Updated: September 30, 2015

Hand Pruner Reviews:

If you have a yard that includes plants or shrubs you will need a good set of hand pruners to clean things up and make sure the plants stay healthy and continue to grow properly. Pruners are meant to cutback plants or fruit trees in a way that will enhance future growth. If you prune your fruit trees properly, you can get a lot more growth and fruit in future years. Pruning it badly and you are destined to have an underperforming fruit harvest. Even rose bushes (which grow extremely fast) need some pruning to help them grow in the right direction and in a healthy manner. For some jobs I use household scissors instead of my pruners - when deadheading bulbs or flowering plants. Scissors work with smaller items, but pruners are essential when you get to tougher, thicker plants. Knowing what time of year to prune your plants is just as important as the tools you use.
hand pruners

Buying Guide - The 3 common hand pruners are ratchet, anvil, and bypass pruners. If you already own a pair of hand pruners, odds are they are bypass pruners. The curved blades on bypass pruners allow you to make clean cuts. The outside edge on one blade is sharpened while the other blade is left unsharpened. For tougher plants or dead wood, consider anvil garden pruners which work extremely well. The cutting blade is straight and comes down on anvil side which is flat producing a slicing effect. Using hand pruners all day can be very tiring on your hands and wrist so owning a quality pair of pruners will save you. Ratchet pruners are very similar to most anvil pruners but they make the cut in stages so it's easier on your hands. The ratchet mechanism provides more leverage than the other types of hand pruners and that is why expert gardeners recommend them for people with aging hands. Hand pruners should feel comfortable in your hands and make the work you are doing easier, not harder. Find a pair that fits well in your hand and has an ergonomic design. Some manufacturers actually make pruners that come in different sizes (i.e. larger or smaller hands). Some of the top brand names include Fiskars, Florian, Sandvik, Corona, Felco, and ARS (Amazon keeps an up to date list of the most popular hand pruners here). You want pruners with high-tempered carbon steel blades for the best results. Sharpen them at least once a year or more often if you are doing lots of pruning throughout the year. Prices will vary from $10 to $60 on most pruners. We found some excellent head to head comparisons and ratings on the Popular Mechanics website. They tested 12 hand pruners on both cherry and oak branches that had diameters up to 3/4 inch. Most reviews we read said that the manufacturers claims on cutting diameters was over-rated and many of the pruners had trouble with cuts at their highest claimed diameters.

Top Rated Hand Pruners:

The Felco Classic Manual Hand Pruner ($43) is probably the best hand pruner you can buy. Yes, you can pick up a cheaper pair for $15 or $20, but this is the type of tool professional gardeners and landscapers use, knowing it will hold up for years and years. Felco has been making this same model for nearly 50 years, combining precision cutting Swiss blades with plastic-coated handles and a shock absorber for comfortable use. They cut cleanly and easily, and are designed for easy maintenance and use. You can find them online at Amazon.com. I also like the real basic Corona "Classic" Bypass Pruner that sells for about $16 on Wal-Mart.com. They do need to be sharpened periodically but the pair I own has worked out well for years. For jobs that require a longer reach, consider the Fiskars Telescoping Pruning Stik ($83) which give you up to a 12 foot reach, with all the power of hand pruners (1.25" cutting capacity).

Best Bypass Garden Pruners:

One of the most recognized names in gardening tools is Fiskars and their line of hand pruners is impressive. The PowerGear Bypass Pruner ($22) are a top selling pair of hand bypass pruners that we found on Amazon.com. The ultra-hardened steel blade with non-stick coating gives you clean cuts every time. Owners praise the rotating handle which provides the most hand strength in this category. Popular Mechanics rated this one the best of the lot and Amazon users say it cuts through about 5/8 of an inch just fine but struggles with 3/4 inch branches at times. You can find more details at the Fiskars.com website.

Ratchet Garden Pruners:

When it comes to tougher woods or branches, we recommend the Florian 701 Hand Pruner ($35) which gets top billing on sites like Amazon and Popular Mechanics. The Florian 701 has a high carbon spring steel pruning blade that is Teflon coated so sap and other residue won't stick to it over time. The ratchet mechanism "works like the jack on your car" says the Florian website. It cuts in 1 to 4 steps as the blade clicks through the branch. The added leverage lets you get though branches up to 3/4" in diameter. The ease of use makes it ideal for those suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel. You can see more details online at Floriantools.com.

Anvil Pruners:

The Fiskars PowerGear Anvil Pruner ($23) is listed on several gardening websites as a "best buy" product. Most experts agree this tool will cut through dead and dry wood with ease since the anvil and sharpened blade edges make cutting easy. The PowerGear mechanism gives you increased leverage compared to the average single pivot pruners on the market. They are sized for small to medium sized hands, so those with larger hands need to find a different model. The blade is replaceable and cutting capacity is rated at 3/4".