25 Types of Pruning Tools for Flowers, Plants, Trees and Bushes

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Person pruning tree with pruners

Some people love pruning while other people don’t like it. I happen to enjoy pruning because the improvement is so dramatic.  In short order, you can turn an overgrown bush or tree into a nicely trimmed bush or tree.  When done thoughout the yard, it looks so much better.  Pruning is akin to getting a much needed haircut.

It does, however, help to have the right pruning tool for the job. Here’s our list all the different types of pruning tools you can use for all types of plants, flowers, bushes and trees.

Basic Types

Anvil Pruners

Anvil pruner

Source: Hayneedle

These pruners are ideal for cutting through dead branches and twigs that are less than 5/8 of an inch. Anything thicker than that and anvil pruners will have a difficult time and will fray the ends of the object that you are trying to prune. This means that you won’t have a straight edge on your cut and there may be more damage caused to the plant than is necessary. They are ideal for pruning butterfly bushes, rose bushes, and hydrangea but anything thicker than that needs to have a different pruning tool used for the best result. They have one straight blade that uses a splitting action for it to be able to cut down the branch or the stem.

Ratchet Pruners

Ratchet pruner

Source: Home Depot

Ratchet pruners are very similar to anvil pruners but have a mechanism that cuts in stages instead of in one smooth movement. Because of this, they are ideal for anyone who has wrist problems as they greatly reduce the strain that is on the user’s wrist. They are also great for use on smaller dead plants and can generally handle anything that an anvil pruner can without any problems.

Bypass Pruners

Bypass pruner

Source: Hayneedle

These pruners are much stronger than ratchet and anvil pruners and have two curved blades that come together to make a very clean cut. They are ideal on growing plants and green stems as the two blades will carefully cut through the plant without leaving a ragged or damaged end of the stem. They also need to be used on smaller stems that are under 5/8 of an inch but are great to use when the plant is still alive. Use them for cutting flowers for the home; trimming lilacs, raspberries, or roses; and even snipping herbs for the kitchen.


Hedge Shears

Hedge shears

Source: Home Depot

These shears resemble giant scissors, have long straight blades, and are perfect for cutting the branches of shrubs that are under 2.25 inches. They come in manual or electric and are great for cutting large areas of shrubs or bushes with just one pass. Instead of having to clip each individual branch, when you use hedge shears, you can cut multiple ones at a time. This makes it very easy to stay on top of your landscaping. You have to have hedge shears if you want to keep your hedge looking very formal as they create very straight lines that would look out of place in an informal hedge or if you want to cut peripherals. They are great for cutting these during the fall and the spring.

Floral Scissors and Snips

Floral scissors

Source: Etsy

These scissors are incredibly sharp and are specifically designed to cut fresh flowers and herbs from your garden without damaging the stems. While you can use regular kitchen scissors or even pick flowers for your bouquet by hand, using the right tool has benefits. When you use floral scissors, you won’t have to worry about the stem being damaged and preventing the flower from being able to take up water. The smoother, straighter, and nicer the cut on the stem, the longer that your flowers will last once you bring them instead. This also ensures that your herbs aren’t crushed and don’t start releasing their oils or aromas before you are ready to cook with them.

Hand Pruners

Hand pruner

Source: Home Depot

These pruners are also commonly called “clippers” or “secateurs,” and come in a number of different sizes. You can find hand pruners that are anvil or bypass-type pruners. To ensure that your hand pruners last for a very long time, you will want to avoid leaving them out in the rain or in the wet grass for a long period of time as this can cause the pruners to rust and will stop them from working as well as they should. In addition, to make sure that they will continue to work the way that you need them to, you will want to regularly check their blades, screws, bolts, and springs to replace them as necessary. Wiping them down after use is a great way to make sure that they will last for a very long time.



Source: Home Depot

These are simply pruners that come with a much longer handle and have thicker, and therefore more powerful, blades. Some people refer to them as “long-handled pruners” but they do have a correct name and a few differences. They are ideal for pruning items that are 2.5 inches or less, such as small fruit trees, vines, and even nut trees. Because they have a long handle, you can easily reach branches up above your head without getting out a ladder. They are available in anvil or bypass types. The anvil lopper is great for cutting through dead wood and can usually handle thicker branches without a problem while the bypass lopper is best for cutting through plants that are still alive. Because they leave cleaner cuts, the plant will have a much easier time healing from the pruning. Make sure that the blades are sharpened and oiled on a regular basis to keep the tool working correctly and avoid frustration and an accident.

