Garden clippers – more commonly called pruning shears – are vital tools for maintaining your landscape. Whether you’ve planted flower bushes, formal hedges, or ornamental grasses, garden clippers help you keep things nice and tidy. And choosing the right type will keep your plants healthier.
Many large flowering specimen plants and bushes need seasonal pruning so they’ll keep their shape. Not only does it looks nicer, but it also keeps them from getting shaggy and falling over. Too much top growth can mean that the lower portions on your shrubs become thin and leggy. Infrequently trimming can also reduce blooming. And even the most beautiful hibiscus can look like a weed if you allow it to grow leggy and unmanaged.
Types of Garden Clippers
There are many different types of clippers or pruners you can use in your garden. And keeping your trees and bushes healthy means understanding which type of garden clippers to use for the job ahead.
Pruners, Loppers, and Shears
Most experts refer to garden clippers by the size and the type of blade. Generally, you'll find pruners, loppers, and shears when shopping for these garden tools.
Some garden clippers are made relatively short, from 7 to 8 inches, and you’ll see these referred to as pruners. These are perfect for smaller jobs that don’t require a lot of force to cut thick branches or stems.
Loppers are garden clippers with long handles and short cutting blades. You’ll find them anywhere from 2 to 3 feet long. The long handles work as a lever to provide enough pressure to cut thicker branches and stems.
Shears feature long blades for cutting away large areas of relatively thin stems and foliage. Powered garden clippers trim the same way, using either electric or gas-powered engines.
Before choosing your clippers, note that different types of jobs require different blades and cutting heads. You’ll find that there are three basic types of cutting heads:
Bypass pruners work like scissors, with two curved and sharpened blades for a clean cut. These are best for green wood and plant matter that is still growing.
Anvil pruners have a straight cutting blade that cuts branches against a flat “anvil” surface. These are best for dead wood, and you may not get as clean a cut as you would with bypass pruners. They’re also fine for making preliminary cuts before removing a larger branch entirely with larger blades.
Ratchet pruners work like anvil pruners but have a ratcheting motion that makes it easier for those with hand or wrist problems to cut thicker branches and stems. The ratcheting action cuts in increments rather than one quick cut.
Your garden clippers will clearly state their cutting capacity by diameter, but you may find you can get by with cutting branches that are slightly thicker when you purchase a good quality pair.
How We Chose Our Favorite Garden Clippers
After several decades of dedicated lawn care and gardening, we can’t say we don’t have our favorite tools. Many of our choices came from well-known and trusted companies whose products have made our garden projects much easier.
Along with personal experience, we also consulted gardening experts and landscape professionals to gather a list of the best brands and products they recommend. We also collated information from consumer reviews to see which of these garden clippers met with universal approval with customers.
Best Garden Clippers for a Range of Jobs
Using the criteria above, we’ve identified a selection of excellent hand tools for your gardening needs. We’ve chosen garden clippers of various types for different types of trimming jobs.
Felco has one of the best names in hand tools, and they stand by these pruning shears with a lifetime guarantee. With handles made from forged aluminum, the blade is made of hardened, high-quality steel. The screw-mounted brass anvil is adjustable. You’ll get a clean and precise cut using these ergonomically designed anvil pruners.
Felco designed the handles to fit comfortably in your hand, with non-slip coating. The cutting head is angled to reduce stress on your hands and wrists. This also provides for faster, more efficient pruning with these garden clippers. Best of all, all parts can be replaced for a lifetime of service.
Amazon buyers rated the Felco F-31 4.8 out of 5 stars, citing the product’s durability, balance, ease of use, and value for the dollar. You can find them online from a range of hardware and gardening supply stores, priced from $48 to $56.
- Ideal for cutting stems and light branches. Easy-open lock protects the blade during transport and storage
- Fully hardened, precision-ground steel blade stays sharp, even through heavy use
- Low-friction coating helps blade glide through wood, prevents the blades from gumming up with sap and debris and helps...
These reliable and comfortable garden clippers by Fiskars are just the thing for smaller pruning jobs. With fully hardened steel with a non-stick coating, your blades will stay sharp and cut smoothly with less fuss. The rust-resistant blades also feature a self-cleaning gap for sap, so you won’t have to clean them in the middle of trimming jobs.
The shears feature a comfort grip handle, ambidextrous lock, and the blades are beveled and cambered for high efficiency and less hand strain. Fiskars also offers a lifetime guarantee.
