Last Updated On: November 18th, 2019
When you're a beginning gardener, there are so many tools, products, and garden supplies to choose from. Often it becomes confusing trying to find what you need and not knowing whether the tool or product you want to invest in is a good, reputable brand.
Pruning tools are no different.
The problem is with such a huge selection available, how can you possibly narrow it down to the best pruning shears to invest in for your time and money?
The reality is your trees, shrubs, and flowers are all screaming for your attention so they can be healthy and continue growing season after season. You need to make a decision now. You need to choose the best pruning shears based on the product's dependability, grip, comfort, and price.
Luckily, we are here to help, so relax!
Read our best pruning shears review to learn the following:
- A quick introduction to pruning shears.
- An overview of pruning shears uses.
- The two different kinds of pruning shears to choose from, bypass or anvil.
- Our time-tested recommendation for the all-around best pruning shears.
Our recommendation below will highlight the best pruning shears you should be using in order to keep your plants healthy and your garden looking great!
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Top 3 Best Pruning Shears for Your Garden
1) Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Hand Pruner
|-Fully heat-treated, forged steel.
-Alloy construction/Minimal pieces
-Wire-cutter/ Non-slip grips.
|-Slightly heavier than other shears.||Check Amazon Price!|
|2) Felco F-8 Classic Pruner with Comfortable Ergonomic Design||- Swiss-precision hardened steel blade.
- Alloy handles.
- Wire-cutter/Non-slip grips.
|-Needs periodic tightening.
-Numerous pieces to maintain.
|Check Amazon Price!|
|3) Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shears||-Forged all-steel, hardened construct.
- Non-slip grips.
- Self-cleaning/Low friction blade coat.
|- Good for smaller cuts only.
- Locking mechanism loosens over time.
|Check Amazon Price!|
Quick Pruning Overview
Pruning shears, also known as pruners, hand pruners, or hand snips, are a go-to tool for your garden for many reasons.
First of all, pruning is a necessary DIY garden maintenance task that can help improve the aesthetic look of your plants. Pruning is defined as the act of removing branches, stems, leaves, flowers, and other plant tissues, which is done in order to follow the "3 Pillars of Pruning©."
The "3 Pillars of Pruning" refer to why you should prune your plants and are as follows:
- Pillar 1: Pruning out dead/diseased plant material.
- Pillar 2: Prune out crossing or rubbing branches or stems.
- Pillar 3: Prune to shape or form plants.
There are other reasons to prune, such as for safety reasons, but the "3 pillars" are critical to follow for overall garden health and maintenance.
Types of Pruning Cuts
When you prune, you make two kinds of cuts: thinning cuts and heading cuts.
Upon removing material from any plant, the plant will redirect its energy to the stems and buds that remain. That's why you definitely need the best pruning shears you can find to get the job done and give your plants clean cuts so they heal faster and stay healthy.
Why You Need The Best Pruning Shears
Now that you have some basic pruning knowledge, let's talk about the hand pruners that will fit your needs by starting with what they are and how they differ from loppers.
But first, why do you even need them? How about dependability, durability, and cleanliness. The best pruning shears are dependable due to how they're built as well as the materials used to construct them. In addition, these hand pruners will give you the cleanest cuts on your plants so they look their best and heal fast. Finally, they are durable for use in different pruning situations and weather.
Pruners vs. Loppers
Pruning shears are a hand-held garden tool used to cut away smaller branches or stems with more precision and finesse. Hand pruners work best when used on small stems up to 1-inch thick.
Loppers, on the other hand, can be used for some fine-cuts. However, they are best used for larger stems or branches over 1-inch thick, that need more cutting leverage. This tool is generally used for stems up to 2 or 2 1/2 inches in diameter. If larger than 2 1/2 inch stems, and unless you are using some compound-loppers, a handsaw or chainsaw would be best.
For more information about the differences, click here to listen to DIY Garden Minute Ep5 Pruning Shears vs Loppers!
Best Pruning Shears: Types and Features
Anvil vs. Bypass: Which Pruners Are Right For You?
- The bypass shears hold and position a stem much better than an anvil type of pruning shear.
- The bypass shears also cradle the stem for a cut where anvil shears just sit on top of a cutting board, basically.
- Bypass shears create a clean cut due to the shearing cut with minimal stem tissue damage, where anvil shears actually crush
the stem to complete it's cut.
- Bypass shears make more precise cuts, where anvil shears have a blunt, curved cutting tip that is best for basic removal of plant mass.
- The final reason bypass shears are better is due to their ability to stay sharp longer as the shearing mechanism is built with a grove that moves any sap away from the blade keeping it cleaner longer. Anvil pruners don't have this.
Therefore, bypass hand pruners are the best type of pruning shear compared to anvil pruning shears for the reasons listed above.
Features Of The Best Pruning Shears
- Cutting Size Matters - You need the tool that will make the correct size cuts for your needs. You need pruning shears that cut up to 1-inch diameter stems.
- The Grip, The Feel - You need to know how it will feel in your hand and how comfortable it will be when actually using it. If it doesn't feel comfortable in your hand just holding it, then it definitely won't be comfortable to use. Our recommended hand pruners are very comfortable.
- Weight Issues - The weight of the pruning shears in your hand is also very important. Lightness and maneuverability will be a huge factor in how consistent your cuts will be and your patience during longer pruning sessions. In addition, think about how easy the pruners will be after holding them for extended amounts of time.
- Blade Material - You want the strongest treated steel you can find that is tempered to be as durable as possible. No matter how careful you think you will be, if not steel and not strong or treated, you WILL snap or break that cutting blade on your bypass pruners at some point. It is inevitable.
You need to consider:
- What will you use the pruning shears for and what plants will you prune?
