Best 10 Secateurs
As Of October 2021
We did the
Best Gardening Tool Ever: Secateurs!
You’re standing at your doorstep, gazing at your neighbours' immaculate and crisp garden, feeling furious and jealous at the same time. And then you see yours. Overgrown bushes, weeds are growing in all directions, dead branches are laying down—a whole mess. And you’re wondering what to do to put an end to this suffering.
Luckily for you, tidying up your garden does not require too much effort nor many tools. With a pair of scissors, you won’t single-handedly transform your garden. Maybe you have a pair of loppers as part of your garden shed’s tool kit; but, what if that’s still not enough? For starters, you need quality secateurs, as they’re extremely versatile and simple to use. And for that matter, we got you completely covered! Take a look at our buying guide and find out the best secateurs for you!
What are secateurs?
Secateurs are vital for any garden and a must-have tool whether you’re a professional gardener or just want to enjoy a clean garden. They’re manual, hand-held tools and not machine operated like lawn mowers, lawn scarifiers or hedge trimmers. They’re also known as hand pruners or simply pruning scissors. Essentially, they are sharp scissors that you can use to cut plants, prune, dead-heading, and harvest fruits, veggies, or flowers. They have curved blades so that they can cut plants as smooth as possible.
We have to stress that they’re not the same as pruning shears. Secateurs are smaller, mainly used for trimming and cutting small branches with diameters up to 20-25mm, and can be held with one hand. Shears have long straight blades and large handles, and they require both hands to operate correctly. You’ll need them for heavy duty tasks.
What types of secateurs are there?
Before purchasing your own pair, you have to know the different types of secateurs that you can find on the market. There are 2 main types, bypass secateurs and anvil.
They work in the same manner as regular scissors, meaning they have 2 sharp blades that pass one another to make a clean cut. These are best for trimming living plants that you don’t want to damage. The cut is smooth and clean, and the plant will heal shortly after the procedure. The cutting action is very precise, and that is the reason why they dominate the market. One major disadvantage is that the majority of them are designed for right-handed people. So lefties might struggle a bit. Fortunately, there are bypass pruners that are specifically designed for them.
As the name suggests, anvil pruners are designed to cut as if a hammer were hitting the anvil. In this case, the motion is better to be pictured like a knife’s cutting on a chopping board. They’re better for heavy-duty jobs like removing deadwood or cutting thicker branches. They use a crushing action cutting technique, so you might damage their soft tissue if you cut a living plant or a flower. If you struggle to cut thick deadwood, you can purchase ratchet anvil secateurs. Ratchet action makes the process easier since they break down each cut into steps, thus requiring less effort.
8 features to look for when buying secateurs
The main choice, of course, when buying secateurs is whether you should go for bypass or anvil actions. It depends on what kind of task you need them to do. Once you decide the type, you have to keep a few key features in consideration. Bear in mind that most secateurs have more than one of these features, so find the one that suits you best.
1. Cutting blade diameter
The cutting diameter varies from 10 to 25mm depending on the size and the type of secateurs you have. You have to be extra cautious with the cutting capacity your blades are capable of since if you try to cut something thicker than your blades can handle, it might lead to irreplaceable damage.
2. Blade material
Generally, the better the blade, the least you have to sharpen it. So pick a cutting blade of good quality metal, like carbon alloy, Teflon-coated or stainless steel. A stainless steel blade, for instance, will last longer and will not need to be replaced for years to come, even if you make excessive use of it.
Secateurs are manual tools, and in most cases, you have to use them for quite some time. Thus, pick one that is light and compact. Weight can vary from 100g to 400g. Lighter ones are good for delicate trimming and cutting flowers, while heavier ones feel more robust and solid, making them perfect for heavier duty jobs.
If you’re left-handed, you certainly know what it feels like to live in a world designed almost exclusively for righties. Even though there are not many secateurs designed for lefties, you can find one with a bit of research.
