The Best Tin Snips and Aviation Snips

Best Tin Snips

There’s not much difference between these two tools but they do have their own advantages. Tin snips and aviation snips are used by HVAC technicians, engineers, electricians and other workmen to cut through metal sheeting, shaping it so that it fits where it’s needed or to add slits.

They’re especially important to an HVAC engineer for work on ducts and ventilation, ensuring a precise cut on the metal to get a perfect, airtight fit. Accurate and good quality sheet cutting means a well-insulated and liquid resistant building. So it would be a massive advantage to have a set of snips in your tool bag just in case this job arises.

What is the Difference between Tin Snips and Aviation Snips?

Both tools are basically scissors used to cut through sheet metal quickly and efficiently and they come in different shapes in order to cut the metal into different shapes for varying fits. Their names are sometimes used interchangeably too, but there are subtle differences between these tools.

  Tin Snips

Tin snips are a much simpler tool than aviation snips and very much resemble a pair of scissors used in arts and crafts, but they are capable of much more heavy duty work.

Even though they are a simpler tool, they have a far greater versatility, are great for cutting in straight lines and there also a variety of tin snips called duckbill snips which are designed for sharper turns in the cut but can’t handle thicker sheets.

They are, however, limited by the thickness of sheeting that they can cut through and technicians will make the switch to aviation snips if they need more power for a clean cut.

  Aviation Snips

Aviation snips are otherwise known as compound snips, as, similar to a pair of gardeners secateurs or a compound bow, they have a mechanism which reduces the force needed by the user and can increase the strength of the cut.

Compared to tin snips, aviation snips are not as great for long straight cuts but can cut through thicker sheets and allow for greater control when cutting curves and corners. Depending on the quality, they can generally handle up to 18 gauge aluminum, 24 gauge mild steel or 26 gauge stainless steel.

Aviation snips can also come in a set of three snips which are attuned to different directions of cutting. Left offsets are usually marked with red on the handle and are called lefties are good for anti-clockwise cutting, right offsets are usually marked with green on the handle and are called righties are good for clockwise cutting.

The straights are also called bulldogs and are best for smaller, straight cuts and they usually have orange or yellow markings on the handles. The benefit of having the options of directional cutting is to make sure that you accomplish neat work reducing the fish hook appearance on the metal.

Our Top Picks

Best Tin Snips

Stanley FatMax 10inch Tin Snips

As far as tin snips go, these are the best tin snips you can buy for at this price margin! They cut well, are made with durability and comfort in mind and they have duck-billed, steel blades which allow you to make precise cuts in curves or straight lines.

They cut up to 22 gauge cold rolled steel or 26 gauge stainless steel so they are as strong as a pair of standard compound snips. The grips are thick with large, double dip rings allowing you to avoid chafing and discomfort whilst maintaining control over the tool.


Clauss 8inch Titanium Snips with Wire Cutter

If you are looking for a tool that’s a bit more affordable, check out this great value deal! Clauss offers a great pair of snips that have micro-serrated blades made from durable titanium increasing the durability and efficiency of this tool.

Even though there is no compound mechanism it is still has spring assisted opening so you can cut that metal sheet quicker and it has a handy notch for cutting wires too. The grips are ergonomic and shaped to fit the palm of your hand. This tool also has a lock on the bottom of the grips that prevent it from springing open when in storage.

What’s more is the price is dirt cheap and that’s because it’s an Amazon add-on item which means you will receive the product with orders over a certain amount. This means that you can include some other needed items in the order to get this handy snipper at such a low price.


IRWIN Tools Tinner’s Snip

Another high-quality pair of tin snips that’ll last you is offered by Irwin Tools. What these snips lack in cutting power, they gain in a clever design. The flat, forged steel blades have precision ground edges which means the blades grip the sheet metal giving you more control and therefore a more precise cut.

