Best 18 Steel For Hairdressing Scissors & Barber Shears

February 01, 2022 15 min read

Best18 Steel For Hairdressing Scissors & Barber Shears | Scissor Hub Australia

When choosing the best steel for your hairdressing scissors or barber shears, there are a few factors you need to consider.

The first is the hardness of the steel, which is measured in Rockwell units (HRC). The harder the steel, the sharper and longer-lasting the blades will be.

Secondly, you need to consider the metal composition of stainless steel scissors. Stainless steel alloys vary in quality, with some being more corrosion-resistant than others.

Finally, you'll want to think about how often your scissors will need sharpening and how robust they need to be. In this article, we'll explore all of these factors in detail and help you choose the best steel for your needs.

What Are The Different Quality Types Of Steel Used In Hair Scissors?

There are three main types of steel used in the manufacture of hair scissors: Japanese, German and Chinese.

Japanese steel is considered to be the best quality, followed by German and then Chinese. This is because Japanese and German Steel has a higher Rockwell hardness (HRC) than Chinese Steel.

The downside of Japanese and German Steel is that it's more expensive than Chinese Steel, so it's not as affordable for budget-conscious buyers.

Chinese Steel is the most affordable of the three, but it also has the lowest quality. This is because it's softer than Japanese and German Steel, so it doesn't hold a sharp scissor edge as well and requires sharpening more often.

The more the HRC, the more durable the material, the sharper the blade, and the more resistant it is to rust, corrosion and the like.

The HRC isn't the only factor to consider when deciding between cheap and high-quality scissors. The quality of the manufacturing process and standards affect how sharp and effective the scissors you choose to purchase will be.

Let's look through all the popular names for scissor steel to help you learn more about your new scissor.

Why Do You Get Better Blades With Better Steel (Materials)?

Japanese and German Steel Hair Scissors

You get better blades with better steel because a harder material can take and keep a sharper edge for longer.

As we mentioned earlier, Japanese and German Steel has a higher Rockwell hardness (HRC) than Chinese Steel. This means that their blades are able to hold a sharp edge for longer, making them more durable in the long run.

If you're someone who doesn't like to sharpen their scissors often, then Japanese or German Steel may be a good choice.

Japanese scissors feature sharp, convex edge blades, which require high-quality steel that has been hardened. This ensures an edge that is sharper on the blade, allowing it to last longer.

This makes all blades better; however, most professional Japanese shears made of high-quality steel utilize convex Edges.

Sharpening will be required less often because of the premium steel that has been hardened.

Better Scissor Steel Is Lighter & Lighter Scissors Are More Ergonomic

Lightweight ergonomic hair scissors

In addition to having a sharper blade, better scissor steel is also lighter in weight, and this is because it takes less material to make a hard, sharp blade than it does to make a soft, dull one.

This is why high-quality scissors made of Japanese or German Steel are often lighter in weight than those made of cheaper steel types.

Lighter scissors are more ergonomic, meaning they're easier to use for long periods without causing fatigue or discomfort in your hands and wrists.

Lighter scissors reduce the chance of repetitive strain injury (RSI), Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, etc.

The best quality steel is actually lightweight, and this steel is lighter and takes away the pressure from your fingers, elbow, wrist and shoulder when cutting.

Better Steel Materials Means Your Scissors Will Last Longer

Holding a pair of professional hair scissors.

Professional hair scissors are an investment that can last you your whole career if they're made of high-quality steel.

Better steel is more durable and can withstand wear and tear better than cheaper steel.

This means that you'll need to sharpen them less often, and they'll last longer than a pair of scissors made from cheaper materials, which will need to be replaced more often due to wear and tear.

Higher-quality steel is more resistant to rust and corrosion, which can damage the cutting edge over time.

Japanese steel shears have been predicted to last for 20 years or even longer if maintained properly.

Which Countries Make The Best Scissor Steel For Haircutting?

All scissors are constructed from stainless steel; however, the best quality and highest-end scissor steel are made from:

  1. Japanese Steel: Highest Quality In The World!
  2. German Steel: Best Quality-Steel From Europe
  3. Korean Steel: Second Best Steel From Asia
  4. Taiwanese Steel: High-Quality Steel
  5. Chinese Steel: Great Quality Steel
  6. India Steel: Average Quality Steel
  7. Pakistani Steel: Poor Quality Steel

The most corrosive steel is produced from India, Pakistan and Vietnam. They are Indian, and Pakistani cutting tools have sharp edges that can only be sharpened twice or once before breaking.

