Pruning shears are a must-have for the health of your plants and the beauty of your garden. With the right pair, you’re virtually unstoppable. Yet, not all pruning shears are created equal, and there’s a lot to consider before making an informed decision.

If you need some hand shears to help you cut through stems and branches, continue reading to find the best options on the market and what makes them our favorites.

The Best Pruning Shears Right Now

The abundance of pruning shears on the market can be overwhelming. There are so many types, materials, uses, and mechanisms.

We’ll take the guesswork out of your next purchase by narrowing down the best picks and giving you a diverse selection of options.

Best Overall: Mockins Stainless Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

There are more than a few reasons why this pruning shear has caught our attention. First things first, it’s quite affordable. The fact that it comes in four different colors doesn’t hurt either.

Also, as a bypass pruner, it’s beginner-friendly and suits a lot of different uses, including cutting flowers, herbs, and bushes. The non-slip, ergonomic rubber handles keep your hands fatigue-free. The shock-absorbing rubber bumpers definitely reduce the strain of usage as well.

One thing that separates a good pruner from a lower-grade counterpart is the existence of a safety lock that protects you from the blades when not in use, and that one definitely has it.

Pros

Relatively affordable

Safety lock that keeps blades closed when not in use

Ergonomic rubber handles

Shock-absorbing bumpers

Good for cutting flowers

Cons

The size is too large for smaller hands

Best Ratchet: Corona RP 3230 Ratchet Anvil Pruner

If you’re looking for a good ratchet pruner, look no further than this one. For its mechanism, it’s quite affordable.

The ratchet mechanism allows you to cut through thicker branches and stems without straining or leaving your hands sore. In fact, the ratchet pruner is pretty lightweight despite its endurance for heavy-duty use.

Also, the non-slip co-molded handles are comfortable but give you a strong grip. Like any shear worth your time, it comes with a safety lock that keeps you safe from the blades. Speaking of the blades, they have a non-stick coating, which makes for a pretty hassle-free clean-up.

Pros

Non-stick keeps the blades clean

Safety lock that keeps blades closed when not in use

Ratchet mechanism reduces fatigue when cutting thicker branches

Non-slip co-molded grips are comfortable and secure

Lightweight yet heavy-duty

Cons

The size is too large for smaller hands

Best Straight Blade: Tabor Tools K77A Straight Pruning Shears

Many gardeners find straight blades to be more suitable for their applications than the typical anvil or bypass pruner. If you’re looking for the long reach of straight blades that enable you to cut inside bundles with ease, we highly recommend this pruning shear.

The straight blades allow you to cut small to medium plants. The harvesting powers of this gardening tool are insane, as you can harvest flowers, veggies, grapes, and more.

Its open/close metal clip makes it easy to store safely. Plus, it has a shock-absorbing folding spring that reduces hand strain. Finally, it works great with small hands.

Pros

Open/close metal clip for easy storage

Shock-absorbing spring reduces hand strain

Best for small to medium plants and picking

Fits small hands

Good for cutting flowers

Cons

The spring can get stuck sometimes

Most Simple: Felco F-2 Classic Manual Hand Pruner

We can’t talk about anvil pruning shears without mentioning Felco. Their garden shears are straightforward and to the point. You can also replace all parts, thanks to the lifetime warranty.

They combine high-quality hardened steel blades with a hardened bolt and nut to provide you with unmatchable durability and premium performance.

Also, the forged aluminum handles can survive it all and rotate to ensure maximum comfort. In addition, the cushioned-shock absorber streamlines your usage, reduces injury, and cuts impact.

Fortunately, the design keeps gardeners with small hands in mind.

Pros

High-quality hardened steel blades

Forged aluminum handles that rotate for comfort

Cushioned-shock absorber cuts impact

Fits small hands

Limited lifetime warranty

Cons

Relatively expensive for most people

Best Scissors: Happy Hydro Trimming Scissors

If you find usual pruning shears too intimidating for your flower arrangement work, maybe you need a pair of garden scissors like this one.

Without any springs or distraction, this pair is as simple and lightweight as a pair of household scissors, except that it’s made for plants. You can use it for precise cuts for flowers, herbs, veggies, houseplants, and more.

