Best Secateurs – Anvil or Bypass? 2024 Buyers Guide

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Discover the magic of the best secateurs to transform your unruly garden into a sanctuary of beauty. These unique, robust tools, also known as pruning shears, are more than just an oversized pair of scissors. Their strength and durability enable you to effortlessly slice through myriad stems, branches, and shrubs with utmost precision, making them an essential asset to any green-fingered enthusiast. Delve deeper into the world of secateurs, and unlock their power to maintain your garden’s verdant beauty and health, regardless of its size. The best secateurs don’t just trim your garden; they elevate its aesthetic appeal, allowing it to flourish in all its botanical glory. Read on to unearth the versatility of these indispensable tools and discover how the best secateurs can revolutionize your gardening experience.

Best Pick – Secateurs

Spear & Jackson 6758GS Razorsharp Geared Anvil Secateurs
  • Geared action for easier cutting
  • SK5 steel blade for lasting sharpness
  • Lightweight cast aluminium body
  • PTFE coated blade for smooth cutting and resistance to rust
  • Comfortable grip and ambidextrous locking catch

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

The best secateurs will be light enough to be used on simple neatening up jobs around the garden whilst strong enough to allow for more substantial branches cutting back if your bushes have grown a little out of control. As secateurs require no power and are simple hand-held tools, they will be the perfect go-to option for deadheading, harvesting fruit and vegetables, pruning and other garden maintenance.

In A Hurry?

Power up your pruning skills with a strong, sharp pair of secateurs – a gardening essential no green-fingered enthusiast should be without! There are many types of secateurs, so here is all you need to consider…

Types

The two main mechanisms used in secateurs are anvil and crosscut (also known as bypass).

Crosscut/bypassAnvil
Best for heavy-duty tidying work, including e.g. removing dead wood or tidying up thick tree branches or thick-stemmed plants
‘Cut and crush’ action – when pressure is applied, the top blade bites down onto the base plate
Not suitable for pruning live stems due to the pressure exerted when the blade comes into contact with the lower plate; live plant tissue is likely to be damaged
If used on soft stems, blades need to be kept sharp to ensure a clean, precise cut
Best for heavy-duty tidying work including e.g. removing dead wood or tidying up thick tree branches or thick-stemmed plants
‘Cut and crush’ action – when pressure is applied, the top blade bites down onto the base plate
Not suitable for pruning live stems due to the pressure exerted when the blade comes into contact with the lower plate; live plant tissue is likely to be damaged
If used on soft stems, blades need to be kept sharp to ensure a clean, precise cut

Secateurs which use the crosscut mechanism (also known as the bypass mechanism) tend to be the most popular choice as they offer a clean, sharp cut and can be used on live stems without the worry of bruising the plant tissue. However, if you have an overgrown garden that needs a serious tidy up, then anvil secateurs can work just as well.

How to Choose the Best Secateurs

The main choice when choosing secateurs is deciding between the anvil or crosscut/bypass actions, but once you have decided that, there are loads of other features to consider too.

Ratchet Secateurs

Once you have chosen between bypass or anvil secateurs, you must decide whether you want to invest in a pair of ratchet secateurs. Both bypass and anvil options can come with a ratchet mechanism. This is an advanced mechanism of springs which works with you when cutting. A ratchet mechanism will help to reduce fatigue when you are working and makes it much easier to cut through branches in stages rather than in one go.

Although they are specifically designed for tougher cuts and people who may lack a little strength (or suffer from joint problems), they will benefit anyone thanks to the fact that you can repeatedly squeeze and release the handles to cut through the branches.

Blade

The most important part of pruning shears is the blade. You need to make sure that the blade is strong and also sharp. Particularly for bypass secateurs – the sharper the blade, the less damage will be done to the branches, which is important for continued growth and keeping the plant healthy. You will also find that a sharper blade will reduce the force you need to put into the cut so you can work longer without fatigue. Good quality, sharp steel will make your life easier and reduce the chance of fungal diseases and other damage to the branches when you cut.

Ideally, we would also recommend looking for models where the blade can be replaced – particularly if you plan to use your secateurs regularly. Almost all secateurs come with blades that can be sharpened, but at some point, they will need a full replacement, and it is much cheaper to replace the blades than the whole tool.

The sharper the blade, the stronger the cut.

Handle

Probably the biggest difference that you will find with garden secateurs is the handle. The handle can make or break whether the tool will be easy to use or uncomfortable after a few minutes!

Look out for ergonomically designed handles that are moulded to the shape of your hand, as this will increase comfort when you are working and help to reduce fatigue. It is also worth looking at the materials from which the handle is made. Plastic sleeves covering the metal handle will probably be the most durable, but handles with rubber/silicone will be much more comfortable to work with and reduce the chance of callouses when working for extended periods.

