An overlooked, but essential, part of many kitchens is a good pair of scissors or shears. There’s a lot of them on the market, and for an object as simple as a pair of hinged blades it can often seem quite opaque as to which is really the best.
Instead of picking one out at something of a draw, let us help guide you to making sure that you get the best pair possible.
Best Overall !
If you want a good set of budget shears that will hold up for quite some time if you treat them with respect, this MAIRICO pair might be exactly what you’re looking for.
|MAIRICO Ultra Sharp Premium|
|8-in-1 Multi-Purpose||Stainless Steel|
|Zwilling J.A. Henckels||High Grade Stainless Steel|
|Kershaw Taskmaster||Cutlery Grade Stainless Steel|
|CUTCO Model 77||440A Stainless Steel|
Uses for Kitchen Scissors
While it might not be readily apparent to the amateur cook, a good pair of scissors or shears is an essential part of many kitchens around the world. They’re extremely useful for a variety of tasks and while you can usually make do with a knife there are some tasks which are just a whole lot easier when you’re using scissors.
Trimming Herbs and Vegetables
When it comes to trimming fresh herbs, a knife usually isn’t ideal. Scissors can make short work of both leafy, twiggy herbs like rosemary and thicker leaves like basil without smearing the essential oils across the cutting board.
They’re even handy when it comes time to take them directly off the plant if you have your own herb garden.
While many of us find ourselves just chopping away at smaller peppers like jalapenos and serranos, you can also use a sharp pair of kitchen scissors to cut them into the familiar ring shaped sections. This has the added bonus of keeping your fingers away from the blades.
Naturally, they’ll find a lot of use with heads of lettuce and other vegetables as well if you’re willing to pick out a good pair. There are always going to be things that knives are better at, but the versatility of shears is hard to beat in this department.
Poultry, Fish, and Small Game
There’s a reason that the heavy-duty variations of these useful tools are often called “poultry shears”, they allow you the leverage to go through lighter bones and make short work of cutting up some of the less durable animals that might find their way into our kitchens.
Poultry are, naturally, the most common use. It’s possible to do most of the butchering of a chicken with just a pair of them and it can be hard to get the backbone out using only a knife.
Fish are another good example of an animal that can have its time to the frying pan lessened with a good pair of shears. You can, for instance, remove the head with quite a bit of ease and if they’re fresh caught the back of a pair of scissors blades can also be used for descaling.
And, while they might not see use in every kitchen, smaller animals like rabbits can also have their butchery time greatly lessened by the skillful application of a pair of shears. Obviously you won’t be using them to take apart large animals, but they’re pretty versatile in this area.
Scissors are great for packaging for obvious reasons. Knives can make short work of most packages, of course, but a pair of good kitchen shears will slice apart even the roughest vacuum sealed package without any difficulty on your part.
As long as you keep a good sharpener around they will also make short work of most types of packaging although some of the tougher stuff will definitely dull them.
How to Pick a Pair of Kitchen Scissors
With all of the different pairs on the market and their wildly varying price points it can be hard to know who to trust when it comes time to pick out a pair of kitchen shears.
Unfortunately, a lot of cheap pairs of scissors have made it to the market and are sold as being a great option for kitchens. You can tell them apart pretty easily if you know what to look for, if a pair of kitchen scissors has any of the following properties you’re probably looking at something not worth your money:
- Plastic hinge pins will fall apart with heavy usage
- Hinges which cannot be tightened, which makes the scissors hard to clean and sharpen
- Inferior steel on plastic blades
Any of the above are pretty much a no-go if you’re looking to get a serious pair of shears which will be able to handle heavy duty tasks during your kitchen prep work.
The type of metal is an integral part of your selection.
The vast majority, however, are made of stainless steel which is ideal for a pair of scissors requiring frequent cleaning. If it’s a high-quality steel they won’t need sharpening quite as often, but keep in mind they can be a bit much when it comes time to renew the blades.
Stainless steel comes in a lot of different grades, and frankly some of the lower end steels aren’t quite as stainless as the name would have you believe. Cutlery grade and 440A stainless steel are pretty much the ultimate of the alloys used, while you may still experience rust with the others if you’re not careful to keep them dry.
The one indispensable extra to make sure you have are the plier-like tools in between the handles of almost every decent pair of kitchen scissors. They’re great for opening jars and using as makeshift crackers for things like wall nuts or crab legs.
Other pairs will also have a bottle or can opener integrated, which is a nice touch since it means less time digging in your cabinets to find tools.
Lastly, some will also have a flathead screwdriver integrated into the handle. While not essential, they can be a great aid around the kitchen for things like tightening loose drawers or prying off can lids.
A good pair of kitchen shears is really an essential in most kitchens and if you’re careful in your selection then you should be able to easily find a pair which will last a lifetime with the proper amount of care. If you haven’t invested in a pair yet, you should make it your next cooking priority as once you’ve used the good ones you’ll never want to go back to the old way of doing things again.