Is pruning your garden your least favorite part of outdoor maintenance? You aren't alone. Pruning your flowers and trees is a necessary part of caring for your yard, but it can easily lead to pain and fatigue. That's even more true if you deal with arthritis and other conditions.
The best garden pruners are ones that let you do your pruning job efficiently and easily. Whether you're a professional or a hobbyist, you should be able to enjoy every aspect of outdoor gardening.
The 5 Best Garden Pruners
These shears are the priciest pruners on the list, but that's because they're also the highest quality. If you're a hardcore gardener or work in a professional landscaping industry, these shears are the best choice for you. They also work great for individuals with arthritis and those who want to be able to prune their garden with one hand.
Each package comes with one pair of clippers. They're constructed from extremely durable materials, which means that they should last through years of heavy use. This is another reason why they're ideal for serious gardeners. The handles are forged from aluminum, while the blades are made out of hardened steel.
Another great aspect of the design is that every component is replaceable. That means that if one piece breaks, you don't need to get an entirely new set of pruners. All you need to do is get a replacement part. The ease of reparations is part of what makes these such a dependable option.
The design is also ergonomic enough to be comfortably used in one hand. The revolving handle allows for extra comfort when squeezing and separating the handles. There are even shock-absorbing cushions surrounding the handles, which help to soften the impact from cutting.
That makes these the best pruners for gardeners with arthritis and other joint conditions. If you struggle to prune your garden because of the strain it causes to your fingers, the cushioning of this option is a massive comfort.
These are also some of the most precise pruning shears on the market, so they're excellent for people who need to use their shears to create intricate shapes. There's a large enough cutting capacity to move through branches and thorns all over the garden. In addition, the weight is balanced in your hand to make movement easier.
The pruner is built to be high-performance, which means that it saves both energy and time. Professional landscapers appreciate the design because of how efficiently it allows them to get through their jobs.
There's even a wire cutter provided for small wires, so you can cut through cages and fencing surrounding plants in your garden. In addition, the sap groove allows sap to run down and off the blades. This prevents them from sticking even when you're working with sticky branches, so your efficiency isn't impeded by needing to clean the item constantly.
The screw-mounted anvil blade works with the hardened steel blade to create precise and clean cuts. The anvil blade is helpful because it allows you to work with thin and twiggy branches, as well as to get close to the trunk of a tree.
This particular model is built for individuals with large hands. It won't work as well for people who have smaller hands. The entire trimmer is 8.3 inches in length, about an inch in diameter, and less than a pound in total weight. All in all, it's lightweight enough for sustained use while still being durable.
By using a rotating blade mechanism instead of a squeezing mechanism, you can conserve up to thirty percent of the energy that you'd need if you used a traditional blade. This is the most advanced of the pruning options offered by Felco, as it combines professional-grade materials with excellent comfort.
It also comes with a limited lifetime warranty. And since every part is replaceable, you can always get a replacement piece from the manufacturer if the shears break down.
If you're looking for a hand pruner at a slightly more affordable price point, this is a good option for you. The rolling handle technology helps to reduce fatigue while allowing you to prune with one hand. At the same time, the price is a fraction of that of the previous option on the list.
The pivot bolt technology allows you to precisely adjust the blade. The blade is also made of carbon steel that can be resharpened as needed and replaced when it wears down. This makes the option significantly more long-lasting than the majority of cheap shears on the market. One purchase will allow you to garden easily for years.
Another ideal factor is the spring mechanism. This spring keeps the shears from clogging and allows for smooth cuts to be made. You don't have to stop constantly to untangle the shears. The high-efficiency blades are great for both professional and amateur gardeners.
Corona Tools is a manufacturer that has been creating garden tools since the 1920s. Ever since their first patent, the company has been creating tools that help farmers, gardeners, landscapers, and other industry professionals do their jobs. The tools are built with professionals in mind, which means they can stand up to ongoing daily use.
The rolling design reduces hand fatigue, so this is a good choice if you're going to be doing a lot of pruning. Many gardeners and landscapers prefer these shears because of that. It is important to note that they don't have the same shock cushioning as the previous option on the list, so they may not be the best pick for those with arthritis.
