Best Pruning Shears 2024 – Pro Tool Reviews


Pruning, like many home improvement and yard work tasks, can be a joy or a nightmare. Some people yearn to be in their yard, snipping and shaping their prized plants. Others loathe it, wanting it to be over with as soon as possible with as little effort as they can muster. Regardless of where you fall, choosing the best pruning shears means selecting a pair capable of getting the job done quickly and effectively. They should leave clean cuts that prevent disease, encourage the plant’s or tree’s health, and improve the overall look of the plant and the space around it.

This guide on the best pruning shears will help those looking for the perfect pair, as we’ll break down what you need to know and which pruners we suggest. 

Our Top Picks

Also In This Article

How We Picked the Best Pruning Shears

We know how important a garden or landscape can be to a homeowner, gardener, or pro, and we know these pursuits require top-tier tools. It was important to us that we suggested only the best pruning tools for consideration, so we called upon all of our experience in gardening, landscaping (and even farmwork, to a degree), and hand tools to come up with some of the most important features we felt pruning shears on this list should have, and that gave us the start we needed.

Once we knew what to look for, we rounded up some of our favorite shears from companies we know and trust. Then, we got very critical about each pair, keeping different aspects in mind. We looked at price, material, style, comfort, ergonomics, and a wide range of other key features to ensure the shears we suggest provide enough value and capability for the average user. Some pruning shears couldn’t cut it, so we removed them from the list like a spent flowerhead. Those that did make it were given awards based on their strengths and what we felt they were best suited for.

Best Overall Pruning Shears

Felco F2 Classic Hand Pruner 068780

Best Overall Pruning Shears

Felco F2 Classic Hand Pruner 068780

When it comes to finding the best pruning shears, the Felco F2 Classic Hand Pruners are always at the top of the list. This pair of pruners features aluminum handles to keep weight low and hardened steel for durability and retaining an edge. The handles are coated in a non-slip soft grip material, which is another reason why this pair is the best bypass pruning shears on the market. 

The Felco F2’s blade has a wire-cutting notch that allows users to spring up vineyard vines or cut support wires for various fruits and vegetables. It also has a sap groove that collects the sap and prevents it from gumming up the lower blade. 

This set of shears features completely replaceable parts. Users can dismantle and order new parts from Felco if anything should fail. It also has a locking lever to keep these pruners closed when not in use, and spring-loaded handles to open the pruners when they’re needed automatically. 

Features

  • Type: Bypass
  • Blade Material: Hardened steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminum 

Pros

  • All parts are replaceable if they wear down over time
  • Features a wire-cutting notch for stringing up vines or support lines
  • Built-in sap groove prevents the blade from gumming up during the day for sharper cuts

Cons

  • It might be too large for some hands and doesn’t feature adjustability

Price: $66.65

Best Pruning Shears For Gardening

Corona AG 4930 Long Straight Snip

Best Pruning Shears For Gardening

Corona AG 4930 Long Straight SnipBest Pruning Shears For Gardening

Corona AG 4930 Long Straight Snip

For simple pruning, deadheading, and trimming the flowers and shrubs in the garden, the Corona AG 49030 Long Straight Snip pruners are a great choice. These inexpensive pruners feature heat-treated steel blades and alloy steel handles, providing a lot of durability for the price point.

These pruners might be the best garden scissors, as they have straight blades that come to a fine tip, allowing users to sneak the tip into tight places and trim as needed. They’re designed for removing fruit from citrus and avocado trees, cleanly snipping the stem, and removing the fruit. The biggest issue is the leather retaining strap, as it will wear down over time and get in the way during use. 

Feature

  • Type: Straight Blade
  • Blade Material: Heat-treated steel
  • Handle Material: Alloy steel

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Simple design perfect for garden work
  • Designed for removing small, delicate fruit from trees 
  • Fine tips allow it to reach into tight spaces for deadheading and other activities

Cons

  • Leather closure strap will wear down over time and can get in the way during use

Price: $11.52

Best Professional Pruning Shears

Bahco Ergo PX-M2 Bypass Pruner

Bahco Ergo PX-M2 Bypass PrunerBahco Ergo PX-M2 Bypass Pruner

Features

  • Type: Bypass
  • Blade Material: High carbon steel
  • Handle Material: Steel

Pros

  • Ergonomic design allows the user to cut with their wrist in the natural position
  • Medium-sized handles are appropriate for most hand sizes
  • Cuts branches up to ¾ inches thick for heavy-duty use

Cons

  • The front grip doesn’t have any cushioning

Professional work involving pruning, trimming, and shaping requires a quality tool like the Bahco Ergo PX-M2 Bypass Pruner. These bypass pruners feature a design that allows users to cut branches up to ¾ inches thick while also maintaining a natural wrist position to improve comfort while cutting. However, it has a cushioned grip on just one of the handles, which is the biggest complaint we could muster.

