10 Best Garden Shears of 2021 [Reviews]

gardening shears with red handles sitting on cloth

Any avid gardener knows that a trusty (not rusty) pair of garden shears is an absolute must. But if you’re new to the world of gardening, finding durable shears on a budget can be difficult. That’s why we’ve gathered the best garden shears, including all different styles of shears for all different budgets.   

The category of “garden shears” includes hand pruners and loppers. They’re both tools that you can use to trim and prune plants, and they both come in different shapes and sizes.

After we show you the best pruning shears on the market, we’ll explain in our Buyers Guide the differences between each type — hand pruners, loppers, bypass shears, anvil shears, and ratcheting shears — and what makes the ones on our list the best. 

Top 10 Garden Shears – Reviews

1. Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears Model 9109 

Fiskars 91095935J Steel Pruning Shears Bypass Pruner, 1

Fiskars is one of the most popular brands of shears for home gardeners because the company makes high-quality tools at affordable prices. The 9109 model is our top pick because it combines durability and precision with a low price tag under $20. 

A couple of highlights:

Long-lasting blades: Most importantly, this pair of shears features blades made of hardened steel that won’t go dull with use or age. The blades also have a rust-resistant, low-friction coating that prevents corrosion and sap buildup to help them last longer. 

Comfortable to use: These shears are more than the blades. The handles have a dual-layer soft grip that goes easy on your hands even when you’re working in the garden for hours.

Another convenient feature? The safety lock is easy for both right- and left-handed gardeners to engage or disengage with one hand. 

Fiskars backs this tool with a lifetime warranty, so even if something goes wrong, you won’t have to pay to replace it. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality hardened steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Soft grips
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

2. Fiskars PowerGear 2 Hand Pruner

Fiskars 391041-1001 046561291044 PowerGear2 Pruner, Steel

The PowerGear 2 pruning shears from Fiskars takes the runner-up spot. This pair of shears is more expensive than our top pick, but that higher price comes with some special perks. 

These shears have a rotating handle that moves with your hand as you work to reduce wrist fatigue. The PowerGear feature also makes these shears easier and more comfortable to use.

Patented PowerGear technology: A Fiskars-original gear mechanism in the head of the shears makes cuts more powerful with less effort, slicing through branches up to 3/4-inch thick. 

In addition to those unique features, the PowerGear 2 has many of the same reliable qualities as our other pick from Fiskars. That includes hardened steel blades with a rust-resistant coating and a safety lock to keep the blades closed when you aren’t using them.

This pair of garden shears also comes with Fiskars’ lifetime warranty. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality hardened steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Rotating handle
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

3. Gonicc GPPS-1003 Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears

gonicc 8" Professional Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears (GPPS-1003), Hand Pruners, Garden Clippers.

The blades of Gonicc’s Premium Titanium Bypass Pruning Shears are made of drop-forged steel for hardness and coated in titanium to resist rust and prevent gumming up from sticky sap. The handles are made of aluminum with thick, non-slip PVC covers that help you work longer without your hands cramping from the repetitive squeezing motion. 

Like most handheld pruning shears (aka hand pruners), this pair is best for smaller trees and plants with branches up to 3/4-inch thick. The blades on this pair of garden shears are sharp enough for precise, clean cuts on smaller branches and soft green plant material, too. 

Downside: One major downside is these Gonicc shears don’t come with a manufacturers’ warranty like our two top picks from Fiskars. That could present an issue as some users reported their blades fell apart after a few uses. But many others users said they used their Gonicc shears for years with no issues, so there’s a good chance you wouldn’t ever need a warranty. 

 Notable features:

  • High-quality drop-forged steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Soft grips
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

4. ARS HP-VS8R Rotating Handle Hand Pruner

ARS HP-VS8R Rotating Handle Hand Pruner, 8-Inch

The ARS HP-VS8R hand pruner is a handy cutting tool that’s also comfortable — the best of both worlds for a gardener.

Here’s what we mean: This garden shears features high carbon steel blades that stay sharp after many uses, chrome plating for increased rust and sap resistance, and a  rotating handle, which moves with the natural motion of your hand to reduce wrist fatigue. 

Built on years of industry experience: ARS is a Japanese company that has made shears and other gardening tools since 1876. What this means: ARS tool designers have seen the common problems with hand pruners and found ways to prevent them. 

One common issue is that the safety lock on hand pruners can be difficult to operate. ARS designed the HP-VS8R model for completely one-handed use, so you can open the safety lock simply by squeezing the handles together.

The next common problem with gardening shears like these is that the spring that helps the blades open and close can pop out. You don’t have to worry about that with this ARS model since the spring is anchored and tested to make sure it stays in place. 

