Have Tools, Will Garden
Happy gardens that are a treat for the eye don’t have to be achieved at the expense of their creator’s physical well-being. In other words, treat yourself to the right tools for the job and spare your back, your joints and your over-worked fingers. Manufacturers are at pains (no pun intended) to satisfy devoted, knowledgeable gardeners by developing ever more ergonomic implements that take the strain out of attacking that treasured plot.
Still on the topic of the ills to which the human machine is prone, professional gardeners pruning day after day in orchards and vineyards can develop carpal tunnel syndrome in the hands, not to mention arthritis, longer term. These health concerns are a significant factor to consider when deciding whether or not to graduate from manual to powered devices.
Important is not only to partner the relevant gardening tool with the specific botanical specimens that inhabit your own garden, but also to look ahead to planned future planting. The savvy purchaser factors into their choice of weapon the amount of growth he or she is going to permit. In other words, the right tool for the job will allow you to manage your future vision, as well as what is there today.
Getting Your Mitts on the Best Pruners
The contents of most garden sheds offer a fascinating trove, from the gleaming gallery of carefully hung apparatus to the museum-like hoard of tools-through-the-ages with rust as the predominant colour theme. Almost certainly, the shed’s owner reaches habitually for the same one or two items for pruning tasks. This is because, for any one individual gardener, the best pruners are the ones that personally suit the user.
For pruning, short of bare hands, there are shears and saws. Shears clip, rather like powerful secateurs, while saws, well, saw. Long-handled manual shears are good for lopping branches where you need a bit of leverage. Electric shears or pruners take the wrench out of the task. However, manual shears can be used in all types of weather, of course, while an electrical device should only be used in dry conditions.
Saws come into their own when stems are just too thick to simply pinch off. Power saws are the only way to handle large-scale branch removal.
When removing branches and shoots, be careful not to prune flush to the plant’s trunk, but instead leave the branch collar jutting out.
Choosing Electric Pruning Shears
There are few more typical images of the devoted gardener than that of the gnarled old codger pruning a straggly hedge doggedly with a pair of time-served manual shears, elbows working with difficulty as joints threaten to seize up. Cue the limb-saving properties of electric pruning shears, an indispensable bit of kit for sufferers from arthritis, triumphing over manual shears by a mile. Top of the range professional models costing around £1,000 have waist carried battery packs which can last up 10 hours but can weigh up to 8 pounds. But prices can be as low as around £30 for basic versions. Find an affordable and convenient model to suit your needs.
There are undoubted drawbacks to all power tools; especially irritating when working with pruners in a distant corner of the garden is the battery running out. Typically, battery life can be as short as 1 hour or approx. 500 cutting strokes. For this reason, the prudent gardener slings a pair of manual shears and a trusty sharp-toothed manual saw into the wheelbarrow before trundling to the far end of the plot.
Electric Pruning Shear Reviews
Among the models on sale, we have singled out the following to review:
- RYOBI rechargeable pruning shears BSH-120 import JPN
This design from Japanese manufacturer Ryobi combines manageability with a helpfully short battery charge time.
Respond to increased hand pressure allowing a consistent cutting of branches up to 1.8 inches thick
- Ideal for the amateur gardener
- Mid to upper range in price at £144.70
- Suited to gardeners who have osteoarthritis in their hands
- Quick recharge time of 60-90 mins
- Longer-than-average battery duration at more than 60 mins
- Some users report fragility of blade which is expensive to replace
- Cuts only up to 1.2cm branches
- Vigor Vfp-72 Battery-Operated Pruning Shears, with 7.2 V Lithium Battery
For a handy-sized budget power tool, this is no weakling; it is capable of pruning branches up to 1cm in thickness.
- Bright yellow colour makes it hard to mislay
- A low-cost option, priced at £31.26
- Long recharge time of up to 5 hours
- Short battery charge of less than 60 mins
- Spares hard to obtain
Jawing on About Sawing
When that time of year comes around, there is only so much that can be achieved in the garden with your trusty pair of shears, whether manual or electric. The best pruner to achieve that extra reach and power to get to the thicker branches is a good quality pruning saw. Tall mature hedges are a case in point.
Equally, when for instance you’re in an artistic mood and want to try your hand at topiary, or when it’s time to open up the burgeoning, impenetrable jungle of brambles at the bottom of the garden, just grab gloves and a pruning saw.
Knowing when and how to prune is one part of the battle; the other is being armed with the best pruning saw. They come in various shapes and sizes, from the traditional hand saw, which is a variant of the carpenter’s saw, to the bow saw, used for cross-cutting branches. The electric saw is a different beast altogether. It is pretty much de rigueur for anyone with a garden bounded by extensive hedges or with numerous trees. Particularly useful is the ability to reach that bit higher when pole mounted. This way you can avoid the clichéd comic stunt of losing your footing on your stepladder and tumbling head-first into the neighbour’s garden.
