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16 Different Types of Scissors

Photo collage of scissors; gardening shears, medical scissors

Quicklist: Types of Scissors

  1. Dressmaker’s Shears
  2. Tailor’s Scissors
  3. Pinking Shears
  4. Buttonhole Scissors
  5. Appliqué Scissors
  6. Embroidery Scissors
  7. Crafting scissors or All purpose scissors
  8. Right and Left-Handed Scissors
  9. Ambidextrous Scissors
  10. Hedge Trimmers
  11. Grass Shears
  12. Pruning Shears
  13. Hair Cutting Shears
  14. Hair Clippers
  15. Bandage Scissors
  16. Trauma Shears

What is the Function of Scissors?

By definition, scissors are any device that is used for cutting materials like paper, cloth, hair, etc. A pair of scissors typically consists of two sharp blades connected in the middle by a screw with two extending levers that act as handles.

The handle has holes to put your fingers through. This essentially is the grip of the scissors.

Scissors are of numerous types, with each type engineered explicitly for the field in which it is intended to be used.

For instance, medical scissors have further subcategories such as surgical scissors, stitch scissors, mayo scissors, etc., and each of these snipping tools is specifically engineered for the particular task they perform.

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Photo of scissors cutting fabric

1. Sewing Scissors

As the name suggests, these scissors are used for sewing purposes. They can be further categorized into specialized scissor types that carry out different precise sewing procedures. Some of these are:

Dressmaker’s ShearsAn old and rusty pair of vintage dressmaker’s shears.

These snipping tools are distinguished by their distinct, sharp, and long blades, which makes them the perfect tool for cutting fabric. The dressmaker’s shears’ blades are tapered, with one blade pointed and the other round and smooth.

The round-edged blade prevents the fabric’s seams and threads from snagging.

The shears also feature a convenient clipping and notching curve point. The blades of these shears are knife-edged. The blade on the top is acute-angled, allowing a more effortless and smoother fabric cutting experience, compared to regular scissors.

The lower blade is set flush on the table’s surface, making cutting through fabric easier and more accurate. The curved handle offers a smooth and comfortable cutting experience across a tabletop or counter.

The ideal length for the dressmaker’s shears is considered to be seven to 10 inches. These shears are also preferred because how they can be used to cut a number of layers at the same time.

Tailor’s ScissorsA pair of large tailor’s scissors with gold handles

Tailor’s scissors are normally smaller and shorter in measurement lengthwise. The most preferred blade size for a pair of tailoring scissors is five inches.

Tailoring scissors are mostly used by quilters, sewers, crafters, and anyone who deals with cutting through heavy, thick fabrics, leather, or multiple fabric layers.

The snipping gadgets feature two thick, razor-sharp blades with precisely ground knife edges, which are able to cut all the way through to the tip. The portability of the scissors makes them handy and convenient to carry around in a compact sewing bag.

Due to their convenience and precision, they are highly popular among beginner sewers and in sewing classes.

Pinking ShearsA pair of razor-sharp pinking shears

Pinking shears are characterized by their unique jagged blades that create a zigzagged, serrated edge while the fabric is being cut.

This snipping tool helps to prevent the fraying or unraveling of the fabric along the ridges. The serrated edges of these shears help provide a better grip for the slippery fabric pieces while they are being cut out.

The curved handle of this scissor design makes it easier to cut on a flat surface like a tabletop or counter.

Pinking shears are essentially scissors whose blades are saw-toothed or serrated, instead of razor-sharp and straight. The shears were designed, by Samuel Briskman in 1931, to avoid fabric fraying along the seams and to create a zigzagged edge for the fabric.

Pinking shears also have a practical function for woven cloth cutting, in that they stop the unfinished edges from fraying by making the edges jagged and preventing the weave from becoming undone.

The sawtooth patterns do not actually stop the fabric from fraying but restrict the length of the free tattered threads, minimizing the damage.

Buttonhole Scissors

A pair of traditional buttonhole scissors is made up of two blades; the top blade has a blunt distal end, and the inside of this blade is relatively flat with tapered cutting edges and an outer edge.

The lower blade has a sharp distal end, and the interior of the blade is tapered. The two blades can slide over each other, with both of the smooth inner surfaces of the blades closing inwards.