This model from Bahco features high-carbon steel blades and steel handles. The lower jaw features a pronounced lip to prevent the build-up of sap, promoting clean cuts time after time. The medium-sized handles are comfortable for most people’s hands and can cut branches up to ¾-inch thick. 

Price: ~ $45

Best Heavy-Duty Pruning Shears

Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Pruner Kit DCPR320D1

Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Pruner Kit DCPR320D1Dewalt 20V MAX Cordless Pruner Kit DCPR320D1

Those looking for a heavy-duty pruner that gets the job done without discomfort or overexertion should consider the 20V Max cordless pruner kit from Dewalt. This model uses the brand’s 20V battery system to power the blades, cutting through materials with up to 16 times less effort than traditional pruners, according to Dewalt.

This model can cut through limbs and branches up to 1 ½ inches thick, making it a great option for heavy-duty trimming. It comes with the pruner, a battery, and a charger, as well. Keep in mind that it is large so it might be difficult to fit into tighter places in or around the garden. 

Features

  • Type: Bypass
  • Blade Material: Unknown
  • Handle Material: NA

Pros

  • Uses the brand’s Dewalt battery system to cut with minimal effort from the user
  • Quick blade changes allow users to swap out old, dull blades for sharper cuts
  • Cuts material up to 1 ½ inches thick for maximum versatility

Cons

  • It might be too large to fit into tighter places in and around the garden

Price: $169

Best Ratchet Pruning Shears

Fiskars 6689 Ratchet Hand Pruner 366891-1001

Fiskars 6689 Ratchet Hand PrunerFiskars 6689 Ratchet Hand Pruner

The Fiskars 6689 Ratchet Hand Pruner is a solid choice for anyone who needs a little help cutting through garden material. This pruner features a ratcheting handle that allows the user to apply force in smaller intervals, slowly working the blades through the material. This is a great option for folks with arthritis, diminished hand strength, or even just tough materials.

The Fiskars model features anvil-style jaws that will crush and cut through a wide range of materials, up to ¾ inches thick. The blade is coated with a low-friction coating to minimize sap build-up and allow the blade to slide through materials more easily. Our only real complaint is that the handles feature a lot more plastic than the other models, but the steel does run through the entire handle. 

Features

  • Type: Ratcheting
  • Blade Material: Hardened steel
  • Handle Material: Steel and plastic

Pros

  • Ratcheting system allows user to apply force with less effort and fatigue
  • Anvil-style jaws provide lots of crushing power over a wide range of materials
  • Blades are coated with a low-friction coating to prevent sap buildup and allow them to cut through material easier

Cons

  • More plastic than most other pruning shears

Price: $35.03

Best Anvil Pruner

Felco Pruning Shears One-Hand Anvil F 31

Best Anvil Pruner

Felco Pruning Shears One-Hand Anvil F 31Best Anvil Pruner

Felco Pruning Shears One-Hand Anvil F 31

The Felco Pruning Shears One-Hand Anvils are our top choice for the best anvil pruning shears. This model features a hardened steel blade that cuts against a replaceable anvil surface, allowing it to cut and crunch through a wide variety of materials with plenty of force. It also features an ergonomic handle design that allows users to remain more comfortable while applying force over standard handles.

This model’s aluminum handles are strong and lightweight, though they may be slightly large for some users. Also, all of the parts in this model are replaceable, so if they begin to wear down over time, users can rebuild their Felco shears for more years of use. 

Features

  • Type: Anvil
  • Blade Material: Hardened steel
  • Handle Material: Aluminum

Pros

  • Sharp blade and flat cutting surface allow it to cut through tough materials easily
  • Ergonomic handles allow users to handle the shears comfortably
  • All parts are replaceable should they wear down over time

Cons

  • They are designed for larger hands so some users might not find them comfortable

Price: ~ $50

Need to do more intensive cutting? Check out our Best Battery-Powered Chainsaw Reviews list!

Best Pruning Shears Buying Guide

Whether you love pruning or it’s one of your least favorite activities, picking the best garden clippers will make the job more enjoyable. The following are some of the most important considerations to keep in mind when choosing the best hand pruners.

Types of Pruning Shears

Bypass

Bypass pruning shears work similarly to a pair of scissors. They have two blades that pass each other to shear off the material. The top blade is typically very sharp while the bottom blade isn’t quite as sharp. These are the best pruning clippers for general-purpose work, as they can handle a wide variety of pruning needs.

Anvil

Anvil shears operate differently. They have a sharp top blade that lands flush against a flat surface and that surface is known as the anvil. These shears are better for cutting off-season as they provide plenty of power for a cut but don’t cut as cleanly as bypass shears. They often crush fibers rather than slicing them. 

