Best garden shears 2021: trim your plot with these top buys

Looking for a set of the best garden shears to keep your hedges and grass edges neat and tidy? We’ve hunted down the top performing models on the market

Included in this guide:

Best garden shears
(Image credit: Future)

A set of the best garden shears are a must-have for any gardener worth their salt. They'll help you keep your hedges in shape, trim errant sections of lawn and snip your borders to perfection. 

Not all of the best garden shears are made equal though and while different sets tackle different jobs, they all tend to be keenly priced, so you can afford to invest in separate pairs designed specifically for all the tasks you need to undertake in your plot. 

Unlike battery or electric powered trimmers, the best garden shears are powered by you so you can snip as slowly as you like - or as quickly as you can manage - taking the time to be as accurate as you possibly can. 

And if you need to trim something quickly, the best garden shears are usually a lot less hassle than hedge or grass trimmers. There's no faffing about with a power cord or the worry of having a charged battery to hand - you can simply whip your shears out of the shed for a super speedy snip.

But which are the best garden shears on offer? That’s where we come in. We've done the legwork for you and found what we believe to be the top five options available to help you choose the best to option for you - whatever your garden's size and whichever planting it contains.

If, however, you're really not sure which set you need, scroll down for our invaluable buying guide advice on what to look for when buying the best garden shears.

And if you want to give your arms a bit of a break, check out our best hedge trimmer guide for the lowdown on all the top buys you’ll need to make your plot look lovely, all year round.

The best garden shears 2021

Best garden shears Wilkinson Sword single handed grass shears

(Image credit: Robert Dyas)

1. Wilkinson Sword Single Handed Grass Shears

Best garden shears for most jobs: perfect for light hedge trimming as well as lawn edges

Specifications
Best for: Edges and hedges
Material: Chrome
Reasons to buy
+Single-handed design+Anti-rust blades
Reasons to avoid
-Not for woody hedges

If you like the idea of owning one pair of shears to perform a variety of garden tasks, check out this easy-to-use design. Lightweight and perfect for quick snips, they're compact so won't take up much space in your garage or shed.

Neat finish

These shears are all you require for light hedge trimming, and to keep other soft growth in order. Prefer a pristine lawn? You can use these to go around the edges of your edges after mowing for a fully manicured finish.

Ambidextrous design

Suitable for use by both right and left handed gardeners, the one-handed design means you use them much like a pair of scissors, which makes lighter work of your task.

Durable option

This set is fitted with anti-rust chrome blades, though as with all garden tools, you should still clean the blades after use to keep them in good condition.

Best garden shears Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Edging Shears

(Image credit: Argos)

2. Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Edging Shears

Best garden shears for edging: tidy round the lawn without having to stoop

Specifications
Best for: An immaculate lawn
Material : Carbon steel
Reasons to buy
+Rust-resistant blades+Trimming without bending
Reasons to avoid
-Made for a single job

Owner of a decent size lawn? You’ll want to be able to tidy up the edges without strain after you’ve used your best lawn mower. This long-handled set is just the thing to help you finish the job.

Strain-free

It stands to reason that if you can remain upright when edging your lawn, you’ll feel much more comfortable - these long-handled shears help you avoid any back breaking work.

Quality materials

Made from durable carbon steel, the blades on this set of shears also feature a PTFE coating that makes them a cinch to clean, too.

Comfortable to use

The ergonomically-designed handles feature non-slip grips - this reduces hand and wrist tiredness as you work, so you can tackle longer jobs without any strain.

Best garden shears Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Razorsharp Ergonomic Wishbone Hand Shears

(Image credit: John Lewis)

3. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew Razorsharp Ergonomic Wishbone Hand Shears

Best garden shears for thicker stems: get to grips with tougher cutting jobs

Specifications
Best for: Woodier hedges
Material : Carbon steel
Reasons to buy
+High carbon steel blades+Can cut thicker stems+Soft feel grips
Reasons to avoid
-Hedge specialists

Need to tackle twiggy hedges?  These sharp and precise shears feature a neat, ergonomic design to help you complete the job with ease.

Super sharp

Featuring hardened high carbon steel blades, every single cut this set of shears makes is smooth and precise. 

Perfect for tougher jobs

The notched blades of these shears mean you can cut through thicker twigs without having to go and fetch your secateurs. 

Cutting ease

Adjustable tensioning allows you to sort things out if the blades are too tight for easy cutting, or too loose for clean cuts. These shears also have light wishbone-shaped handles to relieve any strain.

Best garden shears GRÜNTEK Grass Shears

(Image credit: Gruntek)

4. GRÜNTEK Grass Shears

Best garden shears for awkward areas: trim hard-to-get-to spots with ease

Specifications
Best for: Hard-to-reach areas
Material : Steel
Reasons to buy
+16 cutting positions+One-handed operation+Teflon-coated blades 
Reasons to avoid
-You’ll have to bend

If your garden’s many features create challenges when it comes to trimming the grass, these shears will make your life a whole lot simpler.

All angles

The 360º rotary cutting head of these colourful shears offers up to 16 positions, so you can pick the perfect angle to cut grass and any other greenery.

