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Secateurs review

Secateurs are an essential tool for most gardeners - but do you need to pay top dollar for them?
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01.Introduction

secateur-reviews-lead

We review 13 bypass secateurs, priced from $4 to $66.

Through our rigorous testing, we reveal which secateurs:

  • perform the best at cutting green and semi-dry branches, and dry hardwood, and
  • are the easiest to use.

On this page:

Secateurs are an essential garden tool for anyone with shrubs and trees that need to be kept tidy, trimmed of dead wood, or pruned to promote flowering and fruiting. There are hundreds of models on the market; we chose 13 bypass models, mostly for medium-sized hands. 

Our results show that very cheap secateurs are not likely to be worthwhile, but you can find some very good performers for around $20 as well as at higher prices.

When choosing a pair of secateurs, one of your first decisions is whether to go for a bypass or an anvil model.

  • Bypass secateurs are the most common kind, and work like scissors. The branch rests on the curved bottom blade and is cut by the sharper top blade as it slices past the bottom blade. They can cut branches off right against the stem and can be good for reaching spots that are hard to get to. 
  • Anvil secateurs have a flat blade (the “anvil”) at the bottom. The top blade does the cutting, as with the bypass, but instead of slicing past the bottom blade it comes down onto it like a guillotine. They are supposed to be better for cutting thicker, woodier stems but our test found bypass models that were also good at this.

Apart from cutting performance and quality of construction, it's important to consider how comfortable they are in your hand. There are different sizes available to suit smaller and larger hands, as well as ratchet mechanisms to help with cutting power. Some are better suited to right-handers (or in some cases, left-handers) while others are ambidextrous. For details, see What to look for.

For more information on garden tools, see Backyard.


Brands tested

  • Bahco Pradines P126-22
  • Bahco Tradition P110-23-F
  • Cyclone 657511 Compact Bypass Pruner
  • Felco Essentiel 160L
  • Fiskars Power Gear P92 111520
  • Freund 3100
  • Gardena Classic 8757
  • Hortex PD502T
  • Kamaki KGS 260
  • McGregor's Stainless Steel Bypass Secateurs M740
  • Saxon 200 mm Bypass Pruner 3360083
  • Spear & Jackson Razorsharp 6060BS
  • Wolf Garten RR4000

How we test

The assessments were by a panel of four users, including one left-hander and one woman.
  • Performance The panel assesses how well the secateurs cut green and semi-dry cuttings up to about 20mm in thickness, and also hard 9.5mm dowel.
  • Ease of use The panel assesses their comfort in the hand while in use and the ease of using the safety catch.
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