The 12 Best Pruning Shears of 2023 to Keep Your Garden in Check

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<p>Better Homes & Gardens / David Hattan</p>

Better Homes & Gardens / David Hattan

Garden season is here and your plants are thriving—but how do you keep them that way? Say hello to pruning shears. Pruning shears are important tools to keep your garden tidy and healthy. They are especially beneficial when you need to cut back dry stems, twigs, and branches, or remove diseased leaves from your plants.

“Pruning shears are essential for maintaining the health and appearance of your trees and shrubs,” says Bryan Clayton, the CEO of Green Pal. “Dead limbs or unhealthy limbs on your bushes or trees zap the plant of its vitality. You need a good set of high-quality pruning shears to prune off those dead parts.”

We researched the best pruning shears, taking into consideration type, material, and cutting capacity, and spoke to gardening experts Clayton and Nancy Trautz Awot, a horticulture specialist at Burpee Gardening for added insight.

Best Overall: Corona BP 3180D Classic Bypass Pruner

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Buy at

Why You Should Get It

  • The blades are made from forged steel, which helps them cut branches up to 1 inch thick.

Keep in Mind

  • If you have small hands, it may feel unwieldy.

The Corona 3180D is our top recommendation for the best pruning shears because it is half the price of other expensive pruners on our list, but it cuts branches just as well. It’s a bypass shear featuring a forged steel blade, which makes it a strong and long-lasting option.

The shears can cut everything from delicate stems to tough branches or deadwood. If the blades become dull, you can either re-sharpen them or purchase replacements separately in case of damage. While this model is specially designed to cut trees and branches up to one inch thick, two other options that can slice material up to ½ inch, and ¾ inch cuts are available as well. An alloy steel handle provides a comfortable non-slip grip.

Additionally, the shears have a built-in groove that drains away tree sap, so the blades stay clean and won’t stick to each other. Another benefit of having clean blades is that you’re able to keep plant infection away.

Overall, this pair may not be the best pruning shears for people with small hands because they might be unwieldy. This is mostly because they have a tendency to open wide, and might require a second hand to clamp them down.

Price at time of publish: $25

Product Details: Material: Alloy steel | Weight: 13.6 ounces | Size: Medium/Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1 inch

Best Budget: VIVOSUN 6.5-Inch Pruning Shears

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Why You Should Get It

  • Micro-snip tips make these pruning shears perfect for small stems, flowers, or herbs.

Keep in Mind

  • The blades are not big enough to handle thick branches.

When you need to save a few bucks, these Vivosun Pruning Shears are the best pruning shears you can choose for such a low price. Not only are they ergonomically designed with stainless steel blades and rubber handles, but they offer all the comfort you need while you work in the garden. If you have arthritis or other hand mobility issues, these are an excellent choice.

A straight stainless steel blade and sharp micro-snip tips mean that they are suited for delicate cuttings. Whether you like to deadhead flowers, trim leaves on houseplants, or cut herbs in the garden, these shears are able to do all of the above, without damaging the rest of the plant.

Like most other shears, the pair is spring-loaded, so the blade automatically opens for you. Plus, the Vivosun comes with a safety lock that secures your blade when it’s not in use. The blades can only stretch up to ½ inch, which means the shears are designed for light cutting tasks (consider other options if you have thick branches).

For even more precise cuts, there is a curved blade option available. They are available in three colors: black, blue, and orange.

Price at time of publish: $7

Product Details: Material: Stainless steel | Weight: 0.15 | Size: Small/Medium | Max. Cutting Capacity: ½ inch

Best Splurge: Felco F7 Pruning Shears

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Why You Should Get It

  • Super-sharp blades allow for more precise cuts.

Keep in Mind

  • The rotating handles might take some practice.

We would not be exaggerating if we described the Felco F7 as the Rolls-Royce of pruning shears. These Swiss-manufactured pruning shears are high-end for all the right reasons. Not only are they super sharp and can easily slice twigs and stems up to 1 inch thick, but they’re also actually the best pruning shears for large hands.

An angled head and a pointed hardened steel anvil blade allow the shears to make clean, precise cuts, so you don’t have to worry about your tree getting infected or pests coming to roost inside the tree. If your blade becomes worn or damaged, you can order a replacement.

