1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best pruner overall: Felco 6 Pruning Shears
3. Best pruner for larger hands: Felco 8 Pruning Shears
4. Best mini chainsaw pruner: Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw
5. Best trigger-activated pruner: Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper (Bare Unit)
6. Best pruning snips: Fiskars Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13
7. Best affordable pruner: Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P541
8. Best anvil pruner: Wolf-Garten Anvil Pruner RSEN
9. How to choose the best pruner for you
10. How we test
Often associated with a task for the spring, pruning can also be added to the to-do list for fall - this is where you'll need a set of the best pruners. If you're looking for a new set of shears, as they're often referred to, or an upgrade, then it can be somewhat overwhelming to filter through the brands and models which all seem to offer the same thing. However, the cutting performance couldn't be more different. It's only when you get to use them that you discover the cutting capabilities, and by that time it's often too late to return your new tool.
This is where we can help. We've tried out all seven pruning shears that you see featured in this guide. As part of each test we've assessed the pruners for comfort, grip and ease of use. Whilst pruning the plants, trees and shrubs in the backyard, our reviewer, Pete Wise, also made notes on the type of foliage the pair of pruners were most suitable for. Each set was tried out for several weeks with rigorous testing so they've been put through the ringer to ensure that you're going to be getting good value-for-money.
With the results in, we created this guide to finding the best pruners which considering all options from bypass to mini chainsaws, and anvils to snips. If you're on a mission to get the yard ready for fall, consider checking out our best leaf blowers guide to keep the patio and driveways clear from all the fallen leaves.
Pete has reviewed hundreds of gardening products for titles including TopTenReviews, Ideal Home and the London Evening Standard – as well as writing articles on diverse topics for other publications such as The Guardian and BBC Good Food. A long-term contributor to the blog of leading scissors-maker Ernest Wright, Pete has in-depth understanding of the qualities and design features that go into a really good pair of shears.
The quick list
Here’s your at-a-glance intro to our top-rated pruners of 2023. Scroll further down to read our findings from testing each product hands-on. You can also use the links on the left to jump to the pruners that interest you the most.
The best pruner overall
The ultimate in Swiss engineering for your yard. These classy, comfortable and precise bypass shears are the best you can buy.
Best for larger hands
The best for larger hands
These 8¼-inch shears give you the stellar quality and performance you’d expect from a Felco pruner, with an extra-large ergonomic design.
Best mini chainsaw
The best mini chainsaw pruner
Built for cutting tough or fairly thick branches and stems, this mini chainsaw makes light work of heavy-duty pruning tasks.
The best trigger-activated pruner
Keep those high-up tree branches under control! Ryobi’s lopper combines electric pruning jaws with a pole, strap and cordless power supply.
Best pruning snips
The best pruning snips
Short, sharp and soft-handled, the SP13 makes it incredibly easy to deadhead plants and cut tender stems. Not for cutting wood.
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The best pruners we recommend in 2023
Why you can trust Top Ten Reviews Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
The best pruner overall
✅ Gardening is your passion: The Felco 6 is a luxurious, truly top quality model of pruning shears. If you love working in the yard, you will really appreciate this exquisite tool.
✅ You think long-term: All key components of the Felco 6 can be replaced by the user at home, including the blades, spring and fixings.
✅ There are lots of plants to prune in your yard: These shears cut tender stems effortlessly, and the handles are very comfortable to hold.
❌ You don’t like taking tools apart: To keep the Felco 6 performing at their best, you’ll need to use their adjustment key to disassemble the shears every now and then, for cleaning, sharpening or replacement of parts.
❌ You’re left-handed: While Felco makes many excellent left-handed pruners, the Felco 6 ain’t one of them, due to its righty-focused ergonomics.
❌ There are lots of thick branches to prune in your yard: These shears are designed to cut up to a branch diameter of 0.79 inches – and no wider.
🔎 The Felco 6 is the finest pair of pruning shears we’ve ever had the pleasure of reviewing. Not only is this pruner an effective, convenient tool for pruning your plants; with proper maintenance, it can be kept in perfect working condition for decades. Just don’t use it on thick tree branches. ★★★★★
What you need to know: Founded in 1945, Felco is one of the world’s best-regarded makers of pruning shears. The Swiss company came out with its iconic Felco 2 secateurs in 1948 – and the Felco 6 pruning shears share much of that iconic tool’s design DNA. Intended for all-round pruning, the Felco 6 is capable of cutting through all sorts of stems and branches, up to a thickness of 0.79 inches. This pruner is compact, comfortable and built-to-last.
