Aviation Snips vs Tin Snips

Aviation snips come in handy when working with light metal sheets. The specialized shears are also commonly referred to as compound snips. The snips are color coded to enable work from two directions. Those with a green color operate in a clockwise direction. The red coded snips run in a counterclockwise direction. Green compound snips are more suitable for right-handed persons while the red snips are more appropriate to work with if you’re left-handed. Compound snips enable you to cut curved lines or circular shapes. You can also do curved cuts with either right-cutting or left-cutting tin snips. The straight-cutting tin snips allow only straight cuts. Below are the pros and cons of each.

Pros of Aviation Snips

You gain more mechanical advantage with compound snips. The design incorporates a linkage which enhances mechanical ability when working. Versatility is higher for these snips compared to the tin type. Yellow coded compound snips can cut straight lines and wide curves. Green coded snips cut straight lines and allow tight curves to the right. With red coded snips you can cut straight lines and manage tight left curves. The snips can also be configured into an upright and long cut orientation. This allows you to work more comfortably in confined spaces. The different cutting styles give you greater flexibility as you work which enhances work output. Compound snips also allow you to cut through aluminum, stainless steel and titanium adding to their versatility. To prevent material damage, the blades of aviation snips are structured into notches. The teeth-like structure reduces slipping and gives a greater grip on the work piece. When not in use, you can secure the jaws with a metal latch on the side. This promotes safety.


Aviation snips cost much more than tin snips due to their specialized features. The various component parts add to maintenance needs. Should one part break down or wear away, replacement is necessary. This adds to overall costs. The snips also require some skill to use unlike tin snips which are easier to use.

Pros of Tin Snips

The lower cost factor makes it easier to purchase tin snips. It is also less strenuous when you have to work with tin snips. A lower level of skill is required due to the basic structure of the tool. Muscle fatigue and strain injuries are less likely to occur due to the ease of working. Durability for tin snips is higher than for the aviation type. This is partly because tin snips have fewer parts. This helps to reduce the rate of malfunctioning and frequent servicing.


Tin snips are the most basic of snip varieties. This limits their usage unlike aviations snips which can be used for various jobs. The snips do not have a compound lever mechanism like the compound snips. As such, it takes more effort to cut, for the same task, using tin snips than the aviation variety. Tin snips may also limit usage in that they are more ideal for softer metals unlike aviation snips which can be used on heavier materials.