A solid pair of kitchen shears can really change the game when it comes to cooking. This underrated tool is handier than you’d think, capable of accomplishing a wide variety of tasks.
There’s a reason professional cooks always have a pair of kitchen shears at their disposal! From chopping fresh greens like kale or collard greens to cutting up whole chickens to opening complicated food packaging, there’s nothing this tool can’t handle! If you don’t already own a pair, now is the time to go all in and find your own kitchen shears.
It’s important to go into buying kitchen shears knowing exactly what you’re looking for. There are a lot of things that make these tools differ from a pair of regular scissors. Though some cooks may think scissors and kitchen shears are the same, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. They may look similar in appearance, the key features found on actual kitchen shears make all the difference.
We want to make sure that if you’re looking for kitchen shears, you walk away with a product you love! That’s why our kitchen shears buying guide is here to help. Let’s take a look at all of the things you need to know about kitchen shears before you buy and explore our list of the best kitchen shears you can buy today.
What are Kitchen Shears?
What exactly are kitchen shears? And how do they differ from a pair of regular old scissors? The differences may surprise you!
Kitchen shears are a type of cutting scissors made with food preparation in mind. Their handles are typically made of a material to provide a good, non-slip grip like rubber or plastic. Their blades are also different from traditional scissors, coming in two separate pieces that usually detach for easy washing. The pivot point that links them is also way sturdier than regular scissors, allowing them to cut through tough bone or thicker types of vegetables.
Kitchen shears are almost always made of food-safe stainless steel to handle anything your kitchen throws at it. They also tend to come with additional features to help you out in the kitchen, which we’ll explore further in our buying guide below. These features make your shears act like a multi-tool in the kitchen, which can be handy when you need them.
To sum it up, kitchen shears are essentially stronger, sturdier scissors, with different features meant for cooking in the kitchen. They are food-safe, can separate for easier cleaning and sharpening, and are perfect for any fast snipping needs.
What Can Kitchen Shears Do?
Kitchen shears are more diverse than one would assume. There is a ton that this little tool can do!
The thing kitchen shears do best is the same thing scissors do best: snipping and cutting/ Kitchen shears are an amazing tool for when you need to very quickly snip or cut something, such as herbs and greenery.
If you need to quickly chop some chives or add snippings of basil to your bowl, kitchen shears can get the job done with ease. They’re especially handy as you can cut your herbs straight into your bowl, with your herbs in one hand and the scissors in the other. Talk about speedy work!
Kitchen shears can also be great for cutting up vegetables. They are great for quickly chopping greens like lettuce, spinach, or kale. You can also cut vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, and cauliflower with a good pair of shears.
You can also use your shears for cutting poultry! There are specific poultry spears (which we describe in more detail below) that are particularly adept at the job. Kitchen shears can make easy work of cutting a whole chicken into pieces, breaking through bones easily thanks to their strength.
There are also some more unconventional ways to use your shears. Kitchen shears can cut pizzas into slices if you’re without a pizza cutter. They’re useful at cutting pastry like pie crusts if you’re looking to make your baking neater. People also like to use them to cut up dried fruits, like dried apricots or cherries or other smaller ingredients when baking.
Kitchen Shears Buying Guide
Before you buy a pair of kitchen shears, there are some things you need to know! We’re going to break it all down in our extensive kitchen shears buying guide. Here’s what you should keep in mind before you go out and buy this useful kitchen tool:
Types of Shears
There are many different kinds of kitchen shears out there that you can buy, making shopping for them overwhelming. The pair you buy will depend on what exactly you think you’ll need these tools for in the kitchen.
The most common type of kitchen shear you’ll find when shopping is multi-purpose kitchen shears. These shears tend to look like a regular, straight pair of scissors with bigger blades.
These are perfect for the buyer who isn’t quite sure what their needs are and wants a tool that can do it all. Multi-purpose kitchen shears are the kind of shears that can slice thin greens or cut through chickens with ease. They also tend to have fun additional features to help you in the kitchen.
You’ll also come across poultry shears. These look different from multi-purpose shears, recognizable by their distinctly curved blades. The curve in the blades helps in cutting through meat and chicken. They also tend to have a studier bone notch, which can help you cut through bigger joints with the force needed.
