A reader put it in my head that it’s been too long since I’ve recommended my favorite compact scissors. (I meant that in a good way.)
So, here are my 5 favorite compact and portable (EDC-capable) scissors. At the moment, my Engineer Inc scissors and Xurons are within easy accessibility and I use them most. I haven’t reached for my medical-style scissors in a while, but I know where they are. My Raptors and Knifti-Cut are in different tool boxes, and see regular use as well.
I have tried a few other styles of compact scissors, shears, and snips, but they don’t tend to be very memorable.
These 5 recommendations are of tools I purchased and would purchase again.
2020 Update: With scissors and compact scissors being among my most-used tools, it seemed like a good time to bump this post back to the front page. This post was originally published on April 20th, 2018, and the only things have changed since then are some of the prices. My recommendations for all of these tools still stand.
These made-in-Japan Engineer Inc. compact scissors are as pocketable as they are useful. I wouldn’t use them for cutting through thick or heavy duty materials, but they handle all kinds of everyday cutting and trimming tasks.
The handles are a tad bit small, but it’s a compromise I’ve accepted without regret. When I need to spend a lot more time with scissors, I reach for something full-sized.
You can buy your own for between $22 and $30, depending on the seller and time of year. Vampliers-branded scissors are more easily available, but pricier.
Buy Now via Amazon
See Also: Vampliers Scissors
Read Also: The Best EDC Scissors Just Got Cheaper
MidWest Tool Knifti-Cut
I haven’t used my MidWest Knifti-Cut shears recently, on account of having other similar cutting solutions more front-and-center.
They took the place of straight-cutting compound-action sheet metal snips for what I would consider “general purpose” cutting tasks. If I couldn’t cut it with a knife or office scissors, out came my Knifi-Cut shears.
When I first bought them, I thought I was getting a real bargain, and the same holds true today.
Get your own USA-made Knifti-Cut for ~$17.
Read More About MidWest Knifti-Cut Shears
I have to say it – using the Leatherman Raptors for anything other than first aid or rescue operations is a waste of its potential and capabilities. That’s okay, if you’re willing and able to justify its
$70 $80 price tag. (The price has increased since this post was first published in 2018.)
Still, the Raptor is an incredibly good tool, and it folds down to a very small size.
I’ve used mine quite a bit, but I haven’t really gotten my money out if it, at least not yet. If not for the need to check it for ToolGuyd/editorial purposes, I almost definitely wouldn’t have bought it. For the same price, you can have non-folding medical-style shears and an extra $60-70 in your wallet.
But if you want versatile blunt-tipped cutters that are capable and compact, it just might be for you. There’s nothing quite like it on the market.
BuyNow via Amazon
Buy Now via Leatherman
Read More About the Leatherman Raptor
Prestige Medical Shears
I used my father’s medical-style shears a couple of times, and heard all kinds of good things about them before that.
I finally bought my own, after having to use my father’s scissors to cut some clothes off my son when he was a week old and had a massive diaper incident in his car seat. They worked really well on fabric!
These scissors are handy to keep around, and I especially like the blunt tip. They’re good to pack, too, due to their light weight.
Try it for yourself, for $9.
Note: For more general purpose scissors that you don’t need to be portable, check out Milwaukee’s scissors, discussed below.
Read More About These Scissors | | Why Buy Medical-Style Shears?
Xuron Mini Scissors
I have two types of Xuron scissors – precisions scissors as shown here, and their “Kevlar scissors,” which work beautifully well on slippery materials and fibers of all kinds.
Xuron precision scissors aren’t very pocketable, at least not if you don’t like poking yourself. But, they’re small enough to hide away in a tool bag or box. Even if you have a crowded tool box, surely you can find a space for these compact scissors. In a tool bag, these scissors are so small you won’t ever feel their added weight.
Given their size, you won’t use them for many of the types of tasks you might be using other scissors for. But for small or precise work, they can handle a lot, and at reasonable pricing.
The Xuron scissors shown here (model 440) are made in the USA, and currently retails for ~$14.
