The Best Pruning Shears

Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Pruning Shears

Our Top Pick for 2016: Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Pruning Shears
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $33.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Part of growing a healthy garden is cutting strategic stems and branches throughout the year. You might encounter bushes that prefer pruning before their spring growing season in order to encourage prolific blossoming. Other plants thrive when you remove old growth after the flowering sequence declines. Regardless of the time of year that you decide to prune, the right tool must be in your hands. With so many pruning shears in the marketplace today, it’s difficult to choose the right one for the job. Take a closer look at the best pruning shears available today, and make an educated purchasing decision.

Table of contents

Fully Hardened, Precision-ground Steel Blade
Effortless Cutting
Easy Locking And Unlocking
Stays Sharp Through Heavy Use
Multiply Your Hand’s Power By Up To 5 Times
Premium SK5 Carbon Steel
Ideal For Cutting Stems And Light Branches
Heat Treated And Hardened Carbon Steel Blades
Effortless And Efficient Cutting
Comfortably Cuts 3/4 Inch Diamater
Ergonomic Comfortable Design
Thickened PVC Non-slip Handle
Titanium-coated Scalpel-sharp Blade
Reduces Wrist Strain
Power Enhanced As Much As Tenfold

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Pruning Shears

Gardenite Power Drive Ratchet Pruning Shears Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $33.95*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerThe top pick in the world of pruning shears is the Power Drive Ratchet product by Gardenite. These shears come with a basic metal construction that’s accented by a leaf-green hue across one of the handles. From several reviews, this tool is a workhorse in the garden with its versatility shining through with branches as thick as three-quarters of an inch. Its top features are reasons why fans continue to buy these tools in record numbers.

The main attraction with these shears is their ratchet power. Traditional shears require brute strength within the hands and forearms so that the blades can adequately cut a branch. Gardenite changes that fact with their ratcheting system. In the center of the handles is a small, notched section. A cog nestles into each notch as you squeeze the handles. Each tightening notch gives you that extra strength to cut through any plant item. It’s important to note that you must continue to squeeze the shears through all of the ratcheting action, but you don’t need as much force as you would require for a traditional pair of shears.

Many consumers report that these shears are perfect for small hands, such as among women. Small hands tend to have a gentle touch, which makes strength an issue with large-branch projects. Almost anyone of any age or gender can successfully prune the garden with these shears. In fact, they’re reportedly good for people with physical ailments. Arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other medical issues can make pruning nearly impossible. The ratchet and ergonomic design gives this tool a comfortable feeling for short-term work in the garden. In most cases, you won’t feel any strain on your hands and wrists when you let the ratchet perform the work.

For most pruning shears, they must have a lock on their blades. This lock keeps the sharp edges from being accessible during storage. Some consumers, however, have complained about the locks being too difficult to slide. It takes two hands to really squeeze and maneuver the lock up into place. Consumers comment that a one-handed lock would be preferable. The lock remains firmly in place, however, with this current mechanism. It’s possible that it might loosen over time as the tool receives more use. Most consumers are more concerned about the cutting strength, which tests well with nearly every user. The lock remains as a moderate concern, and it might be altered in future product updates.

When you collect all of the tools that you need in the garden, the pruning shears are only one item in a large bucket or tool belt. From trowels to gardening pots, your yard needs countless items to look its best. Consumers appreciate the Gardenite design because the entire tool is only about 8-inches long. This size makes them perfect for small to moderately sized jobs along with being easily secured on the hip. When you need to pull them out several times over many hours, the tool greets users with its 8-ounce weight. When power and small size equals a lightweight tool, gardeners will have the best pruning shears for most of their needs.

Experienced gardeners know the difference between a good- and bad-quality pair of shears. In the past, they may have snapped blades off of their old products as they tried to cut a particularly stubborn branch. Cracks and broken shears normally mean that the metal isn’t strong enough for the job. Gardenite solves this issue by heat treating their steel. When a specific temperature is applied to the metal, the molecules tighten up their configurations. In fact, the metal actually hardens more than it was before. This heat-treating effect remains with the tool as it’s used in the garden. If it encounters a difficult branch, it won’t snap as a result of your efforts.

