No matter how carefully you mow, there are always those spots you can’t quite reach. Whether it’s beside the fence, the wall, or the steps, a few blades of grass are always going to stick out. You don’t have to be a perfectionist to want to clean those stragglers up and make everything look tidy! And a pair of manual grass shears is the perfect tool for handling the problem.
This basic tool can help with some basic tasks in the yard, especially when they’re small. If your needs don’t justify a string trimmer or there are areas you can’t reach, you’ll want to keep a pair of shears handy.
What to Look for in Manual Grass Shears
In many ways, grass shears are little more than scissors. Some people even use regular scissors when they just have a few blades to cut. However, if you’ve ever had to cut a lot of cloth or paper, you know it can quickly take a toll on your hand and wrist. The blades can dull. They can even twist out of position if used incorrectly.
Manual grass shears ought to be designed with their job and their user in mind.
With that in mind, be sure to look for blades that are strong enough for the task. They also have to glide smoothly across each other so that they don’t bind.
Of course, you also have to resist the urge to use this tool for projects that are beyond its scope. If you have thicker stalks to trim, be sure to switch to your pruners or loppers.
It doesn’t take much to be strong enough to cut grass, so you can focus a lot more on how comfortable they’ll be to use.
Almost all grass shears have handles that are offset from the blades. They’re a bit higher – that means you can cut comfortably without scraping your knuckles on the ground. But there are other ergonomic features you can look for, too.
For instance, some shears have pivoting blades. They aren’t fixed relative to the handle. That means you can turn the blade rather than having to contort your arm into awkward positions.
Some also have handguards. Even with the offset handle, you might sometimes find yourself bumping into obstacles. A handguard can help protect you a bit more.
Spring grips are almost universal nowadays, too. This saves you a lot of work since the spring will aid in the work of opening the blades after you squeeze them shut. It’s hard to find shears without this feature, but still worth paying attention to.
Finally, most grass shears are short-handled and require you to go to the level of the grass you want to trim. However, long-handled models are available as well. They help limit the amount of kneeling or stooping you need to do.
Caring for Your Grass Shears
As with all garden tools, you should clean your grass shears after each use. Rinsing with warm water is usually enough to do the job. Be sure to allow them to dry thoroughly before storing them. It’s best to leave the blades open so that moisture doesn’t remain trapped between them.
If sap or other sticky substances are clinging to your shears, use turpentine or soapy water to wash them off. Always exercise caution – remember, those are sharp blades!
Once your tools are dry, use a silicone spray, WD-40, oil, or another rust inhibitor to help keep them working well and rust-free.
Reviews of the Best Grass Shears
While grass shears are relatively simple tools, some models are still better than others. Here are some that we find stand out in their field.
These long-handled shears from Spear & Jackson in two versions: one for edging (pictured) and the other for other parts of the lawn.
The blades on both are made of carbon steel, which means they should hold their edge for a long time.
The difference between the two styles is the angle of the blades. For the edging shears, they’re at a 90° angle to the handle. For the lawn shears, it’s around 120°, allowing you to work in front of you, instead of right at your feet.
They have padded cushions on the handles to make it a bit more comfortable to hold. The overall size of the tool is about 3 feet 1.5 inches for the edging shears: the lawn shears are a couple of inches longer. They’re relatively comfortable to use without bending over if you’re up to maybe 5´10” or so.
Unlike short-handled shears, these require two hands to use them. It’s not a problem, but it’s worth noting.
At about 3 pounds, it might wear out your arms if you’re older or have to use them for an extended period. Overall, though, they seem to do the job and spare the trouble of kneeling to get the task done.
The “Power-level” shears from Fiskar offer durable 5-inch blades that will help you get your trim work done quickly and easily.
What we like most about these shears is that they’re so lightweight. The blades are steel but the handles are aluminum. The tool weighs only one pound. That makes for less strain as you use them.
The handles are covered with a vinyl protect, making them more comfortable than bare metal.
There is a decent amount of offset between the handle and the blades so you won’t have to worry much about banging into things.
The spring works well – the resistance is perfect. It doesn’t require too much exertion to squeeze, and it pops back well, also. The lock is conveniently located at the top of the handle so you can lock them closed for storage.
They also carry a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.
As we mentioned above, rotating blades are a fantastic feature. They save stress on your hand and wrist (and arm and shoulder, too) by letting you turn the blade rather than your arm. And these grass shears from Worth Garden do a great job incorporating this option.
The blades are steel and hold up well. The handle is plastic but durable. One of the great advantages of that, though, is that it’s extremely lightweight. The whole tool weighs about 9 ounces.
The handle is angled up from the blade and is shaped kind of like scissor handles. If your hands are the right size, it’s a great fit. However, it can be a little uncomfortable otherwise, and large hands will have a hard time using these.
The price is great, and it’s definitely worth the cost. It’s not the best tool, but for the price, you can’t beat it.
These grass shears from Corona offer a basic design but are durable and get the job done. If you only have a small amount of work to do or need to get into tight places, they can make a great addition to your shed.
The steel blades are tough and have a nice edge. The handles have vinyl grips which help a bit with comfort, although they’re simple. They are spring-loaded. The action is adjusted well so that they’re easy to use without being too loose.
The blades are 4½ “, allowing easy handling while chopping off a suitable amount of grass at a time. They weigh about 1 pound 5 ounces.
These trimmers are sturdy and cut well. The biggest drawback is that the handle is not offset from the blades. That can make it difficult to get a low cut without banging the back of your hand against the ground.
Getting that nice edge on your lawn is the perfect finishing touch. Manual grass shears help provide that great look. If you have a small amount of trim work to do, they’re the perfect tool to tidy up where your lawnmower can’t finish.