✔️ Blade type: There are three basic types of pruning shears: anvil, bypass and ratchet. To choose the right operating style to fit your needs, take a look at the size of your plants and their stems (how flexible or sturdy are they?), and consider how often you’ll be using your shears:
- Anvil is best for cutting woody stems and branches.
- Bypass is best for pruning or trimming flexible stems or green wood.
- Ratchet is best for tough stems or for gardeners with small or weak hands.
- Straight blade is best for small cuts and fine work.
✔️ Size and handle design: You’re going to want clippers that fit well in your hand, so you can prune your plants without any hand pain. “Look for pruning shears that have a comfortable grip — usually a rubber handle is most comfortable,” says Eva Bleyer, a product review analyst the Good Housekeeping Institute and an avid indoor gardener. “Pruning can take time and you don’t want your hands to tire or blister.” If you’re left-handed, seek out a pair specifically designed for lefties.
✔️ Locking latch: For safety reasons, all pruning shears should have some sort of lock to keep the shears shut when they’re not being used. “Make sure your shears close and latch, so you or others don’t get hurt — and be careful,” advises Steinkopf.