Aviation Snips vs Tin Snips: Differences Explained By Real User

Aviation Snips vs Tin Snips Differences

Sheet metals are extremely versatile. You can use these in a lot of ways. No matter what type of metal sheet you’re using, a good old cutting is always necessary.

However, you can cut metal sheets in a lot of ways. From the old fashion scissors to cutting edge laser technology a lot of ways are there for this job.

Here’s the thing-

Laser cuts are extremely accurate but are highly expensive. On the other hand, snip tools are super-efficient.

But aviation snips and tin snips are two types of snips. But there are some slight differences between this. And for that reason, ‘aviation snips vs tin snips’ has always been a popular topic among sheet metal workers.

We’re here to cut deeper into the topic and to layout facts. Because using the wrong tool for the wrong job might end up in a disaster. So, let’s jump right into the details-

Aviation Snips vs Tin Snips 

Let’s know the detail of Aviation Snips and Tin Snips. 

What is an Aviation Snip?

What is an Aviation Snip?

Aviation snips are just another version of scissors. These are just another handheld tool using lever technology to cut through metal sheets. However, you can also cut softer materials like rubber or plastic with aviation snips.

Aviation snips were first introduced for cutting metal sheets used in aircraft construction. And from there it got its name as aviation snips.

Our recommended Best Aviation Snips on amazon: 

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Crescent Wiss 9-3/4' MetalMaster Compound Action Snips - Straight, Left and Right Cut - M3R
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Crescent Wiss 9-3/4" MetalMaster Compound Action Snips - Straight, Left and Right Cut - M3R
  • Cuts straight and slight curves with yellow handles for quick identification
  • Precision cast molybdenum blades with conk ground edges and serrations for cutting low carbon, cold rolled 18 gauge steel
  • Blade serrations spread cutting force across jaws improving cut quality and tool life
  • Superior Design prevents tears at end of cuts by controlling blade bypass and minimizes folding and burrs
  • Ergonomic, single handed latch operation for left or right handed use
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MIDWEST Aviation Snip Set - Left and Right Cut Offset Tin Cutting Shears with Forged Blade & KUSH'N-POWER Comfort Grips - MWT-6510C
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MIDWEST Aviation Snip Set - Left and Right Cut Offset Tin Cutting Shears with Forged Blade & KUSH'N-POWER Comfort Grips - MWT-6510C
  • 2 PIECE OFFSET SET - This set includes both left and right cut offset models for optimal cutting ability
  • LONGEST LASTING CUTTING EDGE - These blades are hot drop-forged of molybdenum alloy steel and austemper heat-treated for maximum strength and durability
  • STRONGEST HANDLES - High Tensile strength steel will not bend from hand pressure and provides efficient conversion of hand force to cutting power
  • COMFORTABLE GRIPS - Kush'N-Power grips conforms with the motion of the user's hands and the indented ribs prevent hand and finger slippage
  • EASY CUTTING - Compound leverage multiplies handle force to cutting blades by 8: 1 for significantly less fatigue. MADE IN USA
Dewalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set ,3 pack
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Dewalt DWHT14676 Aviation Snip Set ,3 pack
  • Flush hardware allows smooth access from pouch
  • Internal locking mechanism
  • Durable construction
  • Forged chrome molydbenum alloy
  • Long cutting life

How to use Aviation Snips?

At first look at the snip specifications. See if your cutting material is suitable for the snip.

Next look at the color of the snips. There are three colored aviation snips. Red, green, and yellow. Each of these colors has different uses.

Now if you want a curved cut, then any of the red or green snips are for you. However, if you want a straight cut, then the yellow one is suitable. Moreover, see which snip cuts on which side. The right cut snip will generate wastes on the right-hand side.  And it’ll be vice versa for the left snip.

After figuring out the blades mark up your sheet. Start cutting the sheet according to the marks. Lastly, smooth up the newly cut area.

What is a Tin Snip?

What is a Tin Snip?

A tin snip is another type of tool used for cutting metal sheets. This tool also uses lever technology for cutting sheets.

But this snip is more like a long-necked scissor along with shorter blades. This tool is designed for cutting thin metals. For example, you can cut sheets of 22-gauge cold-rolled steel or 26 gauge stainless steel (Max) with tin snips.

