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.
A bypass design for all-round trimming and tidying.
- Suitable for stems and finer branches
- Durable carbon steel blades
- Safety lock
- 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.
Bypass secateurs that work in the left hand.
- Made for left-handers
- Carbon steel blades
- Can cut thicker stems
- 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.
Anvil-style design made for precision work.
- Comfortable to use
- Easy to sharpen blade
- Non-stick coating
- 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.
Care for the roses
Designed for less effortful trimming of fresh growth.
- Easy to sharpen
- Non-stick coating
- Ergonomic handle
- 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.
Go for curved blades that enable trimming in tight spaces.
- Stainless-steel blades
- Useful for fine tasks
- Locking lever
- 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.
Fit to your hands
Get ready for jobs all round the garden with anvil and bypass secateurs.
- Two different types of pruning shears
- High carbon steel blades
- Adjustable width
- 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.
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.
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