Garden & Lawn

5 Best Topiary Shears For Trimming Buxus, Yews and other Shaped Topiary Plants

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Over the last 20 years of working in my family garden centre as well as being a professional gardener maintaining customers’ gardens, I’ve looked after hundreds of topiary plants both in the nursery as well as for customers as part of our garden maintenance side of things. I talked about how artificial topiary can be a good option in the past, but you can’t beat the real thing, especially when you’re looking to position two stunning topiary plants on the other side of your front door.

Two of my topiary shears I use for trimming buxus spirals, balls and cones
Two of my topiary shears I use for trimming buxus spirals, balls and cones

Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the finesse and precision I can get by using a good-quality pair of specialist topiary shears instead of using my standard hedging shears. I do love using my DeWalt cordless hedge trimmer. However, my cordless hedge trimmers offer less finesse and precision for my customers’ topiaries, some of which must be 20-30 years old, so this is where the best topiary shears come in and are a must. I also have Buxus topiary planting guide, which I discussed planting here which may be worth a read.

lock mechanism on topiary shears, sometimes they are in a inconvenient place and can get in the way when using them
My Spear & Jackson 8130RS Shears are sharp, but the thumb lock is too easy to knock on when accidentally. in use

For me, maintaining topiary is about precision and the delicate trimming of buxus, yews, and other plants into inspiring shapes. This is where the advantages of using quality specialist topiary shears come into their own. Their lightweight and compact design is not just about ease of use; they’re essential for the delicate work of sculpting spires, cones, and intricate designs that larger trimmers can’t achieve the same level of detail. Over the years, I’ve come to rely on a few specific topiary shears that I wouldn’t leave without depending on the job.

My favourite topiary shears, my Darlac topiary shears which I think are the best topiary shears I've owned
My Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears – my personal favourites for potted topiary

For small topiary plants, mainly those grown in pots, I really like to use my Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears. I love that they’re small, compact and really comfortable to use when shaping cones, spirals, and other complex shapes. They are extremely well made, super sharp, and, for the price, offer amazing value. I’m actually on my 3rd pair, but not because they haven’t lasted, but because I misplaced them. Luckily, they were not too expensive, but I need to take more care!

my Burgon & Ball Topiary Hedge Shears which I use for larger topiary plants and buxus or yew hedging
Burgon & Ball Topiary Hedge Shears are my choice for larger topiary plants and hedging

For larger topiary plants, particularly those planted in the ground, as well as buxus hedging, I’ve found my Burgon & Ball Topiary Hedge Shears to be much better suited. Despite their larger blade and long handles, both of which come into their own for larger topiary plants and especially long rows of buxus hedging. They are still surprisingly lightweight, maybe about 500g, so they still provide the perfect balance weight and effortless cutting power for shaping larger topiary plants without sacrificing the detail work. I also love that they are super lightweight so I can use them for a couple of hours without them starting to feel too heavy.

Out of the maybe 15-20 pairs of topiary shears I’ve owned over the years, I feel both these models are amazingly good quality, with very sharp steel blades that maintain their sharpness. I still recommend running a honing stone over them occasionally to keep them super sharp, along with some WD40 to prevent rust, which I do with all my shears and secateurs.

Testing topiary shears on buxus cones with these Spear & Jackson 8130RS Razorsharp Hand Shears

Another pair I’ve used over the years, which I think is worth mentioning, is the Spear & Jackson 8130RS Razorsharp Hand Shears. They’re also incredibly well-made, super sharp, and comfortable to use. However, I did encounter a minor hiccup. I find myself accidentally locking them mid-use due to the position of the lock mechanism. I have used them for years, but I prefer my trusted Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears. If the Darlac were not available, I’d get these or, in my case, use them as I still have them as backups.

With that out the way, I’ve also reviewed a few other topiary shears below that are worth considering but the models mentioned above are my favourites.


Topiary Shears Reviews

1. Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears

BEST PICK

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Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears
My Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears

So, these Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears are by far the best topiary shears I have used. There is just something about them that keeps me picking this pair on the shelf.

Quality-wise, they are excellent. I really don’t have any complaints. The 7-inch SK5 carbon high steel blades are of excellent quality and retain their sharpness well, and the soft-grip rubberised handles feel very comfortable and pleasant to use.

When the blades get blunt you can easily sharpen the blades using a sharpening stone, the same you might use on secateurs is what I use.

Smooth action and the locking switch is does not get accidentally locked shut when using like some other shears i tried
Smooth action, and the locking switch does not get accidentally locked shut when using it like some other shears I tried

I have found that the size makes them ideal for working in tight/awkward spaces, and they are incredibly lightweight, weighing approximately 350g; this just seems to make them easier to use for longer periods.

Finally, the sharp blades also come with a tip protector to avoid accidents. So, I will add that although they are designed for topiary plants, they are also great for cutting the edge of your lawn.

Pros

  • The blades are made from SK5 carbon steel and they can be replaced once blunt.
  • Feature an ergonomic soft-grip handle.
  • It can be used with a single hand.
  • Lightweight and easy to manoeuvre.
  • Offers good value for money.
  • Spares available

My recommendation

The Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears are very sharp and durable and are an excellent piece of kit. The shears can cover a wide area at a go and are lightweight, so manoeuvrability is good.

