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

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.

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