Buy Now: 440 Scissors via Amazon
Buy Now: Other Styles via Amazon
See Also: Xuron Flush-Cut Shears Review
Honorable Mention: Milwaukee Scissors
I have come to use my Milwaukee scissors (received as review samples) more than any other scissors – they are simply fantastic. I keep one in my workspace, and one in a multi-use kitchen cabinet.
These are exceptionally well-suited for all kinds of everyday tasks, and they’re built to handle demanding needs and usage environments. Too bad they’re not very pocketable, although they don’t take up all that much space in a tool bag.
The price is more than fair, at just around $15.
Buy Now via Acme Tools
Buy Now via Home Depot
We’ve all been there. There are some hits that baby pants just don’t come back from. Me: Get the jaws of life! Wife: You mean these scissors? Me: Yes…
I like these ones for what its worth.
Here was the dilemma: How to get an extremely soiled onesie off him? The choice was to sacrifice the $2 bodysuit or figure out how to get it up over his head without getting his face, hair, head, upper body, and everything else soiled as well.
Luckily, that was the only time I had to do that.
I made sure there were medical sheers in all the diaper bags for that very reason. They also make a good baby shower gift because people about to become parents generally don’t know what kind of blowouts can occur.
I like these:
Also kids heads are so big compared to their body when they are first born a lot of times it is easier to just pull the onesies down towards their waists.
But cutting them out of the poop trap is more fun.
I never even thought of that!!
With minor leakage incidents, it wasn’t much trouble to roll up the soiled area and then remove the onesies.
Upgrade to japanese style onsie – we’re only using these uniqlo robe style…no putting giant heads through anything: https://www.uniqlo.com/us/en/newborn-crew-neck-long-sleeve-bodysuit-set-of-2-424706.html?dwvar_424706_color=COL00&cgid=baby-newborn-bodysuits#start=4&cgid=baby-newborn-bodysuits
Kimono-style onesies are also recommended for newborns in how they don’t disturb the umbilical cord stump.
But, back when we had our son, I couldn’t find any online, newborn sizes were sold out everywhere and the stores I shopped locally didn’t have any – Target, Carter’s, Buy Buy Baby.
I think the one we had to cut off was a basic white Carters or Gerber onesie, not a big deal.
Maybe its a question of hand size – but I bought a pair of the Engineer Tetsuwan’s in 2014 – paid nearly $29 for them and had high hopes based on reviews. I hated them – they always seemed toy-like in my hands – so I gave them to my daughter who has small hands.
For small scissors, I like the Olfa SCS-1
Another recommended cutter (more like shears than scissors) is this one:
It is perfect for cutting blister packs without mangling your hands.
Depending on the purpose for carrying scissors I have another recommendation: I often carry a Gerber Splice. It’s less than $12 on Amazon, extremely small and is one of the few multi-tool scissors that actually work (my SOG Powerlock scissors for example, are useless).
This recommendation isn’t entirely in keeping with your list since all of the scissors you recommended are much larger – but I usually prefer my EDC items to fit in my pocket and I can’t see myself devoting the whole pocket to a pair of scissors.
Jason / Surfjungle
The Olfa SCS-2 is a beast – micro serrations on one blade to help grip the work – accurate and frighteningly sharp. They also make a great kitchen scissors. I’ve used them successfully about the house for the past number of years.
We have 2 of each: SCS-1 and SCS-2.
Both are great scissors. mentioned the SCS-1 in keeping with comparing it to the short Engineer scissors.
I don’t EDC scissors, a knife yup, but scissors… NOPE! Maybe if i didn’t EDC a gun i might think about it, nah… probably not even then either.
BUT i was thinking about first aid after my 3 year old busted his head open 2 days ago. What first aid kit does everyone carry in their truck and/or house? I make sure there is one in each truck and a larger one in the house with more than just bandaids. The kid is ok, ended up being a 1/4″ laceration on the back of his head that bled a LOT but the israeli bandage did it’s job. Quick care ended up derma-bonding the boo-boo and we were on our way in 20 minutes.
Ouch – glad he’s okay!
I keep a small first aid kit in the car – an all-in-one Johnson & Johnson from Target. I change it out every so often when ointments and such expire and consumables are used up.
