Last updated: August 8, 2021

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Do you like to spend time in your garden and take care of your plants? Then the practical small garden shears are an important tool for you. You can use them to prune twigs, branches, rose bushes, boxwoods and other cultivated plants.

This handy garden tool is particularly convincing because of its versatility.

Our large garden shears test 2021 will help you find the best garden shears for you. Here we show you what you should look for in terms of overall length, cutting thickness, weight and handle material.




Summary

  • In contrast to hedge shears, pruning shears can be used for many different types of work in the garden.
  • Branches and twigs, as well as rose bushes, boxwoods and other cultivated plants can be processed with the shears.
  • You can distinguish garden shears from one another on the basis of various criteria, such as overall length, cutting thickness, weight and handle material.

The Best Garden Shears: Our Choices

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying pruning shears

What do I use pruning shears for?

You use pruning shears for different jobs in the garden. You operate the small shears with one hand and use them mainly to cut off individual parts of plants. Suitable for smaller jobs in the following places:

  • Cultivated plants
  • Rose bushes
  • Twigs and small branches
  • Boxwoods
  • Herb bed
  • Cleaning out plants, removing shoots

In common parlance, pruning shears are often also called loppers or hedge shears. These terms are not entirely correct. The pruning shears have so many names because their field of application is so extensive.

Depending on the pruning shears, you can cut branches of different thicknesses. Garden shears with a cutting thickness of 15 millimetres up to a maximum of 25 millimetres can be found on the market. The cutting thickness indicates the maximum thickness of a branch that the shears can cut.

How much do pruning shears cost?

Garden shears can be divided into three price categories. In the following, you will find out what makes up each price category.

Type Price range
Inexpensive garden shears from € 5
Mid-range garden shears from € 20
High-quality garden shears around € 30-70

You can find good mid-range garden shears from around €20 in specialist shops. From this price range upwards, the materials are usually well made. The shears are usually comfortable to hold and have a relatively long life.

It is better to keep your hands off cheaper tools. Cheaper pruning shears are also available for as little as 5 euros. The cheap models are usually made largely of plastic. However, the shears are subjected to great stress when cutting.

Plastic parts can sometimes break. In addition, the blades of inexpensive pruning shears are not of such high quality. They wear out quickly and become blunt. With cheap pruning shears, the pleasure is usually short-lived.

High-quality pruning shears cost around 30 to 70 euros. They are usually offered by well-known brand manufacturers. However, the high-priced pruning shears are worth their price. For example, they score points with ergonomic handles, replaceable spare parts or rustproof blades.

Gartenschere

Garden shears are particularly suitable for pruning rose hedges or shrubs. When choosing pruning shears, look for good quality, as cheap garden shears often wear out more quickly. (Photo: jackmac34 / pixabay.com)

Decision: What types of secateurs are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, you can distinguish between four types of secateurs:

  • Anvil garden shears
  • Bypass garden shears
  • Japanese garden shears
  • Hand hedge shears

In the following section, we would like to introduce you to the different types in more detail to help you decide which to buy. In addition, we will present the functions and the resulting advantages and disadvantages of the individual types.

How do anvil pruning shears work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Anvil pruning shears consist of a movable blade and a rigid metal plate opposite, the so-called anvil. To cut, you move the blade towards the anvil. In doing so, the plant is clamped. They are easy and pleasant to use because you don't have to exert much force.

Advantages
  • Suitable for strong branches and thicker twigs
  • Easy to use
  • Less force is needed
Disadvantages
  • Messy cuts
  • Risk of injury to plants

Anvil garden shears are unsuitable for precise work. By crushing the plant, you are more likely to achieve an unclean cut, which can easily injure delicate plants. For this reason, this type of pruner is suitable for cutting thicker branches and large shrubs. Therefore, this type of pruning shears is also called lopping shears.

How do the bypass pruning shears work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The bypass pruner consists of two sharp blades. When you exercise them, you let the two blades slide past each other, similar to a pair of household shears.

Advantages
  • Clean and precise cuts
  • Suitable for delicate flowers
  • Plants are not injured
Disadvantages
  • Not suitable for twigs and branches

The bypass shears are particularly suitable for fine work, as the sharp cutting edges allow clean and precise cuts. This way you don't hurt the plants. They are ideal for cutting delicate flowers such as roses or tulips.

This is why the garden tool is also called flower or rose shears. Unlike the anvil garden shears, however, the bypass is not intended for thick branches or twigs, but exclusively for fine work.

How do the Japanese secateurs work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The high-quality Japanese pruning shears are made by hand. Both blades are made of carbon steel. This steel ensures that you do not have to sharpen the blades as often. They are also easier to sharpen than the stainless steel blades.

