Maybe you have a garden full of shrubs and small trees. Perhaps you’re an avid grower of vegetables that need lots of pruning, like tomatoes.
If you don’t have garden pruners already, it’s time to start shopping for them! Why? Because these small but mighty outdoor tools are tailor-made for small plant-cutting jobs.
Garden pruners, also sometimes called hand pruners, come in a few different blade and handle styles, so it’s important to know the difference before opening your wallet. You also need to brush up on things like ergonomics, materials, safety features, ease of maintenance, and, of course, price range.
Ready to find the right hand-held pruners for your garden? Read on!
The best garden pruners for you depend on your gardening style and the type of plants you need to trim. Garden tool manufacturers know this, which is why they make a few different hand pruners.
There are three basic blade styles: ratchet, bypass, and anvil pruner.
Ratchet pruners are the most commonly used tool for home gardeners and professionals. They feature a mechanism that boosts the cutting action, making them great for people with small, weak hands or those who use pruners all day.
Bypass pruners have two curved blades—both of which are sharp. They make clean cuts through even the toughest, freshest twigs and branches. Use these when you need your cuts to heal quickly.
Anvil pruners—like ratchet pruners—have one sharp and one dull blade. They make chunky, clumsy cuts, so use these for trimming dead trees and shrubs.
If you’re an avid gardener, you’ve likely experienced hand fatigue after a long outdoor day.
Ergonomics plays an essential role in preventing musculoskeletal and soft tissue damage related to repetitive work. The best garden tool manufacturers integrate ergonomic principles into their tool design.
If you’re trying out garden shears in the store, hold them in your hand and consider how they feel. Then, open and close them and check for any rubbing or strain. They should be lightweight—not heavy.
If you’re shopping online, look for:
- Curved handles
- Cushioned handles
- Rotating handles
- TPR grips (or other sturdy material grips)
- Ambidextrous options
Ergonomically-designed garden pruners should allow you to prune without bending your hand awkwardly.
In one respect, garden hand pruners are no different from other horticultural tools. The better quality materials they’re made from, the better the performance.
Read the product description online or on the packaging carefully. Materials and words to look out for include:
- Carbon steel
- Heat-treated steel
- Non-stick coating
Carbon steel blades might be expensive, but they’ll last far longer than blades made from cheaper metals. Plus, you can sharpen them. The same goes for better quality plastics or plastic combinations like nylon-fiberglass compounds.
If you’re in your garden every day or work as a gardener, you can also look out for the words “heavy-duty” or “professional.” Pruners with these labels are often made from the highest-quality, most durable materials.
Check, too, whether the pruners come with a warranty or money-back guarantee. If a company is willing to back its products in this way, that’s another sign the tools are well made.
The price of a pair of garden pruners depends on a range of factors, including:
- Quality of materials
- Place of manufacturer
- Country of origin
- Where its sold
- Availability in your area
- Brand name
While price is often a good indicator of quality, that isn’t always the case. So be sure to compare the pruners you’re interested in against all the above factors and draw up a list of pros and cons.
Make sure you’re comparing apples with apples. For example, garden shears vs. pruners isn’t a great comparison price-wise since garden shears are larger and, therefore, almost always more expensive than pruners.
Finally, you need to factor in your budget. You might have a pair of pruners at the top of your list, but the price exceeds your budget. Those are not the pruners for you.
Instead, use this rule of thumb: aim to get the best quality tool you can afford.
Today’s garden pruners come with various safety features designed to limit injury to the user.
For example, most pruners feature a lock mechanism to protect fingers and keep the blades sharp. Flick a small switch, and the blades lock in place. The pruners won’t open—no matter what pressure you put on the handles.
Once your pruners are in hand, you must adhere to a few tips for safe use. These include:
- Reading the instructions from the tool manufacturer
- Inspecting your tools for malfunctions before using them
- Wearing protective equipment: gloves, safety goggles, and a long-sleeved shirt
- Checking the pruning area for things like wasp nests and live wires
- Keeping fingers away from the cutting blades
- Being aware of weather conditions
Do you know how to sharpen garden pruners? Can the hand pruners you’re interested in purchasing even be sharpened?
Taking care of your pruners means you’ll get the most out of your investment. So choosing tools that allow for maintenance must be a checklist item.
They should be easy to clean and made from durable materials (such as solid and sharpenable blades). Consider, too, whether the brand or manufacturer of the pair of pruners you’re interested in provides repair options or offers replacement parts.
When you’ve finished working in the garden for the day, rub your pruners with a clean, dry cloth to remove debris and moisture. If they’re getting squeaky, apply a lubricant like WD-40 before storing them.
Check your pruners regularly to see if the blades need sharpening or if parts are starting to wear out.
Getting the right garden pruners for your needs can mean the difference between an enjoyable or frustrating gardening experience.
Before heading out to the store, spend time online researching the pruners you need. Consider blade style, material options, ergonomics, and safety features. And don’t forget to compare prices across these features and the different brands.
Are you a garden tool retailer looking for a reliable tool supplier? Perhaps you run a gardening business and go through pruners quickly? Then, take a look at GOGREEN’s unbeatable range of quality garden shears, loppers, and pruners today.