Shears Vs. Scissors: A Quick Reference Guide

Fact Checked By:Aithley Balder

Post Updated On:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

In everyday parlance, the terms “scissors” and “shears” are often used interchangeably, suggesting that these two instruments serve the same purpose. However, upon closer examination, one finds that they not only differ in their design but also in their intended applications. These differences might seem minute, but they can be crucial when it comes to ensuring the effectiveness and longevity of the tool in specific tasks. This article delves into the distinctions between shears and scissors, helping readers to make an informed choice for their particular needs and highlighting the importance of using each tool appropriately. Whether you’re a crafting enthusiast, a professional hairdresser, or someone simply looking to understand the nuances between these commonly confused tools, the insights provided here will sharpen your knowledge.

It is a quick reference guide: difference between shears and scissors:

We utilize a variety of tools in our daily lives to help us get things done more quickly and efficiently. Such implements include scissors and shears. They may be used in a number of ways on a daily basis, including in the kitchen, beauty salons, textiles, and gardening. As a result, increasing our output might be as simple as using the correct tool. Following a discussion of the differences between shears and scissors, we’ll discuss how to properly use each.

shears and scissors difference

When it comes to multifunctional cutting instruments, scissors stand out because of their two connected blades and short overall lengths (less than 6 inches). A fulcrum holds the two blades in place, and the forward action of the blades slices through materials. Although shears are scissors, the difference between the two is that shears have blades longer than six inches and the finger holes are normally not symmetrical, whereas scissors are more commonly employed for general-purpose tasks.

The Difference Between Shears and Scissors.

Let’s now review the many types of shears and scissors and how they may be used. As a starting point, let’s look at some of the most popular contexts for its use.


Cutting fabric with the wrong scissors or shears may ruin an otherwise perfect project. String and flimsy fabric may be cut using normal sewing scissors. Strong shears are required to cut wool or other thick or layered fabrics. If this is not the case, the thick fabric may only be cut on rare occasions. Because of this, it is suggested that the right tools be used.


Scissors and shears for cutting paper, scotch tape, rope, and the like are useful in the home. Ideally, standard scissors may be used, but there are other alternatives to purchase tough and rugged household shears that have extra-sharp blades and will last a lot longer than regular scissors.


Tin foil, chicken, fruit, veggies, etc. may all be cut using scissors or shears in the kitchen. Obviously, shears are more suited to this kind of situation. Assume that you can’t cut through cooked chicken with a pair of scissors.


You may want to use shears in the garden to trim hedges or grass or remove unwanted branches. The advice for this sort of task is simple. Pruning shears are required for pruning, whereas gardening-specific long shears with large blades and large handles are required for cutting hedges.

Beauty Salon

In the beauty industry, salon scissors are used to cut and trim hair and beard, trim nails, eyebrows, and for a variety of other uses. As a result, shears are seldom used in beauty salons. A pair of hair scissors and a pair of nail clippers should suffice.


  • Scissors: Typically smaller in size, with lengths usually under 6 inches.
  • Shears: Generally larger, often measuring more than 6 inches in length.

Handle Design

  • Scissors: Both handles are usually symmetrical and of the same size.
  • Shears: Feature one small handle for the thumb and a larger one for multiple fingers, facilitating greater force and control during cutting.

Purpose & Use

  • Scissors: Commonly used for general purposes, such as cutting paper, thread, or light fabric.
  • Shears: Designed for specific, often heavier tasks. Examples include garden shears for pruning, hairdressing shears for cutting hair, or fabric shears for cutting through multiple layers or thick materials.

Blade Characteristics

  • Scissors: Typically have shorter and sharper blades suited for precision tasks.
  • Shears: Tend to have longer blades, sometimes serrated or notched, to handle more robust materials or tasks.

Pivot Point

  • Scissors: Usually have a pivot point located closer to the center.
  • Shears: The pivot point may be closer to the handles, giving a longer cutting surface and more leverage.

