Kitchen shears review and compare

A good set of kitchen shears can handle a wide range of cutting duties, and needn’t cost the earth.
 
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  • Updated:6 Aug 2008
 

01 .Introduction

Shears

Test results for 16 pairs of kitchen shears priced $10 to $160

Some kitchen jobs are too tough for ordinary scissors. Cutting up raw chicken needs not just power to snip through meat, gristle and bone, but also non-slip handles for when your hands get greasy. Trimming woody flower stems takes a reasonable amount of force and cutting power, not to mention sharp well-aligned blades for a clean cut. A good pair of multipurpose shears can handle these tough jobs but still neatly cut paper or herbs.

There are two main types: straight-bladed multipurpose shears and poultry shears with curved blades, intended to allow easier cutting around bones and hard-to-reach places. Either is sometimes available as ‘pull-apart’, where the two blades separate for easy cleaning (seven of the tested models can do this).

Our test results were surprising. None of the poultry shears outperformed the best straight-bladed shears at cutting chicken or indeed overall.

Please note: this information was current as of August 2008 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Brands tested

Straight-blade shears
  • Cuisena Kitchen Shears 949667
  • Cuisena Kitchen Scissors 949668
  • Homemaker Everyday Kitchen Shears
  • Messermeister Kitchen Take-Apart Scissor DN2070
  • Messermeister Utility Take-Apart Shear DN1070
  • Mundial All Purpose Take Apart 0666
  • Oxo Good Grips Kitchen & Herb Scissors 1072121
  • Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Scissors 31181 (A)
  • Victorinox 7.6375
  • Victorinox Super Schere 7.6363
  • Wiltshire Kitchen Shears Laser Edge LASE9809
  • Wiltshire Kitchen Shear Resolution W1153
  • Wüsthof Pull Apart Shears 5558
  • Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Multipurpose 43967-000
  • Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Select 41471-000
  • Zyliss Multi Purpose Shears 30374
Poultry shears
  • Fiskars Functional Form Poultry Shear 85-9975
  • Mundial Poultry Shears 321-10
  • Victorinox Poultry Shears 7.6343
  • Victorinox Poultry Shears 7.6350
 
 

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The following models scored the best results in our test 

What to buy
Brand Price
Cuisena Kitchen Scissors 949668 $10
Zwilling J.A Henckels Twin Select 41471-000 $125
Victorinox Super Schere 7.6363 $30
Messermeister Kitchen Take Apart Scissor DN2070 $20
Wiltshire Kitchen Shears Laser Edge LASE9809 $13

