Pruners or secateurs? Anvil or Bypass?

Pruners or secateurs? Anvil or Bypass?

There are some tools that no gardener should be without.

Pruners are one of them.

They are not just for pruning.

You also use them to harvest thick-stemmed vegetables or flowers.

When it comes to pruning, you have many tools to do the job. You have folding saws, loppers and pruners.

While pruners and saw are one-handed tools, loppers require two hands.

Loppers and pruners can be ratchet variety. Ratchet mechanism helps cut bigger diameter without straining hands.

With every press, ratchet locks the cut and lets you cut further in steps.

Pruners are used for branches, with around ¾ inch diameter.

For branches around one inch diameter size, you have loppers. They are long and you can reach far and cut them.

For anything bigger, you require folding saw.

Let’s talk about pruners for now.
They are also called secateurs.

Go to any garden store or look at any catalog, you will be overwhelmed and confused by the selection.

Pruners fall in two main varieties.

Bypass and Anvil.

Bypass pruners function like scissors. Two blades bypassing each other to make a cut.

Anvil pruners work like cutting things on a block with a knife. One blade pressing against a flat surface, made of plastic or metal. Think about cutting wood on top of a block with axe.

Both of them serve different purposes.

When you need clean cuts, you use bypass pruner., resuling a sharp, smooth cut.

Anvil pruners tend to crush soft stems. So they are used to cut dead wood or deadheading flowers, where you don’t mind crushed sides.

Also bypass pruners get the stem stuck between blades when cutting dead wood. This might bend the blades and the bolt holding them together. This will result in reducing the cutting effectiveness.

Bypass pruners are popular and widely used.

And you don’t have as much as choice of anvil pruners like bypass pruners.

Bypass pruners come in different shapes. Beside the regular curve-shaped regular types, there are snip type blades for flowers.

How to buy the pruner?

Once you decided which type, there are things to look for.

What kind of materials the pruners are made of?

It could be carbon steel, stainless steel, Aluminium alloy and other alloys.

Aluminium is lightweight metal. Pruners made of steel tend to be heavier.


Handles can be made of wood or PVC and other kind of rubber. PVC gives softer grip, but wood lasts longer.

While the regular pruners with identical handles on both sides are used by right and left handed people, ergonomic designs are specific for right or left hand only.

Ergonomic designs come in different varieties. So try them before you buy.

Watch the spring

There is either spring or metal coil between handles to get them at open position automatically.

Metal coil tend to get lost while working.

I prefer spring. They stay put.

Pruners sold at dollar store and other place for cheaper price are cheap for a reason.

Made of cheap plastic and low quality metal, they are waste of money.

Buy a good one, it will last a lifetime.

Taking care of pruners

Always sharpen them before use.

Clean them with soap water to clean the sap.

At the end of the season, oil the blade and store them indoors.

Pruning thick branches is really hard work. So having the right tool is important to finish the job easily without hurting your wrist.

So find the best one suits your needs and the one you can afford.