Written by Terry Smith
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Best pruning saw [UK]:Top garden saws and electric pruning saws reviewed
This article was last updated on November 3rd, 2021 at 9:09 pm
It’s been a while since I gave you a professional opinion on the best pruning saws, over a year in fact. Probably too long actually given technology has moved on so far we now need to include the best electric pruning saws in this review too 🙂 There are still some old firm favourites though including the good old Wilkinson Sword pruning saw which I’m now rating best pruning saw in the UK (previously I gave it to a competitor and like to be unbiased – Wilkinson was pipped on price last time – certainly not quality). I personally use this pruning saw for branches up to about 3 to 4 inches thick. After that I’ll look to my trust cordless chainsaw or a garden multi tool as I don’t have an electric pruning saw but we will worry about that later. When Wilkinson becomes unavailable, and it does, frequently you need a backup plan. So the article is loaded with use cases and great alternative pruning saws and let’s face it, what suits me may not suit you. So the best place to start would probably be how to pick the best pruning saw for you and what to look for…
Picking the best pruning saw
- Wilkinson Sword 1111144W Pruning Saw and Holster. Absolute must have pruning saw if you want to have the best.
- Davaon Pro Pruning Hand Saw for Wood. Best alternative pruning saw
- Draper 44997 Expert Soft Grip Curved Blade Garden Saw, 500mm Must have garden saw for a weaker arm
- Silky Gomtaro 102-30 300mm Straight-Blade Lightweight Saw with Scabbard
- SEEYC 7” Folding Hand Saw – Manganese Steel Folding Trim Pruner with Safety Lock
- BLACK+DECKER 400 V Scorpion Electric Saw with 3 Blades and 10mm Stroke Length, KS890ECN-GB. Best electric pruning saw
- Bosch 600861970 Keo Cordless Garden Saw with Integrated 10.8 V Lithium-Ion Battery
First you need to decide how much work you’re going to do. Above I mention I don’t like much more than a four inch chop by hand, and there better only be a couple of cuts at that! 😀 And needless to say my Wilkinson has a seriously coarse blade. If however you don’t have much hand strength and you’re pruning something smaller, say around 1.5-2 inches, a shorter blade and finer cut is absolutely ideal. For a weaker arm and large cut you might fancy a go with the electric pruning saw from BLACK+DECKER or the standard Draper 44997 Expert Soft Grip Curved Blade Garden Saw. Bother are good if you want the tool to do the work.
Next consider the handle, ideally your knife will have a ridge to stop your hands sliding forward into the blade if it is wet or backward off the knife entirely. That wouldn’t be much fun up a tripod ladder losing your balance 😀 (something I’ve done a couple of times too many ) 🙂 In any even to avoid that you want some top quality gardening gloves. I just updated that review – there are some perfect gloves that’ll be well fitting enough to hold a pruning saw nicely. The other reason you’re likely to wear gloves is the pruning saw in this review will be able to help with thick bramble too if you don’t like using garden loppers. The other thing about the handle to consider is the handle having a D cup, a bit like a saw. This will make holding on all the easier but veers away from a pruning saw slightly and becomes a garden saw.
You’ll want to decide if you want a pruning saw that folds away like a pen knife, or fits in a holster. This will be led by the size branches you want to cut (longer blades don’t fold away pretty much). If it’s occasional use you definitely want one or the other, having a blade without a sheath is an unnecessary risk for light use.
I won’t waste your time with the obvious things too much here: price, rust proof, robustness, easy to clean, how safe to use, and blade retention are all important factors and are considered in my choices for the best pruning saws. With the electric pruning saws I also look at weight, balance, and battery quality/cost.
Looking after a pruning saw
So the best thing to keep in the shed is WD40 and that’s not just for this blade. Almost every single blade in your shed wants a squirt once in a while. With pruning saws that are not stainless however, a wipe down and squirt after every use is best, especially if you don’t intend pulling the saw out again for a good while. It will rust!
So with that in mind here are my picks for the best pruning saws in the UK:
1. Wilkinson Sword 1111144W Pruning Saw and Holster
Not everyone can afford, or wants to spend a lot of money on a silky pruning saw or something similar. Thankfully for lower end money you can actually have the best. This blade is coarse and an absolute ripper. You need a bit of force to make this thing move, but once you do, you won’t be disappointed. Being triple ground you need some force to cut – this is why some may snag as they cut. The blade is hard, very sharp, and resistant to rust. Don’t worry though, further on in the review I talk through some finer cut blades that are super easy to use.
