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Best Pruning Shears of 2021

Updated
Pruning shears that can cut, crush, trim and shape. 

With hundreds of pruning shears available, it can be almost impossible to know where to start. Of course, you want something amazing to prune back your flowers, shrubs, hedges, and maybe even trees.

We’ve put together a list of the seven best pruning shears. We studied real customer reviews, expert advice as well as applying our own insight.

Keep reading for a comprehensive buying guide and great product recommendations.

Our Top Picks

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Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the VIVOSUN 6.5 Inch Gardening Hand Pruner Pruning Shear with Straight Stainless Steel Blades Orange
Safest Pruning Shears
Vivosun Hand Pruning Shear
  • Super sharp blades
  • Spring mechanism reduces hand fatigue
  • Long narrow tip for hard-to-reach places
Product Image of the Fiskars 91095935J Steel Pruning Shears Bypass Pruner, 1
Best Bypass Pruning Shears
Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears
  • Self-cleaning rust-resistant blades
  • Non-slip handle
  • Cuts up to ⅝ inches thick
Product Image of the Fiskars 399230-1001 Micro-Tip Pruning Shears, Orange/Black
Best for Small Hands
Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Shears
  • Good for clean precise cuts
  • Looped handles for all hand sizes
  • Sharp stainless steel blades
Product Image of the SWANSOFT Electric Pruning Shears with 1 Inch Cutting Diameter, Cordless Pruning Shears, Professional Electric Pruner with 2 Ah Rechargeable Battery
Best for Trees
Swansoft Electric Pruning Shears
  • Comes with two batteries
  • Brushless motor produces less noise
  • Up to 100 cutting times per minute
Product Image of the The Gardener's Friend Pruners, Ratchet Pruning Shears, Garden Tool, for Weak Hands, Gardening Gift for Any Occasion, Anvil Style
Best Ratchet Pruners
The Gardener's Friend Ratchet Pruning Shears
  • Ideal for delicate cuts up to 1 inch thick
  • Suitable for right & left-handed users
  • Hardened carbon steel blades
Product Image of the WEICHUANG Professional Garden Scissors, Stainless Steel Bypass Pruning Shears, Garden Shears(1Pack)
Best Budget Pruning Shears
Weichuang Professional Pruning Shears
  • Suitable for left & right-handed users
  • Has safety locking mechanism
  • Easily adjust the screw tightness
Product Image of the iGarden 3 Piece Combo Garden Tool Set with Lopper, Hedge Shears and Pruner Shears, Tree & Shrub Care Kit
Best for Hedges
iGarden Combo Garden Tool Set
  • Low friction coating for easy cutting
  • Contoured & ergonomic handle
  • Handle has a small hole for hanging

Types of Pruning Shears

Before you dive into our product recommendations, it’s important to know the different types of pruning shears. You may need a certain one for your yard.

Bypass

Product Image of the Fiskars 91095935J Steel Pruning Shears Bypass Pruner, 1

Bypass shears are best for sharp and clean cuts. They are the best for the health of the plant since frayed and ragged edges can attract diseases.

Bypass pruners have two sharp blades which can cut through stems and soft branches up to ½ inch thick. This may change depending on the model of shears you choose. You shouldn’t use these pruners for dry or weak branches in case you clog or bend the shears.

Pros

  • They make sharp, clean cuts to encourage plant health.
  • Good for stems and soft branches up to ½ inch thick.
  • Many are made with comfortable and ergonomic handles.

Cons

  • There are fewer budget-friendly options on the market.
  • Not suitable for dry or weak branches in case the blades bend.

Ratchet

Product Image of the The Gardener's Friend Pruners, Ratchet Pruning Shears, Garden Tool, for Weak Hands, Gardening Gift for Any Occasion, Anvil Style

These shears are similar to the shape of the anvil, but they have a catch-and-hold feature to ease hand fatigue. They also work for cutting larger branches, up to ¾ inch in diameter.

