The 10 Best Pruning Shears

Updated February 21, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Pruning Shears
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Got a green thumb and planning on doing some tidying up in the garden this year? These tough pruning shears are the ultimate gardener's tool. They offer a handy edge in getting rid of unwanted branches on plants, bushes and more. Whether you need to cut through thick, dead limbs or just snip a few petals, this selection contains a pair for you. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best pruning shear on Amazon.

10. Basilica Botanica BB-002

The Basilica Botanica BB-002 are a little pricier than most other models, but their performance makes them worth every penny. Their smart design fits well in the hand, and they rarely ever jam up from sap or get stuck on a branch.
  • stand up well to daily use
  • internal mechanisms are high quality
  • smooth handle is a bit slippery
Brand Basilica Botanica
Model BB-002
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

9. Felco F7

The Felco F7 feature a rotating handle that allows your fingers to twist and turn as you cut through branches. It may feel a little strange at first, but you'll quickly notice how much less force you are using, resulting in less fatigue while you work.
  • backed by a lifetime warranty
  • blades don't gum up from sap
  • too wide for some users to grip
Brand Felco
Model F-7
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0


The ARS VS8Z are sharper than many other models, so they cut effectively without requiring a large amount of force. The blades are plated with hard chrome, offering maximum protection against rust in case you accidentally leave them outside.
  • quality japanese craftsmanship
  • blades can be replaced if damaged
  • safety latch is difficult to use
Brand ARS
Model HP-VS8Z
Weight 7.2 ounces
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

7. Corona Classic Cut

Don't let the budget price of the Corona Classic Cut fool you. These are a high quality choice that can cut through a 1-inch thick branch without a lot of grunting and groaning, or swearing, if you are anything like us. They are available in smaller sizes, as well.
  • heat-treated steel construction
  • blades stay perfectly aligned
  • can get rusty rather quickly
Brand Corona
Model BP 3180D
Weight 13.6 ounces
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

6. Power Drive GT-3142

The Power Drive GT-3142 are an extremely attractive option, with their bright green accent handle and matte steel metal. Plus, they have a helpful ratcheting feature, so you can release and squeeze again without them falling off the branch.
  • nick and dent-resistant blades
  • minimize the strain on your wrist
  • arrive coated with too much oil
Brand Gardenite
Model GT-3142
Weight 8 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0

5. Fiskars 9109

With a tough, all-steel design, the Fiskars 9109 are more than capable of handling anything you throw their way. They are also relatively compact, so you can fit them in a vest pocket while going about your various other gardening duties.
  • easy-to-use locking mechanism
  • very comfortable non-slip grips
  • great for people with arthritis
Brand Fiskars 9109
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. Okatsune 101

The Okatsune 101 have angled blades, which creates a more ergonomic grip, ultimately helping you to achieve a smoother cut no matter what you're using them on. They are made from incredibly strong Izumo Yasuki Japanese steel, and can even handle thick bamboo.
  • rarely ever crush branches
  • three-quarter-inch cutting capacity
  • can be operated with one hand
Brand Okatsune
Model NO.101
Weight 7 ounces
Rating 4.3 / 5.0

3. Hydrofarm HGPP400C

The Hydrofarm HGPP400C are ideal for Bonsai upkeep, or any other light leaf trimming work where precision is needed for shaping. They feature slim, curved blades that fit into any tight crevice, but definitely can't handle cutting through dense dead branches.
  • come with a holster
  • retain an edge well
  • easy to clean after use
Brand Hydrofarm HGPP400C
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

2. Gardener's Friend

The Gardener's Friend have a lightweight alloy construction and a thick rubberized grip that makes them easy and comfortable enough for the home user, yet durable enough for professionals. There is no reason why they shouldn't hold up for decades to come.
  • multi-stage ratcheting action
  • suitable for lefties and righties
  • come with an oiled cleaning sponge
Brand The Gardener's Friend
Model 3130-3, 205mm Ratchet P
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Gardenite Ultra Snip

The Gardenite Ultra Snip are ideal for precision work where thicker blades could be a hindrance, and for light-duty trimming, such as pruning flowers and small stems. They are a good budget choice, and made with stainless steel.
  • well-padded rubber grips
  • spring opens smoothly after each cut
  • keep their edge for a long time
Brand Gardenite
Model GT-3150L
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

Why Plants Need Pruning

Pruning is a process of selecting and cutting specific branches on a plant to stimulate new growth and encourage it to become more bushy. It may seem counter-intuitive to some, but cutting a plants growing stalks can be one the best ways to make it healthier and cause it to produce more fruits or flowers.

