Don’t call these bad boys scissors: a serious pair of kitchen shears can—and should—be used for so much more than trimming construction paper or cutting bangs. I reach for mine every time I need to prep a sheet of parchment paper, open a bag of frozen peas, snip a bundle of herbs, trim pie dough, break down a chicken, slice up a pizza, and so much more. And I think you should too. But when it comes to stocking your arsenal, which cutters should make the cut? I test-drove seven of the most well-reviewed and popular kitchen shears on the market to find the absolute best—here’s what I found out:
Best Overall: Oxo Good Grips Kitchen & Herb Scissors
Inexpensive but always effective, these kitchen shears from Oxo distinguished themselves during testing with their simple dependability and the sort of understated user-friendly design that has become a hallmark of the brand. The generously proportioned handles fit comfortably into both big and small hands, and though the grips are not lavishly cushioned, they never left us feeling cramped or pinched. Also, while the Oxo shears were lighter weight than some of the other models I tried, they still felt well-balanced and quality-built.
Combining one conventional blade with one micro-serrated blade that’s designed for tackling really slippery stuff (read: chicken skin), the Oxo shears made quick, clean work of every challenge I threw at them, from trimming parchment paper for baking pans to snipping fine herbs or breaking down a whole chicken.
Of course, if one of the jobs you’re asking your shears to do involves raw poultry, you’re going to want to make sure they’re easy to clean—and on that point, again, the Oxo model passed with flying colors. Sporting a central hinge that opens and unlocks smoothly to easily separate the high-carbon stainless steel blades, these shears are a cinch to dissemble for washing and just as simple to put back together again.
Finally, while our testing extended over only a few days of regular kitchen work, with more than 500 5-star reviews on Amazon, I was encouraged by the wealth of customer testimonials attesting to the Oxos long-term reliability. Not to mention, in the unlikely case that something should go wrong, Oxo’s generous satisfaction guarantee ensures you can always request a replacement pair at no extra cost.
What else can I say—isn’t it time you started snipping?
An Upgrade With Some Extras: Shun Kitchen Shears (Formerly Sold as the Kershaw Taskmaster Shears)
The Oxo multipurpose kitchen shears are a great all-around choice for daily use and an excellent value, but if you’re a serious cook for whom budget isn’t really a concern—or are just the type who gets off on gadgety stuff—you might consider the Shun Kitchen Shears as an upgrade pick.
Here’s why: The Shun kitchen shears excel at all the same tests the Oxos aced—but offer a few more bells and whistles that those more basic shears do not. Namely: a bottle opener, a nutcracker, a jar opener, a flathead screwdriver bit, and a bone-notcher. Basically, the Shun model is the MacGyver of kitchen shears.
Like our overall pick, the Shun Kitchen Shears easily come apart for thorough cleaning. And with handles that are slightly bigger and more cushioned than the Oxos, they also just feel good in the hand and have a hefty build quality that’s impressively substantial without being tiring to hold for long periods. That said, all these extras do come at a price. Ultimately, only you can decide whether your kitchen feels incomplete without a bone-notcher.
How I Tested Kitchen Shears
To crown the best all-purpose shears, I consulted Amazon customer ratings and scanned the results of tests done by other reliable culinary resources (such as America’s Test Kitchen and Wirecutter) before putting six of the best-reviewed pairs through a varied series of kitchen tasks.
To narrow the field from the start, I began with a simple tactile test: I picked up each set of shears and made notes just about the way they felt in my hand. Did the grip handles feel cramped? Did I want more cushioning? Was the weight of the blades balanced? Did the blades move smoothly when I opened and closed them? Did they come apart easily for cleaning? Any shears that felt uncomfortable after just a few minutes of handling were disqualified from further testing.
From there I used the remaining pairs to perform a few routine kitchen jobs—cutting parchment paper to line baking sheets, snipping fine herbs for garnish, and breaking down a whole chicken into parts. In each case I was looking for shears that cut cleanly and smoothly without mangling, tearing, or mashing whatever material they faced. Finally, I washed each set of shears, making notes on the ease of disassembly and cleaning. We also evaluated the following factors.
How did the kitchen shears fit in the hand? Were they comfortable?
Pick up any set of the shears and the first thing you are going to notice is how your fingers fit in the handles. Good shears should have grips that are roomy enough to accommodate all your fingers without feeling cramped and be cushioned enough to support you when taking on tasks like cutting through chicken skin and bones that require putting in a little muscle.
What was the build and quality like?
Lightweight, cheaply built shears might be fine for cutting paper or snipping twine, but chances are that they’ll fall short when it comes to heavier duty jobs like slicing pizza and breaking down poultry.
How well do they multitask?
Good kitchen shears should be true multitaskers, so I looked for those models that performed the widest variety of jobs with precision and ease—and in the case of the Taskmasters, awarded extra points for designs that included other built-in tools.
How easy were the kitchen shears to clean?
