Finding pruning shears for maintaining and pruning your plants and hedgerows can be daunting if you don’t know what to look out for. So, I have put together a list of my best shears for hedge pruning, shortening and cutting back branches, shrubs and hedges.
Pruning hedges is a tedious job, right? Therefore buying the right pruning shears suited to your budget and purpose is important. You can make light work with the right pair of shears, preferably ones with comfortable handles and a super sharp blade for starters.
I am often asked by gardeners “what are the top hedge shears to buy?”, “do I need an extendable, telescopic shear?”, what is the best brand of pruning shear?”
With a wealth of experience I hope to help you in making the right decision when purchasing a set of hand held garden shears that will be a pleasure to use and give years of untroubled service. All of the models listed consistently receive rave reviews and are models tested (and used) by myself.
Best Garden Shears for 2020 – my reviews and recommendations to make hedge cutting easier.
- Spear and Jackson RazorSharp Hand Shears
- Davaon Pro Geared Hand Shears
- Tabor Tools Telescopic Hand Shears
- Spear & Jackson Geared Hand Shears
- Gruntek Q32 Telescopic Shears
- Fiskars SmartFit HS86 Shears
- Fiskars PowerGear HSX92
Spear & Jackson Hedge Shears.
No strangers to manufacturing value for money, simple gardening tools. Spear and Jackson have not disappointed with this set, the Spear Jackson RazorSharp bypass pruning shears. Although the cheapest they deserve a place on my top garden shears list when it comes to cost and performance.
The chrome plated, hardened steel blade will resist rusting. Out of the box it is also extremely sharp. This model comes in at 960 grammes in weight therefore these shears are one of the lightest reviewed. As standard this shear comes with a manufacturers defects 10 year warranty.
Excellent value for money from a well respected and long standing manufacturer. The razor sharp blade will cut through plant matter with ease. Only slight concern is the hollow handles and how long this model would last with anything more than occasional use.
Davaon Pro Geared Garden Hedge Shears
If you find prolonged use of hedge shears tiring on the hands then my advice is to look at geared models like these Davaon bypass shears.
With its geared action mechanism, SK5 hardened blades and lightweight, comfortable handles , the Davaon Pro shear offers fantastic value for money and a great pick entry level hedge shear. My only concern is how long the comfortable soft grip handles will last?
Tabor Tools Telescopic Garden Hedge Shears
The Tabor B212E pruning shears are a great telescopic shear . Due to the wavy edge blade, cutting through vegetation is marginally easier. However I am not sure how easy it is to be sharpening them.
When extended, this pruning shear has a total reach of 84cm. Therefore making it easier to trim the top of taller hedges, especially when you can only get to one side of the hedge.
I found them to be well made and balanced on the hands. They are 1.5kg in weight owing to the extra metal to make this model telescopic but did not find my hands, wrists or arms aching after use.
Not as heavy duty as other sets I would recommend this model for light cutting work but still a good set of shears with decent blades.
Spear & Jackson RazorSharp Geared Garden Hedge Shears
Much like the Spear & Jackson model above, the build quality is great on these shears however this model is the geared action version. Geared versions of bypass pruning shears really do make all the difference. You have to try it to believe it!
The blades have a PTFE coating, making cutting and cleaning easier after use.
As a professional gardener that uses tools as on weekly basis I would probably go for something a bit more heavy duty with a sturdier blade however, this model is perfect for the homeowner looking for a hassle free garden shear for that yearly trim.
Gruntek Telescopic Hedge Shears.
I found this set of bypass garden shears from Gruntek a pleasure to trial and think they are a very well manufactured shear.
The hardened steel blades with non stick coating works very well at keeping the blade clean of sticky sap. Another feature is the ergonomic handle.
The simple telescopic construction works extremely well with the click and lock sytem and holds firmly in place when the shear is extended, unlike some models that extend by turning and twisting the handle.
These set of shears are ideal for taller hedges when you need to get to foliage high up.
Fiskars SmartFit HS86 Telescopic Pruning Shears
Fiskars gardening tools make up around 70% of the total of all my garden tools for 3 reasons. High quality, strength, competitive costs and razorsharp hardened steel cutting blades. Just look around at the reviews.
I found this set a complete pleasure to use. They are the lightest telescopic shears on my garden shears list and also the longest (when extended).