The non-stick coating helps you clean the blades with ease. The blades are corrosion-resistant, as well. Also, the rubber grips are non-slip and surprisingly comfortable to hold.

Pros

Most scissor-like design

Non-stick keeps the blades clean

Good for cutting flowers

Rubberized non-slip grips for comfort

Cons

Not suitable for thick branches

Very Comfortable: Fiskars Powergear2 Ultrablade Softgrip Pruner

There are tons of pruning shears on the market, but very few are half as comfortable as these ones. Thanks to their contoured rolling handle with patented touchpoints that perfectly fit the shape and motion of the user’s hand, there’s very little competition in this category.

These blades have an UltraBlade coating that keeps sharper five times longer than their counterparts. Also, the patented technology with modified gears multiplies the cutting powers to cut the thickest middles.

Finally, the full lifetime warranty shows complete faith in the quality of the product that’s mirrored in its performance.

Pros

Full lifetime warranty

Patented technology with modified gears

UltraBlade coating to keep sharp for longer

Contoured, rolling handles

Cons

Not suitable for the left-handed

How to Choose Pruning Shears

Regardless of your level of expertise in gardening, there are a few things to consider when purchasing a pair of shears.

How to choose the best pruning shears.

If you’re interested in learning how to judge the quality, durability, and performance of your garden tool, continue reading the features below.

Different Types

Bypass Pruners

As the name suggests, bypass shears work very similarly to a pair of scissors because they have two sharp blades that pass by each other when you make a cut. So, their cuts are precise, sharp, and clean, making them the ideal choice for cutting plant stems and soft tree branches.

Bypass shears are good for all-around use, which means that beginners with no prior experience in gardening shears can use them. The reason is that their clean cuts prevent the risk of damaging the plant.

Anvil Pruners

Anvil pruners work more like a knife on a chopping board because they have a sharp upper blade that presses down to meet a flat, anvil-like metal base.

Anvil pruners are more crushers than cutters, so they’re only recommended when handling dead wood and hardy stems or any job where precision isn’t important. Using these crushers on green stems will damage them.

Ratchet Pruners

Ratchet pruning shears are similar to anvil pruners in that there’s only one sharp blade at work. However, these pruners stand out from anvil pruners by providing a catch-and-hold ratchet mechanism that increases the pressure with each cut without any extra effort from your end. 

This type of pruner provides extra leverage to hands that tire easily. Note that, like the anvil pruner, this type is better suited for dead branches than green stems.

Power Pruners

If you hate manual labor in gardening, you’re not the only one. Electric pruning shears are here to save the day, thanks to their rechargeable batteries that power their work. All you have to do for these electric pruning shears to work is to gently squeeze them, and they’ll do the rest.

Blade Material

Stainless Steel Blades

It’s not difficult to find pruners with stainless steel blades. It’s the most common and affordable type of blade. It also doesn’t rust. However, a stainless steel blade is a tangible proof that you get what you pay for, as it’s not a sharp blade that can cut thick branches and tends to have a short life.

Carbon Steel Blades

A carbon steel blade is of the highest quality. The toughness enables it to cut through thicker branches and denser materials. It’s also a naturally sharp blade that needs much less sharpening than its lower-grade counterparts. As you can probably expect, it costs more. However, it’s worth the price, as it can last for years with proper care.

Note that you need to clean your carbon steel blade regularly to prevent rusting.

Titanium-coated Blades

Nothing says durability like titanium. A titanium-coated blade combines the best of stainless steel and carbon steel blades. Like stainless steel, it doesn’t rust. It’s also corrosion-resistant and quite durable. So, if you can’t choose between a stainless steel or carbon steel blade, chances are you’ll be better off with a titanium-coated one.

Non-stick Blades

Non-stick blades are those that have a non-stick coating to prevent gunk and sappy build-up, as it reduces the blade’s quality as it increases. The protective coating means that you won’t have to clean your pruning shear as much. You can find the non-stick coating on different types of blades, such as stainless steel and carbon steel.

