Growing a well-crafted and healthy-looking garden need regular care such as watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
To get effortless pruning, you need to get the best pruning shears available in the market. The pruners look like household scissors, but these are designed to cut and trim through thick plant stems and branches.
In this article we learn more about pruning and then our recommended pruning shears for the everyday gardener.
5 Best Pruning Shears
Our Top Pick
gonicc 8" Professional Premium Bypass Pruning Shears
This is our top pick for the pruning shear as it has a premium quality long-lasting blade for smooth and comfortable cutting of thicker branches. The handle is durable and long-lasting, which can be used by a person with medium to large hand size. The groove at the bottom of pruning shear makes it easy to hold without slipping.
Why do you need Pruning and how to do it?
Pruning involves selectively cutting parts of plants or bushes. You can prune not only shoots and branches of the plant but also roots, flowers, leaves, fruits and seed pods.
Pruning may seem destructive for the plants, but pruning stimulates the growth of stronger and healthier foliage. When plants are pruned, the cut area is covered by plant repair tissues to seal the area. The sealing of the area prevents any decay or spreading of the disease to other parts of the plant.
Some of the common benefits of pruning are:
Improved plant health
Pruning diseased, damaged or dead part of the plant enhances the overall health of the plant. As this contains the spreading of insects or disease on to the other plant parts.
Moreover, pruning improves the air circulation inside the plant and allows the sunlight to reach every part of it. This improves the overall appearance and health of the plant.
Pruning helps to maintain the size of the plant relative to other plants in your garden. Keeping all plants in the same proportion makes the garden look more appealing.
No outside interference
Pruning overextended branches prevent it from interfering with utility lines or pathways. This is essential for safety reasons and other bylaws requirements.
Prevent Injury or Property Damage
Cutting overhanging or dead branches reduces the tripping hazard or other safety issues. When you strategically prune the bigger plants, it reduces the wind resistance to the plant, which reduces the likelihood of a bigger tree to fall on the property.
Increase fruiting and flowering
When you correctly prune flower buds and stems, it encourages the flowering and stimulates the plant growth. Selective pruning can help to produce more abundant fruits or flower than the unpruned plant.
Mature plant and shrubs get unorganized growth of branches which may become unattractive. By adequately pruning, you can choose the shape of the plant or bush, which enhances the look of the plants and garden.
Why do you need pruning shears
As we know for any lush green garden, the pruning of overgrown plants is essential. Pruning not only helps with the looks of the garden but also helps with the steady growth of the plants.
The use of best quality and the correct type of pruning shear help you with clear-cutting of plants and shrubs. This improves the airflow between the plants and provides room for branches to grow more evenly.
The pruning of damaged or dry branches makes the plant to get healthier and stronger while making it more resistance to insects and diseases. To make pruning more productive, you've to make a clear cut with no stubs or leftover branch fibers.
That being said, the pruning is a bit physically intensive task and may appear intimidating for any gardener. But by using the right type of pruning shear, you can get the pruning done with less effort and obtain cleaner cut.
So, whether you are pruning your plant or shrub for the better growth or trying to achieve a specific style of the plant, there are different types of pruning shears available in the market.
There will be more information about using a right type of pruning shears later in this article.
Types of pruning shears
There are 4 basic types of pruning shears:
The hand shears are the most commonly used to prune mainly small plants or bush branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter. These are lightweight and small in size. It comes in two different cutting blade types.
The cutting blade of hand shears can be either a scissor-type or anvil type. The scissor-type edges are also known as bypass pruner. In this, two small but curved shape knife overlaps each other when pressed to cut the object.
This type of blade motion provides a cleaner cut. This is helpful when you need to prune live plants rather than dead branches or trees.
The anvil type blade design has an upper blade pass through the flat lower plate blade. The pruner looks like the anvil where the plant gets cut by a sharp top edge while the bottom side gets crushed by the downward pressure.