The forged aluminum handles are strong enough to stand the test of time. They have been coated with non-slip grips, so you can easily hang onto the shears when doing tough work. You don't have to worry about the blades sliding around because you're sweating in the hot sun.
Meanwhile, the steel has also gone through a heavy-duty forging process. It has been heated in fire and forged with a hammer to ensure that the blade is durable and strong. This keeps it from breaking down when exposed to tough pruning jobs over time.
As with many high-quality garden tools, these shears come with a limited lifetime warranty. They also have available replacement parts.
This is another affordable option on the market. It's designed for individuals who need powerful pruners that can cut through thick branches as well as thinner materials. Everything about the design has been optimized for maximum strength while still conserving energy.
This makes these pruners a popular choice for landscapers, hedge trimmers, and other people who need to prune thick foliage. You can hold the shears in one hand and cut through branches with a thickness of up to 0.75 inches in diameter.
That's in part thanks to Fiskars PowerGear technology, which is a patented system that provides up to three times the power of a traditional cut. The system uses a modified cam mechanism and modified gear shifts to maximize power as you cut through the middle of a branch.
The middle is the hardest part of a branch to cut. It's where people meet the most resistance, and it's where their power usually fails. By shifting the gears, these shears allow your power to increase as you reach the middle of the branch. This makes it much easier to cut through thicker foliage without suffering from hand fatigue.
The hardened steel blade has also been treated with an UltraBlade coating. This specialized technology bonds to the steel of the blade and allows the sharpness to last for up to five times longer. You don't have to sharpen constantly between uses because the blade doesn't wear down nearly as fast as the majority of other options.
Another selling point is the contoured grip of the handle. The rolling technology moves with the hand's natural grip, so it's easy to squeeze with your maximum strength. The contoured design is also less likely to cause muscle fatigue or strain if you're dealing with a tough pruning job. All in all, it's a very comfortable tool for landscapers.
The materials used are durable enough to last a lifetime. In keeping with that, the manufacturer offers a full lifetime warranty for people using these shears. Should they break for any reason, you can get a replacement.
Despite not having the cushioned shock absorbers of the first item on the list, these shears are very easy to use. Actually, they're so easy to use that the Arthritis Foundation has given the design an Ease of Use Commendation. This means that they're ideal for gardeners with arthritis and other forms of joint pain.
This is the most affordable option on our list. It is important to note, however, that this design does have some limitations. The anvil blades are built to deal with dead foliage rather than live branches. They don't generate enough power to clip through thick tree branches.
As such, these pruners are best optimized for flower gardeners and gardeners who don't do a lot of tree cutting. They can be used to cut branches that died during the winter, to strip small logs of their bark, or to deadhead flowers so that the plants can grow without carrying dead weight.
For casual gardeners who only need to use pruners once in a while, these are a great option. Even though they don't generate as much power as other choices, they are still made with durable materials. In keeping with this, they have a lifetime warranty. You can get a replacement should there be any issue with the design.
The specialized Power-Lever technology helps to increase leverage when compared to other anvil pruners. In comparison to average anvil tools, you can get up to two times as much power with these. This allows for much more efficient cutting speeds and helps to reduce fatigue.
For this reason, these are the best anvil pruners on the market. If you're not looking for heavy-duty shears that can take on professional landscaping duties, you'll appreciate the relaxed design of this item.
The blades are also thin and razor-sharp. They're durable enough to stand up to heavy use, but the thinness allows them to cut through materials without meeting as much resistance. They also remain sharp for longer than traditional blades and are capable of cutting through stems of up to 5/8 of an inch thick.
The blades have been treated with a coating that increases sharpness, allows for rust resistance, and decreases friction. This makes it easier to keep using the product without the blades getting stuck together. You don't have to worry about the potential of moisture making the design rust.
The grip has soft cushioning that allows for better control and comfort. Your hands are unlikely to slip thanks to the non-slip material. It's not quite as ergonomic and contoured as some designs on the market, but it's still an excellent choice for the casual user.
