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Last updated on September 24th, 2020
What to look for in the best pair of pruners and why Felco and Okatsune are our first choice every time.
Nothing beats a pair of secateurs when it comes to delicate jobs that require accurate hand pruning. These are perfect for cutting small branches, twigs and overgrown plants where you need to make nice clean cuts. When it comes to buying the best secateurs, however, there is bound to be confusing because there are hundreds of them available and a couple of designs to choose from including bypass and anvil secateurs. To help you buy a quality product for your needs, we’ve gone through several secateurs reviews across multiple garden centres and incorporated the top-selling pruners into this post.
We review 8 secateurs that are surely worth considering, but there’s still one that stands out of the crowd, the Felco Model 7 Classic Secateurs. From ergonomically designed rotating handles made out of forged aluminium with a stainless steel blade, this product is well-built for easy use and long-lasting reliability. Its cutting diameter of 25mm is way better than many other models, thus can cut relatively thick branches with little effort. The closest competition is the Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs.
Now, apart from secateurs reviews, you’ll find herein a comprehensive buyers guide with crucial information about how to choose good quality secateurs. Let’s dive right in.
Featuring forged aluminium handles along with a hardened steel blade, these secateurs cuts through thick roses and branches up to 2.5cm in thickness, and will no doubt last for years. They are also agile enough to tackle soft foliage without causing harm. It’s ergonomically designed revolving handles reduces hand fatigue, ligament strain and blistering when used for hours on end making it a great choice for professional gardens too. Every part of these garden shears can be replaced, making them fully serviceable and reliable for long-term use and will likely outlive the user.
What to consider before purchasing a good pair of secateurs
At first glance, you would probably say that they all look the same and do the same thing. Whilst they all do prune, some do have nice little features to make your life a little easier.
Types of secateurs – Bypass design vs Anvil
There are two main types of secateurs you can choose from. Bypass secateurs work like a pair of scissors and have a sharp blade that passes across a curved blade piece of metal. The are great for getting a clean neat cut every-time and precision pruning, especially on more fragile stems. These are the most popular and our top choice overall as they are a good all-purpose secateurs for general use and will cut most types of stems. Never try to cut branches thicker than the recommended diameter. For example, our ‘Best Pick’ has a maximum cutting diameter of 25mm so never try and prune thicker branches as they will eventually break.
Anvil secateurs have one top blade which pushes through the stem onto a flat surface and are often good for cutting through thick, woody stems so if you have lots of woody stems to cut these could be a good choice. They tend to crush as well as cut so are generally not suitable for young soft foliage as it damages, the ends of stems.
Do you need ratchet stage cutting secateurs
Some secateurs use a ratchet system to cut thick branches, these can take slightly longer to cut through branches but can make cutting through thick and woody type stems much easier compared to bypass secateurs.
Most secateurs which have a ratchet fitted are usually also anvil secateurs. As the ratchet design makes it easier to cut through woody thick stems by cutting in small stages, this is usually needed on thick woody branches where an anvil design would probably be the best choice.
They are also good for gardeners who may have arthritis or weak hands and have difficulty using normal secateurs as they can cut through thick branches in small stages and then reposition there hands,
What are they made from and the type of steel
The thing you need to pay close attention to is what the blade is made blade. Some blades are made from quality hardened stainless steel and will last a lifetime, staying razor sharp even after lots of pruning. They can also be sharpened using a tungsten carbide blade or ceramic stone when needed and this should be done as soon as they start to feel less effective and taking a little more effort to use. Look for hardened steel, most cheap secateurs often break at the blade.
How your hand side effects which model to consider
If you have smaller hands then some secateurs may be difficult or uncomfortable to use because the handles open to wide for you to get your hands around, or simply are too large. Some models are have been designed with smaller hands in mind such as the Felco Model 6 Secateurs. Usually, if they have a larger cutting diameter than most, they are usually, better suitable for larger hands.
Are you left-handed?
If you’re left-handed you probably already know that not all secateurs are suitable for left-handed people, some can be more difficult with the catches in less than ideal places, however, some models are specially designed for left-handed people such as the Felco Model 10 and maybe a better choice.
Best for small hands
Thanks to the ergonomic handles, you can expect to prune for hours without too much hand and wrist fatigue. Felco additionally included a juice rim to prevent the blade from becoming sticky, and there’s a non-slip coating to ensure a firmer grip on the handles. These ones won’t disappoint for sure and you can see from the incredible rating on Amazon.
