Scissors are any tool that you use to cut materials like cloth, paper, hair, grass, and much more. A pair of scissors usually has two sharp blades that connect in the middle with a screw with dual extending levers that work like handles, and this general design works for most types of scissors. The handles have holes to slide your fingers through, and this helps you grip onto the scissors.
Most people assume that scissors are just one main category. This, however, isn’t correct. There are numerous types of scissors available, and each type gets created specifically for a field of intended use. For example, medical scissors have smaller subcategories like stitch scissors, surgical scissors, and mayo scissors, and each of these types of scissors has a main intended purpose. We’re going to outline 26 popular types of scissors that you might have around your home below.
Many people have one or two pairs of scissors that they use for everything, and this is one way to dull them very quickly. You should match your scissors to your project to keep them in good working order. Scissors by Yandle / CC BY 2.0
1. Ambidextrous scissors
Even though they’re more rare, this type of scissors are available online. They come designed to allow you to use them with either your right or left hand because the handles are symmetric. So, there is no difference between the finger and thumb holes on the handles, and this lets everyone use them without pinching anything.
Other than the unique symmetric handle, these scissors come with a strong pivot in them that enables your blades to rotate without moving laterally. Even though most of these scissors have an upper blade on the right side, just like more traditional right-handed scissors, people who are left-handed can use them without a problem.
2. Appliqué Scissors
This type of scissor is very easy to identify by the unique blades and the offset handles that have a paddle shape to them. The blades will help thrust away the bottom fabric layer while you cut them into your desired shapes. It also gives you much more control to cut along the stitching seam. The scissors get engineered to trim and cut in very close proximity to the fabric while preventing you from accidentally damaging it. They’re a very popular scissor type when it comes to rug making.
3. Bandage Scissors
Better known as nurse’s scissors, this type of scissors has a smaller size with shorter blades and longer handles. When you look at the two blades, the top blade comes with a blunt edge and the bottom blade has a pointed and sharp tip. They have gotten the name “nurse’s scissors” because they’re very popular for nurses to carry as they work. They allow the nurses to cut open bandages by slipping the scissors under it without harming or cutting into the patient’s skin.
4. Buttonhole Scissors
A pair of traditional buttonhole scissors features dual blades. The inside blade has a tapered cutting edge with a flat design, and the top blade has a blunt distal end on it. The lower blade gives you a very sharp distal end with a tapered interior blade. The two blades can slide seamlessly over each other, and both of the smoother inner surfaces will close inwards.
There is a pair of handles on this type of scissors that the blades stick into, and the blades connect using a pivot. The scissors are more short-bladed than other options on the list. They’re a heavy-duty option that is very easy to adjust, and you use them to open up buttonholes to replace damaged or missing buttons.
5. Crafting Scissors
If you’re someone who likes doing tin can crafts or any crafts with your kids, you most likely have a dedicated type of scissors for it. They come with long, straight, and smooth blades that slice through a number of materials. For sewing projects, you use them for non-fabric shearing purposes like cutting patterns out of paper. They’re also called crafting scissors. Other than using them for sewing, you use them in arts and crafts projects. You can find them in kitchens for wrapping and packaging purposes too.
6. Decorative Scissors
Decorative scissors are a great tool to have to cut patterns, whether you need a bubble or wavy edge. This type of scissors comes with plastic handles with a small metal blade attached. They work to enhance the efficiency levels you have while cutting down the time it takes to do smaller projects.
Maybe you’re looking to cut a huge amount of burlap for an upcoming wedding. Using the wrong type of scissors can make the project much harder, and it can put a lot of additional strain on your hands. This is especially true if you use them over a long period. You want to keep these scissors sharp, but they rarely get dull when you use them to make more simple cuts on materials that they’re designed for. If you use them correctly, they’ll be around for decades.