It might take a while to get used to as it’s a bit of a difference to employ the catch-and-hold feature. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll love these shears for dry, dead branches, especially if you have weaker hands.

Pros

  • The catch-and-hold feature eases hand fatigue.
  • Good for people with weaker hands.
  • Works well for thicker branches, up to ¾ inch thick.

Cons

  • Takes a while to get used to.
  • On the more expensive side.

Power

Product Image of the SWANSOFT Electric Pruning Shears with 1 Inch Cutting Diameter, Cordless Pruning Shears, Professional Electric Pruner with 2 Ah Rechargeable Battery

Power pruning shears are battery-operated. They’re ideal for reducing hand fatigue, so if you’re going to be pruning for a while or just have weaker hands — these are right for you. Simply squeeze the handle gently, and the power pruner does the hard work.

These can cut branches up to one inch thick and are available in an anvil or bypass style.

Pros

  • Many have long battery lives lasting up to eight hours.
  • Ease wrist and hand pain while pruning.
  • The pruner does all of the hard work for you.

Cons

  • You have to remember to charge up the pruning shears.
  • Much more expensive than manual shears by about $100-200.

Anvil

Anvil pruning shears crush rather than cut. They’re best for dry, dead branches that will snap off easily. We don’t recommend these for softer branches since the anvil shears can fray them. Anvil shears are also for smaller stems and branches, so don’t cut anything more than ½ inch in diameter.

Pros

  • A good way to get rid of dead, dry branches.
  • A variety of options available to choose from.
  • Powerful with sharp blades for effective crushing.

Cons

  • May fray softer branches which can damage plants.
  • Not suitable for thicker branches.

How to Choose the Best Pruning Shears

Let’s look at some of the most important details to consider before making your purchase.

Type

Recap the pros and cons of each type and what each is used for to decide which is best for you: anvil, bypass, ratchet, or power?

Size

Consider the size of the shears and how compact they will be for you to hold and transport. But also consider the size of the branch that the shears can cut. Most have a maximum of about ½ inch, ¾ inch, or one inch. If you have tree branches you want to prune, then you must go for a bigger size capacity.

Safety

Of course, pruning shears are sharp. You should consider one with a safety lock, especially if you have kids or pets around. Some also have a cover that goes over the blades when you aren’t using the shears.

Ease of Use

Consider how easy it will be to use the shears. Firstly, you’ll want to consider the material type and how sharp the blade is. The sharper it is, the easier it will be to cut. You should also take note of the cutting mechanism and if it will be easy on your hands or cause fatigue.

Overall, power pruning shears are one of the easiest types to use because you don’t have to do the hard work.

Durability

You want to make sure you’re choosing something that’s built to last and can handle repeated use throughout the pruning season. You should consider the blade type for this, as certain materials will last longer.

Titanium-coated blades and carbon steel blades are the most durable. Stainless steel is also a great choice. Non-stick blades are great for stickier plants, but they aren’t as durable.

Budget

Pruning shears come in a variety of prices from less than $5 all the way up to about $250 for power shears. The majority of shears sit between $20 and $30 though. Consider your budget and shop within it.


The Best Pruning Shears of 2021

Here are seven great pruning shears for your gardening.

Vivosun Hand Pruning Shear

Safest Pruning Shears

If you’re looking for pruning shears with extra safety measures, then this is one to consider. This has a micro tip snip which has a secure sideways lock mechanism that’s easy to operate. This protects your blades while they’re not in use, but also other objects — and your fingers — from damage.

These are also designed for right and left-handed users to ensure safety no matter who is using them.

Besides the safety, this is great for precise and specific cuts. You can use these to get into hard-to-reach places without damaging other parts of your plants.

Cleaning Tip

It’s important to clean pruning shears after each use to ensure the durability of the blades and performance of the shears.

Pros

  • Super sharp blades for trimming, shaping, and deadheading.
  • The spring mechanism reduces hand fatigue.
  • Long narrow tip allows you to cut in hard-to-reach places.
  • Budget-friendly price, about $15 cheaper than the average cost.