You may also come across shears meant for use with herbs only. Herb shears are distinct for their smaller size and their multiple, stacked blades. This can allow you to cut multiple pieces of an herb at once, cutting (no pun intended) your time in half when chopping herbs.
Unfortunately, herb shears will offer little to no help when it comes to cutting meats or vegetables. It’s an herb-only kind of deal. However, if slicing herbs is a task in your regular rotation, they can be worth the investment, especially in professional kitchens that need large quantities of herbs fast.
The blades used on your kitchen shears can make a difference, too. Typically, kitchen shears will come with stainless steel blades or carbon stainless steel blades. This metal is great as it is food-safe, keeps its sharpness well, and is resistant to rust.
Of the two blades, one will often have a serrated edge. These serrations are usually smaller in size than they would on another serrated tool like a bread knife. This will give you more control and better grip when working with slippery materials, like fish or poultry.
As we noted when discussing the different types of kitchen shears, the shape of the blade will depend on the type of shear you are using. However, all good kitchen shears will have two blades joined by a screw or joint that you can loosen to separate the shears.
This is important for proper cleaning and sharpening to extend the life of these tools. In some pairs, you can also use this joint to adjust the tightness or looseness of the shears. If the blades do not separate, then they are not kitchen shears.
Typically, these shear blades will be anywhere from 7” – 9” in length. Again, this can vary with the types of shears, as herb shears can be as small as 3” in length. When shopping for shears, anywhere within the 7”-9” size range should be perfect for the average adult hand.
Blade Pivot Point
As we’ve touched on in the other sections, the pivot point (aka where your two blades meet and are screwed together) is important in kitchen shears. This point is what allows shears to come apart for cleaning and blade sharpening. It is also the joint that gives kitchen shears the strength needed to cut through tough materials like bone.
The placement of this joint matters immensely so your shears can take the force needed to make stronger cuts. Try to look for shears where this joint is close to the blade end and handle.
The handle and grip on kitchen shears are just as important as the handle and grip on any kitchen utensil. Kitchen tools are sharp and dangerous, so you want to ensure your handle offers a firm, non-slip grip to avoid accidents. A firmer grip will also give you more precision in the kitchen if you want to achieve a cleaner, more delicate cut.
A non-slip material like textured plastic, or preferably, rubber, is best here. This will prevent water or oil from making the scissors slippery in your hold. The finger slots are usually equal in size and should fit comfortably in your hand.
Right Handed or Left Handed Shears
As shears are just like craft scissors, you need to buy the pair that works for you! Just like scissors, kitchen shears come in both left-handed and right-handed varieties. Remember to keep a close eye on the product descriptions when shopping if you need left-handed shears specifically.
Most kitchen shears available today come with a ton of additional features. These make kitchen shears the multi-tool of the kitchen, useful for more than just chopping and cutting.
The most commonly included tool is a bottle opener, usually where the joint for the two blades are on the shears. These openers often look like a circle of teeth to help you grab and twist open bottle lids or bend them open at an angle.
These openers can often double as a nut and shell cracker, which you can use for nuts like walnuts and chestnuts. They are also useful for cracking open shellfish such as crab or lobster.
In addition to these tasks, the ability to separate your shear blades for sharpening provides one more benefit. When separated, people often use a single kitchen shear blade as a screwdriver when they need a quick fix. If you need to do some on-the-spot screw maintenance in the middle of cooking in the kitchen, your shears have got you covered.
Kitchen Shear Care
To increase the lifespan of your kitchen shears, all they need is some proper care and maintenance. Taking care of shears is no more different than caring for other kitchen tools, like a chef’s knife or cooking pan.
As with most sharp blade kitchen utensils, they will maintain their sharpness longer when hand washed. Avoid cleaning kitchen shears in the dishwasher when possible to maintain their blade edge. You can also keep them sharp by rubbing them with a small amount of chef’s oil regularly. Try to get at least a drop on the joint/screw to prevent squeaking and keep them cutting smoothly.
The joint on your kitchen shears allows you to separate them into two blades, so you can sharpen them regularly! Remember that for shears, you should only sharpen one edge of the blade. Do not sharpen the serrated edge if one of the blades has one. If the serrated edge does need to be sharpened, it would be best to get it done by a professional knife sharpener.
