Do You Really Need Herb Shears?

Unlike regular scissors, which only have two blades, herb shears have six or even ten blades spaced evenly apart, and can quickly snip even segments of herbs. But are they a useful tool you'll reach for again and again, or should you just stick with knives and scissors?

While they're not at all necessary, some cooks who lack confidence in their knife work might find these unitaskers useful, kaleokahu says. They effortlessly create unerringly fine cuts at perfectly uniform dimensions, if that's important to you—well, effortlessly if you don't count the cleaning, kaleokahu says. mbCrispyBits, however, finds they make the process of snipping up herbs less messy than using a cutting board.

A few drawbacks: if the herbs are wet from washing, they will stick to the shears, HillJ says. A few turns in a salad spinner and some time on dry paper towels can help with this, but even herbs that are dry on the outside will stick to the many blades of the herb shears if they release moisture during the cutting, HillJ says. Ultimately, HillJ finds them to be a big waste of time and money.

Most Chowhounds opt to use a cutting board and a sharp knife to chop herbs—and some, like Isolda, use a pair of single-bladed scissors to snip chives and other herbs. Tinkerbell likes the effectiveness of an ulu (a curved-bladed knife with a curved bowl to chop in) for quickly chopping herbs with a rocking-back-and-forth motion.

Discuss: Are Herb Scissors Necessary?

Photo of herb shears and freshly snipped herbs by Flickr user mkreul under Creative Commons