Scissors and shears might seem like fairly simple, straightforward tools, yet they play a crucial role in a range of tasks for both the household and the workplace. 

When looking for a good pair of scissors or shears, the difference between a poorly-made tool and a high-quality one is immediately noticeable. 

Japanese artisans have a centuries-old reputation for meticulous craftsmanship, and their cutting tools are no exception. Japanese scissors and shears are renowned for their unmatched sharpness, precision, user-friendly design and effortless performance. 

Whether you're a professional craftsperson demanding reliable tools, a dedicated hobbyist seeking the perfect edge, or simply someone who appreciates quality cutting tools, this guide to Japanese scissors and shears will help you say goodbye to clumsy cuts and hello to precision and solid value for the long-term.

Scissors vs. Shears: Understanding The Key Differences

Scissors vs. Shears: Understanding The Key Differences

While some folks use the terms "scissors" and "shears'' interchangeably, a fairly broad distinction exists between these two. In a nutshell, it's all about size and power. 

Scissors generally have blades shorter than six inches, with equally sized finger holes. This makes scissors ideal for precise, detailed cutting, especially in smaller tasks. 

Shears, on the other hand, have longer blades (usually greater than six inches) and often feature one smaller finger hole and one larger one (compared to the other holes). This design offers more leverage, allowing you to cut through thicker or tougher materials with ease thanks to a good set of shears.

Here’s another way to think of the scissors vs. shears point. Scissors are like a nimble paring knife – perfect for intricate work. Shears are like a hefty chef's knife – built for tackling bigger jobs with power. Of course, there's some overlap, and you'll find both scissors and shears designed for a wide variety of specific tasks, as we'll explore in this article.

Scissors: Smaller in Size, Big in Versatility

Scissors, with their compact size and nimble blades, are the juggernaut of the cutting tool world. 

From the delicate precision of embroidery scissors to the toughness and versatility of kitchen scissors, there's a specialized scissor designed for almost every function and purpose. Below you’ll find a rundown of the different types of scissors and the tasks they're built to tackle.

Scissors for Home, Garden & Personal Use

Here are just some of the many types of scissors you’ll encounter for use at home.

Fabric Scissors

Fabric Scissors

Designed with long, sharp blades, fabric scissors (like these from the popular Japanese scissor brand Shozaburo) glide smoothly through layers of material. Look for high-quality steel (also offered by Shozaburo) that will stay sharp, as well as a comfortable grip to reduce hand fatigue when cutting through thicker fabrics.

Embroidery Scissors

These delicate scissors feature small, incredibly sharp points that are essential for intricate embroidery work and cutting fine threads.

Kitchen Scissors

Kitchen Scissors

A true workhorse in home kitchens and restaurants alike, Japanese kitchen scissors often have slightly serrated blades to grip slippery materials. Some models even include features like bottle openers or herb strippers, adding to their versatility.

Gardening Scissors

Perfect for light trimming, deadheading flowers and harvesting herbs, gardening scissors (not to be confused with gardening shears) are designed for precision in smaller garden tasks. Look for sharp, pointed blades and a spring-loaded design for ease of use.

Multipurpose Scissors (Personal & Professional Both)

Multipurpose Scissors (Personal & Professional Both)

The go-to for everyday cutting tasks, multipurpose scissors strike a balance between size and strength. Choose a pair of all-purpose scissors (like these Engineer Combination Scissors) with comfortable handles and durable blades suitable for various materials. 

Doing a household move, renovation or decoration? You can’t go wrong with either these non-stick scissors from Hayashi Cutlery, or a pair of Hasegawa fluorine coated scissors

For a handy, versatile option in the all-in-one cutting tool category, the Deen Universal Scissors are constructed of hard and sharp molybdenum vanadium stainless steel. Popular with Japan’s home users as well as trades such as fishermen, these warriors from Deen cut through aluminum, cords & cables, rubber sheets, fabric and even foods such as hard shelled seafoods, fish, etc. 

Handicraft & Hobby Scissors

Handicraft & Hobby Scissors

If you’re into crafts and hobbies that involve cutting, a good pair of handicraft scissors is an important player on your roster. An example of this is our Hasegawa Canary Bond-Free Handicraft scissors, which are double layered for finer sharpness, and contain a fluorite coating that helps prevent sticking. Chikamasa also makes a fine pair of craft scissors that are popular with our readers.

While we’ve covered a fairly broad range of scissors for personal and home use, you’ll likely find that there is some overlap amongst the categories. Let’s move on now to the heavier duty scissors for professional purposes.

Scissors for the Workplace: Getting the Job Done Right

When precision and durability are paramount, specialized workplace scissors deliver. Here we’ll explore a few of the most common types of work-rated scissors.

Office Scissors

While similar to multipurpose scissors, office scissors are often designed with slightly longer blades for cutting through thicker stacks of paper or light cardboard. Don’t trust flimsy scissors when your workload and efficiency depend on it.

Industrial/Heavy-Duty Scissors

Industrial/Heavy-Duty Scissors

Built for demanding environments, industrial scissors are engineered to handle tougher materials. These heavy-duty scissors may feature thicker blades, reinforced handles and even specialized designs for cutting specific materials such as Kevlar or other industrial fabrics. A great example in this category is our Engineer Multipurpose Scissors

Electrician's Scissors

Electrician scissors feature insulated handles for safety and blades designed for cutting through electrical wiring and cable sheathing.

Medical Scissors

Medical Scissors

Used by healthcare professionals, these scissors are designed for a variety of tasks, such as cutting bandages or surgical materials. Medical scissors (such as these taping scissors by Hasegawa) often feature blunt tips for safety or specialized serrations for specific applications.

