If you’re an experienced groomer, you’ve inevitably gone through the pain and expense of buying scissors that initially feel great but, end up discarded to a drawer of redundant equipment.

Finding the perfect scissor can be an arduous task, further hindered by the mind boggling array of sizes, handle styles and blade types that exist. So, what’s the best approach to dodge costly pitfalls and make informed buying decisions.

Firstly, avoid being influenced by over elaborate design.

Custom colours and ornate features may look impressive but, are no guarantee of quality and, should always be a final consideration once you’ve established and have selected more important features. Scissors are a very personal thing and, as such, be prepared to test several different pairs before making any final buying decision. You may also wish to ask the retailer about warranty and their returns policy, should you wish to send them back.

Having considered all this, you’re ready to evaluate different design features and, having understood the relative pros and cons, choose a scissor that favours your technique and the task you’re planning to undertake.

However, to begin, a few words of advice regarding steel and metal processing. Most professional scissors are made from stainless steel, usually of German or Japanese origin. In laymanís terms stainless steel is simply regular steel mixed with chromium to resist rusting. The disadvantage of this is that the steel becomes softer, requiring a hardening process to improve durability and wear resistance. This entails subjecting the steel to extreme heat and freezing temperatures, which is often referred to as “ice tempering”.

Comfort and handling are paramount in any buying decision, so be mindful of weight, balance and grip. How you hold the scissor is ultimately influenced by handle style, of which there are three common types.

Opposing Grip – Traditional style, favoured by groomers preferring to hold the scissor with their middle finger and thumb. This style can also be reversed, making it adaptable for left-handed groomers. Offset Grip – Enhanced style, for groomers taught to hold the scissor with their ring finger and thumb. The shorter shank helps prevent over extension, enabling you to cut with a more open hand. Crane Grip – Modern, ergonomic style providing the most benefits. Although similar to the offset grip, this style is uniquely angled to lower the elbow position, relieving stress on the shoulders and wrist. Which you choose depends on your handedness and preferred level of comfort. Ultimately, all scissors should be comfortable to hold, but you may find one handle style suits your scissoring technique better than another.

The next thing to consider is blade type, bevelled edge and convex are two common options. Which you choice depends on the type of scissoring work you plan to do.

Beveled Edge : Renouned for cutting strength and durability, with micro serrations to help control the hair. Ideal for removing bulk, general grooming and trimming, providing a clean cutting action without leaving indentations in the coat. Convex : Famous for razor sharp, effortless cutting performance, traditional in most Asian and American made scissors. Typically used by experienced groomers and exhibitors, styling ‘scissored’ breeds to a high show standard. Ideal for perfecting breed trims and making those all important finishing touches.

Having assessed steel quality, handle style and blade type, the difference between scissors becomes very subtle, with competitive brands employing a variety of visually attractive features to cater for personal taste. This can include colourisation using titanium coating and decorative features such as jewelled tensioning screws. The variety of styles and colours can become overwhelming, so always remain focused on the key features – metal quality, cutting performance and handling. Choose carefully and you have the best chance of buying a scissor that will serve you well.