Whether you are a professional or do-it-yourself barber, a pair of quality shears can greatly improve the final results of a haircut.
In this review and guide, we will be taking a look at all the best hair cutting shears – such as the Kinsaro Professional Hair Shears.
Furthermore, we will also share with you important considerations to think about when buying shears, a few accessories you will want to consider, along with answering a list of frequently asked questions.
Table of Contents
How to Buy Hair Cutting Shears
When buying hair cutting scissors, you will want to keep the following in mind:
When buying hair cutting shears, you will often see two different measurements: the total size or length of the shears along with the length of the cutting blade.
Total shear length
The standard shear size used by barbers is between 5″ and 6″ (source). Should you have larger hands, then you will want to start with a shear that is 6.5″ in length. Buying the right shear length is important as it allows for increased comfort, prevents hand fatigue, ultimately resulting in a better cutting motion range.
Blade cutting length
Most barbers will have two shears that they rely on: a short and long shear. A short shear, typically having a 1.5″ to 2.0″ blade length, can comfortably navigate tight and detailed areas, particularly around the ear and neck area.
Conversely, longer shears, typically with a blade cutting length around 2.5″, are used for cutting large amounts of hair. These shears can cut through both wet and thick hair with ease given the increased leverage.
2. Type of Shears
Whether you are an experienced barber or a do-it-yourself semi-professional, you will find that three types of shears play an essential role in a great haircut:
- Cutting shears / straight shears
- Thinning shears
- Blending shears
Here’s how they differ:
- Straight shear
When most think of barber shears, they are thinking of straight shears. Used to alter the length of hair, straight shears rely on two hard blades that can cut through hair effortlessly.
- Thinning shear
From a comb and straight blade, thinning shears are used to remove bulk from a hairstyle, particularly for those with really thick hair. Thinning shears aren’t used for length alteration. The teeth on thinning shears are narrow set.
- Blending shear / Texturing shears
Similar in design to thinning shears, blending shears are used to remove just a small amount of hair and to provide layering texture. Blending shears feature wider set teeth – which removes substantially more hair paired with a blunt blade.
The composition of the cutting blade is important when buying shears.
- Stainless and carbon steel
You will find that all quality shears will rely on either carbon steel or stainless steel. Carbon steel is harder, resulting in a significantly sharper blade. However, carbon steel is susceptible to corrosion and must be dried off if it becomes wet. Stainless steel will not rust or corrode and is preferred by barbers for daily use.
Countries such as Germany, Japan, and the United States are renowned for their precision engineering. For instance, Japanese stainless steel will be more predictable in its cutting strength even when slicing through thick and wet hair. There are also many proprietary blends such as those from Japanese Hitachi Steel, 440A, 440C, J2 420, etc.
- Cobalt alloy
Made from a mixture of cobalt and chromium (source), cobalt alloy has some corrosion-resistant properties, and is often used for medical implants. When used for shears, cobalt alloy isn’t as strong as stainless steel but is oftentimes cheaper. Another variant on cobalt which is often used is cobalt molybdenum (learn more about this metal here).
4. Handle & Grip
When reviewing shears, you will find that the handles and grips can vary. Here are the key differences:
Shear handles come in the following varieties:
- Crane handle
One of the most ergonomic handles available, the crane handle features a curved grip. This allows you to drop your wrist and shoulder, which results in lower arm fatigue.
- Offset handle
The most popular hair shear handle is the offset handle. This straight body design coupled with a short thumb handle allows your ring finger and thumb to be more open when cutting. You must raise your elbow while cutting.
- Opposing Grip / Straight Handle
Designed for the middle finger and thumb use, the straight handle is an old design and no longer used by barbers. This design causes your hands and shoulder to tire quickly.
Shear Thumb Grip Design
Here’s how the following thumb grips differ from one another:
- Thumb ring design
Your thumb is responsible for applying force when cutting hair. To prevent fatigue, stress, and carpal tunnel of your hand, buying shears with a proper thumb handle is important. Currently, there are four types of thumb handles made:
- Flat (standard)
A flat or standard thumb ring is the oldest and least comfortable. However, it can work surprisingly well for lefties.
