How to Choose Pruning Shears: The Ultimate Guide

How to Choose Pruning Shears The Ultimate Guide
How to Choose Pruning Shears The Ultimate Guide

To choose pruning shears, consider the blade quality and cut capacity. Pruning shears are essential for maintaining the fitness and appearance of your plants.

When selecting a pair, prioritize blade quality and cut capacity to ensure a clean cut without causing damage to your plants. From bypass to anvil pruning shears, choosing the right tool requires careful consideration. Plus, consider the grip, handle length, and weight of the tool to ensure comfortable use.

Proper maintenance and care of your pruning shears will extend their lifespan and effectiveness. With these factors in mind, choose a pair of pruning shears that suit your needs and preferences to keep your plants thriving.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Pruning Shears

Comfort And Ergonomics

When looking for pruning shears, it’s essential to consider comfort and ergonomics. If the shears aren’t comfortable to use, then pruning can become a tiresome and unpleasing experience. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Choose pruning shears with softened handles to prevent blisters and reduce hand fatigue.
  • Look for pruning shears with an ergonomic design that fits comfortably in your hand.
  • Ensure the pruning shears you choose have an adjustable handle that matches your hand size.
  • Consider shears with rubber grips for added comfort and a better grip.

Type Of Blades

The type of blade is just as important as comfort and ergonomics. Different blade types offer different functions and benefits. Here are the key points you need to remember:

  • Choose bypass pruning shears if you are trimming small branches as they offer a cleaner cut.
  • If you are cutting through thicker branches, use anvil pruning shears.
  • Sharpened blades are necessary for efficient pruning and should be done regularly.
  • Choose pruning shears with replaceable blades to maintain their sharpness.

Cutting Capacity

When choosing pruning shears, it’s essential to consider their cutting capacity. Cutting capacity refers to the thickness or diameter of branches that the shears can handle. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Determine what size branches you will be pruning most often and choose pruning shears that can handle that size range.
  • Look for pruning shears with a higher cutting capacity if you plan on tackling thick branches.
  • Consider ratchet or compound action pruning shears for more substantial cutting capacity.

Handle And Grip

The handles and grip of pruning shears are another important consideration. Here are some key points to remember:

  • Choose pruning shears with a non-slip handle and grip to prevent accidents when pruning.
  • Consider pruning shears with a shock-absorbing system, particularly if you plan to use them frequently.
  • Look for pruning shears with a mechanism to lock the blades when not in use.

Remember these factors when selecting your pruning shears. By keeping them in mind, you can ensure that you choose the right tool for the job.

Different Types Of Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are essential gardening tools for maintaining the health and beauty of your plants. But with the availability of different types of pruning shears in the market, it can be daunting to choose the perfect one for your needs.

To help you determine which pruning shear is right for you, we’ve broken down the benefits and flaws of three common types: bypass pruners, anvil pruners, and ratchet pruners.

Bypass Pruners

Bypass pruners are the most commonly used pruning shears in the market. They are ideal for trimming living stems and branches that are up to three-fourths of an inch thick. Here are some features of bypass pruners:

  • Bypass pruners have curved blades that slide across each other, like scissors. The sharp blade makes a clean cut on the stem, while the hook blade holds the stem in place for precise cutting.
  • Bypass pruners are perfect for live plants as they make a clean cut that does not damage the stem.
  • Bypass pruners are not recommended for cutting dead branches as they tend to slip and cause damage.

Anvil Pruners

Anvil pruners have a straight blade that cuts down on a flat surface. They are perfect for cutting tough, dead wood up to half an inch thick. Here’s what you need to know about anvil pruners:

  • Anvil pruners are stronger and ideal for cutting thick wood.
  • They have a blade that rests against a flat surface called an anvil, making them suitable for cutting old, woody stems.
  • However, with anvil pruners, there’s a risk of crushing the stems, which can damage the plant.

Ratchet Pruners

Ratchet pruners are a special type of pruning shears that use a ratcheting mechanism to cut through thick stems. Here are some features of ratchet pruners:

  • Ratchet pruners are designed to be used for tough cuts, such as those through thick branches.
  • They are particularly useful for people with weak hands or those who can’t apply much force to cut thick branches.
  • Ratchet pruners come with a ratcheting mechanism that makes cutting harder wood easier with a sequence of steps.

Choosing the right pruning shears for your gardening needs is essential to maintain healthy plants and trees. Bypass pruners are ideal for live plants, anvil pruners for old and woody stems, and ratchet pruners for those with difficulty applying pressure.

So, based on your gardening requirements, you can choose from the wide variety of pruning shears available in the market.

Matching Pruning Shears To Specific Gardening Tasks

Pruning shears are an essential tool in any gardener’s arsenal. However, different charges require different pruning shears to ensure that you achieve the best results. Here are some key points to consider when matching pruning shears to specific gardening tasks.

Pruning Trees

Pruning trees isn’t an easy task, but with the right tools, it can be more precise. When choosing pruning shears for pruning trees, consider the following:

  • Choose long-handled pruning shears with a curved blade, which allows you to reach higher branches without scaling a ladder.
  • Make sure the blade is sharp and clean to avoid damaging the tree.
  • Select pruning shears with a bypass mechanism, which slices through the branches cleanly instead of crushing them.

Pruning Shrubs

Shrubs require regular pruning to keep them looking healthy and vigorous. When choosing pruning shears for pruning shrubs, consider the following:

  • Choose pruning shears with a straight blade for precise cuts that won’t shred the shrub’s bark.
  • Look for pruning shears with a shorter handle, making them easier to handle in tight spaces.
  • Choose pruning shears with a spring mechanism, which will reduce hand fatigue.

