How to Choose the Right Garden Pruning Shears

Learn how to select the right garden pruning shears by considering the type of plant, blade size, handle comfort, and types of cuts needed. Ensure long-term satisfaction with a quality pair that fit your needs.

Types of Garden Pruning Shears

Garden pruning shears are essential tools for maintaining the health and beauty of your plants, shrubs, and trees. They come in different types to suit various gardening needs. In this section, we will discuss the four most common types of garden pruning shears: Bypass Pruning Shears, Anvil Pruning Shears, Ratchet Pruning Shears, and Snip Pruning Shears.

Bypass Pruning Shears

Bypass pruning shears are also known as scissor-cut pruners or hand pruners. They have a sharp curved blade that bypasses (slides past) a thicker but straight-edged blade while cutting through branches or stems. This design provides a precise cut that is ideal for green plants because they have thinner stems and require a clean cut to ensure quick healing.

Here are some features of bypass pruning shears:

  • Excellent for trimming soft new growth.
  • Allows you to reach tight spaces easily.
  • Ideal for live wood up to half-inch thick
  • Offers a cleaner cut than anvil pruning shears.
  • Suitable for intricate cuts due to its precision.

When choosing bypass pruning shears, consider their weight and size. A tool that is too big or heavy can cause hand fatigue or strain on your arm muscles if you need to use it frequently.

Anvil Pruning Shears

Anvil pruning shears feature a straight blade edge that cuts against an anvil-like flat surface when compressed together with the branch/stem you want to trim down. These garden cutting tools allow more crushing than cutting compared to bypass pruner’s slicing action; providing extra force when squeezing even tough deadwood out of fruit trees such as peach and plum trees.

Features of Anvil Pruning Shear:

  • Ideal choice while working with hard/dry branches or decorative pieces.
  • Considered perfect tools for dry/woody types of wood.
  • Cheaper as compared to Bypass pruning shear.

However, because of their design, anvil pruning shears may not work well for soft or green plants. The crushing action can damage the plant tissues, resulting in messy cuts and slow healing.

Ratchet Pruning Shears

Ratchet pruning shears (or Pulley pruners) are multi-step cutting tools designed to make it easier to cut through thicker branches. This type of garden tool features a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to apply more pressure while squeezing the handles onto branches. With each subsequent squeeze on those sturdy big cuts, the mechanism and blade move one notch down until finally cutting effortlessly through thick stems.

Features of Ratchet Pruning Shear:

  • Ideal choice for trimming tasks with larger diameters without exerting excess power.
  • Beneficial for individuals with weaker grips
  • Prevents hand fatigue/strain on arm muscles
  • Multi-step mechanisms help in making a perfect cut effortlessly.
  • Suitable for hard deadwood and live woody growth up to 1.5-inch thickness.

Keep in mind that ratchet pruning shears tend to be heavier than other types of garden pruners, so you will need some strength to use them effectively.

Snip Pruning Shears

Snip pruning shears come handy for delicate tasks like harvesting flowers or herbs. They have a small pointed blade specifically tailored into place ensuring precision yet gentle snipping – perfect for your household garden works!


  • Along with precise shape work makes cleaning easy
  • Provides the most intricate cutting among all other blades.
  • Used mainly for flowers, leaves removal from stem or deadheading shrubs

Snip pruning shears are perfect when needing accuracy during intricate surgical trims; they come particularly useful when working under tight spaces where cleaning is also necessary afterward! Your small hanging herbs or DIY gardening will benefit significantly from it.

What is Pruning shears?

Pruning shears are a tool used for cutting and trimming plants, bushes, and small branches in gardening. [Wikipedia]

Considerations Before Choosing a Pruning Shear

Pruning shears or secateurs are indispensable garden tools for any gardener that allow precise pruning of plants and shrubs. However, with so many options available in the market, choosing the right pruning shear can be a daunting task.

Material of Garden Pruning Shears

The material of your gardening tool determines its durability and performance. Here are the most commonly used materials for pruning shears:


Steel is most commonly used to make blades due to its durability, strength, and sharpness retention. The higher the carbon content in steel blades, the harder it becomes.


Titanium-coated blades are more resistant to corrosion and provide smoother cutting action compared to steel blades. They are perfect for those who like to work in damp conditions.


Carbon steel blades contain more carbon than regular steel blades – making them harder and durable as well as less susceptible to wear and tear.


Aluminum is mostly used for making handles because it is lightweight but still strong.

