What is the Difference between Anvil and Bypass Secateurs?

Last Updated on 15/07/2023 by Barney

The difference between bypass & anvil secateurs is in the cutting action. Bypass secateurs are used for pruning live plant material where anvil secateurs are predominately used for cutting harder, deadwood.

A good pair of secateurs is a treat. Professionally made pruners will give you years, if not decades of use. Cared for properly they will look after you. They will make cutting and pruning a pleasure rather than a hand breaking, frustrating chore.  You may even get that attached to them you give them a name.

So, when it comes to buying you need to know the difference between these types of essential gardening tools . Perhaps you may need both, anvil and bypass?

typical bypass prunerBypass Secateurs

Bypass secateurs are by far the more common pruner to be found in most sheds up and down the country. These work much the same as scissors. A sharp blade that crosses another blade to perform the cut. However it is only one sharp blade that does the cutting.

Bypass Secateurs should only be used for the cutting live soft, green material.

Not hard,  dead wood  branches. Using them to cut up dead branches could cause damage the secateur and most certainly blunt the blade . At best you may get away with a bent blade that may or may not be able to be replaced. At worse, the secateur will break into pieces. This is where you need an anvil secateur.

typical anvil prunerAnvil Secateurs

Anvil secateurs work with one blade coming down onto an anvil. Unlike a bypass pruning tool which cuts through growth this type cuts and crushes the branches. You can apply much more pressure on this tool and often the cutting diameter is much larger than traditional bypass. Only, do not over do it. If you find it is still hard work then pick up some branch loppers instead. Remember gardening should be pleasurable!

So to recap, whilst a bypass model is not suitable for cutting dead branches an anvil type is also not suitable for pruning living plants and shrubs.

Both bypass & anvil types are available on long reach tree pruners and on garden loppers

We really hope we have solved this dilemma for you when making your choice between anvil or bypass secateurs. For the best bypass secateurs look no further than the Felco range. Of course there are other brands and we will be reviewing those shortly along with the top 5 anvil shears.

FAQ’s – Quick Fire Q & As

Which is better bypass or anvil secateurs?

The 90% of pruning tasks around the garden bypass secateurs are the best type of pruner to use.

Are pruners and secateurs the same thing?

Pruners and secateurs refer to the same gardening tool. Pruners is the American term for secateurs.

How long do secateurs last?

A quality set of secateurs from a reputable manufacturer should last you at least 10 years. If they have the option for a replaceable blade & spring perhaps even a lifetime.

It’s A Wrap From Me

So there we have it. The main difference between anvil & bypass secateurs is bypass pruners are used to day to day pruning of fresh green growth where anvil pruners are workhorses designed to make easy cutting of tough deadwood.

Most respected manufacturers make both these types available from small handed gardeners to large and many variations in-between.