A reader put it in my head that it’s been too long since I’ve recommended my favorite compact scissors. (I meant that in a good way.)
So, here are my 5 favorite compact and portable (EDC-capable) scissors. At the moment, my Engineer Inc scissors and Xurons are within easy accessibility and I use them most. I haven’t reached for my medical-style scissors in a while, but I know where they are. My Raptors and Knifti-Cut are in different tool boxes, and see regular use as well.
I have tried a few other styles of compact scissors, shears, and snips, but they don’t tend to be very memorable.
These 5 recommendations are of tools I purchased and would purchase again.
2020 Update: With scissors and compact scissors being among my most-used tools, it seemed like a good time to bump this post back to the front page. This post was originally published on April 20th, 2018, and the only things have changed since then are some of the prices. My recommendations for all of these tools still stand.
These made-in-Japan Engineer Inc. compact scissors are as pocketable as they are useful. I wouldn’t use them for cutting through thick or heavy duty materials, but they handle all kinds of everyday cutting and trimming tasks.
The handles are a tad bit small, but it’s a compromise I’ve accepted without regret. When I need to spend a lot more time with scissors, I reach for something full-sized.
You can buy your own for between $22 and $30, depending on the seller and time of year. Vampliers-branded scissors are more easily available, but pricier.
Read Also: The Best EDC Scissors Just Got Cheaper
MidWest Tool Knifti-Cut
I haven’t used my MidWest Knifti-Cut shears recently, on account of having other similar cutting solutions more front-and-center.
They took the place of straight-cutting compound-action sheet metal snips for what I would consider “general purpose” cutting tasks. If I couldn’t cut it with a knife or office scissors, out came my Knifi-Cut shears.
When I first bought them, I thought I was getting a real bargain, and the same holds true today.
Get your own USA-made Knifti-Cut for ~$17.
I have to say it – using the Leatherman Raptors for anything other than first aid or rescue operations is a waste of its potential and capabilities. That’s okay, if you’re willing and able to justify its
$70 $80 price tag. (The price has increased since this post was first published in 2018.)
Still, the Raptor is an incredibly good tool, and it folds down to a very small size.
I’ve used mine quite a bit, but I haven’t really gotten my money out if it, at least not yet. If not for the need to check it for ToolGuyd/editorial purposes, I almost definitely wouldn’t have bought it. For the same price, you can have non-folding medical-style shears and an extra $60-70 in your wallet.
But if you want versatile blunt-tipped cutters that are capable and compact, it just might be for you. There’s nothing quite like it on the market.
Prestige Medical Shears
I used my father’s medical-style shears a couple of times, and heard all kinds of good things about them before that.
I finally bought my own, after having to use my father’s scissors to cut some clothes off my son when he was a week old and had a massive diaper incident in his car seat. They worked really well on fabric!
These scissors are handy to keep around, and I especially like the blunt tip. They’re good to pack, too, due to their light weight.
Try it for yourself, for $9.
Note: For more general purpose scissors that you don’t need to be portable, check out Milwaukee’s scissors, discussed below.
Xuron Mini Scissors
I have two types of Xuron scissors – precisions scissors as shown here, and their “Kevlar scissors,” which work beautifully well on slippery materials and fibers of all kinds.
Xuron precision scissors aren’t very pocketable, at least not if you don’t like poking yourself. But, they’re small enough to hide away in a tool bag or box. Even if you have a crowded tool box, surely you can find a space for these compact scissors. In a tool bag, these scissors are so small you won’t ever feel their added weight.
Given their size, you won’t use them for many of the types of tasks you might be using other scissors for. But for small or precise work, they can handle a lot, and at reasonable pricing.
The Xuron scissors shown here (model 440) are made in the USA, and currently retails for ~$14.
See Also: Xuron Flush-Cut Shears Review
Honorable Mention: Milwaukee Scissors
I have come to use my Milwaukee scissors (received as review samples) more than any other scissors – they are simply fantastic. I keep one in my workspace, and one in a multi-use kitchen cabinet.
These are exceptionally well-suited for all kinds of everyday tasks, and they’re built to handle demanding needs and usage environments. Too bad they’re not very pocketable, although they don’t take up all that much space in a tool bag.
The price is more than fair, at just around $15.