It’ll take down hard dense wood no problem up to 4 inches thick. Beyond that, I think you’re using the wrong tool but it will do it (bear in mind the blade is ten inches, you can cut 7-8 inch diameer with a 10 inch blade). As I allude to early on in the review though, I’m not a fan of hand cutting when a machine is available 🙂 This is essentially excellent cutting performance at an affordable price, you can always rely on long-established brand Wilkinson Sword for quality and value, their edging shears are also top drawer. Priced at £14.19, you can add this garden saw to your tool shed without a huge dent or the need for mechanical tools that bring the added headache of breakdown and maintenance.
The blade is held into the TPR handle by metal rivets and the connection is strong and sturdy. Just in case you just wen’t “what on Earth is TPR” I should explain its ThermoPlastic Rubber and absolutely the best material to avoid slips with the grooves helping add friction. Like I saw, slip on this handle and it’ll be a serious injury, so at a minimum you want to wear leather gloves. Sorry for repeating myself but it is a serious thing.
Wilkinson Sword have included a holster/sheath with this saw so you can hook it onto the shelf when you’re finished and not worry about injury or damage to the blade. All in all this is top draw equipment and a must have pruning saw for anyone doing a far bit of work or commercially for that matter. This garden saw comes with a 10 year guarantee – an obscenely long guarantee. Mine still has 7 years left and still cuts like new. You could also go with the folder if you want a curved blade. I personally prefer a straight cut.
- Low price
- Good quality tool from trusted brand with best warranty of all garden tool suppliers
- Very 250mm sharp blade thanks to triple ground teeth
- TPR non-slip handle with grooves and rivets reduces hand slip considerably.
- 10 year guarantee
- Need a little bit of strength to pull the coarse blade
- Need to improve their listing – it states power cord but is a hand tool!
2. Davaon Pro Pruning Hand Saw for Wood
The Davaon Pro Pruning Hand Saw for Wood is a new addition to the review. I previously had the 7 inch version but after some time, it’s clear the larger foldaway blade is the better tool. At ten inches long, it’s a serious cutter just like the Wilkinson and definitely the best alternative for quality and price in my mind. The blade is really really sharp and given the blade is heat treated you can expect plenty of edge retention for many years to come assuming you don’t go through old barbed wire bedded into a post or something similar like I’ve done in the past with a brand new chainsaw blade :D. You will be shocked how easy you’ll get through branches, to the point it’ll give you the confidence to attack small tree stumps too. It really is that good.
Now for the not so good. It’ll rust up in no time and I don’t feel it’ as sturdy as the Wilkinson. But it might be a slightly unfair comparison as I tested the Wilkinson fixed handle which doesn’t have a pivot joint for the blade to fold away.
With that being said it’s definitely my go to option if Wilkinson wasn’t available. It’s also an easier cut and you need less force. So for a slightly weaker arm this might well be the better pick. And generally it’s slightly cheaper too. If you remember to give the blade an oil after use and ideally a wipe off you can hold back a fair bit of the rust. Not that the rust affects the cutting that much.
Keep the pivot nut tightened as well. Thats a useful tip. The tighter the more stable, within reason of being able to open the blade of course!
- Great value for money at £13.99
- Very popular product, receiving praise from many customers
- SK5 high carbon steel blade, heat treated for hardness
- Coated blade for friction reduction and a smooth cutting motion
- Super sharp triple cut blades on the saw edge
- Rusty blade if not cleaned down properly.
- Not as robust as Wilkinson offering
3. Draper 44997 Expert Soft Grip Curved Blade Garden Saw, 500mm
Sorry if this one sounds like a bit of an advert, it’s really not, it’s just a great little tool and almost 0 negative feedback since I’ve been tracking this item in the last 4 years. The worst I can bring you is ‘it only cuts on the back stroke’ and ‘it’s too long’ 😀 Yes it’s a pruning garden saw…and it is big. I disagree with the image below though, get a motorised saw seriously! However, I can confirm it’ll cut a stump no trouble at all if you’re willing to put the elbow grease in:
Whether you’re a professional gardener or grounds-man, or you simply want a professional quality tool to cut down some large branches or unwanted trees, you can’t go wrong with this garden saw from draper priced at £19.31 on Amazon. It is a curved blade pruning saw so it cuts well even at awkward angles and heights and will make light work of even the thickest branches. One thing I’d point out though, this is more of a garden saw than a pruning saw.
Others online have commented that they have had no problems cutting down tree trunks 6-8 inches thick with this garden saw and I agree it’s up to the job. The hardened and tempered blade has been made with small and large teeth to improve the saw’s cutting performance and it works pretty well considering it’s pretty light weight as a saw goes and matches the top two listings in terms of edge retention.
However, what’s different here is the cutting gets started off by the small teeth and then the larger teeth help to slice through the wet wood inside the branches. Much more useful for someone with a weaker arm and with an easier grip this is definitely the most user friendly for lesser abled bodies.
This is a non-folding garden saw with a very comfortable soft grip handle that is securely connected to the blade with no wobble or play – as with the Wilkinson, they are definitely more sturdy.
