The 6 Best Kitchen Shears for Prepping Anything, According to Chefs

For a multipurpose pair, we recommend the OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb Scissors.

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Best Kitchen Shears

Food & Wine / Jaclyn Mastropasqua

Home cooks and chefs alike will try anything to make food prep easier. The one tool that many chefs may be overlooking? Kitchen shears. When used and cared for correctly, they are surprisingly sharp and useful in any sort of cooking scenario from slicing pizza and chopping herbs to cutting through those particularly strong bones. Basically, they are the only thing that can make a sheet pan meal even easier.

The trick, of course, is finding the right pair for the job. “Kitchen shears are different from all-purpose scissors in a few ways. Kitchen shears are built to be sturdier than your normal scissor. This will allow them to withstand cutting through meats, bone, and woody herbs such as rosemary,” says Chef Michelle Wallace of Gatlin’s BBQ in Houston. Some shears have differing blade lengths and handle designs, which makes them more geared toward herbs or lobster claws, for example. “This allows for good leverage and the ability to maneuver through products with greater ease,” she says. 

All of this considered, we selected the OXO Good Grips Kitchen and Herb Scissors as the best overall option. Read on to learn why, and for our full list of the best kitchen shears for cutting bones, shells, herbs, and more.

Best Overall

OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors

5
OXO Good Grips Multi-Purpose Kitchen and Herbs Scissors

Amazon

Pros: They’re lightweight, sharp, and very easy to use. 

Cons: The non-serrated blade will need to be professionally sharpened. 

Nothing beats an inexpensive and effective tool for preparing everything from meat to veggies to herbs. Made of stainless steel, the blades are sharp and durable. The serrated side helps prevent food from slipping, while the extra-wide handles leave room to get an extra grip for harder-to-cut items. The handles are cushioned to absorb pressure for use with tougher foods like cartilage and the occasional bone. They are easy to disassemble for cleaning, which is especially after processing meat.

Price at time of publish: $20

  • Length: 8.75 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best Value

KitchenAid All Purpose Shears

KitchenAid All Purpose Shears

Amazon

Pros: They come with a guard to protect the blades in storage.

Cons: It may be difficult to sharpen these blades due to the very small serrations on the outside of the knife.

These stainless steel shears are surprisingly heavy-duty for a low price tag. Grip-enhancing micro-serrations on the outside of the blade make cutting feel sturdy. While the handles are comfortable and easy to clean. An added blade guard helps keep this simple yet effective tool safe and sound before and after every use. 

Price at time of publish: $9

  • Length: 8.72 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best for Splurge

Shun Multi Purpose Shears

Shun Multi Purpose Shears

Amazon

Pros: The non-slip grip on the handles make them comfortable to use, and the blade is very sharp. 

Cons: They’re larger than other shears, which can make them feel clumsy to use.

Shun is renowned for its sharp, durable knives, handcrafted from Japanese steel, and the blades of these shears feature the same attention to detail that professional kitchens expect. Indeed, Japanese steel is known for its durability and capacity for staying sharp through multiple uses. An added notch in the inside of the blade fits small bones or even floral arrangements. The handle is non-stick and comfortable while the blades are easy to separate to clean. 

Price at time of publish: $85

  • Length: 8 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best for Poultry

Tansung Poultry Shears

 TANSUNG Poultry Shears, Come-apart Kitchen Scissors

Amazon

Pros: A powerful spring-loaded option for all sorts of poultry needs.

Cons: The blades don’t separate so hand-wash carefully and then dry fully with a towel to prevent the blades from rusting. The spring should be oiled every few weeks.

When it comes to preparing chicken, or meat in general, the more power the better. This Tansung model has a three-mode lock design, which makes using it that much easier. A spring-loaded mode is perfect for heavy-duty cutting, while a lock mode allows you to safely store this powerful kitchen tool. The blades are made from stainless steel and retain a sharper edge and are resistant to corrosion or rust. The third mode allows you to detach the spring for easy and efficient cleaning. 

Price at time of publish: $20

  • Length: 9.5 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes, when spring is detached

Best for Seafood/Shells

Roederer Seafood Scissors

Roederer Seafood Scissors

Amazon

Pros: The unique curved blades work well with shells.

Cons: They're not as versatile as other kitchen shears.

While cutting through poultry, meat, and bones can be challenging, de-shelling seafood is another matter. The curved shape and sharp bits poking out of crab and lobster shells require shears that are up to the challenge. These seafood scissors come in a set of two with a unique design like an arc to gently snip away the shells while leaving the delicate meat intact. A serrated design makes the blades slip-resistant, and they even come in various sizes perfect for whatever seafood you’re ready to enjoy. Plus, the price justifies buying a pair of shears just for seafood.