The Felco's one-handed design reduces the risk of blisters by allowing for 30 percent less pressure (according to the manufacturers) compared to other prune shears. It also makes the tool feel more natural to use. Rubber shock absorbers make cutting feel smooth and easy.

A micro-metric setting allows you to adjust the cutting head exactly the way you want to get a precise cut. While we think these prune shears are well worth the money—the rotating handle may take some time to get used to. Felco is a favorite brand of Clayton’s, so these are expert-approved.

Price at time of publish: $95

Product Details: Material: Aluminum | Weight: 4.96 ounces | Size: Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1 inch

Best for Flowers: Gonicc Professional Micro-Tip Pruning Snip

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Why You Should Get It

  • These pruning shears are designed for both left- and right-handed users.

Keep in Mind

  • The manufacturers say that they can cut branches up to ¾ inches thick, but this can vary depending on the type of branch.

If you need a pair of pruning shears to cut flowers, a good rule of thumb is to go small, delicate, and light. That’s what you get with the Gonicc Professional Micro-Tip Pruning Snips. These are the best pruning shears to harvest blooms off your front porch or garden.

They have a titanium-coated carbon steel blade, which the manufacturers say is three times stronger than other blades. It’s designed for both left and right-handed users and features non-slip handles that make these shears lightweight and comfortable to use. Additionally, you can adjust hand width to accommodate different hand sizes.

While they don’t have an actual locking mechanism, they do come with a plastic strap that binds the handles together to keep them closed. This makes it easy to carry in your pocket during garden forays without hurting you. The shears can rotate in both directions to prevent hand fatigue.

Besides the blades being non-stick, they have a groove design that drains any sap away from the shears, so you won’t have much to clean after your work is over. Although there is enough torque to cut ¾-inch tree branches, note that this isn’t a hard and fast rule—it might be a good idea to test a branch’s hardness before you cut.

Price at time of publish: $18

Product Details: Material: Aluminum, carbon steel | Weight: 4.23 ounces | Size: Small/Medium | Max. Cutting Capacity: ¾ inch

Best for Hedges: Fiskars PowerGear2 Hedge Shears

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Why You Should Get It

  • Its 10-inch steel blades and make cutting thick bushes, trees, and plants more efficient.

Keep in Mind

  • They still may not be big enough for huge, chunky branches.

With one snip, the Fiskars Garden PowerGear2 can clear away dense shrubbery and thick branches without applying a lot of pressure. While some hedgers can be unwieldy to handle because of their size, the Fiskar has extra leverage and three times more power than traditional pruning shears.

Even though it is big and heavy, the hedger is easy to open and close. Just keep in mind that you need two hands to operate it.

The pruning shears have 10-inch steel blades with a low-friction coating that prevents rust from forming and allows you to make smoother cuts. Maintaining the blade requires you to rub oil on it periodically to keep it in tip-top condition.

We think it’s a great choice for home gardeners and landscapers who need an efficient tool that doesn’t tax their arms too much. For this reason, those with arthritis would probably find this tool to be especially beneficial. While this Fiskars option is good for thick foliage, it may not be the best pruning shear to chop up big and chunky branches.

Price at time of publish: $64

Product Details: Material: Alloy steel | Weight: 2.45 pounds | Size: Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: 10 inches

Best Anvil: Woodland Tools Co. Heavy Duty Adjustable Anvil Pruning Shears

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Why You Should Get It

  • You’re able to adjust the size based on the size of your hand.

Keep in Mind

  • Although, it has a ⅝ cutting width, the cutting radius will be less if you adjust it to a smaller size.

When you need to prune dry branches and twigs in your garden, an anvil pruner will do the job. These anvil pruning shears from Woodland Tools Co. have been performance-tested by the brand to ensure the cleanest cuts through dry and dormant wood. Plus, they feature a cushioned grip, so you won’t strain your muscles in the process.

Because the shears are designed for thicker cuts, they are heavy-duty and able to cut back branches up to ⅝ inch with minimal effort. In terms of design, we think these are the best pruning shears with anvil blades because they suit large and small hands. Before you start snipping, you’re able to adjust the size. But, keep in mind that this may limit cutting width.