Design: This pruner is nothing short of a design masterpiece. The handles are ergonomically molded to suit a wide variety of hand shapes and sizes – although the tool is recommended especially for users with medium-size hands. There’s a slight angle to the cutting blades, which helps you to prune efficiently. And with a view to long-term use, you can use the adjustment key to disassemble the shears for routine maintenance.
Performance: We found the Felco 6 incredibly easy to use around the yard. Perfectly tensioned, the hardened steel bypass blades make easy work of cutting through even the toughest of plant matter. Closing the shears by hand is remarkably easy, enabling convenient cutting over long-term use.
Versatility: There’s not much that these shears can’t cut. Even tough wooden branches soon gave way to the Felco 6’s sharp, precise blades, during testing. However, if you intend to cut branches thicker than 0.79 inches, you’ll need to use a pruner with a greater cutting width, or perhaps a mini chainsaw or lopper. Nonetheless, there won’t be many plants in your yard that these shears can’t prune.
Price: Priced at well over $50 by most retailers, the Felco 6 is one expensive pair of pruning shears. Is this pruner worth it? That comes down to how much you enjoy gardening, and how much joy you take in your yard tools. On the plus side, the Felco 6 is lower in price than most electric alternatives. And if you take care of them, you could be using these pruning shears for a lifetime.
Read more: Felco 6 Bypass Pruner review
|Performance||Unbeatable cutting performance and user experience.||★★★★★|
|Design||A timeless design with great ergonomics.||★★★★★|
|Versatility||Suits most pruning tasks, except branch-cutting.||★★★★|
|Price||A big investment with long-term rewards.||★★★★★|
The best pruner for larger hands
✅ You have lots of pruning to do: With exceptional cutting performance and comfortable handles, the Felco 8 is suitable for long-duration pruning sessions.
✅ Sustainability matters to you: Not only are these shears great-quality; you can also replace all the key parts over time. The Felco 8 could be your trusty pruning companion for decades.
✅ Your hands are large: The ergonomic design of this pruner is intended especially for larger hand sizes. If you have smaller hands, try the Felco 6 instead.
❌ There are more important things to spend your money on: You can find highly effective pruning shears for a much lower price – although they might not be quite as special as the Felco 8.
❌ You’re going to be pruning branches over one inch thick: If this is the case, you’ll need to use a lopper or a mini chainsaw instead. Using shears on an excessively thick branch is bad for the blades.
❌ You don’t have large hands: We manually mediocre folk are better off using a smaller pruner such as the Felco 6, with an ergonomic design that truly suits us.
🔎 The Felco 8 is a superb bypass pruner, especially for users with larger hands. Ergonomic shears are supposed to act like an extension of the user’s body – and for larger users, that’s exactly what the Felco 8 can do. With a one-inch cutting capacity, these shears can be used to cut suitably-sized tree branches, as well as for pruning plants. ★★★★★
What you need to know: We’ll show you just one more Felco pruner, before we move on to some other brands. There’s good reason to highlight this particular manufacturer: its pruning shears really are incredible. The Felco 8 is an ergonomic redesign of the classic Felco 2. It works beautifully, has high-quality construction, and comes with an adjustment key to facilitate convenient maintenance. This model is a little longer than the Felco 6, and therefore better suited to users with larger hands. It also has a slightly greater cutting width.
Design: You’ll notice the difference between this Felco pruner and smaller models like the Felco 6, as soon as you squeeze the handles. Closing the blades takes a little more effort, but produces more leverage and a wider cut. Whether or not that’s a good thing depends on the size of your hands. If we’re being critical, we’d say the Felco style loses some of its elegance in this larger iteration – but the pruner is still more beautiful than almost any other you’re likely to encounter.
Performance: This pruner cut cleanly through every size-appropriate (under one-inch) branch or stem we tested it on. You’ll only encounter difficulties with the Felco 8 if you try to use it for pruning large branches, over an inch in thickness. For all intended pruning applications, these shears work perfectly. Do bear in mind that the handles are ergonomically designed for a large hand. The size of your hands will affect performance.
