Best pruning shears

Whether you’re an avid gardener or are just planting your first starts, having the right gardening tools can make the entire process easier. One essential tool that can improve your plants’ health is pruning shears. Sometimes called pruners or secateurs, pruning shears are used to cut off dead or unnecessary branches or to trim back leaves or flowers.

What to consider before buying pruning shears

Types

There are three main types of pruning shears, each with its advantages and disadvantages. Before choosing one, ask yourself what you plan to do with the tool and what would work best for your garden. The common types are:

  • Bypass: These are very popular among the gardening community. They have two curved blades that slide into contact with each other to cut leaves and soft branches. Most designs have one sharp blade and one dull blade, resulting in a clean cut.
  • Anvil: Anvil shears have one straight blade that cuts when it comes into contact with the flat edge. They’re more powerful than bypass pruning shears and are ideal for cutting larger stems, branches and dead twigs. These shears can reliably make 1/2-inch cuts, meaning they won’t accidentally graze the main plant. 
  • Ratchet: Similar to anvil shears, these are designed with an internal mechanism that makes pruning easy, especially for gardeners with limited hand or wrist strength.

Handles

When it comes to grip, aesthetics and comfort, the handle plays a major role. Often considered the most decorative part of the tool, the handle comes in many colors, including:

  • Black
  • Pink
  • Orange
  • Green
  • Brown
  • White

The color doesn’t affect how effective the shears are, but it can make it easier to find them if you leave them in the garden. It can also give them a more personal touch, especially if you coordinate the colors of other gardening tools such as gardening gloves.

Another important thing to consider is the way the handle feels when using the shears. Some handles are textured for a more secure grip. Many have an ergonomic design that lessens hand and wrist strain while using them. Certain handles are thick, making them ideal for people with larger hands. Others are thinner, perfect for those with smaller hands.

If the handles start to wear down or break, there are some replacement handles. Not all shears come with this option, though, so keep that in mind.

Material

Pruning shears typically consist of durable materials that can hold up in the elements. This is true for the blades and the handle.

  • Blades: High-quality blades typically consist of stainless steel, which is durable but can dull easily with extensive use. Another popular option is carbon steel, which is more durable but can corrode when not properly dried and cleaned. Some blades are chrome-plated, which are long-lasting, resistant to corrosion and don’t require as frequent sharpening.
  • Handle: The handles usually consist of rubber or polyvinyl chloride. Both materials are durable and provide a good grip during use. 

Design features

Pruning shears have several additional design features, including:

  • Lock mechanism: This mechanism keeps the blades together when not in use, preventing potential accidents. The way it works depends on the model, but most shears have a lock on one side you can slide into place before putting them away.
  • Internal spring: The spring lets the blades automatically return to an open position after every snip. This makes it easier to prune several branches or leaves back to back. It also makes it more convenient for gardeners who want to use the shears with one hand.

Weight

When buying pruning shears, consider the overall weight. If you’re going to be using the tool for hours, chances are your hands and wrist will become tired. The heavier the shears are, the more quickly this can happen. Choose shears based on your strength to prevent potential issues.

9 best pruning shears to buy

Fiskar Gardening Tools: Bypass Pruning Shears

Fiskars Gardening Tools: Bypass Pruning Shears

These reliable pruning shears consist of steel, making them resistant to rust and corrosion. The blades have a nonstick coating that prevents sap and other debris from sticking to them. This tool can glide easily through smaller and medium-sized branches up to 5/8-inch thick. The shears also have an easy-open lock that makes it easy to store them safely.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Nevlers 8-Inch Professional Heavy-Duty Bypass Pruning Shears for Gardening

Nevlers 8-Inch Professional Heavy-Duty Bypass Pruning Shears for Gardening

Available in green and black, these strong pruners have stainless steel blades that can cut through nearly anything. The handles are ergonomic and rubber, making for a comfortable grip.

Sold by Amazon

Wevove 3-Pack Garden Pruning Shears Stainless Steal Blades

Wevove 3-Pack Garden Pruning Shears Stainless Steel Blades

With three pairs of pruners, one with a straight blade, one with a curved blade and the other with a serrated blade, this set is versatile. The blades are made from durable stainless steel and come with a safety lock that helps prevent injuries. The shears also have an easy-open spring mechanism that reduces the risk of fatigue or strain in the wrist and hand. The set also comes with gardening gloves.

Sold by Amazon

Jeoutdoors Pruning Shears

Jeoutdoors Pruning Shears

With an easy-to-operate safety lock and an internal spring mechanism, these bypass shears are easy to use. The blades consist of a high carbon alloy steel that’s durable and resistant to corrosion. The shears come with a replacement spring.

Sold by Amazon

Gonicc 8-Inch Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears

Gonicc 8-Inch Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears

Lightweight and comfortable to hold, these bypass shears have nonslip ergonomic handles and high-carbon steel blades. They can cut up to a 3/4-inch diameter. They’re also highly effective on soft shoots and stems.

Sold by Amazon

Hydro Crunch 6.5-inch Gardening Hand Pruning Shears

Hydro Crunch 6.5-inch Gardening Hand Pruning Shears

With straight stainless steel blades, these pruners are ideal for window box gardening and hydroponic gardens. The grips are comfortable and easy to use, even for those with limited hand strength. They come with built-in safety locks.

Sold by Home Depot

Fiskar Titanium Coated Stainless Steel Micro Tip Pruner

Fiskars Titanium Coated Stainless Steel Micro Tip Pruner

Made for precision snips and trimming, these shears have straight blades coated with titanium. They can glide around stems and stalks with ease. The spring mechanism makes it easier to open them, too. Since they’re small, they’re best for smaller projects.

Sold by Home Depot

EZ Kut Heavy Duty Pruning Shears

EZ Kut Heavy Duty Pruning Shears

These ratcheting pruning shears are made from durable metal. They have a hardened carbon steel blade that can cut branches up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter. The handles are thicker, making them ideal for larger hands.

Sold by Amazon

Will's Sword Professional Sharp Pruners

Will’s Sword Professional Sharp Pruners

With strong, corrosion-resistant steel blades, these large bypass shears are made to last. They come with a safety lock and have an ergonomic design that makes them comfortable to use. They’re available in orange and green.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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