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.
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.