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Kitchen Shears

Tuesday, 13 April 2010 | Tags: , ,

Sometimes scissors just won't cut it in the kitchen and you need to reach for a stronger tool. From delicate slices to tough cuts, kitchen shears are designed to handle jobs with strength and versatility. We took a few into the A&K Test Lab to find out how they compare.

The Basics

  • Similar to common scissors, the main difference with kitchen shears is the location of the fulcrum. Generally, the fulcrum is located further from the handles, providing more leverage and thus, more cutting power.

  • High quality kitchen shears can easily cut through everything, from the breastbone of a chicken to a bag of rice, and everything in between.

  • Always get a feel for a pair a kitchen shears by trying them before you buy. Ensure they are comfortable in your hand by taking them out of the package and seeing if your hand fits in the handles while testing the smoothness of the cutting motion.

  • Open the shears to to test whether they can accommodate wider items like chicken legs or breastbones.

  • Choose a style that is geared toward your typical needs. For all-purpose shears, look for straight blades rather than crescent-shaped blades, which are better suited for one main task: cutting poultry.

  • The best design features to look for include shears that feel heavy and of solid construction with smooth cutting blades.

  • Some shears come with added design features like a nut cracker, jar opener, bottle opener, and screwdriver.

  • Inspect the nooks and joints of the scissors to see how easy (or not) they may be to clean. Stainless steel blades are the most hygienic. Another great cleaning feature to look for are shears designed to come apart for deep cleaning.

  • Consider the handle material. If you tend to cut wet or messy items, you’ll want non-slip material like rubber or a silicon coating.

  • If you’re left-handed, look for shears designed specifically for southpaws since they’ll be much more comfortable to use than right-handed designs.

  • Make sure your shears can be sharpened. If not, perhaps they come with an extra set of blades.

  • Most shears should be hand washed and well dried so they don’t rust. If they come apart for cleaning, even better. If you use your shears for cutting meat, be sure they are cleaned well, including the handles, with lots of soap if you’re hand washing, or high-heat if you’re putting them through the dishwasher.

  • Some shears come with a protective sheath to cover the blades when they’re not in use. We think this is a great extra. If your shears don’t come with a cover, it’s best to purchase one separately or fashion something protective to make sure they’re safe for you and others in your home.

TEST CRITERIA

We took five different kitchen shears into the A&K Test Lab to see how they performed.

  • Wüsthof Kitchen Shears (forged stainless steel, bottle opener/screwdriver/jar clamp features): $80
  Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Zwilling J.A. Henckels Twin Multi-Purpose Shears (special stainless steel, synthetic handles, micro-serrated and adjustable blades): $55
  Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Messermeister 8” Take-Apart Kitchen Scissors (take-apart, screwdriver/nutcracker/jar opener/bottle opener, left- or right-handed, dishwasher safe, stainless steel blade with poly handle): $27.99
  Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Kuhn Rikon Kitchen Shears (self-sharpening, ergonomic, spring-loaded, protective sheath): $40
   Amazon.ca Amazon.com
  • Endura by JCW Multi-Purpose Kitchen Scissors (jar/bottle opener, ergonomic handle, dishwasher safe): $4.99
  JCW Enterprises

(Note: prices listed above are approximate and in Canadian dollars)

Usage Test

  • Almost immediately, we noted the Kuhn Rikon spring-loaded shears performed with a lack of control, and the hard plastic handles quickly made our palms sore.

  • The shears with small finger holes of the Henckels made it difficult to make a long solid cuts, and cramped our hands pretty quickly.

  • The Endura by JCW felt too lightweight when used on the heavy-duty jobs, and the plastic parts didn’t feel sturdy.

  • The Wusthof shears cut well in all our tasks, but the handles were quite uncomfortable to use for longer periods.

  • The Messermeister shears felt very comfortable to hold and use, as well as sturdy and sharp. They also came apart for easy cleaning, and the other added features like the nut cracker, bottle opener, and screwdriver were a bonus.

OUR TOP PICK

Aside from the bonus features, the Messermeister felt the strongest and most comfortable to use.

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