Amazon buyers rated these Fiskars garden clippers 4.3 out of 5 stars, and Home Depot buyers gave them 4.1 out of 5. Walmart shoppers rated them 4.6 out of 5 stars. You can purchase them online at a number of online general and hardware retailers, priced between $10 and $12.
Corona brings nearly 100 years of agricultural hand tool experience to the market, and these ratchet garden clippers highlight their expertise. The ratcheting power makes it easy to cut branches and stems up to 3/4 inches. These pruners also feature a non-stick coating for easy cutting and cleaning. Corona designed the molded grip to fit a wide range of hand sizes, and you can use them effectively and efficiently with either hand, too.
Amazon buyers rated these pruners 4.4 out of 5 stars, citing the excellent ratcheting action and sharpness of the cutting blade. Many found they could handle a thicker cut than the 3/4-inch advertised. You’ll find these Corona garden clippers online at several big box stores listed between $14 and $18.
- STRONG TELESCOPIC HANDLES This hedge trimmer is the ideal tool for trimming and shaping your shrubs and decorative...
- SHARP WAVY BLADE FOR PRECISION CUTS. The forged carbon steel wavy blades cut all the way to the tip and produce smoothly...
- SHOCK ABSORBING BUMPERS. The shock-absorbing bumpers will stop all jarring vibrations and reduce arm and shoulder...
If you have overgrown hedges, these garden clippers from Tabor Tools are just the thing. The telescopic handles extend your reach from 25 to 33 inches. So, you may not need that ladder after all.
It features a forged carbon steel blade with waves all the way to the very tip for crisp, clean cuts. Because the sharper your cut, the happier your hedges will be. These garden clippers won't smash or tear the branches, which causes plant shock and makes them vulnerable to disease.
You can adjust the blade tension for different kinds of plants or different stem and branch diameters. And these hedge shears also feature bumpers to absorb shock and reduce arm and shoulder fatigue.
Amazon buyers rated these 4.6 out of 5 stars, including 5-star reviews from professional landscapers. You can find them online listed at $32 to $34.
- Anvil blade is best used on tough, mature wood because the design works more like a blade on chopping block
- High carbon German steel blade which resists sap adhesion and rust for maximum wear-ability and durability
- Ergonomic, lightweight shock-absorbing aluminum handle to provide an efficient, easy cut that lessons "cutting impact"...
When it comes to trimming old wood and stubborn saplings, you need more than just sharp garden clippers. You need a lopper. The Troy-Bilt Comfort classic is the best of the best you can find. This model features an anvil blade, perfect for tough, woody branches. Made of high-carbon steel, the blades resist both rust and sap. The aluminum handle provides plenty of leverage while remaining light and easy to maneuver when cutting high branches.
Amazon buyers award this model 4.9 out of 5 stars, with some stating that the cutting capacity was larger than advertised. Others praised their sharpness and their ability to work fast and efficiently without arm or back strain. Home Depot buyers give it 5 out of 5 stars, praising its light weight and cutting power. You can find these online at many online retailers and home improvement centers priced between $40 and $58
- Versatile 2-pole system with easy-change aluminum ferrules
- Hollow core fiberglass poles with 0.125-inch wall thickness
- 13-inch tri-cut saw blade for clean, quick cuts with less wear
If you have some serious tree-trimming to do, this combo set from Jameson will make it so much easier. Many times, you’ll find that growing a garden means making sure the tree canopy doesn’t block out the sun. Fruit trees also need regular pruning to ensure a bountiful harvest. This set from Jameson handles both short fruiting and tall landscape trees.
With two 6-foot poles, you’ll get a 12-foot reach to get into high branches. Jameson used fiberglass with a hollow core, which makes them sturdy and much lighter to use. You’ll get the 6-foot base pole, 6-foot extension pole, pruner head, saw head, and accessories. This professional grade set is suitable for arborists and landscapers and includes both a saw head and lopping head. The 13-inch tri-cut saw blade offers clean cuts, and the fixed pulley pruner offers a 1.25-inch cut capacity.
Amazon buyers gave the Jameson pole saw set 4.8 out of 5 stars, and Home Depot buyers gave it 4.6 out of 5 stars. You can find it online at home improvement stores, forestry supply sites, and contractor outlets priced from $158 to $210.
