How To Choose The Best Barber Shears

The Best Shears For Barbers

how to hold a barbering scissor
Getting a grip on the best barber barber shears

We’re here to help you choose the best barber shears money can buy. No matter if you know them as barber scissors or barbering shears, it’s undeniable that the sharpest tools in your tool kit are the most vital. We’ve teamed up with our friends at Glamtech to cover some barber basics; welcome to our guide on how to choose the best hairdressing and barber shears.

Shear Comfort

First and foremost, your professional hairdressing shears must feel comfortable! Ergonomic barber shears reduce strain on the hand, wrist and elbow, freeing stylists from the threat of injury and minimising the risk of developing repetitive strain injury or carpal tunnel syndrome in later life. These are common complaints in the barbering and hairdressing businesses, but the best shears for barbers are designed to minimise such dangers. Here’s how to hold your hairdressing blades correctly.

The other side of your shears

Your little finger sits on the finger rest; you can remove this on most Dark Stag models for increased freedom. Next is the ring finger – it goes in the top finger hole. Your first two fingers sit along the stem, with your thumb sitting comfortably in the bottom hole (see images).

Styles Of Hairdressing Shear – Straight vs. Offset

Different varieties of hairdressing and barber shears

When you’re looking to choose the best hairdressing shears, there are endless styles and shapes to choose from.  The main layouts of shear handle are straight shears (also known as ‘level set ’, ‘level shears’ or ‘even handle’) and offset shears. Straight shears are a traditional layout with finger and thumb holes set in a direct, level line (see graphic). With an offset design, the thumb hole is moved inwards towards the screw of the shear.

In the UK, straight ‘scissors’ are often popular with barbers. (For independent advice on choosing hairdressing scissors visit the London School Of Barbering – Choosing A Scissor.) Straight shears varieties are often supplied to hairdressing students in their tool kits, as they’re by far the most universal design.  Crane handle hairdressing shears are more curved – an exaggerated version of the offset style.  Some hears even feature rotating thumb holes for additional flexibility.  A straight shear is a more straightforward design allowing hair stylists to move their elbows freely at higher positions. An offset shear enables a stylist’s elbow to work in a lower and more natural position – this reduces risks of RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (see Andy’s video below for a demonstration of how to hold your barbering shears correctly). Control and comfort should have the ultimate impact on your decision when choosing barber shears.

When Choosing The Best Barber Shears – What Size Should I Choose?

choose the best hairdressing scissor-3-meausuring-a-hairdressing-scissor
Measuring a barber shear

The size of the barbering shears you choose is largely down to personal preference.  Simply put: the longer the blade, the quicker you can cut hair.  A barber’s shear is often larger than
regular hairdressing blades. Why? It’s partly down to the speed of the haircut and also the average size of a male barber’s hand compared to a female hair stylist.

There has been a significant shift over the last few years to bigger hairdressing shears sizes overall.  The length of any hair scissor is measured from blade tip, to the end of the furthest finger hole (not including the finger rest). For example, this image this is a 5.25” scissor.

choose the best hairdressing scissor-4-hairdressing-scissor-fitting
Hairdressing shear fitting

A common method for choosing the best barbering shears to suit you is to place the finger hole at the base of your thumb; the tip of the blade should reach the last section of your middle finger. Here’s an example of the right size in Andy’s hand.

Choosing The Right Barber Shears – What Cutting Edge Should I Choose?

choose the best hairdressing scissor -5-Serrated-Scissor-Edge
A serrated shear edge

Serrated shears or micro-serrated shears? One of the shear’s blades will feature serrations; these grip hair and allow a straight cut, with no hair slipping between your blades. Serrated shears are often used by hairdressing students as they are easy to cut with and master the barbering basics with. In order to choose best hairdressing shears, it is important to consider how they will be used.  For example, barbers often use serrated blades because they last longer without sharpening – like a bread knife! Due to they way they cling, it is not possible to use them for slice-cutting or chopping in, as they will grip the hair.

The difference between a Bevelled and Convex edge

Convex edge shears: The majority of Dark Stag and Glamtech shears feature convex edges. These are the sharpest and smoothest cutting blades and are purposefully designed to provide a cleaner, crisper cut.  To choose the best hairdressing shears for slice-cutting and chopping in, you can’t beat a convex blade!

The Best Barber Shears For You – Can I Buy Left-Handed Barber Shears?

offset right-handed barber scissor
ight-handed scissor

More than a tenth of hair stylists are left-handed, but the percentage of left-handed shear sales are much smaller. In order to choose the best hairdressing shears, it is obviously recommended to choose one suited to your strongest hand! if you are left-handed and want to choose the best hairdressing scissor… choose a lefty!

left-handed barber scissor
Left-handed scissor

As with many musical instruments, left-handed stylists typically make do with the wrong tools and just get used to them… obviously, this is not ideal.  A left-handed hairdresser should use left-handed shears because the blades are specially set up to make cutting easier and reduce strain on the hand. We proudly offer the Dark Stag DS+ in a lefty variant.

So there you have it! Any questions? Contact us and fire away – we’d be happy to help you begin your barbering journey. For inspiration on the latest hair styles visit: The Hairdressers Journal gallery.

More from Dark Stag

Share this article
Dark Stag Newsletter Sign Up

Want exclusive offers, updates and industry news? Join the herd here!