Additionally, these pruning shears have an internal spring, unlike others that have it on the outside. This reduces the chance of the spring falling out or getting damaged. The blades are carbon steel and coated in a non-stick seal to retain sharpness and prevent rust from forming.

This tool also stores easily—you can either tuck it away in your toolbox or use the hole on its handle to hang it on a wall.

Price at time of publish: $35

Product Details: Material: Carbon steel | Weight: 7 ounces | Size: Small to Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: ⅝ inch

Best Bypass: Okatsune 103 Bypass Pruners

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Why You Should Get It

  • The slim profile and distinctive coloring and design make these stand out in a crowded toolbox.

Keep in Mind

  • The blade may get tarnished over time.

If you’re looking for a Felco alternative at a lower price, these Japanese-made Okatsune Bypass Pruners could be an option. This pair features hardened steel blades that are able to make clean cuts on most branches and twigs, and a lean profile that won’t feel bulky in your back pocket.

For anyone with a medium to large-sized garden, the Okatsune is one of the best pruning shears out there. The blades can handle branches and twigs up to 1 inch thick.

Instead of a thumb lock, commonly found in other models, the Okatsune locks with a latch that you can squeeze and tap to open or close it. Additionally, the red and white handles on these bypass pruners look sleek and make them easier to find in your gardening toolbox.

The bypass pruner is heavy-duty and surprisingly strong enough to cut back tree branches (which is what we would expect from an anvil pruner). Just keep in mind that the blade may tarnish over time, but will still retain its sharpness for the most part.

Price at time of publish: $34

Product Details: Material: Alloy steel | Weight: 8.1 ounces | Size: Medium | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1 inch

Best Ratchet: The Gardener's Friend Ratchet Pruning Shears Gardening Tool

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Why You Should Get It

  • The ratchet mechanism allows it to open easily to clean and sharpen the blades.

Keep in Mind

  • The cleaning pad can easily slip out of its holder while you’re working.

Ratchet pruners are good for cutting thick branches with little physical effort. That’s why we think this option from Gardener’s Friends is a good pick for anyone with arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome.

The pruning shears have a ratcheting mechanism (meaning there is no spring) that allows you to chisel branches in three stages with varying amounts of pressure until they are completely sliced through. They also feature a left and right flip latch that allows you to unlock the sears by squeezing and then sliding the button down on the handle.

The handles expand wide to not only give you more leverage but also make it easier to clean and sharpen the blades. A soft rubber grip makes using them extremely comfortable, so you can spend more time in the garden harvesting produce and flowers or cutting tree branches. And the aluminum body is lightweight, so it doesn’t feel heavy in your hand or pocket.

These pruners are rust-resistant and come with their own cleaning sponge that is stored directly on the handle. Just be aware that this cleaning pad is easy to lose because it can fall out while you’re working—you may want to store it separately.

Price at time of publish: $30 

Product Details: Material: Carbon steel  | Weight: 7.76 ounces | Size: Medium | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1-inch

Best Small: ARS HP-130DX 7-Inch Light Pruner

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Why You Should Get It

  • This Japanese pruner is only 7 inches long, and easier to control than other heavy-duty styles.

Keep in Mind

  • The blades can’t open wider than ⅝ inch.

Made in Japan, these pruning shears from ARS have a loyal following among home gardeners. And we can think of a couple of good reasons why the high-quality ARS 7-inch light pruner has become a best-kept secret in many gardening circles.

Firstly, it’s small (only 7 inches long) and lightweight, making it much easier to control compared to a lopper or other heavy-duty pruner. Additionally, it’s designed with a small 2-inch blade that’s curved to make it cut through deadwood and branches efficiently.

They are a bypass style, which means they are the best pruning shears to make clean incisions on flower bushes or cut back young fruit trees. Like other quality pruners, these are made of high-carbon steel but have the added bonus of being heat-treated for maximum sharpness.

In addition, the blades are coated with chrome plating that makes it easy to clean off sap or any debris after you’re done in the garden. Because it’s smaller, the cutting capacity is limited, you won’t be able to cut stems and branches that are more than ⅝ inch thick.

