The best secateurs: these pruners are top of the chops

When pruning time rolls around, you’ll want a good set of pruners on your side. With anvil and bypass options galore, be sure to check out our list of the best secateurs before you buy

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If you haven’t looked into buying a proper pair before, secateurs can seem a little like something that you grab on the way to the till at the garden centre: a necessary afterthought. But the best secateurs can be a real joy to use, making slicing through stems swifter than ever, and even, in some cases, reducing the risk of hand and wrist pain or exacerbating underlying health conditions like repetitive strain injury, most likely for frequent weeders and deadheaders. Most definitely a piece of kit to add to your list of the best gardening tools.

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.

With that in mind, our top choice is the award-winning Felco Model 12, anvil secateurs which reviewers loved for their stay-sharp blades, comfort and cutting ability. 

The best pruners

1. Felco Model 12 Secateurs

These design award-winning secateurs are tops for comfortable and capable use

Specifications
Best for: Comfort
Type: Anvil
Weight: 225g
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Stress-reducing rotating handle+ Stay-sharp blades 

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. 

Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Ratchet Secateurs

2. Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Ratchet Secateurs

Scissor-style secateurs for a stable grip

Specifications
Best for: Woody stems
Type: Anvil
Weight: 225g
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Helpful ratchet mechanism + Scissor-style handles 

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. 

Fiskars PowerGear Pruner

3. Fiskars PowerGear Pruner

Extra strong steel and easy-pull handles make for a great bypass secateur

Specifications
Best for: Green growth
Type: Bypass
Weight: 20mm
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Gives a very clean cut on soft growth + Exerts three times the force you put in 

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. 

4. Stihl Professional Secateurs

Make short work of tough twigs with these extra-strong blades

Specifications
Best for: Thicker stems
Type: Anvil
Weight: 225g
Cutting capacity: 25mm
Reasons to buy
+ Large cutting capacity + Easy-to-spot orange handles 

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. 

Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs

5. Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs

All kinds of gardeners, not just professional, could benefit from these precise and powerful cutters

Specifications
Best for: Ambidextrous
Type: Bypass
Weight: 399g
Cutting capacity: 25mm
Reasons to buy
+ For right- and left-handed gardeners + Non-stick blades for precise pruning 

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. 

Wilkinson Sword Razorcut Pro Angled Pruner

6. Wilkinson Sword Razorcut Pro Angled Pruner

Ergonomically angled and shock-absorbing for maximum cutting comfort

Specifications
Best for: Durability
Type: Bypass
Weight: 275g
Cutting capacity: 22mm
Reasons to buy
+ Shock-absorbing rubber buffers + Two latch positions for differently sized stems 

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. 

Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Secateurs

7. Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Secateurs

Take it easy with these powerful secateurs, which give a helping hand to weaker grips

Specifications
Best for: Weak hands
Type: Anvil
Weight: 231g
Cutting capacity: 25mm
Reasons to buy
+ Easy-to-use ratchet mechanism + Hardened carbon steel blades 

Those with underlying conditions or injuries meaning they find it hard to perform pruning actions might think they’re exempt, but with a tool that takes your input and multiplies it a whopping five times, even those who would ordinarily struggle can have a fair whack at a strong shrub. The ratchet mechanism, just like the one you’ll find in the Spear & Jackson secateurs, kicks off a latch that allows you to complete the cut in steps, rather than demanding a lot of strength in a single movement. We have an inkling the heat-treated and hardened carbon steel blades might have a hand in it too... 

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