5. Handle material
That’s a big topic and quite debatable as people have many different opinions about the handle’s material. Whether it’s soft like rubber and silicon or plain plastic or even metal, you can find pretty much anything. Aluminium handles, for example, feel robust and solid, and you can put much more pressure without feeling that they’re going to break. On the other hand, soft materials work as shock absorbers, decreasing hand fatigue, allowing you to use them for more time.
6. Rotating handle
A rotating lower handle turns as you close your fingers, making the whole process feel more natural. Additionally, it reduces the chance of arm/wrist/hand strain significantly. There aren’t many brands that provide this option and might be a bit more premium -money-wise-, but if you lack hand mobility or have arthritis, it’ll undoubtedly help you.
7. Replaceable parts
Some garden secateurs feature replaceable blades and springs, which can come in quite handy. If you don’t know how to sharpen your blades, you can simply replace them with spare ones. Instead of buying new secateurs, you can replace all the parts that seem overused with a minimum effort.
8. Additional features
All the above are key features to consider when buying secateurs, but if you’re the type of person whose attention to detail is everything, here are some additional things to check out:
- Wire cutting notch. This is a small notch at the inner point when the blades are open. Put the wire in this notch, and you’ll cut it as you close the blades.
- Safety locks. Most of the secateurs these days have safety features for when using and when storing the tool. Some of them feature 2 locks for extra safety. The second lock prevents the blade from fully opening until you choose to. This is particularly helpful for those with smaller hands and who struggle handling the blades when they’re at the maximum cutting distance.
- Handle colour. Now, this might sound ridiculous, but it isn’t. Most people usually do not buy new secateurs because they break them but because they lose them. That’s why you want bright colours like orange and red that are visible amongst the greenery of your garden.
How to maintain your secateurs?
When it comes to maintenance, things are pretty straightforward. The condition of the blade dictates if you have to do something in terms of caring. Check if the blade is still razor-sharp and doesn’t have any scratches or broken parts. The more you use your tool, the quicker you’ll have to sharpen it. Of course, it depends on the kind of material the blade is made of, but you’ll sharpen it at some point. You can do this using sandpaper, a sharpening stone or a whetstone. Some products provide their sharpening tools, making the job much easier. The process of sharpening secateurs is the same as knife sharpening, so you can also do the trick with a proper knife sharpener.
Other than that, from time to time you might have to do some cleaning. When you notice a build-up of sticky sap or garden muck, you should clean the blades. Soak them in soapy water and let them for some time. After that, let them dry, and before you put them away, wipe them with an oily rag.
How much should you spend on secateurs?
Prices can vary from brand to brand, but in general terms, you can find a good pair of secateurs from £10 to £60. The difference in prices is primarily because of the materials the secateurs are made of.
From £10 to £20. Here you can find most of the secateurs currently on sale. Most of them have bypass cutting action, and they come with a 1-year guarantee. Their blades are most likely made from inferior metals, so you have to sharpen them more often. Also, before purchasing one, check the central spring mechanism, as it can break if it’s not of good quality. Generally, they’ll get the job done and leave you satisfied, but if you want secateurs for more excessive use, or you are a professional, you should go for ones that are a bit more robust, solid, sharp and, of course, premium price-wise.
Here you can find secateurs made from top quality metals that’ll remain razor sharp for quite some time. Japanese secateurs, for instance, provide the best blades on the market and come with up to 10 years guarantee. The price range for this category is between £40 and £60. The price might be a bit high for an average person with a normal-sized garden, but those tools will do miracles for a professional gardener.
Garden secateurs are essential tools for every gardener, whether you’re a rookie and have a small garden or you’re a professional and have to deal with thousands of plants and greenery every day. They are compact, flexible and can be used for many different tasks like pruning, trimming, dead-heading and so on. They come in different sizes, prices and materials, so there is a variety to choose from. In this buying guide, we gathered up all the key features your secateurs could have, we saw how to care for them properly and how much you should spend. Now you’re ready to go out and find the perfect secateurs for you! What are you waiting for?