best trauma shears

The 6 Best Trauma Shears – Scissor Guide for Nurses & EMTS

Written by: Kristine Thorndyke

Trauma shears are a vital part of your toolkit if you work as an emergency nurse, nursing student, EMT, or other trauma-related medical professional.  The best trauma shears are ones that let you do your job efficiently and safely. We’ve taken a look at the best options on the market today and share a guide to picking the best trauma scissors for you.  

Here are our top 3 picks:

The 6 Best Trauma Shears

LEATHERMAN Raptor Emergency Response Shears

This is our top pick for the best trauma shears on the market.  They are a little pricey, but that’s because they come with six different tools to work in emergency situations.  The nursing shears are not only the best folding trauma shear design, but the best overall design to choose from.

You can choose from nine different color combinations for the handles, so it’s easy to find a pair that suits your personal aesthetic.  There’s also a choice of MOLLE-compatible or belt-friendly carrying options.  The shears can be placed in a sheath that allows them to be carried both open and closed, providing an extra level of readiness.

Six tools are built into the design, similar to a Swiss army knife.  The folding trauma shears can be tucked away for easier transport.

There’s a strap cutter that allows you to saw through seatbelt materials at crash sites, a ring cutter to safely shear through metal on the fingers, a carbide glass breaker for accident scenes, an oxygen tank wrench, and a ruler for precision measurements in the field.

Even if your scrubs don’t have a belt, you can use the pocket clip to attach the shears to your clothing.  That way, you don’t have to open a medical kit to access them.  An integrated lanyard hole also allows you to wear the device around your neck for easy access.

This is one of the strongest investments you can make, especially because the manufacturer offers a 25-year warranty.  For new nurses or nursing students, the warranty will last most of your career.

  • Best folding trauma shear option for nurses
  • Folding trauma shears with 6 different tools
  • Available in 9 different colors and styles
  • Includes emergency nursing shears, ring cutter, strap cutter, ruler, carbide glass breaker, and oxygen tank wrench
  • 25-year warranty allows you to use the tool throughout your entire career
Best Overall
LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker
5.0
$99.95

The Leatherman Raptor Shears are the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers, designed for fast, safe, and easy cutting in emergency situations.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:10 pm GMT

Madison Supply Medical Scissors, EMT and Trauma Shears

These shears from Madison Supply are our top pick for the best bandage scissors for nurses.  They combine a lot of the elements found in both trauma shears and bandage scissors, allowing for a more versatile overall tool.  In addition, they’re one of the most affordable options on the list.

You have the option to make your purchase with pink or black handles.  You can also choose between metallic stainless steel and black-coated blades, along with picking whether to purchase one or two pairs at a time.

The handles are among the easiest to use.  The fluoride coating adds a layer of durability that lets you get through the tough jobs.  In addition, the non-stick properties help prevent friction and jamming while you cut through materials.  They also prevent tape residue from sticking.

The shears are a standard 7.5 inches long and have been professionally tested for use by EMTs, paramedics, nurses, and doctors.  Since they’re autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 degrees F, they’re ideal for use in emergency rooms and other hospital settings as well.

The angled blades make it easy to cut through materials without impeding the handles, and the blunted tips are safe for use against a patient’s skin.  The blade thickness keeps the shears from flexing even when being used against thick, tough materials.

The manufacturer also offers a 60-day money back guarantee, so you shouldn’t have any issues if you aren’t satisfied with the quality of the shears.

  • Best bandage scissors for nurses
  • Super durable fluoride handles have a non-stick surface
  • Stainless steel blades have milled serration patterns to cut through tougher materials
  • Autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 F
  • Comes with a 60 day money-back guarantee from the manufacturer
Best Bandage Scissors
Madison Supply - Medical Scissors, EMT and Trauma Shears Madison Supply - Medical Scissors, EMT and Trauma Shears
5.0
$9.99

These premium heavy-duty scissors are made of high-quality stainless steel and coated with non-stick blades to prevent tearing and sticking, making them the perfect choice for nurses and EMS workers.

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02/19/2024 01:35 pm GMT

Fluoride Coated EMT Trauma Shears with Carabiner

This is the first choice on the list that comes with a carabiner, which allows for significantly easier carrying.  These fluoride-coated shears are a standard 7.5 inches and built for use in the surgical, medical, and trauma fields.

The 2-pack is ideal for those who want a few pairs of shears on hand.  Maybe you don’t always have time to sterilize your tools between patients, so you appreciate having a spare.  Maybe you prefer to have a backup in case there’s an issue with your primary pair.