Pole Pruner

Pole pruner

Source: Home Depot

These pruners are just the same as hand pruners but are longer and can easily reach over eight feet without any problems. They are used for making smaller cuts and are perfect for cutting dead branches out of trees as long as the branch is less than 1.25 inches in diameter. They are also known as “extension pruners” or “aerial pruners” and their main advantage is how long the reach is when using them. Because they are so lightweight, they are relatively easy to control even with their long length. Commercial pruners can be bought that will reach 21 feet but most homeowners do not need one over eight feet. They need to be cleaned each time they are used, oiled if necessary, and stored in a dry place so that they do not rust.

Pruning Saw

Pruning saw

Source: Home Depot

These saws are great for cutting through branches that are larger than 1.5 inches in diameter. Their blades are medium in length and can be either straight or curved. Some pruning saws even come with a curved handle that makes it easier for the user to cut through strong, thick branches. The blades are incredibly sharp but even so, they aren’t great for cutting through tree branches, in which case a chainsaw needs to be used. Smaller pruning saws are ideal for home use while larger ones can be used by professional landscapers and cultivators. Straight blades on a pruning saw make it perfect for cutting through sap or green wood without damaging the plants while ones with curved blades are better for larger branches that still need a clean cut.

Tree Pruner

Tree pruner

Source: Home Depot

Very similar to pole pruners, tree pruners are long, are lightweight, and make it incredibly easy to trim the dead branches out of the trees on your property without having to get out a ladder. The difference is that while pole pruners are generally electric, tree pruners have a smaller saw blade that is on the end of the pole. This blade is serrated to make it as easy as possible to catch the limb that you are trying to trim and to cut through it quickly. In addition, they generally have a small curve at the end of the blade that makes it a lot easier to snag the branch that you want to cut. If the blade were straight, it would be much harder to select a branch to trim and then to hang on to it so make sure that you look for one that has enough of a curve in the blade to help hold on to the branch.

Grass Shears

Grass shears

Source: Home Depot

This is a hand tool that has scissors with very long blades on it. They are used in areas where it is difficult to mow or to use a weed eater and are designed to trim the grass that is around the driveway or walkway on your property. They are also useful in trimming the grass around the shrubs or the trees at your home if you are unable to get close enough to them with the mower to do it then. Because they are smaller than a mower, they will take a much longer time to clear larger areas, which is why people use them after they have mowed to trim up the areas that they had problems reaching. This ensures that all of the grass is the same height and looks the best that it can.

Topiary Shears

Topiary shears

Source: Houzz

These shears are very heavy-duty and work great for delicate work on topiaries. They are single bow and have a spring-loaded action that will automatically open the blade after each time you cut, making them easy to use. Other uses of these pruning tools include cutting down onions when it is time to harvest them and shearing sheep. The blades need to be kept very sharp in order to handle precision work but the fine tip on the blade makes it very easy to carefully snip individual twigs on the topiary without ruining the overall effect.


Pruning Saw Blades

Pruning saw blades

Source: Home Depot

If you want to be able to tackle different types of branches without having to have multiple tools to do so, then you will want to buy a pruning saw that has interchangeable blades. This makes it very easy to switch out the type of blade that you are using so that you can easily handle thicker, smaller, or living branches without worrying about burning out the motor on the pruning saw or damaging the tree. While pruning saws with this option are a little more expensive, the cost is usually worth it to most homeowners as they won’t have to worry about affording or storing more tools in the future.

Power Shears

Power shears

Source: Home Depot

Instead of having to manually cut through items either using the strength of your hand or sawing for a long period of time, when you opt for power shears, you can enjoy increased power in your tool, making the job a whole lot easier. These tools will use either electricity or gas to operate and make pruning in your garden fast and easy. They are ideal for people who are in a hurry or who aren’t strong enough to use regular pruning tools on their own but can handle power shears without being in danger.


Heavy-duty shears

Source: Houzz

Heavy-duty items are built to last longer. This means that they are generally more expensive but for a lot of people, the increase in price is worth the knowledge that the pruners they are buying are high-quality and made to stand up to a lot of use without damage. If you are going to be spending long days in the garden or if you have a landscaping company, then you are much better off buying pruning tools that are heavy-duty so you can be sure that they will last for a long time.