Cut-away and bent allows for your thumb to rest at a natural angle and is significantly more comfortable.
A swivel thumb ring is the most comfortable as it moves with your thumb, allowing for natural movement and will prevent both fatigue and stress, which can become increasingly noticeable for barbers who work for extended periods.
- Removable finger insert
If you have smaller or thinner hands, finger inserts can be added or removed for shears. This will close the gap within the handle allowing for greater comfort and control. These may also be referred to as a rubber gasket.
5. Blade Types
There are three blade types found in shears: beveled, serrated, and convex.
- Beveled edges
The most popular and modestly priced blade will be beveled edges. This blade design is sharp but requires more force per stroke. This can lead to hand and thumb fatigue if used daily for extended periods. This shear isn’t the best for hairstyles that require advanced cutting techniques.
- Serrated & corrugated edges
The cheapest blade for shears will be serrated or corrugated edge blades. Designed to prevent hair slippage, they guide hair into the blades with the unique comb design.
- Convex edges
For advanced hair cutting techniques and details, there is no beating a super sharp convex edge. The sharper angle on these shears allows for a close cut. This blade type requires more craftsmanship which results in a higher price point.
6. Scissor Tension
The tension system used within shears varies from a simple screw to a more complex ball bearing system. Here are the popular options available:
- Dial-Spring / Leaf Spring Tension
Able to be adjusted in increments, the dial-spring tension allows you to fine-tune without reliance on specialty tools or oil. With built-in resistance, this tension system allows for even wear on the blades which can prolong the life of the shears.
- Tension Screw / Simple Screw
Tightened and loosened with a flat head screwdriver, the tension screw or simple screw is oldest in design and reliable.
- Ball Bearing
Adjustable tension screws and springs will eventually wear out. A ball bearing screw-on shear doesn’t rely on a washer and has a much smoother cutting motion. A shear with a ball bearing tension system can oftentimes cost several hundred dollars.
Larger and trusted brands have not only proven themselves in the marketplace but also often deliver a quality product that has been tested. Furthermore, many large brands offer a lifetime warranty on their products.
Based on our research we found the following shear brands to be among the most respected among professional barbers:
- Aerolite Scissors
- B.W. Shears
- Equinox Professional
The price of shears can vary from $10 to $500 depending on the quality of steel, thumb design, tension system, and more. If you are a professional barber, it may be worth paying extra as comfort and performance will be important.
For home do-it-yourself barbers, then a cheaper pair of shears under $50 should suffice for the occasional haircut.
The Best Hair Cutting Shears of 2020 Reviewed
- Japanese steel 440C convex blades
- Easily cut hair both thick and thin
- Made for professional hairstylists
Anyone looking for a salon-quality shear at a home friendly price.
When it comes to quality and performance, there is no beating the Kinsarol 6″ professional hair cutting shears. Relying on tough and sharp 440C Japanese Stainless steel blades, they will easily last for years without degrading in performance.
The extremely sharp convex blade provides precision when cutting complex hairstyles and won’t dull nearly as quickly when compared to other blades. Designed for professional barbers but priced friendly for home use, these shears provide terrific value – even giving the best Japanese hair shears a run for their money.
Whether you are cutting several heads of hair or just one, you will find that the ergonomic crane handle won’t get in the way of your natural hand movement. This comfortable handle will reduce fatigue when used for extended periods. With a 6.69″ long body coupled with a 2.52″ cutting blade, it will work great for men with medium to larger sized hands.
The longer body provides greater leverage allowing you to effortlessly cut through both thick and wet hair.
The simple CNC screw can be easily adjusted with a flat head screwdriver or penny to adjust the tension accordingly.
- Quality steel blades make cutting effortless
- Comfortable finger rest
- Classic tension system
- Doesn’t include a storage case
What You Need To Know
- Scissors cut hair easily thanks to the quality steel
- Easy to use for home barbers
- Adjustment screw provides tension tuning
Anyone looking for a cheap but really good pair of shears made from Japanese stainless steel.