Versatility: The Felco 8 gives you greater versatility than smaller Felco models such as the Felco 6, owing to its greater cutting capacity: approximately one inch. This expands the range of tree branches that can comfortably be pruned using the pruner’s blades. The excellent sharpness and tensioning of the blades means that the Felco 8 can very cleanly cut fleshy plant stems, without any messy ‘chewing’.
Price: Costing well in excess of $50, the Felco 8 is relatively expensive, compared to the average manual pruner. However, given the quality construction of the Felco 8 and the availability of replacement parts, the price you pay could turn out to be a wise long-term investment. With that said, users who only prune occasionally might prefer to buy a more affordable option, such as the Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner.
Read more: Felco 8 Bypass Pruner review
|Performance||Supreme cutting performance across stems and narrow branches.||★★★★★|
|Design||Timeless Felco design, adapted for large hands.||★★★★|
|Versatility||Excllent versatility relative to smaller bypass pruners.||★★★★★|
|Price||A big investment, for long-term use.||★★★★|
The best mini chainsaw pruner
✅ A regular pruner won’t cut your tree branches: This mini chainsaw can comfortably cut tree branches up to 4″ thick – or even wider, with proper technique.
✅ You’d like a gentle introduction to using chainsaws: While all chainsaws require very careful use, this particular model is relatively user-friendly, with toolless tensioning and maintenance of the bar and chain. It’s also pleasantly small and lightweight.
✅ You’re interested in buying other 24V Greenworks tools: There are many great yard tools in the Greenworks range. This Pruning Saw’s battery and charger can be used with other compatible products from the 24V collection.
❌ You need a tool to deadhead plants: A chainsaw is comically inappropriate for light pruning tasks such as deadheading and cutting fleshy stems. This Greenworks Pruning Saw is made especially for cutting wood.
❌ Safety concerns are an issue: While this chainsaw is relatively small and user-friendly, it can still be dangerous when used incorrectly. Only buy this tool if you’re confident it can be used safely in your yard.
❌ Charging batteries frustrates you: You’ll need to keep the Greenworks Pruning Saw’s battery charged up, in order to use the tool. On a positive note, the battery offers good runtime.
🔎 The Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw is an unbeatable solution for cutting moderately thick tree limbs and branches. More accessible than most mini chainsaws, this cordless tool offers a friendly introduction to a powerful category of saw. With that said, you should use the Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw with care. ★★★★★
What you need to know: An award-winning product from one of the best makers of electric yard tools for the home, the Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw gives you unmatched pruning power in an accessible package. This mini chainsaw is built especially for cutting small-to-medium tree limbs and branches. It comes with a 24V lithium-ion battery and charger, meaning you won’t need to worry about fuel or a trailing power cable during use.
Design: This pruning saw is perfectly designed for its specialized branch-cutting role. The modest length and weight of the tool make it possible to maneuver the saw between foliage to cut whichever specific tree branches need pruning. Meanwhile, the saw’s cordless electric operation and toolless tensioning make this a particularly convenient chainsaw to keep in perfect working condition.
Performance: Our experience of cutting tree limbs with the Greenworks Pruning Saw was incredibly smooth and effortless. The tool made its way through hard, thick branches with minimal effort (but with quite a lot of noise and flying sawdust). Like any other chainsaw, this tool requires some routine maintenance to ensure effective operation. Apply bar oil to the chain regularly, and re-tension the chain if you notice any slackness.
Versatility: There are many pruning tasks we wouldn’t dream of carrying out using the Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw. For gentle work such as deadheading flowering plants or cutting small shrub branches, you should use a better-suited tool such as a manual bypass pruner. However, when purchased in addition to a more delicate pruner, Greenworks’ mini chainsaw does greater overall versatility, as you’ll be able to prune wider branches than you ever could with a manual pruner alone.
Price: Bought as a set with its lithium-ion battery and charger, the Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw will set you back around $150. This represents good value-for-money, taking into account the power and quality of the tool. As is the case with many cordless power tool systems, you’ll tap into even better value if you purchase some additional 24V Greenworks tools that can be used with the same lithium-ion battery and charger. With all that said, this tool represents a significant investment, relative to a manual bypass pruner or anvil pruner.
|Performance||Makes cutting relatively thick tree branches easy.||★★★★★|
|Design||A brilliant, user-friendly introduction to chainsawing.||★★★★★|
|Versatility||Only suitable for pruning tree limbs and branches.||★★★|
|Price||Outstanding value, with battery and charger included.||★★★★★|
The best trigger-activated pruner
✅ You need to prune high-up branches on small-to-medium trees, such as apple or pear trees: This type of work is the sole purpose of the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper.
