Shear Education Booklet Online - Tension System

Section 5: Choosing a Tension System

So now you’ve arrived at the final important determining factor that you as a stylist must decide on when selecting the ideal shears. Thanks to incredible engineering and technical innovations in the industry many shears now have adjustable settings to suit personal preferences and techniques. This section has been specially created to cover this valuable area.

Adjustment Screw

The oldest tension system is the adjustable screw. Some are wide slotted and can be adjusted by a coin. Others require a screwdriver. Although some stylist like the streamline design of a regular screw, most miss the ease of adjustment provided by the newer more sophisticated systems.

Direct Adjustment Knob

In an effort to make adjustment easy for the user, manufacturers have developed adjustment knobs or dials. These allow the user to simply turn the adjuster with their fingers to increase or decrease tension.

Leaf SpringTension System

This system is found on many shears. It adds a leaf spring below the tension dial, which spreads the tension out lengthwise in the pivot of the shear. This system can extend the life of the edge by stabilizing the blades causing a more evenly distributed wear pattern.

Ball Bearing Leaf Spring Tension

Some tension systems include ball bearings which act to further stabilize the blades. The bearing is tightly fitted in the center of the shear and the blades rotate on the bearing instead of the typical nylon or Polymer™ washer.

Flat Bearing Tension Systems

It is also possible to find shears with internal ball bearings or polymer discs between the blades. There are also some flat screws with locking detents that click when turned. These tend to hold tension well and can provide a stabilized flat pivot of the shear for those who prefer a streamlined look.

Reversible Leaf Spring Tension System

Some shears have a tension system that can be reversed for left handed stylists. Usually right handed shears with tension knobs are not easy to use for left handed stylists, because the knob will be in their way when cutting scissor over comb or cutting hair held between their fingers. On a reversible shear, the stylist can remove the knob and plate, push out the screw (making sure the washer comes out with it) and then reinsert the screw from the opposite side of the shear and reattach the plate and knob. Now the knob will face their hand when they cut left handed, and will not be in the way for the techniques mentioned above. This is ideal for left handed stylists, who use right handed shears.