Learn about scissors and why they are important prepping tools

Scissors are an important cutting tool, yet they do not have the appeal that their glamourous cousin, the knife has for people who practice preparedness. 

Preppers want the knife or the cutting multi-tool that may have a pair of scissors included somewhere in it as an afterthought.

There are many different kinds of scissors and shears which could be very helpful in an emergency or disaster.

Most people have a pair of household scissors or child friendly blunt nose scissors for crafts. There are many different types of scissors, and each are designed for different tasks. So, let’s take a look at them and why they are important for prepping purposes.

First, dressmaking shears that are made to cut cloth. They usually have a blade between seven and ten inches long. They are a heavier construction, with one end blunted or rounded to avoid snagging the cloth. They are designed to glide flush across the table as you cut the fabric.

If you were in a prolonged crisis, the ability to repair and patch your clothing is going to become very important. You will also need to be able to conserve precious patching materials. They are not a frou-frou item.

Try cutting a precision patch with a knife. Not only will you waste material, but you also run the risk of cutting yourself with a knife that was not designed for the task. 

What if the crisis was so prolonged that you actually had to alter, make or remake clothing? This was a real part of survival years ago in hard times.

Fabric shears should only be used for cutting cloth or you will dull the blade and damage the tool. 

There are pinking shears that cut a zig zag edge to help prevent cloth from fraying. It is an optional item and might be useful if one were conserving thread. It would be better to learn how to hand sew various stitches including a simple overcast stitch to prevent fraying of the fabric.

If you want to cut paper, then craft scissors will do the task.

Household shears may have a built in bottle opener, fish scaler or other functions that are designed to be used for kitchen tasks.

These are not to be confused with poultry shears which are used for trimming poultry.

Want to cut hair in a crisis? Then you want hair cutting shears to trim hair. There are also moustache scissors, nail scissors, hair clippers and thinning shears designed to tame thick hair. 

There are nose hair trimming scissors, but please be careful with them. If you nick that area, you can get a bad infection in the dreaded T-Zone where infections can kill really quickly. There are battery operated nose trimmers also.

I use a good pair of hair cutting shears to cut my husband’s hair and to trim my long hair. You cannot get a good cut or trim without them. I use thinning shears on my bangs, although I wouldn’t call thinning shears a prepping necessity. They are a nice to have item and I won’t look like I have a horse’s forelock in a disaster.

There are also different kinds of medical scissors. Because realistically none of us will be doing ophthalmic or other kinds of surgery, we can skip over those types of medical scissors and focus on what is going to be more realistic for us as lay people.

Trauma shears are designed to cut off clothing rapidly and without snagging the underlying skin of the person in a similar way as fabric shears are constructed. This is a necessary item for medical first aid.

Bandage scissors are used to cut bandages. You can’t use fabric or household shears for this task without losing time and patience in the process, plus the damage to the fabric shears.

Let’s step outside the home and look at the humble scissor and how it is used there.

There are loppers which are a type of shear used to cut large branches. Pruning shears can handle the smaller branches.

Loppers be hand held or be a pole lopper for dealing with heights. This type of shear could become very important to a prepper during a clean up after a storm. They can also be used to trim branches back away from the roof to keep squirrels and other critters out of the attic. Think of the problems that could occur if animals get into your attic during a crisis or disaster.

Hedge trimmers might be very important for the prepper who wants to maintain security during a crisis.

What about metal snips and the importance of them to a prepper?

Metal snips can cut sheet metal and tin snips can cut soft metals like copper and aluminum. The blades can be straight or curved for cutting curves and circles.

Think of the usefulness of metal snips for emergency repairs to a gutter or metal roofing during a crisis.

There are also pipe and duct snips or compound action snips used to cut metal.

There are other types of scissors, but those listed above would be the most likely to be used by most preppers.

Consider what kinds of materials and uses you might have for various types of scissors and shears.

For certain kinds of repairs and maintenance, a knife just won’t cut it.

