Scissor Steel & Materials: The Canadian Guide

by Jun Oh April 03, 2023 12 min read

Scissor Steel & Materials: The Canadian Guide

The difference in Canada between an amateur hairdresser and barber, is how well they understand their tools, and how well they cut hair.

So which steel is best for scissors? And, how can I know whether it’s worth my money?

These are the most common questions you get to hear from people. It appears to be simple questions. However, the fact is the opposite. When it comes to buying a good pair of barber shears or hairdressing scissors, it becomes the most confusing part.

What type of steel are my shears made of? What is the difference between a high and low quality hairdressing scissor steel?

The difference in scissor steel type help to determine:

  • The sharpness of the blades
  • How easily you can sharpen them
  • Corrosion resistance
  • The weight of the scissor
  • The brittle and fragile nature of the blades
  • For how many years it would last

Keeping that in mind, it is easy to understand why you should pay $300 for a good pair of hairdressing scissors instead of $99. When you are operating on hair daily, it is wise to have the best tools. As a result, it lasts for a long time and delivers performance with accuracy.

Understanding the different types of scissor steel

Scissor steel (materials) used to make professional hairdressing scissors

It is not an easy task to find out a good pair of hair-cutting scissors. That’s because different models and brands use several types of steel. So, what are the steel types suited best for barber shears and hairdressing scissors?

The Rockwell Hardness Rating or HRC/HR determines the quality of scissor steel. This rating focuses on the overall hardness and strength of the scissors. You get better quality with the hardest scissor blades.

Haircutting scissors are made of stainless steel. And, the Rockwell Hardness Scale measures the grade of the steel. Here is a list of what you can expect from low and high-quality haircutting scissors in Canada.

Hardness Quality Estimated Price
50 to 55 HRC Low quality soft cutting blade $50 to $199
55 to 57 HRC Entry level hairdressing scissor blade $99 to $299
57 to 59 HRC Mid-level scissor blade. Easy to sharpen, rust-resistant and tougher $149 to $400
58 to 60 HRC Middle to high quality scissor cutting $249 to $800
60 to 62 HRC High-quality blade for hair cutting. Premium scissors have this feature. Easy to sharpen, rust resistance, tougher, and sharper blade edge $299 to $1000
61 to 63 HRC Hair cutting blade with the highest quality possible. Only the best scissors have them. $700 to $1500

Hence, a lot depends on the HRC factor. With higher HRC, you get a harder material, shaper blade, more corrosion resistant, and so on.

However, when choosing between high and low quality hair cutting scissors, you have to look beyond HRC. Manufacturing standards and quality determine the performance of a scissor as well.

Let’s begin by going through the popular steel names to have a clear understating of them.

The quality of stainless steel and craftsmanship determines the difference in the quality of haircutting scissors.

The difference between using expensive and cheap materials to make hair scissors means a difference in pricing.

Next, we explain the best material for hair scissors. Also, you get to know about the quality of steel used on haircutting shears.

Best stainless steel for hairdressing scissors

All kinds of hair scissors are made of stainless steel. But Japan produces the best stainless steel for hair scissors.

The Japanese steel has certain benefits of using them on scissors. It gives a sharp edge, a good balance for great ergonomics, and requires less sharpening.

The best Japanese steel for hair scissors consists of ATS314, VG1, VG10, and 440C.

Better metal means better blades

Japanese hair scissors use convex edge sharp blades. So, it requires hardened high-quality steel. That way, the sharp edge on the blade stays for a long time. Also, you need little sharpening because of the hardened steel.

Better metal means better ergonomics

High-quality steel is light in weight. As such, it has little pressure on your shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers while cutting hair.

Better metal means a prolonged scissor life

Premium Japanese steel means the hair scissors are more corrosion resistant. Japanese steel can last for up to twenty years or even longer if you take good care of them.

Where can you get the best hair scissor steel?

You can get the best quality hair scissors from the following steel.

  • Japanese steel – They have the premium steel quality worldwide
  • German steel – Best quality from a European country
  • Korean steel – The second best from Asia
  • Chinese steel – Great quality
  • Taiwanese steel – Good quality

Pakistan, India, and Vietnam produce the worst quality steel. The hair scissors from these countries have blunt edges. And, they need frequent sharpening before they break.