Buttonhole scissors also feature a pair of handles with the blades stuck into them; these blades are connected to the handles with a pivot. These scissors are short-bladed, easily adjustable, heavy-duty scissors that are used for opening buttonholes and replacing buttons.

Appliqué Scissors

Appliqué scissors are easily identifiable by their offset handles and unique blades that are shaped like paddles.

The blades help to thrust away the bottom layer of the fabric while cutting for cuts that are more manageable and controlled along the stitching seam.

The shears are engineered to cut and trim in close proximity to the fabric while simultaneously preventing it from being damaged. They are mainly used for decorative appliqué work with fabric or in rug making.

2. Embroidery Scissors A pair of razor-sharp embroidery shears

These are short-sized scissors where the loopholes for the fingers are absent. They also have a fine and sharp tip. Embroidery scissors are designed to get close to the cloth without fraying or damaging it.

The shears have a curved blade to make getting close to the base of the fiber strands (threads) easier. This also ensures that the garment is protected from any damage during the cutting process.

Embroidery scissors are visibly smaller and more delicate than other shears. Appearance-wise, they resemble typical surgical scissors because of their compact size and tip for precision, making them an ideal tool for minuscule snips that are usually required in embroidery work.

They feature especially sharp blades that are able to get in between threads and grasp beads, sequins, etc., with ease.

3. Crafting scissors or All purpose scissorsA pair of razor-sharp black and green colored all-purpose scissors

These scissors feature long blades with sharp and pointed tips and are used for cutting straight, long, and smooth slices in a number of different materials.

The scissors are also used in smaller, restricted areas. In sewing procedures, they are mostly used for non-fabric shearing purposes, such as cutting out patterns from paper.

They are also referred to as crafting scissors. Other than in sewing, they are used in arts and crafts, in kitchens, and for packaging and wrapping purposes.

4. Right and Left-Handed Scissors

Usually, scissors have been designed for right-handed use, while left-handed people struggle with the orientation of scissors.

For the latter, there are specially designed asymmetrical scissors with blades that overlap each other.

The irregular blades are independent of orientation and shape. The top blade forms the same diagonal as that of the right-handed scissors, irrespective of the point of reference.

A human hand is also asymmetric, and when a pair of scissors is closed, the thumb and fingers do not close perpendicularly but instead have a lateral component to the motion.

The thumb thrusts out from the palm, and the fingers are pulled inwards. For right-handed scissors, the thumb blade is closer to the user’s body, left-handed scissors work with the opposite principle.

5. Ambidextrous Scissors

They’re quite rare, but ambidextrous scissors are also available.

These scissors are designed for use by both left and right-handed people because they have symmetric handles, which means there is no difference between the thumb and finger holes.

Other than the symmetrical handles, the shears have strong pivots enabling the blades to only rotate and not move laterally.

6. Gardening Scissors

Hedge Trimmers

A hedge trimmer, also known as a shrub or bush trimmer, is a popular gardening tool. It is a handheld tool meant for trimming, cutting, and snipping hedges, shrubs and bushes.

It comes in different sizes and designs, depending on the size of the hedges that are to be trimmed. They also come in two types, which are manual and powered trimmers.

Grass ShearsWood-handled metallic grass shears

Grass shears are another widely used gardening tool. These are significantly different from pruning shears because of their long handles and perpendicular orientation to the blades.

These are primarily used for cutting grass, lawn maintenance, and grass pruning from an upright position.

The shears come in two different kinds, one with horizontal blades and one with vertically attached blades. Horizontally bladed grass shears are used for removing grass missed by a lawn mower, while grass shears with vertical blades are used for trimming the boundaries of a lawn.

In 1939, a new version of the vertically bladed grass shears was designed, which featured a long-handled lever on the top accompanied by wheels at the bottom of the shears.

This development allowed the gardener to trim the lawn edges of tricky areas, such as sidewalks and driveways as well. Grass shears are not used as much nowadays due to power trimmers.

Pruning Shears

Pruning shears, also referred to as hand pruners, are a type of specialized gardening scissors meant for plants.

The scissors are very strong and are preferred for pruning hard and long tree branches regardless of their length or thickness. They are used to cut branches of up to two centimeters in thickness by gardeners, arboriculturists, farmers, florists and nature conservators.

