German Scissors Vs. Japanese Scissors: Everything You Need to Know

June 08, 2021

When you start looking for the best hair-cutting tools you can use at work, the sheer amount of offers may throw you for a loop. Different brands and manufacturers try to catch your attention with a wide range of models, and you have to decide on your own whether their price translates to their quality. It goes without saying that shopping for scissors can be problematic, so how can you choose the best pair that will suit your needs? Well, you can start by learning about the features of scissors you want to add to your cart. We bet that soon enough, you'll stumble upon two different types of scissors: German and Japanese.

Now you may be wondering: "Well, what should I do now? How am I supposed to tell one from the other?" Don't worry! In this article, we'll explain everything there is to know about Japanese and German scissors. If you want to learn more, keep on reading!

 

German Scissors

German-made products are famous for their quality and performance. Just look at the most popular German car brands: Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and Porsche sure must ring a bell! German-made hair scissors are no different - they're sturdy, reliable, and their design is impeccable. That's why so many pro hairdressers shop for them all the time!

When it comes to German scissors, brands that are worth your while include Dovo, Gotta, Tondeo, Henbor, and Jaguar. Jaguar, for instance, is one of the oldest scissor manufacturers with an excellent reputation in both the hairdressing and barber industry. Their vast range of hair-cutting scissors reflects almost 100 years of experience, proving their worth to barbers and hairstylists alike. German scissors are possibly the best in Europe, and many hairdressers worldwide have a chance to see if it's true - all thanks to international distribution.

Japanese Scissors

Japanese shears and scissor brands are also well-known in the hairdressing industry. They're famous for their quality steel, which makes them durable, robust, and corrosion-resistant. However, they're also notoriously expensive - if you want to have a full set of Japanese shears, brace yourself as you can spend hundreds, or even thousands of dollars for just a couple of pairs.

Some of the most well-known Japanese scissor brands include Matsui, Yasaka, Joewell, and Sozu. Some of them have been established over a century ago, while others, even though they're much younger, prove to be popular among hairdressers - countless reviews left by satisfied customers are enough to convince us!

 

Differences

Obviously, there are differences between Japanese and German scissors, and in a moment, you'll know exactly what they are! This knowledge will come in handy whenever you're shopping for scissors online. After all, you want to end up with a product that will suit your needs, and it's difficult to tell apart specific models only by looking at a picture. We get it - buying scissors online has this disadvantage! But no worries, even though there are many brands with various offers, you can purchase high-quality scissors at a fair price and spend years using them.

Now, if you are to choose between Japanese and German scissors, pay attention to these four factors: their hardness, sharpness, edge, and handle design. Both German and Japanese brands put effort into the way their products look, so the visual appeal is another element you may want to consider. Still, the appearance of your scissors has little to no effect on their performance and your comfort - and ultimately, these factors count the most. So, let's get into it and discuss how Japanese scissors differ from German scissors, in regards to hardness, sharpness, edge, and handle design.

 

Hardness

This is a matter of durability. Professional hairdressing scissors are not cheap, so it's reasonable to expect that their performance will reflect their price. At least that's what we do! The key factor responsible for scissor durability is steel. Both Japanese and German scissor brands use high-quality steel, but they differ when it comes to their range. Let's examine that even further!

When it comes to Japanese scissors, brands tend to use:

  • Hitachi ATS 314 (Level 6 - Highest Quality)
  • Hitachi 440c (Level 5 - Highest Quality)
  • V10 (VG10) (Level 4 - High Quality)
  • V1 (VG1) (Level 3 - High Quality)
  • 440C (Level 2 - Standard Quality)
  • 440A (Level 1 - Standard Quality)

As for the German scissor brands, they use:

  • MC Micro Carbide steel (Level 5 - Highest Quality)
  • Molybdenum steel (Level 4 - High Quality)
  • Stainless chromium steel (Level 2 - Good Quality)

As you can see, Japanese manufacturers have a wider range of steel they use in scissor production. However, it also means that the price range can be more extreme. When it comes to German scissors, you can be sure that they're made of high-quality steel, and the price range will be rather moderate. This means that you won't have to break the bank if you want to buy great scissors, and that's a huge plus for many hairdressers!