✅ Cordless tools suit you: Buying cordless is a trade-off. On one hand, you get superb ease-of-use; on the other, you’ll need to keep a battery charged to ensure the tool can be used when you need it.
✅ The Ryobi ONE+ 18V system appeals to you: Hundreds of useful tools in this range can all be used with the same lithium-ion batteries and chargers.
❌ Budget is an issue: This pruner is much more expensive than most alternative models that we’ve tested. However, the price may be justified by its specialized purpose.
❌ You don’t have many high-up tree branches to prune: Lower branches can usually be dealt with using an alternative tool, such as anvil pruners or a mini chainsaw.
❌ Heavy yard work gets you down: The considerable length of this pole lopper can make usage laborious – although the tool’s weight is distributed somewhat by the safety strap.
🔎 The Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper is our favorite tool for pruning high-up tree branches. With up to 9' of reach via the tool’s telescoping pole, you’ll be able to prune most branches on relatively small trees in your yard. Do bear in mind this tool is not intended for delicate, ground-level pruning tasks such as deadheading. ★★★★
What you need to know: If you have some small- or medium-sized trees that need regular pruning, this handy cordless pole lopper could be the ideal solution. Featuring a 9' telescoping pole and trigger-activated bypass pruner blades, the lopper allows you to prune high-up branches while keeping your feet safely on the ground. Sold as a ‘bare’ tool, the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper requires an additional Ryobi ONE+ 18V lithium-ion battery and charger (both sold separately).
Design: This tool is one of the best-adapted products we’ve encountered, specifically for pruning lofty branches. There are some great features to help make pruning easier – especially the branch hook on the underside of the pruning blades, and the five-position pruning head. We also appreciated the safety strap, which makes it much easier to bear the weight of the tool while you work.
Performance: For pruning high-up branches on small-to-medium trees, you could hardly hope for a more effective tool than the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper. Lining up the pruning blades with the branches takes a little practice – but the cutting action itself requires only a simple, effortless pull of the trigger. A compatible Ryobi ONE+ 18V battery will provide adequate runtime for most domestic users.
Versatility: This tool isn’t especially versatile in terms of the range of tasks it can accomplish. You wouldn’t use it for pruning small plants at ground level, for example. However, Ryobi’s pole lopper does give you excellent versatility within its specialized use case of cutting high branches. The pruning head can be positioned in five different directions, allowing you to prune precisely, no matter what direction a tree’s branches have grown in.
Price: To make this purchase worthwhile, you’d need to have a real and ongoing need to prune branches high-up on your trees. The lopper itself costs around $250 – and when you factor in the additional purchases of a Ryobi ONE+ 18V lithium-ion battery and charger, you’ve got an expensive tool on your hands. With that said, if you already own these extra components, the Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper starts to look like a smarter purchase.
Read more: Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper review
|Performance||Does a great cutting high-up branches.||★★★★★|
|Design||Ideally adapted to cutting at height.||★★★★★|
|Versatility||Unsuitable for most ground-level pruning.||★★★|
|Price||Expensive, requiring an additional charger and battery.||★★★|
The best pruning snips
✅ You need a precise tool for pruning dense plants: The SP13 may be small, but those long, keen blades are great at finding their target in overgrown areas. For careful pruning, look no further.
✅ A lightweight tool suits you: Weighing about one-and-a-half oz, you’ll barely feel these snips while you work. This could make a big difference during a long pruning session.
✅ You’re into flower arranging: These snips are perfect for cutting flowers for indoor display. Remember to cut stems diagonally, as this will maximize a cut plant’s water uptake for long-lasting freshness.
❌ Powerful pruning is required: These delicate snips are not intended for cutting thick stems or woody branches. If that’s the sort of work you’ll be doing, consider buying a bypass pruner or anvil pruner instead.