As imagined, this type of blade design does not provide a clean cut. But it’s beneficial when used to cut thick woods or dead branches which is hard to cut with scissor type of steel blades.
The pruning snip shears have a pair of razor sharp but tipped scissors. The blades can be either straight or slightly curved. This helps with delicate pruning works such as cutting flowers or giving sharp and narrow shape to the plant or bush.
But these are not the best choice if you need to cut thick or dry plant materials. However, for any soft and green plants, it works best. For pruning tough and harder branches, you can pick ratchet pruning shears.
The ratchet pruning shears are ergonomically designed with a mechanism which allows you to latch the pruning blade. This means you don’t have to cut the part in one stroke.
The latch allows the extra power delivery of the cutting force without you again applying the pressure. This continuous and sustained cutting pressure enables you to cut even thick branches with ease.
Here’s a brief video explaining how ratchet pruning shear work.
For cutting a more extended plant branch or bushes, you need a lopping shear which can cut up to 30 to 40 inches in height. The long and sturdy construction of pruner makes it easy to reach at the top of the tall bushes without needing a ladder.
Most of the lopping shears are designed to have a foldable handle which makes it easy to store and choose the desired length. The long handle length also provides more leverage to cut through thick and hard branches without putting excessive pressure on your arm and wrist.
Fiskars lopping shear is the most common brand which many people may be familiar with.
Hedge shears are used to prune bushes and plant leaves. It’s an economical option to get a quick job done. The hedge shears contain sharp, hardened stainless steel blades with arm length size metal handles.
It’s perfect for pruning small and thin stemmed bushes and hedges to maintain the desired shape. The hedge shears are kind of scissors with long handles which you operate with your both hands. You can use it to cut multiple plant branches at once.
The sharp blades overlap with each other, which gives straight line clear cut. Most hedge shears have cutting blades over 19 cm in length and come with comfort grip to hold it for a long time.
FAQ : What is the difference between a lopper and pruner?
The main difference is the size of the tool. Loppers require you to use both hands and are used to cut larger plant or bush. Whereas with Pruners, you use a single hand and individually trim each smaller plant branch or bush.
Best Pruning Shears Selection Tips: What to look for?
There are so many different types of pruners are available in the market. It’s good to have choices, but having a multiple-choice can make it challenging to find the right tool for your need.
Here are couple of things you need to check when you are looking to buy the best pruning shears.
You should choose the pruner based on the job you've in your hand. For pruning, small and average height plant or bushes, the bypass pruner may work best. But if you want to prune taller plant or shrub, then you need to choose a pruner which can reach top branches.
Here is a pruner type you can use based on the plants:
Tree: You can typically use any pruner depending on the part of the branch you are planning to trim. Most likely, you will be cutting an extended branch or overhanging leaves, and for that, the hand shears may work best.
For cutting the dead or thicker branch, consider using anvil pruner.
Taller Bushes or branches: For taller bushes and branches especially around the garden boundary, you need a higher cutting length to maintain the privacy inside. For that, you may choose Lopping shears which allows you to cut and shape the bushes at a far greater height.
Small to medium length shrubs: Use hedge shears to cut and design the shape of the shrub and boundary wall plants. The hedge shears provide a cleaner cut while maintaining better control over the design of the shrub.
The quality of the blade determines the life of the shear and the quality of the cut. The best pruning shear blades are made from hardened or high carbon steel materials. These blades maintain its sharpness without getting rust on the edges.
Size and Weight
The size and weight are an essential consideration as you don’t want something either too small or too large, which may cause you uncomfortable handling it for a longer duration.
Check the size and weight of the pruning shear and then decide whether you may be comfortable holding it and using it for an extended period.
Pruners contain sharp blades, and if it can cut plant branches, then it can easily slice your fingers if you're not careful. To prevent accidents, you should check if the pruner has a safety lock. When not in use, always make a habit of locking it in a closed position.
