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Hair shears steel hardness - steel types comparison

May 05, 2022

When comparing stainless steel scissors there are many factors to know or to consider.

Are they corrosion resistant? What's the Rockwell hardness scale? Are they high quality Japanese steel or low quality steel? Do they have good blade edge retention?

If none of these questions are making sense to you that's totally okay because these are all topics we will try to cover for you.

By learning and understanding the basic knowledge of the steel type comparisons, then you will know exactly what you are getting and how some Japanese steel prices will vary from others.

Today we will go through Rockwell hardness or steel hardness, The definition of steel hardness, The importance of Rockwell Hardness in steel, Different steel types comparison and what countries manufacture steel.

What is Steel hardness?

Steel hardness also referred to as Rockwell Hardness is a scale to show how a material measures the hardness of the steel. The Rockwell hardness scale focuses on the strength of the haircutting scissors and their overall hardness. What this means is... the harder the blade is, the better quality the haircutting scissors will be (in some circumstances).

For example barber shears are a great option to have the higher scale for Rockwell hardness. This is because men's hair is naturally more coarse and sometimes more dense than women's, so the hardness of the shears are better suited to barber shears.

Where a lower hardness level may be included in slide cutting shears. This doesn't make them a worse quality shear, it's just that sometimes different types of steels need to have a different hardness to match the capabilities of a shear.

Hardness level scale from highest to Lowest

Here we will go through for the hardness level or Rockwell level scale from Highest to Lowest.

  • 61-63HRC -This is the highest quality in hardness and only found with the best and most expensive hair cutting scissors.
  • 60-62HRC -High quality steel which is found in most premium hairdressing scissor brands. These steel qualities are the best scissor steel for tough, resistant, and carved to a sharp quality blade which is a breeze to sharpen.
  • 58-60HRC -This is your mid to higher quality steel that is also tough and resistant and also easy to sharpen.
  • 57-59HRC- These are the mid-range hardness for hair scissor steel. These are also tough and corrosion resistant.
  • 55-57HRC-These are your entry level cutting blades that are not as strong but still a good hardness level for hair cutting scissors.
  • 50-55HRC-This is your lowest quality of hardness and normally has a softer blade. This hardness is most commonly used in Pakistan made hair cutting scissors.

Why is the Rockwell hardness of steel so important?

The hardness of the steel will determine how durable and long lasting the scissors will be. They can also determine how sharp they will stay.

With all this, the highest quality steel will not work for all your cutting needs. For example... If a steel is too hard then this is not ideal for slide cutting.

All hairdressing scissors will need to be sharpened at least once a year, or even twice in some circumstance. With a higher quality hardness your professional scissor sharpener will have an easier job keeping your hairdressing scissors sharpened for longer. where a lower grade hardness would need to be sharpened more often and need more steel sharpened off to keep the blades razor sharp.

Steel Types Comparison

There are many different grades of hairdressing scissors steel. High quality Japanese steel is always sought after when buying hairdressing scissors. Below we will list for you the best high quality steel to the lowest quality steel.

  • ATS314- This is the purest Japanese steel . This includes the highest levels of Titanium, Cobalt and vanadium. These hairdressing scissors will most likely have the highest price tag.

With a really strong Hardness of62-63HRCthis is not also the best Japanese steel but it the strongest

  • VG10-Another high quality Japanese Steel with high traces of Vanadium and Titanium. VG10 used for all the best hairdressing scissors and Chef's trusty knives.

This metal has the highest quality of stainless steel and is corrosion resistant with a60HRChardness level.

  • V10-From the same family as VG10 just not strong but still high quality steel.Includes high traces of Vanadium that creates a strength in the blades for ultimate cutting.
  • V1-Entry level steel also including traces of Titanium and vanadium. This steel creates a sharper edge. Hardness level of64HRC.Titanium coated scissor steel is wear and corrosion resistant.
  • S3-This is a rare or unique steel from Yusuki Silver in Japan and has high traces of Cobalt steel which is ideal for creating those sharp cutting blades. with a hardness level of62HRC.
  • S1-This Entry level Cobalt stainless steel is best for hardened hair cutting scissors.
  • 440C-This stainless steel is popular in premium hairdressing scissors and is a hardened Japanese stainless steel. This is a very popular steel used in most brands but mostly seen in Yasaka. with a hardness level of58-60HRC
  • 440A- A common stainless steel used in most basic shear blades. A stainless steel most commonly seen in training scissors or apprentice scissors.
  • 420-A cheaper Stainless steel used on cheap knives and hair cutting scissors. a Softer metal with a hardness of 56-58HRC.

What countries manufacture steel

The best quality steel in the world isJapanese stainless steel. Japan produces some of the finest steel in the world which cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world. Japanese steel has produced the sharpest and finest steel in the world and that's why it's so popular for hair cutting scissors and the best Chef's knives.

The second best steel in the world isGerman Steel, German steel shears are generally not hand made and machine made due the the better integrity to the steel when machine made. German steel is made up of two German producers. German steel is best suited for bevel edge blades as the steel is not suited to cut into razor sharp edges.

Other countries that do produce steel but cannot compare to German or Japanese steel areChinese, Taiwan and Pakistan. These steels are softer and much harder to sharpen, when sharpening these steels they tend to take a lot more off then other steel to get that sharp edge. A Softer steel mean's the Steel is prone to breaking easier and not lasting as long as a stronger steel.

Now we have brushed up on our knowledge on high quality steel or low quality steel, you may be wondering what our favorite steel Manufactures are here at Scissors Tech. Our Favourite would be Aichi Steel(440c), Hitachi Metals(ATS314). VG10 steel is another steel that we love. All Three of these Steel's you will see have been sold a lot on our website as we believe these are the sharpest, finest and most durable stainless steel to sell our customers.

Although we have gone through a lot of information for you, we understand that still this may be a little overwhelming when trying to find the right scissors for you. If you have any more questions or concerns please feel free to contact us and one of our friendly customer service representatives would always be happy to help you.




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