Pruning Flowers And Small Plants

When it comes to pruning flowers and small plants, precision is key. Here are some key points to consider when choosing pruning shears for pruning flowers and small plants:

  • Choose pruning shears with a small blade for precision cuts.
  • Look for pruning shears with a scissor-like action, which will ensure that the cuts are clean and precise.
  • Select pruning shears with a spring mechanism, reducing hand fatigue during repetitive cuts.

Remember to always ensure that your pruning shears are sharp and clean, regardless of the gardening task. With the right pruning shears, you’ll be able to keep your garden healthy and looking great all year round.

Caring For And Maintaining Pruning Shears

Pruning shears are one of the most commonly used garden tools among gardeners. A good pair of pruning shears can last for multiple years, but just like any other tool, they need proper care and maintenance. We will discuss how to care for and maintain your pruning shears to keep them in excellent condition for as long as possible.

Cleaning And Sanitizing

Keeping your pruning shears clean and sanitized is important to avoid the spread of plant diseases and pests. Here are some key points to follow:

  • After each use, remove any debris from the blades with a dry cloth or brush.
  • For stubborn debris, use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush with warm soapy water to clear it.
  • Sanitize your pruning shears after every use to prevent the spread of diseases especially when pruning diseased plants or cutting through pest-infested stems. Cleaning using hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol is a common way of sanitizing. For a more detailed cleaning process, dip a cloth in hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, and carefully wipe the blades until it’s clean. Make sure you dry the blades after sanitizing to prevent rusting.

Sharpening Blades

Pruning with a dull blade is difficult and can cause damage to your plants. Sharpening your pruning shears sometimes is essential to keep them in good working condition. Here are some tips to sharpen and maintain the blades:

  • Check the blade edge regularly for any nicks or damage. If you found any damage, it should be addressed immediately.
  • Sharpen blades with a sharpening stone. Hold the blades at a 20-degree angle to the stone and move it in a circular motion away from your body. Repeat on the other blade. No need to sharpen the blades past the original right-angled edge as any additional sharpening may shorten the lifespan of the blades.
  • When it’s time to replace the blades, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines.

Lubricating And Oiling

Lubricating the blades helps in smooth movement and prevents rust. Here are some key points to consider when lubricating and oiling the blades:

  • After cleaning and sanitizing your pruning shears, use a drop of oil to lubricate and protect the blades. Any light oil such as mineral oil or even vegetable oil will do. Avoid using heavy oils as they attract dust and junk.
  • Close and open the blades a few times to evenly distribute the oil.
  • Wipe any excess oil with a clean cloth and store it in a dry place to prevent rust.

Proper care and maintenance of your pruning shears can extend their life and save you money. Keep them clean, sharp, lubricated, and oiled, and they will always be ready to use whenever you need them.

Frequently Asked Questions For How To Choose Pruning Shears

How Do I Choose The Right Pruning Shears?

When choosing pruning shears, consider the type of gardening you will be doing, the size of the branches you will be pruning, the material of the blades, and the size and shape of the handles. Also, consider the cutting mechanism, the weight of the shears, and the price.

What Type Of Pruning Shears Are Best For Small Branches?

For small branches, you can use bypass pruners. These shears feature two blades that bypass each other to make a clean cut, like scissors. They are easy to use and great for accuracy cutting on small branches.

How Often Should I Sharpen My Pruning Shears?

Sharpen your pruning shears regularly to keep them in good condition. You can sharpen them after every use or after a few days of use, relying on how often you use them. You can use a sharpening stone for dull blades or take them to a professional for sharpening.

How Do I Clean And Maintain My Pruning Shears?

Clean your pruning shears after each use by wiping them with a clean, dry cloth. If there is sap or resin buildup on the blades, use rubbing alcohol or a solvent to remove it. After cleaning, apply a light oil to the blades and store them in a dry place.

Can Left-Handed People Use Pruning Shears?

Yes, many pruning shears are designed for left-handed use. Look for shears with ambidextrous handles or blades that can be reversed for left-handed use. Some shears may also have adjustable handles that can be used comfortably by both right- and left-handed users.


So, there you have it – your ultimate guide to choosing pruning shears. By following these guidelines and taking the time to consider your specific pruning needs, you’ll be able to implant a tool that will serve you well for years to come.

Whether you opt for bypass or anvil shears, ergonomic or traditional handles, it’s important to prioritize the factors that matter most to you. Quality, durability, and ease of use should all be taken into account when making your final decision. Remember, proper pruning can have a significant impact on the health and growth of your plants, so it’s worth investing in the right tool for the job.

Happy pruning!


  • David Mark

    David Mark is an experienced gardening guide with over 20 years of experience. He is passionate about helping people learn about gardening and creating beautiful, healthy gardens. David's love of gardening began at a young age, when he would help his parents in their backyard garden. He quickly learned the basics of gardening, and as he grew older, he began to experiment with different plants and techniques. After graduating from college, David worked as a landscaper for several years. This gave him the opportunity to work on a variety of different gardens, from small backyards to large commercial properties. He also learned how to install irrigation systems, build raised beds, and create patios and walkways. In 2005, David decided to start his own gardening website. He quickly became known for his expertise and friendly personality. He has helped hundreds of people create beautiful gardens, and he is always happy to share his knowledge with others. David is a certified Master Gardener, and he is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. He is also a regular contributor to gardening magazines and websites.