What Handle Should Your Hair Cutting Shears Have

Choosing the right pair of hair cutting shears means considering all the essential elements involved. The handle is going to have an impact on everything, from performance through to comfort – so it’s a key choice to get right. The main elements involved in choosing the right handle for your hair cutting shears are: the handle design and the thumb treatments.


Choosing the right handle design

Handle design will determine how comfortable you will be while doing your work in the salon.

  • Symmetric Handle or Opposing Grip – if you choose this handle position then most techniques will require you to raise your arm to a horizontal position. This shear will feature handles of the same length that are fixed in a way that is symmetrical to the centre screw.  This handle also requires you to pull your thumb back to a point opposite your ring finger which is stressful on your thumb tendon.


  • Offset Handle – this type of handle is essentially an evolution from the symmetric handle and an attempt to make hair cutting shears more comfortable for the stylist. They are designed with a longer finger handle and a shorter thumb handle so that there is less pressure on the thumb tendon while cutting. They still however require the raised elbow position like the Opposing Grip.


  • Crane Handle – if you don’t like to raise your elbow while cutting then this is the style for you. Hair cutting shears with a crane handle are designed with a handle that angles downward when the blades are horizontal. This not only takes the stress off the thumb tendon but also lifts your hand away from the client when cutting on the skin. These type of shears are therefore a great help to those who find they have wrist pain or repetitive strain injury.


  • Extended Crane or Neutral Grip – with the extended crane type of shears, the thumb hole has been moved further forward and the thumb handle is shorter. The thumb is positioned across from the index finger which is the neutral resting position for the hand, hence the name Neutral Grip


  • The rotating crane – this design of these shears keeps the hand in an open and stable position like the Neutral Grip, and because the thumb rotates they can enable an entire cut to be completed without raising the elbow once. You can ‘steer’ your scissor with your index and middle finger, into any angle required.  This is a great alternative to guiding your scissors into other angles with your whole arm and shoulder.

The thumb treatment options

The thumb is a key digit in cutting, which is why there are so many thumb treatment options available, including a cut away thumb handle, which has an indentation at the back of the ring. Another option is the anatomic thumb grip, which has the thumb hold bent to allow a wider range of contact angles, or the rotating thumb grip that you’ll find with rotating crane shears.

Although there are many options available the Crane handle which is either fixed, neutral or rotating is a shear that we would recommend for hairdressers as it gives greater comfort and helps with repetitive strain injury.