These are the best secateurs if you have shrubs in your garden, or are growing flowers for cutting. Secateurs deliver a clean cut that ensures the health of your plants and the longevity of cut flower arrangements. They're simply a must-have tool for any garden.
Our list includes anvil options that are perfect for thick, woody stems, and bypass options that offer a cleaner cut for finer work like trimming lavender or collecting cut flowers. We also list the cutting capacity so you know the upper limit when it comes to the diameter of whatever you are pruning – you might want to invest in a couple of widths for a range of jobs.
And when you're done reading, browse more great gardening tools to fully kit out your gardening arsenal.
The best secateurs you can buy right now
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A rotating handle is the secret to these Felco secateurs’ success. According to the designers, it can reduce the effort needed by a third, which not only aids in staving off fatigue, but could even reduce the risk of tendonitis, while the inbuilt shock absorption also acts to protect the hand and wrist while hacking at tricky stems. According to reviewers, these anvil-blade secateurs are tough enough to handle anything up to lopper-sized branches, and the heat-treated steel cutting surfaces are incredibly sharp, making these our best all-rounders for their combination of comfortable use and power.
- Buy Felco Model 12 Secateurs
For thick, woody stems, expert testers found none better than these anvil-style secateurs from Spear & Jackson. The looped handle leaves them looking a little more like scissors than traditional secateurs, and it’s precisely this that makes the ratchet-action blades easier to pull apart again while tackling tough growth. The action itself lets you close with multiple pulls to really give those tough branches all you’ve got. The blades are coated with Teflon for razor-sharpness, so be careful of those fingers, although the non-slip coating on the handles is sure to help towards peace of mind.
- Buy Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Ratchet Secateurs
If you tend to find yourself tackling tender growth more often than not, these bypass secateurs may be able to lend a helping hand. Far better for use on green, soft stems than our previous two picks, reviewers say they’ll leave an unbeatable clean cut thanks to chromium, molybdenum and vanadium-infused replaceable steel blades. However, that’s not to say they can’t do both: the easy-pull lower handle and well-designed gearing that is meant to multiply the force exerted by your hands by three times, it should be easy to cut through much tougher stuff too. Some buyers found the lock would self-engage when used on anything too thick, but we would advise using a tool designed for branches in those cases.
- Buy Fiskars PowerGear Pruner
These Stihl professional secateurs build on the cutting capacity of our top three picks by 5mm, which might not seem like a huge margin, but when it can mean the difference between storming through your pruning and having to stop proceedings to grab the loppers it may be worth some consideration. The fully-forged, chrome-plated blades are designed to be easy to replace, making this a model with some longevity, and the bright orange shade of the cushioned handles should come in much handier than the ubiquitous dark green for when they’re inevitably dropped in a thicket.
- Buy Stihl Professional Secateurs
These Wolf-Garten secateurs are designed to be ambidextrous, so long-put-upon left-handed gardeners need worry no more. And that’s not the only way they come in handy when spring rolls around – despite a meaty cutting capacity of 25mm, an exact match for our previous Stihl pick, they come highly recommended for precise pruning, with non-stick blades that won’t be outfoxed by sap. And if they do come a cropper, Wolf-Garten say their coating makes them easy to clean.
- Buy Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs
The ergonomically designed handles of these Wilkinson Sword pruners aren’t too different from those of our previous pick from Stihl – aside from clearly not being bright orange – just one nod to high-end functionality that makes these budget secateurs a cut above their price point. With large rubber buffers to absorb shock and keep hands comfortable; a two-position catch that allows a different approach for thick and slim stems and quality SK5 Japanese steel blades, they go to show that spending less needn’t mean a great deal of compromise.
- Buy Wilkinson Sword Razorcut Pro Angled Pruner
What are the best secateurs?
In our opinion, the best secateurs are the Felco Model 12 Secateurs, thanks to their handy rotating handle which reduces effort by up to a third.
Not only does this feature mean your hand and wrist won't feel as tired, but the manufacturers suggest it could also reduce the risk of tendonitis – perfect for frequent gardeners. Plus, they're versatile enough to handle anything up to lopper-sized branches.
How to buy the best secateurs
When it comes to buying the best secateurs, there are a few factors worth considering if you're looking for value for money and a model that will stand the test of time. We'd recommend paying specific attention to the following:
Anvil or bypass
The big choice when buying secateurs is between anvil and bypass models. Anvil secateurs excel at cutting hard, woody stems, but don’t tend to leave the cleanest finish on softer, greener stems. Bypass secateurs, meanwhile, are best for precision pruning, as they’re designed to get into small gaps and leave a clean cut without crushing, which is essential when cutting back beloved plants in the spring to encourage growth. The secret to using both is to keep those blades sharp and never attempt to cut stems wider than the recommended diameter.
Unfortunately, not all secateurs are born equal, so you'll want to think carefully about how you intend on using yours in order to make the right purchase. If you're only planning on pruning flowers and other small plants with thin branches, there's no need to worry about prioritising a heavy duty pair. It's worth investing in something a little more substantial if you plan on tackling tree lops, however.
Do secateurs need sharpening?
Yes; in fact, it is recommended to sharpen your secateurs after every big job (e.g. a seasonal prune of all your shrubs). For best results, use a sharpening stone or diamond sharpener. We prefer using a sharpener because of the shape of secateurs.