❌ You’re not comfortable having sharp tools in the yard: These snips are sharp and relatively pointy, so they shouldn’t be left in places where they might endanger children or pets.
❌ You need to extend your reach: The SP13 snips are in their element at close quarters. If you’re aiming to prune high-up or hard-to-reach stems, then you’d be better off using a longer-reach tool such as a pole lopper.
🔎 The Fiskars Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13 is a light, nimble, snips-style pruner, capable of precision pruning even among dense growth. These snips are ideal for pruning small potted plants – including most houseplants and indoor vegetables. You can use them for floristry, too. ★★★★
What you need to know: The most delicate pruning tasks should be approached with care and precision. The Fiskars Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13 meets these needs brilliantly, with its streamlined, lightweight design, and long, sharp blades. Bundled in with the snips is a protective sheath, which should be put on the blades whenever the pruner is not in use.
Design: The SP13 is a very good snips design, with slightly rough-around-the-edges construction. Using the snips is generally simple and low-effort – although we sometimes had difficulty closing the locking mechanism during our testing. The snips’ blades are sharp along their full length, all the way to the tip. As an old-school scissors-maker might say, they cut “right from pinch to point”.
Performance: The Fiskars snips are sharp, efficient and effective at cutting tender stems. They’re designed especially for pruning tender stems and deadheading, so it comes as no surprise that the snips prove incapable of cutting tree branches – even very thin ones. When you use the snips as intended, for cutting delicate stems and flower heads, they do so with great precision. The handles spring back open quite forcefully after each cut.
Versatility: These snips can perform a fairly wide range of tasks – but only at the more delicate end of the pruning spectrum. If you need to precisely prune narrow stems, remove dead flowerheads, or cut stems for indoor display, these snips will do the job well. However, a more powerful tool such as a bypass pruner will provide a better range of cutting capability for general outdoor pruning. If you have any tree pruning to do, then this pruner will not help you do it.
Price: You can’t argue with the pricing of the Fiskars Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13. At roughly $20 (depending on the retailer), these snips offer great value-for-money. With that said, you should factor in this tool’s range of cutting capabilities, before you buy. You may need to purchase an additional tool, such as the Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P121, for pruning thicker, woodier stems. Of course, the build quality of the snips is also reflected in their price.
|Performance||Great at precisely pruning tender stems.||★★★★|
|Design||Brilliant design, but construction is economical.||★★★|
|Versatility||Limited to the most delicate pruning tasks.||★★★|
|Price||A remarkably affordable price point.||★★★★★|
The best affordable pruner
✅ All-round pruning functionality is your focus: These shears are strong enough to cut fairly thick woody branches; and also sharp and precise enough for delicate tasks such as deadheading.
✅ You don’t want to spend a fortune: The P121 bypass pruner gives you the capability to do most pruning tasks, despite costing a fraction of the price of some premium competitors.
✅ You value long-term, low-maintenance performance: Thanks to their rust-resistant, hardened steel blades, these shears have what it takes to sustain high-performance cutting over long-term use.
❌ Very delicate pruning is required: A different Fiskars pruner, the Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13, is better suited to this type of work. With that said, the P541 is sharp enough to do an okay job of cutting thin, fleshy stems.
❌ You like a traditional aesthetic: The no-frills, utilitarian design of the P541 bypass pruners will appeal to many users – but for those who appreciate a more traditional look, a Felco pruner would be a better choice.
❌ There are thick branches to prune on your trees: An anvil pruner or lopper may perform better in this specific use case. (Which specific model is best will depend on the thickness of the branches.)
🔎 The Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P541 gives you good all-round cutting performance at a refreshingly affordable price. Simple, hard-wearing and highly functional, this tool is a great choice for users who’d rather spend big on plants than on pruners. ★★★★
What you need to know: Finnish toolmaker Fiskars has a history that goes back all the way to the 1600s. Relatively recently – in 1967 – the brand produced the world’s first plastic-handled scissors. Effective, affordable cutting tools remain a Fiskars specialty today, and the P541 Bypass Pruner (known as Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P121 in the UK) is one great example. These shears offer are suitable for various pruning tasks, from deadheading to cutting small branches.
Design: A study in simplicity, the P541 shears are robust, minimalistic and functional. It may not be luxurious, but this tool is perfectly suited for convenient pruning, with curved, ergonomic handles that will be especially comfortable for users with small or medium-sized hands. If maintenance is required, the screw between the blades can be removed using a hex key.
