Three Things to Look For in the Best Pruning Shears

More powerful than binoculars, a good scope can help you see details at unbelievable distances

pruning shears on a branch
Get yourself some quality pruning shears.Fiskars

Whether you’re trimming small limbs to open up shooting lanes for your deer stand or simply working around the yard, a good set of hand pruners is invaluable. The two basic types of hand pruners to consider are anvil-style and bypass shears.

Anvil pruners have a single blade that comes down against a flat edge or “anvil;” similar to the way a knife works when you’re chopping vegetables on a cutting board. These are great from trimming dead wood because they crush their way through as they cut.

Bypass shears are the other choice. They utilize two curved blades that pass each other like the blades on a pair of scissors. This style tends to be more popular because they provide nice clean cuts. Bypass shears also tend to be more compact, so they’re easier to carry. Before you purchase a new pair of pruning shears, here are three other important things to consider.

Ergonomics

Fiskars Steel Bypass Pruning Shears
These shears have a low-friction coating on the blade to keep sap and debris from gumming up the blades while offering a layer of protection against rust.Fiskars

You're not going to get much pruning done if your hands get tired or blistered, which is why the ergonomics of the shears your buy are important. Non-slip handles with a soft foam covering won't bite into your hands and cause hand fatigue.

Quality Steel

Gonicc 8" Professional Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears
These shears can handle limbs up to ¾ of an inch thick thanks to good ergonomics and premium titanium blades.Gonicc

Keeping your shears shaving sharp will reduce hand fatigue, which is why you want to look for shears that utilize carbon steel that's high-tempered so they can easily be sharpened. A solid mechanism that locks up tight to keep shears from opening when they're in your pack or being stored is also an important consideration.

Replaceable Parts

felco classic manual hand pruner
Made in Switzerland to exacting standards, these shears offer fully replaceable parts, a sap groove to keep blades from getting sticky, and a notch for cutting wire.FELCO

Shears in the higher price range generally offer replaceable parts (parts will wear out over time) along with quality steel. Many are backed by a lifetime warranty and offer a hardened nut and bolt that allow you to adjust both the anvil and cutting blades. Forged aluminum handles that will never rust are also something to look for.