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

  Performance Cutting performance score components
Features Specifications
Brand / model (in rank order within groups) Overall score (%) Ease of use score (%) Cutting performance score (%) Cutting poultry score (%) Cutting flower stems, paper and chives score (%) Sharpness and durability score (%) Pull apart Handle material Dishwasher-safe Left or right-handed Price ($)
Straight-blade multipurpose shears
Cuisena Kitchen Scissors 949668
www2.dksh.com
84 67 91 100 90 88 Plastic ns Both 10
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Select 41471-000
www2.dksh.com
84 63 93 100 90 94 Stainless steel ns Both 125
Victorinox Super Schere 7.6363
www.oppenheimer.com.au
83 73 87 80 85 94 Plastic ns Both 30
Messermeister Kitchen Take-Apart Scissors DN2070
www.messermeister.com
81 80 81 60 80 94 Plastic Both 20
Wiltshire Kitchen Shears Laser Edge LASE9809
www.mcpher.com.au
81 77 83 80 75 98 Plastic Both 13
Wüsthof Pull Apart Shears 5558
www.wusthof.com.au
79 73 81 80 75 92 Plastic • (B) Both 65
Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Multipurpose 43967-000
www2.dksh.com
79 73 82 40 83 100 Plastic ns Both 73
Cuisena Kitchen Shears 949667
www2.dksh.com
74 77 73 80 65 86 Plastic / rubber Both 13
Zyliss Multi Purpose Shears 30374
www2.dksh.com
74 87 68 60 60 86 Plastic / rubber Both 24
Messermeister Utility Take-Apart Shears DN1070
www.messermeister.com
73 80 70 80 55 94 Plastic Right 36
Oxo Good Grips Kitchen & Herb Scissors 1072121
www.worldkitchen.com.au
71 77 69 60 65 81 Plastic / silicone Both 35
Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Scissors 31181 (A)
www.worldkitchen.com.au
71 60 76 60 70 93 Plastic / rubber Both 30
Wiltshire Kitchen Shears Resolution W1153
www.mcpher.com.au
70 73 68 40 60 96 Plastic / rubber Both 20
Mundial All Purpose Take Apart 0666
02 9482 6666
64 70 62 40 60 75 Plastic ns Both 40
Victorinox 7.6375 (chrome, red handle)
www.oppenheimer.com.au
62 40 71 40 65 95 Metal ns Both 60
Homemaker Everyday Kitchen Shears
www.kmart.com.au
61 53 64 80 65 56 Plastic Both 3.29
Poultry Shears
Victorinox Poultry Shears 7.6343
www.oppenheimer.com.au
76 70 78 60 70 100 Plastic ns Both 70
Fiskars Functional Form Poultry Shears 85-9975
www.fiskars.com
74 57 81 80 75 94 Plastic / rubber Both 25
Victorinox Poultry Shears 7.6350 (All Stainless Steel)
www.oppenheimer.com.au
55 63 52 20 45 79 Stainless steel ns Right 160
Mundial Poultry Shears 321-10
02 9482 6666
34 40 31 40 25 39 Chrome ns Both 80
 

Table notes

ns Not stated
(A) Discontinued, but may still be available in some shops.
(B) Dishwasher-safe but handwashing recommended

Scores The overall score is made up of:'

  • Cutting performance: 70%
  • Ease of use: 30%

Price Recommended or average retail price, as of July 2008. Store prices vary so it pays to shop around.

How we tested

Cutting performance

  • Raw chicken Our tester butterflied a chicken to assess the shears for cutting through bone and flesh cleanly, with little or no resistance.
  • Flower stems She cut through woody stems (roses) and soft stems (gerberas), looking for clean cuts that didn’t tear the stems.
  • Baking paper She cut baking paper to fit a round cake tin to check the shears’ ability to cut accurately and cleanly.
  • Chives She cut chives to see how well the shears can cut a food item that requires precision, without the shears bruising the chives.

We put the poultry shears through the whole range of tests to see if they could cope with other kitchen tasks too.

Sharpness and durability

  • A specialist lab measured the ability of the shears to cut a range of materials (from soft wet tissue to very tough Kevlar fabric), then put them through a durability test of 5000 opening/closing cycles, after which the cutting tests were repeated.
  • The lab also tested the hardness of each blade.

Ease of use

  • Our tester assessed comfort, grip and balance for different-sized hands.
  • She also checked whether the shears could be used left-handed.

Profiles - what to buy

Cuisena Kitchen Scissors 949668

Price $10

Good points Cuisena

  • Excellent cutting performance.
  • Well balanced.
  • Unconditional guarantee.

Bad points

  • Small, hard plastic handle may be uncomfortable for some users.

Zwilling J.A Henckels Twin Select 41471-000

Price $125

Good points Zwilling shears

  • Excellent cutting performance.
  • Very smooth cutting action.
  • Well balanced.

Bad points

  • Small blade area.
  • Thin metal handles may be uncomfortable for some users.
  • Very expensive.

Victorinox Super Schere 7.6363

Price $30

Good points Victorinox shears

  • Very good cutting performance.
  • Excellent for cutting paper and chives.
  • Smooth action.
  • Comfortable handles.
  • Well balanced.

Bad points

  • Small grip.