Keeping it closed with a safety latch when not in use prevent any injuries but also protects the sharp tip of the blade from getting damage.
The cutting diameter of the hand pruner is the maximum thickness of the plant branch you can comfortably cut. Get some ideas about the plants you've in your garden.
Look at the thickness of the branch and check if the pruner has long enough cutting diameter to handle the branch thickness.
Handle material and design
The design of the handle and its cover determines how comfortable the pruning shears will be in use. The soft and cushioned grip makes it easier on the wrist and fingers. This allows you to use the shear for a longer duration.
If you've health issues such as carpal tunnel or arthritis, then pay more attention to handle grip material and the design, so it’s comfortable to use.
How to sharpen pruning shears
Sharpening a pruning shear is easier than you may have thought. It only takes less than 10 to 15 minutes to sharpen your pruner, and you can do it as part of regular maintenance of your yard tools.
Personally, for sharpening hand pruner and other landscaping tools, I use Corona Sharpening tools. It’s very portable due to its small size and comes with a protective casing which easily fits in the tool bag.
Follow these steps to sharpen the pruning shears blade.
Step 1: Clean the garden shear blade if you haven’t done it already. Unclean and greasy blade surface makes it hard to sharpen the blade. Use warm soapy water if there is mud or dirt on the pruner and use a scouring pad to rub off the dirt.
If there is rust on the pruner, use vinegar to dissolve the rust and then use stainless steel scouring pad to remove the rust. Once the pruner is clean, use a dry cloth to remove any excess water or dirt.
Step 2. Angle the hand pruner blade around 20 to 30 degree and start stroking it with sharpening tool inside out. Apply gentle pressure and keep stroking it evenly across the blade surface. Keep checking your progress as it doesn’t take long to sharpen the pruner blades.
Most of the moderately used pruner blades will sharpen after passing sharpening tool 15 to 25 times. The more well used and dull blades may need over 50 to 60 passes.
Once you've sharpened the blade, reduce the pressure to smoothen the blade coarseness and remove any small rough surface at the edge of the blade.
Step 3. Use a dry cloth to remove any dust or scraped part from the blade and apply lubricant. You don’t need to use excess oil as a small and thin layer of grease should be sufficient to maintain your pruning shear properly.
Best Pruning Shears – Our top 5 picks
Many people had asked me what the best hand pruners on the market are? Here is a list of 5 best pruning shears you can buy depending on your pruning needs.
1. Gonicc Titanium Pruning Shears- Best Bypass Pruning Shears
11.1 x 4 x 1.5 inches
Where To Buy
This is an 8” professional grade bypass pruning shear which can be used by both homeowners and professional landscapers. The blade is made with a high-quality ultra-fine polishing technology on the carbon steel. It means you get stronger and long-lasting sharp pruner with minimal chance of it getting rust.
The pruner has ¾" cutting diameter, which is sufficient for most of the plants and bushes in residential gardens. The blades are quite sharp and last many years before it needs replacements.
For marketing purposes, the manufacturer named the pruner titanium steel. But in reality, it’s a Titanium coating on the blade which improves the hardness and wear resistance of the edge. It’s slightly misleading to call it titanium steel, but it does not change the fact that it still has premium quality steel material.
I used it to trim plants in my garden and had no issue pruning even thick and hard rose canes. The cut was clean and effortless without tilting it sideways. The slight tilt at the edge of the blade makes it easier to reach any part of the bush without much fuss. The handle is comfortable to grip, and pruner is lightweight (around 6 ounces).
The soft rubber cover at the handle makes it comfortable between your fingers when using it. The spring helps to push the pruner outward, which makes it easy to use it with a single hand. The universal handle design allows it to fit this bypass pruner comfortably in small to large hands.
