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Nov
2020
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A Guide To Choosing The Best Secateurs

When it comes to caring for your flowers, vegetable plants, and other foliage in your garden or shop, having a good pair of secateurs on hand is a must. However, before you start working out which secateurs are right for your job, you will need to understand all the different types of secateurs.

So, what is the difference between Secateurs, Pruning Shears, Bypass Pruners, Anvil Pruners, Ratchet Pruners? Basically, they are all the same but with slight differences. Depending on which country, manufacturer, or hardware store you buy your pruners from, you will hear a different name for the same tool. Secateurs are mostly used in the garden and are best for cutting thicker plant material and branches. That’s why you hear so many terms that come from the action of pruning or cutting, hence pruning shears or clippers.

Although, there are some slight differences between Bypass, Anvil and Ratchet Secateurs.

Bypass Secateurs

Best for: Cutting living plant tissue, young or softwood, as well as semi-woody garden bushes and shrubs.

Bypass Secateurs have hooked blades and just like a pair of scissors, they bypass each other and shear the branch you are cutting. The hook helps wrap around the branch and the round wide convex blade helps the cutting process. This is an agile tool that can comfortably cut through 1cm to 2cm thick plant material depending on your strength.

Bypass final image

Anvil Secateurs

Best For: Cutting dry plant mater, finger-thick branches, or solid wood.

Anvil Secateurs, or pruners, have one blade only which is pressed down against the other flat blade or surface. The flat anvil blade is often made of a softer material than the sharp blade allowing the effect of the cut to go all the way.

Anvil pruners

Ratchet Pruners

Best For: Cutting thick stems or branches. Best to use if you have hand problems or hand fatigue.

Ratchet Pruners or secateurs can be either a bypass or anvil style. The difference being is that they remain closed each push and step of the cutting journey until you have cut all the way through. These are best used when cutting thicker branches or when you do not have very strong hands.

Ratchet Secateurs final image

So, which is the best pruning shear to use?

The best quality secateurs depend on the type of job, the quality of the blade, the length of the handle, and your hand strength.

Here are a few things to consider before you make your decision:

Secateur Blade Quality

The metal used to make the blades of all pruners can vary. In many designs, carbon or stainless steel are used. Stainless steel will usually last longer and sharpens better.

Best Secateur handles

Handle length and the size of the blades or jaw will determine how easy your cut will be. The longer the handle and shorter the blades, the easier the cut. Make sure the pruner you select fits into your hand easily and is not too heavy.

Are garden trimmers the same as secateurs?

You may find Garden Trimmers in the same selection of tools, but these have straight nose blades and are used for trimming flowers and fruit, rather than cutting through branches. See the difference for yourself below.


Overall, any Secateurs, Pruning Shears, Bypass Pruners, Anvil Pruners, Ratchet Pruners will do the job in most cases. To help select your tool, always base your decision around the most common type of work or gardening you do. If you are looking for something that will fit all jobs, the most universal secateurs for all gardening jobs are Bypass Pruners.

For more information about floristry tools, please read our other Koch Blog article A Beginner’s Guide to Floristry Cutting Tools, or read our Scissors and Cutters FAQ page. You can also browse our range of secateurs on our website or instore today at our Koch & Co Auburn Superstore.

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