ARS recommends the HP-VS8R hand pruner for all gardening and landscaping tasks but especially for fruit trees and bonsai care.

Downside: The biggest drawback with this pair of garden shears is the cost, which is about $60 at the time of publication.

Because these are durable shears made of high-quality materials and suitable for professional use, they might be worth that high price for some home gardeners. For those on a budget, though, you can find shears that will serve your needs just as well for less than half the cost (our top three picks, for example). 

Notable features:

  • High-quality carbon steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Rotating handle  
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

5. Saboten 1210 Thinning Shears

Saboten 1210 Thinning Shear

The Saboten 1210 thinning shears goes big with the blades, yet this tool is perfect for small hands.

First, a bit about those blades: The Saboten 1210 has straight, scissors-like blades — unlike the other garden shears higher on our list — made of high carbon steel, and the entire blade is heat-treated to increase hardness and durability.

Bonus points: The blades also have a Teflon coating for corrosion resistance.

Ideal for small hands: Do you have a hard time comfortably gripping most hand pruners? Give this model a try. The Saboten 1210 handles are thinner and shorter than those of similar tools, perfect for smaller hands.

Because of the compact design, these shears are lightweight compared to most others. 

How best to use this tool: Because of the Saboten 1210’s small size of this, these shears are great for tiny, precise cuts. If you typically tend small plants such as flowers or bonsai, this pair of shears will likely serve your needs better than larger, clunkier models. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality carbon steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

6. Corona BP 3180D Forged Classic Bypass Pruner 

Corona BP 3180D Forged Classic Bypass Pruner with 1 Inch Cutting Capacity, 1", Red

The BP 3180D hand pruner from Corona is a professional-grade tool for large plants and difficult cuts, but the heft of these shears could be a deterrent for a typical home gardeners.

Let’s take a closer look at the blades:

The Corona BP 3180D bypass pruner’s forged steel blades can cut branches up to 1 inch thick. Because the blades are heat-treated, they hold their sharpness through many intensive uses.

The blades are made to last, so all you have to do is sharpen them to give them their edge back. Even if the blades eventually go dull after years of service, you don’t have to replace the whole tool. Corona also makes replacement blades, so you can extend the life of the tool even longer.  

A plus and a minus: This pruner has a sap groove that prevents sticky sap from building up on the blades and getting in the way while you work. Note, though, that the blades of these shears have no corrosion-resistant coating, so rust may be an issue in time.

Not suited for small or weak hands: This pruner has to be large so it can cut the thicker branches, but that size may present a challenge for some home gardeners.

Here’s why: It can be difficult to squeeze the blades shut, especially if you have arthritis or otherwise weakened hands. What this means: If ergonomic handles are important to you in a gardening tool, this may not be the right shears for you. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality forged steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use

7. Okatsune 103 Bypass Pruners

Okatsune 103 Bypass Pruners General Purpose Medium

The Okatsune 103 Bypass Pruners cut through branches up to an inch easily and are easy to use.

Ideal for one-handed use: Like many of the garden shears on this list, this tool is spring-loaded for easier opening and closing. Okatsune’s design is better for one-handed use because it features a V-shaped spring, which distributes pressure more evenly throughout the handles. The safety locking mechanism is easy to engage and disengage with one hand. 

Extra points: As an added bonus for convenience, Okatsune offers a line of holsters (sold separately) you can use to carry your shears around the yard while keeping your hands free for other landscaping tasks. 

Comes in multiple sizes for different users: The 103 model is basically the “medium” of Okatsune’s line. For the same tool in a smaller size, try the 101 model. For a larger size, try the 104 model. Decide which size is best for you based on your own hand strength and the types of plants you need to prune.

Never heard of Okatsune? Okatsune pruners are made with Yasugi steel, a type of Japanese steel known for staying razor-sharp for a long time. Yasugi steel promises clean, precise cuts for those delicate green stems and branches. 

Note: You will have to look out for rust over time because the blades don’t have a corrosion-resistant coating. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality Japanese Yasugi steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use

8. Fiskars 391461-1003 Bypass Lopper 

Fiskars 391461-1003 Bypass Lopper, 28 Inch

Need a longer reach than the handheld pruning shears we’ve listed so far can give you? This Fiskars 391461-1003 two-handed bypass lopper features curved bypass blades like many hand pruners, so is lopper will make the same clean cuts on soft green branches.

Like our other top picks from Fiskars, the blades of these loppers are made of hardened steel that stays sharp with a low-friction coating for slicing through plant matter without sap or debris getting in the way. The blade coating also prevents rust. 