One last thing I like about this pair is the topiary shears, especially one-handed models. I always seem to accidentally catch the locking switch, which is super annoying as it locks them shut as you use them. However, with this pair, the locking switch is nicely out of the way of the handle while still being within reach when using them.

Darlac topiary shears on my driveway
Darlac topiary shears on my driveway have super sharp, smooth blades

For those looking for reliable shears that provide optimal performance every time, these shears would be a perfect choice. They are comfortable to handle even for those suffering from arthritis, which will be a big plus for some people, and they are durable and great for detailed trimming. If I had to recommend just one pair of shears for trimming topiary, these would have to be the shears, which is why I also use them myself.

Read next: How and when to prune Buxus


2. Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears

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Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears

The Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears are what I would recommend for pruning larger, more established topiary plants. They feature 18cm blades to cut through different branches and are perfect for hedging, whether a box hedge or another type of hedge.

The blades are made from high carbon steel, just like the Darlac shears above, and they are supported by lightweight aluminium handles with rubber grips to give them more reach and make them easier to work with. As you would imagine, these blades are sharp and highly pointed to allow you access to branches in awkward spaces.

Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears

To stop the blades from jarring, the shears feature a cushion function, which is a nice touch to the design.

The shears weigh 750g, which is impressive for their size. Finally, I also like that they come with a lengthy 10-year guarantee that only further shows that these are a decent pair of gardening equipment made to last.

Pros

  • Features highly pointed 18cm carbon steel blades.
  • It comes with a cushion feature to prevent jarring.
  • Offers aluminium handles with a rubber grip.
  • Backed by a 10-year guarantee.
  • Easy to use, offering excellent value for money.

My recommendation

For those with large topiaries or hedges to take care of, the Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears are probably one of the best models worth considering. They offer long, sharp-pointed blades that can cut through branches of different sizes within reason, certainly topiary plants anyway. 

The only real downside is that they are pretty expensive, but they are large, and they offer exceptional performance, so I think they still offer excellent value for money. They are also a great alternative to those who might otherwise consider a hedge trimmer option but want to use more finesse.

Read next: Best shears for trimming hedges


3. Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA RHS Topiary Trimming Shears

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Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA RHS Topiary Trimming Shears

The Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA RHS Topiary Trimming Shears are perfect for smaller and medium topiary such as spirals, cones and balls rather than larger hedges or large topiary plants.

The fully metallic shears are hand-forged, ensuring that you experience the comfort and ease of using sharp blades. These compact shears can be used for many other garden trimming needs, including lawn edging, so you can get more use out of them.

Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA RHS Topiary Trimming Shears

Even though they are made of metal, the shears are light, weighing in at only 339g. You can easily manoeuvre with them even while using one hand. The RHS-endorsed shears come with a 10-year guarantee, too so you can’t really go wrong with them. This is clear evidence that the shears are of reliable quality, so you are assured of getting good value for money.

Pros

  • Made of durable metal.
  • Comfortable to use because of its lightweight design.
  • Features sharp, high-carbon steel blades.
  • RHS endorsed.
  • Comes with a 10-year warranty for full peace of mind.

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger topiary or hedging

My recommendation

The Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA Topiary Trimming Shears are ideal for light-medium topiary works. They are perfect for handling new growth rather than taking down stubborn branches.

These metallic shears are surprisingly light, even for people with wrist problems. You may have to sharpen them to get them to the state you prefer, but other than that, they do a good job.


4. Gardena 399-20 Comfort Boxwood Shears

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Gardena 399-20 Comfort Boxwood Secateurs

Another nice pair of shears are these Gardena Comfort Boxwood Shears that weigh only 615g, so not too heavy. I’m a big fan of Gardena gardening products and already have their Automatic hose reel and Lawn sprinkler. These larger shears are very comfortable to use, and they have very sharp blades to deliver clean cuts. The longer blades, around 18cm-20cm, I think, are made from high-precision ground steel, and they have a non-stick surface to help prevent jamming.

These shears are designed with user comfort in mind because of the ergonomic handles fitted. The comfortable shock-absorbing shears prevent the hands from getting overly fatigued when working for longer periods. They also come with an amazing 25-year warranty, which is longer than any other warranty manufacturers offer.

Pros

  • Offers sharp 18cm-blades to give clean cuts.
  • Features shock-absorbing handles to reduce fatigue.
  • Provides a firm grip thanks to the ergonomic handles.
  • Lightweight, therefore, easy to manoeuvre with.
  • Covered by a 25-year warranty for full piece of mind.

My recommendation

For those looking for large but lightweight and premium box shears, these Gardena Comfort Boxwood Shears would be well worth considering. These shears feature long sharp blades that give clean cuts making it perfect for light-medium jobs. The shears are not designed to cut through thick dry branches as that will be strenuous however, they perform well on green fresh stems which makes them perfect for gaining topiary. They were a bit pricey, but I think they’re worth the cost.