Price at time of publish: $33

Product Details: Material: High carbon steel | Weight: 6 ounces | Size: Small | Max. Cutting Capacity: ⅝ inch

Best Left-Handed: Felco F9 Pruning Shears

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Why You Should Get It

  • Blades as well as other components are replaceable, so you can buy individual parts instead of an entirely new set of shears.

Keep in Mind

  • These are not bypass shears, which are harder to find in left-handed grips.

While there are plenty of brands that carry pruning shears that can be used with both left and right hands, finding a pair of pruning shears specifically made for left-handed users is not that common. That’s why we appreciate that Felco has made a pruner for all the lefties out there which makes trimming plants and stems safe and comfortable.

This pair has the same high-quality materials as other pruners from the Felco brand and comes with hardened steel blades that are heat-treated, so they’re able to handle heavy gardening jobs. In addition, it features an angled head and revolving handle to lessen arm and wrist strain.

These pruning shears feature rubber shock absorbers that offer added comfort, plus cushion the impact every time you make a cut. The body is about 8.3 inches long and has a cutting diameter of 1 inch. They have a sap groove that prevents sticky blades and a notch to cut through wires. Note that these aren’t bypass shears, so if you’re looking for those, you’ll have to pick a model that works for both left and right-hand grips.

One of the best features of these shears is that you don’t have to buy new ones when you wear them out or they become damaged because most parts are replaceable. Note that they are more expensive than pruners from other brands—but, as the famous adage goes, you get what you pay for.

Price at time of publish: $61

Product Details: Material: Metal, steel | Weight: 0.55 | Size: Medium | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1 inch

Best Battery-Powered: Scotts 7.2-Volt Cordless Rechargeable Power Pruner

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Why You Should Get It

  • This option can chew through branches quickly without fatiguing your hands.

Keep in Mind

  • You can’t buy a spare charger.

For anyone who plans on spending hours at a time pruning, a battery-powered option like this Scott’s model is convenient. This pruner uses motor power and a cushioned grip to break off stems and branches with little effort, so you won’t tire your hands out.

The blades are made from hardened steel and do a great job obliterating shoots and branches up to 3/4 inch in diameter. Just press and hold the button for a few seconds and let it rip.

The pruner runs on a rechargeable and long-lasting 2.0 Ah lithium battery. You can get anywhere from 200 to 800 cuts in a single charge (depending on how thick the branches are), so you won’t have to worry about stopping to recharge halfway through your pruning session.

We like that it’s eco-friendly and will not spew bad fumes while it's in use. All pruning shears come with a two-year warranty, so the company can replace the tool if there are any issues, but you can’t buy a spare or backup charger. Keep in mind that these shears weigh around two pounds, and may feel bulky in your pocket.

Price at time of publish: $75

Product Details: Material: Hardened steel | Weight: 1.8 pounds | Size: Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: ¾ inch

Best Lopper: Fiskars 28-Inch Steel Blade Garden Bypass Lopper and Tree Trimmer

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Why You Should Get It

  • This lopper is much larger than standard pruning shears, making it ideal for bigger jobs.

Keep in Mind

  • It’s quite heavy and can be difficult to hold for long periods.

When you want to make cutting large tree branches seem as easy as slicing butter, the best pruning shears for the job are a pair of loppers. These Fiskar loppers are 28 inches long from handle to blade tip. They are much larger compared to regular pruning shears and can handle branches up to 1½ inches wide.

The blades are made from stainless steel and have a low-friction coating for a smooth cut all the way through. The coating also protects the blades from rust. A bypass design allows you to cut thick branches as well as branches as small as ⅝ of an inch. Keep in mind that because the size is quite large, you need two hands to use.

We like that the blades are designed with shock absorbers to help buffer any impact that results from cutting thick branches. Like all other Fiskar pruning shears, this lopper is backed by a lifetime warranty. It comes in three different sizes including a 23-inch model, and one with telescopic handles that extend up to 37 inches.

While this lopper is really sharp and durable, just keep in mind that it’s really heavy—so you want to make sure you can handle it before you buy.

Price at time of publish: $27 

Product Details: Material: Stainless Steel | Weight: 2.9 pounds | Size: Large | Max. Cutting Capacity: 1 ½ inches

The Bottom Line

Overall, we recommend the Corona BP 3180D Classic Bypass Pruner because the ultra-sharp blades can handle most types of branches in your garden or yard, and it comes at an affordable price. For a cheaper option that’s good for herbs, flowers, and small plants, this pair of Vivosun Pruning Shears is one to consider.