- Do you need a more ergonomic pruning shear for your wrist or hands?
- How much does the pruning shear weigh and will you be comfortable holding the shear for an hour or longer?
- What material is the cutting blade made from and how was it treated so you have the most durable tool?
Pro-tip: Never cut more than 1/3 of an entire plant as this can stress the plant out and create root die-back.
Benefits of Best Pruning Shears
In Sean's opinion, you should always opt for bypass pruners over anvil pruners. Whether cutting whole stems or needing to finely-snip a petite flower or stem, the bypass pruning shears are best. Sean's absolute favorite pruning shears, Corona ClassicCUT bypass pruning shears, not only get the job done, they can even cut a metal wire using the very back notch in the blade.
The Corona ClassicCUT pruning shears are the best basic pruning shears you can buy because they are built with strength and dependability. Other pruning shears out there might feature pivoting lower handles that are more ergonomically shaped to fit your hand better, but they also have more moving parts that need to be maintained and could fail over time. Furthermore, those models are not made from just two complete pieces of solid steel. Just food-for-thought.
The Corona ClassicCUT bypass pruning shears were indispensable for Sean while running a landscape business for over 10 years. Year after year, through all the seasons, these pruning shears never failed to stay sharp or hold together. Because of this, the ClassicCUT pruning shears are still Sean's go-to pruning tool.
Sean has tested and used hand shears made by Felco and Fiskars which are good brands, but he prefers Corona over any other brand. For durability, reliability, ease of use and maintenance of your hand shears, Corona beats them all!
The Top 3 Best Pruning Shears
1) Corona ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Hand Pruner
Cutting Size: 1-inch | Weight: 2.1 lbs | Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty
Sean really likes the simplicity of construction, ease of use, the durability, and how the ClassicCUT feels in his hands when using this Corona Product. With the 1-inch diameter cutting size and close-clean cuts, the ClassicCUT makes pruning easy and seamless. The ClassicCUT consists of two forged-steel pieces. The upper and lower handles pivot on the center bolt with the cutting blade and cradle the extensions of the handles for the two-piece cutting system. This means very few pieces to maintain or potential to fail and need replacement.
Built into this prime pruning tool is technology to resharpen the cutting blade with each use and also a Sap-Groove that keeps plant sap from staying on the blade to stop stickiness. The fully heat-treated, forged steel alloy construction give these pruning shears durability and long-life use in extreme conditions in your yard. And there is a wire-cutting notch on the very back of the blade. The 2+ pounds of weight could be an issue for some gardeners, though, so make sure to see how it feels in your hand.
2) Felco F-8 Classic Pruner
Cutting Size: 1-inch | Weight: 10.2 ounces | Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty
Sean's second favorite hand pruning shear is the Felco F-8 Classic Pruner. It has a very different feel than the Corona ClassicCUT, but is very versatile and SUPER lightweight. The shape of the alloy handles makes it feel like an extension of your forearm along with easy use during a day of pruning with its ergonomic design. With it's hardened, hollow-ground Swiss carbon steel blade it has similar durability and dependability compared to the Corona ClassicCUT pruner. This pruning shear also features a cushioned stop when you make your cuts so it isn't jolting your hand and, like the Corona ClassicCUT, this pruning shear has a sap-groove to keep the cutting blade cleaner and not sticky after each use.
This pruning shear is #2 as it has more physical pieces that need to be maintained and/or checked before each use increasing its potential to fail or be replaced.
3) Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shears
Cutting Size: 5/8-inch | Weight: 10.4 ounces | Warranty: Lifetime Warranty
Sean's third favorite pruning shear is the Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shears. Like the Felco F-8, it is much lighter weight than the Corona ClassicCUT. It has a different feel to it than the Felco F-8, but similar to the Corona ClassicCUT, with its simple straight handle design and cutting blade. The Fiskars All Steel Bypass Pruning Shear is great for cutting stems and light branches with an easy-open lock that protects you and the blade when not in use, transport, or storage.
This pruning shear is manufactured with a fully-hardened, precision ground steel blade that stays sharp longer even with heavy use. The blade also has a low-friction coating that helps it glide through wood and prevents the blad from getting gummy from plant sap, along with the sap-groove built in, just like the Corona ClassicCUT and the Felco F-8.
This pruning shear, like the Felco F-8, has more pieces than the Corona ClassicCUT, so it will need more tuning before each use and more pieces mean more opportunity for failure. In addition, the blade locking mechanism can loosen making it lock on its own when in use meaning you may need to stop and unlock the shears almost every time you try to make a cut. This pruning shear does have a lifetime warranty, so that is something to consider.
Additional Recommended Pruning Supplies
Best Pruning Shears Conclusion
So, when you are ready to prune your garden plants to keep them healthy and shaped just right, make sure you have your bypass pruning shears ready. The three bypass pruning shears we have presented are well made, durable and strong. Mostly made from tempered, treated alloys and steel, each one of your cuts will be clean and precise.
Bypass pruning shears are highly recommended over anvil-types due to their precision and ability to reach difficult cuts.
Overall, the Corona ClassicCUT Bypass Pruning Shears are our very favorite based on their construction, materials, and ease of use. They may weigh more than the other two bypass pruners we showed you here, but their uncomplicated general maintenance and longevity are superior to other pruners.
Related Pruning Resources:
- How to Best Prune Your Garden This Winter
- 7 Best Garden Tools For Your Winter Pruning Needs
- Ep. 9: Fall Pruning Do's and Don'ts
- DIY Garden Minute ep. 2: Pruning vs. Dead-Heading Revealed!
Well, that's all for now.
Thanks for reading and we hope we inspired you or educated you about the best pruning shears in our tool review. Check out our Resource Library page for FREE printable freebies in our Resource Library!
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
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