After spending hours testing and reviewing the best secateurs for pruning, I found the Felco Model 2 secateurs to be the best bypass secateurs for pruning all manner of plant material and thicker branches.

best secateurs 2021

For pruning herbaceous plants, roses and shrubs these secateurs are a real power house of a tool.

As a professional gardener, for over 20 years, I need a decent pair of bypass secateurs that will stay sharp and be able to withstand daily use without failing.

When it comes to pruning shears, Felco secateurs have long been the favoured choice for serious and professional gardeners and the model 2, in my opinion , offers exceptional quality, value for money and a lifetime of hassle free pruning as all parts are replaceable.

However…..

When buying the best secateurs for your own use there are other makes and models suited for individual needs. Below are my best secateurs suited for individual needs.

1.) Felco 2 – Best Overall

2.) Okatune 101 – Best for Small Hands

3.) Felco 9 – Best for Left Handed Gardeners

4.) Jardin de France – Best Ratchet Secateurs

5.) Gardena A/M – Best Anvil Secateurs

6.) Okatsune 103 – Best Japanese Secateurs


Felco 2 Bypass Secateurs – Best Overall

The model 2 secateurs are suitable for medium – large right handed gardeners and are by a whisker, my recommended model (Okatsune 103 being close second)

overall best secateurs
Felco 2 Overall Winner

Felco 2 Main Features:

  • For: Medium to large hands
  • Cutting width : 32mm
  • Handles: Strong – lightweight aluminium
  • Blade : Strengthened steel blade
  • Wire cutter
  • Sap Groove
  • Comfort: Rubber Shock absorbers
  • All parts replaceable inc. blades & spring
  • Safety Catch : Located on side
  • Warranty : Lifetime guarantee
  • Usage : Light – Medium – Heavy

These pruning shears are designed with the serious gardener with medium to heavy duty use in mind and with these secateurs it is easy to see why they probably the most coveted pair of secateurs around.

The Model 2 secateurs are solid pruning shears. The razor sharp, strengthened carbon steel blades give a crisp, effortless, clean cut through stems, roses, shrubbery and light branches.

Being hardened steel they keep a sharp edge for longer between sharpening’s. Handy if your not that diligent at keeping your tools sharp.

With the large cutting capacity you can easily attack pruning roses, shrubs and thicker branches. There is also a sap groove to prevent the secateurs from sticking.

The non slip, red coated handles make these garden secateurs easy to find in sunny conditions (if your forgetful like me). They are comfortable in the hand and feel well balanced.

The handle, being made from strengthened aluminium give you complete confidence when attacking branches that are on the limit of the maximum cutting diameter.

The spring is sturdy and provides the right amount of pressure on opening and closing. The safety catch it located on the inner side and is easily locked into position with the same hand (extremely useful if on a ladder)

The Felco 2 are premium secateurs and deserve a place in any garden tool box. I have used them for 20 years and my full review on the Felco 2 can be found here.

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Okatsune 101 – Best for Small Hands

Do not let the simplicity of these secateurs put you off. Made by Japanese manufacturers Niwaki, these are of exceptional quality and a perfect fit for smaller hands.

best secateurs for small hands
Best for small hands – Okatsune 101

Okatune 101 Main Features:

  • Blades : Precision ground Japanese steel cutting blades.
  • Cutting Size: maximum cutting width 24mm
  • Handles : Rubber coated
  • Safety Catch : Located on bottom of secateurs
  • Warranty – 2 Years against defects
  • Usage : Light – medium – Heavy

Search for best secateurs any where on the web and these are probably 3 names that will come up, Okatsune is one of them.

What makes this pair of secateurs exceptional are the cutting blades. Made from the finest Japanese steel (the same as used to make Samurai swords) they are sharp, incredibly sharp and being crafted from the finest steel, stay sharp!

They cut like a knife going through cucumber on a chopping board.

There is a good reason the handles are different colours. So they are easy to spot in low light & sunny conditions. Very clever!

The bottom safety catch also means locking into place is a one hand operation, simply brush it on your thigh to close.

Fantastic secateurs that will last a lifetime whether for yourself or a gift for someone special.

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Felco 9 Bypass Secateurs – Best for Left Handers

Essentially these are pretty much the same as my best secateurs but made for for left handed gardeners. Effortlessly cut through stems and thicker branches with these left handed bypass secateurs.

best secateurs for left handed
Designed for Lefties – Felco 9

Felco 9 Main Features

  • For: Medium to Large Left Handed Gardeners
  • Type : Left Handed Bypass Secateurs
  • Cutting width : 32mm cutting diameter
  • Handles: Strong Lightweight aluminium handles
  • Blade : Precision ground strengthened steel
  • Wire cutter
  • Sap Groove
  • Comfort: Rubber Shock absorbers
  • All parts replaceable inc. blades & spring
  • Safety Catch : Located on side
  • Warranty : Lifetime guarantee
  • Usage : Medium to Heavy duty

Designed to be used in the left hand is another exceptional pair of secateurs from this world leading manufacturer.