Our recommended best Tin Snip on amazon:

TEKTON 8-Inch Straight Pattern Tin Snips | 35103
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TEKTON 8-Inch Straight Pattern Tin Snips | 35103
  • Cuts straight or in wide curves
  • High strength forged and heat treated carbon steel
  • Precision-ground cutting edges are high frequency treated to increase hardness and durability
  • Soft, two-layer, non-slip handle grips for extra comfort
  • Designed for use with either left or right hand
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IRWIN Tin Snip, Flat Blade, 12-inch (22012)
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IRWIN Tin Snip, Flat Blade, 12-inch (22012)
  • Snip tool cuts up to 20-gauge cold-roll steel and 22-gauge stainless-steel
  • Snip tool features a flat blade that cuts straight and wide curves
  • Precision-ground edges on the tin snips ensure a tight grip on each cut for superior cutting quality
  • Hot, drop-forged steel blades provide maximum strength and long life
  • Durable spring washer holds blades tightly against each other when cutting
Performance Tool W2043 Center Cut Aviation Tin Snip
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Performance Tool W2043 Center Cut Aviation Tin Snip
  • Ergonomic grip
  • Non slip serrated jaws
  • Cuts straight lines easily
  • Cuts tight curves easily

How to Use Tin Snips?

To be honest, if you can cut with scissors, then you’ll be able to cut with tin snips.

It’s because the method is the same. But there are some differences too.

So, let’s look at how to use tin snips-

Just like before, start by marking your working area. Plan out how to cut and where to cut.

Once you’re done with that, place your tin snip onto the sheet. Next start cutting. And here is the main detail.

While cutting, don’t close the blades fully. This is necessary if you want to have a smooth cut.

After finishing up the cut, you can smoothen up the edges for better safety.

Pros and Cons of Using Aviation Snips and Tin Snips

Now that you’ve known the primary details about aviation snips and tin snips, it’s time to get real. Here we will focus on the pros and cons that are related to practical uses.

To be more specific, the advantages and disadvantages that you’ll face while working with these tools. Now, let’s get going-

Pros and Cons of Aviation Snips

Aviation snips are meant to do trim works rather than making large and rough cuts. To be more specific, this tool is perfect for creating relief notches and cutting off thin slivers.

What We Liked
    • Aviation snips have spring-loaded handles. This gives the user a mechanical advantage while cutting. As a result, your hand gets half the wear and tear.
    • These snips are highly versatile. Apart from cutting, you can do ductwork and gutters. The three-way blades give you cutting freedom of a whole new level.
    • Aviation snip blades have a notch like structure. Thanks to blade teeth, you’ll get a stronger grip on the workpiece.
    • Thanks to the metal latch on the side of this tool, you can secure the jaws safely.

What We Didn't Like
  • These snips are a bit expensive. Thanks to the specialized features of these you’ll need to go deeper into your pocket.
  • A certain level of skills is needed to use Aviation snips.

Pros and Cons of Tin Snips

Tin snips are perfect snips for cutting thin metal. To be more specific, this tool is your best buddy for low budget metal sheet works.

What We Liked
    • The first and foremost advantage of tin snips is the low-cost factor. As we have said earlier these are perfect for your temporary DIY project.
    • Tin snips require a lower level of skills for operating. Anyone who can use scissors can use tin snips.
    • Because of the long handles, you’ll have lower chances of muscle fatigue and strain injuries.
    • As the tin snips have fewer parts, it’s highly durable. So, you won’t have frequent malfunctioning and troubleshooting.

What We Didn't Like
  • Because of the simple mechanism, tin snips are low on versatility. So, there are a lot of works that you cannot do with tin snips.
  • As it doesn’t have spring-loaded handles, it takes more effort in cutting.

In Conclusion

So the burning question is Aviation Snips vs Tin Snips which one is perfect for your projects. If you ask us, then we have no direct answer. We have laid out the facts. You can decide better based on those facts. Moreover, the answer also depends on your situation.

Good luck. Happy cutting.

About the author

John Paterson

Hi there! My name is John Patterson. I’m a meticulous guy who loves to deal with the perfect tools for various needs. No matter if it’s a woodworking tool or gardening tool or anything else, I don’t compromise the quality and usability. Since 2010 I’ve been testing different tools for different DIY and professional tasks. Later in 2015, I decided to share my knowledge with the world. I started by answering people in the forums and several Q/A sites like Quora. Then I founded this blog to aid others like you with my knowledge and experience.


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