We have a larger first aid kit and BandAid cabinet at home.
With warm weather on the way, I’ll be carrying a few BandAids in a pouch in my back pocket when going to the park with the kids.
You’re lucky they were able to Dermabond it. My son fell at preschool a year ago, and had a small cut on the top of his head. It wasn’t bleeding much, at least after it had stopped by the time I arrived to pick him up, but since the wound was spread open a little, we had to take him to the ER. He ended up with 4 staples.
Ya he was ok. Mom was freaking out about the blood but thankfully he didn’t need staples.
Here is the first aid kit i’m going to be testing- https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L13UUYU/
While my first aid kit is a bit more advanced this will be what i’m going to use to see if it holds up to abuse and use. Hopefully the components are decent.
I’ve bought a few really good first aid kits from MyMedic. Try read their story. They also offer some good discounts for first responders, military, scouting, etc.
Not sure if this is allowed, but you can get $20 off by following this link.
Get $20 off your first purchase using my unique referral code: http://mmrx.myshopify.com/?redeem=596e5df56df9d7003e96fc5f
I generally don’t allow for referral codes in comments, as things get out of hand and fast. But, you’ve been commenting (at least with the same email address) for two years, and so I’m inclined to give you a (one time) pass.
Stuart, thanks. I’m not trying to get anything out of this myself (I probably do get something), but the intent was to offer the $20 off for people. I think if you just linger on the site for a while you get a pop-up with a 10% off as well. Their stuff is really high quality and really expensive, although they do give discounts for some groups. I think they also replace stuff for free if you end up using some of the stuff in they first aid kits. Again, people should read the story. Tragic, but I understand and that’s why I’m ok spending a lot of money on really good quality stuff that is family owned.
I may have posted from a different e-mail address before (same name though), but not on purpose, I just can’t remember which e-mail I’ve used before. At least the browser saves that for me now on your site.
Another vote for OLFAs here! I have two pairs, one for rough cutting only. They’re affordable and available at many retailers.
I’m surprised these didn’t get a mention?
Did you have a few retailers in mind? I am new to the OLFA brand and I am very interested in picking up a few of their scissors after seeing all the raving recommendation here. I do see them on Amazon but I wanted to see if I can pick them up locally.
And many direct Japanese sellers on eBay.
2nd of Scar’s Knipex suggestion. Been using them for a few months and I’ve been very pleased with them.
If you’re looking for a tiny EDC that actually has OK scissors that are strong enough to cut zipties and you can get through TSA with, look at the Leatherman Style PS.
It is literally in my pocket every time I leave the house and has made it through dozens of TSA checks successfully.
And thankfully both of my kids are past the blowout stage… just have to worry about them wrecking cars.
Those Milwaukee scissors look great for a workshop.
Yeah … I have a pair of those Milwaukee scissors and while they “look good”, I do not like using them. The handles are quite uncomfortable. For the cutting I do, Fiskars are way, way better.
I have several offerings from Vampliers. I love the pliers and scissors.
You can buy the engineer brand (vampliers OEM) for 20-30% less.
Yep. At the moment, Engineer scissors are $22 at Amazon, Vampliers are $30.
Wait until an Amazon algorithm figures out that a lot of ToolGuyd readers are looking at the Engineer pair – and they may adjust the price upward.
That doesn’t always happen.
I’ve found that, if the price is lower than MSRP, it will continue to lower until there are sales.
Once a tool or item is purchased, at pricing below MSRP or another threshold, the pricing might inch back up.
But if there’s an MSRP or other cap of say $20, the algorithm won’t inflate the price above that – usually. There are some items where they’ll pack the shipping fee into the item. Sometimes it depends on whether that’s the only item a person is usually interested in buying.
For example, Dow Molykote 111 grease is currently $15.70 at Amazon. It’s $10.93 at an aircraft supply shop.
I needed grease, and would likely have purchased just that tube, from Amazon. But there were a few other things on my shopping list that I was able to buy from the aircraft supply shop, including a smaller amount repacked into a small mini tub-style container.
Consider the Gorilla Carts garden cart that I posted about the other day. It’s $70, matching the price of some other retailers.