Whatever the reason, these shears are one of the most affordable options if you want to buy two at once.

The carabiner mechanism has been patented by the manufacturer.  It’s integrated with the handle of the scissors, allowing you to clip them to your scrubs or other gear.  This keeps the shears on hand even when you’re moving quickly in an emergency situation.

Like the best trauma shears, this design is autoclavable at up to 290 F.  It’s also built with surgical-grade stainless steel for the blades.  Meanwhile, the injection molding in the handles makes them especially easy to use without hand fatigue.

You can pick from your choice of four different colors.  The blades are proven to cut through materials including seat belts, leather, tape, and bandages.

In addition, the smooth coating makes the blades easy to clean even when you don’t use the autoclave.

The manufacturer includes a lifetime warranty with every purchase, which means you can use the same pair of shears throughout your entire career.

  • Highly affordable option when buying in a 2-pack
  • Integrated carabiner in the handle allows you to clip the scissors to your clothing
  • Stainless steel blades have milled serrations
  • Injection-molded handles are super durable
  • Autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 degrees F
Best Value
Fluoride Coated EMT Trauma Shears with Carabiner Fluoride Coated EMT Trauma Shears with Carabiner
4.5
$11.99

This tactical medical shears with carabiner is the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers who need a durable and reliable cutting tool that they can easily carry with them.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

EMT Trauma Shears with Carabiner

This is another great choice among the best trauma shears when you’re looking for emergency scissors built for medical professionals.  Built by the same manufacturer as the previous option, these trauma shears include a carabiner in the handle and precise stainless steel blades.

The carabiner clips to your scrubs, lanyard, collar, or other clothing with ease.  When you’re working in the emergency room or going to an accident site, it’s best to have your shears on hand.  The attachment mechanism makes this easy.

These are also one of the most affordable single pairs of standard-sized shears on the list.  If your budget is a concern, this design gets the job done without breaking the bank.

You can choose from three different color options: neon pink, bright red, royal blue, and standard black.  No matter your professional taste, there’s an option that will fit in your medical kit.

The nursing shears have been designed to cut through thin materials like bandages and tape, along with thicker materials like leather and seat belts.  The 7.5-inch size is standardized and makes it easy to use the handles.

The design is made specifically for use by nurses, doctors, and EMT workers.  You can easily sterilize the blades and handles with a sanitizing wipe, and they’re also autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 F.

Both the blades and rivets are crafted from surgical stainless steel, making the emergency scissors ideal for use in surgery situations as well.

  • Emergency scissors with built-in carabiner that’s easily clipped to your waist
  • Japanese surgical-grade stainless steel blades that have milled serrations
  • Autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 F
  • Available in 4 different colors
  • Smooth, injection-molded, easily-cleaned handles
Best Emergency Scissors
Trauma Shears with Carabiner Trauma Shears with Carabiner
4.0
$11.99

This high-quality EMT trauma shears with carabiner is the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers who need a durable and reliable cutting tool that they can easily carry with them and always be prepared for any emergency.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:31 pm GMT

Prestige Medical Stylemate Utility Scissor

These tactical trauma shears are a great choice among the best trauma shears if you’re looking for something a little smaller.  At just 5.5 inches, the design is compact and portable while also being easy to use.

The scissors are built for use by medical professionals, with stainless steel blades and milled serrations.  They’re autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 F, making them ideal for hospital environments.

There are also ten colors to choose from.  One of the most unique aspects of these scissors is that they have a printed, colorful design on the blades themselves.  Most trauma shears have colored handles with metallic or black blades.

This makes them an excellent choice for people who like to have bold patterns in their tools.  You can choose from prints including leaves, camouflage, leopard spots, hope ribbons, and woodsy cartoon animals.  No matter your taste, you can find a print that suits your interests.

The handles are also available in bright colors like pink, light blue, and purple.  But you can also choose a black or darker blue design if you want a more serious aesthetic.

Ultimately, these are the best tactical scissors for people who want unique prints in their medical kit.  They’re also ideal for anyone seeking something smaller than the standard 7.5 inches that still meets all the requirements of an average pair of trauma shears.

