The 10 Best Power Shears
This wiki has been updated 20 times since it was first published in October of 2016. Designed to cut through sheet metal, trim asphalt shingles, and shave siding, these power shears are versatile tools to have in your arsenal. Whether you're a professional contractor or a hobbyist, one of of our selections should suit your requirements, as we;ve included a wide range of options capable of everything from light-duty work to daily use and abuse on a construction site. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. If you'd like to contribute your own research to the Wiki, please get started by reviewing this introductory video.
June 25, 2020:
During this round of updates, while many of our previous selections proved to still be relevant, we did decide on removing the DeWalt DW891, DeWalt D28605, Pit Bull Snips and TruePower Electric, due to a combination of availability issues and an aim to inject these rankings with a bit more brand diversity and a couple more high-end options. Some of our new picks this time around include the Bosch 1500C — a contractor-ready corded model with a top speed of 5,000 strokes per minute, the Metabo HPT CN16SA Nibbler — which features a five-year warranty and three-position indexing head, and the DeWalt DWASHRIR — which isn’t truly a power shear, but rather an attachment for an impact driver, cordless drill or corded drill that presents an affordable alternative to the designated tool. Once you try out one of these powered models, you'll never give a second thought to using a manual pair of tin snips, unless it's absolutely necessary.
A few things to think about for this category:
Power Source: Of course, arguing about the superiority of cordless vs. corded tools is a debate that’s been going on for years on job sites, and it isn’t likely to stop any time soon. With that in mind, we’ve endeavored to fill these rankings with a variety of tools, so there should be something for everybody, regardless of your power-source preference. While advocates of corded gear are likely to like line-voltage models like the Bosch 1500C and Metabo HPT CN16SA Nibbler, tradesman who already have a like-branded collection of cordless tools might take to a battery-powered model like the DeWalt DCS491B or Ryobi P591. The Malco TSS1A Turboshear is a pneumatic offering that most users will find inconvenient, since it requires an air compressor on site to be functional, but for roofers or professionals working in fabrication shops where a compressor’s always close on hand, it might be an option worth considering.
Speed: A power tool’s no-load speed doesn’t tell you everything there is to know about that machine’s performance, but it is one metric we can look at to give us a clue, and in many instances it’s the only one that’s offered to us. You won’t always get an apples-to-apples comparison, especially when you’re comparing tools within a category that were designed with different specializations in mind – for example the Makita JS8000 fiber cement board shear has a top speed of 2,500 strokes per minute, while the Makita JS1602 straight shear has a top speed of 4,000 – but between similar models, it can offer you one consideration to help weigh your options — for example, the Makita JS1602 could reasonably be compared to the Bosch 1500C straight shear, which has a top speed of 5,000 strokes per minute.
Trigger Lock: Superficially, trigger locks can seem like a nice feature, and there’s no denying that a work day tends to be a lot easier without your hand cramping up from hours of trigger squeezing, but as somebody who came close to losing a thumb as a result of this convenience, I’m a bit biased against them. While I have heard of some safety programs banning the use of the feature, I’ve never come across this myself, and we've still included some options with trigger-lock functionality on our list — like the Makita JS8000 and Metabo HPT CN16SA Nibbler. We urge users to be aware of the safety hazards presented by trigger locks. If you are going to to use them, apply extra vigilance and take extra care to observe all safe-work practices. In short, make sure that you’re as engaged with your work as that trigger is.