You know that house in your neighborhood that all the kids say is haunted? They like to dare each other to ring the doorbell, but none of them are willing to do it because the bushes are growing wild and you can barely see the front door.
Be honest. Is it your house?
A pair of the best pruning shears is going to be the difference between yard of the month and the neighborhood witch. We’ve compiled a list of pruning sheers we love plus a handy guide to answer all your questions as you’re choosing the best one. Let’s take a look on the best pruning shears.
Best Pruning Shears 2018
|Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shears||5/8||10.4||1 x 4 x 10.75||Bypass||$|
|Fiskars Non-stick Softgrip Micro-Tip Pruning Snip||2.4||0.8 x 3.9 x 10.8||Bypass||$$|
|Gonicc 8″ Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears||3/4||5.6||1.3 x 3.5 x 10.6||Bypass||$$|
|Gonicc 8″ Professional SK-5 Steel Blade Sharp Anvil Pruning Shears||3/4||4.8||0.5 x 4 x 11||Anvil||$$|
|Pexio Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears||0.8||9.6||1.5 x 4 x 11||Bypass||$$|
|Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Pruner||1||16||1 x 1 x 8.5||Bypass||$$|
|ClassicPRO Titanium Pruning Shears||3/4||9||0.8 x 3.4 x 10.9||Bypass||$$$|
|Power Drive Ratchet Anvil Hand Pruning Shears||1||8||1 x 3.4 x 10||Ratchet||$$$|
|Tabor Tools GG12 Compound Action Anvil Lopper||2||58.56||1.18X 10.63 x 15.35||Anvil lopper||$$$$|
|Professional Pruning Shears||7/8||11.2||1.2 x 2 x 9.1||Bypass||$$|
1. Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shears – Best all-purpose shears
Fiskars is a bypass style set of pruning shears with precision ground, high carbon steel blades. They hold their sharpness through many pruning sessions. The feature a low friction coating that helps glide through a branch with minimal crushing or damage.
The handles are non-slip and lightly cushioned, though they aren’t bent for better ergonomics. The all steel design comes with a lifetime warranty. However, sometimes the locking mechanism gets loose after heavy use, so you might want to keep an eye out.
2. Fiskars Non-stick Softgrip Micro-Tip Pruning Snip – Best for detail work
This pair of Fiskars is for smaller jobs that require delicacy and precision. They are a high carbon steel blade in a bypass style. The handles are spring loaded while the blades themselves are small and pointed.
The handles have a soft grip material that is non-slip and comfortable. They come with a lifetime warranty, so if the spring wears out before the blades do, it’s a simple fix.
3. Gonicc 8″ Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears – Best for more significant live growth
The blades are high carbon steel with ultra-fine polishing. They have a sap groove to prevent gunk buildup and rust, even if you’re cutting particularly sticky branches. The handles are aluminum but covered with a no-slip grip PVC.
It’s not the best choice for thick dead wood because of the bypass style, but they will do well with larger, spongy green wood such as young trees and bushes. Be sure to do a test cut on species you aren’t familiar with. Those with harder woods might not cut quite to 3/4 of an inch.
4. Gonicc 8″ Professional SK-5 Steel Blade Sharp Anvil Pruning Shears – Best for dead wood
These are high carbon SK-5 steel with chrome plating. These are some of the sharpest blades you can get, and they will retain their sharpness for a long time. They use a pulley design to reduce the strain on your wrist as you cut bigger, thicker branches. As you pull, the mechanism scrolls, putting an increasing amount of pressure on the blades.
The handles are ergonomic, and the locking mechanism releases with one hand. These are good for people with smaller hands or have some loss of strength.
5. Pexio Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears – Best lightweight shears
Pexio’s set of shears are titanium steel with a drop forged body and handles. They fit comfortably inside your hand and are coated with a non-slip grip. They use ultra-fine polishing technology to keep their sharpness.
The blades feature a sap groove so they don’t stick and a low friction coating to prevent rust. They cut up to an .8 inch at a time. Their smaller size is better for gardeners with small hands.
6. Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Pruner – Best sharpenable blades
Corona’s pruning shears are for big jobs. They’re a heat treated steel alloy that cuts branches up to an inch in diameter. They have a classic look with coated, non-slip handles and a spring mechanism.
They have a sap groove to reduce stickiness and discourage rusting. The type of metal allows you to resharpen the blades without stressing the metal and losing strength. The blade and hook are set at an angle to improve grip and cut precision.
7. ClassicPRO Titanium Pruning Shears – Best for micro-adjustments
These titanium pruning shears are a professional series with Japanese grade stainless steel. The titanium coating cuts down on friction, making more natural cuts with less damage both the blades and the plant. It also helps discourage rust.
8. Power Drive Ratchet Anvil Hand Pruning Shears – Best for a weak grip
Power Drive’s set of shears are hardened high-carbon blades that are treated with Teflon to discourage rust and prevent gunk from building up. They can withstand a few nicks without losing sharpness, and you shouldn’t need to sharpen them anytime soon.
An exciting thing about ratcheting style pruners is that each time you cut, the blade locks into place so that even if you don’t cut all the way through, you can release your hand and apply more pressure. Each time you do, the blade holds your place, adding power each time you grip the handle.