Because shears will be called upon to do some truly dirty jobs, it’s essential that they be easy to disassemble, clean, and reassemble. For that reason, while assembling my testing lineup, I decided off the bat to exclude any models that had fixed blades that did not come apart at the hinge.
Other Kitchen Shears I Tested
The Kai Kitchen Scissors are well reviewed on Amazon and scored high marks from many of the other culinary sources I consulted—and during my own tests, those strengths were largely confirmed. With a simple no-frills design and roomy, ergonomically friendly handles, they were a tough challenger to our overall first pick. Ultimately I chose the Oxo model for its slightly lower price and strong customer satisfaction guarantee, but I’d have no reservations also recommending this pair as an alternative.
Before they arrived in my kitchen I was sure I was going to love the Tojiro Pro Kitchen Shears. After all, with their Japanese pedigree, sleek all stainless-steel design, and sexy, vaguely retro silhouette, they just looked like they meant business. But my fantasy was shattered as soon as I held them in hand: they had the teensiest tiniest handles of any of the models I tried and left even my (rather petite!) fingers feeling squeezed and cramped after just a few moments—which disqualified them from further testing.
I found the roomy, rubberized grip of the Sumyth Kitchen Multi Purpose Utility Scissors very comfortable and they performed reasonably well in my tests. But compared to my first picks, the build quality of these shears felt a little flimsy and I was mystified and left scratching my head by some design features—like aggressive serrations on the outer edge of one of the blades. Also, at the time of writing, this model was no longer available on Amazon, indicating that the supply may be irregular and/or difficult to count on.
The Wusthof Kitchen Shears have the strength of the Wusthof name behind them and hundreds of positive Amazon reviews—but after snagging some parchment and struggling with some chicken bones, it was clear they didn’t quite measure up to the rest of the pack. Also, I found the small, firm handles quite uncomfortable—and almost disqualified them for that alone.
For inexpensive-but-effective pair of shears choose Oxo Good Grips Multipurpose Kitchen & Herb Scissors. The handles are comfortable and the shears are lightweight but balanced. For a more luxurious (and expensive) option that offers more bells and whistles—like a bottle opener, a nutcracker, a jar opener, a flathead screwdriver bit, and a bone notcher—choose the Shun Kitchen Shears.
11 Uses for Kitchen Shears
Now that you’re familiar with the best kitchen shears, let’s take a look at some of the ways they come in handy. Here are just a few of our favorite ways to use these versatile kitchen tools.
1. Snip fresh herbs and leafy greens.
The easiest way to pull thyme leaves off their stems is to strip them with your fingers, right? Yeah, well, that rarely works—the tender stem breaks more often than not. Next time, take scissors to the leaves and snip them off the stems. Use scissors to quickly chop pretty much any tender herbs: chives, parsley, basil, whatever. Or use them to cut leafy greens into bite-size pieces for a salad.
2. Break down a chicken and trim off fat.
Sure, you can pick up chicken parts at a butcher or grocery store, but it’s much more cost efficient to buy a whole chicken and butcher it yourself. Using kitchen shears (which, fittingly, are also known as poultry shears) to cut through the meat and joints of the bird is not only easier than using a knife, it’s much safer. Then use the shears to trim away any unwanted fat.
3. Cut pizza, focaccia, and more.
If you’ve ever visited Rome and sampled the city’s popular popular pizza al taglio, which is sold in rectangular or square slices by weight, then you’ve had a pair of scissors-sliced pizza before. Who says you can’t slice your pie at home with them, too? Shears are also perfect for cutting focaccia or a gooey quesadilla.
4. Turn a can of whole tomatoes into chopped tomatoes.
The last time I tried to break up whole canned tomatoes with my hands juice squirted in all directions, resulting in a stained shirt and a late-night run out for stain remover. Don’t do what I did. Instead, put the sharp blades of kitchen shears right into the open can and chop up the tomatoes before you empty the can.
5. Slice bacon into lardons.
Lardons are a fancy French word for bacon cut into small, matchstick-size strips. Go old school in a classic French salad Lyonnaise or new school in a kale and Brussels sprouts salad. The same goes for pancetta, or use your shears to cut prosciutto into strips for pasta.
6. Trim off vegetable ends.
Use kitchen shears to ease your vegetable prep: snip of the ends of green beans, stalky asparagus stems, and the sharp pointed ends of artichoke leaves.
7. Make tortilla chips.
8. Cut up dried fruit.
Dried figs, apricots, and prunes can be a gooey nightmare to cut up with chef’s knives—kitchen shears eliminate all of that.
9. Shredding lettuce and cabbage.
No surprise here. Slicing up lettuce or cabbage for a slaw is easy breezy with shears.
10. Carving a turkey.
Kitchen shears aren’t just for chicken, of course. They’re also great for cutting through joints or getting a better angle on a large, unwieldy bird at Thanksgiving.
11. Cleaning shrimp.
You can blast right through the shell with a high-quality pair of kitchen shears.