See More information on Gonicc Titanium Pruning Shears
What we like:
- Sharp good quality rust free blades
- Easy to use comfortable grip handle
- Can be used single headedly
- Excellent customer support to provide a free replacement part
What we don't like:
- Misleading labeling of blade material
- Harder to clean-cut for a very thick branch
2. Gonicc Sharp Anvil Pruning Shears- Best Anvil Pruning Shear
11 x 10.4 x 0.8 inches
Where To Buy
This chromium-plated high carbon blade from Gonicc is a best-rated product in anvil pruning shear category. The durable high carbon steel blade allows you to use it for a long duration without worrying about getting dull blades.
The specially designed pulley and spring mechanism provide a clean cut on even thicker branches without much effort. When you apply pressure by squeezing the handle, the pulley scrolls.
It increases the cutting pressure without the need to use additional force on the handle. This significantly reduces the stress and fatigue on your fingers and wrist.
The handle is ergonomically designed for a smoother grip. The non-slip handle cover provides a robust and easier grip when using the pruner. The pruner and its safety lock can be easily operated with a single hand.
You will appreciate the thoughtful design of the pruner, which is suitable to use with smaller hands. The locking mechanism is conveniently located inside the pruner closer to the lower handle, which makes it easy to engage when in use.
See More information on Gonicc Sharp Anvil Pruning Shears
What we like:
- Sturdier 5K-S high carbon stainless steel blade
- Well designed comfortable handle grip
- Light weight and easy to use
What we don't like:
- No grip cover at the bottom handle
- Tighter locking mechanism
3. Classic PRO Titanium Pruning Shears
Haus & Garten
10.7 x 3.2 x 0.8 inches
Where To Buy
Do you want a pruning shear which effortlessly cuts through any plant so you can get great decorative plants and bushes?
The pruning shear from ClassicPro is the best pruner choice to trim bush, shrubs, and plants. The pruner bottom blade is slightly curved while the upward edge is straight. This provides cleaner cutting angle and easier access inside a thick bush.
The blade is made with high-quality Japanese Grade hardened steel. This means you get more durable and long-lasting blade sharpness compared to others.
The blade is covered with protective titanium coating, which decreases the friction when cutting so you can get smooth pruning experience. The titanium coating also protects the pruner from rust.
The handle is comfortably long, which makes it easier to hold when pruning and provides better leverage. The anti-slip material coating offers a tighter grip, so you won’t lose the pruner in the middle of the bush.
The lightweight and finger notch on the bottom handle makes it suitable to use by medium to large hands. For improved flexibility, you can manually adjust the trimming blade for optimal and precise cutting length.
This means you don’t have to be satisfied with one size fit all approach. You can adjust the blade to cut ½" ¾" and 1" diameter size wood branch.
See More information on Classic PRO Titanium Pruning Shears
What we like:
- Extreme smooth cut to most type of plants
- High quality and rust-free blades
- Easy to use locking mechanism
- Anti-slip handle grip
- Large cutting diameter adjustment
What we don't like:
- Not ideal for people with smaller hand
- Quality sometimes appear hit or miss, but it comes with a lifetime warranty
4. Tabor Tools Hedge Shears (25 Inch)
25 x 8 x 2 inches
Where To Buy
Tabor tools hedge shears is a 25-inch long manual hedge clipper with comfortable grip handle to reach longer distance. It has a razor sharp wavy blade which provides more precision-cut in each session. It's an ideal tool for trimming and shaping shrubs and decorative topiary plants.
To provide you smoother and crisp cuts at the top of the plant, the wavy blade design on this hedge shear is handy as it stops the twigs from sliding off. The tension control knob in the hedge shears allows you to quickly adjust the blades for cutting dense leaves.
The blades are made with precision-ground SK-5 steel which is well hardened. This provides a low-friction for a smoother cutting, and the rust-resistant coating prevents it from getting rust which improves the life of the pruner.
If you need a longer handle hedge shear to reach at the top of the plant, then you've the option to extend the handle through its well-designed extendable level handles. The extension allows you to get an additional 8 inch in length with a secure and comfortable locking mechanism for improved stability.