The handles are an ergonomic design that allows you to apply up to five times the pressure of your normal grip.
9. Tabor Tools GG12 Compound Action Anvil Lopper – Best for big jobs
Tabor’s loppers are long-handled, heavy duty loppers capable of cutting branches up to two inches in diameter. These are intended to handle the jobs you need to do when things are entirely overgrown, and you need a good deal of range.
10. Professional Pruning Shears – Best ambidextrous shears
It’s not just about buying something sharp and calling it a day. There are a few things you need to consider before making your purchase.
Types of Shears
There are three basic types of sheers. You’re probably already familiar with one kind, but one of the other two may be a better fit.
Bypass shears are what you think of when you imagine pruning shears. They have two curved blades at the end of scissor-like handles. They make very sharp cuts and have a pointed edge to get into smaller spaces.
One blade is sharpened, and it slips by another unsharpened section to make a knife cut rather than crushing the branch. They can be challenging to use if you don’t have much hand strength or you need to cut thick branches.
They are good for maintaining delicate bushes like roses, or shrubs where you only need to make a few cuts to maintain shape and thin out the interior for air flow.
Anvil shears are similar to bypass shears in that they use a scissor motion to cut. They have one sharpened blade that cuts down on a flat piece, much like slicing on a cutting board.
They are bulkier than bypass shears, so these aren’t going to be good for delicate bushes or getting into tight spaces. In fact, because they use a crushing motion, they should never be used for live wood. If you have hedges with thick, old branches, or vegetation that needs to be cut back every year to prepare for new wood growth, these might be a better choice.
Ratchet shears are similar to anvil shears, but they have a mechanism that does the cutting in stages. This helps you to cut even if you don’t have the hand strength or dexterity to make cuts.
They use a gear similar to a car jack to build on the pressure supplied by the hand an scissor motion. If you’ve lost some strength in your hand due to arthritis or injury, or your hands tire quickly, these would be a better choice than the traditional styles above.
Loppers are the same as shears and use the same scissor motion, but they have longer handles. Use these to trim things well out of your reach. Some of them are extendable to give you greater scope, but still be comfortable enough to use at eye level and below.
It’s not going to matter much what kind of shear you get if it doesn’t fit your grip well. Many shears now are bent at a particular angle to match the natural grip of your hand. It gives you more strength behind each cut and prevents strain at the wrist.
You can find cushioned handles to prevent blisters on the palms of your hand or lessen the impact if you have nerve damage in the palms and fingers. There are also rotating handles so that you can change the angle of pressure for things like carpal tunnel.
You can even find horizontal handles so that you don’t have to twist the wrist, which is good for gardeners who want to avoid unnecessary wrist strain and need to keep the wrist in line with the rest of the arm.
Left-handed gardeners, rejoice. You can find a pair of shears that will allow you to use your dominant hand, preventing injury to your right hand that can happen when you compensate for the weaker, less dexterous limb.
If you can, handle the shears in person to see how well they fit. There’s nothing like feeling the motion before you buy to be sure it’s comfortable and natural.
The size of the blades corresponds to the thickness of the branch they can cut without tearing or ripping. Large heads are good for larger bushes but will be overkill if all you’re pruning is an herb garden.
Large heads can prune bushes up to an inch in diameter, but you should consider the average size of the branch you’ll be cutting the most when making your decision. You can always add to your collection of sizes as you add more pruning to the schedule.
An old rule of thumb is that you get what you pay for. Price doesn’t directly correspond to quality, but you are looking for tools that will hold their sharpness and smooth motion year after year.
High carbon steel is one of the most durable metals, known for holding its sharpness even after many cuts. Inspect the springs and the handles as well. Nothing should feel cheap. Plastic may be lighter but think hard about what you want to sacrifice by having plastic instead of metal. If you’re cutting small, green wood or shoots, plastic may work. If you’re cutting dead wood or thick branches, you might be disappointed in how well the plastic holds up.
If you have space and the budget, getting shears that do precisely what you want are a good option. However, if you don’t have the space or budget, you might consider more versatile tools that do a variety of jobs.
They won’t be as adept as a single-use tool, but only you can judge if this is a worthy trade-off. Handle the shears in the store to get a feel for each type of task they can perform.
The bottom line
As you assess the pruning jobs facing you, you might discover that it’s useful to have more than one pair of shears to get the job done right. If you have only an herb garden or flowers to prune, micro shears are the best.
If you prune trees year after year, you’ll need something bigger and more substantial than flower shears. You’ll need a balanced pair of loppers. Don’t think you can use the same pair of shears you use on your rose bushes to trim your trees. You’ll be disappointed and sore.
You can also get many of the shears, whether micro or loppers, in ratchet styles that allow you to cut through bigger branches and reduce strain on your hands even if you’ve suffered injuries or developed conditions like arthritis. They allow you to get out and maintain your garden without hurting yourself.
There’s nothing wrong with having more than one pair of shear. Although many varieties are multi-purpose, it’s best to go with a pair that will handle the job that you need well, rather than buying a multipurpose pair that doesn’t do anything well.
What kinds of jobs are you planning to do during this gardening season?