Ratchet

A set of ratchet shears works similarly to anvil shears, but rather than the user having to exert a lot of force at once, they can squeeze the shears a little bit at a time, applying force at intervals until the shears cut through the branch. This is helpful for folks with diminished hand strength. 

Blade Material

One of the most important factors to consider when choosing the best pruning snips is the blade material. Low-quality blades will dull quickly and cause plant damage. They might also rust more readily than other materials, potentially introducing rust to the cut area. The following are solid options for pruning shear blade materials:

  • Stainless steel is essentially the minimum when it comes to pruning shears. It’s corrosion-resistant and durable, and it stays reasonably sharp.
  • Carbon steel stays very sharp and creates clean slices through a variety of garden materials. But, the higher the blade’s carbon content, the more likely they are to rust, so it’s important to keep them clean.
  • Hardened steel could be a variety of steel types, but it’s typically very sturdy and holds a sharp edge. Corrosion can be an issue, however. 
  • Titanium-coated blades are designed to avoid rust and reduce maintenance. However, depending on the metal underneath, they may require frequent sharpening, which also exposes the base metal underneath the titanium, allowing for corrosion anyway. 

Handle Comfort and Material

Ergonomic Design

Pruning shears often require a lot of effort to cut through twigs, sticks, and branches. They’re also frequently used for dozens of cuts at a time, so they need to be ergonomically designed to reduce discomfort. Shears with curved handles that fit the user’s hand while also allowing them to apply the appropriate amount of force are important for all-day comfort.

Soft Grip Handles

Soft grip handles can reduce the amount of pressure applied to the user’s hand while cutting. They also provide more grip or traction while in the hand, preventing accidental slips or drops. For most users, soft grip handles are an absolute must.

Aluminum vs. Steel Handles

One consideration is the material that the handles are made from. Aluminum is lightweight and relatively sturdy, making it a great choice for light-duty pruners. However, over time aluminum might bend or crack, depending on the quality of the shears. Conversely, steel is heavy and can be tiresome to use. But, these handles are unlikely to fail over time. 

Size and Weight

Compact Models for Smaller Hands

Hand size is a factor when choosing the best garden pruners and shears. Users will want a pair of shears that they can comfortably fit in their hands, and for those with smaller hands, compact models are excellent. There are also adjustable models that users can set to different openings, allowing the user to comfortably handle the shears without the handle grips being too far apart.

Heavier Models for Tough Cuts

When it comes to tougher cuts, such as thicker branches and woody shrubs, pruners might need a little more power, size, and durability. For these types of cuts, full-size loppers might be a better option. These tools have by-pass style pruning heads with long handles that allow the user to apply force with both hands. 

Cutting Capacity

Most pruning shears have similar cutting capacities compared to other similar models. For instance, many smaller hand pruners have a 3/4-inch cutting capacity, which allows them to position a branch about that size deep enough in the jaws to apply enough force for an easier cut. 

Some large pruning shears off more capacity, such as 2 inches, but it’s important to note that cutting a 2-inch branch with hand pruners can be very difficult. These tools are often better suited for cutting back bunches of small branches at a time. 

Maintenance Features

Self-Sharpening Blades

While relatively rare, there are pruning shears with self-sharpening blades. As the blades bypass each other, they’re designed to hone each other’s edges. They won’t sharpen a chip or gouge, but they can be helpful to reduce the amount of honing one might have to do. 

Easy to Disassemble for Cleaning

Tree sap, water, dirt, pollen, and many other materials can get between blades, hardware, and other nooks and crannies in a pair of pruners. For this reason, many manufacturers make their shears easy to disassemble for cleaning. These shears are generally simple in design and feature one bolt at the pivot that can be removed to separate the blades for easy cleaning. 

Brand and Warranty

Trusted Brands

There are a few trusted brands in the gardening and landscaping industry, especially when it comes to pruners. Brands like Felco, Corona, and Bahco are pro-grade options, while Fiskars and some of the regular hand tool brands make decent models, as well.

Warranty Periods and What They Cover

Many of the best brands offer limited lifetime warranties on their tools. Barring misuse or neglect, the company will repair or replace any defective tools for the lifetime of ownership. To qualify, users will have to keep up with the maintenance and not attempt unauthorized repairs. 

Uses of Pruning Shears

Trimming and Shaping Plants

The most common use for pruning shears is to trim or shape plants. Left on their own, plants will opt for their natural form, which might mean some branches growing longer than others to compete for sun or sprawling out over wide surfaces rather than growing upward (or the opposite). Pruning can help shape these plants.

Pruning can also remove dead branches or diseased portions of the plant. For some plants, pruning will also stimulate growth, creating new shoots or foliage at the pruning location. 