Top 10 steel for hair scissors

With different types of metals used, finding the right barber shears might be daunting. Here is the list of the top 10 types of hair scissor steel arranged from best to worst.

Steel Rankings Name Description
1 ATS314 (ATS-314) Premium Japanese steel with Vanadium, Titanium and cobalt in great amounts
2 VG10 Gold (VG-10) Japanese steel with high quality levels of Vanadium and Titanium. Perfect for cutting knives and scissors
3 V10 (V-10) High levels of Vanadium and Titanium that gives additional strength to the hair scissor blades
4 V1 (V-1) Entry-level Vanadium and Titanium for sharper scissor edges
5 S3 (S-3) High levels of Supreme Cobalt for sharp cutting edges
6 S1 (S-1) Entry-level Cobalt for hardened hair cutting edges
7 440C Premium hair scissors with hardened Japanese steel
8 440A Standard steel for normal cutting blades
9 420 Low-priced stainless steel for knives and scissors
10 410 Sub-standard steel not recommended for professional hair scissors

Titanium and Vanadium increase the toughness and hardness of the hair scissors. Also, they make the scissors lightweight so that you can easily cut through.

Cobalt steel makes the blade strong and light. It gives a sharp cutting edge and retains the same for a long time. It means you don’t have to sharpen it often.

Top 15 hairdressing scissor steel

The following rankings for the best steel are based on the performance, best value, and quality. You can find the best quality scissor steel. However, we have listed the following depending on everyone’s budget.

Here is the best steel quality for your hair scissors as recommended by barbers and hairstylists all over the world.

1. 64 HRC: V1 (V-1)

The V1 steel variant is undoubtedly one of the premium quality steel. Many barbers and hairdressing scissors use this kind of steel. The V1 is the follow-up of V10 steel. It provides the scissor with improved toughness, crack resistance, and harder blades.

Scissors that uses the V1 steel grade delivers premium quality. Also, it comes with a hefty price tag.

2. 62 to 63 HRC: ATS314 (ATS-314)

Japan’s Hitachi Metals corporation manufactures the ATS314 steel. The premium barber shears and hairdressing scissors use this kind of steel. You can find a lot of brands that speak about using the ATS314 steel on their hair scissors. But a handful of manufacturers use the metal produced by Hitachi.

This variant of steel produces a high-quality scissor blade. It has a superior hardness. That way, the blades remain sharper for a long time. It does a good job while handling a clam-shaped or convex blade edge.

3. 60 HRC: VG10 (VG-10)

Otherwise called V Gold 10, the VG10 is another best quality Japanese steel used in hairdressing scissors. Takefu Special Steel is the manufacturer. This high-quality steel is good for hair cutting. The steel has anti-corrosion features and prevents abrasion.

The VG10 haircutting scissors provide sharper blades such as beveled, clam, or convex edge.

The VG10 steel variant is light and sharp. Furthermore, only premium quality scissors use this steel. However, it isn’t limited to Japan. That’s because Japanese metal companies tend to export internationally.

4. 60 to 62 HRC: 10CR

Are you looking for an updated version from 440C? If so, the 10CR steel is good for professional use. It is quite similar to Takefu or Hitachi’s VG10. The steel quality provides ultimate sharpness to haircutting scissors.

Some of the features include sharpness retention of the blades, toughness, wear and corrosion resistance, and pricing. To sum up, it is a premium quality steel for barber and haircutting scissors that costs below $1000.

5. 58 to 60 HRC: 440C

You can find the 440C variant on famous brands like Yasaka. The steel provides an all-round performance in terms of hardness and resistance.

Moreover, you don’t even have to pay thousands of dollars for this kind of steel blades. They are good with sharp convex blade edge. It makes a professional barber and hairdressing scissor.

6. 59 to 62 HRC: 8CR

Another great quality steel used for manufacturing good quality barber and haircutting scissors. It works in the same way as Hitachi’s 440C and turns every scissor into a professional tool.

With a good blade edge retention, it keeps the hair shears sharper for many years. The steel provides wear and corrosion resistance for extra durability. In addition, the scissors made of this steel satisfies every hair styling expert.