7. Dressmaker’s Shears
This type of scissors is easy to pick out due to their sharp, distinct, long blade that makes them great for cutting fabric. The blades on these scissors are very tapered, and one blade is pointy while the other one is smooth and rounded. The round edge on the blade stops the fabric’s seams or threads from snagging as you cut. The shears also come with a convenient notching and clipping curve point to them to help your project along.
The blades are also knife-edged, and this means that the top blade has an acute-angled edge to give you a smoother and more effortless fabric cutting experience compared to using regular scissors. On the other side, the loewe blade will get set flush on the surface of your table to make cutting through fabric more accurate and easier. The curved handle has a comfortable and smooth feel to it when you use it.
The ideal length for this type of scissors is 7 to 10-inches, so it’s a slightly larger option. They are also preferred by a lot of people because they’re strong enough to cut through several layers of fabric at one time without ruining the edges.
8. Embroidery Scissors
This is a slightly shorter type of scissors that doesn’t have any loopholes for your fingers. They have a sharp and fine tip to them. They come designed to get really close to the cloth without damaging it or causing fraying. You’ll get a slightly curved blade, and this allows you to get right up to the base of your threads or fiber strands much easier. This also ensures that you protect your garment from any damage while you cut.
These scissors are a lot more delicate and smaller than other options. If you consider their appearance, they look like surgical scissors because of the precision tip and small size. This makes them ideal for making tiny snips that you typically require during embroidery work. They have razor sharp blades that you can slip between threads to help grasp sequins, beads, and more without a problem.
These are more pretty and decorative scissors, but they work very well for getting into smaller areas and helping you snip threads without damaging the fabric. Embroidery Scissors by Ant Smith / CC BY-NC 2.0
9. Grass Shears
Grass shears are a very popular gardening tool. They are much different than pruning shears because they have longer handles that are perpendicular to the blades. As the name suggests, you use this type of scissors to cut grass, prune it from an upright position, or perform general lawn maintenance. They come in two different styles, including one with horizontal blades and one with vertical blades. Scissors with the horizontal blades are great for helping remove any grass that your lawn mower misses, and ones with vertical blades are great for trimming up your lawn’s boundaries.
In 1939, a new type of scissors in this category with a vertical blade hit the market, and they had a long-handled lever on them with wheels on the bottom of the shears themselves. This allowed people to seamlessly trim the lawn’s edges along driveways and sidewalks. Today, you won’t find grass shears used as much because power trimmers have largely replaced them by making it quicker and easier to finish the same project.
10. Hair Clippers
Hair clippers or snips have a very similar look and feel to a traditional pair of scissors. However, they’re actually a specialized pair of clippers that come with razor sharp blades attached, and you use them to trim or cut hair. They feature the same working principle as most traditional scissors, but they have a different design and shape. The primary design behind these types of scissors is that they were used to trim sheep wool, and they got the name machine shears or handpieces.
11. Hair Cutting Shears
Hair cutting shears are a specialized type of scissors that were designed to cut hair or trim it up. Many people informally call them scissors, barber shears, hairdressing shears, or hair shears. This tool is a lot sharper than other scissors, and you get a smooth but very sharp cutting edge with them.
You can pick out a large range of sizes from five to seven-inch blades, and these are the most popular choices. They also come equipped with a very distinct appendage on them, and it’s either a tang or a finger brace. You’ll find it attached to one of the finger loops, and this allows the hairdresser to increase their control levels while they trim or cut the client’s hair.
12. Hedge Trimmers
A hedge trimmer is a type of scissors also called a bush or shrub trimmer. It’s a very popular landscaping tool to have on hand. This is a handheld tool that you use for cutting, trimming, and snipping away at bushes, hedges, and shrubs. You can choose from different designs and styles, depending on the size of the shrub, hedge, or bush you want to trim. They also come in two types, including powered and manual trimmers.
13. Industrial Scissors
Industrial types of scissors come with very large blades that are usually over seven-inches long, and they’re very sharp and precise. You have dozens of uses for these scissors, including cutting through thicker fabric or using them in upholstery projects.