The best pruning saws combine sturdiness – to withstand arduous use – and ease of handling. A third, and sometimes thorny, issue is deciding whether a straight or curved blade and handle gives you the best pruning saw. Electric saws worth their salt should respond to increasing hand pressure allowing consistent cutting through branches of assorted thickness.
Buying the Best Hand Pruning Saw
Factors to bring to bear on your purchase of the best pruning saw include shelf-life, the quality of the teeth and how easy the saw is for you to handle when tackling all types of tree and shrubbery growth. Be aware that even the best pruning saws will cut through a maximum thickness of around 12 cms. Anything thicker requires a power saw.
Chrome-plated blades will resist the all-too-pervasive rust problem. Current gardening lore prescribes curved blades for more minor branches and straight blades for thicker branches, but this is ultimately largely a matter for personal taste.
Anyone whose gardening duties take them on the road will appreciate the benefits of a folding pruning saw. More importantly, this type of saw that folds into its own sheath is streaks ahead in terms of safety. Some models address the safety issue by slotting into a holder which conveniently hangs from the user’s belt.
Manual Pruning Saw Reviews
From the plethora of models on sale, some more robust than others, we present the following reviews:
- Wilkinson Sword Pruning Saw and Holster
At a price that won’t break the bank of £18.99, and from a household name in blade quality, this saw has received props from amateurs and professionals alike who are impressed by its flexibility and reliability as a cutting tool.
- Cuts like butter through branches up to 15 cms.
- Affordable price
- Quality Japanese steel blade
- Safely stored in holster
- Works by pulling towards you, rather than pushing away, hence unnerving
- The super-sharp blade is potentially dangerous
- Blade rather fine, so is prone to twisting
- Draper 43860 230 mm Folding Pruning Saw
This folding pruning saw has curved styling and an eye-wateringly low rrp of £16.42. It may not be the very best folding pruning saw, but has to be among the cheapest of the lot.
- A rust-resistant blade with visibly sharp teeth
- A folding design where the blade handily flips back into the handle when not in use
- Soft grip handle with plastic guard on handle to protect blade when not in use
- Safety locking mechanism to hold blade firmly open during use
- As with the Wilkinson Sword model, the saw works on the pull stroke, rather than pushing away, with consequent safety implications
- A degree of wobble is detected by some users
- STIHL HANDYCUT PRUNING FOLDING SAW 0000 881 8700
This more expensive solid little saw is a favourite with gardeners as well as fans of the ubiquitous Stihl brand, popular throughout Europe
- Folding design
- A carbon steel chrome-plated blade which repels rust
- 17 cm blade
- Weighing only 160 g, it can possibly seem flimsy and inadequate.
- Priced at £25.99
Choosing the Best Electric Pruning Saw
Pruning saws play an important role in the yearly round of garden manicuring chores. When it comes to the best pruning saw for trees, those that slice quickly and cleanly are, besides being highly desirable, also lethal implements that need to be handled with respect and with common sense caution. As with electric shears, get the best electric saw you can afford; it will save on the wear and tear that your nerves and muscles endure from repeated use.
Best Electric Pruning Saw Reviews
It is all about reach. Even the most green-fingered among us can use a leg up, to mix metaphors. More often, what is needed when all the easily-reached manual pruning has been satisfyingly taken care of is extra arm length, needed to reach those trees and hedges that have long outgrown us. You need look no further for your new best pruner than the extensive selection of pole saws on offer. No pruning saw review list is complete without the inclusion of these high-fliers.
- BLACK+DECKER 750 W Corded Pole Saw
This is a popular, sturdy and well-designed electric pruning saw, intended for those lofty and difficult to reach branches. Remember to buy a supply of chainsaw oil.
- An impressive maximum cutting width of up to 25 cms
- Easily followed instructions
- Superior cutting ability
- Moderately expensive at £104.48
- Concerns have been reported about the frequency of the chain coming off.
- Can be unwieldy when fully extended
- Ryobi RPP750S Pole Pruner with Extension Pole, 750 W – Hyper Green
A slightly lower-cost option, the Ryobi model certainly measures up in terms of its power to tear through branches up to 15 cms thick. Don’t forget to wear purpose chainsaw protection gloves.
- Maximum 2.5 metre reach
- 750 W motor
- Mains powered
- Incorporates a safety guard
- Heavy, so requires upper body and arm strength
- The wrapping around the blade can reportedly cause mishaps
Whether the decision is about what shears or what pruning saw to buy, it can be a little bit like fighting your way through that jungle you’re so desperate to tame! Thankfully, the power tools marketplace online is awash with pruning saw reviews and is as good a place as any to start your purchasing journey. Couple this with a few first-hand opinions, gained by cultivating some of your more knowledgeable gardening acquaintances. (No pun intended.) Soon, you’ll be in a position to produce your own Best Pruning Saw or Pruning Shears review.