For photos and more info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scissors



  • Comments (16)

    • 4

      While they are expensive at $117 a pair, the best scissors I’ve ever seen or own are the Cutco Super Shears.

      They are sharp and strong enough to cut through coins without damaging the blades at all.

      And just cause it’s cool, here’s a video showing how they are made. 

      These aren’t just great for the kitchen but for the workshop, office, and wherever.  They are made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty too so it’ll be the last pair of scissors you’ll ever need.

      You are right, there are many times when I would prefer a pair of scissor to a knife. 

      • 4


        Very nice scissors. I like that they come apart for cleaning. I have bookmarked the site because I am in the market for a new pair of household scissors.

        I like that they are USA made and the warranty. I try to buy Canadian and American made wherever possible.

        And did you know, that you can use a pair of scissors like a knife just by using only the one scissor blade?

        Thanks Robert for the info.

      • 3

        Those do look nice, but a less than $20 pair of electrician’s scissors can do basically the same stuff. 

      • 3

        They do look very similar. I’ll have to buy a pair of those for the workshop and test them out.

        Thanks for the suggestion Sun Yeti!

    • 5

      My old pipe cutters bit the dust yesterday & ordered these today.  Sure makes cutting PVC pipe easy & neat.  I use them more on cutting my drip irrigation tubing.


      • 1

        I like those pipe cutters. There are a lot of things that can be constructed with PVC pipe and clean cuts are tidy and true.

        Very helpful in a disaster where gardening assists can be constructed out of the PVC or other framework.

      • 1

        Good morning Redneck,

        Those PVC pipecutters are worth their weight multi-times over.

        I like above orange model.

        PVC pipe can be cut for use on rafts, boats, to make canapy tents, for walking shafts, … so much else.

        My group has a PVC pipecutter. It’s a much needed tool. 

    • 6

      Good evening Ubique,

      Yes, an important tool.

      I add emphasis on carrying case for evac situations. MultiTools and the Army (up to beginning of Cold War) have cases. Didn’t know my Army scissors in sewing kit was for surgery.

        At Wiki link’s literature section, not listed but do remember Anton Chekov, in his short book “A Journey To The End Of The Russian Empire” (1893 [?]), wrote that Sakhalin Island’s clinics had a total of 9 scissors. 

      • 4

        Good Evening Bob,

        Yes, a carrying case for implements is well worth it and protects them. Also, I hadn’t included it in the post, but getting top quality stainless steel is worth it. A lot of “stainless steel” rusts now because it isn’t true stainless steel or is cheap plating. You want durability always.

        Wow, was the scissors for surgery only for Vietnam or had this been done for other wars?

        I checked out the Sakhalin Island’s history. Very interesting – Russian, Japanese and Korean. Very remote location. Oil and Gas the big industry. 

      • 4

        Good morning Ubique,

        The Army surgical scissors I have were Korean War vintage. They are still in excellent shape.

      • 2

        Good morning Bob,

        Quality of the tool impacts longevity, ease of use and performance and your example underscores that point.

    • 6

      Agree that scissors are better at some tasks.  Why I opted in the more portable BOB and GHB to have the multi-tool include a small pair.  

      • 5


        The scissor in multi tool is nice to have (I have one in mine). Scissors or shears are often overlooked as prepping tools.

        The word scissor is for the mechanism of how the tool works. There are many tools that are classified as scissors or shears with a wide range of usefulness in an emergency.

        It was interesting to look at how many tools I have with that classification. It made me feel better about my tool preps.

      • 4

        Ref the scissor mechanism;

        Don’t forget the picture Bill posted re the Kalashnov bayonnet and sheath. They’re manufactured to also serve as a cutter of wire, such as barbed variety.

      • 2

        Good one Bob, I had forgotten about that (there is so much information).

        Very good point. Barbed wire may be a security item in a long term crisis or for livestock fencing. Being able to cut is is important.

        Thank you.

    • 5

      I found that nursing scissors are really good for gutting chickens, so would be good for other small animals.