Best pruning shears

Pruning shears are essential for your gardening tool kit. We’ve found the very best designs so you can trim and tidy all around your plot.

Best pruning shears
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Cutting stems and branches is a regular task for any gardener, and pruning shears, otherwise known as secateurs, are what you need for the job. For trimming green stems, bypass designs that cut like scissors are best. Meanwhile, anvil pruning shears, where the blade cuts through the material onto a block, can tackle thicker branches as well as deadwood. We’ve included both types in our selection as you may well need each type in your tool kit. Take a look at our favourites.

Best overall

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

JEOutdoors ZEM pruning shears

Anti-rust finish

A bypass design for all-round trimming and tidying.

Pros:

  • Suitable for stems and finer branches
  • Durable carbon steel blades
  • Safety lock

Cons:

  • You’ll need others for tough jobs

These sharp pruning shears are a bypass design made to cut through stems as well as branches up to 1.9 centimetres in diameter. They have a lock to keep them safe when they’re not in use, plus blades made from carbon alloy steel with anti-rust processing. The edges are sharp for clean cuts and fast and efficient pruning. They’ll suit best if you prefer a smaller and lighter design, but those with large hands may desire an alternative.

Best for left-handers

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

Spear & Jackson 6459BS secateurs

Sleek style

Bypass secateurs that work in the left hand.

Pros:

  • Made for left-handers
  • Carbon steel blades
  • Can cut thicker stems

Cons:

  • Not good for sharing with those who trim with their right hands 

Using conventional pruning shears can be awkward for those who favour their left hands, so why not swap to these? They’re specially designed for this section of the population, making pruning easier and more efficient. Their carbon steel blades are made to stay sharp, and a notched blade makes it easier to cut through the thicker stems you need to trim down. I like the cast aluminium handles that make these pruning shears lightweight without compromising on strength.

Best for tougher branches

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

GRÜNTEK Toucan secateurs

Easier cuts

Anvil-style design made for precision work.

Pros:

  • Comfortable to use
  • Easy to sharpen blade
  • Non-stick coating

Cons:

  • You’ll also need other pruning shears for green stems

If you have to tackle tougher growth and deadwood to keep your garden looking its best, it’s worth investing in a pair of anvil pruning shears. This pair works on branches of up to 1.8 centimetres in diameter that are firm or dry. They’re robust with a metal anvil for strength and an upper blade made from Japanese steel. It has a non-stick coating to make your cutting precise and keep plants healthy. Chrome plating on both blades prevents rusting for long life. I’m a fan of the design, which keeps your cutting hand in a neutral position for comfort and effective working. 

Best for easy working

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

Fiskars X-Series P921 gardening shears

Care for the roses

Designed for less effortful trimming of fresh growth.

Pros:

  • Easy to sharpen
  • Non-stick coating
  • Ergonomic handle

Cons:

  • Won’t suit those with large hands

Rose growers and those with other fresh branches to tend will fall for these pruning shears. They can work through up to 2.4-centimetre diameter growth but bear in mind that you won’t be able to tackle dry, dead or hardwood with them. For me, they’re perfectly sized as they’re for those with small to medium hands. Other benefits include easier cutting thanks to the gear mechanism and non-stick coating, and they can be sharpened to maintain performance. Soft-grip handles make them comfortable to work with as well.

Best for bonsai growers

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

Draper 73729 pruning secateurs

Be precise

Go for curved blades that enable trimming in tight spaces.

Pros:

  • Stainless-steel blades
  • Useful for fine tasks
  • Locking lever

Cons:

  • An addition to your kit rather than workhorses

Bonsai growers and those who want to be able to trim accurately among profuse growth should check out these pruning shears. They’re great for the deadheading that will prolong flowering in your garden and for trimming soft stems. The slim blades make it easy to work carefully and precisely, and they’re made from hardened and tempered stainless steel that resists corrosion for long life. Soft grip handles make them comfortable in use, and they have a locking lever to use when you’ve finished your work. 

Best set

pruning shears

(Image credit: Amazon)

Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Razorsharp secateurs set

Fit to your hands

Get ready for jobs all round the garden with anvil and bypass secateurs.

Pros:

  • Two different types of pruning shears
  • High carbon steel blades
  • Adjustable width

Cons:

  • Not for thick stems

Invest in this set of two types of pruning shears, and you’ll be ready to tackle both green stems with the bypass design and dead material with the anvil pruning shears. I like that they‘ve been developed with the horticultural team from Kew Gardens, giving them outstanding credentials. Gardening families might appreciate that there’s a choice of two cutting widths on both, so you can adjust to suit smaller or larger hands as necessary. For enduring sharpness, the blades are made from high carbon steel, and they’re coated to keep the action of cutting smooth. 

Our verdict

Pruning shears that are sharp and comfortable will help you keep your garden blooming for longer and in great shape. Our number one pick is the JEOutdoors ZEM pruning shears, which will tackle living stems and are light in hand for less fatigue while working.

If you want to work on harder and dead wood, go for the GRÜNTEK Toucan secateurs, which are an anvil model and made for efficient cutting that puts less strain on your wrist. Alternatively, get yourself ready for living and tougher stems with the Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Razorsharp secateurs set, which delivers both bypass and anvil pruning shears in the set. It would make an excellent gift for a gardening friend, too.

Why trust us?

At GardeningETC, we recommend the best products to enhance your life. As expert curators, we handpick products based on quality and usefulness to positively impact your day-to-day, from cart to doorstep. We take our responsibility seriously – testing products, reading reviews, and sourcing knowledgeable outlets to ensure our selections are worthy of your time and money. We deliver detailed product overviews, balancing objective information with subjective opinions, so making the best choice for your home and lifestyle is as easy as possible.

Why trust me?

As a gardener as well as a gardening writer, I can vouch for the fact that pruning shears that can be kept sharp, cut cleanly, and don’t cause fatigue are a buy you’ll treasure.