When you’re buying any product, it’s possible for an issue to arise. You might contact customer service, and your experience is less than overwhelming. It may be outright frustrating. Consumers report, however, that Gardenite has superb customer service. Customers’ concerns are met with genuine responses and solutions. Although it’s rare, any defective products are quickly dealt with so that the consumer can move forward with a replacement product. Every Gardenite pruning shears should please every customer.

It takes some time to get used to the ratcheting action at first. You’ll slowly learn to cut in small increments as practice gives you some muscle memory. To protect your shears for the long-term, look for a sheath that covers the blade and keep them locked at all times. When pruning season arrives, your tool will be ready to go.

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Till Harvest Best Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

Till Harvest Best Steel Bypass Pruning Shears

View it on Amazon for $59.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerThe Gentle Giant pruning shears by Till Harvest came in at a close second to the Gardenite model. These steel shears perform beautifully on small- to medium-sized stems and branches. When you’re not a fan of sharpening your shears, this model is a perfect match for you. It seems to outlast the competition when it comes to sharpness and hand comfort. Take a close look at these shears in order to make a smart decision in the gardening store.

The first part that you’ll notice on these shears is the cutting surface. The Gentle Giant is considered a bypass design where the blades cut side-by-side. Both blades are titanium-coated, which allows them to be sharp over the course of many uses. In fact, they’re reportedly as sharp as a surgical tool. That power is due in part from the cutting style. The lower blade holds the branch in place as the top blade cuts down into the material. As a result, you can cut items up to three-quarter inches thick with one hand. Gardeners love the versatility in the Gentle Giant so that larger tools aren’t needed with each outdoor outing.

The coating also gives the blades protection against sticking. For most shears, any liquid that it comes in contact with will create poor cutting conditions. The blades may not slide together at all. The Gentle Giant appears to slough off any sappy or sticky situations. The blades continue to cut through nearly any materials. Ideally, you should wipe off the blades after each gardening session in order to lengthen their lifespan. You’ll reduce wear and prolong the blades’ sharpness without sap drying onto the cutting surface.

One of the most popular features of these shears is the auto-revolving grip. As you cut into a branch, the grip moves with your wrist to a full, 90-degree angle. You’ll still have the strongest cutting action, but you’ll protect your wrist and fingers from any extra strain. In fact, many people with physical ailments report that these shears are perfect for long-term use without aggravating their conditions. The Gentle Giant derives its name from this revolving feature as a result.

As you take a close look at the shears, you’ll immediately notice the ergonomic shape of the black handle. Whether you’re left- or right-handed, this notch is meant for your thumb. Wrap your thumb around this notch for a comfortable cutting point. As you use your hand’s strength to move the shears up and down, the thumb notch continually cushions this digit. Other shears have flat handles that allow your thumb to slide as you cut. The Gentle Giant keeps your thumb in place so that strain is minimized, and cutting remains proficient across the garden.

Some consumers report that the locking mechanism is a bit stiff on the shears. However, this locking strength means that unauthorized people may not be able to open the blades. Children, for example, will have a hard time opening these shears. As a result, they remain safe from any harm. The lock is meant to be stiff for only adult use.

Till Harvest also adds some aesthetic and practical details to their pruning shears in the form of handle colors. The bright, turquoise color of one handle is in direct contrast with the nearby black handle. If you drop the shears in the garden, they’re easily spotted in broad daylight. You’ll want to keep these shears handy anyway because they’ll continue to cut cleanly through all of your gardening tasks.

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Raniaco Power Pruning Shears

Raniaco Power Pruning Shears

View it on Amazon for $28.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardConsumers often believe in the concept that only expensive shears can perform an adequate job. However, the Power Pruning Shears by Raniaco proves this concept wrong. This tool is relatively inexpensive, but reportedly outperforms even the most expensive shears on the market. With bright-red handles, you’ll never lose these shears in the foliage of your garden.

Raniaco outfits their shears with SK5 carbon steel. This metal is a Japanese type that employs a mixture of manganese and carbon. As a result, these blades are incredibly sharp and durable while being used regularly in the garden. Consumers consistently report that the blades cut cleanly among different branch sizes, which makes the garden appear like a professional has been working the land. The slight curve to the blades provides a small, resting area for the stem or branch as the gardener cuts into the length. A branch held firmly in place results in a straight cut through the bark’s exterior surface.