What to Know About Pruning Shears Before Shopping


“Generally, heavy-duty pruning shears are made from materials like high-quality steel, stainless steel, or titanium for blades or Japanese carbon steel blades (which is even more durable than stainless steel),” says Nancy Trautz Awot, a horticulture specialist at Burpee Gardening. Handles are typically made from aluminum or steel and have rubber or other cushioning for added comfort.


There are four main types of pruning shears: bypass, ratchet, anvil, and straight-blade. While they can all cut back branches, leaves, and stems—they have different cutting methods to get the job done. “Bypass pruners are beneficial because they make clean cuts without damaging healthy branches,” Clayton says. Anvil pruners, on the other hand, are more suited for dormant wood and dry twigs and branches, because they tend to smash the wood pieces as they cut through.

To make delicate snips for a floral arrangement or need floral shears for your flower garden, straight-blade shears are your best bet. Ratchet pruners are almost the same as anvil pruners, but they cut through the wood in stages, so you don’t have to apply a lot of hand pressure to break down a branch. If you have arthritis or any other hand mobility issues, this type is a good choice.

Cutting Capacity

Average-sized pruning shears usually have a cutting capacity of up to 1 inch. Larger pruning shears like loppers can slice heavy tree branches or dense foliage up to 2 or 3 inches. For small pruners, the cutting diameters may be less than an inch, such as ¾ or ⅝ of an inch.

“The cutting capacity will also depend on the specific shears, so make sure to check the product details before purchasing. You certainly don't want to buy a small shear and it won't handle the job, " Clayton says.

Your Questions, Answered

Which pruning shears should I use for dead wood?

Most experts will agree that a pair of anvil pruning shears are essential for cutting dead wood and branches. This is because anvil pruners are designed to cut through husky stems and branches, but crushes them to bits in the process. Many gardeners are fine with this since dead wood usually ends up in the trash or compost anyway.

What are the different types of pruning shears?

Pruning shears are available in bypass, anvil, ratchet, and straight-blade. While all are effective in keeping your plants healthy, there are pros and cons depending on the type of pruner you choose. “Bypass pruners are the most common type of pruner and are often considered a must-have tool,” Awot says. “They can be used on a variety of plants and are ideal for pruning shrubs, flowers, and small stems. However, they aren’t suitable for cutting through tough branches or stems.”

“Straight-blade pruners are a tool of choice for flower gardeners,” Awot says. “Its small, sharp, straight blades are ideal to use on more delicate plants, and they can be used to make very precise cuts.”

Anvil pruners are an excellent tool if you have to trim dead wood and stems. Unlike bypass pruning shears (which have two blades), it uses a single blade to quickly crush through tough material. “They are less versatile than other pruners because they are only used for dead wood and stems,” Awot says. “Their crushing motion will damage green plant material.”

Ratchet pruning shears are a favorite among many gardeners because they allow you to cut in stages instead of pushing down on a branch and cutting it in one swoop. By doing this, they make cutting easier with way less effort.

What size pruners do I need?

When you’re looking for the right pruner size for your garden, it’s a good idea to first assess the plants and trees in your yard or garden. “If your garden has plants with thicker and tougher stems and branches, a larger-size pruner is ideal to easily cut through the material,” Awot says. “If your garden has flowers or shrubs with delicate leaves and stems, smaller pruners are recommended, as a larger tool would damage these delicate plants.”

In addition, you’ll notice that pruning shears have different shapes and handle lengths. The one that is most comfortable for you is entirely based on your preferences and hand size. “Consider your comfort when determining the best size,” Awot advises. “Larger pruners can be heavier, which can lead to fatigue if you will be pruning frequently.”

Who We Are

Nor'Adila Hepburn is a freelance writer who specializes in writing in-depth buying guides for Better Homes & Gardens. To find the best pruning shears she received tips from gardening experts Bryan Clayton, CEO of Green Pal, and Nancy Trautz Awot, a horticulture specialist at Burpee Gardening for added insight.  

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Read the original article on Better Homes & Gardens.