If you like your garden, you must like plants. If you like your plants, you need to like pruning. Or, at least be willing to prune! No pruning and you’ll end up with a back garden or front yard that resembles a rainforest. If you want to prune quickly and effectively, you’ll need a good pair of secateurs.
Whether you’re a keen weekend gardener or an experienced horticulturalists, it’s one size fits all when it comes to pruning and that ‘size’ is a pair of secateurs, often referred to as pruning shears. The best secateurs will be concise and gentle enough to snip at delicate plants and flowers, cutting away dead stems to encourage growth, yet strong and durable enough to slice effortlessly through tree branches and dense shrubs and bushes.
Best Pick – Secateurs
- We plant a tree for every item purchased
- Perfect tool for those with arthritis, rheumatism, painful wrists and hands
- Perfect for cutting up to 20 mm diameter. Ratchet action secateurs, works like scissors
- Free & Fast Delivery. One year warranty. The only pruner you will need
- Teflon coated carbon steel blade protects against rust and corrosion, you can also the sharpen blade or get a replacement blade.
In a nutshell, secateurs are basically scissors for trees! Granted, it sounds a simple concept, however wait until you start your secateur shopping – from anvil to bypass mechanisms, and ratchets to blade sharpening, there’s a fair bit of jargon to get your head around.
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What makes a good pair of secateurs?
A good pair of secateurs should very quickly prove their worth. Providing you opt for a pair with good-quality steel blades, and sturdy, reliable mechanics, you should find that neatening up your garden greenery can actually be quite enjoyable. No matter the size of your outdoor area – whether it be rolling lawns, a stone-paved patio or just a window box or balcony, secateurs are an essential tool in keeping your plants neat, tidy and healthy.
The best secateurs will offer a cutting experience which feels even, precise, clean and smooth. To ensure you get the best pair of shears for your money, keep the following five features in mind:
- Well-made/good quality materials
- Sharp, steel blades
- Robust design
- Comfortable to use
The first decision you’ll need to make when it comes to narrowing down the search for your perfect secateurs is whether you opt for a “bypass” or “anvil” mechanism.
Bypass secateurs, also referred to as crosscut secateurs, are similar in appearance to standard scissors – they consist of two blades which smoothly glide past each other. They’re best suited for pruning delicate, living plants and saplings although, providing the cutting action is carried out correctly, they can be used on fully-grown shrubs, bushes and twigs/fine branches.
Anvil secateurs are, shall we say, a little more aggressive! Anvil secateurs use a “crushing” action to cut through dense garden foliage. As a result, they should only be used on very thick branches and for diseased or dead wood. The level of pressure exerted from the blades to the metal base tends to result in anvil secateurs being unsuitable for delicate pruning or subtle tidying.
Pros & Cons
|Bypass||Easy to manoeuvre Good for precision pruning Suitable for live plants and delicate stems||Not always strong enough to cut through thick stems, Not suitable for tree cutting||General gardening cutting and tidying|
|Anvil||Best for heavy-duty cutting e.g. cutting through thick stems, solid and/or dead wood.||Not suitable for live plants due to the ‘crush and press’ action Can be difficult to manoeuvre||Demanding cutting and tidying jobs – cutting back dead wood, or for pruning dense bushes, shrubs, or small trees|
In general, bypass secateurs tend to be the best best when it comes to choosing a mechanism – primarily because they’re capable of achieving a cleaner cut and can be used on live stems without the worry of bruising the plant tissue.
Best Budget – Secatuers
- PROFESSIONAL SECATEURS. Ratchening mechanism garden shears; maximizes leverage for increased pruning power; 46% less effort; maximum cutting capacity of 1 inch diamater
- HARDENED STAINLESS STEEL BODY. With state of the art steel upper blade 2.5mm SK5 high carbon steel non-stick coated blade will stay sharper for longer
- ERGONIMIC DESIGN. With high comfortable locking mechanism; easy grip handles; fits for gardeners with weak hands, hand fatigue, carpal tunnel or arthritis; also for left handed gardeners
- HYBRID TECHNOLOGY. Ratcheting and bypass mechanism pruner combined (Details section)
- LIFETIME WARRANTY. 100% money back gardener satisfaction guarantee; We are here for you 24/10
Quality steel is not only durable, it eliminates the need for a ratchet. A ratchet is an additional spring which is fitted to secateurs in order to make cutting easier. A ratchet results in the cutting process being carried out in stages – the secateur blade is closed several times with repeated closing of the handles, and this can be particularly useful for those of us with limited upper body strength or particularly small hands!
Factors to consider before buying secateurs
Depending on the size of your hands, some secateurs will simply be more comfortable to use than others. It’s important to consider the size as how smoothly the contraption can be manoeuvred one-handed will impact the efficiency of the cut.
Take note of the recommended maximum cutting diameter. Secateurs usually have a recommended cutting diameter, so you’ll need to think about what exactly you intend on using them to cut. Attempting to cut stems or branches which exceed the recommended cutting diameter is not advised as, more than likely, you’ll need to use both hands, which is potentially dangerous when using secateurs designed for one-handed use.
The best secateurs will be made from good-quality, durable, lightweight materials such as aluminium and hard-wearing plastics. Secateurs should be built to last and be durable enough to be used outdoors and for some fairly heavy-duty cutting tasks, however they still need to be light and comfortable to use.
- An ergonomic handle protects the wrist and hand from muscle strain
- A safety catch prevents secateurs from unintentionally opening or closing
- If you’re left-handed look for secateurs that are ambidextrous since you’re likely to find right-handed secateurs difficult to use.
- Ensure that the bolt that holds the blades together is easily accessible – you’ll need it to adjust the tightness of the blades as and when you feel them becoming loose.
- Wrist loops or belt clips gives you somewhere to keep the secateurs safe and accessible when not in use
- Secateurs which are brightly coloured are easier to find should you drop or misplace them
Best of the Rest
- Pruning Shears fit for cutting stems and light branches up to 3/4″ diameter size
- Quality sharp blade made of high carbon alloy steel with antirust processing
- Safety Lock – easy open/close lock for convenient security system
- The spring loaded handles with unique imitation wood design hard PC to give superior comfort
- Package includes: pruning shears, replaceable spring. customer service from JEOutdoors
- Anvil action secateurs ideal for use on thicker, dead or woody stems
- Geared action for easier cutting
- Lightweight cast aluminium body
- PTFE coated SK5 steel blade for lasting sharpness, smooth cutting and resistance to rust
- Grow your own great British growing 2018 award winners
- Ratchet action allows for easy pruning in four short simple steps
- Suited to dead or thicker woody stems, easily copes with material of 20 mm diameter
- High quality carbon steel blade, PTFE coated for smoother cutting and resistance to rust
- Lightweight cast aluminium body with a metal locking catch, loop handle and non slip grip for safer use
- Grow your own great British growing 2018 award winners
Frequently Asked Questions
Power lever secateurs have central gears, making them easier to use. They don’t have a ratchet so the cutting action is one smooth, clean motion, rather than staggered. Whilst power lever secateurs are easier to use than anvil or bypass models, they aren’t particularly strong and are only suitable for light gardening work.
Use soapy water and a damp cloth to clean the blades after every use to remove any sap residue, and dry thoroughly. If you’ve been cutting back diseased foliage, disinfect the blades thoroughly to avoid contamination. Secateurs should have a smooth cutting action in order to cut cleanly and to keep your fingers intact so, from time-to-time, oiling the blades and central mechanism is also necessary.