Cons

  • Locking mechanism is flimsy and hard to use.
  • Some customers disliked how easy it springs back open after cutting.

Additional Specs

Type Not specified
Cutting diameter Not specified
Safety lock Yes
Blade material Stainless steel
Warranty One year

Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

Best Bypass Pruning Shears

These bypass shears are just what you need for stems and light branches up to ⅝ inches thick in diameter. The blade is made from hard, precision-ground steel which remains sharp even if you use it frequently.

You’ll notice how easily the blade glides through plants and woods. This prevents frayed edges but also a build-up of sap and debris on your blade.

If you do have any issues, these shears are covered by a lifetime warranty. So you can rest assured that the manufacturer will deal with any issues.

Pros

  • Rust-resistant blades with a self-cleaning function.
  • Non-slip handle so you can use it even in the rain.
  • Cuts through stems and branches up to ⅝ inches thick.
  • Lifetime warranty to back up the product’s durability.

Cons

  • Some customers found that anything over ½ inch thick was too much for the shears.
  • Safety locks can come loose quite easily.

Additional Specs

Type Bypass
Cutting diameter ⅝ inch thick
Safety lock Yes
Blade material Alloy steel with a non-stick cover
Warranty Lifetime warranty

Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Shears

Best Pruning Shears for Small Hands

If you have small hands, you might like these pruning shears from Fiskars. They are more of a scissor shape, so they can be more natural and comfortable to hold.

They have long blades that have even sharpness all the way up to ensure a clean cut even in tight places. The stainless steel blades stay sharp even if you use them often.

We love the generously sized handle loops. This feature means that despite being good for small hands, they are also good for larger hands or while you’re wearing gloves.

Pros

  • Good for clean, precise cuts the entire way up the blade.
  • The looped handles are comfortable and suitable for all hand sizes.
  • Stainless steel blades stay sharp throughout use.
  • Full lifetime warranty.

Cons

  • Some customers found the blades dulled quite quickly.
  • No safety lock.

Additional Specs

Type Not specified
Cutting diameter Not specified
Safety lock No
Blade material Stainless steel
Warranty Lifetime warranty

Swansoft Electric Pruning Shears

Best Pruning Shears for Trees

Cutting through trees with pruning shears isn’t the best way forward since the branches are thicker. But if you need something for trees with branches up to one inch thick, then this is the pruning shears for you.

These electric power pruning shears are easy to use and do the hard work for you if you come across a branch that is more stubborn.

It has over 100 cutting times per minute, so it’s less stressful for you, easing hand fatigue and frustration. With one charge, you get about three to four hours of battery life, too, which ensures lots of pruning time in one go.

Pros

  • Sharp and durable steel blades.
  • Comes with two batteries, giving you up to eight hours of battery life.
  • Brushless motor produces less noise.
  • Up to 100 cutting times per minute which takes the pressure off you.

Cons

  • Only one year warranty for such an expensive product.

Additional Specs

Type Power
Cutting diameter One inch
Safety lock No
Blade material Hardened SK5 steel
Warranty One year

The Gardener's Friend Ratchet Pruning Shears

Best Ratchet Pruners

These ratchet pruners make cutting branches and stems quick and easy. The mechanism uses leverage so you can cut more branches with less effort. This includes shrubs, trees, and flowers up to an inch thick which is pretty incredible for handheld manual pruning shears.

The manufacturer claims that these pruning shears are helpful for people with arthritis or weak hands. If that sounds like you, and you don’t want to fork out the cash for power pruning shears, then this might be up your street. In fact, if you’re a senior — this was designed with you in mind.

Pros

  • Ideal for delicate cuts all the way up to one inch thick.
  • Suitable for both right and left-handed users.
  • Hardened carbon steel blades for durability and sharpness.
  • Lightweight aluminum body that’s comfortable and rust-resistant.