The steel quality directly impacts how long your scissors will last, how sharp the blades are and how often you'll need to sharpen them.

So, now that you know a little more about the different types of steel used in scissors, what kind of scissors should you be looking for?

The Top 18 Best Steel Types For Professional Hairdressing Scissors and Barber Shears

Hairdressing scissors made from high-quality steel

When looking for the best steel type for your scissors, you should keep in mind the following:

  • The quality of the steel
  • The hardness of the steel
  • The country of origin
  • How often the blades will need to be sharpened
  • The durability of the steel

Our selection is based on all of the above and customer feedback that has determined how well cutting steel performs in a professional salon & barbershop environment!

Here is a list of the top ten best steels for professional hair cutting scissors and barber shears.

#1. ATS-314 (ATS314) Japanese Cobalt Steel

ATS-314 Scissor Steel from Takeo, Japan, is the best scissor steel globally. Scissors made from ATS-314 Steel are incredibly sharp and durable.

Scissors made of this material can stay sharp for up to a decade without needing resharpened! 

ATS-314 Scissor Steel is known for its incredible durability, strength and cutting edge retention properties. It's one of the hardest metals in the world, with a Rockwell hardness of 63.

This steel is corrosion-resistant and can withstand even the most humid environments without rusting.

If you're looking for the best hair cutting scissors money can buy, then ATS-314 Scissor Steel is the material you want!

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Takeo, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 52-63
  • ATS-314 Scissor Steel is the best scissor steel in the world. Scissors made from ATS-314 Steel are incredibly sharp and durable; they can stay sharp for up to a decade without needing to be resharpened!
  • Ingredients: Cobalt, chromium, tungsten and vanadium.
  • Scissor Brands: Yasaka, Joewell, Mizutani, Juntetsu, and more!

Produced by Japan's renowned Hitachi Metals company, the ATS-314 is extremely high-quality steel that is used to make high-end hairdressing scissors and barber shears.

Many scissor manufacturers mention using ATS-314 or ATS314 Steel; however, only a few use the official metal produced from Hitachi within Japan.

The ATS-314 Stainless Steel makes the highest quality scissor blade, with greater quality and hardness.

This makes sure that the blade remains more sharp for longer and excels in securing an edge that is sharp and convex or clam-shaped edge of the blade.

#2. VG-10 (VG10) Gold Japanese Steel

VG-10 Scissor Steel is high-quality Japanese steel that is often used to manufacture top-end hairdressing scissors and barber shears.

This steel has a Rockwell hardness of 59 and contains 11% chromium and 0.95% carbon, making it one of the most durable steel available.

VG-10 Scissor Steel is also corrosion-resistant, making it the perfect choice for scissors that are used in a wet environment.

VG-10 Steel is known for its sharpness and edge retention, making it popular for professional hair cutting scissors.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 59-61 HRC
  • VG-010 Scissor Steel is high-quality Japanese steel that is often used in manufacturing top-end hairdressing scissors and barber shears.
  • Ingredients: Top quality Japanese Steel with excellent Titanium and Vanadium levels make the finest hair-cut scissors.
  • Scissor Brands: Yasaka, Joewell, Mizutani, Juntetsu, Kamisori and more!

VG10 (VG-10), also called V Gold 10, steel is a distinctive design created by Takefu Special Steel in Japan and is reputed as being used in some of the most effective hairdressing scissors.

It is made of the finest stainless steel for cutting, is designed to resist abrasion, corrosion and is one of the strongest metals used in hair scissors.

You can count on to have your VG10 scissors to have an extremely sharp blade, like convex, clam-shaped, or even a bevelled edge.

VG10 is sharp and light and utilized in high-quality scissors; however, it isn't limited to Japan since Japanese metal manufacturers export internationally.

#3. V-10 (V10) Titanium Steel

V-10 steel is high-quality steel used to make some of the world's best barber shears and hairdressing scissors.