A pair of good hair shears shouldn’t have to cost an arm and a leg – especially for home use. When it comes to cheap shears, all too often you have to compromise on many components, such as the tension system, grip, and blade quality. When looking for the best hair shears under $100, we found the Equinox International Professional Razor Edge Series shears to be the best.
With a sweeping offset ergonomic design coupled with a finger rest, these premium shears made from Japanese stainless steel will be comfortable to hold. While the weight is a bit hefty at 4.8 ounces, if you aren’t holding these all day, then it shouldn’t cause any sort of fatigue.
At 6.5″ in total body length, these shears provide leverage when cutting hair both thick and thin. Of course, some difficulty is expected when working the details and would be better served with a smaller pair of shears.
Perhaps the biggest selling point to these shears when compared to others at a similar price point will be the tension screw. Should you be cutting thin or thick hair, you can easily give the tension screw a slight turn to make cutting easier.
Unlike premium brands, these hair shears by Equinox do not come with any sort of warranty. While our research doesn’t show any evidence that these will break after a few uses, do know that this is a risk – especially if you are one that files warranty claims regularly.
- Sharp blades thanks to quality Japanese steel
- Performs great on both wet and dry hair
- Designed to last a long time
- Professional hair cutting shears at an affordable price
- No warranty
- No cleaning cloth or storage case
- Large body tough for side cutting
What You Need To Know
- The comfort-friendly design makes it beloved by professional barbers
- Easily adjustable knob for any client’s hair type
- Swivel shears can be used for a variety of techniques
Professional hairstylists are looking for shears that deliver both comfort and performance.
When it comes to reviewing professional hair shears, there are several options – however, we found that the Cricket Centrix Roc-it Dog Rs-600 was one that stood above many. With a pivoting thumb, this professional salon shear can be used for a variety of techniques and cuts which include slide cutting, channel cutting, and chip cutting (source).
Made for professional barbers, the Cricket Rs-600 has a razor-sharp convex blade edge that won’t cause any sort of strain in your hands when the days grow long. To allow for full shoulder and wrist movement, these shears also feature an Ero offset handle that is designed to reduce wrist and hand fatigue.
All the design details found within these shears means that you can focus on the cutting experience rather than trying to ease pain or discomfort in your hands.
To take measures a step further, the Rs-600’s also has a removable finger rest for personal preference. As is standard across shears of this quality, you will find the tension knob is easy to fine tune so you can easily adjust for a client’s particular hair type.
Comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee and returns are accepted within 30 days for a full refund.
- Trusted brand by professionals delivers a knock-out product
- Razor-sharp convex edge
- Ergonomic design
- Easily adjustable tension
- Expensive (but worth it)
What You Need To Know
- Razor-sharp cutting edge is micro-serrated
- Perfect hair scissors for beginner barbers
- Finger rings included
Any barbers looking for hair cutting shears that will feel great on your fingers.
For barbers just starting out that want a quality shear, there perhaps is a no better option than the Kissaki 6″ hair scissors. While most barbers may not care to know that the blade on the Kissaki has been tempered to an optimal 60-61 Rockwell Hardness rating, those that do, like you, will find that it can expertly deliver a crisp and straight cut with every stroke, thanks to the Japanese 440C stainless steel and hollow ground blades.
To ensure that this blade performs its absolute best, the folks at Kissaki have triple honed the blade at the factory so when it arrives at your shop, you will be ready to go – no extra sharpening will be necessary.
If that weren’t enough, which we don’t know how it couldn’t be, Kissaki smartly offers a swivel thumb that allows your hands to rest in their natural position for comfort.
Whether your hands are large or slightly slender, the finger inserts are included with these shears which allow for a close yet comfortable grip.
When you are using these shears for hair cutting, you can store them in a specially designed shear case that also includes both lubricant and a leather cleaning cloth.
Unlike so many small brands that are out to make a quick buck, Kissaki stands by their product. They set the standard by offering a best-in-class lifetime warranty that covers the parts, materials, and workmanship.