If your looking for a set of heavy duty telescopic hedge pruning shear, one that goes through thick branches, twigs and plants with ease then this tool from Fiskars will not let you down.
Fiskars HSX92 PowerGear Hedge Pruning Shear
As with all Fiskars gardening products these are a well designed and constructed shear . The added feature of PowerGear action technology makes for effortless pruning through thick plant material. Perfect if you struggle with weak hands or arthritis.
At 808g these are light, well balanced and suitable for daily and professional gardening use . The blades are exceptionally sharp, cut through branches with ease and have a non stick coating, leaving little residue after cutting plant material and foliage.
With the fantastic build quality we’ve come to expect from Fiskars, the units weight and PowerGear technology these are an exceptional garden shear.
Best Hedge Shears – my personnel choice
All of the above are a first-rate set of hedge shears and will (hopefully) give you years of use. My favourite and top of my list is the Fiskars HSX92 hedge clippers.
Being a professional gardener I need the best tools that can cut & prune hedges and plants on a daily basis. So, I found the HSX92 to be solid , well designed and with razor sharp blades. One of the finest I have used.
All of the hand held pruning shears reviewed are made for the pruning hedges and shrubs and not for shearing grass (although they could serve that purpose I guess)
Guide to Hedge Trimming with Pruning Shears
Looking after your pruning shears to keep them working for longer.
As with all garden tools, a little bit of care after use will keep them in the best order and should give you years of trouble free, efficient use.
Maintaining garden shears is the same maintenance routine as with all type of pruning tools.
Step 1.) With some warm soapy water (washing up liquid will do) carefully wash both blades, using a kitchen nylon scourer, removing any sticky sap residue from the hedge pruning. Word of caution, do not use wire brushes or scourers blades that feature a PTFE coating.
Step 2.) Thoroughly dry the shears with some kitchen towel or old rag. Do watch the newly sharpened blade with your hands!
Step 3.) Apply WD40 to the blade and central mechanism. This will keep the blade from rusting and the unit nicely lubricated for the next use. If your shears have a locking mechanism a little squirt of lubricant here will help the tool operating at best performance.
When it comes to the sharpening of the blades I recommend using a local specialist.
Hedge Trimming – Popular Hedges
Yew Pruning (Taxus baccata)
Evergreen Yew hedges make one of the most forgiving when it comes to pruning. When pruned correctly yew creates one of the best barriers and evergreen screens.
Unlike other conifers, Yew will regenerate even if you have to shorten growth far back towards the central trunk.
You can use your pruning shears to clip Yew at anytime of the year, apart from in freezing weather. Be warned, cutting Yew does tend to clog the blades with sap.
If you need to drastically reduce the width of an overgrown boundary it is best to prune back hard one side and leave the remaining side full of growth. The following year prune back hard the remaining side.
Doing alternate sides like this means the hedge is still getting plenty of energy which helps with its regrowth. Yew is quite sappy so always give your shears a good clean straight after use with some warm soapy water and a scourer or wire wool. Of course, sharp blades will also help get a great finish.
Nicely groomed Laurel looks stunning, badly pruned can look terrible.
The key to getting the best out of Laurel is picking the right moment and importantly, the best pair of shears.
For the best looking Laurel hedge my preferred choice of tool is a decent set of secateurs with sharp blades as the branches can be too thick for shears.
Alternately use garden hand shears or petrol / electric shears. The key to a lovely looking Laurel boundary using shears is timing. Best to trim in late Spring as new growth will cover any tatty, half cut leaves.
Privet is the fastest growing of them all, as such they need attention throughout the year.
Best cut from early May onwards but you will want to carry out the last cut np later than mid – late summer. Leave it too late and the first frosts will damage new growth.
As always, super sharp blades are advisable and a good clean of your shears after trimming is advisable to keep in the best shape.
Box (Buxus) Pruning
If you are lucky enough not to be suffering from Box blight or the Box caterpillar moth and have a healthy box hedge then the key here is to keep it healthy by pruning at the correct time and CLEANING UP
Buxus should be pruned at the end on May and around the beginning of Sept (this will be your last cut of the year)
It is really important to clean up the trimmings after pruning box and always make sure your blades are clean and super sharp. Your plants will thank you for it.
If you are struggling with having this disease or the caterpillar we have an article on the best box replacement hedges.