When a plant grows naturally, without any external factors inhibiting or shaping it, the main stem dominates the plant's growth. In doing so, it also inhibits the growth of the lower branches. Many people think this is because the top stem is closest to the light source, and therefore completes more photosynthesis. This is actually untrue. The main stem dominates growth solely because of the fact that it was there first, which makes it stronger and more vigorous than the others.

A hormone known as auxin is released by the actively growing tips of a plant and transported down into the main stem. This is the chemical that is responsible for inhibiting the growth of other branches on a plant. In order for a growing shoot to be active, it must be able to export its auxin into the main stem.

Research has shown that once substantial amounts of auxin exist in the main stem, it will not accept any more. The top stem in an unpruned plant is the most vigorous and fills up the main stem with its auxin. This means that the less vigorous branches cannot export their auxin, hence they cannot grow very much.

When the upper branches of a plant are pruned, they stop producing auxin for a short period of time while they focus on healing. This gives the lower, less powerful branches a chance to export their auxin, resulting in vigorous growth. Regularly pruning a plant will cause it to become more bushy, and since the lower branches become stronger and healthier, it will also cause a plant to produce more flowers or fruit.

Understanding The Different Types Of Pruning Shears

Many gardeners find pruning shears to be one of the handiest tools in their arsenal. It is not uncommon for amateur gardeners to start out using just a pair of craft or kitchen shears, but sooner or later, one will need to cut back hardy wood stems, and then a good pair of hand pruning shears will be invaluable.

Pruning shears come in three types; bypass, anvil, and ratchet. The most popular form are bypass pruners. They feature two curved blades which bypass each other when closing. Either one or both of these blades can be sharpened, which allows them to make a nice clean cut and makes them ideal for green shrubbery. Unfortunately they do not provide much additional leverage when cutting, so they can be hard to use on dead wood.

Anvil pruning shears feature one straight, sharpened cutting blade which closes against a flat, dull anvil. They are designed to hack through branches with a crushing motion, unlike the cutting motion of bypass pruning shears. This makes them work well on tough dead branches, but not a good choice for living stems as it can damage them. Anvil pruning shears are also often bulkier than bypass shears, which can make it difficult to get them into tight spots.

Ratchet pruning shears are generally a variation on anvil pruners, but they feature a ratcheting mechanism that allows the cut to be performed in stages. This gives them more leverage than either of the other two types and makes them ideal for those with smaller or less powerful hands. They are also a good choice for someone who will performing a lot of pruning.

How To Care For Pruning Shears

Proper care and maintenance of pruning shears is vital to keeping them in good working order for years to come. While unmaintained shears may become unusable after just a few years, a well maintained pair can last a lifetime.

One of the most important preventative maintenance steps a person can take is to clean and oil their shears after they are finished using them for the day. First start by wiping off any debris with a dry cloth. Then use warm soapy water or fine steel wool to remove any plant sap. There are also a few other surprising household items that can remove tree sap. After drying the blades, apply some mineral oil to the blades, the closing mechanism, and the spring. If one doesn't have mineral oil, any household oil can be used.

If you notice that more effort is required to cut through branches then when the shears were first purchased, it is mostly likely time to sharpen the blades. This can be accomplished with a diamond hand file or sharpening stone. Following the factory bevel angle, run it along the length of the blade a few times. After it feels sharp, run the sharpening stone along the flat side of the blade to remove any burrs.

Another thing that can make it harder to make a cut is overly tight tension between the blades. More often than not though, pruning shears tend to lose tension over time instead of tightening. If branches begin to bind between the blades when closing instead of being cut, most likely loose tension is to blame. This can be adjusted by tightening or loosening the center screw located at the base of the blades.

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Last updated on February 21, 2018 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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