- Japanese Hitachi SUS 440C stainless steel will last for years
- Triple honed blade
- Rubber finger ring provides a comfortable grip
What You Need To Know
- The company is known for unmatched sharpness
- Different length scissors available
- Great to use for non-technical hair cutting
- Perfect scissors for hairdressers that are constantly busy
Salons that see heavy foot traffic and don’t want to worry about sharpening blades.
One of the biggest downsides to many of the professional hair shears reviewed is that they require regular sharpening to perform their best. If shears aren’t sharpened regularly, they will not only perform poorly, but they apply blunt force to the delicate hair follicles which, in some cases, may result in split ends and a disappointed client.
If you don’t like the maintenance of sharpening your blades regularly, then the Feather No. 75 Switch-Blade Shear is a match made in heaven. Regular readers to the site have probably heard of Feather before as we recently found them to make one of the sharpest razor blades on the market.
Carrying that same quality craftsmanship to the switch-blade shear, you get an ice-tempered blade that is made from Swedish surgical steel that is also backed by a lifetime guarantee.
Replacement blades are available at large online marketplaces like Amazon for a fairly affordable price.
With a straight handle and a comfortable finger rest, these will work great for lefties.
Of course, this handle design does have its limitations when it comes to hairstyling and may cause discomfort in both the shoulder and wrist for salon workers who are putting in long shifts.
Available in different types of lengths, you can find the perfect shear for either detail or heavy-duty cutting.
- Available in several blade lengths
- Doesn’t require regular sharpening
- High peer reviews
- Sharp blades allow for clean cuts
- Limited mobility may cause soreness in muscles
- The package is no-frills – doesn’t include a zipper case or cloth
What You Need To Know
- Slick mirror finish
- Shears come with a storage case
- Sharp edges for easy cutting
Anyone looking for better cutting tools for home use.
If you are a do-it-yourself home barber who is just looking for a sharp edge and a relatively comfortable grip, then the JW Professional Shears Razor Edge Series can be a great pair to go with.
While these shears don’t feature pure Japanese stainless steel like other shears reviewed, instead JW relies on what they call Japan CR9 steel. While we couldn’t find any independent industry journal referencing this variety (not even a Wikipedia citation), our best guess is that it’s a standard steel blend that should still resist regular wear and tear.
While not intended to be an everyday pair of barber scissors, the cutting edges on the convex blade should make cutting any hair type rather easy.
With adjustable finger holes, these shears should have no problem fitting men and women.
For those that like to protect their shears between haircuts, the addition of a zipper shear case is included.
- Should have no problem cutting through thick hair
- Adjustable finger holes prevent accidental injuries
- Top choice for home hair cutting
- Metal not made for heavy usage
- Couldn’t find published specs about CR9
What You Need To Know
- Tension adjustment screw
- Removable finger inserts
- Balanced length and weight
- Reasonably priced
Anyone looking for a good pair of hairdressing scissors that are under $20 yet relies on good stainless steel.
For home use and practice, the Utopia Care Professional Hair Cutting Scissors are a match made in heaven. Made from a high quality Japanese stainless steel body, these shears will slice through any type of hair thanks to the razor edge on either blade.
With a 6.5″ long body and a 2.5″ long cutting blades, these shears can work for most techniques and hand sizes. Now if your hands are a bit smaller, you do not need to make any compromises. Utopia Care includes two rubber finger inserts for greater comfort.
A specialty maker in a variety of grooming and hair styling tools, they are trusted by both professional hairstylists and individuals.
While a tension adjustment screw is often only found on the best shears made for professionals, you will be happy to learn that Utopia Care brought over this premium feature at such an affordable price. With a small turn of the knob, you can fine-tune the tension and get much better results.
Outside of our own research, several novice hair stylists found these shears to provide reliably clean cuts on both wet and dry hair, along with being quite comfortable to work with.
- The grip should provide comfort for your elbow and wrist
- Blades are razor-sharp
- Received strong reviews from amateur hair stylists
- One of the best professional hair cutting scissors for the money
- Blades are a little long for detailed trimming
- Doesn’t come with a bag or case
What You Need To Know
- Japanese stainless steel blades
- Designed to last a very long time
- Removable finger inserts allow for easy sizing
Those looking for scissors to cut hair both effortlessly and reliably.