TOP TIP: Look out for models with a rotating lower handle if you struggle with fatigue or have wrist/hand problems. The lower handle will rotate as you put pressure to close them, which helps to reduce fatigue when you are working.

Best Budget – Secateurs

Sale
JEOutdoors Pruning Shears, Professional High Carbon Alloy Steel Sharp Blade Bypass Hand Pruner, Tree Trimmer, Garden Shears - JO0001
  • Pruning Shears fit for cutting stems and light branches up to 3/4″ diameter size
  • Quality sharp blade made of high carbon alloy steel with antirust processing
  • Safety Lock – easy open/close lock for convenient security system
  • The spring loaded handles with unique imitation wood design hard PC to give superior comfort
  • Package includes: pruning shears, replaceable spring. customer service from JEOutdoors

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

The Best Secateurs Have…

If you are planning on working with your secateurs for extended periods and you have a lot of gardens to work on, then you will need the best secateurs you can find. Here are some of the additional features we would recommend.

  • Build Material – Secateurs made from plastic and aluminium will be lightweight when working, whereas steel-made models will be heavier but more durable.
  • Bright coloured – You may think that colour doesn’t matter, but it will make your secateurs more visible when you are working, so there is less chance of them missing.
  • Safety Features – Some pruning shears/secateurs come with a safety catch to keep the blades together when not in use. Some can also be operated with one hand, which helps with cutting precision.
  • Spare parts – If you are looking for real value for money then look out for tools that come with spare blades, blade sharpeners and even cases to maintain them well.
  • Wire cutting – The best secateurs will come with a cut out in one of the blades. This can be used to cut wire easily, which is excellent for using your secateurs on a vegetable patch or allotment!
  • Size – Make sure to consider the size of the tool. Some are designed for people with smaller hands, whereas others are made to be larger. A tool that fits your hands better will be much easier to use!

Maintenance

  • Sharpen your secateurs when you suspect the blades are becoming blunt (blunt blades can damage live stems by not cutting cleanly).
  • After use, wipe over the blades to remove sap deposits which can clog and jam the blades.
  • Clean your secateurs regularly with soapy water, ensure they’re properly dry, and spray the mechanism with lubricant before putting them away.
  • If you’ve been cutting back diseased foliage, disinfect the blades thoroughly to avoid contaminating healthy plants.
  • A build-up of sticky sap and general garden muck can affect the quality of the cut you can achieve with your secateurs and cause the blades to jam. To keep secateurs working effectively and to help keep them in tip-top condition, you should clean the blades of your secateurs after every few uses with wire wool or a wire brush, followed by a wipe with an oily rag.

This really handy video provides more information on sharpening your secateurs blades.

Best of the Rest

Secateurs, Ratchet Anvil Style Shears, Made For Weak Hands But Strong Enough For Any Pruning Application - Garden Pruners, This Tool Makes A Great Gift For Gardeners
  • Strength-Boosting Secateurs – Boost your cutting power with ratchet garden secateurs for pruning, trimming, and harvesting plants. Your TGF anvil pruners help you achieve cleaner cuts with less strain.
  • Assistive Clippers - Where other gardening hand tools depend on your raw strength, your ratchet pruners chew through branches in steps. Keep gardening in spite of strength or mobility challenges.
  • For Stems, Stalks, and Small Branches – Whip out your garden snips and clean up flower beds and garden rows. Cut tree branches up to 1 in. thick, depending on the wood and your individual strength.
  • Designed for the Dirt – Choose corrosion-resistant garden secateurs for pruning with a heavy-duty manganese steel blade and aluminum body. Your high-impact tool is incredibly resilient under pressure.
  • Let's Be Friends – We're here to provide excellent garden tools for gardening enthusiasts of all sorts. Let us know how we can help you keep your lawn and garden bountiful and beautifully maintained.

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Sale
Gonicc 8" Professional Secateurs Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears (GPPS-1003), Hand Pruners, Garden Clip, Hedge Shears(Gold)
  • Drop forged body and handles.
  • Quality blade made of Premium Titanium steel with Ultra-fine Polishing Technology.
  • Ergonomically designed non-slip handles are strong,lightweight,and comfortable.
  • Sap groove design to help keep pruning shears from sticking by channeling off sap.
  • Pruners can cut up to 3/4" diameter size tree branches.This may vary depending on tree species.