 

Blade Edge

The edge of a scissor is probably its most important part - it's responsible for cutting the hair. Manufacturers opt for different blade designs, which directly affects the performance of scissors they later release for people to buy. Any scissor shop should have a wide range of scissors with different types of blades, so we bet you've seen the ones we're going to talk about right now.

German-made hair-cutting scissors feature the beveled blade - the oldest and the least expensive design. This type is slightly angled and doesn't require a hollow ground. As a result, the blades are robust, flat, and chop the hair like a guillotine when the edges of the two opposing blades meet. The beveled type shouldn't be used while cutting wet hair, or for slicing and sliding through hair. However, it works perfectly for the over comb cutting technique and helps ensure a steady grip of the hair, preventing slippage.

When it comes to Japanese style scissors, they have convex blades which are narrow and razor-sharp. Convex blades come to a sharp sloping edge. They feature a hollow ground - a slight depression along the center of the blades facing inwards to ensure they stay sharp. It also reduces friction, preventing the hair from slipping, and concentrates the force of each cut in the blades, which is why they are so sharp. Convex blades are quite tough to master but they're perfect for detailed, precision cuts. They also can be used for cutting both wet and dry hair.

 

Sharpness

This factor is closely connected with the one we've just covered - the type of blades. As you already know, Japanese brands often opt for convex blades, while German scissors usually feature beveled blades. Now, experts agree that convex blades are sharper than beveled ones. However, they also agree that for this reason, Japanese scissors may have to be sharpened more often, which may be a bit problematic. After all, if you fail to do it in a professional way, you risk ruining your expensive shears, and that's something we wish upon absolutely nobody! On the other hand, German scissors may not be as sharp as Japanese models, but they still perform extremely well, and they're easier to maintain.

Regardless of the type of your scissors, you need to ensure they stay sharp at all times. Regular sharpening (at least once every 3 to 6 months) is simply a must, and you should also be careful while handling your scissors - accidentally dropping them on the ground is a huge no-no! Also, remember to use your scissors only for cutting hair, we really can't stress it enough! Keep those tips in mind, and you'll save your scissors from becoming prematurely dull.

 

Handle Design

Handle design is another key element that can make or break your scissor experience. After all, you're going to spend a great part of your life with shears in your hand, cutting your clients' hair like there's no tomorrow. But tomorrow always comes, and a hairdresser's career is not as risk-free as an amateur might think. That's why you should think about the ergonomics of your hair-cutting tools. You don't want to develop repetitive strain injuries, that's for sure!

The design of scissor handles directly impacts the performance of the scissors of your choice. Now, here's why some people may opt for Japanese scissors, while others may swear by German shears. The former usually feature an offset handle, which is considered to be highly ergonomic and safe. It's a more popular design with a longer finger blade and a shorter thumb blade. Many hairdressers prefer this type of handle because it allows them to adjust their hand position, and it doesn't require them to move their thumbs as far while cutting hair. This, in turn, helps them reduce the risk of a wrist injury. However, using an offset handle often requires you to raise your elbow, which may cause shoulder pain in the long run.

You can find German scissors with an offset handle, too. However, in this case, the opposing design is more common. When it comes to the opposing handles, they are the same length, which means that when a hairdresser is cutting hair, their cutting finger and thumb are in alignment. As a result, the thumb is forced back slightly, which some hairdressers may find uncomfortable. Still, manufacturers pay attention to customer opinions and come up with modern designs that are both functional and ergonomic.

 

Final Thoughts

And that's it! Now you should be a pro in regard to Japanese and German scissors. As you can see, these two types are quite different, and these differences can influence which pair you add to your online shopping cart. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and you should think about the quality of the tools you use for work, but also about your own comfort. In the case of both Japanese and German scissors, manufacturers offer a wide range of great models, so you can't really go wrong here, especially when you know which features you prefer.

Here at Scissor Tech, we want to help you pick the best pair of shears you'll enjoy working with in your salon. Your choices are almost endless, and there are many brands that produce high-quality, reliable scissors designed for pro and beginner hairdressers and barbers. If you happen to have any questions or doubts, feel free to reach out to us! We'll gladly give you an answer and assist you with your shopping. Thank you for choosing Scissor Tech!




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