These pruners are specifically designed for weak hands, so they're fantastic for elderly gardeners, gardeners with arthritis, and other gardeners who are concerned about their hand health. The design includes multiple different accommodations that makes it excellent for people with a variety of conditions.
The design uses a ratchet mechanism that maximizes your leverage when you work. This allows you to cut the branches and stems with just a tiny amount of the strength needed with professional pruners. That means that you can work in the garden for longer without getting overwhelmed by the amount of maintenance that needs doing.
Another important note is that the design was created by professionals. The manufacturers created their company after more than three decades of experience with working in a plant nursery. All of their tools have been designed according to their experiences with what works best and what doesn't.
Because the ratchet system is so precise, these pruners can handle both small and heavy-duty jobs. They can cut through thin flower stems when you're deadheading a flower bed or shrub, and they can also saw (pruning saws) through tree branches up to an inch thick. This makes them by far the best option for arthritic gardeners with heavy-duty gardening needs.
The ergonomic design is ideal for senior gardeners as well. The company behind the shears operates under the principle that you shouldn't have to give up your gardening hobby as you age. Instead, you should have access to the tools you need to enjoy yourself pain-free.
There are locks for both the left and right hand, so you can use the shears ambidextrously. In addition, a soft rubber grip helps to absorb shock and cushion your joints.
The coated blades can cut through tree branches without getting torn up. There's also an included oiled sponge that can be detached and used to clean the blade between gardening sessions. This helps to prevent fungal growth or the carrying of disease from plant to plant.
The blade is forged from hardened carbon steel material, which is able to retain its sharpness more easily than cheaper metals. The channel coating prevents blade dulling. In addition, the aluminum handles are lightweight to reduce fatigue, and they are also resistant to rust.
The blade can be replaced if it breaks, so these shears should last for multiple years.
The best garden pruners for you depend on a variety of factors. You'll need to take into account the type of pruning you're doing, the amount of time spent pruning, and any special considerations you have regarding your health.
Our top overall pick for the best pruners is the Felco Pruning Shears. These have by far the best performance for both amateur and professional gardeners. The blades are versatile enough to cut through both thick foliage and thin stems, while the ergonomic grip absorbs shock and allows for maximum cushioning.
These are the best choice if you're concerned about arthritis, fatigue, or overall comfort. In addition, the rotating technology allows you to cut through more material in a breeze. They're also the only shears on the list specifically designed with a sap groove, which helps move sticky materials away from the blades to reduce friction.
With that said, they are the most expensive pruners on the list. They're also best designed for large hands, so people with a smaller grip might struggle to wield them. Each of the other options on our list is available at a fraction of the price, and each is specialized for a certain type of user.
The Corona is the best pair of pruners overall for professional use. The design allows you to cut branches of up to 1 inch in diameter, which is much thicker than the majority of other options. In addition, the blades remain sharp through multiple uses, and the design also makes use of a rotating option to maximize energy efficiency.
However, these shears might not be the best for those who need a more cushioned grip. In addition, they may not perform perfectly when used for thinner stems and deadheading.
For ultimate power, the Fiskars PowerGear is your best option. This design uses patented technology to help you shear through the toughest parts of tree branches without losing momentum. It may not perform as well on smaller stems, though, so it's more ideal for use by landscapers.
The most affordable option on the list is the Fiskars Anvil design. This one is best for casual gardeners who only need to deadhead shrubs and flowers without cutting through tree branches. It's not strong enough to do heavy-duty pruning work, but it makes it much easier to manage basic gardening upkeep and maintenance.
Finally, the best pruners for those with arthritis are the ones from The Gardener's Friend. These shears have been specifically designed for weak hands by professional gardeners. Not only do they have an ergonomic, ambidextrous grip, but they also use leverage to let you make powerful cuts at a fraction of the usual necessary strength.
