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on Best Hand Pruners / Pruning Shears: Guide & Recommendations

  1. Alie

    Thank you for such a comprehensive post! This was the best introductory article I found about pruners. I know ARS is better than Felco. How about ARS vs. Bahco?

    • Thank you Alie! So nice to hear that you enjoyed this article – there are plenty more to come 🙂

      I’d say that ARS and Bahco are of similar quality. As for which is “best”, that really depends on the individual gardener. Personally, I still love my ARS pruners!

  2. Yazeed

    Thanks for a great presentation of the information. I will by a pruner for my father and i need the highest quality, and something that can cut as large branch as possible. He mostly volunteer to make wild trees and wide diameter. Probably over an 1″
    The trees he works with are strong. I do not care about the price as long as its under 120. Could you please recommend what you believe is the best fit

    • Hello Yazeed. If your father will be working with branches over 1″ thick, I would recommend a pair of loppers or a saw, rather than pruning shears. We’ll be publishing a review of loppers within the next few weeks – please come back and see if anything seems appropriate for your father.

  3. Dear Monica,
    Congratulations on your nice review!
    I would like to recommend a little change when you categorize from the aspect of cutting. Ratcheting is not a type of cutting, both bypass and anvil hobby pruners may feature ratchet mechanism. The third category would be double blade type with two cutting blades. This type is popular in Mediterranean countries, especially in Italy. These shears cut cleanly with reduced effort but often need more time for getting the good position for cut as the blades need more space. Double blade shears made of forged steel are generally heavy and expensive.
    Here is a product from one of the best Italian producers, Kuker:

  4. John A Knote

    In my wife’s hand,The True Temper by-pass pruner, with forefinger loop at the base of the cutting blade is the most functional. We are currently unable to find such a tool at Menard’s, Lowe’s, or Home Depot. Has anyone a suggestion about how/where to obtain the True Temper by-pass pruner – preferably in medium or small size ?

  5. I would be remiss to not mention WOLF-Garten Pruners here. The technology is far advanced (umm…no spring that pops off and gets lost in the grass!!) and comfort level superior to any pruners I’ve used before. These pruners are STILL made in Germany and quality is reflected. I use the RR2500 bypass pruner and absolutely love it. It fits my hands perfectly and is extremely comfortable. I just thought this pruner or at least something from the WOLF-Garten line should be represented here. Otherwise, great review, as always!

    • Thanks for bringing up WOLF-Garten pruners, Gena. We reviewed some of their loppers for our Best Loppers article (and rated them as one of only 3 Highly Recommended loppers) but, unfortunately, we didn’t have any WOLF-Garten pruners to try out for this review. I’d love to try some! If they’re as good as their loppers, I’m sure they’d be a good tool for many gardeners.

  6. Thank you for the comprehensive review. I must say I’m torn between my trusty Felco’s and ARS pruners. Felco’s are the main hand pruner that we use at the nursery (since we buy them in bulk), but I find the ARS fits my hands better. Ergonomically I also think the ARS are easier to use, especially for women with a smaller grip. I look forward to more product reviews!

    • Thank you for the kind words, Karyn! I was in the same position as you – I’d always used Felco’s because, well, that’s what you were supposed to use. But when I tried the ARS pruning shears I found that they were much more comfortable (I have small hands) and my hands didn’t feel as tired after a long day of pruning. But I still have my Felco pruners and I use them from time to time.

      If there’s anything else you’d like us to review, just let me know!

  7. Kevin

    I was cleaning the vines out of my hedgerow with a set of Blue Hawk (Lowes) bypass pruners when I found an old 1-inch stump that was throwing shoots into the hedges.

    I’d been at it for a while and didn’t go for my loppers. BIG mistake.

    Predictable result. Cheap metal on Blue Hawk snapped.

    Really miss my old Sears anvil pruner. Lost it last year. It’s probably buried in one of my compost heaps. Next set that I buy will be cheap anvils. Gonna paint them bright yellow.