Relying on Hitachi ATS-314 blades, these shears by the Aerolite Scissor Company are incredibly sharp and rigid – easily making them one of the best hair cutting scissors currently available. Able to last for years, these blades resist dulling even when cutting the thickest of hair.
If you are in search of shears that provide all-day comfort, then these will be the perfect pair for you. Not only do they feature an offset grip, but they also come with a swivel handle that allows for your hand to work in its natural state. We think these shears will work well for professional barbers given their unique design.
Typically found in shears that cost over $500, the Swiss ball-bearing found in these shears is a game-changer.
Rather than having to worry about fine-tuning the tension for each client, the ball bearing joint on these shears will cut through hair like butter.
- Sharp razor edge thanks to Hitachi ATS-314 stainless steel
- Comes with a lifetime warranty
- Swivel handle makes this one of the most comfortable hair cutting scissors
- Not designed for left-handed use
What You Need To Know
- Made from Japanese 440C stainless steel
- Designed for professional hair stylists
- Thinning scissors are effective at reducing volume
Anyone looking to upgrade to a pair of professional hair shears and thinning shears that perform exceedingly well.
What separates a good haircut from a great haircut is when the right tools are used to their fullest potential. Unfortunately, so many barbershops concentrate on getting people through quickly and will only rely on scissors – it’s no wonder that their rebook rate is much lower.
Using a combination of scissors and thinning shears during your work, will not only allow for better control, but the results will speak for themselves. With satisfied clients, you will increase your foot traffic and ultimately your bottom line.
Relying on super sharp Japanese stainless steel (440C), these hair cutting shears won’t dull nearly as quickly as some of the cheaper brands out there.
Furthermore, both the shears and thinning shears come with a precision adjustment screw and an offset handle. This allows you to fine-tune the shears to your personal preference when cutting for extended periods.
But what really sets these shears apart from the many other options we reviewed are the extras. For starters, Eagle Sharp offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t satisfied with their performance.
Secondly, Eagle Sharp also includes a fine leather case for safe storage.
- Make no mistake, these are professional shears and will provide great results
- Japanese steel is simply best in class
- Great hair cutting set
- Perfect blade alignment
- May become uncomfortable after a very long time
What You Need To Know
- Hair cutting shears come with a thinning shear
- Made from Japanese stainless steel
- Balanced 20-25% thinning rate
- Finger handle larger than thumb handle to increase comfort
Great cutting shear that can easily work well for a professional barber.
These hair cutting scissors and thinning shears by ULG are a perfect pick for both home and professional use. While the modest price tag will definitely get your attention, so too will the quality craftsmanship.
Made from 100% Japanese stainless steel and hand sharpened and honed to a razor-sharp edge, these hair scissors will make cutting hair both effortless and efficient.
The offset grip comes with a finger rest that allows you to provide additional leverage.
If the cutting shears weren’t good enough, included in this set is a pair of well-made thinning scissors. With a moderate thinning rate of 20-25% (30 teeth on the blade), you can easily add layers and texturize hair to create the perfect style.
Now if you are uncertain about buying these, especially given that ULG is a relatively new brand in the hair care world, you will be happy to learn that these hair cutting scissors and thinning shears are backed with a 12-month warranty.
Furthermore, ULG also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee if you find these just aren’t right for you (we don’t think that will be the case though).
- Quality steel provides a sharp razor edge
- Included thinning scissors allow you to add layers and texture
- Scissors come with a warranty
- Relatively new brand
What You Need To Know
4 Must-Have Accessories for Hair Cutting Shears
When buying shears, here are a few other items you should also consider buying:
Every professional barber should have a powerful hair dryer at the ready. An indispensable tool within barbershops, a hair dryer can help lock the style and simply deliver great results. Of course, if you aren’t a professional barber, simply upgrading to a powerful hair dryer for home use is always a good move. It’s an easy way to make your hair look its best every single day.
