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This section includes scissors with assistive features. They are suitable for adults, children or both.

Kitchen and household scissors can be used either for cutting food, crafts such as cutting paper, dressmaking and embroidery, or household tasks like opening tray packaging. Included are scissors with soft touch and/or enhanced grip, long loop or extended loop scissors, self-opening scissors and scissors for left-handed use. Most are available in rounded (which are safer) or pointed blades (which are sharper).

Children's scissors including self-opening, left handed, training and/or scissors with large handles.

Roller cutters and battery powered scissors are designed primarily for craft materials such as paper or leather, others are suitable for cutting fabric or layers of materials such as those used in quilting.  

Table top scissors have a small stand (often with a slip-resistant base) and are operated by pushing down to depress the handle. They can be used with one hand only and may be useful if you have tremor or difficulty with fine movements. Many table top scissors can be changed from handheld to table top use as the scissors slide in/out of a separate base. Table top scissors are self-opening with a spring which automatically reopens the scissors after each cut or when pressure is released. They can be operated with the whole hand, not just the fingers, making them a possible choice if you have a thumb injury or reduced grip. 

Classmates Dual Control Scissors
Training scissors. Comprises: stainless steel blades; four plastic finger holes; rounded ends; left or right handed. Enables two-handed use, or use by...
Dual Control Training Scissors
Training scissors for left or right handed use. Comprises: stainless steel blades; dual grip plastic handles; two sets of loops. Range of shapes, size...
Easi-grip Scissors
Scissors with moulded nylon handles forming a continuous loop, which acts as a spring to open automatically after each cut. Comprises: stainless steel...
Expert Left-handed Scissors
Left-handed scissors with moulded grips.
Long Loop Aid Scissors
Long looped scissors for children to fit the whole hand in when cutting. Comprises: made from ABS plastic; colour coded for right and left hand use. O...
Long Loop Dual Handled Help Scissors
Scissors with two handles to enable an adult to guide a child to cut safely. Comprises: long looped dual grip handles; colour coded for right and left...
Long Loop Easi-grip Scissors
Scissors which have part nylon handle and part long loop handle. Comprises: long loop handle allows the strength of the middle, ring and little finger...
Long Loop Scissors
Scissors which have one standard sized loop and one extended loop. Long loop handle allows the strength of the middle, ring and little finger to be us...
Long-loop Self-opening Scissors
Self-opening scissors. Comprises: stainless steel blades; spring fitting re-opens the scissors after pressure has been released; blade guard for when ...
Mounted Table Top Scissors With Wooden Base
Self-opening scissors fixed on to a wooden base. Comprises: wooden base with Dycem strips to give slip-resistance; stainless steel, sprung blades; 'T'...
Push Down Table Top Scissors
Self-opening table top scissors. Comprises: stainless steel blades with rounded or pointed ends; two 'T' shaped handles; blade guard. Blades available...
Rotary Cutter
Rotary cutter with long ergonomic handle and retractable blade. Comprises: safety locking system; can be adapted for right and left hand use; cuts thr...
Self Opening Scissors
Scissors. Comprises: Spring assisted opening; centimetre markings on blade; plastic handles. Options: available for either right handed or left handed...
Self Opening Scissors
Self-opening children's scissors. Comprises: spring loading; standard plastic handles; rounded ends; stainless steel blades; guard. Left or right hand...
Self Opening Scissors with Cutting Assistance
Self opening scissors suitable for children. Comprises: rounded blades; spring loaded handles.
Self-opening Kitchen Shears
Spring-loaded scissors with self-opening mechanism. One handle comprised of single shaft, other handle is looped. Safety catch secures scissors when n...
Self-opening Scissors
Spring-assisted craft scissors for right handed use. Choice of colour available.
Standard Left Hand Scissors
Stainless steel scissors with rounded blades and plastic handles for left handed use.
Buying equipment

There are several factors to consider when purchasing equipment.

Making complaints and reporting unsafe products

In most instances a complaint should initially be made to the supplier who provided you with the item. CAB has a range of guidelines on their website on making a complaint about poor service or faulty goods. These include complaining by phone, complaining in writing and template letters. CAB advice about making a complaint.
If you are not satisfied with the supplier's response then you may choose to complain to:

  • an ombudsman scheme
  • a regulator
  • an independent mediator
  • a trade association (if the supplier is a member of one)


Safety incidents involving medical devices can be reported to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the GOV UK website www.mhra.gov.uk or their Adverse incident centre hotline 020 3080 7080. The MHRA is the government agency responsible for ensuring that medical devices and medicines work and are acceptably safe. Their definition of 'Medical devices' includes devices used for assisting patients and users, thus many daily living aids such as bath lifts, commodes and walking sticks are medical devices. Any incident involving the safety of a medical device (including safety issues with its instructions for use) should be reported to the MHRA, especially if the incident contributed to, or could have caused injury, life-threatening illness or death.

