Get to Know Pruners

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!

old pruners

Some pruners have seen better days. Replace dull blades or get them professionally sharpened to ensure a clean cut.

felco pruners


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1 inch
  • Forged aluminum handle with finger grooves
  • Hardened steel blades
  • 8.8 oz.

anvil pruner


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: ¾ inch
  • Chrome-plated handle with textured grips
  • High-carbon steel blade
  • 8 oz.

hydrofarm pruner


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?

  • Designed for soft plant material
  • Plastic handle with smooth grips
  • Stainless steel blades
  • 2.3 ounces



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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1 ½ inches
  • Hickory handles with textured grip
  • Steel alloy blades
  • 2.33 pounds

bahco lopper


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1 ¼ inches
  • Aluminum handles with ergonomic grips
  • Hardened steel blades
  • 1.85 pounds

fiskars loppers


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!

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1 ¾ inches
  • Fiberglass and steel handles with non-slip rubber grip
  • Fully hardened steel blades
  • 3.65 pounds

bahco saw


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 6–8 inches
  • Beech wood handle
  • Steel blade
  • 11.4 ounces

corona saw


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 6 inches
  • Plastic pistol-grip handle with non-slip grip
  • Steel blade
  • 12.8 ounces

pole saw


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.

  • Maximum cutting thickness: 1 inch
  • Fiberglass pole with cushioned rubber grip
  • Cutlery-steel blade
  • 6.2 pounds