Secateur buying guide: How to find the best pruning shears

We'll help you choose the perfect secateurs for all your gardening needs.

Secateurs are an essential gardening tool and one of the most used pieces of equipment in any gardener's arsenal. The main factor to consider when buying secateurs is ease of use. You want them to be able to cut through the toughest of stems and twigs with minimal effort, and at the same time be comfortable to hold for long periods. There are several different types of secateurs available, with prices ranging from less than $5 up to $100.

Our guide will help you understand the key factors to consider when selecting pruning tools so that you can find the best secateurs for your needs.

Compare some of the best secateurs

Data obtained December 2018. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.
Name Product Average price (AUD) Type Blade Dimensions (mm) Purchase today
Fiskars PowerGear X PX94
Fiskars PowerGear X PX94
54.95
Bypass
Corrosion resistant steel
75 x 40 x 215
The Fiskars PowerGear X PX94 is designed for people with medium and large hands.
Cyclone Heavy Duty 657825
Cyclone Heavy Duty 657825
72.95
Bypass
Carbon steel
70.5 x 26 x 223
The Cyclone Heavy Duty 657825 is designed with soft grip handles for greater comfort and control.
Hortex PD502T
Hortex PD502T
14.98
Bypass
Titanium coated
71 x 27 x 215
The Hortex PD502T has a titanium coated blade and a foam grip for comfort.
Felco Essentiel 160L
Felco Essentiel 160L
53.5
Anvil
Hardened steel
160 x 120 x 260
The Felco Essentiel 160L is fitted with an anvil blade made of hardened steel.
Saxon 8" Swiss Style 657801
Saxon 8
3.5
Bypass
Carbon steel
95 x 23 x 200
The Saxon 8" Swiss Style 657801 is designed with a carbon steel blade and a snap-lock mechanism.
Cyclone Professional Aluminium 657832
Cyclone Professional Aluminium 657832
34.98
Bypass
Carbon steel
69 x 26 x 223
The Cyclone Professional Aluminium 657832 has a drop-forged cutting blade suitable for pruning.
Spear & Jackson SJ-6458RS
Spear & Jackson SJ-6458RS
45.64
Anvil
Carbon steel
65 x 25 x 215
The Spear & Jackson SJ-6458RS is fitted with an automatic rotating handle to help minimise hand strain and fatigue.
Spear & Jackson SJ-6358RS
Spear & Jackson SJ-6358RS
48.91
Anvil
Carbon steel
120 x 110 x 300
The Spear & Jackson SJ-6358RS has a lightweight aluminium body and a metal locking catch for safety.
Cyclone Compact 657818
Cyclone Compact 657818
66.95
Bypass
Carbon steel
70.5 x 26 x 200
The Cyclone Compact 657818 is suitable for people with small and medium-sized hands.
Fiskars Quantum 111970
Fiskars Quantum 111970
69
Bypass
Hardened steel
75 x 20 x 215
The Fiskars Quantum 111970 is suitable for use on flowers, bushes and small trees.

Compare up to 4 providers

What are secateurs?

Secateurs are hand-held gardening tools used to prune plants, shrubs and trees. Also referred to as pruners or pruning shears, secateurs look a little bit like a pair of scissors designed for the garden and can be used to:

  • Cut stems to promote growth
  • Prune overgrown plants and weeds
  • Prune rose bushes
  • Cut flowers

What types are available?

There are two main types of secateurs:

  • Bypass secateurs. Bypass secateurs are the most common option and actually work in a similar fashion to scissors, with the two blades sliding past one another to cut whatever needs cutting. The main advantages of bypass secateurs are that they offer a precise cut, make it easy to get into tight spaces and allow you to trim branches off at the stem. They're typically recommended for trimming live stems.
  • Anvil secateurs. Anvil secateurs work by bringing a top blade down onto a blunter cutting platform (the anvil) – kind of like using a knife on a chopping board. Designed for heavy-duty tasks rather than delicate work, these pruners are recommended for jobs like removing dead branches.

Ratchet secateurs and pruners are also available and offer increased cutting power when you need to tackle thicker, tougher stems. They can be useful if you suffer from arthritis or have limited hand strength. However, they're not as widely available as bypass or anvil secateurs.

How to compare secateurs

Before choosing a pair of secateurs, you'll need to think about the type of pruning you'll be doing and how much money you're willing to spend. For example, if you're looking for secateurs to help you trim your favourite rose bush, you won't need a heavy-duty tool capable of cutting through thick stems and twigs. But if you're planning on pruning a wide range of plants of varying thicknesses, you'll need secateurs capable of handling a wide range of tasks.

To help make the selection process easier, these are the key factors that you should consider when comparing secateurs:

  • Comfort and feel. The most important thing you can do when shopping for secateurs is actually going into a store and getting your hands on a variety of different options. Hand size and strength can vary greatly from one person to the next, so check out how each pair of secateurs feels in your hand.They'll need to be easy and comfortable to open and close repeatedly, so don't hesitate to take a hands-on approach. Some models also come with rolling handles designed to reduce the strain on your hands.
  • Cutting diameter. Check what the manufacturer claims is the widest cutting diameter for its secateurs. However, take note that these figures are usually based on cutting green stems or soft wood.
  • Safety catch. This catch locks the secateurs in the closed position to prevent any nasty injuries. Some models use a lever while others have a sliding catch, so check that the catch is easy to access, engages and disengages smoothly and doesn't get in the way when you're pruning.
  • Price. While you can pick up a budget pair of secateurs for less than $5, most options are priced anywhere from $15 up to $100.

Additional features to check:

Secateur maintenance

There are a few simple things that you can do to ensure that your secateurs stay sharp and in tip-top condition for as long as possible:

  • Keep them clean. It may be a pain, but cleaning your secateurs after each use is an essential part of looking after them properly and ensuring that they don't become jammed. Cleaning away the sap and then wiping them down with a lightly oiled rag should do the trick.
  • Sharpen them regularly. Sharpening the blades regularly with a sharpening stone will ensure optimum performance from your secateurs.
  • Don't bite off more than you can chew. Don't try to use your secateurs to trim twigs and branches larger than their recommended cutting diameter. This is a surefire way to damage your secateurs, so save the bigger jobs for a pruning saw.


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