  • Tactical trauma shears with 10 fun print and color choices
  • Colorful patterns on the blades make them more unique-looking than other shears
  • Autoclavable at temperatures of up to 290 F
  • Crafted from surgical stainless steel
Best Tactical Trauma Shears
Prestige Medical Stylemate Utility Scissor Prestige Medical Stylemate Utility Scissor
4.5
$10.56

These stylish and durable utility scissors are perfect for nurses and EMS workers who need a tool that can handle the job and look good doing it.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

Magnum Store Mini Shears

These miniature trauma shears are the smallest option on our list of the best trauma shears, with a total length of just 4 inches.  Because of this, they’re also the most inexpensive.  The model is also one of the most lightweight on the market, with each pair of shears weighing barely more than half an ounce.

Despite the small size, the scissors still perform as well as necessary for people in the trauma field.  The stainless steel blades are able to cut through tough materials, including the capacity to shear through pennies and other thin metals.

The blades are a little thinner than you’d find with a standard pair of shears.  Because of this, they might have slightly more flex when you’re cutting through tough materials.  They may also be a little difficult to wield if you have larger hands.

For individuals with small hands, though, the miniature size can be very helpful.  You don’t have to pull the handles very far apart to make efficient cuts through bandages, clothing, and metal.

The trauma shears are specifically built for use by EMTs.  With that said, they can also be used by nurses, doctors, and other medical professionals who often work in emergency situations.  The model is autoclavable for use in sterile hospital settings.

  • Best mini trauma shear option, measuring just 4 inches
  • Weighs 0.7 ounces while being able to cut through a penny
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Easy-to-use handles
Best Mini Shears
EMT Shears: 4-inch Mini EMT Shears: 4-inch Mini
4.5
$6.99

These mini trauma shears are perfect for nurses and EMS workers with small hands, providing the same cutting power in a more compact size.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

Trauma Shears Buying Guide

Trauma Shears vs Bandage Scissors

There are several key differences between the best trauma shears and bandage scissors (You can see our helpful medical scissors guide for a side-by-side comparison). 

Trauma shears are built for use in trauma-related situations like emergency rooms and automobile accidents.  They’re most often used by EMTs and trauma nurses.

One of the most important purposes of trauma shears is to cut through tough materials.  They’re built to shear through webbing, leather, and sometimes even metal.  As such, they’re also designed with heavy-duty materials that shouldn’t break down over time.

Bandage scissors are made to work with much thinner materials.  The blades won’t typically be strong enough to cut through metal or leather.  But they can cut through gauze, bandages, and surgical tape.  They may also have non-stick properties to avoid retaining sticky tape residue. See our guide for the best bandage scissors

Trauma shears may be heavier and more unwieldy than bandage scissors.  But bandage scissors can’t perform in all the same situations as trauma shears.

There are some similarities between the tools as well.  It’s best to look for options that are designed specifically for professionals in the medical field.  The best choices will have angled blades to make cutting easier, and they’ll also be easy to carry.

Models should also be easy to clean.  Many bandage scissors and trauma shears are built to be autoclavable for people who need to disinfect their gear in hospital settings.

Some models can be used interchangeably as both trauma shears and bandage scissors.  The Madison supply scissors are great for thin bandages, tape, and thicker materials in emergency situations.

Madison Supply - Medical Scissors, EMT and Trauma Shears Madison Supply - Medical Scissors, EMT and Trauma Shears
5.0
$9.99

These premium heavy-duty scissors are made of high-quality stainless steel and coated with non-stick blades to prevent tearing and sticking, making them the perfect choice for nurses and EMS workers.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:35 pm GMT

Folding Trauma Shears

Designs like the Leatherman shears can be folded for compact storage.  These particular folding trauma shears can also be stored in an open position, making it easy to spring into action.

LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker
5.0
$99.95

The Leatherman Raptor Shears are the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers, designed for fast, safe, and easy cutting in emergency situations.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:10 pm GMT

Folding trauma shears are a popular option for people with limited room in their medical kits.  They allow you to fold the blades at a swivel point.  It may be safer to carry folded shears if you don’t have a holder that can protect you against the open blades.

Some folding shears models may also allow you to set the angle of the shears when unfolded.  This is ideal for people who find that they have trouble with the standard angling of many models.

Materials and Durability

Most trauma shears will be crafted with surgical-grade stainless steel.  There may be different stainless steel alloys used depending on the model and price point.  Some designs, such as these EMT shears, have fluoride-coated handles.

Trauma Shears with Carabiner Trauma Shears with Carabiner
4.0
$11.99

This high-quality EMT trauma shears with carabiner is the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers who need a durable and reliable cutting tool that they can easily carry with them and always be prepared for any emergency.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:31 pm GMT

The most common surgical stainless steels are 420 and 440 graded.  These stainless steels are very durable, so they’re ideal for cutting through metal and leather.  They’re also corrosion resistant, which means they’re unlikely to rust.

