these scissors are quite small and have short blades that make it easier for beginners to get used to the skill of cutting. Scissors for the youngest children will be made with plastic cutting blades to further reduce the risks involved. The unfortunate truth is that these scissors aren’t very effective as cutting tools, but they give children an excellent opportunity to build their confidence before moving on to the real thing.

2 – Pruning Shears

Sometimes referred to as garden shears or loppers, pruning shears are a must-have in the arsenal of anyone who does intricate yardwork or gardening. Their primary purpose is to prune bushes, shrubs, and small branches, and they are enormously useful when it comes to cutting flowers into decorative designs or removing stubborn fruits from trees. Unlike most of the scissors featured in our list, most pruning shears do not include finger-holes in their handles. Instead, you squeeze the handles together from the outside and use this force to close the short, sharp blades around the object you desire to cut.

1 – Trauma Shears

While these specialty scissors (often sold under the brand name Tuff Cuts) are common in the medical industry, you probably don’t have a pair of them in your home. Why would you? Chances are slim that you’ll need to quickly cut a person out of their clothes so that first aid and other medical emergency techniques can be used. However, that’s not the only use for these immensely versatile shears. Their offset blades and serrated edges make them a perfect tool for cutting clothing, getting your way into ridiculously tough clamshell packaging, and slicing through sticky tape. And since you can get a good pair for less than $10, they are more than worth the investment.

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