Or a KitchenAid stand mixer. The “core” color models are all $259, just like they are in stores.
Plus, the Engineer scissors are sold by 3rd party sellers. Amazon CAN adjust 3rd party sellers now, but I think only to offer coupons or discounts. They can’t raise pricing, I don’t think.
Ive got both the engineer scissors and the raptor. I like both of them but overall prefer the raptor. Yes its overkill for alot of jobs but if I were only going to carry the one it would be the raptor because it can do much more. I like how compact it gets and I can just attach it to the webbing on my backpack for easy access. I dont really think its pricey for what you get. This is the kind of quality tool I can hand down some day along with any of my other leathermen. I dont mind spending a bit more as long as the quality is there.
The one I always have on me and use more time a day that I can count is a Klein 2001-07 electricians scissors.
I have one of the Olfa one and like it but the Klein just fits better in my belt pouch and had taken a beating and just keeps working. you can get the same type of scissors from many other manufactures but i think Klein makes the best of this style.
I also have one of the Midwest Knifti-Cut shears in my tool belt for whatever the Klein can’t handle like steel banding on pallets. It’s the perfect compromise between a scissors and metal snips.
Second the Klein’s, though I do prefer the alternate model with the blown up yellow molded grip.
Yep, those Klein snips are terrific and will last most of forever. In fact, any one of that type are generally worth having – I think Clauss are the originals but maybe that’s just my age. I use the Fiskars Data Comm snips most frequently (those orange handles are harder to lose), plus the mini-serrations keep things from slipping around. And all of these types have lots of metal for years of sharpening.
I have both the Klein Tools 2100-7 Electrician’s Scissors and the Engineer PH-55 Tetsuwan Scissors GT. Both are invaluable.
I also have both. I prefer the Klein scissors for day-to-day use.
Whiskey and Wood
I really like my Wiss scissors, $5 for the cheap pair, $15 for the better, both are awesome and highly durable! I use them for an amazing array of things in the shop that most would wince at, and they are just as sharp as the day I bought them 4 years ago!
Is one of the pair this model?
I just bought a pair of the $15 Wiss shears for cutting some carpet pads to size. They were right next to the Milwaukee ones that were the same price. Both had a full metal tang including the handles, but the Wiss ones allowed me to fit all 4 fingers in the finger guards. The Milwaukee ones had a smaller guard and felt cramped.
SO I don’t normally do this but in the garage I’m an advocate for the HF shears. Cheap I think 2 dollars – maybe less. Riged one side smooth other – cuts plastic boxes and the like with ease. Doesn’t destroy good fabric scissors and safer than a knife.
I keep 2 on the garage on opposite corners. (ok bench and gardening shelf)
my other shears – I have some kitchen shears for that duty. I have 3 sets of fabric shears – one was my Mom’s. And I have some 2 sets of those med shears in each first aid kit.
I do EDC scissors and it’s as simple as a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife. In a 91mm knife the scissors are plenty large enough for most every day tasks. Most days I find myself carrying a Climber, Super Tinker, or a Huntsman model. There are many more models with scissors too.
These are my favorites, Kai 5220 8 1/2 Inch Black Handle Scissors. I prefer the 8.5″ model over the 8″ because they are designed for bigger hands.
Technically they’re dress making shears, but they’re really well made and sharp as hell. At $15, I don’t mind keeping them in the tool bag and I image they’ll last as long as anything.
That said, your Olfa give away got me looking at Olfa stuff and the
OLFA 9766 SCS-2 Stainless Steel Serrated Edge 7-Inch Scissors are intriguing, even if I don’t need them.
Anyone gotten their giveaway Olfa knife yet?
Just got mine today! had just about forgotten about it, sure was a pleasant surprise. after opening a couple plastic packages with it, I can confirm that it is in fact a knife. Time will tell how it holds up, but so far I’m impressed.
Not yet. But I’m certainly hopeful.