Cons

  • Too big for small hands.
  • Some customers said it didn’t last longer than one season.

Additional Specs

Type Ratchet
Cutting diameter One inch
Safety lock Yes
Blade material Hardened carbon steel
Warranty Lifetime warranty

Weichuang Professional Pruning Shears

Best Budget Pruning Shears

True, the price of pruning shears can vary. But if you only want to spend a few dollars, then the Weichaung pruning shears may tick your boxes.

Despite the low price, the blades are high-quality stainless steel. They have been heat-treated and are high in hardness, allowing for sharp, quick cutting of small branches up to ½ inch thick in diameter.

The pruning shears themselves are super light, weighing only 3.5 ounces, so they are ideal for small hands.

Pros

  • Suitable for left and right-handed users.
  • Safety locking mechanism keeps blades closed.
  • Easily adjust the tightness with the screw on the blade.
  • Spring was tested 100,000 times without any deformities.

Cons

  • Not suitable for thick branches.

Additional Specs

Type Bypass
Cutting diameter ½ inch
Safety lock Yes
Blade material Stainless steel
Warranty Not specified

iGarden Combo Garden Tool Set

Best Pruning Shears for Hedges

Pruning hedges with just pruning shears may take a while, which is why — for hedges — we are recommending this combo set. You can certainly use the pruning shears for more delicate cuts, but the hedge shears and loppers can speed up some of your hard work.

With this three-piece set, they all have a soft grip to make it very comfortable and easy to use. The high carbon steel blades allow for quick and easy cutting on tree branches as well as hedges. The blades are hard and precision-ground, so they will stay sharp and resist rust.

Pros

  • Low friction coating for easy cutting.
  • Contoured and ergonomic handle to prevent hand fatigue.
  • Handle has a small hole so you can hang it to store it.
  • Rust-resistant and build not to bend or break.

Cons

  • The pruners are quite low in quality.
  • Best for light-duty work.

Additional Specs

Type Bypass shears, plus lopper and hedge shears
Cutting diameter Not specified
Safety lock Yes
Blade material High carbon steel
Warranty Not specified

Pruning Shear Comparison Chart

Product Best Type Cutting diameter Safety lock Blade material Warranty
Vivosun Hand Pruning Shear Safest Pruning Shears N/A N/A Yes Stainless steel One year
Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears Best Bypass Pruning Shears Bypass ⅝ inch Yes Alloy steel with a non-stick cover Lifetime
Fiskars Micro-Tip Pruning Shears Best for Small Hands N/A N/A No Stainless steel Lifetime
Swansoft Electric Pruning Shears Best for Trees Power 1 inch No Hardened SK5 steel One year
The Gardener’s Friend Ratchet Pruning Shears Best Ratchet Pruners Ratchet 1 inch Yes Hardened carbon steel Lifetime
Weichuang Professional Pruning Shears Best Budget Pruning Shears Bypass ½ inch Yes Stainless steel N/A
iGarden Combo Garden Tool Set Best for Hedges Bypass N/A Yes High carbon steel N/A

Pruning Shears FAQs

Which is Better: Bypass or Anvil Pruners?

Both are suitable for different things. For dry or dead branches, anvil pruners are better. For stems and soft branches, use bypass shears.

What are Anvil Pruners Good For?

Cutting away dead or dry branches. They crush the stems and branches rather than making sharp, clean cuts, so you don’t want to use these on stems or soft branches as they could fray healthy plants.

Can I Use Scissors for Pruning?

It’s not going to be effective. It won’t make sharp, clean cuts, and the thickness of the branch or stem could cause your scissors to snap or bend.

What is the Difference Between a Lopper and a Pruner?

Loppers have very long handles to help you get into hard-to-reach areas whereas pruning shears are short and compact, like small scissors.

Pruning shears usually have a maximum cutting diameter of about one inch, whereas loppers can go up to 2.5 inches thick. If you have trees or vines, a lopper will be more effective than pruning shears.


Headshot of Beth McCallum

About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!