Do you need rotating handles
Finally, a good design seen on some models including our ‘Best Pick’ which have perfected this feature, is incorporating a rotating handle which rotates as you close the pruners, this can help to stop blisters and sores and simply puts less strain on your hands. Lots of models now have this feature but few have made it as effective as Felco or Wilkinson Sword. It’s only really useful if you do lots of pruning and you start to feel the strain on your hands.
Catches for holding handles together
Consider the catches that hold the handles together when not in use, it may not seem like an essential feature but some get in the way when pruning and slip open which can be frustrating. This problem is usually associated with cheaper models that have not been well thought out or use inferior parts where the screws become loose.
Buy spare springs and consider models with concealed springs
One common problem we come across are models that have exposed springs, that is springs that can get dislodged and fall out. Most standard looking secateurs have these types of springs including all Felco models, its not a bad thing but something to be a whereof. You can buy spare springs for some models including Felco, Unfortunately, with some models, you cannot get spare springs so if you lose the spring, then there only fit for the bin. This is usually true for the cheaper model where the springs are not as well-fitting.
You could try looking for models with concealed springs you cannot lose, however, we think it’s better to be able to replace them as you can change the spring if needed for maintenance purposes. If you invest in the Japanese type models such as the Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs then this is not a problem as they use peg style springs that cannot be lost.
How to care for a good pair of secateurs
Keeping them in working order by cleaning and keep oiled
Many people literally have secateurs for a whole lifetime, if you buy a decent pair then there is no reason you won’t to have yours to pass on to further generations.
Maintaining them is relatively simple, once you have finished using them, simply give them a quick wash in soapy water and then dry off with a towel, to stop the blades rusting and keep the working bits moving freely, simply apply a lubricating oil such as WD40. If you have been pruning diseased plants then we strongly recommend washing them in disinfectant, something like Jeyes fluid will do the job, this just helps stop you transferring diseases.
Keep them super sharp
Top 8 Pruning Secateur Reviews
1. Felco Model 7 Classic Secateurs with Rotating Handle
The Felco Model 7 Classic Secateurs is a bypass type secateurs designed for professionals and is our new first choice when it comes to secateurs replacing our previous top choice the Felco Model 2. We still love the model 2, however, the main reason we prefer the model 7 more is that the rotating handle, really does make a difference to the strain on your hands and helps prevents blistering if working with secateurs for a lengthy amount of time.
They have been crafted with Swiss precision and attention to detail, resulting in a high-quality tool that is now probably one of the best selling secateurs available that professionals use. We would simply buy Felco every-time as most other brands simply do not compare.
What we like is that these secateurs are very easy to use and don’t seem to fatigue your wrist whilst pruning hardwood type stems such as thick rose branches due to ergonomic design with an angled head plus cushion-shock absorber. What we really like is the rotating handle revolving on its own axis, your fingers will be able to move naturally, thus minimising blisters and hand fatigue that may be a problem after extended pruning periods, anyone who works pruning plants a lot will understand what we mean. Felco day their innovative swivel action requires 30% less effort than conventional secateurs and we tend to agree, overall it provides great comfort on continuous pruning work.
Now for the quality aspects, the handles are made of forged aluminium, making them lightweight at only 290g, sturdy, and comfortable, and in fact, they have a lifetime guarantee. The secateurs also utilise a changeable very sharp blade that’s made of hardened steel, ensuring clean precise cuts every time is. Every part of this secateurs is replaceable just in case anything becomes faulty, though that’s a very rare occurrence given the quality of the construction materials at least you can easily get new blades and springs. Most other secateurs, once you’ve lost the spring its game over, you have t buy a new pair but not with Felco.
Felco has been manufacturing secateurs since 1945 and the Felco Model 7 Classic Secateurs is a great example of what their decades of experience can produce and it’s easy to see why most professional gardeners use only Felco secateurs. The secateurs are brilliantly designed with great features such as the revolving handle, shock absorption system, not to mention the usual such as the sap groove. It is super comfy to use and delivers precise cuts up to 25mm.
We really like the lifetime warranty on this product which means total peace of mind and even so parts are readily replaceable if necessary which is more than you can say for most other models. You definitely want a tool that won’t cause hand blisters and ligament strain, and this one is ergonomically designed for use comfortably all day long making it perfect for professionals who really do need nothing but the best tools.
For anyone involved in viticulture, arboriculture, horticulture, and pruning in parks and gardens, this is an excellent choice for you. Except for the fact that it’s not ideal for people with very small hands and left-handed individuals, it’s hard to find any downsides beyond that but we have great alternatives for small hands and lefties further down. Overall, a great professional product at a decent price and probably the best choice for most people which is why we named them our NEW ‘Best Pick’.
