Rumors abound around which shears are best. Who's right? Turns out, an excellent clue is written right on every shear - it's the shear's Country of Origin.
In our experience, the Japanese still make the best shears. You will be able to see "Made in Japan", or "Handmade in Japan" right on the shears - manufacturers are very proud of this fact! These shears include, among others, Hikari and Mizutani shears. These shears are made of exotic metals, using solid hardware (the screwset, finger rest, etc.), and top-quality hand craftsmanship. This quality doesn't come cheap, but high-quality never does, and is worth it for stylists willing to spend the money.
Chinese/Taiwanese-made shears are inconsistent quality-wise, but are (usually) also usually relatively inexpensive.These include Centrix and Joewell and other mass-market shears.
German shears (like Tondeo, Jaguar, and Fromm) are made of good-quality metal, but often badly made, and are not recommended.
Also not recommended are shears, which don't a show any country of origin. These include shears from Olivia Garden (inexpensive, but inconsistent quality), and Hattori Hanzo (often poor quality with an $800-1200 price tag?? Ugh! Who cares if they take payments??). For this discussion, no-name shears and Chinese-made ones are essentially the same.
Pakistani shears are generally inexpensive but badly made. Not recommended.
Is this list 100% accurate? Of course not! Stylists may occasionally find a great Taiwanese shear, or a crummy one marked "Japan". But if you think of it as a game of chance, I'd bet a lot more of my money on a shear labeled "Made in Japan", than on one where the manufacturer didn't even bother to mark the country of origin!
As always, working with a shear professional who knows you and your needs, is always your most valuable resource. But if you're at a trade show, looking at a case full of shears, the shear's country of origin can provide a valuable clue to how good or bad the shears are!