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.


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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.


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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.

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.