Pruning perennials, shrubs, and trees will improve plant health, encourage growth, enhance flowering, nurture shape, and maintain garden spacing. To do this important garden work, you need pruning shears (also called hand pruners or secateurs), specialized tools designed to cut woody or green growth. We can help you find the pruning shears you need to keep your garden in top form!
Types of Cutting Mechanisms
Pruning shears have different cutting mechanics designed for specific jobs in plant maintenance. You may decide you need only one type, or you may need them all:
- Anvil Pruners: These pruners have one sharp blade that comes down on a wider, flat metal piece, creating a cutting action that has more power and requires you to exert less force. However, the cut is less clean and can crush the tender, living parts of your plants, which means they’ll take longer to heal and may be more susceptible to disease. Anvil pruners are best used for cutting up dead wood and the woody stems and branches of plants.
- Bypass Pruners: The bypass pruner mechanism works just like scissors, with one sharp blade passing by a sharp counter blade to make a clean, precise cut. These pruners are best for cutting green wood and stems. If you can only buy one pruner, this design covers more uses in the garden.
- Snips: Snips, a type of bypass pruner that may also be called grape scissors or needle-nosed fruit pruners, have slender, pointed blades that work great for precision cuts on thin, small stems, making them perfect for shaping plants, deadheading, and cutting fruits and vegetables. They aren’t suited for woody pruning.
- Ratchet Pruners: These pruners have a mechanism that lets you make a series of small cuts without having to reopen the blades each time, so every squeeze cuts deeper. Ratchet pruners, which can be either anvil or bypass, are great for larger branches and stems, and they’re accommodating for people who have hand pain or strength issues.
Guidelines for Choosing Pruning Shears
Once you’ve looked at the cutting mechanism, think about these features:
- Cutting Capacity: The cutting capacity for pruning shears is the maximum distance between its two blades, which corresponds to the diameter of the branch or stem you can put between them. But, keep in mind that capacity also depends on the strength of the material you’re cutting and your own hand and arm strength, so really hard woods may require a different tool.
- Blades Material: Blades are usually made of high-carbon steel or stainless steel. High-carbon steel is more resistant to damage, so it may last longer but rust more quickly. They have to be kept clean and dry after each use for best durability. Stainless steel rusts more slowly, but it’s is not as resistant to damage. That’s not a big deal for pruners that aren’t used for really tough jobs. Titanium coating can improve blade strength, and a nonstick coating can make cuts smoother and cleaning easier.
- Handle Design: Look carefully at the length and ergonomic features. Cushioned grips can be very important when you have to exert a lot of pressure on your shears, and a handle with a design that helps to keep your hand from slipping is useful. Always check to see if the design is made for right-handers, left-handers, or both. A minor consideration is that handles with bright colors can help you find your pruners if you lay them down somewhere in the garden.
- Locking Mechanism: Make sure the pruner’s locking mechanism is easy to engage and release. Some locking mechanisms randomly lock during use, so be on the lookout for this problem.
These pruning shears are great additions to every gardener’s tool kit!
Best Bypass Pruner: Gonicc Premium Bypass Pruning Shears
Gonicc Premium’s very sharp bypass blades are made with titanium-coated stainless steel for smooth, clean cutting of branches and stems up to 3/4 of an inch. The design includes a sap channel to keep the blades from sticking and a latch lock to keep the shears closed safely when not in use. The handles, made for either the right or left hand, are aluminum covered with an ergonomic foam cushion for a grip that’s easy on your hands. Great lightweight, multipurpose pruning shears to keep your plants in shape!
gonicc 8" Professional Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears (GPPS-1003), Hand Pruners, Garden Clippers.
These shears are a lightweight, multipurpose pruning tool that will keep your plants in shape.
Best Anvil Pruner: Fiskars Power-Lever Anvil Pruner
Fiskar’s anvil pruners are equipped with a cutting action that doubles the pressure you exert and a cutting capacity of 5/8 of an inch. The all-steel blades are coated to make them rust-resistant, and the steel handles, suitable for both righties and lefties, have a nonslip grip for a secure hold. These pruners will handle cutting dead growth from your trees and shrubs with ease.
Fiskars Power-Lever Anvil Pruner 8 Inch
These pruners will handle cutting dead growth from your trees and shrubs with ease.
Best Ratchet Pruner: Gardener’s Friend Pruners
Whether you have mobility issues or just have a lot of pruning to do, Gardener’s Friend three-stage ratchet pruners will make your pruning less stressful because they have an ergonomic, safe, and simple design for powerful cutting with a fraction of the effort that other pruners require. The coated steel blades stay sharp, and the aluminum body makes for a very lightweight garden tool.
Ratchet Pruning Shears Gardening Tool – Anvil Pruner Garden Shears with Assisted Action – Ratchet Pruners for Gardening with Heavy-Duty, Nonstick Steel Blade – Garden Tools by The Gardener's Friend
These ratchet pruners have a simple design that gives you powerful cutting with a fraction of the effort.
Best Snips: Okatsune Professional Snips
Precise, detailed cuts are what these super-sharp Okatsune snips are made to do! The pointed blades are strong enough to cut small branches but slim and delicate enough to make clean cuts deep inside plants or shrubs without damaging surrounding growth. Whether the job is everyday maintenance or special tasks like bonsai, topiary, flower arranging, or vegetable harvesting, keep these snips handy for clean cuts every time!
Okatsune Professional Snips, No.207 (Standard Version)
Keep these snips handy for precise, clean cuts every time!
Also Great: Felco Left-Handed Pruners
These high-performance anvil pruners take wrist stress and handle struggle out of pruning for left-handers! Aluminum handles and forged steel blades are made with Swiss precision for sharp, powerful cutting that will last for years.
Felco Pruning Shears (F 9) - High Performance Swiss Made One-Hand Left-Handed Garden Pruners
These sharp and precise anvil pruners are great for left-handed gardeners.