My Favorite Gardening Scissors

tools Aug 31, 2022

You can find all kinds of cutting implements for your gardening, but my favorite is a pair of scissors. Scissors are the most useful for vegetable and herb gardening. Sure, they don't work so well for some tasks, but I find that they are tool I reach for first. 

I use my garden scissors for:

  • Snipping soft small stems and vines
  • Thinning seedlings when I don't want to pull the extra sprouts (and risk disturbing the remaining sprouts)
  • Pruning off dead leaves
  • Cut-and-come-again harvesting of lettuce, Swiss chard, arugula, etc.
  • Snipping to harvest cucumbers
  • Snipping to harvest green beans, peas, soybeans, strawberries, and more
  • Harvesting herbs and baby greens
  • Cutting string
  • Cutting garden fabric (e.g. insect barrier)

A Good Pair of Gardening Scissors

Two Most Important Qualities:

Large Finger Loops

I prefer large, symmetrical finger loops something like these: 


They are easy to pick up and get my fingers through quickly.  There isn't a "right way" to hold them with a smaller thumb hole and larger finger loop. Just grab and go. 

The wide finger loops allow a hand wearing gloves or without. 

Some garden scissors, snips or shears don't have loops for your fingers at all. I prefer the loops because without them, the scissors slip out of my hands too easily! I'm usually trying to juggle multiple items in my hands while working in the garden, and if I loosen my grip, I drop the scissors. Annoying.

Medium Length, Thin, Sharp Blades

A blade length of about 2 to 3 inches works well. Often garden centers sell bonsai snips, and they have a good finger loop design, but their blades tend to be about 1.5 inches. This will work, but you might not be able to open them enough to snip larger stems. 

Sometimes you'll be reaching in a tight space to snip exactly where you need to, like a tomato sucker among a tangled mess of vines. 

The blades should be thin for a similar reason.

Of course the blades have to be sharp, but it's OK if they have dulled a bit. I only really notice dull blades when I'm trying to cut string or garden fabric. 

You don't need a super-pointy tip, sometimes called a "micro-tip." I end up poking myself with it more often than I need a pointy tip. 

Other Nice-To-Have Qualities

You don't need a tip protector. If you're like me, you'll use it the first few times and then either it will get lost or you will get annoyed at the extra time to pull the protector off. 

It's helpful to have a brightly colored handle so your scissors are easy to spot on the ground. Scissors can easily disappear in weeds, mulch, or under bushy plants. You can easily tie on a bright ribbon or dip the handle in bright outdoor paint.

Non-stick blades are helpful. Blades can get sticky when cutting sappy stems.

Rust-resistance is also a good quality; your scissors will undoubtedly get wet. 

Gardening scissors will be the one cutting tool you'll use the most. 

For thicker stems like the main tomato vine, sunflower stalks, okra stems, and cabbage stems, use pruning shears. 

For harvesting cabbage, heads of lettuce, broccoli, and cauliflower where you need to slice through a thick stem, use a garden knife or a kitchen knife repurposed for the garden. 

As they say, right tool for the job. 


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