snips and shears

The tool on the left is a Wezsnip. They call it an easy snip utility shear. Almost identical tools on the web are called... Craft snip, Multi snip, Garden tools scissors. Very similar ones are called... Hardware snip, Shop snip. I would like to use a non-trade name to describe them uniquely. Any ideas? The tool on the right is a Tullen work cutter. A similar tool is called a multi use shear. What is the difference, if any, between shear and snip?

The following picture shows what my father refered to as tin snips. No good for craft work. tinsnips

3 Answers 3


I know these as Tin Snips, or Tinner(')s Snips, and are identifiable as such because of the symmetry of the handles and blades, the wide aperture between the blades, and that the handles are longer than the blades.

The difference between snips & shears?

Snips are shears that are used for cutting metal.

So a snip is a type of shear. And a shear?

Is a cutting instrument in which two blades move past each other, like scissors but typically larger

  • I have added another picture to show tin snips. So I can't accept your answer. Sorry. Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 11:02
  • 3
    @StephenFixit Tin Snips have a wide range of sizes and application categories, and searching on that term on most hardware or craft websites will produce images of tools exactly as you have presented at the top of your question. The image you have added through your edit is one example of tin snips, but it is not representative, despite what your father thought.
    – BeaglesEnd
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 11:14
  • I have several pairs of tin or sheet metal snips. They are held like scissors. Pictured are just snips. There are many varieties though. I also have some aviation snips.
    – Matt
    Commented Jul 8, 2016 at 18:07

I do not believe there can be an authoritative answer for this question as every trade will use whatever tools work best for them and rename it - no matter what the manufacturer calls it. There is very little innovation among simple hand tools like these other than the materials and the marketing.

There are obvious differences which do suggest names. For instance the top, left tool has a notch in the blade. This is for round objects like rope, plant stems, etc... in my trade (metalwork) it would be called "3" notched snips". Snips because the entire length of the material being cut can be accomplished in a single stroke. Shears are designed to cut continuously through long lengths of materials. with multiple strokes.

Identifying the tool by it's capabilities or physical characteristics seems most appropriate. Thus the top, right pair might be called "8cm straight snips" at least, in my trade they would be. The bottom photo are called "tin snips" here.


A search on the internet reveals that the tool in picture 3 is known as "tin snips" by Fuller, ABM, Harbor, and Shefield. Bahco, Ideal, Stanley and TTI equate tin snips with aviation snips. There is no currently accepted adjective that describes the first 2 tools above. For the time being I propose "craft snips" as nearest to their use.

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