Ergonomic handles: These loppers feature soft, cushioned grips to help prevent hand cramps, but that’s not all. There’s also a shock-absorbing bumper near the blades so the end of the cut isn’t too jarring, which can be a problem with some heavy-duty loppers. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality hardened steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Soft grips
  • Corrosion resistance

9. A.M. Leonard Traditional Bypass Pruners

A.M. Leonard Traditional Bypass Pruners - 1 Inch Cut Capacity

These bypass shears from A.M. Leonard are a durable pick, with high carbon steel blades and solid forged aluminum handles. The blades have chrome plating to prevent rust, corrosion, and sap buildup. 

A.M. Leonard is another brand that has been producing gardening tools for more than 100 years, so you can trust the quality of their shears. While this particular model doesn’t have many special features, it’s a solid and reliable tool that gets the job done. 

Three-position latch for more uses: One feature you might call “special” is the blade’s three-position lock, which lets you choose between closed, mid-open, or full-open settings. You can use the mid-open position for precise cuts on smaller branches and stems and the full-open position for larger branches. The closed position is for safety while you carry or store your shears. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality carbon steel blades
  • Bypass blades for clean cuts
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use
  • Corrosion resistance

10. The Gardener’s Friend Ratchet Pruning Shears

The Gardener's Friend Pruners, Ratchet Pruning Shears, Garden Tool, for Weak Hands, Gardening Gift for Any Occasion, Anvil Style

Ratcheting shears like this pair from The Gardener’s Friend make more powerful cuts with less pressure, so they’re much easier on your hands.

Perfect for gardeners with arthritis: The Gardener’s Friend recommends these shears for people with arthritis, carpal tunnel, and other mobility issues. With just a little squeeze, these shears can cut through branches up to 1 inch thick. The blades cut in three stages to make cuts less jarring, and a rubber hand grip absorbs the leftover shock. 

Easy cutting isn’t all these shears have to offer. The blade is made of hardened carbon steel that stays sharp, and the handles are made of aluminum, so they won’t rust. You might have some problems with rusting blades down the road, however, since these don’t have a corrosion-resistant coating. 

Anvil blades: Ratcheting shears use anvil blades, as opposed to the bypass blades of our other top picks. Anvil blades tend to crush rather than cut, so they’re better for thicker branches. Beware that these shears might cause damage to a plant with soft green stems and branches that are more difficult to cut cleanly. 

Notable features:

  • High-quality carbon steel blades
  • Ratcheting feature for larger cuts with less effort
  • Safety lock for storage and handling when not in use

Buyers Guide

Want to know the difference between each type of garden shears and what kind of job each one is best suited for? How about what features you should look for in a quality pair of garden shears? 

In this buyers guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to find the right pair of shears for you. 

Different Types of Garden Shears and What to Use Them For

In our top 10 picks, there are several different types of gardening shears. Before you decide which type is best for your needs, you’ll need to know what goes into each type and what plants you can use them for. 

Hand pruners:

  • Small enough to hold in one hand
  • Straight or curved blades
  • Uses: Detailed work such as snipping flowers or pruning branches on smaller bushes and plants

Loppers:

  • Long handles for reaching high-up tree branches
  • Straight or curved blades
  • Uses: Pruning tall trees and shrubs with thick branches

Bypass shears:

  • Two blades overlap when closed, like scissors
  • Cuts cleanly and doesn’t hurt the plant if used correctly 
  • Loppers or hand pruners can have bypass-style blades
  • Uses: Cutting soft green plant matter

Anvil shears:

  • One sharp blade crushes plant matter against the other flat blade (the “anvil”)
  • Crushes branches and stems more than cuts them cleanly 
  • Loppers and hand pruners that don’t have bypass blades have anvil blades 
  • Uses: Pruning thicker woody stems or cutting up dead wood (Not good for green plant matter)

Ratcheting shears:

  • Makes more powerful cuts with less pressure
  • Reduces wrist and hand strain compared to non-ratcheting shears
  • Always have anvil blades
  • Uses: Tough jobs with thick branches; not the best for small green stems because of the anvil-style blades 

Power pruners:

  • Automated, battery-powered hand pruners that can be easier to use than manual models
  • Expensive, typically ranging from about $70 to $100 (so expensive that none made this list, as they weren’t worth the high cost based on our metrics)
  • Uses: Anything you would use a regular hand pruner for

What to Look For in the Best Garden Shears

Now you know which type of shear you want, but what features should you look for? What makes a pair of garden shears the “best”?

Here are the factors we used in our ranking to decide which shears are the best on the market today.

Blade quality: For a hard, durable blade that won’t lose its sharp edge, look for shears with blades made of high-carbon steel, hardened steel, or drop-forged steel. Stainless steel blades resist rust, which makes them seem like an attractive option, but they aren’t as strong and won’t stay as sharp as blades made of harder steel. 

