Trimming cannabis is an extremely important part of the harvesting process. Trichomes — the chemical compounds that dictate smell, taste, and effect — are located on the outside of the leaves and buds, so a bad trim job can render even the best weed vibe-less.
Below, we spoke to small-scale growers to find the best trimming scissors for your own harvest.
What are trimming scissors, and why do you need them?
Trimming scissors are high-quality gardening shears used by cannabis farmers to trim away unwanted leaves and not damage the bud.
Due to the fragility of cannabis nugs and the importance of keeping the trichomes intact, a good pair of trimming scissors or pruning shears, which are larger shears used to trim branches off the plant while it's growing and during the harvesting process, are a must when it comes to preserving flower.
While normal scissors are blunt on the end, clunky, and uncomfortable in the hand when used for long periods of time, trimming scissors are small, sharp, and have specifically been designed for botanical dexterity.
And to expert growers, hand-trimming is the better option when harvesting. “Every time you put your hands on a nug and you squeeze the bud, you're breaking the trichomes," said Joseph Haggard of Emerald Spirit Botanicals, an Emerald-Cup-winning regenerative farm in Mendocino. "The goal here is to preserve your trichome heads, so touch it as little as you possibly can. Wait until right before you're ready to smoke it and then clean it up a little with some good scissors."
“Trimming can be a good thing if it's done properly," he added, "but the majority of people aren't taking the right amount of time and care, so they're just damaging their flowers."
What to look for when shopping trimming scissors
There are a few key aspects to keep in mind when shopping for a pair of trimming scissors or pruners:
- Quality: You want to look for high-quality steel that holds an edge. Coatings are also something to keep in mind, as some trimming scissors are coated to reduce the impact of plant resin. But while coatings can be helpful, it's best to avoid Teflon as it's a sketchy plastic that can get gummy on the blades.
- Comfort: Trimming takes a long time, especially if you're harvesting multiple plants. It's important that the scissors you choose feel good in your hand because trimming with blisters sucks. Trust me.
- Spring or no spring: Some trimming scissors have a spring that automatically opens them back up after a cut, while others do not. This comes down to a matter of personal preference.
Best trimming scissors for every trimmer
Whether you're an at-home grower or a master in the hills, those buds have to get trimmed somehow. Here are the best trimming scissors on the market, according to the experts.
High-price/high-quality: F-13 Pruning Shears from Felco
Felco was founded in Switzerland over 70 years ago, and it makes long-lasting, ergonomic gardening tools to this day, including its F-13 Pruning Shears.
“The Felco F-13s are the best of the best ... all of the parts are interchangeable, meaning you can buy any of the parts if they go bad," said Walt Woods of Sol Spirit Farm, an award-winning regenerative farm out of Trinity County. “They are pruners you could pass down to your kid."
Mid-range/mid-quality: Chikamasa B-500 from Chikimasa
Chikimasas are Japanese gardening shears that were the first pick of every master grower I interviewed. These scissors are precise, keep an edge with their high-grade stainless steel blade, and ward off sticky resin with a fluorine coating.
And despite not having a spring, the Chickamasa B-500 is still one of the favorites. “They fit nicely in the hands and are easy on the flower," said Haggard. Joey Gothelf of Wildland Cannabis, a regenerative farm in Mendocino, said he's "never [had to] sharpen a pair."
Budget pick: Micro-Tip Pruning Snips from Fiskars
Fiskars' Micro-Tip Pruning Snips came up a lot in my interviews, but not in a positive light. “I'm a part-time knife maker, so the issue of sharpening and using good steel for the edge is something that I'm familiar with," said Gothelf. “I definitely recognize that the Fisker and some of the random brands need to be sharpened a lot, which tells me that they're just made with crappy steel."
These pruning scissors also have a Teflon coating instead of fluoride to resist resin, which tends to gum up in the blades during the trimming process and could get in the flower itself. Bottom line: They work well enough but aren't great quality.
Super budget pick: Vivosun 6.5-inch Gardening Scissors
While no one mentioned Vivosuns in my interviews, I've trimmed enough weed in my life to know these are often strewn around trim rooms and have been for a very long time. Vivosun's 6.5-inch Gardening Scissors are wildly affordable (usually below $10), mediocre in every way, and considered borderline disposable.
While Chikimasas and Felcos are the type of scissors a trimmer would take care of, Vivosuns are the type of scissors a grow would have lying around for anyone to use. The steel sucks and won't hold an edge, and the blade tip sometimes crosses, but they are budget-friendly and seem to exist in endless quantities.
Editor's note: Weedmaps does not get affiliate revenue from the brands recommended in this article. All products are chosen independently by the author. The only influence Weedmaps News is under is weed.