7. 57 to 60 HRC: 7CR

The 7CR is dubbed as the tougher version of 4CR. The steel provides great edge retention, wear, and corrosion resistance, and sharpens with ease.

This kind of steel is good for mid-range hair scissors. In other words, it produces great results for professionals, home hairdressing individuals, and apprentices.

8. 56 to 58 HRC: 420

The 420 steel type is a bit softer than Japan’s 440C. It performs great for mid-level hair scissors. Moreover, you can expect a cheap price from this variant of steel. Yet, it delivers sheer performance to the professionals.

9. 55 to 58 HRC: Stainless Alloy Steel

Any kind of steel used in manufacturing hair scissors is stainless steel. In short, it is a generic term that doesn’t provide enough information on the hair scissor quality you are buying.

In Canada, you can find stainless steel products of several brands between 55 to 58 HRC. They give good results. Moreover, you can get them at a price tag between $99 and $200, which is a lot cheaper.

10. 62 HRC: S3 (S-3)

Unique and rare steel from Japan’s Yasuki Silver. The S3 is popular for producing superior cutting blades in terms of hardness. You can find them in the kitchen and chef knives. Also, you can get them in a few barber shear and hairdressing scissor blades.

Besides, the S3 steel blades provide premium hardness, high performance, and corrosion-resistant hair scissors. In other words, they are perfect tools for professionals.

11. 56 HRC: 410

The 56 HRC is common chromium steel with damage, corrosion, and wears resistance. For instance, you can find them in mid-level haircutting scissors from Japan.

12. 53 to 56 HRC: Chromium Steel

With different sub-categories, chromium steel is low-to-mid-level steel. You can find them on hair scissors from Europe or Germany. Popular brands like Jaguar make use of Chromium steel when manufacturing their entry-level haircutting scissors.

If you are on a tight budget, chromium steel scissors is a good choice. In other words, they are quite affordable. The sharpness quality works well for bevel edged blades.

13. 56 to 58 HRC: 4CR14MOV

The 4CR14MOV steel variant is similar to 4CR13. Because of its availability, you can find them in almost every mid-level hairdressing scissors.

Moreover, they perform well in this category and very popular with scissor brands outside Japan.

14. 52 to 55 HRC: 3CR13

The 3CR13 is a common stainless steel variant from China. In addition, it has similar properties to the famous 420J2 (AUS4). It is simple steel used in producing average hair cutting scissors. However, it’s better not to use thinning shears of this type.

15. 55 to 57 HRC: 4CR13

Otherwise called 40CR13, the 4CR13 is a standard steel variant. It is harder and tougher similar to 3CR13 steel. It has higher strengths and allows scissor producers to make sharp bevel and convex edge cutting blades.

Is it good to buy the 4CR13 steel scissors? They give you performance like most of the mid-level haircutting scissors. It is another good option for cutting hair without investing much.

The difference between high-quality steel and low quality steel found in Canadian scissors

There is no question that all kinds of scissors are produced from stainless steel. However, there are certain quality levels in steel. And, that makes the basic difference between many variants of stainless steel. Also, the performance of the hair scissors relies upon the quality of the stainless steel.

A high-quality stainless steel hair scissor delivers great performance compared to a low-quality hair shear. Hence, the difference between high and low quality steel plays an important role in the overall performance of the hairdressing tool.

In short, the best steel hair scissor you can get is from Japan. Moreover, the hair scissors made of Japanese stainless steel gives sharper edges for a perfect haircut. The light balance on the tool helps with the ergonomics as well. And, because of the build quality, it doesn’t need frequent sharpening.

Whereas, in a low-quality steel scissor, you won’t get similar functionalities. Whether you are a beginner or expert hairdresser, having a good pair of high-quality steel scissors is a must. The popular Japanese steel is ATS314, 440C, VG1, and VG10.

High-quality steel means better blades – With hardened premium steel, the cutting blades are sharper. This improves the hair cutting quality. Japanese shears use convex edge blades. As such, it requires less sharpening because of the hard steel.

High-quality steel gives you good ergonomics – Not only scissors made with high-quality steel are light, but they also have good ergonomics. Most of the premium quality steel is lighter. As a result, there is no pressure on your elbow, shoulder, fingers, and wrist. It greatly helps when you are performing a haircut.