This steel has a Rockwell Hardness of 58 and contains 11% chromium and 0.95% carbon, making it one of the most durable steel available.

V-10 Scissor Steel is also corrosion-resistant, making it the perfect choice for scissors used in a wet environment.

V-10 steel is known for its sharpness and edge retention, making it popular for professional hair cutting scissors.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • VG-10 Scissor Steel is high-quality steel used to make some of the best barber shears and hairdressing scissors in the world.
  • Ingredients: Top quality Japanese Steel with outstanding levels of titanium and vanadium, making some of the finest hair cutting scissors.
  • Scissor Brands: Yasaka, Joewell, Mizutani, Juntetsu, Kamisori and more!

V-steel is one of the latest steels to hit the haircutting scissors market and is made by combining two premium Japanese alloys, VG- Steel and ATS-314 Stainless Steel.

This combination makes for a very hard, wear-resistant steel with good corrosion resistance, perfect for wet environments.

This steel is used by some of the top scissors manufacturers globally and is quickly becoming a favourite among professional hairdressers and barbers.

#4. V-1 (V1) Vanadium Steel

V1 Steel is a top quality product. V1 Stainless Steel is regarded as top-quality steel that is used in the production of barber and hairdressing scissors.

V1 steel V1 is an enhancement of the VG10 Steel, which comes with cutting tools with stronger blades, a more outstanding toughness, and resistance to cracks.

For hair scissors made with V1 stainless steel blades, expect high-end quality, and certainly, the cost will be high. With scissors made with V-steel, you can expect a blade that stays sharp for a longer time and resists wear.

This steel is excellent for use in hair cutting scissors as it offers good corrosion resistance and strength.

The V-steel alloy is made in Japan; however, scissors containing this steel are also manufactured in other countries.

Features: 

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors

V-1 steel is one of the latest steels to hit the haircutting scissors market and is made by combining two premium Japanese alloys, VG Steel and ATS-314 Stainless steel.

This combination makes for tough, wear-resistant steel with good corrosion resistance, perfect for wet environments.

This steel is used by some of the top scissors manufacturers globally and is quickly becoming a favourite among professional hairdressers and barbers.

#5. 10CR (10-CR) High-Quality Cutting Steel 

If you're looking for an upgrade to 8Cr13MoV or 440C steel, as opposed to the 10CR called " 10Cr15CoMoV" steel is a premium grade of scissors designed for professional use.

Similar to Hitachi/Takefu's V10, the 10CR steel is superior in quality and sharpness for hairdressing scissors.

This scissor steel ticks all the boxes when it is hardness, edge sharpness, retention, wear and corrosion resistance, as well as cost.

Features:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 60-62 HRC
  • Sharpness: Excellent hardness that allows for sharp slicing blades like convex-edge
  • Additional Extras: Rust and Corrosion Resistant, Holds Sharp Blade Edges For Longer, Wear & Tear Resistant

10CR is good quality steel that offers all the benefits of high-end steel but without the high price tag. This makes it a popular choice for professional hair cutting scissors.

#6. 8CR (8-CR) High-Quality Affordable Steel

The 8CR, also referred to as 8Cr14MoV, or 8Cr13MoV is sturdy steel used to make the highest quality hairdressing scissors and barber shears.

Like Hitachi's 440C steel, this steel transforms the most basic pair of scissors into professional tools.

It gives great edge retention that keeps your hair scissors razor-sharp for longer. It also provides wear and corrosion resistance to ensure long-lasting use.

The perfect alloy for all-purpose scissors that will please any barber or hairdresser.

Features:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 59-60 HRC
  • Sharpness High toughness, which allows for sharp cutting blades such as convex-edge
  • Additional Extras: Rust and Corrosion Resistant, Holds Sharp Blade Edges For Longer, Wear & Tear Resistant

Is the 8CR steel any good? Yes, this steel is great for hairdressing shears. It's not the best on the market, but it's a popular choice because it offers a good balance between high-quality scissor steel and affordability.

If you're looking for a pair of scissors that will stay sharp for a long time and hold up to everyday use, then the 8CR steel is a great choice!

#7. 7CR (7-CR) Stainless Hair Cutting Steel

The stronger and more durable sister to the 4CR steel 7CR is also referred to as 7Cr17MoV.

