Best Pruning Shears For Fruit Trees

While the bulk of pruning tends to be done in the spring, some plants benefit from cutting back in the fall too — the best pruning shears can help with this. But, if you’re looking for a new set of shears, or want to upgrade, how can you tell which to buy? There are countless brands and models to choose from, all with a very similar appearance. And yet, the performance couldn’t differ more. Comfort, grip, longevity and ease of use are just some of the areas to consider when you choose. This is no easy thing to tell based on specifications alone.

That’s where we can help you out. Teaming up with Farmer Rich, a seventh-generation fruit and vegetable farmer, we’ve tested a wide range of bypass, anvil and ratchet pruning shears, looking for those that deliver across the board. As part of this test, each set of shears had to make at least 100 cuts through wood and stems to assess the sharpness and consistency, not to mention durability of the blade. While pruning his fruit trees and ornamentals, Farmer Rich also scored each on the comfort as well as grip of the handles, considering the overall weight and shape of the design. For bypass pruning shears, he even checked the quality of the blade at the end of the test, by attempting to cut through a thin sheet of paper. Testing doesn’t get much more comprehensive than this.

After compiling the results, we’ve formed a list of the best pruning shears you can buy, considering the best options for both bypass and anvil types. Here’s the shears that made the cut (pun intended).

1. Felco 6

Felco 6

Best all around bypass pruner


Branch Size: 0.8”
Hands Size: Medium
Weight: 7.7 ounces
Dimensions: 8 inches
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

ver since the invention of the Felco 2 model in 1948, Felco has been an international leader in hand pruners. The Felco 6 took the best parts of their previous models and combined them with great ergonomics and a slightly more compact design. It is a professional grade pruner designed with the lawn and garden user in mind.

The Felco 6 is smaller and more light-weight than its predecessors, but is still rated to cut .8-inch branches. It is made for medium-sized hands, but also worked well for large hands when we put it to the test. The ergonomics designed in this tool made it very comfortable to use and noticeably reduced hand fatigue. Although it is designed for right-handed individuals, it was comfortable and worked well in the left hand as well.

This pruner has an intuitive thumb lock, easily adjustable hinge mechanism and readily available replacement parts. The bright red handle also means you will be unlikely to lose it in the field. Its snub-nosed blade created a clean, reliable cut after well over 100 cuts on both dry and green wood. In fact, it was still sharp and tight enough to cut through paper like a new pair of scissors.

Although many pruner brands offer lifetime warranties, it is usually best to purchase a reputable pruner that will last a lifetime. Fortunately, Felco pruners have both the reputation of lasting a lifetime and offer a limited lifetime warranty. Overall, the Felco 6 is a fantastic pruner that will undoubtedly provide years of use.

If hand size is a concern, but you want the same functionality, Felco took the design of the Felco 6 and created the Felco 8 for large handed individuals and the Felco 14 for smaller hands.

2. Corona ClassicCUT

Corona ClassicCUT

Best heavy duty bargain pruner


Branch Size: 0.75”
Hands Size: Medium-Large
Weight: 9 ounces
Dimensions: 8 inches
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

The Corona ClassicCUT ¾” is a great pruner and a pleasure to use. It has a very simple yet rugged design with only a few parts. While lacking in some ergonomic features such as wide, curved handles or a traditional thumb lock, the ClassicCut was surprisingly comfortable to use and maintained its smooth, tight action well after over 100 cuts. The MAXFORGED high-carbon steel blade showed no visible signs of wear and kept an incredibly sharp edge after repeated use on both live and dry branches.

The simple design of the Corona ClassicCUT allows it to be used in both the right and left hand. For under $20, it is definitely in the realm of “budget pruners,” however, it was able to perform as well as other heavy-duty professional pruners several times more expensive. The tool locking mechanism was the only real area of frustration as it was difficult to use with gloves on and difficult to engage single-handedly.

The Corona ClassicCut ¾” seemed to fit the medium-large range for hand size. The spring of the tool is strong and held firmly in place. The tool also features a built-in sap groove in the bottom blade to help prevent the shears from gumming-up when working with evergreens or other sappy plants. The ¾ inch model is their mid-sized pruner of this design, with a ½” and 1” cutting diameter also available. Overall, this no-frills pruner offers solid performance and likely years of reliable use.

3. Felco 2

Felco 2

Best Professional Grade Tool


Branch Size: 1”
Hands Size: Large
Weight: 8.7 ounces
Dimensions: 8.5 inches
Warranty: Limited Lifetime Warranty

The Felco 2 bypass pruners are an industry standard and are the #1 pick for most professional landscapers and orchardists. Originally designed in 1948, the Felco 2 has become one of the most copied designs of bypass pruners on the market. In fact, you must be careful of companies selling knockoffs of this product because it has such a good reputation.

There is a reason the Felco 2 has become known as the last pruner you’ll ever buy. This heavy-duty pruner is incredibly well made — it has an ultra-sharp blade, comfortable handle (for larger hands), easy to use thumb-lock and is intuitive to tighten and maintain. The cutting action of this pruner is easy on the hands for repeated cuts; that’s why it is the go-to pruner for people who use them all day, every day. On test, it smoothly and cleanly cut through both green and dead wood with minimal crushing. This pruner was especially great for pruning green sucker branches from apple trees as well because it could handle both the small and the larger diameter cuts.

The Felco 2 is a right-handed pruner designed for users with large hands. They do have other options for left-handed users. The drawback of the Felco 2 is that it lacks some of the ergonomic features of their newer models (such is found on the Felco 6 that is designed for medium-sized hands). Users with some smaller hands or carpal tunnel issues may find issues using this pruner. While it is on the high end of the price range for pruners, the value is well worth it when you consider the years of reliable use you get.



Best Sharpest Blade


Branch Size: 0.75”
Hands Size: Large
Weight: 7.5 ounches
Dimensions: 8 inches
Warranty: 25 Year Warranty (European)

The Japanese ARS VS8Z had the sharpest blade of all the pruners that were tested. It easily and smoothly performed over 100 cuts through up to ¾”-thick live and dead wood and was still able to cleanly cut through a piece of paper afterwards. The non-slip handles are nice and bright, making it easy to find if dropped on the ground. Although they are designed for right-handed individuals, they were not uncomfortable to hold in the left hand.

The ARS VS8Z has a unique “Squeeze to unlock” thumb lock on the top of the device. Some consumer reviews showed issues with the lock over time, but I found it easy to use. The pruner did tend to loosen after about 50 cuts, but was easy enough to tighten. For some reason, the pruners came with the blade dripping with oil. It was easily wiped-off, but slightly annoying out of the box. The biggest concern was how easily the spring popped out of the device when snagged on a branch. The spring in the ARS VS8Z dislodged easier than any other pruner in this review, making it a dealbreaker for someone who frequently reaches deep into trees and bushes to prune branches. However, if you are just using it around the lawn and garden you will probably be very satisfied with the product. The extremely sharp blade combined with the ergonomic feel of the handle made cutting easy and satisfying.

5. Fiskars PowerGear2 Softgrip

Fiskars PowerGear2 Softgrip

Best bypass pruner for gardeners with carpal tunnel or arthritis


Branch Size: 0.75”
Hands Size: Large
Weight: 10.1 ounces
Dimensions: 9 inches
Warranty: Full Lifetime Warranty

The Fiskars PowerGear2 was a pleasant surprise. Its unique rolling cam gear mechanism delivers up to 3X more cutting power with less effort compared to standard pruners. While many pruners that use gears or ratchets can be clunky or cumbersome, the mechanism in the PowerGear2 was exceptionally smooth. I was surprised at how easy it made larger cuts and how comfortable it was to use over an extended period of time.

The sturdy design worked well past 100 cuts. Although it is wider than normal pruners, it was still able to get into tight spots. The blade stayed tight after repeated use with no side-to-side movements. The thumb lock worked well and the ‘Soft Grip’ was comfortable for long pruning sessions. The safe spring placement made it unlikely to be knocked out or lost over time. Overall, I was extremely satisfied with this pruner and would recommend it to anyone who might have issues with hand strength. The only major drawbacks of the design is that it ONLY works in the right hand, and requires a large hand to use.

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