High-quality steel provides the scissor a prolonged life – The high-quality Japanese hair scissors are more resilient against corrosion, wear, and other issues. As such, these scissors last for a long time. You can expect a Japanese scissor to last from anywhere between 10 to 20 years. Moreover, it may extend further depending on how you maintain them.

Which countries produce the best scissor steel?

Germany, Japan, and China produce the best hair scissor steel. Japan produces the highest quality scissor steel. It is responsible for the hype that surrounds Japanese haircutting scissors.

Germany is the producer of premium chromium steel. Successful scissor brands like Jaguar has made a good reputation with quality hairdressing shears.

China produces good quality steel in large quantities. Also, they can compete with Germany and Japan in terms of quality. Moreover, China produces the best value steel at affordable prices for professionals.

Frequently asked questions: Scissor steel

Here are the commonly asked questions about hair scissor steel.

1. Which scissor steel is good for me?

The best scissor steel for you depends on your budget. The best qualities are ATS314, VG10, and V1. But each of these might cost you around $1000. If you want the best value, focus on the hardness of 58 HRC or above.

2. What about Titanium steel scissors?

On many occasions, Titanium steel scissors appear to mislead. They come as a color coating or a small fraction added in the making of steel scissors. You need to focus on the scissor steel hardness to get the best one for your needs.

3. Which is the best budget steel?

If you are on a budget, the 440C is the best steel. Steel scissors with 56 HRC are affordable and give a good performance.

4. How can I choose my hair cutting scissors?

The important difference between scissors affecting performance and price is the quality of steel. High-quality steel costs more. But the scissors remain sharper for a longer time.

5. How can I avoid low-quality or fake steel from Pakistan or China?

Pakistan produces the lowest quality hair scissors and you shouldn’t buy them. Chinese steel has a variety of qualities that includes premium and low quality types. Avoid online shopping stores such as Wish, eBay, and Amazon to buy hair scissors. Therefore, focus on reputed websites that provide exchange and warranty. That way, you can try the scissors and understand the quality.

The 440C is the most common steel for making hair scissors.

7. Which hair cutting scissor steel is perfect for professionals?

440C Japanese steel is the best scissor steel for professionals.

8. Which steel is good for apprentice or student hairdressers?

For the best entry-level haircutting scissors, the 440A is the perfect one.

9. Does a 100% titanium hair scissor exist?

You can’t get a hair scissor with 100% titanium. However, there are shears with 2 to 10% of titanium on them.

10. What is stainless steel?

It is the metal used in every scissor blades. Stainless steel has many variants and the high-quality versions are quite harder.

11. Which is the preferred metal for hair scissors?

VG10 or ATS314 premium steel for hair scissors from Japan.

12. What about the existence of Damascus scissor steel?

The Damascus steel for making hair scissors is only a design. The steel isn’t used for more than 300 years.

13. Are Titanium scissor steel better?

Titanium increases the strength and toughness of the scissor blades. You can find Titanium in premium hair scissors. Moreover, Titanium blades have great quality, lightweight, and sharper.

14. What is a 6CR steel?

The 6CR13MOV or 6CR steel consists of a 0.66 carbon additive element to the metal. It is good for basic hair cutting shears.

15. What about the 9CR steel variant?

The 9CR13MOVCO, or 9CR18MOV, or 9CR is Chinese steel of the highest quality. It is found in the premium barber and hairdressing shears.

16. What is a Titanium coated scissor?

The coating of Titanium on hair shears is meant for styling. It doesn’t improve the sharpness or performance of the hair scissor.

17. Is powder steel for hair scissors good?

Powder steel is a quality metal that results from a unique process. Therefore, shears made from this metal possess sharper blades, corrosion resistance, and a lightweight design. Moreover, the Japanese Takefu VG10 and Hitachi ATS314 are comparable to the scissors made of powder steel.

Conclusion: What Scissor Steel Should I Use In Canada?

When shopping around for a professional pair, you should buy a pair of haircutting or thinning scissors with an HRC of around 60 (HRC).

The most common type of professional scissor steel is the 440C, and there are foreign versions (non-Japanese) from China and South Korea that provide you with a more affordable professional cutting experience.

Let us know your thoughts on the best haircutting scissor materials that you have found in Canada!

Jun Oh
Jun Oh

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