Best secateurs: top 6 buys for perfect pruning

These best secateurs will make pruning and cutting in your garden a breeze

Included in this guide:

(Image credit: Amazon)

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

the best secateurs: Felco Model 12 Secateurs

1. Felco Model 12 Secateurs

Best secateurs: these design award-winning secateurs are tops for comfortable and capable use

Best for: Comfort
Type: Anvil
Weight: 225g
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Stress-reducing rotating handle+ Stay-sharp blades 
Reasons to avoid
-Can initially have quite a tight rotation, but users said they can be loosened

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

The best secateurs: Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Ratchet Secateurs

2. Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Ratchet Secateurs

Best secateurs for pruning branches: scissor-style secateurs for a stable grip

Best for: Woody stems
Type: Anvil
Weight: 225g
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Helpful ratchet mechanism + Scissor-style handles 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the best for fresh green growth due to anvil style

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

The best secateurs: Fiskars PowerGear Pruner

3. Fiskars PowerGear Pruner

Best secateurs for greenery: extra strong steel and easy-pull handles make for a great bypass secateur

Best for: Green growth
Type: Bypass
Weight: 240g
Cutting capacity: 20mm
Reasons to buy
+ Gives a very clean cut on soft growth + Exerts three times the force you put in 
Reasons to avoid
-Locking mechanism can self-engage when cutting anything heftier

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

The best secateurs: Stihl professional secateurs

(Image credit: Stihl)

4. Stihl Professional Secateurs

Best secateurs for thicker stems: make short work of tough twigs with these extra-strong blades

Best for: Thicker stems
Type: Anvil
Weight: 208g
Cutting capacity: 25mm
Reasons to buy
+ Large cutting capacity + Easy-to-spot orange handles 
Reasons to avoid
-Weightier than many on this list

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

The best secateurs: Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs

5. Wolf-Garten RR5000 Professional Secateurs

Best secateurs for ambidextrous beings: all kinds of gardeners, not just professional, could benefit from these precise and powerful cutters

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 
Reasons to avoid
-Left-handed gardeners might struggle with the locking mechanism positioning

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 best secateurs: Wilkinson Sword Razorcut Pro Angled Pruner

6. Wilkinson Sword Razorcut Pro Angled Pruner

Best secateurs for durability: ergonomically angled and shock-absorbing for maximum cutting comfort

Best for: Durability
Type: Bypass
Weight: 275g
Cutting capacity: 22mm
Reasons to buy
+ Shock-absorbing rubber buffers + Two latch positions for differently sized stems 
Reasons to avoid
-May need tightening or loosening after purchase

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.

Need more tools? Check out our buyer's guide to the best gardening tools and visit our garden hub page.

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.

Cutting capacity

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. 

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Anna Cottrell
Anna Cottrell

Anna is Consumer Editor across Future's home brands. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening.