Gardening shears are one of the basic tools that every gardener needs, whether you have a whole backyard to cultivate or an apartment full of houseplants. These handy shears and scissors are designed to help you cut and prune with ease as you care for your vegetable garden, trim your favorite herbs, tend to your perennials, and more.
Even if you’re one of those people who has never met a houseplant they couldn’t kill (it happens!), a good pair of gardening shears can make a great practical gift for a friend or family member with a green thumb. (Throw in a pair of gardening shoes, or a full-blown houseplant, if you’re feeling generous.)
- Aimee Sue Dunlap, Aimee Sue Dunlap is a master gardener in St. Louis, MO.
- Christy Wilhelmi, Christy Wilhelmi is the founder of the website Gardenerd.
- Jane Milliman, Jane Milliman is a publisher of Upstate Gardeners' Journal in upstate New York.
- Kendra Poppy, Kendra Poppy is the head of growth at online custom landscape design platform Yardzen.
- Kim B., Kim B. is the founder of the website Black Homesteader.
- Lindsay Pangborn, gardening expert at Bloomscape
Every gardener seems to have their favorite gardening shears—or at least a favorite brand—and we asked master gardeners and other gardening experts to share their top recommendations. Ahead are best gardening shears for your horticultural hobby or every-weekend yard work—or both.
The best garden shears, at a glance:
- Best overall: Felco F2 One-Handed Pruning Shear ($57)
- Most comfortable: Felco F7 One-Handed Pruning Shear ($70)
- Best budget: Fiskars Bypass Pruner ($10)
- Best without rubber grips: Barebones Living, Pruner ($50)
- Best for houseplants: Burgon & Ball Flower & Fruit Snips ($18)
- Best for precision: Burgon & Ball Houseplant Pruner ($25)
- Best scissors: Fiskars SP15 Solid Pruning Shears ($13)
The best garden shears, according to master gardeners
Felco is the favorite garden shears brand of many gardeners, including Kendra Poppy, head of growth at online custom landscape design platform, Yardzen. She recommends the F2 model. “[These are my] all-time favorite shearers and one of the most ubiquitous amongst landscapers and home gardeners,” she says. “Both strong and nimble—for everything from deadheading to significant pruning.
Made in Switzerland, these garden shears are ergonomic and easily adjustable, and they have shock absorbers to prevent wrist strain, plus comfortable rubber handles. Felco provides a limited lifetime warranty.
– Pros: Comfortable, durable.
– Cons: Pricey; Poppy notes: “The one con is that they can get rusty when exposed to the elements, but they are very easy to clean and restore.”
Christy Wilhelmi, founder of the website Gardenerd, is another big Felco fan. “Felco shears are an investment—not like the $7 pruners you’ll have to buy every year at Home Depot,” she says. “[They] last a lifetime, and they sell replacement parts. I’ve had the same pair for nearly 30 years and will probably be able to use them another 20 years.”
Jane Milliman, publisher of Upstate Gardeners’ Journal in upstate New York, specifically recommends the F7 pruning shear because of its revolving handle, which she says can “drastically reduce hand pain.” She adds, “Felcos are the pros’ gold standard. I’ve been in the business 25 years and have only owned one pair.” The F7 shears are ergonomic and easily adjustable and allow the user to apply maximum cutting power without having to expend too much effort. This feature reduces blisters and hand fatigue.
– Pros: Reduces hand pain, suitable for large hands (if that’s what you’re looking for.)
– Cons: Pricey,
These ambidextrous garden shears are recommended by master gardener, Kim B., founder of the website Black Homesteader. “They are great for people who are left handed—like me—and easy to clean,” she says.
Aimee Sue Dunlap, a master gardener in St. Louis, MO, is another fan of Fiskars’ affordable tools. “For shears and loppers, I generally use Fiskars,” she says. “I’ve never had to replace any of them.”
These pruners are designed to cut green, living growth (up to 5/8 inches) while providing an ergonomic, comfortable grip for right-handers and left-handers alike. They feature a non-stick blade coating for smooth cutting and rust resistance, an angled cutting head to reduce wrist fatigue, and a self-cleaning sap groove (say that five times fast). Fiskars offers a full lifetime warranty.
– Pros: Affordable, can be used by both right- and left-handers,
– Cons: Not multipurpose.
Best without rubber grips
If you aim to be an ethical shopper, make note of Barebones, a Utah-based company that focuses on sustainability and philanthropy. It’s also a certified B corp, which means (among other things) that it maintains high social and environmental performance. Beyond gardening tools, the company sells knives, grills, camp lights, and more.
Yardzen’s Poppy appreciates the quality of the company’s products. “Barebones has a great line of outdoor tools, and these steel pruners are up for any landscaping job,” she says. The pruner doesn’t quite look like any of the others on our list, which can be explained by Barebones’s note that this model was, “inspired by old-world Japanese design.” The copper-plated accents make it feel a bit fancier, too (as much as a pair of garden shears can be fancy, that is.)
– Pros: Pruner sheath available for safe storage (sold separately.)
– Cons: No rubber on grips.
Best for houseplants
British company Burgon & Ball has been in business even longer than the U.S. has been a country—since 1730, to be exact. “Bloomscape is a big fan of Burgon & Ball garden tools thanks to their high quality and durability,” says Lindsay Pangborn, gardening expert at Bloomscape, a gardening center that sells houseplants and gardening tools.
Pangborn particularly recommends these plant snips (which are also endorsed by the Royal Horticultural Society.) “These plant snips are a versatile essential for gardeners,” she says. “I recommend this tool for those looking to prune thin-to medium-sized stems, remove dead leaves, or for harvesting fruit and flowers. For houseplants, these are the most versatile option and can also be used on annuals and perennials outdoors.”
– Pros: Comfortable, rust-resistant.
– Cons: Not multipurpose.
Best for precision
Pangborn calls this pruner from Burgon & Ball a ,“must-have” for those who care for larger plants, such as fiddle-leaf figs, palms, or rubber trees. “It cuts through larger, woody stems with ease, so it’s also great for pruning small branches on outdoor shrubs and trees,” she says. “If you are looking for a tool you can use both indoors and out, plant pruners are your most versatile option.”
The shape of the easy-to-clean, stainless steel blades on these garden shears is especially designed to isolate individual leaves and stems so that you can be precise as you prune.
– Pros: Rust-resistant, precise.
– Cons: Not multipurpose.
If you’re looking for affordable garden scissors under $15 that’ll get the job done, Fiskars is the brand for you. “Anything from the [brand’s] Solid line will be lightweight and inexpensive,” says Milliman. “I keep good track of my Felcos, but Fiskars can migrate around and I don’t get too worried about them getting lost.”
These solid pruning shears, which can be easily used by both right and left-handed gardeners, are designed for making precise cuts to plants and flowers and also for trimming thin branches (up to 10 mm). They’re easy to sharpen, they have an ergonomic grip, and the upper blade is non-stick to make cutting easier.
– Pros: Affordable, lightweight.
– Cons: Not multipurpose.
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