These shears are highly recommended for elderly gardeners and other gardeners with joint issues as well. Whether you spend a lot of time in the garden or just casually enjoy outdoor recreation, you should be able to take care of your environment without causing yourself pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Garden pruners come with three basic styles. Within these styles, different models will use different designs and materials to get the job done. The mechanism of action is what differentiates each style. The blades work differently depending on the category of pruner that you invest in.
The bypass style is the most popular one for use. If you look for gardening tools at a department store, these are likely the first type of pruner you'll come across.
With bypass pruners, there are two blades outfitted. Each of the blades is slightly curved. As you squeeze the handles, the blades pass each other the same way that scissor blades do.
One of the blades has a sharpened edge on the outside. It slides by the second blade, which is thick and not sharpened. This allows the pruners to snip easily through stems and foliage.
Anvil styled pruners only have one blade. The straight blade snaps down on a flattened edge, otherwise known as an anvil. Rather than acting like a pair of scissors, these blades are very similar to knives on cutting boards.
Anvil pruners won't be ideal for every project. They are most useful at removing dead and toughened wood. Because the design tends to be bulkier than bypass blades, it's hard to make cuts close to the trunk of a tree. For more precise close cuts, you'll want to use a different blade style.
Ratchet pruners have a lot in common with anvil pruners. But they're outfitted with a mechanism that allows the cut to be done in stages. A ratchet pruner is ideal if you need leverage to complete a tough cut.
Leverage lets you cut through materials with a fraction of the usual necessary strength. This means that ratchet pruners are ideal for people with arthritis and those who have smaller or weaker hands. They're also ideal for professional gardeners who are going to be spending several hours working on cutting.
If you're just getting started, a bypass pruner is your best bet. It's the most versatile type of pruner and the easiest to use. If you know how to wield scissors, you won't have any trouble wielding these materials either.
With that said, anvil pruners may be a better bet if you know you're going to be dealing with tough dead foliage. And for those who are concerned about arthritis or fatigue, ratchet pruners are an ideal option.
There are a ton of different pruners on the market. Some are cheap, costing less than ten dollars in total. Others can cost a hundred dollars or more.
Most casual gardeners don't have a hundred dollars to spend on one pair of pruning shears. But at the same time, it's best to avoid the cheapest materials. These are prone to breaking down. A durable pair of shears with replaceable blades will last for years, so it'll save you money in the long run. Many of these models even have lifetime manufacturer warranties.
If you want to get the best shears for your budget, it's best to understand your priorities going in. The most expensive options are outfitted with every innovation on the market. But if you won't be spending hours doing heavy-duty work, you won't necessarily need those.
Look for blades that are made from tempered steel. This type of steel can be sharpened between uses, so it stands up to heavy wear-and-tear.
Another bonus is investing in a design that has replaceable parts. That way, if any one of the pieces fails, you can easily repair the original design instead of needing to buy a new one.
Pruning is a time-intensive process that takes a lot of energy. Even the most seasoned landscaping professionals may find their hands getting tired after a heavy-duty pruning session. And many individuals already have a disadvantage due to arthritis, carpal tunnel, or other health concerns.
If you're going to be doing heavy-duty gardening and landscaping work, it's important to get tools that protect your joints. This can keep you from developing health issues in the future. And if you already have joint issues or other concerns about your hands, it's important that you use tools that don't exacerbate the problem.
Ergonomic models have been specifically designed to have more comfortable handles. They can be gripped more easily, and it takes less effort to squeeze them. Many designs have padding and cushioning that helps to absorb shock. Some rotating handles can lessen the pressure on your wrist, which is great for carpal tunnel sufferers.
There are even certain shears that have been designed on a horizontal basis. This means that you can use them without bending your wrist or hand, so the positioning stays neutral. It's a great option for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel, or a limited range of motion in their hands.
While the majority of pruning shears are designed for right-handed use, there are also left-handed models on the market. Some models are also specially made to be ambidextrous. Left-handed individuals may have a harder time finding pruners that suit them in a garden store, so online shopping is their best bet.