Read next: Best ratchet secateurs
Good for small hands and a great alternative to Felco
2. Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs
Okatsune secateurs were once described as ‘Life-Changing’ by Bunny Guinness, The Telegraph and we couldn’t agree more. They are available in different versions and are the only secateurs we think truly compare to Felcos quality and cutting performance, Okatsune models include model 101, model 104, model 108, and model 109, but it is the Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs that really caught our attention.
Measuring 202mm, this model is suitable for small hands, making them perhaps a good choice for may ladies. The blades of this secateurs have been forged from the finest grade of Japanese steel, in other words, the same steel used to craft the Katana sword of the Samurai. The outcome is a razor-sharp secateurs that easily cuts through branches of roses, shrubs, and other plants, up to 25mm in diameter which is the same as most Felco models.
The blades boast an incredibly high Rockwell hardness of 60 to 61, ensuring that cutting edge remains very sharp, effortlessly slicing through wood. In addition, they slide smoothly over each other for the easy cutting action. The core of the blade features a soft metal that makes the shears tough, ensuring that the cutting edge always fits perfect on the counter-blade and doesn’t break even under heavy load.
Protecting the plants against damage is equally important as smooth cutting and so the blade is ground in two angles to cut without damaging the stems which as any top gardener will know reduced the chance of the cut stems being infected with diseases or fungus. The secateurs have a locking system that is easily operated with one hand, whilst the blades can be sharpened using whetstone or similar.
These bypass secateurs are the number 1 choice for professional gardeners in Japan, where pruning has been elevated to genuine art if the famous Higashizawa Rose Park is anything to go by.
These secateurs are of the optimum best quality crafted with top quality metal and are made from just two pieces of steel which makes them incredibly strong. Cuts are super clean and finished with a satisfying snip, that being said we don’t think they have quite as much grip as the Felco models but other people might think differently.
They definitely do an amazing job and suits pruners with small hands but if you have larger hands the 104 model may be a good choice as there just that bit larger at 210mm. These are sharp and easy to operate with one hand so overall is a great choice. The maximum cutting thickness is good and the blades are easy to sharpen when needed but it’s worth noting they cannot be changed like that on the Felco models.
The red and white handle covers will prove their weight in gold in the event that the secateurs drop into the undergrowth. There’s a useful clunky catch at the base for locking the blades together when not in use, improving safety significantly.
Overall, the quality of the Okatsune 103 Bypass Secateurs is second to none. Perhaps the only negative is that it may not be the best choice for larger hands but if this is the case the 104 Model may be a better choice.
Personally we preferred Felco model 7 but we know some gardeners prefer these, just personal choice I suppose, both are fantastic choices way ahead if most other models.
Read next: Best Felco secateurs
3. Fiskars PowerGear X Bypass Garden Shears with Roll Handle
Fiskars has been producing gardening tools for decades and this latest offering boasts cutting-edge technology and claims to have three times more power than a standard bypass pruner. Endorsed by the Arthritis Foundation, the Fiskars PowerGear X Bypass Garden Shears with Roll Handle incorporates a gear drive system into both handles that are quite different from the other secateurs in our list. It’s the same mechanism that triples the cutting force, thus reducing the effort required to make a cut.
In addition, these garden pruners have a unique rolling handle that’s designed to follow the natural clutching motion to maximise power output and minimise stress and fatigue on joints and muscles. At first, the rolling handle feels awkward to use. This shouldn’t be a turn-off, though, as the secateurs fit snugly in hand. One thing to keep in mind is that these are designed to be used by right-handed gardeners, so left-hand folks are out of luck here.
The stainless steel blades are incredibly sharp and benefit from a non-stick material that minimises friction for easier cutting. This coating also reduces rusting, though it’s always important to dry the secateurs after every use and apply a thin oil to the blades to ensure long-lasting performance. The locking button is easily accessible on top of the pruner plus it slides effortlessly and stays intact in both the open and closed positions.
The tool feels solidly made yet lightweight and weatherproof so it can stand the test of time. Fiskars also backs the product with a lifetime warranty that covers defects in workmanship and materials.
This Fiskars PowerGear X Bypass Garden Shears with Roll Handle is a truly advanced tool that looks superior to what many people are used to. There’s doubt that technology behind its workmanship is a brilliant attempt to make something better but it also carries some shortcomings. Previous customers reported that the rotating handle needs time to get used to. The shears are also only suitable for right-handed persons (though that’s the larger population anyways), but if you’ll need to look elsewhere if you have big hands.
The blades on this one are meant to cut fresh and softwood up to 2cm in thickness. They should last long as well because they’re made from stainless steel, whilst the PowerGear X remains lightweight to use. All things considered, we would recommend this product to Arthritis sufferers as they require little force in cutting.