Deadheading Flowers

Pruning is also great for removing spent flowers. Deadheading not only helps the plant look better by removing dead flowers, but it also promotes more growth. Removing the spent heads with shears signals to the plant to produce more blooms.

Also, removing spent flowers helps redirect the plant’s energy. A dead flower left to mature will develop seeds, and at that point, the plant will direct more of its energy into seed production. By deadheading, that energy is used to create more flowers.

Harvesting Fruits and Vegetables

Some plants can be difficult to harvest fruit or vegetables from, requiring force from the user that sometimes results in tearing, which can then introduce diseases. Rather than tearing off a vine full of grapes, users can quickly snip the bunch off cleanly, preventing potential damage. This is just one example, but since fruit and vegetable plants are so susceptible to disease, it’s a good idea to use clean pruning shears during harvest.

Cutting Back Perennials

Most perennials should be cut back after the season. This helps prepare the plant for the cold weather when it goes dormant and stores its energy for spring growth and production. It also helps control growth, preventing new growth from occurring on thin, spindly branches that should’ve been pruned back. Pruning shears are ideal for the job as they can quickly remove these branches and get the plant ready for the winter. 

Removing Dead or Diseased Branches

Dead branches and stems don’t look great. They stand out compared to blooming branches, and they’re an invitation to pests and rot. Rather than leaving them on the plant, users can snip them off with a pair of pruning shears.

If disease does occur, it’s pruning shears to the rescue again. Shears can remove any diseased or damaged branches from the tree before the issue spreads. Just be sure to clean the blades with an alcohol solution to prevent the disease from spreading any further. 

Safety Considerations When Using Pruning Shears

Gloves

It’s always a good idea to wear a pair of gloves when working with plants. It’s hard to see the potential hazards such as stinging insects, thorns, or sharp twigs that might hide behind foliage. Also, gloves can help reduce the chance of developing a blister from using the shears repeatedly.

Eye Protection

While rare, there is always the potential for a small fiber or specks of wood to become airborne when shearing plants and branches. Protect your eyes from these flying objects by wearing a pair of safety glasses. Glasses can also avoid potential pokes while trying to separate branches or stems and reach further into the plant. 

Proper Handling and Use

Keeping Blades Away from Body

Make sure to keep the mouth of the pruning sears pointed away from your body. There is a lot of force applied to the jaws of a pair of shears, and should they come in contact with the body during operation, they could cause serious injury.

Correct Stance and Grip

Being safe and secure has a lot to do with maintaining sure footing and a sure grip on the shears. Don’t support yourself with the branch you’re cutting, and don’t lean in and use the shears for balance. Also, make sure you have a good grip on the shears before squeezing, otherwise they can slip and pop out of your hands, potentially causing an injury. 

Maintenance for Safety

Regular Sharpening

It might seem counterintuitive, but the sharper shears are, the safer they are to use. They won’t require excess force or wrenching to cut through the material. Sharpen them regularly with a garden tools sharpener or a set of sharpening stones.

Cleaning After Use

Pruners need to be cleaned after each use to prevent corrosion and the spread of disease. Wipe off any build-up and clean the blades quickly with an alcohol solution to keep things safe. Also, lubricate the pivot point and any adjustments to keep the tools working safely.

Storing Pruning Shears Safely

Locking Mechanisms

The best handheld pruning shears have a locking mechanism that secures them in the closed position. When shears aren’t in use, be sure to activate the locking mechanism to keep the blades protected and prevent injuries. 

Safe Storage Locations

Shears can be dangerous in the wrong hands so it’s a good idea to keep them stored someplace safe, away from children. A higher shelf or spot on the tool wall is a good idea, as is a lockable drawer. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Pruning Shears

What is the difference between bypass and anvil pruning shears?

Bypass shears work like scissors, with two blades passing by each other to create smooth, clean cuts. Anvil shears have one sharp blade that closes on a flat surface, cutting and crushing the material. 

How often should I sharpen my pruning shears?

How often you should sharpen your shears depends on how often you use them. Generally speaking, sharpening them twice a year will be sufficient, but if the blade becomes damaged, it should be sharpened before using again. 

It may be possible, but this is typically difficult to do and can result in damaging the plant or tree as you wrench and twist the shears deeper while cutting. 

How do I clean and maintain my pruning shears?

You can clean your shears by brushing off any dust or dirt and then wiping the blades with an alcohol solution. Once clean, lubricate any moving parts with a penetrating oil. If there is a lot of build-up between the handles and blades, separate them by removing the bolt at the pivot point and cleaning them separately. 

There are battery-powered shears that use an electric motor, making them the best pruning shears for arthritic hands. Also, ratcheting shears can allow the user to “sneak up” on the cut rather than applying a lot of force at one time. 

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