Buying from a private person

Buying from a private person gives you fewer rights. You will only be able to claim against the seller if the product doesn't match its description or if the seller did not own it. Consequently, some firms occasionally pretend to be private sellers to avoid their legal responsibilities towards customers. If you suspect this has happened to you find out about your rights and what action to take on the Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) website https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer/ or call 0345 404 0506 to speak to the Citizen Advice consumer helpline.


The length of the manufacturer's guarantee does not limit any claim you may make to the seller as if a product develops a fault outside the guarantee period you can still claim against the seller if you can show that the fault was unreasonable at that period in the products life.


You may be asked whether you would like to purchase an extended warranty. Remember that your statutory rights exist, under the Sale of Goods Act, whether or not you choose to buy their warranty and whether or not the goods came with any guarantee. Manufacturers' guarantees are separate from the automatic rights you have against the seller, and may be more limited. For more information read the Citizens Advice Bureau guide to guarantees and warranties.

Maintenance and insurance

For large complex items, such as a stairlift, check what kind of maintenance contract the supplier offers.

Membership of trade associations

Some suppliers are members of a trade association. Many of these trade associations have a code of practice that governs their members' customer service, and thus may help to project you from unscrupulous selling practices. For example, some trade associations prohibit their members from contacting people uninvited to try and sell their products. They may also prohibit their members from using high pressure selling tactics such as offering a discount if you order that day, or phoning their manager while demonstrating the equipment to you to agree a 'special discount/deal'. Thus if you have a choice of suppliers for the product you wish to purchase we recommend you consider the suppliers who are members of trade association.

We record suppliers' membership of several trade associations (see a list of these trade associations) and our ratings give greater weighting to trade associations with codes of practice which are approved by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) (e.g. the British Healthcare Trade Association) or governed by an audit scheme which meets the requirements of the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).

We also record whether suppliers meet the ISO 9000 series of standards. These standards define a Quality System which certifies that formalised business processes are being applied, and thus may be another indicator to look for if you have a choice of suppliers.


You may be able to purchase equipment designed for use by disabled people without paying the VAT if you are 'chronically sick or disabled', and you are buying the item/s for your own personal or domestic use. For VAT purposes, a person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they:

  • Have a physical or mental impairment which has a long-term and substantial adverse effect on their ability to carry out everyday activities.
  • Have a condition that the medical profession treats as a chronic sickness (e.g. diabetes).
  • Are terminally ill.


So, you won't qualify if you're only temporarily disabled or incapacitated (e.g. if you have a broken leg).

Examples of products which are likely to qualify for VAT relief (if intended for the personal or domestic use of a chronically sick or disabled person) include:


  • wheelchairs
  • stairlifts
  • computer software or hardware designed specifically for disabled individuals
  • kettle tippers, tap turners, button hooks and similar gadgets or devices that are designed solely to make everyday tasks easier for disabled individuals
  • artificial limbs
  • vehicles that have been adapted for use by a wheelchair or stretcher user


Price is important but, if we list more than one supplier, it is important to look for more than just the cheapest price. Check when the prices were last updated (this should be stated under each price). Consider whether:

  • Postage/delivery is included (if shopping by mail order or online)
  • Is the supplier a member of a trade association? (see below)
  • Is one supplier listing the price with VAT and another without VAT?
  • Check the suppliers' returns policies and any guarantees / warranties (see below).
  • For complex equipment that requires maintenance and/or servicing check what's included in the price and what the ongoing costs will be.

Get advice and an assessment

Experienced therapists or trusted assessors know a lot about products and will help you make sure the product is right for you now and will continue to be suitable in the future. 


You may be able to get an assessment and advice from social services. GOV.UK website
Alternatively you may choose to pay for a private occupational therapist. If you wish to request a private appointment with an occupational therapist then you can obtain details of local private occupational therapists from the 'College of Occupational Therapists Specialist Section - Independent Practice' (COTSS-IP) website. www.cotss-ip.org.uk or phone their enquiry Line: 0845 129 7699.
You can check whether a therapist is state registered with the Health Care professions Council (HCPC) at www.hcpc-uk.org/audiences/

Try before you buy

You can find out about products and try them out, with independent advice at an Independent Living Centre (ILC). There are about 30 ILCs in the UK. Most do not sell products but they will be able to tell you where to buy them. We recommend you make an appointment before you visit

You could view equipment at an exhibition. They are a good opportunity to see what's available and meet the competing suppliers. The main exhibition of equipment is NAIDEX, held annually at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, and Glasgow. www.naidex.co.uk

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