On my birthday I gave myself a pair of scissors from the Japanese brand Kai. I’ve always had crappy sewing scissors, which is one of the reason I use rotary cutters for pretty much anything. But while I love my cutters, there are instances when a pair of scissors is superior, so I was curious to see how much better a good pair of scissors would actually be. I was recommended the Kai brand by the shop owner of the local fabric store and when I tried them out – and I was shocked how good they were! Now that I’ve used my Kai sewing shears for over a month I feel confident do a review and answer questions regarding this high end brand.
So what makes Kai scissors so special?
According the their website the Kai sewing scissors are made of “heavy-duty, high-carbon stainless steel which allows these shears to be sharpened at a steeper angle, and also allows them to maintain their cut-life and durability over time”. Pretty big words, but I think they stand up to those promises and the best way I can describe the feeling is cutting through butter. Everything feels so easy, yet precise. Another bonus is that you can cut just a tiny snippet with them, which makes Kai scissors perfect for making notches.
Which size should I buy?
They come in several different sizes and ideally, I think you should try before you buy. Bigger scissors might feel better when you tackle heavy fabrics and projects like coats, but if your hands are small (like mine) large scissors might be too big to handle. This was the case for me, when I tried the larger model, it was just hard to control since I couldn’t get a good grip. So ended up picking the smaller 7230 version which is 9 inches (Amazon affiliate link).
How much to the scissors cost?
On Kai’s US site they cost from $60 to $100 depending on size. You can find them a bit cheaper on Amazon (Amazon affiliate link). I paid 799 Swedish kronas, which is a bit more than the US price.
How often do they need to be sharpened?
Not very often according to the people I spoke to before my purchase. A fabric shop assistant said she had hers for 1.5 years and they were still working great without any sharpening, and she sews a lot. But sooner or later they will need to be professionally sharpened, so that’s an additional cost and hassle to factor in. Luckily I can leave my pair in the stores where I bought them and they will send to the sharpening company.
Do Kai scissors work for knits too?
Yes! They work great, even for stubborn poly/lycra jerseys.
Do they make them for left-handed folks too?
Yup. Some sizes are available with a left grip, like this model.
So if you have some money to spare and want to take your cutting to another level I highly recommend investing in a pair of Kai Scissors!
PsychicSewerKathleenSeptember 28, 2016 at 3:27 pm
I have these scissors too – I LOVE them! I like all the KAI products – they make a small pair that’s great to have at my ironing board for snipping off threads or clipping.
JohannaSeptember 29, 2016 at 9:06 am
Those small ones sounds great, I don’t have any snipping ones and I do miss them. Pity that the Kai’s cost quite a bit, at least here in Sweden
Patricia ClementsSeptember 28, 2016 at 3:42 pm
I have a pair of Kai trimming shears and I love them.
JohannaSeptember 29, 2016 at 9:08 am
I would love to have pair of trimming shears too, getting a good pair of scissors is like everything else when it comes to sewing, it makes you realize you need even more tools to make the work even better 🙂
KristinSeptember 28, 2016 at 6:00 pm
I LOVE my Kai scissors! I live in the U.S. but I didn’t pay that much. I think my big shears were around $35. I also have little snips. But one of the best Kais I have is a short snip with curved edges — perfect for trimming close to the surface of the fabric.
JohannaSeptember 29, 2016 at 9:11 am
Man I’m getting really intrigued by those trimming scissors, getting close without destroying something is HARD when it comes to regular scissors. And interesting info about the price, that means that I payed more than twice that amount for my pair, and from my understanding the ones I bought where actually slightly under the recommended Swedish retailer price!
KristinOctober 8, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Johanna: Here is a link to the Kai website. These are the curved snips you want. Kai will ship internationally. These snips are really great when grading seams. If you sign up for the emailing list, they will send you notices of sales. They have sales all the time, which is how I came to get my shears at a much-reduced price.
JohannaOctober 8, 2016 at 7:46 pm
Thank you for your tip about the shear! The retail prices are so much better than in Europe, but due to high custom fees, taxation, increased shipping costs and a weak Swedish krona I’ve pretty much have had to stop buying from the US, which has really been limiting what stuff I can buy lately 🙁
raquel from JCSeptember 28, 2016 at 9:39 pm
I don’t have a good pair of scissors because I cut my fabrics with two rotary cutters (medium and 18mm). My old old old pair of fiskars have been sharpened a couple of times and I changed the the spring a few weeks ago ( fiskar honored the lifetime guarantee thank goodness). I will look for this brand, never heard of it. Happy belated birthday!
JohannaSeptember 29, 2016 at 9:12 am
I’m a total rotary cutter fan too, once you get the hang of them, it makes cutting so fast and easy. I also had a pair of mid-price Fiskars tailor scissors before, and the Kai are just SO much better!
Hanne VandersteenOctober 6, 2016 at 10:43 pm
I’ve got these too! They are amazing .they were a gift from a friend and I might have almost fainted when I first used them. They make my life so much better 🙂
Enjoy your Kai scissors!
JohannaOctober 8, 2016 at 7:34 pm
Haha, you are one lucky person 🙂 Yes they are such a game changer, I’m still pleasantly surprised every time I use them, as I’ve gotten so used to rubbish scissors over the years, that I never knew I could expect more from a pair of scissors!
PrueAugust 31, 2019 at 4:49 am
Love my Kai scissors too – also have a small pair by my machine that I love as well. The Scissorman where I bought mine in Australia said that they shouldn’t need too much sharpening and to put a few drops of sewing machine oil around the screw every now and again. I have had mine for about 3 years and sew a lot and haven’t had to sharpen them yet.
SaraSeptember 3, 2019 at 8:35 pm
I am left handed and have had my Kai shears for about four years, never sharpened them, put them thru the wars, they keep on ticking. I am a big fan! I definitely prefer them to my Ginghers. I also have 5” snips from Kai that I like, but for really close clipping, I have Tula Pink snips that I got recently because a friend recommended them and they are so great: Tula Pink Large Ring Micro Tip Scissor https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JGO2IIM/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_tai_5hRBDbD8ACXYX.
Thank you for your excellent posts! I love what you post and have learned so many things,
Pamela FNovember 16, 2019 at 11:59 pm
I purchased the Kai in a right hand 9” professional shear. These shears are extremely nice. But I can’t use them even thought the handle looks like you can use them in the right or left hand. I am left handed, for 45 years I have and still do use right and left handed shears. The right handle on the Kai shears slips down on the shaft end of my thumb and has caught nerve damage.
I do cut heavier fabrics for slip covers and upholstery.
I am still usIng others 8” shears (Wiss, Heritage, fiskars, gingher, titanium, or craftool) none that slip down and hit the nerve except the Kai.
I want to try the left handed but for the price I am a little nervous. I have never had good luck with a true left hand shear with a left hand cut blade. The left handed shear with a right hand cut blade works best in my experiences.
I know Kai make both.
Would love some input on the best left Kai because they are really nice shears. I would love to Re-Purchase another pair because they go cut great.
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