When deciding on what materials to go for when purchasing your pruning shear, please consider your budget too. Each material comes at different price points which translates to varying quality levels and longevity,

Comfort and Durability of Pruning Shears

An excellent pair of pruning shears should feel comfortable while holding them during long hours of gardening activities. Here are some factors you should consider about comfort:

Grip and Handle Design

A good handle should have an ergonomic design which gives it unmatched comfortability while using it without producing soreness or blisters from prolonged use. Well-designed handle grips may include rubberized cushioning or soft outer coatings that reduce pressure while working in the garden.


Selecting more substantial products gives fatigue more quickly since it puts considerable strain on your joints. Lightweight products will alleviate muscle pains preventing joint pain and strain.

Overall quality

Durability takes center stage while considering the overall quality of pruning shears you want to purchase. Choose pruning shears that are long-lasting to save yourself money spent buying a new pair as frequently, and invest in high-quality material-made garden tools for excellent results.

Brand Reputation of Pruning Shears

It is essential to research reputable brands when shopping for a set of pruning shears; here are our key factors in brand consideration:

Well-known brands

Always buy from well-known brands with positive customer feedback. Brands such as Fiskar, Felco, Corona among others have an excellent reputation due to their quality, craftsmanship and reliability of their gardening tools.

Customer reviews

Reading testimonials from current or previous buyers can assist in affirming if the product matches the manufacturer’s description. Visit shop websites or platforms like Amazon and eBay where customers can give honest opinions on products based on actual use

Maintenance and Sharpening of Garden Pruning Shears

Sharpened blades provide clean pruning cuts which reduce plant injury cases, hence enabling quick healing of wounds after trimming or cutting branches. Hereโ€™s how you should maintain and sharpen your pruning shear;


Clean pruners before storing them: wipe off dirt particles and sap residues using soap/detergent water during field activities. A cleaner tool guarantees rust prevention, reducing blade movement hindrances.


Dull blades lead to crushing plants instead of making a clean cut, which generates ragged edges causing plant diseases accumulated over wounds exposed by harsh conditions.A sharp blade allows effortless snipping through any branch size without bending it incorrectly — choose a honing stone rated at 400-600 grit for sharpening your tool blades.

Oil and Lubrication

After cleaning your gardening equipment, consider adding lubricating oil designed explicitly for gardening tools’ maintenance – prevents the formation of rust and ensures smooth opening and closing of blades.

Blade Size and Style for Your Pruning Needs

Pruning shears are one of the most important tools in a gardener’s arsenal. They are used to cut stems, branches, and deadheads, allowing gardeners to maintain the shape and health of their plants. However, not all pruning shears are created equal. Different blade sizes and styles offer different benefits depending on your gardening needs.

Bypass vs. Anvil Blades

The two main types of pruning shear blades are bypass and anvil blades.

Bypass blades have a scissor-like cutting action that allows for precise cuts on live growth. The blades pass by each other like scissors as they cut, which provides cleaner, more precise cuts. Bypass blades come in either straight or curved blade designs.

Anvil blades work by pressing the stem against a flat surface (the anvil) while the blade comes down from above. Anvil-type pruning shears do not provide as clean of a cut as bypass pruners but it is ideal for hard materials where precision isn’t necessary such as:

  • Deadwood
  • Dry wood
  • Twigs densely packed together

Anvil blades generally have thicker cutting surfaces making them well-suited for medium to heavy cutting jobs; they can be less precise than bypass pruners hence suitable for rougher work.

When deciding between bypass or anvil-style pruning shears, consider what type of plant you will be working with and your intended use case. If you’re looking to cut soft or thin wood precisely then choose bypass-type pruning shears. For heavier-duty tasks like cutting away entire small branches or tough deadwood choose the anvil style instead.

Blade Size

Aside from choosing between bypass vs.anvil-style pruning shears, gardeners will also want to consider blade size when selecting their garden shears.

Small 3-inch – 4-inch Or Shorter Blades: These types of pruning shears are best for cutting deadheads, flowers, and can give additional readability to the shape of our garden plants. They allow for precise cuts on small, delicate stems and foliage.

Medium 5-inch – 6-inch Blades: Ideal for cutting small branches, trimming bushes and some mid-sized stems.

Large 7-inch Blades or Larger: Best choice for dealing with larger branches that require more extensive pruning work like removing the densest areas of shrubbery.

When choosing a blade size, think about what you’ll be using your pruning shears for. If you’ll be mainly cutting deadheads and flowers then smaller blades will suffice well. For pruning select medium blades as they cover most scenarios but when in doubt or if working with trees greater than five years old consider large-sized blades instead.

Ergonomics of Garden Pruning Shears

When it comes to pruning your garden plants, using the right tools can make a big difference. Garden pruning shears are an essential tool for any gardener, but with so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right one. One important factor to consider is ergonomics.