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Premium 2-in-1 Ratchet Secateurs (Anvil Style) - Ideal Secateurs for Arthritic Hands, Heavy Duty Gardening Secateurs for Small & Thick Cuts, Pruning Shears Made with SK5 Steel, Davaon Pro
  • [ 𝟓 𝐗 𝐌𝐎𝐑𝐄 𝐏𝐎𝐖𝐄𝐑 ] Cut through thick branches by simply squeezing the grip! The gardening secateurs with ratchet mechanism multiply your hand’s power by up to 5 times
  • [ 𝐒𝐖𝐈𝐓𝐂𝐇 𝐌𝐎𝐃𝐄𝐒 ] These 2-in-1 secateurs & pruning scissors allow you to switch from short-cut mode to single-cut mode within seconds. Quickly move from cutting thick branches to trimming thin stems
  • [ 𝐁𝐋𝐀𝐃𝐄𝐒 𝐎𝐅 𝐒𝐓𝐄𝐄𝐋 ] Made with heat-treated and hardened SK5 carbon steel blades, the pruning secateurs are not only razor-sharp but also require less frequent sharpening and are much less likely to nick
  • [ 𝐂𝐎𝐌𝐅𝐎𝐑𝐓 𝐆𝐑𝐈𝐏 ] Enjoy better tactile control and garden in comfort with these easy-to-use secateurs. The soft-grip handles and lightweight aluminium body reduce fatigue and minimise the risk of repetitive motion injuries
  • [ 𝐒𝐀𝐅𝐄𝐓𝐘 𝐋𝐎𝐂𝐊 ] The ratchet secateurs for weak hands feature a sliding lock that provides another layer of safety, keeping you safe from harm and making them easy to transport and store

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

Alternative Options

It may be that you think secateurs aren’t for you. If that is the case, don’t worry, as there are many other options. If you are looking for a more precise tool to work on more delicate, intricate pruning, then maybe some topiary shears are for you. Or maybe you are leaning the other way, thinking that secateurs aren’t big and powerful enough to do the job? Well, maybe some tree loppers or a pruning saw is your better option.

Check out these articles to ensure you are making the right choice!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better anvil or bypass secateurs?

The choice between anvil and bypass secateurs depends on your specific gardening needs. Bypass secateurs excel at precision cuts for delicate, living plants, maintaining plant health, while anvil secateurs offer more power, perfect for cutting back deadwood and thicker branches.

What are ratchet anvil secateurs? 

Ratchet anvil secateurs feature a mechanism that cuts in stages, making it easier to cut through thicker or harder branches without straining your hand, ideal for those with weaker grip strength or prolonged pruning tasks.

What is the difference between a pruning shear and a Secateur? 

The terms”runing shears” and “secateurs” are often used interchangeably. However, pruning shears typically refer to larger, two-handed tools used for heavier branches, while secateurs are one-handed tools for more precise, delicate pruning.

What are the three types of secateurs?

The three main types of secateurs are bypass, anvil, and ratchet. Bypass secateurs work like scissors, anvil secateurs have a single straight cutting blade that closes onto a flat surface, and ratchet secateurs are a type of anvil secateurs with a mechanism that cuts in stages.

What is the best style of pruners to use to avoid crushing and create clean cuts?

Bypass secateurs are the preferred choice for clean, precise cuts that avoid crushing plant tissue. Their scissor-like action ensures a clean cut, crucial for maintaining the health of your plants.

How do you sharpen old secateurs? 

You can sharpen old secateurs with a diamond file. First, clean the blades to remove sap or debris. Then, holding the tool securely, file the bevel edge at the same angle as the original, always moving the file away from your body.

What is the difference between geared and ratchet secateurs?

Geared secateurs have interlocking gears that increase the force applied, making it easier to cut through thicker branches. Ratchet secateurs, on the other hand, use a ratcheting mechanism to make multiple short cuts, reducing strain on the hand.

What is the difference between a bypass pruner and an anvil pruner?

Bypass pruners work like scissors, with two blades passing each other to make the cut, which is ideal for live wood. Anvil pruners have a single straight cutting blade that closes onto a flat surface, better suited for dead wood.

What are Japanese secateurs?

Japanese secateurs are renowned for their superior craftsmanship and sharpness. Made in Japan, these pruning tools often feature high-quality steel blades and are designed with a traditional aesthetic, reflecting the country’s long-standing gardening heritage. They are perfect for precise, clean cuts needed for bonsai and other delicate plants.

About Thomas Paxton 368 Articles
Hey there, I'm Thomas Paxton, your Tool Guru with a Twist! I've been knee-deep in the world of tools since I was a little tinkerer in my dad's shed. Now, I'm running my own website where I share my passion for tools and gardening products through buyers guides and insightful tips. I've got the knowledge and experience to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-understand language. I purchased Tools Review from Mike Jones at the start of 2023, he has done a sterling job of building the site and I hope I can continue in his success! When I'm not writing guides, you'll find me in my garden or garage, putting my skills to work and pushing the boundaries of creativity. So, whether you're a pro or just starting out, join me on this adventure, and let's conquer DIY projects together!

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