5. WOLF-Garten HSB Box Shears

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WOLF-Garten HSB Box Tree Hedge Shears

Another good pair of topiary shears are these WOLF-Garten HSB Box Shears, which cut through branches like butter. The lightweight model weighs only 230g, making it easy to use and one of the lightest shears for their size. The blades are curved to provide precision cutting, and they can be sharpened if they get blunt to keep them in perfect condition with a super sharp blade, which is essential when trimming topiary.

Perfect for box hedges and other larger topiary plants, these shears feature non-stick blades. These come with a 10-year guarantee, which is not too bad.

Pros

  • Sharp curved blades to provide a clean cut.
  • Very lightweight, weighing in at only 230g.
  • Comes with non-stick blades.
  • Comfortable to use for long periods.
  • Comes with a 10-year guarantee for full piece of mind.

Cons

  • It is a bit pricey.

My recommendation

These WOLF-Garten HSB Box Hedge Shears are perfect for larger box hedging jobs in the garden and are an alternative to the Gardena shears or my Burgon & Ball GTS/CGGA RHS Topiary Trimming Shears with long handles. These sharp shears offer clean cuts, and it is lightweight, so working with them should not be a problem.

It comes with a 10-year warranty which basically means that if you look after them and keep them well maintained, sharpening the blades, they will last for many years and, in return, offer excellent value for money.


Buyers Guide

Topiary shears are not hard to purchase; the problem lies in finding the best topiary shears for your type of plant, which usually comes down to size. This is because there are many models in the market, and it gets confusing between single-handed models for smaller detailed worths and larger shears ideal for hedging.

We have compiled this buying guide to help you find the best Buxus shears worth considering.

Quality of the blades

Quality and sharp blades on topiary shears

The quality of the blades is determined by the materials used. Quality materials will present durable blades that can be re-sharpened for use. Carbon steel is a popular material because it is durable and can be kept sharp for longer. You can replace or re-sharpen your blade depending on the model you selected because not all models have spares readily available.

Length of the blades

Topiary shears have long blades approximately 25-30cm tall

The length of the blade matters because it provides easy reach in tight spaces or cuts larger areas at branches, for example, for hedging. Look for models that feature long blades if you want easy reach. Topiary shears that have short blades tackle plants within reach with ease and more detailed worth with plants like spirals. Consider the thickness, detail and location of the topiary plants and then select the appropriate shears.

Comfort and handling

lock mechanism on topiary shears, sometimes they are in a inconvenient place and can get in the way when using them

No one likes working with uncomfortable tools, and that is why the best topiary shears nowadays are well-balanced with comfortable soft-grip handles. Ergonomic handles that can be used with or without gloves are convenient, even for those with weak grips.

If you happen to find topiary shears that have anti-jarring features, this will help avoid the issue associated with cheaper shears, which jam up due to not using non-stick blades and blunt blades. The opening and closing of the shears should not be a struggle so as to facilitate back-to-back cuts.

Safety features

Not all models feature a tip/blade protector, but it is a bonus if you find one that does. These blade/tip protectors shield the user from the sharp tips of the blade that can pierce the skin if one is not careful. The tip/blade protector also maintains the blade’s sharpness and prevents children from prying the shears open.

Price

You can only work with what you have, so spending too much is unnecessary. Luckily, topiary shears do not cost much therefore you have some wiggle room. Remember that professional topiary shears will cost much more because they are designed to be used constantly.

Warranty

When you get topiary shears with a decent warranty, you are automatically assured that the shears should be of good quality and manufactured from the best materials that are made to last. Some models, like the Gardena 399-20 Comfort Secateurs, come with an extended warranty of 25 years. You are assured that if the product is faulty, you can get a solution from the supplier.


FAQs

How do you clean blades with sap stuck on them?

There are different methods one can use to remove sap from the blades. Some use a mixture of methylated spirit and water, while others rely on a little lubricant to help scrap the sap from the surface. Use a brush or a blunt tool to scrap stubborn sap out. Be careful not to use too much force, especially for shears with a non-stick surface.

How do you maintain topiary shears?

  • It is essential to clean the shears after each use to prevent the accumulation of dirt, which will cause the blades to go blunt.
  • When the blades get blunt, consider replacing them or re-sharpening them. This is because blunt blades need more muscle power to cut through the plant matter. It’s usually much cheaper to buy a sharpening stone and sharpen the blades than buy new ones.
  • Regular lubrication is good to keep moving parts of the shears working seamlessly, a little WD40 usually does the trick.
  • Replace old springs with new ones to maintain the shear’s clean cuts.
  • Keep the shears safe so they won’t drop to the ground and get damaged.

Final Conclusion

Have you seen topiary shears that could be considered the best Buxus shears? Ii am sure by now you have an inkling of the kind of topiary shears you want.

Most people will probably be better off choosing between the Darlac Expert Garden Topiary Shears, which is my best pick and perfect for small topiary plants, and the Burgon & Ball GTO/THS RHS Topiary Hedge Shears, which are also perfect for box hedging or larger box plants, as you have two hands so have better leverage when needed.

As I have explained above, they are top-performing shears who will do the job.


Last update on 2024-05-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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