A major complaint among most consumers regarding shears is their weight. A gardening enthusiast might use the shears for several hours every week, which can be trying on a person’s wrists, fingers and forearms. A lightweight tool makes the job easier to complete with little wear on the body. Raniaco takes this weight consideration seriously, and they make their pruning shears with a 9.4-ounce weight. At slightly more than a half-pound, these shears can be used by almost anyone with a physical ailment. Working in the garden should be therapeutic instead of a strain.

Locking the shears seems to be a concern for many consumers. Some people think the lock is too tight while others believe it’s loose. These shears have a steel button for its locking mechanism. You press it down, and slide it for locking purposes. Some consumers note, however, that the lock can be adjusted by using the attached tension screw. Regardless of any adjustments, the screw should be firmly in place in order to keep the blades secure. The lock is made of steel, which makes it difficult to break down even with daily use.

Almost every person who’s used these shears reports that the handles are a luxury. Both handles have a gentle curve to their design so that both right- and left-handed people can use them comfortably. The handles are covered by non-slip PVC that’s thickened just enough for regular garden use. It has a cushioned feeling without losing the sensation of dexterity as you maneuver the blades between the stems. Without these cushioned handles, you’ll feel every snap and jarring sensation produced by the cut plant life. This stress will only make gardening a chore instead of a fun hobby.

A unique addition to these shears is the included instructions. You may know how to cut with a clean angle in the garden, but each plant has a different preference for a bountiful harvest. Learn about cutting angles, locations and times of the year for pruning chores. You might be hindering your plants’ growth instead of encouraging it with improper cuts. The added instructions on the back of the product’s box makes this brand a standout within a crowded tool industry.

Consumers report that they can cut up to a half-inch branch with the help of these shears, but that size might be too difficult for people with limited hand strength. Consider that hand shears are meant to cut the finer stems in the garden, such as deadheading or pruning rose bushes. Reserve the larger branches for more heavy-duty tools. Matching the right tool to the job prolongs the shears’ lifespan and keeps you comfortable in the outdoors.

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears

Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears

View it on Amazon for $8.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickA limited budget means you need to have a set of pruning shears that’s as inexpensive as possible. With the Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears by Fiskars, you don’t have to sacrifice functionality with a low cost. These basic shears allow you to work productively in the garden, especially if you want to buy several for the entire family. In fact, you can have several pairs of these shears and never pay more than $50 for the entire purchase. Take a close look at some of the best features found in Fiskars’s product.

The first feature that you’ll discover is the dual-layer comfort grips lining the handles. These handles are almost perfectly straight, which makes them perfect for both right- and left-handed people. The grips allow you to squeeze and hold the shears with comfort throughout your time in the garden. Wear gardening gloves or hold the shears with your bare hands. You’ll still feel the tool’s light weight in your hands, but without any real effort.

Fiskars shears have a streamlined design to their shape. You won’t see a spring stretching between the blades as you cut branches and stems. In fact, the manufacturer created a hidden spring mechanism within the shears. This design strategy means that the spring cannot be damaged by weathering or debris sticking to its exterior. Some consumers might mention that it limits the shears’s adjustable factor, but most users enjoy the simplicity of the design.

One negative aspect to these shears is their cutting limits. The blades have a small opening, which makes them useful on plant life that’s 5/8-inch in diameter or smaller. If you need to cut any larger items, a different pair of shears is necessary. For the basic gardener, however, these shears work well with flowers, bulbs and other smaller plants.

Although these shears have limited cutting abilities, the blades are high-quality steel with a specialized coating. Referred to as a low-friction coating, the blades fight off sticky situations and even repel rust. You’ll be able to cut through plant life that’s moist from the morning dew or dry after a particularly sunny day.

For those gardeners who become frustrated by their tools’ locking mechanism, Fiskars offers an ambidextrous lock that’s easy to maneuver. Slide it in and out of position with either hand, and you can work for hours in the garden. Once the lock is in place, the blades are held together with considerable strength. No accidents can occur with these tools on hand.

Take a close look at the shears, and you’ll notice a self-cleaning sap groove. As sap moves down the blades, this groove directs it away from the cutting surface. For those messy gardening days, you’ll spend more time pruning instead of wiping the tool clean.