Tailor's Scissors

Similar to fabric scissors, but often heavier and with longer blades for cutting through thicker fabrics used in professional tailoring, tailor’s scissors are a must for anyone in the textile trade.

Hair Cutting Scissors

The hallmark of any stylist's toolkit, hair cutting scissors must be razor-sharp and balanced.   They're often made with high-grade stainless steel or even Japanese steel for long-lasting sharpness and resistance to rust and corrosion. There are also specialized types within this category, such as thinning shears and texturizing shears, designed for specific hair styling techniques.

Indeed, a wide variety of professional needs call for a broad range of scissor offerings. But if your needs call for more power and size in a cutting tool, it’s time to move on from scissors to shears.

Shears: Power & Precision In A Bigger Format

When you need more cutting force than scissors can offer, shears are the cutting tool of choice. With longer blades and a design that maximizes leverage, shears are built to tackle thicker and tougher materials. Here’s a look at some common types of shears and their applications.

Shears for Home, Garden & Personal Use

Pruning Shears

Pruning Shears

An essential tool for any gardener, pruning shears are available in a few key styles. Bypass shears, featuring curved blades that overlap, make clean cuts on live branches and are ideal for precision work. Anvil shears, with a straight blade that cuts against a flat base, offer more power and are better suited for cutting dead or dry wood. 

For added comfort and durable use, choose pruning shears (such as these Okatsune Secateurs) with ergonomic handles and shock-absorbing features to reduce hand fatigue.

The narrow carbon-steel shears from Chikamasa, meanwhile, are ideal for vegetable fruit harvesting, offering more efficient use with less fatigue (on both the cutting tools and on you!).

Another excellent example of Japanese cutting tool quality is this pair of pruning shears from Tobisho. Hand forged of carbon steel, these pruning shears deliver superior sharpness, durability and cost performance.

Hedge Shears

Pruning Shears

With long blades and handles, hedge shears give you both reach and power to shape hedges and shrubs easily. Some models feature wavy or serrated blades to prevent branches from slipping while cutting. Opt for lightweight shears with comfortable handles for extended trimming sessions.

Grass Shears

Ideal for trimming lawn edges, reaching into tight spaces and maintaining small patches of grass or weeds, grass shears offer precision and maneuverability. Some models feature swiveling blades, allowing for easier cutting at different angles and reducing wrist strain.

Shears for the Workplace

Industrial and professional settings demand specialized cutting tools capable of handling challenging materials and demanding tasks. The following are some of the key varieties of workplace shears.

Metal Shears

These robust shears are designed for cutting a range of sheet metal thicknesses. They often come in three main varieties:

  • Straight-cut shears: Ideal for long, straight cuts in sheet metal
  • Left-cut shears: Designed to cut tight curves and circles to the left
  • Right-cut shears: Specifically for cutting tight curves and circles to the right

Sheet Metal Shears

Similar to metal shears, but engineered for precise cutting of thinner sheets of metal, these cutting tools provide a vital distinction. Sheet metal shears often feature longer blades and specific designs to minimize distortion and achieve clean, accurate cuts.

Other Specialized Industrial Shears

The range of industrial shears is vast, catering to specific industries and materials. Some examples include compound shears, power shears and much more. 

The Japanese Touch - A Legacy Of Quality

The Japanese Touch - A Legacy Of Quality

The exceptional quality and performance of Japanese scissors and shears go beyond mere functionality. These cutting tools embody centuries of metalworking expertise and a deep tradition of craftsmanship. 

What makes Japanese scissors and shears so special?

Steel with a Pedigree

Japanese steelmaking is well recognized around the world as being of first-rate quality. High-carbon steel is meticulously forged, folded and heat-treated, resulting in blades of unparalleled strength and superior edge retention. Indeed, you could confidently say that the spirit of Japanese sword-making lives on in the modern crafting of these cutting tools.

Hand-Crafted Expertise

While modern technology plays a role, many Japanese scissors and shears are still painstakingly crafted by hand. Master artisans pass down their knowledge through generations, ensuring techniques are preserved and refined. This individual attention results in tools that are ideally balanced, comfortable to use and easy on the eyes.

Beyond Function, Aesthetics Matter

Japanese craftsmanship doesn't just prioritize function; it also values beauty. Elegant lines, smooth finishes and sometimes even intricate embellishments reflect a dedication to creating tools that are both effective and visually pleasing.

The Importance of Quality Control

At Daitool, we source our cutting tools and other tool products directly from reputable Japanese workshops and factories, ensuring a commitment to excellence at every stage of production. Each scissor and shear undergoes rigorous inspection, resulting in a superior quality tool that will serve you for years to come.

This unwavering dedication to materials, craftsmanship and beauty is what makes Japanese scissors and shears more than just tools. They are an investment in quality, ideal for virtually any task that requires precision and finesse.

Why Opt For Japanese Scissors & Shears As Your Cutting Tools Of Choice

Why Opt For Japanese Scissors & Shears As Your Cutting Tools Of Choice

Japanese scissors and shears offer an unparalleled cutting experience. 

The diversity of styles ensures the perfect tool for every task— from intricate embroidery to shaping a garden hedge. By choosing Japanese-made cutting tools, you're not only acquiring precision and durability, you're also investing in centuries of craftsmanship and a commitment to quality.

Daitool is dedicated to bringing the best of Japanese cutting tools directly to you. Browse our curated selection and discover the perfect scissors or shears to elevate your projects and experience the joy of a truly satisfying cut.