They’ll seamlessly slice through cards and paper with ease, and they’re great for people who have arthritis or similar issues with their hands that makes applying force when you cut things difficult or uncomfortable. This is usually a very heavy-duty type of scissors that will last for years. They commonly have metal handles on them, but you can also find ones with plastic handles.
14. Iris Scissors
These small types of scissors were originally designed to use during surgical procedures on the eye, but they’ve gained popularity for use throughout different medical fields. They are sturdy since they feature a stainless steel design, and you get small, smooth, but very sharp blades that are great for using around delicate tissue.
These scissors come in rounded or straight blade versions, and the straight scissors get used on flat surfaces. The rounded types of scissors make it easier to contour tissues in any areas that are challenging to reach. It’s a delicate but strong tool that works great for cutting through sutures and removing very small pieces of fragile tissue.
15. Kitchen Scissors
Everyone should have this type of scissors in their kitchens. They work well for cutting open food packaging, and they can do virtually any project that a decent chef’s knife will take on but faster, including cutting up meat. However, this isn’t all you can use them for. You can size down poultry, snip herbs, and some even have a screw cap on them with a jar lid opened positioned between the handles.
You can use this same opener to crack shells and nuts, like crab legs or walnuts. Some will even have a screwdriver attachment right on the back to allow you to tighten up the drawer pull handles if they come loose. You can take apart this type of scissors to clean them quickly and easily to ensure that they last too.
Almost everyone has a pair of kitchen scissors handy, and they can take on a broad range of projects in a short amount of time when you compare it to a chef’s knife. Kitchen 20140809 by Pussreboots / CC BY 2.0
16. Lopping Shears
Lopping shears are a type of scissor that is very similar to pruning shears. However, they have much sturdier and longer handles. You can also use these shears in your garden for various projects, but you’ll need two hands to operate them. They are one of the biggest garden hand tools you can get, and they work well to prune branches that are too big for pruning shears to deal with. They have very sharp but shorter blades that are capable of cutting through branches up to two-inches thick.
17. Pinking Shears
Pinking shears get characterized by the unique jagged blades on them that work to create a serrated, zigzagged edge when you cut your fabric. This type of scissors helps prevent the fabric edges from unraveling or fraying as you work with it. The serrated edges also work to give you a much better grip on slippery pieces of fabric when you cut them. The curved handle in this design makes it easier to cut on a flat surface like a counter or table top.
There is a practical function with these scissors when it comes to woven cloth cutting. It works to stop any unfinished edges from fraying while making the edges jagged and stopping the weave from getting pulled out and unraveling. The sawtooth patterns don’t stop the fabric from fraying per say, but they restrict the length of any free tattered threads, and this minimizes any potential damage. They’re also popular with decorative cutting projects. You want to avoid using them in paper cutting because this can dull the blade.
18. Pruning Shears
Pruning shears or hand pruners in the United States, are a specialized type of scissors that work well for plants. They are very strong, and they’re excellent for hand pruning projects like getting rid of long tree branches, regardless of how thick or long they are. You can use them to cut through branches that are up to two centimeters thick. Abroriculturists, gardeners, farmers, nature conservators, and florists routinely use them. The newer versions go by the name of loppers, and they’re a bigger size with two large handles. You typically use them for branches that are thicker than traditional pruning shears can take on.
19. Right and Left-Handed Scissors
Generally speaking, most types of scissors work best for people who are right-handed. Left-handed people can struggle with day-to-day chores if they have to use them. For left-handed people, you have to buy special left-handed scissors. Since scissors come with overlapping blades on them, they are asymmetrical. The irregular blades have an independent shape and orientation. The top blade works to form the same diagonal that right-handed scissors will, regardless of the reference point.
The human hand is also asymmetric. When you close a pair of scissors, the fingers and your thumb won’t close perpendicularly. Instead, they give you a lateral component to the closing motion. Your thumb will thrust out from your pam, and the fingers will pull inwards. For right-handed scissors, the thumb blade sits closer to your body. For left-handed scissors, the thumb blade is further away from the body.