Price at time of publish: $8

  • Length: 7.28 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Best for Herbs

Jenaluca Herb Scissors Set

Jenaluca Herb Scissors Set

Amazon

Pros: These shears open and close quickly and efficiently.

Cons: The blades do not detach.

Looking for a way to make herb prep easier? These herb-specific scissors are great for snipping everything from chives to parsley with very little cleanup. No need for a cutting board – just hold the shears over a bowl and the 10 blades will get to work. While the blades are made of sharpened stainless steel, herb scissors are a great way to include kids in meal prepping. This pair comes with an herb comb and cover to help clear the blades and cover them for storage. 

Price at time of publish: $20

  • Length: 7.75 inches
  • Dishwasher Safe: Yes

Factors to Consider

Multipurpose vs. Single Task

Kitchen shears can be used for just about anything, but some models are better at certain tasks. Spring-loaded shears have extra power but may be a bit much for chopping herbs, while a more traditional pair of scissors with a bolted hinge intact isn’t ideal for meat preparation. Think about what you will use them for the most before purchasing, and be aware that liquids will rust even carefully treated stainless steel blades. 

Handle Comfort

The sad truth is that many kitchen shears have flimsy handles. The most powerful knives on the market include a small piece of metal called the tang that extends from the blade itself to offer extra support when cutting through tough foods. If you do a lot of preparing meat or cutting through bones, make sure the handles are reinforced and comfortable. Larger handles are helpful as well, making trickier jobs easier by allowing more room for your hand to grip. 

Left-handed people beware: not all shears will work out. In general, scissors are made for right-handed users and will say when made for left-handed people. Shears, however, can work for both right and left-handed people if the hinge fits properly and they are well made. Test out any new pair before purchasing whenever possible. 

Care and Cleaning

To ensure the longevity of kitchen shears, rinse soon after use to remove any food, and never use abrasive detergents or sponges. While kitchen shears are dishwasher safe in general, repetitive cycles in a hot dishwasher can warp or damage the blades. Be sure to disassemble the parts before washing and always dry thoroughly before storing to prevent rust or corrosion.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is the difference between kitchen shears and scissors?

    Kitchen shears are made of thicker metal and are sturdier than scissors. You can also take apart shears for easy cleaning and sharpening, according to Chef Dawn Burrell, a former Top Chef contestant.

  • How do you sharpen kitchen shears?

    “I use shears with one serrated blade that are very heavy duty. I take the shears apart and sharpen the flat beveled blade like I would any other knife. I recommend that serrated knives and blades are sharpened by professionals,” says Burrell.


    “I use my sharpening stone to keep the edge that I need for my shears,” says Wallace. “A few passes on the coarse side of the stone and then a few passes on the fine side will get them back where they need to be. Sharpening my shears tends to be a bit easier than sharpening my knives, as I can see the bevel better on my shear than on my knife.  A couple of times a year, I will also take them to a professional sharpener to help maintain them and keep their edges pristine.”

  • How should you clean kitchen shears?

    For easy cleaning, purchase a pair of that you can disassemble, according to Wallace. “I thoroughly clean my shears immediately after every use using hot soapy water, making sure to scrub down every bit the blade and handles. The most important part of the cleaning is making sure that the shears are dry before putting them away. Where there is moisture, there will be bacteria,” she says.


    When washing and drying shears, be as cautious as you would with a sharp steel blade, according to Burrell. Another maintenance tip: “The joint can also be treated with a drop of oil to ensure that it keeps moving smoothly,” she says.

  • What is the hole in some kitchen shears for?

    “The hole in the center of the shears is multifunctional,” says Wallace, adding that two common functions are cracking shelled nuts and opening jars. “I've used it to crack lobster and crab shells and to pull greens off a stem. In a pinch I may even squeeze a lime or lemon with it. I fully support using it however it can assist you in your kitchen.”

  • Do you use different shears for meat and vegetables?

    The answer depends on personal preference. “I personally don’t use shears for vegetables, but if I did, I would use a different set for meat and bones versus vegetables,” says Burrell. “Although there are many beautiful designs for kitchen shears, I only have one pair of shears. This pair is able to handle work with meat, bone, seafood, and herbs and vegetables. I like a versatile piece of equipment,” says Wallace.

Our Expertise

Alissa Fitzgerald is a chef, recipe developer, and food writer with over 15 years of experience in the food industry. For this piece, she interviewed Chef Michelle Wallace of Gatlin’s BBQ & Catering and Chef Dawn Burrell, contestant on Top Chf and owner of Late August, to find out what the pros look for in tea cups and saucers. She then used their insights, market research, and her own expertise to curate this list.

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