When shears aren’t being used, with the blades exposed they can be susceptible to damage and injury. To prevent any damage to the razor edge, we recommend that all hair cutting shears to be stored in a case when not used. You don’t have to go fancy here, even a simple case is better than nothing. A case is also great for a hair stylist that makes house visits.
Hair Comb / Grooming Comb
Whether it’s used for styling or in tandem with your favorite cutting tool, a quality hair comb provides control. Hair combs can be made from many different materials. If you are uncertain which one to go with, be sure to check out our full review of hair combs here.
Whetstone / Sharpening Stone
When it comes to sharpening a pair of scissors, many professional hair cutting salons will send out their scissors to shops that specialize in sharpening such tools. However, if you don’t want to wait for several days and like to do things yourself, then you may want to consider buying a whetstone. Used in sharpening all sorts of edges including razor blades, knives, etc. a whetstone is both effective and reliable. If you are unsure how to use one, we recommend checking out YouTube as there are a ton of great tutorials.
Hair Shears FAQs
Here are several common questions readers had when buying hair shears:
How do I adjust the tension on hair scissors?
Depending on the mechanism involved (i.e. tension, simple screw, etc.), to adjust the tension on shears you want to tighten or loosen the center screw until the scissors feel good when both opening and closing.
Shears that are too loose will cause the hair to bend rather than cut when the blades are closed. Shears that are too tight will dull quickly and require more force to close. Some stylists will adjust the tension depending on the client’s hair thickness.
How do I choose the right pair of scissors?
Choosing hair cutting scissors depends on features, budget, and intended use. If you are a professional stylist giving haircuts to customers all day long, then a sharp blade and proper grip can make a large impact on your comfort and performance. However, home-based barbers can likely get away with an affordable shear without all the extra features found in premium barber scissors.
How often should I lubricate a hair shear?
Most experts recommend that you should lubricate the pivot point of shears once weekly.
How often should I sharpen hair shears?
Most shears only need to be sharpened once a year. Shears made of poorer quality steel that dull easily may require more frequent sharpenings. Furthermore, shears that have a tension that is set too tight may also require more sharpenings.
Where can I get shears sharpened?
There may be some local businesses that offer sharpening services. Before handing over a $500 pair of shears, ask them if they are experienced in sharpening such tools. If you aren’t comfortable with their answer, there are many mail-in shear sharpening services such as Sharpen By Mail, Custom Sharpening, and Groomers Best Friend (Reader beware: we haven’t personally used any of these services).
Does it matter what kind of scissors you cut your hair with?
The type of scissors you use to cut hair will make a noticeable impact on results. Professional shears are much thinner and made from higher quality steel which can lead to a better and reliable cut on hair.
Why are barber shears so expensive?
Barber shears are expensive because they require a much higher level of craftsmanship when compared to standard scissors. From an ergonomic grip to specially honed blades, a lot of work goes into making a quality pair of barber shears.
What hair cutting scissors do professional hairdressers use?
Professional hairdressers use different scissors depending on the type of hairstyle they are trying to cut. Different shear lengths are intended for different cuts. Generally, professional hairdressers use shears with grips that allow for comfort as they are cutting for several hours a day, along with Japanese stainless steel blades that don’t dull as easily when compared to standard scissors.
Can you bring hair cutting scissors on a plane?
According to the TSA, you can bring cutting shears on a plane only if they are less than 4″ long from the pivot point.
Can you trim a beard with scissors?
When you grow a longer beard, it is recommended that you use shears instead of a beard trimmer for greater control. In addition to better control, using shears on your facial hair will prevent split ends from occurring.
Our Criteria for Choosing the Best Shears
To find the best hair shear in 2020, you can’t just simply find one with the most features, a comfortable grip, or the sharpest blades, instead, it’s about striking a fine balance between all the key features along with the overall performance and price.
After careful review of shears from some of the leading brands available, we are confident that our guide above represents one of the most comprehensive lists of reviews currently available. We hope that the information contained with this guide helps you find the perfect shears to meet your needs.
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