Secateurs are sometimes called hand pruners or pruning shears. When choosing secateurs, there are a number of things to keep in mind:
- Quality manufacturers produce secateurs in a range of sizes – it’s important to choose a model that is the right size for your hand. Using a pair of secateurs that are too big will cause strain.
- It is important that you can operate the safety catch easily, so check the position of the catch and see how easy it is for you to move it. This is particularly important if you have reduced strength or flexibility in your hand and if you are left handed.
- Left handed secateurs are available but you might find that standard secateurs which have the safety catch on top, rather than on the side, are just as good as you will be able to operate the catch with your thumb.
- Variable size secateurs are a good option if a number of people use one pair of secateurs – these can be adjusted as needed to comfortably fit any user's hand and the top safety catch makes them suitable for use left or right handed.
There are also two types of blade:
|Bypass (left) & anvil (right) secateurs |
Have two blades and work like a pair of scissors with the blades passing each other to make the cut. They are suitable for cutting delicate stems as the action is less likely to cause bruising to the stem.
Have one blade which closes on to a flat surface. They are better for cutting hard woody stems as the blade is less likely to stick to the stem as it cuts.
Pruning can also be made easier by choosing:
Ratchet action secateurs
These secateurs require less force to use because the ratchet mechanism allows you to make a cut by squeezing and releasing the handles a number of times until you are through the stem. Each time you squeeze and release the handle, the mechanism clicks and holds the blades in place so you make gradual progress rather than having to cut in one go. Available only with anvil blades.
Power lever and geared secateurs
These models also feature a mechanical action that makes cutting through stems easier. They can be easier to use than ratchet secateurs, as you don’t have to get used to the ratchet mechanism, and they are available with anvil or bypass blades.
Cut and hold secateurs
These secateurs hold on to the stem that you have cut so it doesn’t fall to the ground. This means you don’t have to bend and pick up the cuttings.