Construction & Weight

  • Scissors: Lighter in weight and designed for brief, precise cuts.
  • Shears: Often more robust and built to withstand the rigors of heavier or more prolonged use.

In everyday language, the terms “scissors” and “shears” are often used interchangeably, especially in certain regions or contexts. Still, understanding the distinctions can help ensure you’re using the right tool for the job, leading to more efficient work and reduced wear and tear on the tool.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)

Why are shears superior than scissors?

As a result of the fact that you can grip shears with more than one finger at a time, you are able to cut with more pressure and greater precision when you do so. When compared to the blade of a pair of scissors, the shears blade is typically longer and more acute. This will cut very smoothly, without leaving any jagged edges. This tool is the more reliable option because to its more precise blade and improved grip.

Why are shears’ handles bent?

Shears with bent handles have lower handles that are curved inward so that the shears remain parallel to the surface of the cutting table. When cutting cloth, users will benefit from increased comfort as well as improved accuracy as a result of this.

What is the purpose of the space between the scissor blades?

When the blades are brought together in the closed position, a good pair of scissors will have a visible space between them. This is because the blades of a good pair of scissors are bent in such a way as to provide a “bite” point wherever the two blades contact. Poor quality flat manufactured scissors, on the other hand, just wrap themselves around whatever is being cut.

Q: What is the primary structural difference between scissors and shears that impacts user grip?

A: The main structural difference lies in the handle design. Scissors typically have symmetrical handles, whereas shears have one smaller handle for the thumb and a larger one for multiple fingers. This design in shears allows the user to apply more force and control during cutting.

Q: How does the blade length differentiate between scissors and shears?

A: Blade length is one of the key distinctions. Scissors are generally shorter, with lengths usually under 6 inches. In contrast, shears are longer, often exceeding 6 inches, enabling them to tackle heavier tasks.

Q: Can you explain the importance of the pivot point in both tools, and how it varies between them?

A: The pivot point is where the two blades meet and rotate. In scissors, the pivot point is usually located closer to the center, allowing for more precise cutting. In shears, the pivot point might be nearer to the handles, providing a longer cutting surface and greater leverage, suitable for cutting through thicker materials or multiple layers.

Q: Why might a professional hairdresser prefer shears over typical scissors?

A: Hairdressing shears are specially designed for cutting hair, with blades that ensure a clean and precise cut without causing hair damage. Their ergonomic design, with a differentiated handle, allows for better control, reducing hand fatigue during extended use.

Q: Is it true that shears might sometimes have serrated blades? If so, why?

A: Yes, some shears feature serrated or notched blades. The serrations help grip and hold the material being cut, preventing it from sliding. This is especially useful when cutting slippery materials or when precision is crucial, like in fabric shears for certain textiles.

Q: In terms of maintenance and care, are there any differences between the two tools?

A: Both tools require regular sharpening to maintain their cutting edge. However, due to their specialized use, some shears, like those for hairdressing or gardening, may need more frequent maintenance or professional sharpening. Additionally, shears used for specific tasks might require occasional calibration to ensure the blades align correctly.

Q: Is it accurate to say that shears are just larger scissors?

A: Not exactly. While size is a distinguishing factor, the differentiation between scissors and shears also involves handle design, blade characteristics, intended use, and even the pivot point. Both tools have specific designs tailored to their primary functions.


Each instrument has its own strengths and drawbacks, and scissors and shears are no exception. One thing is certain: Neither a gardening shear nor a trimming scissor can cut your mustache or clear your shrubs. When it comes to cutting tasks, knowing the difference between shears and scissors may make a big difference. Choosing the correct tool, on the other hand, might make your work a lot simpler.

Photo of author

Aithley Balder

Hello there, my name is Aithley Balder from Texas. I am a cookware, sewing, toilet, technology enthusiast and I have been sharing my passion with my friends and likeminded folks for close to 4 years now. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the contact page.

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.