Performance: The Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P541 is great at pruning slender tree branches, up to its maximum cutting width. It takes a bit of effort to cut through the thickest branches within that range – but the P541’s sharp blades will manage it. The shears can also be used to cut relatively delicate stems. This pruner is a relatively affordable option, so it should come as no surprise that some components – especially the spring and locking mechanism – are a little flimsy.
Versatility: The P541 bypass pruner offers a fairly good range of cutting capabilities. While these shears will struggle with cutting thicker tree branches, they can tackle most branches and stems up to just under ¾". If you keep the blades sufficiently sharp, the shears should prove capable of cutting thin, fleshy stems, without too much chewing. With that said, for very delicate pruning tasks, you might prefer to use a smaller pruner such as the Fiskars Solid Snip Pruning Micro-Tip SP13, or a sharper model such as the Felco 6.
Price: You’d struggle to find a good-quality, fully-functioning bypass pruner that’s available for a lower price than the P541. These shears don’t embody the same craftsmanship as a premium pair would – but they’ll do most of the pruning work you need them to do, extremely well. Why blow your whole yard budget on a pruner, when you could buy the P541 and put the rest of your funds into other items?
|Performance||Good pruning performance across most routine tasks.||★★★★|
|Design||Minimal, modern design, suitable for most hands.||★★★|
|Versatility||Capable of pruning a good range of woody and tender plants.||★★★★|
The best anvil pruner
✅ You need a manual pruner to cut really tough stems: This anvil pruner combines a sharp top blade with a wide bottom blade to tackle tough tree branches or sinuous stems up to ¾-inch thick.
✅ Long-term use matters to you: German toolmaker Wolf-Garten offers a 10-year guarantee on these well-built pruning shears (subject to warranty conditions).
✅ You already have a bypass pruner for pruning delicate plants: While the RSEN is indeed capable of cutting soft stems, it’s not the ideal tool for gentle work. Think of this anvil pruner as a heavy-duty alternative option.
❌ You have lots of delicate plants to prune: Like other anvil pruners, the RSEN could crush the smush the softest, tenderest plants. Although ideal for some purposes, the RSEN's aggressive approach is not ideal for delicate pruning.
❌ Pruning tires out your hands: If there are lots of plants in your yard, pruning can add up to be a big, time-consuming task. With this in mind, it’s worth noting that using the RSEN for pruning plants (but not cutting branches) requires a little more elbow grease than cutting with some of the other manual pruners we’ve tested.
❌ You’re in a big hurry: It may take a couple of weeks for your Wolf-Garten pruner to arrive, as in many cases, the shears are sent to the US from overseas.
🔎 The Wolf-Garten Anvil Pruner RSEN is a great, specialized option for pruning the toughest plants. This is all thanks to RSEN’s ‘anvil pruner’ design, which is suitable for cutting strong sinews and woody branches. The RSEN can also prune juicy stems reasonably well – but gnarly work is this pruner’s true calling. ★★★★
What you need to know: Some plants with thick stems or lots of tough branches can’t be cut using a bypass pruner. This is where an anvil pruner like the RSEN can help. Anvil pruners have one sharp blade, and another that’s wide and flat – a design that provides enhanced cutting power for heavy-duty pruning. Wolf-Garten’s Anvil Pruner RSEN is an excellent example, with robust construction and a 10-year guarantee. Unlike some anvil pruners, which are made solely for cutting tree branches, the RSEN is sold as a general purpose anvil pruner, meaning it can be used for cutting soft plants too.
Design: Wolf-Garten has a knack for designing smart, timeless-looking garden tools – and the RSEN anvil pruner is no exception. The design is effective as well as attractive, with some nicely implemented features including a metal locking button. The blades have a non-stick coating, which will help to keep the pruner clean – especially if you’re going to use it to cut sappy branches. Of course, the star of the show is the RSEN's anvil-style pruning blades, which are perfect for pruning tough branches. Weighing in at just 8 oz, this pruner is impressively lightweight, relative to the cutting power generated. The shears have an ambidextrous design, allowing for optimal usage whether you're a righty or a lefty.