It offers an excellent blade edge retention, and it has superior wear and tear, plus corrosion resistance Easy to sharpen and is overall a good scissor material.

Are they suitable for a barber or hairdressing scissors? These are ideal for mid-range haircutting scissors, ideal for apprentices, professionals and even home hairdressing enthusiasts.

Features:

  • Rockwell Hardness: 57-60 HRC
  • Sharpness High durability, which makes it possible to use sharp cutting blades like convex-edge
  • Additional Extras: Rust and Corrosion Resistant, Holds Sharp Blade Edges For Longer, Wear & Tear Resistant

Is 7CR Steel good for hair scissors? Yes, this steel is a popular choice for mid-range scissors and offers an affordable alternative to higher quality steel without compromising on any benefits.

If you're looking for a durable pair of scissors that can handle everyday use in the salon, then choose a pair of shears with 7CR Steel.

#8. S-3 (S3) High-Quality Cobalt Steel

S-3 Steel, otherwise known as S-III Steel, is a high-quality cobalt alloy that offers excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for use in hair cutting scissors as it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with S-III Steel are ideal for use in a wet environment, as they are resistant to corrosion.

Scissors made with S-III Steel are manufactured in Japan by Takefu Special Steel Co Ltd.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors
  • S-III steel is a high-quality cobalt alloy that offers excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for use in hair cutting scissors as it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with S-III Steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

#9. S-1 (S1) Hardened Cobalt Steel

S-I steel is a hardened cobalt alloy that offers good wear and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for use in hair cutting scissors as it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with S-I steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

S-I steel is manufactured in Japan by Takefu Special Steel Co Ltd.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors

S-I steel is a hardened cobalt alloy that offers good wear and corrosion resistance.

This steel is ideal for hair cutting scissors because it provides excellent edge retention, toughness and strength.

#10. 440C Japanese Cutting Steel

440C is a high-quality steel alloy that offers good wear and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for use in the manufacture of hair cutting scissors as it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with 440C steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

440C steel is manufactured in Japan by Takefu Special Steel Co Ltd.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors
  • Brands: Yasaka, Ichiro, Kamisori, Joewell, Juntetsu, and more!

The 440C steel is of excellent quality and is typically used in brands such as Yasaka.

It is a great all-rounder with its toughness, strength, and usefulness in manufacturing hair cutting scissors blades.

The good thing is that you don't have to shell out millions of dollars on Japan Blades with 440C.

They're the perfect professional barber and hairdressing scissors with an edge that is sharp and convex.

#11. 440A Stainless Steel

440A Stainless steel is a high-quality steel alloy that offers good wear and corrosion resistance.

This steel is perfect for use in the manufacture of hair cutting scissors as it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with 440A Steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

440A stainless steel is manufactured in Japan by Takefu Special Steel Co Ltd.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Seki City, Japan
  • Rockwell Hardness: 58-60 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors

440A Stainless steel is a high-quality alloy with excellent wear resistance and corrosion resistance; this steel is perfect for use in the manufacture of hair cutting scissors because it offers good edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with 440A stainless steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

#12. 420 Stainless Steel

420 stainless steel is a low-quality steel alloy that offers poor wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

This steel is not suitable for use in hair cutting scissors as it offers poor edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with 420 stainless steel are not ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re susceptible to corrosion.

420 stainless steel is manufactured in China by Bohui Stainless Steel Co Ltd.

Features:

  • Manufacturer: Bohui Stainless Steel Co Ltd., China
  • Rockwell Hardness: 55-59 HRC
  • Types of scissors: barber shears, hairdressing scissors

While 420 stainless steel may be lower quality material, it's still better than using no metal at all.

Scissors made from 420 stainless steel tend to be inexpensive and lightweight, which means that they may not last as long as your Japanese steel shears.

#13. 410 Basic Stainless Steel

410 basic stainless steel is a low-quality steel alloy that offers poor wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

This steel is not suitable for use in the manufacture of hair cutting scissors as it offers poor edge retention, strength and toughness.

Scissors made with 410 basic stainless steel are not ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re susceptible to corrosion.

410 basic stainless Steel is manufactured in China by Bohui Stainless Steel Co Ltd.