Best Powered Garden Clippers
For those with dexterity or hand pain, electric garden clippers and hedge shears can mean the difference between trimming shrubs easiliy or not trimming them at all. When you have arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or other medical problem, managing seasonal pruning can seem impossible. For this reason, we present several models perfect for those that require some extra power when tending their garden.
- Best use: Small gardens, Hedge grooming and areas your mower cannot reach
- 2 tools in 1: convert from grass shear to hedger quickly and easily
- Long-life, rechargeable, 7.2 V lithium-ion battery for hassle-free, cordless operation (battery + charger included)
These Sun Joe cordless electric garden clippers make fast work of bushy foliage. Perfect for small gardens and flowering bushes, you can also use it for trimming grass in areas your string trimmer can’t reach.
You’ll get two separate heads for this handy power tool: the grass shears and the hedge trimmer, both made from steel. The grass shears are 4 inches long, and the hedge trimmer attachment is 6 inches.
It features a long-life lithium-ion battery, so you don’t have to drag a cord along. These Sun Joe electric garden clippers have an ergonomic handle and only weighs 2 pounds. It also comes with a 2-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Amazon buyers rated this Sun Joe 4 out of 5 stars, with many citing the product was just the thing for older gardeners to make light work out of lawn care. Walmart shoppers gave them 4.6 out of 5, and Home Depot buyers game them 4.4 out of 5. Many consumers praised the battery runtime – about three hours.
You can find them online from home improvement centers and other retail stores priced from $44 to $59. You can also find them in a variety of bright colors, including red, blue, gray, and purple. But we prefer the signature Sun Joe lime green.
- Powerful easy care lithium ion rechargeable batteries - High power for best cutting results.
- LED display of the battery charging status
- Complete with blade protection and charger
These lightweight cordless garden clippers are just the thing for trimming tight spots around your lawn and garden. For tender bushes, they’ll make quick work of pruning. With a rechargeable lithium battery, they go anywhere, and the LED display will let you know how you’re doing on battery power.
These garden clippers feature an ergonomic design with soft plastic handles to reduce hand pain. You can convert these to a hedge trimmer with the 5-inch shrub shears sold separately. The separate purchase requirement is one reason we prefer the Sun Joe, while the other is that these offer only 45 minutes of operation on a full charge. That said, these are much lighter than the Sun Joe model and many customers love them.
Amazon buyers rate the Gardena garden clippers 4.4 out of 5 stars, citing the light weight and way the blades hold their sharpness. You can purchase these online for $100 to $120.
- Powerful 36-volt lithium ion rechargeable battery delivers the power with long run-time to complete the toughest jobs
- 24-inch dual-action blade delivers less vibration than single action blades
- Shearing blade quickly cuts branches up to 3/4-inch thick
If you need more cutting power when trimming your hedges, the BLACK+DECKER LHT2436 provides lots of it. You’ll also get an 18-inch cutting blade, which means that it’s long enough to make the job quicker without being long enough to make the machine unwieldy.
The 2.7 amp motor provides enough power to give you a 3/8-inch cutting capacity. So, you’ll be able to get through many trimming jobs without having to get out another tool for thick branches. And it only weighs about 6 pounds, for less arm and shoulder fatigue. The dual-action steel blade gives you crisp cuts for healthier bushes and shrubs.
BLACK+DECKER specializes in low emissions and even zero carbon footprint products. And because they’re so confident of the quality, they offer a 4-year warranty.
Amazon purchasers rate these BLACK+DECKER LHT2436 4.5 out of 5 stars, and Walmart shoppers gave it 4.7 out 5. Best of all, you’ll find it at many online retailers and home stores priced between $30 and $45.
Find the Best Garden Clippers for You
Depending on your yard, you may need several types of garden clippers for a wide variety of jobs. If you have many trees or an orchard, you may most need a pole lopper. For small gardens, a pair of hand pruners or two may be enough. Hedges can be hard work, so if you have many foundation plantings or hedgerows, you’ll need a pair of garden shears to keep them looking tidy. And if you’re like many gardeners and tend to misplace tools throughout your yard, you may need several pairs of the garden clippers you use the most.
Whatever your needs, you should buy the best pair of garden clippers you can afford. Whatever your budget, you’re sure to find the right ones for the job. However, well-made tools simply last longer. You’re better off getting the best pair of pruners you can afford and taking good care of them than you are buying a cheap pair every year. For this reason, our list comprises only quality tools. And we hope it helps you when deciding which garden clippers will give you the best value.