Left-handed vs. Right-handed

For left-handed gardeners, finding a pair of garden pruning shears that work comfortably can be a challenge. Many companies offer left-handed versions of their products or ambidextrous designs that work well for both right- and left-handed users.

Left-handed pruning shears have slightly different handles from right-handed ones to make them more comfortable for southpaws:

  • The handles curve away from each other slightly rather than parallel around which makes them easier for lefties to grip and hold.
  • The blades are also reversed so that when you are working on a bush or shrub with your left hand you get optimal leverage.

If you are unsure which type of shear would suit; try testing some out in your local gardening store before buying.

Size and Weight

The size and weight of your garden pruning shears is another important aspect that directly affects its usability and comfort level.

Ensure they fit well in your hand; too large or heavy may cause discomfort after prolonged use; while too small would cause them difficult to control effectively.

Heavy garden pruning shears can cause fatigue in wrists during long sessions in the yard cutting branches while lightweight snips could not manage thick branches properly enough leaving unsightly cuts at times. Moreover if they’re too heavy than they might require extra strength putting unnecessary stress on your arms after some time resulting being counter-productive leading an injury prone operation .

Here are some tips regarding the size and weight you should look out for when buying pruning shears:

  • Choose lightweight garden pruning shears if you have a lot of branches to cut. If your wrists become fatigued easily or if you plan to use pruning sheers frequently, then we suggest looking into getting aluminium made garden pruners as it helps reduce the overall weight while also increasing its durability.
  • Pick heavier-duty models for thicker, tougher branches that require more force. You will be able to apply a greater pressure with them; however, they may cause some discomfort during long usage sessions.

When picking out the right garden pruning shears for your yard work, don’t overlook ergonomics. Comfortable handles and reasonable weight aren’t luxuries — they’re essential to avoiding hand fatigue and preventing long-term injuries in DIY gardening.

With all these tips on hand, now choosing the right pair of garden pruning shears should be a much easier process!

Testing Pruning Shears Before Purchase

Garden pruning shears are indispensable tools for any gardener as they are used for trimming, shaping, and removing dead or unwanted parts of plants. However, not all pruning shears are created equal, and choosing the right one can be overwhelming when faced with so many options at the gardening store. To avoid making a costly mistake when purchasing garden pruning shears, it is essential to test them before making a final decision.

Try out different types

There are various types of garden pruning shears available in the market, ranging from bypass pruners to anvil pruners. Bypass pruners have two curved blades that slide past each other while cutting through the plant material similar to scissors. On the other hand, anvil pruners have a single straight blade that presses onto a flat surface like a knife against a chopping board.

Before heading to the store, research on the types of pruning shears available and determine which type would be suitable for your pruning needs. Once you reach the gardening store, try out different types by grasping them as if you’re about to prune something – this will give you an idea of how each type feels in your hand and how much pressure is required to make cuts.

Testing different types of garden pruning shears helps in determining which type suits best for your gardening needs. For example, if you have arthritis or weak hands/fingers due to injury or age-related issues but still need sharp precision cuts then Ergonomic Bypass Pruner is ideal for such situations.

Check for comfort and fit

Gardening involves repetitive motions that can take a toll on our joints and muscles over time. Therefore it’s important to choose garden pruning shears that feel comfortable in our hands while working for prolonged periods.

Grip pressure

When testing garden pruning shears’ comfort level make sure you check grip pressure needed while holding them. Many manufacturers design pruning shears with non-slip handles and grips that reduce the chance of slipping and require less pressure. You should compare different band designs and opt for the one that feels comfortable without causing any discomfort. When trying on gardening pruning shears hold them as you would while using them, your fingertips should be near the end of pruner blades to ensure enough power is there.

Cutting strength

Another factor to keep in mind when buying garden pruning shears is cutting strength โ€” how sharp are the blades? How easy do they cut through plant material? We all know how frustrating it is to use dull blades, having more force applied than needed can cause stress on our muscles over time leading to muscle injuries. To test out this element, attempt to cut some branches of varying sizes: softwood, hardwoods or mix also check deadwood performance as well.

By testing pruners against various types of branches (ie fruitwood v/s hardwood ) helps gauge their cutting strength abilities which will make sure your tools last longer.

Once you have considered these factors while checking out different types such as anvil v/s bypass, while also evaluating grip handling, closing mechanism available along with positive/negative reviews from users will allow anyone looking for gardening shears happiness knowing their latest purchase is right choice. And once you find that ideal pair of garden pruning shears, be sure to take good care of them by sharpening regularly wiping clean before storing properly so that they remain reliable for years!

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