Performance: During our hands-on testing, the RSEN chomped through tough tree branches better than any other manual pruner could, requiring limited extra effort to sever the wood. The flat bottom blade of the pruner holds the branch steady while you cut. Impressively, the RSEN anvil pruner proved capable of cutting tree branches with a wide range of thicknesses, right up towards the higher end of its cutting capacity. The cuts produced were clean and regular, which is a good thing for tree health. We were also pleasantly surprised with the RSEN’s performance when cutting tender stems, which was neater than the average anvil pruner.
Versatility: Anvil pruners tend not to be suitable for delicate work, such as deadheading flowering plants. Although the Wolf-Garten Anvil Pruner RSEN is more precise than many competing anvil pruners, it’s better at cutting thicker, tougher stems. The RSEN does its intended job – heavy-duty work – very well. And it has the versatility to do some lighter tasks to an acceptable level. All things considered, we rate the RSEN as a good general purpose pruner, with excellent capabilities when it comes to cutting slender tree branches.
Price: You can pick up an RSEN anvil pruner for a very reasonable price from stockists such as Amazon. We wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying the RSEN as your only pruner. However, if you have budget for two pruners – this one and a bypass pruner – then you could keep both pairs working optimally for longer by using the RSEN only for heavy-duty pruning, while reserving the bypass pruner for delicate tasks. Relative to its price, we thought that this pruner offered exceptionally good build quality and performance.
Read more: Wolf-Garten Anvil Pruner RSEN review
|Performance||Great at cutting tough stems and branches.||★★★★★|
|Design||Good functionality and a smart aesthetic.||★★★★|
|Versatility||Best at tough jobs, although capable of finer work.||★★★|
|Price||Brilliantly priced and built to last.||★★★★|
How to choose the best pruner for you
All-round pruning capability: If you're buying just one pruner to cover most pruning tasks around your yard and home, it's likely that a bypass pruner will be the best choice for you. Named for their blade action, with one blade passing by the other, these traditional pruners are usually suitable for a range of pruning tasks including deadheading, cutting tender stems, and sometimes pruning narrow tree branches.
Specialized pruning: Other types of pruner are available to suit particular types of pruning which may not be catered for with a bypass pruner. Mini chainsaws can prune larger branches, while pole loppers are used to cut well above head height. At the smaller end of the scale, snips enable delicate cutting of the smallest stems and flowers. Meanwhile, anvil pruners are great at cutting tough sinews or woody branches.
Quality: Just how good do you need your pruners to be? A wide range of price points are available, and the same is true of the level of quality in pruner design and construction. If you're looking for a luxurious, long-term solution, premium brands such as Felco can provide the standards required. Or, if affordability is the focus, a reasonably priced make such as Fiskars could be your best bet.
What type of pruner is best for you?
As reflected in the wide range of tools featured in this guide, there are various different types of pruner. Each variety has been created for specific purposes, so it's worth considering which option will be best-suited to the needs of your yard.
Bypass pruners are a classic style of manual pruning shears, with a pair of sharp blades which cut materials when they pass against each other. They have great all-round pruning capabilities, from light pruning tasks such as deadheading and removing dead flower heads, to slightly heavier work including cutting thin, woody branches.
Anvil pruners are similar to bypass pruners, but they have a flat bottom blade which crushes plant matter while the top blade slices through it. This type of pruner is especially well-suited to cutting fairly thick tree branches, or slicing through sinuous stems.
Pruning snips are a smaller style of manual pruning shears, with sharp, accurate blades that are ideal for making neat cuts. They are not suitable for cutting tree branches or tough stems.
Mini chainsaws are a high-powered option for pruning tree branches. Like a full-size chainsaw, this type of tool cuts plant matter using a rapidly revolving metal chain. You certainly would not want to use a mini chainsaw for pruning soft or juicy plants.
Pole loppers help the user to prune high-up tree branches, with a clever design incorporating trigger-activated, electric pruning jaws, and a long pole to increase reach.
How we tested these pruners
How we test the best pruners
We tested the pruners featured in this guide by using them to prune a variety of plants and trees in our reviewer's yard.
To get a thorough impression of the pruners' capabilities, we tested each tool on a variety of plants to suit its intended use. Heavier pruners such as pole loppers and anvil pruners were tested specifically on tree branches, while mutli-purpose bypass pruners were also used to prune tender plant stems and deadhead flowers.