Bessey Snip Review

A few weeks ago Danette from Bessey mentioned on twitter that she was looking for testers for some new sheet metal tools they’re introducing. I spoke with her about the sheet metal fabrication we do at work and how I like to mix sheet metal into my projects when I can. She was nice enough to send me a set of their new snips for testing.
The new Bessey snips lined up next to my existing snips.
The Besseys are on the right of each pair. They're the one that look German.
Out of the box, the snips look great and come with a healthy coat of oil, which ensures that they’re rust free. The handles are well sized and the cutting heads appear to be well machined with micro serrations on some of the blades. This gives a reassuring zipper like feel when cutting.

I tested the snips out on some copper, aluminum and steel sheet metal scraps we had in our metal shop. I also gave them to Rich, our lead metal mechanic, for a week of use in the field.

We found that in practice the long, straight snips work fantastically. The cut smoothly and straight with an easy mechanical action provided by the snip’s built in mechanical advantage. The Bessey straights are the best straights that I’ve ever used.

The right and left offset snips are also good performers, though not quite up to the standard established by the straights. While they cut smoothly and the same mechanical action is evident, I found that the heads of the right and left offset were a bit too big. While I was able to make tight radiused cuts, I could only do so after prying open the metal to allow the head to fit in. In thick materials, this would make using the snips quite difficult.
Bessey to the left, MidWest to the right.
The difference may not look like much, but it does matter in thick materials or tight curves.

In these photos, you can see the difference in head size between the Bessey and an equivalent snip from MidWest Tool & Cutlery (the current snips I have in my tool bag and have been satisfied using). The smaller head means the metal doesn’t need to be bent open as much to allow the snip in.

Regardless of head size, the Bessey’s cut quickly and cleanly. I will certainly continue to use them for all but the tightest curved cuts.

My mechanic, Rich, was impressed enough that he’s looking to buy a pair for himself. I think think that says all there is to say about the Bessey snips. If you work with sheet metal, they’re definitely worth trying out.