4. Davoen Pro Bypass Secateurs
The Davoen Pro Bypass Secateurs is a premium quality ergonomic pruning tool designed to handle tough pruning tasks, the first thing we will say is they simply do not compare to our ‘Best Pick’, they do cut well, but the rotating handle is not as comfortable to use, however, we like the finger guard design and they get the job done and are very well priced, less than half price our Top Picks. These are perfect for beginners and avid gardeners but probably not the best choice for professionals or anyone who does lots of pruning regularly. If you tend to experience fatigue and aching hands from continuous pruning but don’t prune on a weekly basis, these secateurs are such life-saving and probably the most affordable pair.
As mentioned they have an auto-rotating lower handle designed to spread muscular force evenly across your fingers, making it simpler to squeeze with minimal effort, this does work but could probably be better. The upper handle features a soft material that increases comfort in use which is excellent. In addition, the ‘V’ of your palm – between the thumb and index finger – fits perfectly into the dip in the handle, thus enhancing a comfortable grip. Furthermore, the handle rotates in either direction, making the secateurs perfect for both right and left-handed persons which is a good design. There is a locking mechanism that helps reduce the grip width by 50% to make the handles suitable for smaller hands, so this tool is perfect for anyone.
Another innovative feature of the Davaon Pro Bypass Secateurs is the finger protection guard located on the lower handle which we think is brilliant and very useful, especially if pruning spiky plants. This protects your fingers and hands against painful scratches from thorns and rough branches whilst pruning. Additionally, you can use it to push branches out of the way when trimming into hidden places.
The blades of this tool are made from SK5 carbon steel which you find on a lot of mid-range pruners, SK5 Carbon is tough, is unlikely to nick, and guarantees long-term sharpness. These are capable of cutting through branches up to 22mm thick. They also have a non-stick coating to ensure no sticking and help keep the blade clean throughout. The body is crafted from forged aluminium that is not only lightweight but also ensures robustness for long-lasting performance. Davaon offers a 5-year limited guarantee for this product which isn’t bad, so you can buy with complete confidence.
Davaon is a British manufacturer that you can always rely on for high-quality affordable products and are best for busy home gardeners. The Davoen Pro Bypass Secateurs have a quirky design that makes them stand out from the competition. The handles of these secateurs are well designed, with their auto-rotating feature that allows you to spread your finger and use the tool without too much effort. Issues such as hand fatigue, muscle cramps, and blisters are not common with these secateurs and that’s really a good thing. Those who suffer from hand ailments or the elderly will benefit greatly from these secateurs and you won’t find a better-priced pair.
You will also benefit from precise cutting no matter the plants or foliage you’ll be trimming. The SK5 carbon steel blades are sure to offer long-term service without losing their cutting edge, whilst the finger protection guard will ensure there are no accidental injuries.
Davaon backs this product with a 100% satisfaction guarantee on top of the 5-year warranty, so in the unlikely event that you find them faulty, you can always contact the manufacturer for assistance. However, with all its quality features, there are very minimal chances of anything unwelcome happening, the only real negative point is although the blade is removable we couldn’t find suppliers for replacement blades.
5. Felco Model 2 Pruners
Felco secateurs are regarded as the the ‘finest in the world’. They really are the cream of the crop when it comes to secateurs. They may look like cheaper pruners, but that is because many cheap brands have copied the design but none have come close to the quality.
So what makes them different? Firstly the handles are made from forged aluminium alloy which means there are very strong and lightweight. They also have removable cutting blades which can be changed easily and they incorporate a sap groove in the blade ensuring the blades do not get stuck together which most other secateurs do not have. The blade also has a wire-cutting notch to avoid damaging the blade.
Finally, it has a manually adjustable centre nut made from hardened steel for aligning play between the blades. There is a soft rubber sleeve over the handle which acts as a shock absorber and makes pruning that little bit more enjoyable.
They come with a lifetime warranty which backs up the quality, they are a good all-rounder for most pruning jobs in the garden.
Felco secateurs are probably the best secateurs money can buy, and the Felco Model 2 is, without doubt, the most popular secateurs used by professional gardeners and the trade.
The quality just can’t be beaten, and no other brand even comes close, you really have to feel the quality to appreciate it.
The cutting performance is excellent and it all ways gives a nice clean, straight cut. The blades are made to last and can handle being sharpened dozens of times. Spare parts that are worn out are widely available and the parts are very easy to change and replace if needed. This is one of the main advantages they have other models, as many do not have changeable parts.