Cleaner cuts: Shears with bypass blades will make cleaner, healthier cuts. They won’t crush plant matter like anvil blades tend to do. In some cases an anvil blade might serve your needs, but for general use around the garden, choose a pair of shears with bypass blades. 

Rotating handle: Rotating handles help reduce hand and wrist fatigue. As you squeeze the handles together to close the shears, one of the handles will move along with your hand. Shears with rotating handles can have either bypass or anvil blades. This gives them an advantage over ratcheting shears, which also help take the pressure off your hands and wrists but can only use anvil blades. 

Soft grips: Don’t take comfortable grips for granted when shopping for gardening shears. Many models have handles made of hard metal, and without a soft cushioned grip, working with these tools for a long time can cause a lot of pain in your hands.

Keep in mind that “non-slip grip” doesn’t mean a soft grip. A non-slip grip often equates to a rubber or PVC coating, which won’t do much to cushion your hands, even if it does make the shears less slippery. 

Safety lock: A safety lock is a mechanism (the exact mechanism varies from model to model) that keep the blades closed when you aren’t using your shears. This is extremely important for storing shears safely — you don’t want to reach into your tool drawer and come in contact with an open blade.

Having a reliable safety lock is also important if you plan to carry your shears around with you while you work on yard chores. Not all shears feature a safety lock, and even with those that do, you have to make sure the mechanism actually works consistently.

Note that most loppers don’t have a safety lock. 

Corrosion resistance: Most blades are made of steel, which is susceptible to rust. To prevent rust, some garden shears come with a corrosion-resistant coating (such as titanium or Teflon) on the blades.

Pruning with a rusty blade can cause damage and plant disease, so you should choose shears with corrosion-resistant blades whenever possible.

Stainless steel blades don’t rust as easily as other steel, but harder steel blades with a rust-resistant coating are still the better choice because of their durability. 

Price: Garden shears are more expensive than you might think if you’re just getting into gardening.

For our top picks, we wanted to choose the best tools for the common home gardener who doesn’t have a ton of money to invest in tools. So, we took price into account when ranking.

Most of the garden shears on our list fall in the mid-range price bracket of $20 – $35. Many shears cost $50 or more, but you can also find some models for less than $20. However, those that cost less than $20 usually don’t have the high-quality features you want in a pair of shears.

Our top pick, the Fiskars Bypass Pruning Shears Model 9109, is a notable exception (which is why this Fiskars pruning shears is our top pick). 

Most garden shears won’t have all these features and a reasonable price tag, but the best of the best are the ones that combine as many of these factors as possible.

FAQ About Garden Shears

1. What’s the difference between garden shears, hand pruners, and loppers?

Basically, loppers and hand pruners are two types of garden shears. Garden shears are tools you use to prune or trim plants. Both loppers and hand pruners fall under that category.

Loppers have long handles for reaching high-up tree branches and are operated with two hands, while hand pruners are small enough to use with one hand.

Which type of garden shears you need depends on the types of plants you’ll be working on.

2. How do I take care of my garden shears? 

Always clean the dirt, sap, and other debris off the blades of your garden shears after use. Store your garden shears in a dry indoor space such as a garage or shed where they won’t be exposed to the elements.

You’ll have to sharpen the blades of your shears every once in a while, but exactly how often depends on the material the blades are made of and how often you use them.

Don’t get lazy and use dull shears, as this can cause tearing and damage in plants.

3. Can I use household scissors instead of garden shears?

Because household scissors aren’t made for cutting through stems, using them in the garden can damage both the scissors and your plants.

If you can, it’s best to purchase a pair of gardening shears, which can cost as little as $10. Even a cheap pair of garden shears is better than household scissors. 

4. What’s the best type of garden shears for a beginner?

If you’re just getting into gardening and you want to buy a single pair of shears to get started, go with a hand pruner with bypass blades.

Here’s why: A hand pruner with bypass blades makes clean cuts, and you can this tool to trim back many different types of plants. Most gardeners eventually collect several types of shears for different jobs, but a bypass hand pruner is a good place to start.

How to Use Your New Garden Shears

Finding the best garden shears for you is step one. Once you have your new shears, you have to go out in the garden and use them. You can use your gardening shears for several landscape maintenance tasks, including:

  • Cutting back trees and shrubs in their dormant season
  • Deadheading flowers
  • Removing dead or diseased pieces of a plant 
  • Harvesting vegetables 

Pruning and trimming are a crucial part of landscape maintenance if you want healthy plants and a clean-looking garden. Don’t have the time or energy to prune and trim your own plants? Find a landscaping pro in your area to do it for you.

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Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin

Jordan Ardoin is a writer and indoor plant enthusiast hailing from Florida. In her spare time, she enjoys chasing her two cats around the house and trying to keep her houseplants alive.