- Professional cutting performance. Can cut 6-8 inch logs easily.
- Excellent quality
- Hardened and tempered, curved steel blade
- Combination of small and large teeth give incredible clean cuts
- Comfortable soft-grip handle
- Measures 105.4 x 21.4 x 11.5 cm and weighs just under 500 grams
- Will rust if not cleaned
- Too long for some
4. Silky Gomtaro 102-30 300mm Straight-Blade Lightweight Saw with Scabbard
This is another professional standard pruning saw, this time with a straight blade and so better suited to dealing with branches and logs at upper body height. That’s not to say it can’t be used for cutting through roots and such, it’s just that this saw is at its optimum performance when used at waist to shoulder height.
The 240mm blade is razor sharp, has a teeth ratio of 8 per every 30mm, and will have you sawing through an 8 inch thick log in minutes if you are willing. The blade has been hardened and chrome plated to improve its durability and to make sure it lasts a long time. Silky are a Japanese brand that receives a lot of praise from gardening experts and it’s easy to see why. The quality of all the components of this garden saw is top notch and inspire confidence from the user, especially the curved handle, they’ve spent a lot of time working on the ergonomics of that.
The rubber handle feels so comfortable in the hand and much of that is to do with the rubberised handle that really helps stop slipping. Included with the saw is a polypropylene sheath with a belt clip. This is more expensive than the Wilkinson and certainly equals the cut power. So overall a decent alternative.
If you do piny up the extra for the quality it makes sense to look after the blade. this lovely Aussie lady takes a while to get into her video but how to look after a Silky blade gets started where I’ve set you on the video:
- Japanese attention to detail makes this a very high quality product
- Recommended by professional gardeners
- Razor sharp 240mm straight blade
- Chrome plated for longevity
- Extremely comfortable to hold
- Price is right up there
- No better at cutting than the Wilkinson or Draper
- Hard to justify the extra expense for an occasional user
5. SEEYC 7” Folding Hand Saw - Manganese Steel Folding Trim Pruner with Safety Lock
First off the bat, their demo sums this saw up pretty much spot on. This is the ideal sized branch to be trimming:
When it comes to value for money, it’s hard to beat this for £8.09. Despite the lo price point, the makers are so sure of its quality they have given it a lifetime warranty. So actually it’s a longer warranty than the Wilkinson I have been raving about!
The 8 inch saw blade has 9 teeth per inch and does a great job of slicing through branches thanks to the Japanese style ‘cut on pull’ designed to reduce friction. the handles worth a mention too. The feel is nice and you can expect to hold on reasonably well. However, theres no chance of me using a pruning saw without gloves as per their demo image.
Also on the point of reducing friction, the blade is uncoated, but this also means that it is susceptible to the elements and partly explains the low price. The blade is constructed of Manganese carbon steel for extra hardness and long-lasting sharpness but that does mean it’ll rust easily as I say. So make sure you wipe it down after use and squirt some oil if you have some handy.
One feature I’ve not mentioned much but should on the openable blade saw – the blade is locked at the top once fully opened for safety and preventing it snapping back closed adding to stability and reducing the likelihood of injury. A definite design plus. The thumb trigger is easy enough to use when you want to close the saw back down too.
- Foldable hand saw is compact and lightweight
- Bargain in terms of quality
- Sharp Manganese carbon steel blade
- 9 teeth per inch great at finer cutting too
- Locking mechanism for safety
- Non-slip handle
- Will rust
- Not the best build quality but still excellent value
6. BLACK+DECKER 400 V Scorpion Electric Saw with 3 Blades and 10mm Stroke Length, KS890ECN-GB
In case you’re wondering, this is a huge great big reciprocating saw rebranded as a tree cutter and it works superbly, mainly because a recip saw will rip just about anything effectively, even metal tube, so as you can imagine, cutting wood is a doddle! This was a seriously smart move by Black and Decker.
In fact, before we get started let’s watch their demo. They show you a scaffold pole being cut through with ease funnily enough as I just mentioned above. I’ve saved you two seconds wasted life starting at the right point to see the cut ability:
Let’s start with the few bad ish points I can find. With the cable only being 3 metres in length you’re going to want a waterproof cable reel as they didn’t even try to add a cable long enough to this unit. I actually think that’s a wise move. Most trees could be anywhere up to 80 ft down a normal garden. It would increase the price of the unit beyond sensible costs to add that length of cable. A smart move really to accept the cable issue off the bat.
Some have had issues pushing too hard and sheering off the blade that’s held in with screws. Guys, once you dull the blade replace it! They give you three blades after all for a reason! You will need replacements at some point. There is no need at all to be forcing this unit. Used correctly it can cut scaffold tube, let alone branches! Also on that note, I’ve heard complaints it cannot cut more than 4 inch branches. That is news to me. Carefully used it’s going to cut 6 inches plus, no question.