Messermeister Kitchen Take Apart Scissor DN2070

Price $20

Good points Messermeister shears

  • Very good cutting performance.
  • Smooth action.
  • Large comfortable grip.
  • Well balanced.
  • Pull-apart.
  • Dishwasher safe.
  • Lifetime warranty.

Bad points

  • Nothing to mention

Wiltshire Kitchen Shears Laser Edge LASE9809

Price $13

Good points Wiltshire shears

  • Very good cutting performance.
  • Smooth action.
  • Fairly large grip.
  • Well balanced.
  • Five-year warranty.

Bad points

  • Nothing to mention.

Note - Wiltshire claims the "laser edge" never needs sharpening. In any case it cannot be sharpened due to the design of the finely serrated blade.

 

What about the rest?

For the reasons that the rest of the shears didn't make the What to buy list, see the results table. They include:

  • The Wüsthof has a small grip that some people might find uncomfortable.
  • The Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin has a stiff action and it’s difficult to apply force when cutting chicken.
  • The Cuisena Kitchen Shears didn’t cut very cleanly in some tests.
  • The Zyliss showed resistance to cutting chicken, hard stems and chives.
  • The Messermeister Utility blades became misaligned cutting a stem.
  • The Oxo Good Grips Kitchen & Herb Scissors showed resistance to cutting, especially chicken.
  • The Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Scissors don’t cut accurately and the spring doesn’t always rebound after cutting.
  • The Wiltshire Resolution is hard to open wide if you have small hands.
  • The Mundial Take Apart’s short blades don’t give much leverage, and showed some resistance to cutting.
  • The Victorinox 7.6375 has a stiff action and small, uncomfortable grip.
  • The Homemaker has a stiff, uncomfortable action, small grips, and failed the durability test.
  • Cutting chicken is awkward with the Victorinox Poultry Shears.
  • The Fiskars aren’t easy to use for tasks requiring accuracy.
  • The Victorinox 7.6350 took enormous effort to cut through bone.
  • The blades on all three samples of Mundial Poultry Shears were blunt. They’d do better if sharpened, but for $80 you’re entitled to expect good performance straight out of the box.

04.What to look for and tips

 

Look for these features

  • Solid construction and well balanced, with few crevices where food can accumulate.
  • Smooth action The shears should open and close with little effort.
  • Handles should fit your hand comfortably; if they’re too small, they’ll reduce your control and force. They should be non-slip — plastic or rubber handles tend to be best for this — otherwise it can be difficult to apply force when cutting chicken bones or other tough material. If you’re a left-hander, check the handles are suitable for you; in our test, all the models except the Messermeister DN1070 and the Victorinox 7.6350 are suitable for left-hand use.
  • A bone notch on one blade helps grip poultry bones or flower stems for easier cutting.
  • A lock is useful on spring-loaded models to hold the blades safely closed.
  • A tightening mechanism, such as a bolt, can help keep the blades closely aligned.
  • Other features can include bottle and jar openers, a nutcracker, herb stripper and screwdriver head.
  • Blades should be well aligned and sharp — but don’t check with your fingers. Make sure they meet cleanly as you close them. Short blades can make cutting more difficult as you can’t get a long stroke.
  • Pull-apart shears separate into two parts for easy cleaning.

For people with a disability

People with weak hands or wrists should look for these additional features:

  • Large, comfortable, soft handles with grips or loops that accommodate all your fingers, so you can use your whole hand to apply force.
  • A spring-loaded mechanism so the shears open by themselves. Of the tested models, the Oxo Good Grips Kitchen Scissors are worth trying, as are the Messermeister Kitchen Take-Apart Scissors DN2070, which has large comfortable handles and a smooth action, but no spring.

Looking after your shears

  • Store them in a knife block or wrapped in a cloth or sheath, to protect the blades.
  • Don't put them in a dishwasher (some are labelled as dishwasher safe, but even then, hand cleaning can be preferable).
  • Good-quality blades can be resharpened with a steel or by a professional.