When it comes to essential items for any good gardener, a good pair of pruning shears or secateurs is on that list. Whether you’re growing fruits or flowers, regular pruning is vital for plant health.
Especially as we move into the colder months, plants like the Black Cherry Tree prefer being pruned in the winter time. Follow our tool buyer’s guide to the best pruning shears on market and learn how to use and care for them effectively.
What Are Pruning Shears?
Pruning shears or secateurs are used for everyday trimming of branches and stems. Regular pruning will help stimulate plant growth, prevent the spread of pests and diseases whilst allowing you to maintain plant shape and size.
Most garden plants require thorough pruning at some point in the year. A solid set of secateurs should be able to easily cut through branches as thick as ¾-inches.
The sharp blades and spring mechanism allow you to trim and prune effortlessly. When it comes to cutting larger branches, you can use the ‘rule of thumb’, anything that is thicker than your average thumb will likely blunt your shears.
General use scissors won’t provide a clean cut, which is essential to prune properly. Plus, it may exert excessive pressure on your hands.
What Are The Best Pruning Shears?
Which pruning shears you choose will depend on your preference and needs. Different blade types will offer different types of cuts. Plus, many brands offer advanced handles and lock-safety mechanisms.
Investing in the right kind of shears, and looking after them correctly, will guarantee many years of use. This is why shears made from solid materials are highly recommended.
You will want to avoid plastic as they simply don’t last as long. More importantly, you’ll want to ensure the shear blades are made from a solid, sharp steel.
When it comes to maintenance, powder coated steel blades offer the easiest clean as opposed to its counterparts.
When it comes to blade materials, you’ll want to consider:
- Stainless Steel. This is the most common shear variety available as it’s great for everyday cutting.
- Carbon Steel. Carbon steel is far stronger than stainless steel, however, it has been known to rust.
- Titanium Coated. This is perhaps the way to go, as it’s one of the strongest blade materials which isn’t prone to rust.
The manufactured shape and blade mechanism are equally as important as the blade materials. You will find the two most common types are bypass or anvil.
Anvil vs Bypass Pruners
Besides the blade shape, the type of cut is the most defining difference between anvil and bypass pruners. Bypass shears are the most common on the market.
Bypass pruning shears function like scissors, where the two sharp blades slice through material. With shears, you’ll find that the bottom blade also functions to keep the branch or stem in place as you cut.
Bypass shears are best for:
- Making easy, clean cuts on plants, shrubs and other everyday plants.
- Getting into tighter spots to prune.
Anvil pruning shears work slightly differently. Anvil shears will have a sharp upper blade and a blunt lower blade, which gives them a lot more power. Unfortunately, the cut won’t be as clean.
Anvil shears are best for:
- Cutting thicker branches that require more power.
- Cutting through dead branches and foliage.
Best Hand Pruners on Market
Thinking of investing in a good pair of secateurs or just wanting to upgrade from an old, blunt pair? Here’s a look at our 7 top picks when it comes to best pruning shears in 2023:
How Do I Choose Pruning Shears?
With so many great options on market, it’s hard to know exactly which will be just right. While features like a life-time warranty are great, you’ll want to ensure durability vs cost and that all comes down to materials and manufacturing.
Here are 4 Key factors you should consider before buying:
- Which type of shears you want will depend on what you need them for.
- Bypass pruning shears are great for general use.
- Anvil pruning shears are better for gardens with larger plants and foliage.
- Some gardeners choose to have one of each, so they’re got the right tool for any task.
- Consider whether the shears come with an ergonomic design or specialized hand grips.
- Do your shears offer a specialized design or mechanism that make them easy to use without too much effort?
3. Size & Weight
- Heavy-duty pruning shears will have a lot more weight to them, which can begin to strain the hand.
- For everyday use, it is recommended to find a lightweight option that allows you to make multiple cuts without fatigue.
4. Easy Clean
- Some pruning shears will come with a clever sap groove which avoids sap getting stuck in the shear mechanism or on the blades.
- Secateurs with a non-stick coating are also far easier to clean.
How to Clean & Take Care of Pruning Shears?
Once you’ve chosen and purchased your pruning shears, it’s important to take care of them properly to maintain blade sharpness and improve tool longevity.
It is recommended to clean your pruning shears after every use to avoid any sap or debris build up. More so, when working with diseased plants or pest-ridden plants, sanitizing your shears can help prevent spread.
Residual sap can be easily removed with a fine grade steel wool so as not to affect the finish of your sheers. Ensure you dry your shears properly after cleaning.
It is also recommended to spray your pruning shears regularly with a biodegradable lubricant. When storing your secateurs, be sure that they are kept somewhere dry and indoors, like a shed or garage. Moisture may cause your shears to rust.
For more tools essential to gardening, here's our list of best lawn care tools for gardeners.
Wrapping Up Best Pruning Shears Guide
So, there you have it. Everything you need to know when looking for the best pruning shears in 2023. Always be sure to check both the handle and blade materials, to ensure they are solid and won’t give way in time.
Be sure to care for your pruning shears properly after purchase to make sure you really get value for money and can enjoy many years of easy, effortless pruning.