Ever heard of the old saying, “A poor craftsman blames his tools?” Well, a poor gardener looks at his roughed-up plants and, wrist aching, points the finger at his dull pruners.
A sharp blade is fundamental to successful pruning. Whether you’re using bypass or anvil pruners, long-handled loppers or sheers, or hand-saws you want to leave a clean cut. Jagged ends invite water, which spreads disease.
Even old pruners in the shed can be refurbished with a sharpening, or new blade. Most the top brands sell replacement parts separately, and McLendon’s offers professional sharpening starting at $7.
Whatever you decide, make the choice a little easier with a quick read on what makes good pruners work and great pruners worth it. Here are our top nine hand-pruning devices. Let's get growing, gardeners!
Some pruners have seen better days. Replace dull blades or get them professionally sharpened to ensure a clean cut.
Felco Classic Manual Hand Pruner
Swiss-made Felco is the Ferrari of pruning tools, which is to say, expensive but worth it. But with cost comes quality; all-replaceable parts, left- and right-handed styles, small and large sizes, limited-lifetime warranty. This is the one professionals invest in.
Corona Anvil Pruner
Clipping dead or dry wood? A little anvil on your side can make a big difference. Anvil pruners take less hand strength but will bruise soft wood. The single blade comes down on a hard surface, like a knife, crushing the wood. Bypass pruners have two scissor-like blades.
Hydrofarm Precision Pruner
If you’re mostly deadheading, flower cutting and veggie picking, choose easy-to-maneuver garden scissors. The Precision Pruner is spring loaded, can be locked ambidextrously and the surgical steel blades are made in Japan. Did I mention it comes with a holster?
Corona Bypass Loppers
The 26-inch Corona with hickory handles is the classic bypass lopper. Being an old standard has its pitfalls, though. It lacks some of the fancy shock absorbers that more modern loppers sport. Nevertheless, they’re sturdy, long-lasting and work well in small spaces.
Bahco Bypass Lopper
If you’ll humor me the car metaphor one more time, Bahco is the Bugatti of loppers. They are extremely well designed, made in France and just a little bit pricey. Little red rubber shock absorbers take the teeth-shattering strain out of hours of pruning.
Fiskars Telescopic Power Lopper
These telescopic Fiskars put the “heavy” in heavy-duty. With a reach of 25 to 37 inches, all that handle has to go somewhere. Take care with the Tight-Lock® extension locking mechanism. This reviewer got her palm caught in its, well, tight grip. Ouch!
Bahco 14-in. Pruning Saw
When you need to cut branches three inches or larger, grab a saw. Bahco’s pruning saw is remarkably light for a wood-handled saw. It’s problem-solver for nearly any size branch you can safely cut. A gentle reminder: If ever in doubt, call a pro.
Corona 10-in. Folding Pruning Saw
The smaller 7-inch Corona is a favorite amongst home gardeners. Now, the California company is upping the ante with extra inches and a larger, pistol-grip, non-slip handle. It’s a lean, mean pruning machine and is sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Corona Tree Pruner & Saw
The classic saw-on-a-stick. Put more delicately, the 12-foot Extendable Corona Tree Pruner & Saw with 15-inch Curved Blade. It’s a mouthful. And a handful! But for reaching way up, there’s no better tool. The curved blade and compound action pulley system do all the work for you.