20. Small Snips
This type of scissors doesn’t look like the traditional pair of scissors. They can look more like a clip. They’re very popular when it comes to using them in sewing projects that require finesse. They have dual blades at the top, but they don’t have the handles that you’ll traditionally find on scissors. Instead, you use these scissors by pressing the lower parts of the tool together like you would a pair of tweezers.
When you apply force, the two blades will come together to cut the thread of fabric. They’re great for helping you get into tight spaces to make cuts without damaging the fabric you’re working with. The blades are razor sharp, so you should be careful when you use them.
21. Standard Scissors
This is the most common type of scissors on the market, and you can use them for most office projects. They’re basic and simple in the design with straight blades that work well with one-size-fits-all handles. If you keep using these scissors on similar materials, you won’t have to do too much maintenance to keep the blades sharp. It’s common to use them to cut strings, cloth, paper, and other common office or household materials. You can even get a childproof style that you find used in schools.
22. Swivel Scissors
This is a type of scissor used in hairdressing to help limit the strain on the user. Busy hairdressers who spend their days with a pair of scissors in their hand and have repetitive strain injuries or carpal tunnel syndrome. This type of scissors helps combat these potential issues because they have a very ergonomic design to them that allows you to make natural movements with your hands.
The thumb hole on these scissors can swivel around, and this is where it gets the name. This prevents you from holding your thumb in one position. The forefinger and thumb holes are angled slightly further apart, and this encourages your hands to sit in a more natural position. The tangs can be present on both parts of the handle to let the fingers rest as you work. Any type of hairdressing scissors can be found in this design.
23. Tailor’s Scissors
These types of scissors are usually shorter and smaller when it comes to measurements. The most preferred blade size is five inches, and you’ll find these scissors used by sewers, quiltes, crafters, and anyone who cuts through thick, heavy fabrics, multiple fabric layers, or leather. You’ll get two slightly thicker blades that are razor sharp, and they have precisely ground knife edges that can cut all of the way to the tip of each blade.
The portability factor of these scissors makes them convenient and handy to carry around in a compact sewing kit. Due to the precision and convenience, they are very popular with beginner sewers and in quilting courses or sewing classes.
24. Texturizing Shears
This is a very common type of scissors for hairdressing purposes. It looks like a regular pair of scissors, but the blades have very sharp and fine teeth running along it. These teeth grab onto small amounts of hair. You’ll use this tool to thin out the hair to create layers and texture. They can also help remove some layers from thicker hair to make it sleeker without making it shorter.
You should only use this type of scissor if you’re experienced, and you don’t want to try to use them at home because they require practiced skill. If you use them, it can easily end in disaster. You also shouldn’t use them as an all-around cutting tool.
25. Thread Snips
You’ll find these types of scissors used in sewing projects. They have a spring-loaded handle on them that work great to make repetitive cuts like those edges of a tied fleece blanket. If you want to make long cuts, these aren’t a great choice. This is why it’s important to pay attention to the name. If you have to make a lot of smaller cuts, they will work great. They also have a handle that makes them useful for people with arthritis.
26. Trauma Shears
Trauma shears are also called tuff cuts, and you’ll most likely see them used by medical practitioners, paramedics, and other emergency medical personnel. It works to carefully and swiftly cut clothing off patients. They come with a plastic handle, metal blades, and a long lever arm. Usually, they’re bent to a 150° angle. This blade orientation gives them a slightly odd appearance when you look at traditional scissors, and the blades have a very blunt, wide tip that lets you slide them across the skin without causing any further injuries when you cut the clothing.
The shears were specially designed to use them externally, and they’re not suited for invasive or surgical procedures. They’re very efficient because they have a jagged construction, and this allows them to slice through thicker fabrics like denic, seat belts, and leather without a problem. They’re also very popular with scuba divers, soldiers, and fishermen as a knife substitute.
We’ve outlined 26 great types of scissors that you can have around your home. You can easily mix and match them to make them much more versatile and help you complete your projects without an issue.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.