Rust-resistant shears

Source: Houzz

No matter how careful you are when taking care of your tools, chances are good that at some point, you will forget to dry them and will leave them wet when you put them away. This can, unfortunately, really damage your tool. The best way to avoid this problem is to buy pruning tools that are rust-resistant. While this doesn’t mean that they won’t ever rust when left under the right conditions for it, these tools are much hardier and can stand up to rust a little better. This means that they are a little more forgiving when it comes to their care.


Ergonomic shears

Source: Houzz

It can be very difficult to use pruners all day long and over time, it’s normal for your hand to cramp and to be uncomfortable. Instead of having to take multiple breaks during the day to allow your hand to rest, the best option is simply to invest in ergonomic pruning tools. These have been specifically designed to be easier to use and to cause less pain for the user, no matter how long you are going to be working in the garden. Opting for ergonomic pruning tools means that you’ll be able to work for longer without worrying about your hand or arm tiring. They’re also the best choice for the elderly or anyone who has painful or arthritic hands as they are designed for ultimate comfort during use.

Non-Slip Grip

Non-slip grip shears

Source: Houzz

Even if you know that you shouldn’t be working in the rain or mist because you don’t want to accidentally damage your pruning tools or cause them to rust, people still work when it is damp out. Even if it is a hot day and very dry, if your hands are at all damp from being in the mulch or dirt, then you are at risk of slipping while using your pruning tools. This can be disastrous and quickly cause an accident. To avoid the possibility of this happening, it’s wise to choose pruning tools that have a non-slip grip. This will ensure that you can keep your grip on them even if the tool is wet or your hands are damp and will decrease the possibility of an accident.


Folding shears

Source: Houzz

While most pruning tools don’t fold for easy or safe storage, pruning saws often do and buying one that will fold in on itself is a great way to make sure that the tool is completely safe when you put it away. It can be very easy to accidentally grab the blade of this saw, which will result in major damage to the person who touches the blade as they are quite sharp to be able to cut through wood. When choosing a pruning saw, make sure that you opt for one that folds shut when not in use. Not only will this protect anyone who is trying to find the saw and may accidentally touch the blade but it keeps the blade in better condition as well.

Cushioned Grip

Cushioned grip shear

Source: Houzz

For the ultimate in comfort when you’re working in the garden, you’ll want to make sure to buy pruning tools that have a cushioned grip. This will decrease how tired your hands feel after you have been working for a while and will allow you to work for a longer time. These grips are soft and not only protect your hand from cramping but also give you a little more to hold on to, making it easier to maintain control of the tool.

Handle Material


Shears with plastic handle

Source: Houzz

Plastic handles are very common on pruning tools and make it relatively easy to hang onto the tool while you are using it. They often come in bright colors, which makes it very easy to find the tool if you have set it down in taller grass or in the garden. This will decrease the chance that the tool is left out overnight and ruined by rain or dew. These plastic handles are generally strong enough to last for years and keep the tool from becoming too hot to touch in the summer months.


Shears with steel handle

Source: Houzz

Tools that have steel handles are very, very strong. The trade-off is that they tend to be a little heavier than other types of tools but they are generally able to stand up to hard tasks and thicker branches that need to be cut. These tools generally have vinyl or plastic coating on the handles to ensure that they are easy to hold on to and keep the tool from becoming too hot if left out in the sun for a long period of time.


Shears with aluminum handle

Source: Houzz

Tools with aluminum handles are going to be a lot lighter than ones with steel handles but the trade-off is that they aren’t going to be as strong. For some people, this is worth the trade-off as their lighter weight makes them easier for people to use. For younger children or for the elderly who suffer from hand problems, tools with aluminum handles are the best option.


Shears with wooden handle

Source: Houzz

Wood is very strong and will last for a long time as long as it is taken care of. It’s common for larger tools to have wood for the handles as it is so much lighter than steel is. The important thing to remember when buying a pruning tool with a wood handle is that splinters can occur. Any time that the wood is damaged, it will need to be sanded and repaired to ensure that the tool lasts for a long time and that nobody is injured when using it.


Shears with rubber handle

Source: Houzz

Rubber grips on handles make it easy to wield the tool without worrying about dropping it. It’s common for the grips to be very bright and easy to spot. Due to the nature of rubber, even if the tool is wet or the person using it has wet hands, it is very unlikely that he or she will drop the tool.


Shears with fiberglass handle

Source: Houzz

Fiberglass handles are strong as steel is but light as aluminum is, combining the best of both worlds. They often tend to be a little more expensive but that extra price is generally worth it for most people because the tools are so reliable and difficult to accidentally damage.


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