The hardened, extremely sharp, carbon steel blades make lightwork of all those pruning tasks. With a maximum cutting diameter of 32mm, you can attack plants, roses, shrubs, small tree branches with total confidence.

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Fiskars PowerGear X P961 – Best for Weak Hands & Arthritis Sufferers

The Fiskars P961 pruning shears are designed for the medium to large handed gardener. Thanks to the rotating handle these secateurs are ideal for those who find pruning tiring and hard on the hands.

best secateurs for weak hands
Fiskars PowerGear for those that struggle with pruning

Fiskars PowerGear P961 Main Features

  • Type : Bypass Secateurs
  • Cutting width : 26mm cutting diameter
  • Handles: Strong Lightweight FiberComp
  • Blade : Strengthened non-stick steel blade
  • Comfort: Ergonomic Soft Grip
  • Safety Catch : top mounted
  • Warranty : 25 Years
  • Usage : Light – medium – heavy use

With its ingenious rotating handle the P961 takes up to 3x less effort when pruning. This is due to the load being spread across all joints.

An impressive 26mm cutting capacity means roses, shrubs and small branches can be pruned with ease.

The top mounted safety catch is great for when working up ladders etc as it can be operated with the cutting hand.

Being made from a fibre composite the handles are extremely strong and lightweight.

The P961 is perfect for those who struggle with the aches and pains that pruning can cause with regular secateurs.

These are other secateur models & makes available for those that struggle with weak hands and arthritis, which are listed here.

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Jardin de France – Best Ratchet Anvil Secateurs

The Jardin de France anvil ratchet secateurs are designed for those who might struggle with pruning with weak hands and wrists. I first noticed these being sold at Chelsea Flower show around 15 years ago, they are still as popular now as they were then.

best ratchet secateurs
Ratchet Secateurs – Jardin de France

Jardin de France Main Features

  • Type : Anvil Secateurs
  • Cutting width : 20mm cutting diameter
  • Handles: Lightweight aluminium handles – Non slip rubber coating
  • Blade : Teflon coated upper blade non stick carbon steel blade
  • Parts : Blade available separately
  • Safety Catch : Located inside
  • Warranty : One year warranty
  • Usage : Medium – Heavy duty

Due to its unique ratchet mechanism , this pair of ratchet anvil secateurs take less effort when pruning stems and thicker branches and so, perfect for gardeners that find pruning painful and tiresome.

The handle is comfortable and offers knuckle protection. Being made from aluminium these are lightweight and rust resistant.

Blade is replaceable should you accidentally damage it. Made from carbon steel, the blade is tough and the teflon coating offer a clean cut, and rust resistant.

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Gardena A/M – Best Anvil secateurs

The Gardena A/M is a tough, robust, good quality anvil secateur that will not let you down when there is a need to cut chop your way through old, dead wood.

best anvil secateurs
Gardena A/M Anvil secateurs

Gardena Anvil Secateurs Main Features

  • Type: Anvil Secateurs
  • Cutting width: 23mm
  • Handle: Soft Grip
  • Blade: Non stick coated
  • Safety Catch: Top mounted
  • Warranty: 25 Years
  • Usage: Medium – Heavy

As you may expect from this German gardening tools manufacturer, the Gardena A/M is a well designed, functional and comfortable secateur.

Despite its low price, and as like the models above this secateur is made with the user in mind and from quality components.

The precision ground non stick blade cuts easily through dead wood up to, and over 23mm without much effort.

With a top mounted safety catch the secateur is easily operated with hand and the ergonomic handles are comfortable to operate.

The A/M is designed for the medium to large handed gardener and my first impressions this would suit medium to heavy use.

Backed by an impressive 25 year warranty for peace of mind I would be happy to add this secateur to my tool box.

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Okatsune 103 – Best Japanese Secateurs

For those looking for a Japanese bypass pruner with an exceptional steel blade, the Okatsune 103 is, in my opinion the best around.

best japanese secateurs
Okatsune 103 – Exceptionally great secateur

Okatsune 103 Main Features

  • Blade: Japanese Izuma Yasugi steel
  • Cutting size : 25mm
  • Handle : Non slip coated
  • Weight: 202 grams
  • Warranty : 1 Year
  • Safety Catch : Bottom of secateurs

The Okatune 103 is designed for right handed use for a gardener with average to large sized hands.