  8. Joe

    Apart for the Felco 2, all the other ones I have tested are with rolling grip – Felco 7, Bahco PXR-M3, ARS VS8R.
    I find the Bahco horrible. The worse by far of the three.
    Really unpleasant to use. The rolling grip is not well shaped and the first finger moves little by little forward with each cut, going out of the grip after 20 cuts or so.
    The ARS have also this problem and I am 80% sure it is also because of a too flat shape of the rolling grip, but I have ordered the 9R to see if it is a problem of a big hand (although mine is not so big, 8 1/2 gloves, or 9).
    I adore the unlocking mechanism of the ARS, I cannot understand why is it not used on every tool!
    But in my unit the tip of the lower blade protrudes over the upper one 3-4mm when closed, which can cause harming, and damage trousers and pockets, and finally also the tip itself.
    Also, the blades have a little movement when you twist the grips, so that there would be a little space between the blades according to what and how you cut (you know when a scissor is not fixed tight and you try to cut something and instead it bends? This).
    Not good at all!
    I have ordered a replacement to see if it happens again. Unfortunately I could not fix them tighter, not even a little bit. ARS should SERIOUSLY adopt the fixing mechanism used by Felco and Bahco. Which is also MUCH easier to adjust, and stays fixed longer.
    Overal the Felco are very clear winner for me, and the Bahco very clear loser, apart for the better rubber stop which avoid shocks at each cut.
    But I would definitely keep the ARS if they would not have those problems.

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience with these three pruners, Joe! Your experience with the ARS pruning shears really highlights the importance of getting the right size pruners for your hand. Thankfully, the better quality pruners usually come in three sizes (basically, small, medium and large). I’m surprised at the issues you had tightening the ARS pruners – I’ve typically found that they’re easier to adjust than the Felcos and stay put longer (I’m constantly tightening and sharpening Felco pruners – quite annoying). Still, everyone’s experience is a little different so it’s good to have feedback like yours to share with our readers 🙂

  9. Jonathan

    Have you ever used Okatsune pruners? I haven’t tried the brands on your list yet, but man these babies can cut like nobody’s business. I think they have the hardest-rated steel of about any major pruners and it shows. And you can get them for under $30!

  10. Hal Vorndran

    I have a SUPER GOOD / GREAT small Pruner that is approximately 7 1/2″ to 8″ long, that I’d like to replace —
    I DO NOT recall where I purchased Pruner
    ( NOT On-Line )
    It’s U K / British made
    The ONLY markings are a small reference sticker to
    “Wilkinson Sword” # “200151”, and a similar Impression on
    the handle ( difficult to read )
    Have you any Info on such tools ?
    WHERE do you think a replacement could be purchased ?

  11. Barbara Bach

    I’ve always been a Felco gal, but this article made me decide to try the ARS HP-VS8Z Signature Heavy Duty Pruner. You can ever have too many good pruners!!

  12. Graciano Aguayo

    I have gone through three original Corona clippers (One still in use) with more then one million spring, summer, and winter pruning of grapevines over more than 36 years in viticulture. Key to long lasting clippers is proper sharpening, cleaning, and lubrication.

  13. Nancy Jackson

    I am looking for Shear Magic model # 562. Perfect for me, and have lasted 30 years of hard wear w/o sharpening. Any source? Change of company name?

    • What you’re looking at is the notched center nut and the toothed locking segment. Together, they’re used to adjust the alignment between the cutting blade and the anvil blade (the non-cutting blade). If you loosen the screw that holds the center nut in place, you can then use the adjusting key that comes with the Felco pruners to loosen or tighten the center nut until the two blades are properly aligned. Lock the center nut in position by inserting the toothed segment so the teeth mesh and lock with the center nut. Then re-tighten the locking segment screw. Over time, things shift a bit so doing this allows the optimum manual adjustment of the play between the cutting blade and anvil blade to clean, accurate cuts.

    • Jack Hemingway

      I’m not sure which pruners you are speaking of. If you could be a little more specific on the BRAND, MAKE & MODEL then I can be more helpful.
      Thanks for your interest in the Gardening Products Review.

  14. Andreas

    Thanks for this nice review, what is your opinion,or of another gardener, on the Swiss LEYAT SuperPro or the LEYAT Roto?

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