#14. German Chromium Steel: 56HRC

Chromium Steel can be found in various sub-categories and is typically mid-to-low-end steel used in the production of scissors that originate from Germany and Europe.

Brands with a name like Jaguar make use of Chromium steel to make their basic hair scissors.

Ideal for cutting with a tight budget, These will be reasonably priced, and also, the quality of the sharpness is superior to cutting with bevel edges.

Chromium steel is a type of stainless steel that contains chromium. The addition of chromium to the steel alloy results in a higher degree of hardness and resistance to wear and corrosion.

Scissors made with chromium steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

Chromium steel is typically a low-end steel alloy that offers poor wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

Scissors made with chromium steel are not ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re susceptible to corrosion.

#15. 4CR14MOV: 56-58HRC

4Cr14MoV 4Cr14MoV has the same features similar to the 4Cr13. It is often used in hairdressing scissors because of its accessibility, and it is found in hairdressing scissors of the mid-range.

They perform very well in the middle range of hairdressing scissors. They are also frequent in the scissor brands in other countries than Japan.

Is the 4CR steel good for scissors? 

The short answer is yes. This steel alloy is a good choice for scissors as it offers good wear resistance and corrosion resistance.

Scissors made with this steel alloy are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

#16. 3CR13: 52-55HRC

3Cr13 3Cr13 is common stainless steel made in China with similar characteristics as the well-known the 420J2 (AUS 4.).

Common Steels used in the simplest hair cutting scissors. It is not advised as a substitute for thinning shears.

#17. Micro Carbide Steel

Is the Micro Carbide steel good for hair scissors?

Micro Carbide steel is a high-quality steel alloy that offers superior sharpness, edge retention, and wear resistance.

Scissors made with micro carbide steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

 

#18. Molybdenum steel

Is Molybdenum steel good for scissors?

Molybdenum steel is a high-quality steel alloy that offers superior sharpness, edge retention, and wear resistance.

Scissors made with molybdenum steel are ideal for use in a wet environment as they’re resistant to corrosion.

 

What Is The Difference Between Low & High-Quality Steel?

The main difference between low and high-quality steel is the level of hardness, and Low-quality steel has a lower Rockwell hardness rating than high-quality steel.

Low-quality steel is also more susceptible to wear and corrosion, while high-quality steel offers superior sharpness, edge retention, and wear resistance.

Scissors can be divided into three main groups: high-end, mid-range, and low-end when it comes to their quality.

The highest quality scissors will have a steel hardness rating (HRC) between 55 to 61.

Scissors with a hardness lower than 55 are considered less durable and susceptible to wear & tear as they are more likely to go blunt.

On the other hand, scissors with a hardness rating higher than 61 are often too sharp and difficult to control, especially for beginners. So, what is the best steel for hairdressing scissors?

The answer depends on your budget and experience level. If you’re looking for a high-quality pair’s scissors, we recommend opting for scissors with a steel hardness rating of 55 to 61.

If you’re on a tighter budget, mid-range scissors with a steel hardness rating of 52 to 54 are a good option.

And if you’re looking for an affordable pair of scissors that still offers good quality, Chinese made scissors with a steel hardness rating of 48 to 52 are a good choice.

Summary: What Hair Scissor Steel Is Good For You?

So, what do you need to understand when choosing a new pair of hair scissors?

  • Scissors made with high-quality steel alloys offer superior sharpness, edge retention, and wear resistance.
  • Scissors made with low-quality steel are more susceptible to wear and corrosion.
  • The main difference between low and high-quality steel is the level of hardness.
  • High-end scissors have a steel hardness rating (HRC) between 55 to 61.
  • Mid-range scissors have a steel hardness rating of 52 to 54.
  • Low-end scissors have an HRC lower than 52.

So what is the best steel for hairdressing scissors? It depends on your budget and experience level! If you're looking for a high-quality pair's scissors, we recommend opting for scissors with a steel hardness rating of 55 to 61.

If you're on a tighter budget, mid-range scissors with a steel hardness rating of 52 to 54 are a good option.

And if you're looking for an affordable pair of scissors that still offers good quality, Chinese made scissors with a steel hardness rating of 48 to 52 are a good choice!


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