The bumpers are coated with shock-absorbing materials. It reduces the jarring vibrations when in use and minimizes the arm and shoulder fatigue. The conveniently located flower-shaped pivot bolt let you quickly adjust the blade tension to prune different types of plants.
You've three different models to choose from:
1. Hedge shears with metal handle (B620)
2. Extendable hedge shears with telescopic metal handles (B212)
3. Hedge shears with lightweight aluminum handles (B640)
The Taber tools provide you with multiple options of hedge shears to choose from as per your needs. For most people, the first option of Hedge shears with a metal handle would be sufficient for their gardening needs.
See More information on Tabor Tools Hedge Shears
What we like:
- High-quality blades which rarely needs sharpening
- Long extendable handle option
- Tool-free blade tension adjustment
- High-quality, comfortable hand-grips
What we don't like:
- Challenging to cut thicker and dead branches
- Less stable when fully extended
5. Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears
4 x 1 x 10.8 inches
Where To Buy
Fiskars Steel bypass pruners is reasonably priced shear which is ideal for cutting stems and light plant branches. The simple and no fuss design of the pruner makes it convenient to use for any light to medium pruning needs.
The curved and fully hardened, precision-ground steel blade remains razor sharp even after heavy use. The average size grip handle makes it easy to hold in from small to medium size hands. The protective sleeve on the handle makes it comfortable to hold and press.
For more natural and effortless cut, the low-friction coating allows the cutting blades to glide through woods and thick branches. It also prevents the edges from getting stuck of plant saps and debris or other viscous plant fluids.
The shear has a 5/8" cutting diameter which allows you to cut most of the thicker branches in your garden. The tool is made from SK-5 all steel, which provides excellent durability and increases the life of the pruner. The sturdy return springs work very well to keep the pruner mouth open for the cut.
Some people have provided feedback about its occasional poor build quality. But this is a relatively cheaper unit and comes with a life-time warranty. Depending on the use of the pruner, and after considering all other factors, it’s a good value pruner.
See More information on Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears
What we like:
- Good quality hardened steel blade
- Curved blade makes a precision pruning
- Comfortable handle grip
- Great value for money
What we don't like:
- Not ideal for heavy pruning
- Weaker spring
How to care for pruning shears
Like any other tools, you need to take some primary care of your bypass pruners if you want it to last longer. Pruners are easy to maintain, and some necessary cleaning of the pruner especially sap groove will be sufficient to keep it in good shape.
But there is one more important reason to keep your pruner clean. And that is to prevent the spread of disease among plants. By properly cleaning your pruner between each use will prevent the spread of this disease to other plants.
As preventive maintenance, always clean of any dirt or debris from the shear once you finish the job. If there is mud on the pruner, then wash it entirely and apply a thin oil layer on it to prevent it from rust.
If for some reason you get rust after storing it for a while then dip pruner in a vinegar jar and leave it there for 24 hours.
In these 24 hours, the vinegar will act on the rust and pull it away. Use a dry cloth to rub off the rust or use a dry scrub pad to rub off any leftover stubborn rust.
You can then apply Corrosion protection oil such as 3 in one Multi-purpose oil which lubricates, removes rust, and makes a protective, preventive layer on the tool.
There you have it, the best pruning shears for all your gardening needs. If you look at the types of pruners and features, I discussed above, it should be easy to choose the right kind of pruner for your garden.
MORE IDEAS YOU'LL LOVE
Our Top Pick
gonicc 8" Professional Best Pruning Shears
This is our top pick for the pruning shear as it has a premium quality long-lasting blade for smooth and comfortable cutting of thicker branches. The handle is durable and long-lasting, which can be used by a person with medium to large hand size. The groove at the bottom of pruning shear makes it easy to hold without slipping while self-cleaning sap groove keeps the pruner in optimal use condition.