Design Options

Spring Loading

What separates hand shears from your typical household scissors? The spring. The spring-loading technique spares you the effort of having to open and close the shears by hand for each cut. Instead, all you have to do is gently squeeze the handles, and the blades will make the cut.

Quick Tip: All pruners have spring. Your job is to ensure that you get garden shears with secure springs. Otherwise, you’ll have to manually open and close the shears just like you would a pair of scissors.

Locking Mechanism (Safety)

Since pruning shears have sharp blades, there had to be a safety mechanism that protects both the users and the blades. Look for pruning shears that have a strong locking mechanism that keeps the blades closed when they’re not in use. This mechanism keeps you safe from accidentally cutting yourself and keeps the blade sharp for as long as possible.

Ergonomic Design

Get a pair of shears that are comfortable to hold. Like any gardening tool, it gets tiring as time goes by because of how monotonous the hand movements are. Feel the pruners in your hands or ask others how comfortable they felt in their hands. 

Bumpers

Have you ever thought about how much shock all this cutting can produce and how rough it can be on the gardening tool? Some pruning shears that aren’t anvil have bumpers that absorb the cutting shock, making the tools easier, smoother, and much more comfortable to use.

Grip Coatings

Soft Grips

Soft grips make the most comfortable pruning shears to hold, especially if you plan on trimming for a long period of time. Also, they’re not too soft to the point of slipping. In fact, they’re still texturized so that you can still hold them securely in your hands.

PVC or Rubberized Grips

PVC or rubberized grips are made of either PVC or runner. They’re also comfortable. That being said, if you’re the kind of user whose hands get sweaty, we recommend wearing gloves while using them.

Nonetheless, they’re the best option to use in wet conditions because of the traction they provide.

Rigid Grips

As the name suggests, rigid grips are the toughest of them all because they’re made of a combination between metal and PVC, hard plastic, or resin. Needless to say, they’re not a pleasure to hold. However, they’re quite durable and can withstand all environmental elements that can affect other grip coatings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are the most popular questions people have.

What to Look For in Pruning Shears?

Three words: comfort, durability, and safety. You need pruning shears that are comfortable with an ergonomic design, texturized but easy-to-hold handles, and bumpers that absorb shock. Durable blades and spring loading mean high-quality performance and longer shelf life. Finally, the locking mechanism needs to be tough enough to keep the shears closed when not in use.

Which Is Better: Bypass or Anvil Pruners?

Both are the best at something. A bypass pruner is a clean, precise cutter that’s more fit for all living plants whose health you care about, such as delicate stems and woody branches. On the other hand, an anvil pruner is a crusher that enables you to handle deadwood and dry stems.

What Is the Best Brand of Secateurs?

While it’s hard to just narrow it down to only one brand to get your gardening tool from, there are definitely a few brands worth checking out more than others. The brands that have consistently proven they’re worth getting a hand pruner from are Mockins, Corona, Tabor Tools, and Felco.

What Are the Best Pruners for Flowers?

While there are many garden scissors for different uses, some work better than others in certain applications, such as handling delicate flowers. The best options for pruning and harvesting flowers are the Mockins Stainless Steel Bypass Pruning Shears, the Tabor Tools K77A, and the Happy Hydro Trimming Scissors.

Do I Need Pruning Shears?

Yes. Although it’s tempting to “save money” and use household scissors to trim and prune, it’s absolutely not recommended. Pruning shears are specifically made to cut plants without leaving the plants vulnerable to disease or insect damage. Also, using scissors to prune plants can actually damage the scissors if they’re not strong enough.

How Do I Clean Them?

After each use, wash your pruning shears with warm dish soap and water and rinse them to get rid of sap and plant residue that easily build up and damage the blades as time goes by. Don’t forget to dry the shears after each wash to prevent rusting, your shears’ biggest enemy. For sterilization, spray the shears with isopropyl alcohol.

Final Words

  • Bypass pruners are the best for beginners and all-around cutting, while anvil ones are mainly for crushing deadwood rather than cutting.
  • Carbon steel blades are the toughest, while stainless steel ones are the most affordable.
  • Pruners need to have a locking mechanism for safety and an ergonomic design for comfort.