My favorite pair of scissors by far are the Kai 7250 10 Inch Professional Shears. While certainly not inexpensive ($52.76 currently at Amazon), they have a 97% five star rating there, and it is well deserved. While their main target market is people in the sewing trade, they also get great reviews from people who cut marine canvas and carbon fiber fabric. They are made of very high quality stainless steel and are razor sharp. They also offer a “true left-handed” version that reverses both the grips and the blades. https://www.amazon.com/Kai-7250-Inch-Professional-Shears/dp/B00944EWBQ/
Are the Milwuakee’s you mentioned the straight edge or serrated? I saw both at HD and kinda wondered which would be better for general shop use.
I have both. I use them pretty much interchangeably. The straight-blade one has plain edges.
Serrated blades can help keep slippery material steady in a cut. They might also have a slight advantage on fibrous materials, such as rope.
I haven’t noticed any differences on any of the materials I’ve cut with the scissors.
Glad to see the Klein 2100 models get some mention. I carry a pair in the Veto MCT daily and they are beyond handy. In addition to cutting and stripping Category cables I also use them for trimming and stripping shielded cable used in card access systems. And any other general cutting tasks. About 15 dollars at Home Desperate.
Koko The Talking Ape
I looked at the Knifty-cut, and I have to say I am doubtful. They don’t have loop handles, and there is no spring, so how do you open them after a cut, so you can move down a cut line?
The same way you use pliers or other such tools that don’t have handle loops or spring-action handles.
They’re not meant for cutting long lengths of materials. I’ve used them for cutting plastic packaging, wire, rope, straps, small material pieces, and misc. things like that. I haven’t used them for paper (that I can recall at least), sheet metal, and probably not long pieces of rubber gasket (I don’t remember).
Koko The Talking Ape
Okay, but I don’t see how it would hurt for them to include a spring, so you could make long cuts if you needed to. All your other scissors have loop handles, except the Xurons, and they have a spring.
If you want something similar looking with spring assisted opening – you might try a fruit pruning shears. The ARS brand is great – but you can probably get one from Corona for 1/3rd. the price:
These are pretty useful too: Coghlan’s 12-In-1 Scissors … about $5.
On the cheap end, I’ve found that kids school scissors go down to 10 cents at walmart when all the back to school stuff goes on clearance, so I pick up a few pairs to leave in various places. They are a pretty good size for a mini pair of scissors, and work well to get in spots a full size pair won’t go. The rounded safety tips make them great for blind spots where you’re holding something to cut but don’t want to stab yourself when getting the scissors in position.
There’s also the stainless folding scissors, I like those since they are sharp and pointy for stabbing holes if needed, but fold so there are no sharp edges, and are compact enough for actual EDC, perhaps even as a keychain:
Of course I have the ones on my SAK or Wingman/Wave, which are decent, but I use the cheapies and folders more for jobs that require actual scissors that the built-in multi-tool ones won’t do well.
What are you guys using to open clamshells? I’m tired of slicing my hands.
If you mean packaging – rather than the shellfish – I linked (above) to an Alexx shears that works great.
Usually I use a sharp single edge razor blade. Or, the Fiskars shop scissors with the serrated edges.
my leatherman wingman has a special tool for opening those packages. It has a slight hook that slices into/under the packaging.
When working on electrical cables, I’m using Klein Tools Electrician’s Scissors for the last five years – nothing to complain about. But not long ago bought Clauss scissors – https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B000XBBKK0 – paid about half of Klein’s price at the time, and they seem to be as robust, and more comfortable to use. (My hands are rather small, probably medium-sized.)
For the office-like use I like Stanley 8” Piranhas – https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00LSX3LUO – but as all-around scissors, and for those of you with larger hands, Milwaukee Jobsite Scissors – https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00NO7R3TW – mentioned multiple times on this site, might be the best. Might be too large for EDC though.
At home, the most often used pair is probably this, for the last 18+ years: Henckels Twinshear Kitchen Shears, https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B00004RFMG
Has anyone figured out what that (almost triangular) opening on one of the blades is for on the Engineer Scissors?
The Klein electrician’s scissors are very handy.
Always loved mine but they could be hell on the hands. Moved onto something else before I saw the enlarged yellow handle ones, though. Those looked like a good upgrade to the originals.