What will strike you with these secateurs is the quality of the blade. Made from the same steel used for Samurai swords the 103 effortlessly cuts through anything up to 25mm in diameter in its stride.

And what’s more, being of such high quality steel you will be impressed at just how long you can go before the need to sharpen.

The cuts are really clean with no tearing or crushing of plant material, which is good news for your hands in avoiding repetitive strain issues .

Don’t be fooled by the look of this secateurs simplicity. Often the best designs are of simplicity. These bypass secateurs are certainly is one of the best.

I found the safety catch easy to engage with one hand. A simple swipe on your thigh locks it into place.

The two tone handles could be an ode colours of the Japanese flag but allows these secatuers to be found when put down and forgotten.

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What makes a Good Pair of Secateurs – Buying Guide

If you still can not find what you are looking for below is a handy checklist when deciding on a pair of secateurs. ?

Use the following as a checklist when buying secateurs.

The all important warranty

1 Year warranty minimum

When buying new secateurs look for models than come with a minimum 1 year warranty and not the standard ’30 day’ one offered on cheap secateurs. Anything less than that and you could be in for trouble.

Things can go wrong and you’re not likely to find out in the first 30 days of use, unless of course you have a huge pruning job to perform in this time frame.

Having at minimum, a one year manufacturers warranty will give you piece of mind and reassurance when spending your hard earned money on a decent set of secateurs.


Blades:

The most important part of any bypass secateurs is the blade. Precise cutting, sharp blades will cut cleanly through stems and branches which reduces the chance of disease and infection spreading into the the pruned cut. Less effort will also be needed as a super sharp blade should the like cutting through cucumber on a chopping board.

The best blades are made from hardened steel, sometimes referred to as carbon steel.

Carbon blades will keep an edge to them longer (less time between sharpening’s) and are less prone to snapping when under pressure.

Beware of cheap secateurs with stainless steel blades. Stainless steel is softer than hardened steel and will not stay sharp as long, blunt blades are never a good thing on pruning shears.


Cutting Diameter:

Cutting diameters are important

There is a trade off when considering the cutting ability of secateurs. Pruning larger material such as branches will require more force to make the cut.

Anything between 20mm for small hands and 30mm for larger hands is ideal. Anything larger than this then the use of loppers is advised instead of secateurs. If there is one way to damage pruners, and your hands, is by cutting far larger branches than they are intended for.


Handles:

As with all garden tools the handles have to feel comfortable in the hand.

Preferably you should opt for garden secateurs with either aluminium or a fibre composite material as these types of handles lead to light, and very strong secateurs.


Safety Catches:

Another thing to consider with pruners is where the catch is located. Safety catches can be located on the top or sides. It is really a matter of preference however top located catches can be easier to work with when up a ladder for example.


Spares parts:

Available spare parts for secateurs

Are spare parts and replacement blades available should something go wrong?

This is something to consider especially if looking at cheap secateurs as, In my experience, one lost spring or a malfunctioning safety catch and the secateur is for the bin.


Manufacturer:

My advise is to buy branded secateurs from a reputable, well known manufacturer in its field. I have mentioned the leading brands above.

When you buy from a leading secateur maker you’ll be able to buy with confidence and own a tool that will give you years of service.

In my many years of buying garden tool products I have learnt the hard way. Buy cheap, buy twice! and this is particularly relevant with secateurs.

Beware of the counterfeit and copycat far eastern imports.


Anvil or bypass Secateurs?

A question asked frequently is what is the difference between anvil and bypass secateurs. The difference between bypass type pruners and anvil is as follows. Bypass secateurs are for cutting living, green growth, for example live stems, branches and plant material . Anvil secateurs are used for cutting tough, old, dead wood.

The difference being on bypass secateurs the cutting blade passes the anvil to make the cut, a bit like similar to ordinary scissors, blades passing each other.

With anvil secateurs, the blade comes down and meets the anvil to create the cut. Think of a crushing action.

It is a good idea to have both type of secateurs in the tool box especially when looking after medium to large gardens stocked with shrubs and trees.

Using bypass secateurs on large, dead material could end up damaging them and cause unnecessary strain on the hands.


What Secateurs does Monty Don use?

Reportedly, Monty uses the Tobisho SR-1 secateurs.


The Bottom Line

For medium to heavy use and a secateur that will last a lifetime (providing you dont lose them) the Felco 2 are, in my opinion, the best secateurs. It was neck and neck between these and the Okatsune 103, the only slight negative for me were the Okatsune doesn’t have a wire cutting notch. This is something I need in my work, buy may not be important for your use.

The Felco 2 is available here from Amazon