If your a gardening by trade or wanting to invest in the ‘best secateurs’, then these Felco model 2 are what you’re looking for. They also come with a lifetime guarantee, that no other company comes close to.
The only negative point regarding these, near-perfect model 2 secateurs, is that they can be a little more difficult for gardeners with small hands to use. If this is a concern to you, then we would recommend the near-identical model 6, just slightly further down our guide, these are designed to resolve this issue some gardeners face.
6. Felco Model 6 Secateurs
A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO THE FELCO MODEL 2 FOR GARDENERS WITH SMALL HANDS
These Felco Model 6 secateurs are nearly identical to our ‘Best Pick’ the model 2, the handles are made from the same forged aluminium steel which makes them very strong, lightweight and nearly unbreakable, they have the same hardened steel blade which can be changed if needed and it produces a very precise clean cut on all the different types of stems we tested them on.
People with small hands may find using our ‘Best Pick’, slightly difficult to use, with this in mind we have now updated our best pick to include the Felco model 6, as they have proven to be a better choice.
With the Felco model 6, you get the same great quality, excellent cutting performance, and of course, they also come with a life time guarantee.
Compared to the Model 2, the handles are slightly smaller, their also slightly lighter and have a slightly smaller cutting diameter, but still wide enough to cut anything we tried them on.
7. Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Bypass Secateurs
We came across these Wolf Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs at a local garden centre and they immediately caught my eye so I decided to feature them on here as they are probably the second-best pair on our review, a very close second to Felco Model 2 and probably better designed than the Spear & Jackson Heavy Duty Razorshap Secateurs.
They are lightweight which is the first thing you will notice and there are no cheap plastic pieces that look like they will break off easily the first time you drop them.
We particular like the locking switch which is easy to use and not going to slip and the fact that has no spring between the handles is genius. This means no loss springs to worry about or replace.
Finally, they have a good cutting capacity of 25mm and can cut in tight areas where some other models might struggle, specially anvil models.
We really like these secateurs and think they are a great alternative to the Felco Model 2 and probably a better choice than the spear & Jackson model we had previously recommended for anyone looking for a more affordable pair.
Overall these are a great pair we would highly recommend and new to our list for 2018
8. Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Anvil Secateurs
Best choice for anyone with arthritis or weak hands
These ‘Power Drive Ratchet Anvil Pruning shears’, are designed to make cutting thicker branches much easier for those of us who struggle pruning branches, such as gardeners who have carpal tunnel or arthritis, or simply have smaller or weak hands.
These anvil secateurs have a well-designed ratchet system which aids the user when cutting through thick branches. As you start cutting through a branch, they latch so they do not release the pressure, you can then release the handle and squeeze the handle again, you complete this process around 3 times until you have cut right through the branch.
The ratchet system increases your hand’s power by up to 5 times so that the pruners do the cutting, not you. All this equals effortless cutting.
The heat-treated carbon steel blades are very strong and are coated in non-stick Teflon which helps stop the blades from sticking as it resists sap.
These are without a doubt the best ratchet secateurs we have ever had the chance to review, we have tried quite a few ratchet secateurs in previous years and we can confirm we have never come across a better pair of secateurs with the ratchet feature.
If you suffer from carpal tunnel, arthritis or have the distinctive disadvantage of having smaller or weak hands, then these are the best choice for you.
The ratchet system makes pruning branches much easier and they make pruning branches possible for gardeners who thought they would no longer be able to prune branches, who had previously struggled with regular secateurs.
They are very strong and seem very well constructed, under testing they cut through hard thick branches cleanly, but did slightly crush softer foliage such a fresh new growth, overall they produce nice, straight clean cuts.
The only disadvantage, when compared to bypass secateurs, is they do not cut through branches as quick. This seems to be the price you pay for having the ratchet system, which I’m sure is well worth it for those who suffer from carpal tunnel, arthritis or have small hands.
One other point I would like to mention, on Amazon.co.uk these pruners had lots of extensive reviews, mostly 5 stars. We didn’t often see this when doing our research, many users have commented on how much of a difference it made to them when they have weak hands or arthritis.
After many hours of research and testing, there’s just no beating the Felco range of selectors, especially the Model 7 with its rotating handle, their superior quality and clean straight cutting performance, as well as how they feel in your hand, makes them better, than any other model we have looked at.
They really are the last pair of secateurs you should ever need to buy, and with a lifetime warranty, they certainly offer value, as well as quality when taking everything into consideration.
Now, the deal-breaker for some will probably be the price, their 2 to 4 times more expensive than some of the other models we have looked at. With this in mind, as well as the fact that some people might find a pair with small handles better to use, I have put together a quick round-up of some of our favourites below.
Last update on 2021-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API