Also, some have had issues in the past with build quality, this is something they have rectified on newer models as the percentage of unhappy campers has dropped considerably.
Now for some advantages. One of the biggest advantages of using an electric pruning saw over a conventional one is the stroke length. You only need 1 cm clearance in front of the blade as it only pushes forward this far to make its cut. This is a serious advantage in tight spots.
You don’t need to force this cutter, it’ll do the work nice and gently for you. Sure lean into the cut a little, but make yourself comfortable as it’ll take a little while to get through larger branches and certainly beats hand operation all day long.
- Much easier than hand prune saw
- Well priced – cheaper than some hand prune saws!
- Easy to use
- Excellent customer service and sales care
- Minimal mechanical maintenance. Just plug and go.
- Requires an extension lead
- Blade will need replacing reasonably frequently
7. Bosch 600861970 Keo Cordless Garden Saw with Integrated 10.8 V Lithium-Ion Battery
The Keo Cordless Garden Saw from Bosch is a cheeky bit of kit as well. They’ve rebranded (just like Black and Decker) a reciprocating saw to do light weight work. Actually cheeky if you like, but more marketing genius actually putting a grapple over the front (which incidentally guides you on what size you can cut safely – up to 80mm). In fact cutting branches is so light weight they’ve even managed to squeeze this into the 10.8V battery range which considerably reduces your overall costs.
The first thing you’ll notice when you pick this up is just how light it is. You’re getting mentally prepped for something clunky. Throw all those notions away and go pickup a bag of sugar with a comfy handle. That’s what you’re looking at! And the handle really is nice, combined with the named A frame to grapple wood, cutting is pretty easy!
Before I go to far on the review, lets take a look at how this cuts and we can discuss the nitty gritty after. Sorry I had to fast forward this guys video a whole 5 minutes to saved wasted time:
I have no problem with the battery life either. You’ll get about 30 cuts on 3 inch branches. that’s ample for most, if not then you’ll need something more robust as waiting for batteries to charge for a few hours is annoying and more than one battery is expensive and won’t fix the problem as at full blast you won’t get much more than 20 minutes use. Remeber this is an extremely light weight and easy to use unit. It comes with it’s drawbacks as result.
So the thing with this unit is the cut. You can’t really do more than 80mm and for me that’s a bit of a problem. You can take the guide off and get more but fundamentally Bosch are telling us 80mm is the limit. So unless you have definitely got branches mainly smaller than this, the Black and Decker is the better choice, especially on price too.
So after saying this is marketing genius it does have a few holes. They are mainly down to how heavy the use, if it’s light work then Bosch is the best option for sure. I don’t want to sound too down on this tool because it really is useful for lighter work!
- Light weight
- Easy to use
- Cuts well
- Minimal maintenance
- Bit on the pricey side for a pruning saw
- Can only cut three inch branches
- 3 hours between charges
- 20 mins continuous use from one battery
What is a pruning saw and why should I buy one?
A pruning saw fit’s somewhere between garden shears and loppers and being such a specific tool, it’s really missed when it’s needed. A bowsaw is far too heavy, let alone a chainsaw, and if you’re thinking of branches that thick, then loppers will struggle. Pruning saws get into all the places a chainsaw, hedge trimmer, or bowsaw can’t and make that vital like between hand and power tool. The best pruning saws are super sharp, the teeth don’t snag in timber, the handle is well designed so you can easily hold on firm, especially when wearing gloves, and the blade is nice and firm to assist you in making the cut. With these criteria in mind I have reviewed the best pruning saws to save you time.
They’re used for what all saws are used for – cutting wood. Maybe you want to shape a tree or bush, or cut back something that is overgrowing its desired size? There’s some dead wood that you want rid of? A gardening saw can help you sort it out.
Garden saws, more commonly called pruning saws are a tool who’s worth and functionality fit somewhere between shears and loppers and chainsaws or power tools. Pruning saws can come with a straight or curved blade, as handy folding handheld tools that fit in the pocket, or as a more traditional non-folding type long blade with fitted handle. There are pole saws for reaching higher branches, and bow saws for more heavy duty cutting.
Straight blade pruning knives are better suited for cutting things anywhere below shoulder height but above the waist because of the angle of the sawing motion in cohesion with where you are standing. Curved bladed saws are better for cutting branches above shoulder height or for low branches below the waist .
You should have a good think about what tasks you need to tackle before deciding on a garden saw. If you have a particularly large garden, you might need different types and sizes to suit the jobs at hand.
This page is here to help you decide on the right gardening saw for you. We have comprised a selection of products that we think are the best gardening saws in the UK and reviewed them for you. I hope that we covered to topic in depth and solved the must haves and when to buy queries you may have.