Some trauma shear blades might be slightly magnetic due to the grade of the steel used.

Fluoride coatings are often used for non-stick purposes.  They help to repel tape residue and prevent the scissors from sticking together when opened.  A smooth fluoride coating may also make trauma shears easier to sanitize without using an autoclave.

When you’re looking for the right materials for your shears, the first priority should always be to make sure they’re approved for use by medical professionals.  The next priority should be to make sure the design is effective and easy to use for its necessary purpose.

Autoclavable (Can Be Sterilized)

An autoclave is a machine that sterilizes materials by steam cleaning them.  Most autoclaves run at a temperature of 270 F, but it’s common for autoclavable designs to be safe for use at temperatures even higher than that.

Autoclaves are commonly found in hospital settings and may also be used in some doctor’s offices.  They’re ideal for people who need to sanitize their tools frequently either after or during their shifts.

Not all materials are autoclavable.  The steam and pressure can damage certain coatings, metals, or paints.  Because of this, it’s best to look for designs that are specifically graded as autoclavable.

You can also sterilize materials in other ways, like using soap and water or a sanitizing wipe.  An autoclave does tend to be more convenient and leave less room for human error, though.

Carabiner / On-the-Go

Some shears are designed with a built-in carabiner in the handle, like this model from Carabiner-Shears.  A carabiner is a type of clip that’s often used with rock climbing equipment.  It allows you to attach gear firmly to your person without losing it.

There isn’t always time to take your shears out of a medical kit in an emergency situation.  But it’s also possible for shears to fall out of the pockets of your clothing.  At best, this is inconvenient, and at worst, it can be catastrophic for you and your patient.

Having easy access to your trauma shears is vital.  There are other designs made for people on the go as well.

Some shears might have their own holder, which can be clipped to your clothing.  Others are perforated with a hole that allows you to hang them on a lanyard or necklace for easier access.

It’s important to choose trauma shears that you can access easily, especially if you’re an EMT or frequently dealing with time-sensitive emergency circumstances.

Size

The most common shear size on the market is 7.5 inches.  This is the standard sizing for equipment in most hospitals, clinics, and other medical situations.  Some shears may also be built in 7-inch sizes, which might be good for those who feel a 7.5-inch option is too large for their hand.

If you’re looking for smaller shears, you can find 5.5-inch models like this one by Prestige.  They have all the same properties as a good standard-sized pair of trauma shears, but they may be a little easier to carry.  They’re also ideal for people with smaller hands.

Prestige Medical Stylemate Utility Scissor Prestige Medical Stylemate Utility Scissor
4.5
$10.56

These stylish and durable utility scissors are perfect for nurses and EMS workers who need a tool that can handle the job and look good doing it.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

Even smaller shears are also available, like these 4-inch mini shears.  Because mini shears have shorter blades, it may take longer to cut through materials.  It’s also important to double-check that mini shears are able to cut through the same materials as standard-sized ones.

EMT Shears: 4-inch Mini EMT Shears: 4-inch Mini
4.5
$6.99

These mini trauma shears are perfect for nurses and EMS workers with small hands, providing the same cutting power in a more compact size.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:21 pm GMT

Cost

The cost is a big concern when picking your medical supplies.  Whether you’re supplying a large hospital or purchasing your own equipment, it’s important to get cost-effective shears that do the necessary job.

Some models may have higher pricing because they include extra tools.  The additional tools make them a versatile choice for people who often respond to unique emergency situations.

A good pair of trauma shears can last for your entire career.  Some have lifetime warranties or warranties of 25 years.  Investing in a good pair now means never having to replace them in the future.

Best Nursing Shears – Key Takeaway

The best trauma shears are ones that allow you to work effectively, reduce fatigue, and keep your patients safe.

Our top pick is the Leatherman scissors. These also function as the best nursing scissors in general.  They have all of the tools necessary when in the trauma field, fold for easier storage, and are designed specifically for use by EMTs and nursing professionals.

Best Overall
LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker LEATHERMAN Raptor Rescue Emergency Shears with Strap Cutter & Glass Breaker
5.0
$99.95

The Leatherman Raptor Shears are the perfect tool for nurses and EMS workers, designed for fast, safe, and easy cutting in emergency situations.

We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
02/19/2024 01:10 pm GMT

Ultimately, as long as the shears you choose are built with the materials and design needed for a trauma environment, you shouldn’t run into any problems.  But picking shears to suit your personal needs will make your job a lot easier.

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