Completely covered

If you need to get alongside tricky spots like walls, banks or paths, these clever shears will help you do it. What’s more, the lower handle will protect your hand as you do so.

Non-stick finish

The steel blades of these shears are Teflon coated, making them much easier to keep clean.

Best garden shears Fiskars SmartFit Hedge Shear

(Image credit: Fiskars)

5. Fiskars SmartFit Hedge Shear

Best garden shears for taller tasks: smart handles make cutting tall hedges easy

Specifications
Best for: A variety of trimming tasks
Material : Stainless steel
Reasons to buy
+Telescopic handles +Lightweight+Non-slip grips+Coated blades 
Reasons to avoid
-You might prefer to get a stepladder out

Need shears that allow you to trim higher up? The telescopic handles on this pair give you a bigger reach - perfect for tall hedges.

Super stretch

If you have tall hedges, you'll either need to stand on a set of garden steps to cut them or just buy a separate set of longer-handled shears. Offering the best of both, with two feet firmly on the ground, the telescopic handles of this pair allow you to trim close up or up high, too. 

Lighter by design

Working with your arms raised naturally tests your muscle strength, but thanks to the lightweight handles on this set of shears, you have less to heft.

Sharpen up

The blades on this set are made from stainless steel. What's more, they have a non-stick coating to keep the clean cuts coming.

How to choose the best garden shears

best garden shears hands holding garden shears trimming plants

(Image credit: Future)

What should I look for in garden shears?

Not sure which of the best garden shears to look for? The planting that you have in your garden will determine which type, or even types, of garden shears you should add to your toolkit. 

Your garden's size will also likely influence your choice: if a job is fairly quick, a multipurpose design could suit fine, though if you own large hedges, lawns and so on, a single set probably won't be enough and it may be worth investing in separate tools for separate tasks.

What are the types of garden shears available?

There are two main types to choose from - hedging shears and grass shears.

Hedging shears 

These come in various sizes. If your hedge is leafy, you can opt for smaller shears with shorter blades that are lighter to hold. These can be used for a number of tidying up jobs around the garden, not just hedges.

If you have woodier hedges, you'll need a set of bigger shears with longer blades to get the leverage to snip through the branches. 

Need something longer to trim a tall hedge? Look for a set of best garden shears with longer handles to give you extra reach when cutting. If, however, you plan to use them for other jobs the length of the handles can be a bit unwieldy, so consider investing in a pair of shears with telescopic handles instead. 

Grass shears 

On the whole, grass shears tend to have longer handles that allow you to stand upright as you trim the edges of your lawn that your mower can’t get to. They’re an excellent purchase if you have a medium to large lawn - trust us, your back will thank you.

If you're not averse to bending down, or you need to reach into awkward areas where long-handled shears wouldn’t fit, one handed grass shears are much easier to use.

It is possible to double up and use a set of hedging shears to trim grass. Specialist tools will prove more convenient, but if budget and storage space preclude it, one good pair of shears could suffice. 

Alternatively, you could look to investing in a best strimmer to keep your borders and edges in check.

What should I look for in the best garden shears?

best garden shears hands holding garden shears trimming a hedge

(Image credit: Future)

Once you've decided what type of garden shears you require to tackle your garden's specific needs, focus on the material that the blade is made from.

Naturally rust resistant, stainless steel is an excellent material for tackling any sort of garden growth. Carbon steel is stronger than stainless, so if you’re buying garden shears for tougher jobs, aim to get blades made from this robust material. 

If your shears have a bonus coating of Teflon (or PTFE) , this stops any sap sticking to the blades, so you can continue cutting for longer before they need cleaning.

What's the difference between garden shears and pruners?

Shears, pruners or secateurs? Depending on where you look, these can all be interchangeable names for the same thing, but as a rule, shears are for larger garden tasks, like trimming hedges and lawns. 

Pruners or secateurs are handheld tools and best used for smaller, precise jobs such as deadheading and trimming flower stems or snipping back individual branches. 

Check out our best secateurs buyers guide if you're looking to expand your tool kit.

How to I clean and maintain my garden shears?

Gardens are packed with damp grass cuttings and wet, sticky sap, as well as mud and dirt. If you get in the habit of giving your shears a quick clean after every use, they're bound to last you a lifetime.

Start by cleaning any dirt or vegetation off the blades and handles after use. Several wipes with a damp cloth should do the trick. Allow the shears to dry completely before you put them away. 

If your set has wooden handles, rub a little oil (either linseed or walnut oil work well) into the wood every six months or so.

Finish with a quick, light spritz of WD40 on the blades after use.

If over time, your blades start to feel a little blunt, you can invest a diamond file to sharpen them.

Sarah Warwick
Sarah Warwick

Sarah is a freelance journalist and editor writing for websites, national newspapers, and magazines. She's spent most of her journalistic career specialising in homes and gardens – long enough to see interiors that blur the indoor/outdoor link become a must-have. She loves investigating the benefits, costs and practicalities of home improvement, both indoors and out, and it's no big surprise that she likes to put what she writes about into practice, so she's a serial house revamper.