A newer version are called loopers, which are larger in size and come with two long handles, primarily used for branches thicker than pruning shears can trim.

7. Grooming Scissors 

Hair Cutting ShearsA barber cutting hair with the help of the barber’s shears

Hair-cutting shears are specialized scissors that are particularly designed for hair cutting and trimming. They are also referred to as barber shears, hair shears or hairdressing shears.

The hair-snipping tools are sharper than other scissors and have a smooth and sharp cutting edge.

They come in varying sizes, with five and seven-inch bladed shears being the most widely used ones.

The hair-cutting shears have a distinct appendage, which is identified as either a finger brace or a tang, and this is attached to one of the finger loops, thus giving the hairdresser the added benefit of increased control while trimming a client’s hair.

Hair Clippers

Hair clippers are specialized clippers with razor-sharp blades used for cutting and trimming hair. They have the same working principle as that of scissors but have different shapes and designs.

8. Medical Scissors 

Bandage Scissors

Also known as the nurse’s scissors, these snips are small-sized and short-bladed and come with long handles. Out of the two blades, the top one has a blunt edge, and the bottom one has a sharp and pointed tip.

They have taken up the name “nurse’s scissors” because they traditionally have been used by nurses to cut open a bandage, by slipping them under the dressing, without harming the skin.

Trauma ShearsA picture of a pair of trauma shears that are used for cutting a patient’s clothing for urgent medical cases.

Trauma shears informally referred to as tuff cuts, are a category of scissors that are chiefly used by paramedics, medical practitioners, and other emergency medical personnel to swiftly and carefully cut clothing off injured patients.

The shears have a plastic handle, a long lever arm, and metal blades, with the blades usually bent at an angle of 150 degrees. This orientation of the blades gives them an odd appearance compared to other, more conventional scissors.

The shears feature a wide, blunt tip, which allows the user to slide across the skin, reducing any injury risk to the patient while cutting off their clothing.

Theyare particularly efficient because of their jagged construction, allowing them to pierce through strong fabric like seat belts, denim, leather, and even light metals, as well as other tough surfaces.

They are also widely popular with fishermen, soldiers, and scuba divers as better substitutes for knives.

Top Brands

Scotch

Scotch 8" Multi-Purpose Scissors, 2-Pack, Great for Everyday Use (1428-2)

Source: Amazon

You probably know Scotch for its brand of tape, but this manufacturer also makes a wide range of other office products, including high-quality scissors. The Precision Ultra Edge scissors from Scotch have 8-inch long, titanium-fused stainless steel blades for powerful precision.

The scissors can easily cut through anything, including most paper, fabric, and even thicker photos. Use them for household projects, arts and crafts, schoolwork, and more. Thanks to the sleek and sharp blade, you’ll get precise cutting with a smooth, clean finish for a fantastic finishing touch.

They also feature soft grip handles that make them a lot more comfortable and easy to use. Try these scissors from Scotch for both left- and right-handed users. According to Scotch, each pair is good for over 100,000 cuts, making them a smart investment, too.

Amazon Basics

Amazon Basics Multipurpose, Comfort Grip, PVD coated, Stainless Steel Office Scissors - Pack of 3

Source: Amazon

Amazon Basics is Amazon’s own line of products which includes everything from household goods and clothing to yes—scissors. Try the Amazon Basics Multipurpose Scissors for a comfortable grip and easy cutting.

These handy, multipurpose scissors are affordable and come in either a pack of two or three, depending on your needs. The colorful handles also make them fun to use, and they work great for both right and left-handed use.

The blades are forged from durable and sharp titanium-fused stainless steel that stays sharp for up to 100,000 cuts or more. The soft-grip handles are nice and comfortable, and these scissors make cutting cardboard, fabric, paper, photos, and more a breeze.

According to Amazon, these scissors feature Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coated blades, so they stay sharper for longer, and they’re stronger than stainless steel alone.

Wiss

Wiss - Pro Shear, Heavy Duty, Tradesman, Titanium (CW10TM), multi, one size

Source: Amazon

Wiss makes exceptionally heavy-duty scissors and shears of all kinds. While they may cost more than some other brands, they’re definitely designed for durability and longevity. Take the Wiss Professional Shears, which come in several blade lengths.