Advantages
  • Blades made of high-quality carbon steel
  • Allows easy sharpening of the blades
  • Suitable for delicate plants
Disadvantages
  • Regular oiling
  • Not suitable for thick branches and shrubs

Japanese pruning shears should be handled with care. Make sure you keep them dry to prevent the hardened blades from rusting. If you are not going to use the Japanese gardening tool for a long time, regular oiling is advisable.

Just like the bypass, you can use the scissors to cut delicate plants, their individual leaves and thin branches. Thick branches are rather unsuitable for the Japanese garden shears.

How do the hand hedge trimmers work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The hand hedge trimmer is ideal for maintaining and shaping your hedges, bushes and shrubs. With its two cutting blades, it resembles an ordinary pair of household shears. The length of the hedge trimmer can be up to 60 centimetres, with the blades making up about 30 centimetres of the total length.

Advantages
  • Suitable for hedges, shrubs and bushes
  • Easy to use
Disadvantages
  • Regular sharpening
  • Time-consuming

The hand hedge trimmer is used like a normal pair of pliers. With both handles you press the opposite cutting blades together. With a little muscle power and the resulting leverage, you can achieve the desired results.

You can shorten both thin and thicker branches with the hedge trimmer. To trim your hedge and shrubs into the desired shape, you should have a lot of stamina. Working with the hand hedge trimmer is time-consuming. You should also sharpen the blades regularly to ensure a clean cut.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate garden shears

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and evaluate pruning shears. This will help you to better assess what is available on the market. This way you can see which product suits you best. These criteria are compared:

  • Total length
  • Cutting thickness
  • Weight
  • Handle material

In the following paragraphs you will find detailed information on the individual purchase criteria.

Total length

It can happen that plants in the garden are more difficult to reach. They may be surrounded by many branches. In order to be able to work well in such places, your pruning shears should be as handy as possible. The overall length of the pruning shears provides an indication of this.

The longer the pruning shears, the more difficult it will be for you to reach places where there is a lot of overgrowth.

We have compared the lengths of pruning shears. There are currently secateurs with different lengths on the market. The smallest pair of secateurs was 15 cm long. The largest shears were 28 cm long.

An example: You want to get to the right spot in the fine rose bush. You can well imagine that this will be difficult with 28 cm long scissors.

Pruning thickness

Are you worried that your new pruning shears won't be able to handle the thick branches in your garden? Then you should read up on the cutting thickness. Here are the facts you need to know.

The cutting force is more important than the technique with which the pruning shears cut.

Whether the pruning shears have two blades, a bypass system or an anvil technique - the cutting thickness tells you how much cutting power the shears have. We have compared data on the cutting strength of garden shears.

There are currently secateurs with different cutting strengths on the market. The lowest cutting thickness was 10 mm. The highest cutting thickness was 25 mm.

For example, some of the strands of your forsythia shrub have died. You have to remove them. The dead branches are about 15 mm thick. You can cut these branches with pruning shears that have a cutting thickness of 15 mm or more.

Weight

Do you feel pain in your wrist after working with your pruning shears? This could indicate that your pruning shears are too heavy. To prevent this from happening in the future, you should look at the weight of your pruning shears.

We have compared the weight of pruning shears. There are currently different weights of pruning shears on the market. The lightest pair of secateurs weighed only 124 g. The heaviest pair of pruning shears, on the other hand, weighed 340 g.

Take the weight of the pruning shears into account when buying them so that you do not have to complain about unexpected pain in your wrist after work.

Handle material

The handle is the be-all and end-all of pruning shears. The handle material of most pruning shears is plastic. However, plastic does not mean cheap plastic.

There are big differences in quality. The price of the pruning shears provides an important indication of whether the handle material is high-quality plastic or cheap plastic.

In addition to the price, also look at other information from the manufacturer about the handle. If a handle has many functions, this is usually an indication of higher quality handle materials.

Gartenschere

The handle material plays an important role in being able to use the pruning shears well. Most secateurs are made of a plastic handle material.

Facts worth knowing about pruning shears

Are pruning shears, rose shears and flower shears the same thing?

You can find many different gardening tools in DIY stores and especially on the internet. Sometimes their names are very similar. So you don't know whether the products are all the same or different? Here you will find an overview:

Designation Field of application
Garden shears Are an all-purpose tool for small jobs in the garden.
Rose pruning shears / vine pruning shears Is a high-quality pair of garden shears. Used for cutting roses and vines.
Flower shears Is the working tool of florists. Not suitable for the garden.
Hedge trimmer Is a larger tool for hedges and shrubs. The hedge trimmer is often operated with a battery.
Branch shears / pruning shears Is a large pair of pliers for cutting off thicker branches. It is operated with both hands.
Grass shears / lawn shears Cuts the lawn in the corners where the lawn mower cannot reach.

Picture credits: Pixabay.com / Bru-nO

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