People have differently-sized hands. It's important to use the right tool for your hand's size and shape. Those with larger hands may be frustrated by smaller pruners, while those with smaller hands may find a larger grip too wide or heavy.
When you're looking for an ideal size, it's best to measure your hand. This is especially important when shopping online, as you won't have a chance to feel the product to make sure the grip is right.
First, measure how wide your palm is at the base of your fingers. Then measure the height from your hand's base to the middle finger's tip.
If your hands are less than 3.5 inches wide or under 6.25 inches tall, they're considered small hands. Larger pruners won't work well for them. You should look for designs that are specifically made for individuals with smaller hands.
If your hands have a width between 3.5 and 4 inches along with a height from 6.5 to 8 inches, they're an average size. Anything larger than that is considered large hands. People with large hands should look for large-handed professional grade pruners.
If you buy a design with the right kind of steel blade, you can sharpen and clean your tools at the same time. Pruners are often designed with blades that can be sharpened because of how much wear-and-tear they undergo in the garden. The blade is more likely to become dulled than any other blade in your garden tools.
It's not difficult to sharpen and clean your pruners. It's a good idea to do this once every few weeks. If you're a professional who uses the tools for hours on a weekly basis, you might want to do this once every few days, or even between shifts.
Things You Need
When you're doing basic maintenance for your blades, you'll need the following materials:
- Fine or medium sandpaper
- Steel wool
- A whetstone or other tool for sharpening
- A small brush and lukewarm, soapy water
- A screwdriver and wrench
- Several clean cloths
- Lubricating spray or oil
- Optional cleaning solvent
Dismantling the Pruners
Regardless of the exact type and model you have, you'll dissemble your pruners to clean them. Every model will be dismantled in the same way. The separate components are held together with a screw. Use your screwdriver to separate them, and make sure that you don't lose any of the pieces.
Pruners don't have a ton of different pieces. But losing just one will make it impossible to put the design back together. Try laying each piece on a towel as you take it apart so that you always know where everything is. Count how many components there are to make sure you aren't missing anything when you piece the tool back together.
Scrubbing the Grime
This is where your soapy water comes in. Soak the components in the water and use your little brush to scrub away grime. A cleaning toothbrush is a good idea for this.
Make sure you pay special attention to crevices where dirt might build up. These often go unnoticed during cleanings, and the buildup of grime can have costly effects on your tools.
Once you're certain that you've cleaned all of the pieces thoroughly, you can dry them using one of your cloths.
You'll often find that there's stubborn sap, rust, or soil stuck on the blades. This won't come off with a quick brush scrubbing. That's why you have your steel wool and sandpaper. Use these materials to scrub away any clinging materials.
Sometimes sap will harden on the blades or handles. If you can't remove this with your sandpaper, it's time for a heavy-duty cleaning solvent. The most important thing is that the blades have been cleared of debris before you begin to sharpen them.
A lot of beginners are intimidated by the process of sharpening their blade. But you don't have to do a perfect job. In fact, just a little sharpening is better than leaving your blade dull.
Sharpening is a skill that can only be acquired with practice. You'll become more familiar each time you do it.
The first step is to look for the blade's angled edge. If you're working with anvil pruners, both sides of the blade will typically be angled, similarly to a knife. And like a knife, you'll have to sharpen both of these sides.
Once you have the angled edge, take your sharpening tool and lay it nearly parallel to the angled edge. Keep pressure against the blade's outer edge. Use your tool to file in a single direction around the blade, moving away from you so that you don't accidentally cut yourself.
It's important that you not move the sharpening tool back and forth along the blade. This will ruin the integrity. Only sharpen in a single direction. After you've repeated this action a few times, you'll notice that the edge of the blade is shinier. It will now be much easier to cut through materials.
Most pruners have the same basic components arranged the same way. You'll just need to move the two parts of the blade back together, put the spring back into position, and then screw the middle bolt back in.
The last step is to test your pruners. It's easy to accidentally over-tighten the screw and limit the range of motion. Make sure that the blades move the way they're supposed to. If the model is unusually difficult to use, that's usually a sign that you should loosen the screw slightly.