To begin with the obvious, the pruner’s sole job is to cut plants in your yard, garden or farm. It’s far superior to a knife, and much better than snapping things off with your hands. Pruners are meant to cut branches about an inch or less, while loppers are more robust and cut medium-sized branches. They are essential tools for your winter or early spring garden maintenance. While there are no leaves on your trees or shrubs, winter can cause damage to branches both big and small, which will require your attention. So if you’re simply looking for reassurance that you need a pruner, you can stop reading here and go select a pruner that meets your budget and look like the best pruning shears to you. All our pruners at Garrett Wade are excellent. However, if you need more tips on handle styles, blade configuration or country of origin, read on. You can find our full selection of pruning tools here.
Choosing the Best Pruning Shears for You
Whether it’s a gift or for your own use, the shape of the handle is a strictly personal choice. All our handles are quite comfortable to hold. The important aspect is the size, especially if you have small hands. I have average sized hands and enjoy using both small and regular sized pruners (though, to be honest, I prefer the feel of small pruners). Regular sized pruners are just fine for users with average or large hands. People with large hands should specifically avoid our smaller pruners (which are described as such on our web pages). One thing to note is that a longer handle means more torque, aka pressure, is applied to the branches via the blades.
People who need some extra strength in their pruners have found that our Ratcheting Hand Pruners can do a fine job in that regard. It is suitable for use as a normal pruner, but it can also tackle branches that would be too thick for traditional pruners. By working the blades into the branch, the ratcheting mechanism provides a constant pressure that can slice through with only a few modest squeezes of the handle. See the ratcheting hand pruner in action below.
Blade configuration is the second place where you can make meaningful choices for the best pruning shears for you. You’ll have to choose between a bypass blade style and anvil style. In truth, many writers make a bigger deal of this than it is worth. In fact, bypass and anvil style pruners, kept in good shape, will do a great job cutting whatever you need cut (within reason). A bypass pruner is commonly used for pruning live plants and an anvil style for removing deadwood. Nevertheless, I’ve seen the exact opposite of this practice in the orchards and vineyards of Italy and France —- to no harm. The blade style will not make a difference in your garden. That said, the shearing action of a bypass pruner has more range of utility than the anvil style, simply because you will inevitably also use it to cut twine or packaging while working in your garden. Make the bypass pruner your first choice for its versatility, and then add the anvil style to expand your options. Displayed: Anvil Pruner
Country of Origin
This is an important factor to us, yet it’s more than just the country — it’s the manufacturer’s ability to consistently produce a sharp, high quality pruner. We prefer to work people who specialize in equipment for professionals: farmers, arborists and landscapers. We’ve found that if a pruner (or any tool) can withstand punishing daily professional usage, it’ll certainly be up to a gardener’s task.
In conclusion, it’s OK to pick any of our pruners based on whatever aspect resonates with you. But if you want a personal recommendation, my favorite small pruner is the Berger Bypass Pruner, made in Germany by a company that does everything right. My favorite regular sized pruner is our Italian Bypass Pruner that is available here.