These durable shears are coated with titanium, which makes them three times stronger than stainless steel alone. You can use them to cut through virtually anything, and some models are even specially designed to cut through fabric, carpet, upholstery, and heavy drapery.

Look for Wiss shears and scissors on Amazon, at Home Depot, and many other retailers both in-store and online. The precise blades ensure a nice, smooth cut and the adjustable pivot helps you fine-tune any project.

An ergonomic ring design ensures a comfortable grip and easy maneuvering while they’re in your hand. Products from Wiss can help you tackle any home improvement project, whether you need to cut shrubbery and weeds for landscaping, cut upholstery for a special project, or cut through leather, plastic, and cardboard.

Wiss scissors and shears are designed for specific projects, so they’re well worth the investment.

Westcott

Westcott 8" Straight Titanium Bonded Non-Stick Scissors with Adjustable Glide Feature 2 Pack (16550), Grey/Yellow

Source: Amazon

If you have kids at home or you’re just into arts and crafts, then scissors from Westcott are a great choice. These handy scissors come in several pack sizes, including a convenient two, three, and six-pack size.

You can use these to cut through tape, adhesives, Velcro, and other sticky items thanks to their unique non-stick blades (which also make them corrosion-resistant).

The eight-inch blades are crafted of titanium-bonded stainless steel so they’re tough enough to handle all kinds of tasks and Westcott claims they last six times longer than other blades and stay sharper for longer. The soft, ergonomic-grip handle helps to make them comfortable to use for kids and adults alike.

Check out Westcott scissors on Amazon and at many major retailers. They have a nice glide that uses a no-tool adjustable glide technology which Westcott claims offers “optimal cutting performance”.

These scissors are smooth like butter, so there’s less tension when you’re cutting thin materials, and higher tension when you’re cutting thicker materials. They also come with a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty, too.

KitchenAid

KitchenAid All Purpose Shears with Protective Sheath, One Size, Black

Source: Amazon

If you need an all-around good pair of kitchen scissors, give the 8-inch KitchenAid kitchen scissors a try. They’re made of stainless steel with micro-serrations on the blades that help them make tougher cuts through food like meat, eggplant, and even wire.

The soft grip helps to make cutting as comfortable as possible, and they also include a blade guard for safe, secure storage. You can find these awesome scissors from KitchenAid in six different colors.

And what’s more, they’re also able to be washed in the dishwasher for easy, rust-resistant cleaning any time you need to. You can even use them to cut pizza or clip coupons, making them an excellent all-purpose scissor to add to your kitchen tool collection.

Where to Buy

As you can see, scissors have different uses and are made differently for their intended purpose. Although Fiskars comes close to having every scissor one may need, you won’t find scissors of any kind in any place. Including this renowned company.

To help you find what you need, we have searched the market for each type of scissor listed. You can find all-purpose scissors at your grocery, general, dollar, and hardware stores. Children’s safety scissors are readily available in the toy section of stores that have them.

Yet, finding scissors for particular applications may require that you cast your net a little further than the two sites mentioned here. But they are an excellent place to begin your search for the perfect pair of scissors or shears.

If you are looking for another type of scissors, including specialty scissors, you may only find one or two sources, Fiskars being one.

Yet, the Knife Center also have a broad selection of scissors. Both stores have extensive choices that include scissors for hairdressers and barbers.

Also, both companies have scissors for use when cooking, sewing, and working on crafts. Fiskars sells shears for your yard and garden, but they have children’s scissors and scissors designed especially for the job site.

Other scissors are also for sale at Fiskars or the Knife Center. These include applique scissors, embroidery scissors, left-handed scissors, and scissors you can use with either hand. Fiskars and the Knife Center have expansive inventories of scissors and shears and what you need to keep them sharp.

At most local hardware stores, you can buy pruning, grass shears, and hedge trimmers. And, since Fiskars makes excellent tools that work well for their designed needs, you may be able to find them locally. If not, you can order the scissors you want from Fiskars here.

No matter the type of scissors you need, you should be able to find what you need from the Knife Store or Fiskars. These tools improve our lives, from the tiniest scissors used for cutting thread to pruning shears as long as your arm.

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