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The Best Hand Pruners

A great set of hand pruners is an important part of any gardener’s set of tools. Pruners will let you trim back any unwanted growth cleanly and easily. While you could use scissors on soft stems, pruners will handle thicker, woodier branches and stalks.

Hand pruners are sometimes called pruning shears, pruning scissors, or secateurs. All these names refer to the same tool.

What To Use Hand Pruners For 

Hand pruners can be used to cut living or dead stalks. Most can handle a target up to about ¼” in diameter.

You can use them to trim back unwanted growth from your garden. They also work to cut off small, dead branches. Even woody stems like rose bushes and hydrangeas will fall to a good pair of pruners. Of course, for thicker parts of these, you may need a pruning saw, but for younger, narrow pieces hand pruners will suffice.

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They also work for less durable stalks, of course. Since you’ll likely need them anyway for the thicker stuff, you can avoid having to carry a second tool. Just keep your pruners handy for all your trimming needs.

There are two basic types of hand pruners: anvil pruners and bypass pruners. They work a bit differently and therefore each has its own particular use.

Anvil pruners have one blade. The other side is a hard, flat surface. The blade slices down against the “anvil”, crushing and cutting through the branch. It’s almost like cutting on a cutting board – one knife and one hard surface.  It’s best to use these on dead twigs and branches, since the crushing action can also lead to tearing, doing more damage to the plant.

Bypass pruners work more like scissors. Both blades are sharp and they slide past one another. This creates a cleaner cut although it can be tougher to get through harder stalks. 

Loppers are a similar tool. However, they require two hands. Typically they can cut through thicker branches up to an inch or inch and a half thick.

What To Look For In Hand Pruners

The most important features in hand pruners include the ability to cut and the comfort of using them.

First, be sure to choose the right type of pruners for your needs. If you’re trimming a lot of dead growth from a bush or tree, you must likely want anvil pruners. But if you’re working with live growth, bypass pruners will work better.

You’ll also want to see how you can sharpen the blades. Of course, they will wear down over time. To keep 

In either case, the trimmers should be easy to use with one hand. The grip should fit your hand comfortably. You should be able to squeeze them shut without contorting your fingers. 

The blade or blades should glide smoothly and cut cleanly. They may take a little bit of breaking in, but there should not be considerable resistance. Also, keep them clean and oiled so that sap doesn’t build up.

Comfortable grips can make the job easier. They’re important to help reduce stress on your hands. Even with good pruners, repeated use can quickly tire your hand, fingers, and wrist. So it’s important to find a set that fits your hands well.

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Our Picks for the Best Hand Pruning Shears 

Let’ s have a look at some of the best hand pruners. These are the models that we found best for most people who need them for general garden use. We think you’ll appreciate them, too!

Best Bypass Pruners

Felco F-6 Classic Pruner For Smaller Hands

felco pruners

These bypass shears from Felco are a high-quality, durable tool. They’ll help you trim twigs and stems without hassle. As an added feature, there’s even a wire cutter incorporated into the blades!

The narrow point at the end of the blades makes it easy to get them into tight spots.

The blades offer good resistance. They’re not too hard to squeeze shut. At the same time, you won’t accidentally close them.

The F-6 is the smaller version of the Felco bypass trimmers. It measures 7.7 inches long. You can cut stems up to about ¾” thick. The overall weight is just under half a pound.

They fit great in a smaller man’s hand or an average woman’s hand. Various other sizes are available at the same link, although it’s hard to identify how they’re named. For larger hands, it seems like the F2 is the best fit.

Felco products are made in Switzerland.

These are expensive compared to other pruners. However, Felco products are worth the investment. We’ve always had good experiences with them. And almost any negative reviews we’ve seen date back nearly a decade.

gonicc 8″ Professional Sharp Bypass Pruning Shears 

bypass pruning shears - gonicc brand

Another maker of quality garden products, gonicc doesn’t disappoint with these pruning shears.

They can cut branches up to ¾” in diameter. They also handle the job nicely with a “sap groove”. This channel in the blade carries away the sap to help keep the blades from sticking.

The blades are made from carbon steel and the handles are aluminum with a PVC cover. The unit measures about 8” long. The handle is relatively ergonomic and easy to grip.

The tool weighs about 8.8 ounces. That’s heavier than others we’ve reviewed but still reasonable.

There are reports that these occasionally arrive either over- or under-tightened. Be sure to check the bolt at the joint to make sure it won’t fall off. It’s easy to adjust with basic tools.

The price aligns with similar products of the same quality, making them a decent buy.

Corona BP 3160 ClassicCUT Forged Bypass Hand Pruner, 3/4 Inch Cut

coronia hand pruners - bypass style

Corona’s entry in the bypass pruner market is this great pair that can cut stalks about ¾” in diameter or smaller. They offer it as a single piece or in packs of up to 5.

The blades are carbon steel. They have a nice curve and are thin at the point so you can reach where you need to.  The handles are forged steel.

The lock can be manipulated whether you’re right- or left-handed (thanks for thinking of us lefties!).

The tool measures a bit over 8 inches long and weighs half a pound.

Be aware that if you’re cutting thicker pieces, the handles have to open wider, too. This could have been better designed because it can become unwieldy for smaller hands.

The price is reasonable and with decent care, they will hold up and handle your average garden work well.

Best Anvil Pruners

Felco Pruning Shears (F 31) 

felco anvil garden pruners

Felco offers top-flight anvil pruners, too. The F31 is a great product that will get the job done right Of course, it comes with a bigger price tag, but it’s worth it.

The hardened steel blades hold up well and can cut up to .98”-thick branches. The handles are forged aluminum and offer comfort and durability.

The overall length of these pruners is 8.3 inches. They weigh 8 ounces – around average for quality trimmers.

They do open rather wide if you’re attempting to cut bigger pieces. That can make them tough for smaller hands to wield.

This is a high-quality tool. The price matches the quality, but don’t expect them to cost what good products run. They’re beyond almost all other products in terms of quality, so the price reflects that.

Fiskars Power-Lever Anvil Pruner

fiskars anvil pruners

Fiskars is one of our favorite brands. If you need an anvil hand pruner, you’ll love this model for its quality. The price won’t disappoint, either!

These pruners measure ten inches long. They’ll handle branches up to about ⅝” thick. That’s a bit smaller than the bypass pruners we’ve looked at, but still a decent size.

The blades are made of hardened steel. Since they are anvil cutters, only one side is sharp. The ability to cut “woodier” stems depends largely on your own strength since these are relying on the pressure you can put against the sharp side.

The grips are about 4 ¼” long, making them good for an average man’s hand.  

Fiskers offers a lifetime warranty on these. The price is good for this type of product.

gonicc 8″ Professional SK-5 Steel Blade Sharp Anvil Pruning Shears

anvil garden scissors by gonicc

The gonicc GPPS-1001 is the brand’s anvil-style pruning shear. It offers a good price, quality construction, and ease of use. 

The blades are made of carbon steel, which, as in other models we’ve looked at, makes them strong and helps them hold their edge.

As the title says, these pruners measure eight inches long. They can cut up to ¾”-diameter branches, depending on the hardness of the branch. They weigh only 4.8 ounces. Their durability for the weight is awesome.

Conclusion

Hand pruners are a key tool for caring for your lawn and garden. They’ll help you trim stems, stalks, and even branches. If you’re cutting living plants, bypass blades can help since they make a cleaner cut. Anvil pruners let you get some extra force but can tear or crush, so it’s best to use them on dead material. In either case, be sure to get a pair that fit your hand well and give you good leverage for doing the job!