Adding to the precision is the strong spring washer that holds the blades together tightly. This component is durable, and keeping the blades close means more accurate cutting. Also, to reduce the fatigue in your hands, wrists, and forearms, the grips are encased in plastisol, a cushioning plastic that’s durable and comfortable.

This tool can cut up to 20 gauge cold roll steel and 22 gauge stainless steel, which is not bad for standard tin snippers and previous buyers thought so too, as this tool has many favorable reviews from workmen who did not regret the purchase.


Best Aviation Snips

Clauss Titanium Bonded Aviation Snips – Straight

If you are just looking for one straight cutting aviation snip which is also high quality and will last you forever then look no further than these Clauss snips. The blades are really strong; three times stronger than stainless steel as they are composed of titanium which also gives them great cutting power.

The handles are sturdy and fir in the palms nicely with cushioned grips and the blades are serrated which gives them greater grip on the sheet and a more precise cut. The joins holding the tool together and that make up the mechanism are also very stable and highly durable, you’ll not need to buy another straight cutting aviation snip for a long time.


Stanley FatMax Straight Cut Aviation Snip

If it’s great value you are after, then these snips form Stanley is exactly what you need. This tool is a good metal sheet cutter, with molybdenum steel blades that have serrated edges for grip. There’s a safety latch that activates by just squeezing the handles which act to keep the blades shut when not in use.

It can only cut up to 18 gauge steel which is not that impressive but at such a low price it’s highly worth it if you think you won’t need anything stronger. This product is also an Amazon add-on item so will only be dispatched when your order reaches a certain amount but again, this gives you a good opportunity to get this great deal and others in one purchase.


Craftsman Evolv 3 pc. Aviation Snip Set

This product is a set of three, high quality aviation snips at a really great price. You receive the lefty, the bulldog and the righty in this purchase which are all color-coded so they’re easily identifiable from your tool bag. Buying this kit will ensure that you are well equipped for any situation when it comes to cutting sheet metal.

With comments that praise the brand, the functionality and the comfort that this tool offers previous buyers overall like this product; with many positive reviews and very few which are bad.

There’s a locking mechanism that is easy to use and means you can keep the tool shut when in storage and also some handy loops on the handles giving you the ability to hang them up. This set is overall great value for your money and well worth checking out!


What Makes the Best Tin Snips and Aviation Snips?

It’s certainly worth seeking out the best in order to get good value for your money; avoid the cheapest options whilst not paying more than what its worth. But what is it that makes a particular model “the best”?

There are plenty of different snips that you can buy and they vary in design, branding, and buyer’s satisfaction. Take this opportunity to look at the considerations below to get an idea of what factors into the quality of these tools.


With any tool, durability is ultra-important as, to get your money’s worth; you want it to last as long as possible. The quality of the materials used in its construction and the shape of its design come into this. When it comes to compound snips, the components which make up the spring mechanism should also be strong enough to handle the pressure.

Snips which have blades that are composed of tempered steel work best at handling tougher jobs and will last you for years in comparison to ones made with cheaper materials.

  Grips and Comfort

The grips on the handles of the snips are also quite important as by providing comfort, they increase the capability of the tool. With larger grips, thicker sheets of metal can be cut through as you’ll be able to put more force into the cut yourself without the handles digging into your hand.

It’s also important for the tool to be ergonomic, as cutting through metal sheeting can get tiring and so you want a tool that’s going to reduce the fatigue in your wrists and forearms so you can get more done before you need a break.


This doesn’t so much apply to basic tin snips but aviation snips should as a standard come with a locking mechanism which you can employ to hold them closed because they are typically sprung open. This not only prevents you from hurting yourself with them when you’re not using them but also keeps them from getting blunted whilst they’re put away.

  Purchase by Set

It may not be of much concern to everybody who is looking to buy some snips, but it’s still always a much better value for money deal when you get a set of snips in one purchase. This ensures that you have everything you need to suit whatever circumstance arises.


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