Wipe your shears down after each use, however. Although the blades will slough off most sap and other sticky items, they can adhere to each other during storage. Keep the blades clean, and place them in a shed or tool box during storage. With the right conditions, your budget-friendly shears will last for many years.

Pre-purchase considerations

Blade Shape

A significant purchase consideration revolves around the blades’ shapes. Many pruning shears have blades that are similar to standard scissors. These double-cut blades offer two cutting surfaces that are often touted as more efficient in the garden. Although they have their uses, double-cut blades aren’t as comfortable to use as curved designs.

Curved blades create a resting point for the stem or branch. The lower blade steadies the branch on the tool while the upper blade can use gravity and design leverage to cut through the material. This cutting action reduces strain on the user, especially if a huge garden is being serviced. In general, a severe curve to the blade means that there’s less effort for the person’s hand. Keep in mind that the curved blade will need to be sharpened at some point. If you aren’t comfortable with sharpening this edge, home-improvement stores will usually offer this service. Sharpen the blades at least once a season to prolong their use in the garden.


Every consumer has a different budget for their gardening tools. Some people might invest hundreds of dollars in their pruning accessories, whereas others simply want a basic cutting tool. Pruning tools have varied prices based on their quality materials. Certain metals might be better than others, and there’s considerable labor in honing some metals down to a fine edge. Read over reviews about every tool that you’re considering. It’s possible that an inexpensive pair might be better than an expensive name brand.

If you select a budget-friendly pair of shears, test it out on small stems first. Successful cuts should be slowly tested further with larger branches. Don’t overwhelm the shears, however, with extremely thick branches. You don’t want to snap your shears. Low-cost tools can perform basic jobs, but they won’t offer quality cuts when they’re used on challenging materials. If you notice that heavy-duty blades are necessary, invest in a more durable product.

Ease on Hands

Most gardeners have prolific plant life throughout their front and backyards. When they prune, they spend considerable time finishing the job over an hour or more. Before you purchase any pair of shears, try to manipulate them in your hands. They should be easy to squeeze with little force required on your part. If you feel tired from just demonstrating a basic squeezing technique, the shears will probably be too uncomfortable for everyday use. Read over online reviews to get a more widespread view of the tool’s comfort too.

The handles should always have some form of cushioning to their exterior. Foam, PVC and other materials are common selections that cover the handles with luxurious ease. The material must be durable so that it remains on the tool for as long as possible. You don’t want it wearing down as you continue with its use in the garden.

Versatility Among Plant Life

If you have a small garden, a budget-friendly pair of shears that cuts small-stem diameters is sufficient. There’s no need to spend a lot of money on a feature-filled tool. When you have an eclectic garden collection, however, you want a tool that can cut thick branches too. Take a look at the advertised cutting parameters for the shears that you prefer. Consumers will often review the item and its real cutting limits as well. Some tools excel with large stems, whereas other shears will only work within their designated size ranges.

Some cutting tools work poorly when they encounter sticky or sap-filled plant life. If your garden is full of these plants, narrow down your tool selections to those models with a sap groove. Your productivity in the garden will improve significantly with this feature. Sticky tools can usually be attributed to ragged cuts and unsightly pruning results.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

Ideally, every gardener should have a few different tools for their pruning needs. Narrow stems on roses don’t need heavy-duty tools compared to thick, tree branches. Evaluate your budget, and systematically add to your tool collection over time. Sturdy, pruning shears will last for several years when you sharpen and maintain them on a regular basis.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!


  1. Product Reviewer, Gardenite Pruning Shears, YouTube, January 20, 2016
  2. TosTinMan, Till Harvest Gentle Giant Pruner Review~Revolving Ergo Fit Handle Pruning Shears, YouTube, November 5, 2015
  3. Gardenboy (contributor), 5 Best Cutting Tools used for Gardening, Grow: A Community Garden, March 4, 2016
  4. ChristineGB (contributor), Product Review: Fiskars Traditional Bypass Pruning Shears,, June 27, 2014
  5. Home Depot, Pruning Tools,, April 16, 2013
  6. A.M. Leonard Horticultural Tool and Supply Company, Hand Pruners Buying Guide,, May 13, 2016

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