The medical sheers–my parents bought a set just like that in the 1980s off of a tv infomercial. My 8 year old saw them the other day and was wondering why they were so strange looking. I pulled out a penny and promptly cut it in half, just like they did on the infomercial. My daughter thought that was about the coolest thing ever. I didn’t realize that these were still available. Definitely going to pick up a set!
I can only speak as to the quality of Vamplier pliers . I have 4 different sizes and they are great. I also have one pair of vice grip style Engineer pliers which are of equal quality.
Their special center groove has saved me from drilling out broken screws.I
Now I’ll have to look at their scissors.
I’ve got a friend who is an EMT at an ER. He had the Raptors but hated them because they are terribly hard to clean and sterilize.
I got him a pair of xShear, and he loves them. A bunch of people in his ER converted to them, too.
Koko the Talking Ape
Yep. But I think they might be handy to keep in the family car. They’d be great for breaking windows, cutting seatbelts, etc.
Thanks for the tip re xShears!
The Engineer scissors are actually larger than they look on Amazon.co.jp. Smaller than regular shears, but the size surprised me when I received them.
Here are my favorites. From Lowe’s. Unfortunately I only see them in the stores around Christmas time. These work well on just about everything. On sale you can get them for about $7. They stay pretty sharp. Love These
Anyone ever tried these: Fiskars Titanium Nitride No. 8 Shop Snip (12-79266984)
I got some several years ago when then were called Ultimate Craft Scissors, then they were discontinued and re-realeased as Ultimate Craft Snips. Then those seemed to be discontinued and re-released under this name!
Anyway, I have two pairs and have enjoyed them.
Koko the Talking Ape
They look similar to the ones Lee Valley has on sale that I posted about below. Just a bit cheaper, but they come with a holster.
I have those, too. They are much clunkier than the others. More like pruning shears than scissors, relative to each other. I keep your style ones in my carry-around the house toolbox to cut whatever, and don’t worry about what I come across. I haven’t ruined them yet!
Koko the Talking Ape
FWIW, these Fiskars “Workshop Snips” is on sale at Lee Valley for $12.50. They say the list price is $33, but I can’t confirm that. I have a pair on order (and LV is offering free shipping on all orders, by the way.)
I like the look of these because they have no finger loops, and are spring-loaded. That kind of snip/scissors tends to accomodate my largish hands better than typical sewing or craft scissors. But I don’t know if they’re any good; they arrive in a few days.
Koko the Talking Ape
Oops, forgot the link.
I own several pairs of the Fiskars general purpose scissors 21cm. Bought one on amazon 4/5 years ago and were good enough to buy more. Would recommend but more of a scissors that snips or shears.
Fiskars General Purpose Scissors, 21cm https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B001GAM06U/
Knipex electrician scissors. Won’t go anywhere without em. Snipped one handed through a 22k lb test nylon pulling rope multiple times, Tek 90 cladding, and all kinds/sizes of wire. They’ve got this sort of single serration near the joint that makes em perfect for cable and conductor stripping. Also helps a lot for grabbing whatever you’re trying to cleave.
The Fiskars Amplify series are fantastic for the price.
I can attest to the quality of Xuron, I have some spring cutters that are great for cutting hardened wire, music wire, guitar strings, and springs.
I bought some HF 2″ “wire loop handle” scissors, 1.5″ spring “nippers”, 2-1/2″ light metal shears, and some “kitchen scissors”, and a pair of “hospital shears”. The kitchen scissors were awful, I tossed them straight away. The hospital shears needed sharpening and tuning up, and have been great. The rest have been excellent! Another good brand of scissors, nippers, and shears is (Watch it!) Corona. Very happy with their small forged pruning shears, really old school quality.
The Japanese have been using scissors for 2000 years, and have perfected them. I have never found scissors that cut better than my wire loop handle scissors. Made in China on the Japanese pattern.
The Engineer scissors is my favorite and go to.
Me too, love these. Even with my big hands I find the grips perfect for two fingers plus thumb. Smart design with a partial fine serration, and tip designed for opening boxes, good for paper, cardboard, thin metal, copper wire. Lives in my tool bag.