May 16, 2020 5 min read

It's time for a new pair of hairdressing scissors and when looking at the brands, I found myself browsing through various Japanese and German Brands.

With the same looks, styles, and blades, how am I supposed to decide which is better?

After browsing through multiple sites, it turns out that any haircutting scissor that's expected to last more than a year is either made or designed by Japan or Germany.

As someone who has worked in both Salons and Barbershops, I am stuck wondering "what's the difference between Japanese and German hairdressing scissors?"
The sheer number of options available to you when you are trying to find the best hair-cutting tool for your job can throw you off guard.

Different manufacturers and brands try to grab your attention with many models. You have to decide if the price is worth it.

Shopping for scissors can be difficult. So how do you find the right pair?

You can begin by learning more about the features of the scissors you wish to add to your shopping cart. We are confident that you will soon find two types of scissors, one Japanese and one German.

In this article we cover
  • What are Japanese hairdressing scissors
  • What are German hairdressing scissors
  • What are the differences between Japanese and German scissors
  • Should you buy Japanese or German hair scissors?

Quick Summary

Japanese hairdressing scissors are the most popular across the world. With brands such as Yasaka, Juntetsu, Hikari, Joewell, Ichiro, and more, they dominate the professional hairdressing and barbering scissor market.

The reason Japanese hair scissors are so popular is due to their:

  • Premium robust steel
  • Reliable and high-quality manufacturing
  • Simple designs
  • Long life-span
  • Professional ergonomics

The truth is that Japanese hairdressing scissors may be made in China, Taiwan, Korea of Japan. But what remains Japanese is their design, materials, and overall quality.

German hairdressing scissors are the second most popular across the world. The Jaguar Solingen brand is one of the most bought and used brands internationally.

The reason German hair scissors are so popular is due to their:

  • German chromium steel
  • Reliable and high-quality manufacturing process
  • Affordable prices
  • Professional ergonomics (traditional and modern offset)

Jaguar hairdressing shears are made in Solingen, German, and South Korea. They are both affordable and reliable, and this then makes them one of the most popular hairdressing scissors brands in North America and Europe.

What are the differences between Japanese and German Scissors?

To start with, German and Japanese steel are some of the best in the world. Having locally-made high-quality materials allows both Japanese and German hairdressing scissor manufacturers to produce premium grade sharp shears for a cheaper price.

But what's the difference between them?

Japanese scissor brands 

These tend to focus on producing higher quality hairdressing scissors and maintain their pricing being between $200 to $3,000 USD per pair. They want to give professionals a pair that will last a lifetime.

German scissor brands

These primarily to focus on producing more affordable hairdressing scissors as the Western market tends to buy a new pair every few years. The average price is between $100 to $600 USD per pair. They want to provide high quality and affordable pairs to the industry.

The Main Differences between Japanese and German Hair Scissors

There are obvious differences between Japanese scissors and German ones. In a second, you will know what they are.

This knowledge is invaluable when you shop online for scissors. You want to find the right product for you, so it is important to look at pictures. 

This is why buying scissors online can be so frustrating. You don't have to worry, there are many online retailers that offer high-quality scissors for a fair price. And you can use them for years!

If you have to choose between Japanese or German scissors, be sure to pay attention to the following four factors: hardness, sharpness and edge. 

The visual appeal of their products is something that both Japanese and German brands have put a lot of effort into. 

The appearance of your scissors does not have any effect on their performance or comfort.

These factors are the most important. Let's now get to the point and talk about how Japanese scissors are different from German scissors in terms of hardness, sharpness and handle design.

Should you buy Japanese or German hairdressing scissors?

When choosing Japanese or German hairdressing scissors, you can have confidence that they will be a high-quality pair. Look out for higher-quality steel types and a style that suits you.

Japanese brands like Yasaka and Joewell offer the best premium shears, but German brands have more affordable and useful models. Browsing scissors is fun and choosing can be easy if you know what you're looking for. :)

Japanese Hairdressing Scissors

Japanese hairdressing scissors are easily the most popular in the industry. They focus on a simple design, high-quality materials, and sharp convex edge blades for effortless cutting motions.

They dominate the high-end premium hairdressing scissor range with their handcrafted scissors costing up to $5,000 USD.

Japanese scissors brands do offer affordable options as well that range between $100 and $350 USD.

The Japanese hairdressing scissors come in a range of steel and these dictate the prices of the shears:

Scissor Steel Type Hardness Typical Price Range
Stainless Steel 55-58 HRC $100 to $200
440C Steel 58-60 HRC $150 to $500
VG1 Steel 58+ HRC $300 to $600
VG10 Steel 60-61 HRC $350 to $800
Cobalt ATS314 Steel 62-63 HRC $400 to $1000
Aogami Steel 63-65 HRC $1000+
Shirogami Steel 65+ HRC $1000+


The general benefits of having harder steel (high HRC) are:

  • Sharper blades
  • Sharpen less regularly 
  • More resistant to corrosion, rust, etc.
  • Lighter and more ergonomically safe for professionals

The high level of scissor material hardness also makes them more fragile to physical damage, so avoid dropping them. 

German Hairdressing Scissors

Just like Japan, Germany makes premium steel. They use more the cheaper cost of premium steel to their advantage when producing hairdressing scissors. 

The most well known German hairdressing scissor brand, Jaguar Solingen, uses locally made German steel and produces their scissors in Europe for distribution world-wide.

But it's not just the high-quality steel that makes Jaguar scissors so popular, its also their quality control. They have almost 100 years of experience producing hairdressing scissors and are able to consistently produce reliable and faultless hair shears.

Compared to Japanese scissors with convex edge blades, the German scissors commonly have serratedand beveled edge blades.

Do Hairdressers use Japanese steel or German hair scissors?

Japanese hairdressing shears typically follow a more hands-on approach when manufacturing scissors. They use premium locally made steel with a high level of hardness, sharp convex edge blades, traditional and offset ergonomics and simplistic designs.

The most popular type of scissors used by hairdressers in the USA are from Japan, or use Japanese steel.

They pride themselves in their quality and craftsmanship, but this also comes at a higher price per pair than German scissors.

German hairdressing shears follow a largely automated manufacturing process with quality checks being left up to staff and the machines. They use German Stainless and Chromium steel with a high level of hardness, flat edge, beveled edge, and micro-serrated edge blades, traditional and offset ergonomics, and a wide range of simple and stylish designs.

They pride themselves on their streamlined manufacturing process, affordable prices, and artistic designs that make their scissors stand out in the market.

Summary: Should You Buy Japanese Or German Hair Scissors?

We now understand the differences between Japanese and German hairdressing scissors. Japanese focuses on premium, high-end hairdressing scissors, while Germany focuses on affordable, quality, and stylish shears.

For most professionals, they will flock to the Japanese scissor selections due to their high-quality steel and simplistic design. But there are too many models to generalize.

For most apprentices and also professionals, German scissors offer the quality, stylish, and price they are looking for.

Whether you are looking for Japanese or German scissors, choose a pair with the best steel, design, and ergonomics that suits you. 

What do you think about Japanese or German scissors? Leave a comment below! :) 

James Adams
James Adams

James is an experienced hairdressing and barbering enthusiast. He has experience in the Japanese and North American scissor market and strives to bring information on haircutting shears in one place. Writing for Japan Scissors USA, he focuses on Japanese hairdressing scissor brands, models, and the manufacturing process, so you can make the best choice in scissors the first time round.

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