You can also store your shears in a cloth or a knife block if you want them to stay sharper, longer. Some shears even come with an included sheath to offer blade protection between uses.
Our Top Picks for the Best Kitchen Shears
Now that you have all the intel on what makes for a great pair of kitchen shears, it’s time to shop! These are our picks for the top kitchen shears you can purchase today:
1. Top Recommended Product: OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen and Herbs Scissors
If you’re looking to get the most out of a kitchen shears product, might we recommend these shears from OXO. The OXO Good Grips multi-purpose kitchen shears are perfect for most kitchen slicing.
These kitchen shears have two stainless steel blades that you can separate for easy sharpening and cleaning. They also feature a ton of useful extra features. The teeth between the handles are perfect for use as a bottle opener. There are also small holes on the blade that makes stripping small herbs easy.
2. Best Budget Product: MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Premium Heavy Duty Kitchen Shears and Multi-Purpose Scissors
These shears may have a low price point, but they still have plenty of great features! These shears from MARICO use stainless steel, with one serrated edge for better grip. It also has a ton of other functions outside of clipping and cutting, with a bottle opener that can double as a nut or shell cracker when needed.
3. Best Premium Product: Shun Premium Kitchen Shears
If you’re looking for kitchen shears that are of professional kitchen quality, look no further than these premium shears from Shun. These shears are built to last, made from high-quality Japanese stainless steel. They do any tasks you’d need scissors or shears for, cutting through herbs, meats, and vegetables. The blades also separate at the joint for easy hand washing and sharpening when needed.
4. Best Poultry Shears: OXO Good Grips Spring-Loaded Poultry Shears
If you find yourself regularly cutting whole chickens, whether at home or in a professional kitchen, poultry shears can make a huge difference. We recommend this pair from OXO. These shears featured curved, serrated stainless steel blades that can grip slippery, wet chicken easily.
What makes these shears such a standout is the spring-loaded handle, which adds even more power and force to their cutting abilities. You can cut through tough bones and joints with no problem here. The handles are also made of non-slip silicone, to prevent any kitchen accidents while in use.
5. Best Herb Shears: Herb Scissors Set with 5 Blades and Cover
People who frequently chop fresh herbs know the difference a good pair of herb shears can make. This pair right here would make a great addition to any kitchen. Here you’ll find 5 stainless steel blades, held together by three rivets. These sharp blades can make quick work of any herb cutting needed in the kitchen.
These herb shears also come with a handy brush to make cleaning a breeze! Often with herb shears, bits of herbs can get stuck between the layered blades. With this tool, you can easily and safely clean between the blades, ensuring you waste no produce, and you can clean them properly. It also comes with a cover, for safe storage and better blade protection.
Kitchen Shears FAQ
These are the most frequently asked questions people have about kitchen shears:
What is the difference between scissors and kitchen shears?
The major difference between these two tools, besides their intended uses, comes down to their blades.
Traditional scissors use steel or another metal, are lightweight, have angled blades, and are 6” in size or less. They are joined at their base by a single screw that should not be loosened or come undone.
In comparison, kitchen shears are usually food-safe stainless steel, are larger (7”-9”). And have two individual blades. The joint connecting these blades allows them to be separated so you can sharpen the shears. Kitchen shears also usually feature one serrated blade to slice slippery food materials.
The biggest difference is in the force these tools can exert. Regular scissors cut conventional materials like paper or plastic. In comparison, kitchen shears can exert force strong enough to cut through materials like bone or thicker vegetables. This strength is necessary for the cutting task work in a kitchen.
Can kitchen shears cut through meat?
Yes, they can! Kitchen shears are great for cutting up boneless meats like chicken breasts or skirt steaks and bigger meats like whole chickens. They have the strength to cut through bones easily. There are even poultry shears you can buy to get the best cuts possible when working with chicken.
How do you clean kitchen shears?
To keep your kitchen shears at their sharpest, it’s best to hand wash them with warm water and soap. Dishwashing can work to dull the blades faster.
How do you sharpen kitchen shears?
You can sharpen kitchen shears the same way you would a kitchen knife. You separate the blades and sharpen the edge using a knife sharpener, sharpening rod, or whetstone.
The one thing to note is that you cannot sharpen the serrated edge of your shears. If this edge needs to be sharpened, it’s best to get it done professionally.