Written by Terry Smith

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Best garden scissors [UK]: Top garden scissors for trimming plants and vegetables and taking cuttings

This article was last updated on April 23rd, 2022 at 4:58 am

Garden scissors are the tools of choice for anyone looking to prune or take cuttings of smaller plants and stems. Where garden scissors come into their own though is deadheading, small cuttings, and general trimming of smaller foliage for prolonged use, that would otherwise be a heavy process with a big set of weighty secateurs.

Many find the best garden scissors more comfortable than secateurs, especially some of the rubber and oval grips in this review! I like to use a good gardeners knife in conjunction with scissors for the more delicate task of taking cuttings. The best garden scissors feel nice in the hand and will effortlessly cut through small branches, dead heading, and trimming – leaving a crisp cut and zero damage to your plants. They will hold they blade edge retaining sharpness for perfect cuttings and we have reviewed the best garden scissors accordingly.

Our picks for the best garden scissors:

Best garden scissors: COLIBRI Pruner Flower Secateurs 170 mm Pruning Shears Garden Plant Scissors

Best alternative garden scissors: Spear & Jackson 4152GS Razorsharp Garden Scissors

Best alternative garden scissors: HOUSOLUTION MULTI-PURPOSE HAND PRUNER SCISSORS

Best budget garden scissors: COLIBRI Pruner Flower Secateurs 170 mm Pruning Shears Garden Plant Scissors

Professional pruning garden scissors: gonicc Professional 7.3″ Bonsai Tree Pruning Scissors(GPPS-1012)

Best pruning garden scissors: Spear & Jackson 4252KEW Soft-Feel Garden Scissors

What took look for when buying garden scissors

Depending on what you’re trying to get done, you’ll want to look at different garden scissor options. For simple light stuff like dead heading you probably want to consider the Razorsharp Garden Scissors or if you want to go really light then the gonicc garden scissors are a decent option for a professional cut and finish.

Somewhere toward a more powerful cut you’ll want the COLIBRI garden scissors. Quite ironic really given these are are the bargain pick too. it’s going to be hard to pass these up if you take a good look at this review 🙂

Garden scissors

What are garden scissors designed for? Dead heading and trimming small bushes / plants

The absolute perfect reason to buy a set of garden scissors is light work such as dead heading or small trimming and pruning. Go for secateurs instead if you think you’ll do anything heavy as you’ll break light weight garden scissors and frustrate yourself! You can get away with some slightly bigger work if you go for the Spear & Jackson 4152GS Razorsharp Garden Scissors or the COLIBRI but don’t expect full on secateur performance

Do you need heavy duty? These are not for big cutting

If you need heavy duty then it’s not the right place to be. You’ll want secateurs for any serious sized branches you’d expect to be able to cut by hand. These are for your smaller quarter inch cuts and similar. You definitely won’t be going through inch stuff, which by the way is very possible with the Razorsharp secateur series. 

The smaller trim scissors in my opinion are best suited to at most dead heading, but ideally used by those into flower and small shrub trimming. You can use them to cut back an overgrown herb as well. Basically, these are for plants you care about:

You wouldn’t believe how much easier it is to use these the right way than hefty secateurs!

Blade sharpness and material – how to keep the blades tip top

So there’s going to be loads of complaints as you skim read the entire internet for your pair of perfect garden scissors 😀 The big problem is the whole point to these scissors is sharpness. That means you must have a high carbon steel edge that has been heated treated well. This in turn allows a really slender blade (obviously in turn ideal for cutting).

So what’s the problem with that? RUST. Totally unavoidable and a necessary precursor to having a super skinny set of scissors that can make a quality clean cut. However, with that said, you’ve got some decent options in terms of reducing the speed at which thee rust – if ever !

Firstly you’ll need to keep these dry and crucially store them in a dry place, or wrapped in a dry lint if your shed is a bit damp. Before doing so, give them a wipe in oil or WD-40. You don’t need to rush out and buy anything specific for this. The oil is literally just to push away whatever moisture is on the blade currently.

Follow these steps and you’ll have a set of garden scissors in the same condition a year later! Don’t and you’ll be throwing them away 😀

It is a very very rare thing when a tool that wins the budget category also happens to be the best pick overall too. The COLIBRI Garden Plant Scissors deserve to be top pick without question, for a start, over thousands of reviews there’s literally less than a dozen that have been able to fault these!

The first thing you’ll notice when holding these scissors is just how comfortable they are in the hand. They are small and designed for small cuts. The manufacturer recommends no more than 7mm which I would agree with, you basically don’t want to take aim at anything more robust than a well set rose stem or you’ll run into problems. Deadheading for example is where these really work best and the light spring makes for comfortable work.

With that said, robust work isn’t their thing, if you want to trim your vegetable or soft vegetation these are a league of their own. Light weight and decent length slender blades make picking in between foliage a real pleasure. That is the benefit of this tool for sure!

You can expect a very fine cut. The blades operate in a bypass style. In case you’re new to this concept, this is the method where blades pass each other to slice, rather than Anvil cutters which work more by crushing. These are absolutely spot on for little cuttings and you can expect a very healthy percentage to take given how clean the cut. I would almost go and say I prefer these over my trusty knife! However, if grafting , that’s a totally different thing – these have their limitations.

For me I much prefer these when compared to the Spears. Firstly there is price, secondly, blade edge retention is longer and much of that is down to how big the cut proposed on the Spear scissors is. They suggest you take aim at 18mm stems which is fundamentally the problem – that size needs secateurs, not these scissors.

Of all the complaints you can find, the most common and reasonable is they will, if not used properly pinch your skin near the index finger. This is because the safety slips on you after a while. this isn’t an issue with these cutters alone though, you’re going to face this at some point with almost all scissors.

Overall for trimming and slicing smaller branches and soft green stems these are a big thumbs up!

The Spear & Jackson 4152GS Razorsharp Garden Scissors used to be named Flora Guard traditional scissors. Whilst the name has changed nothing about the quality performance has at all!

The Razorsharp garden scissors comes with Ergonomic design; spinning scissors have undergone a comprehensive design process and will fit perfectly with your hands. Hardly surprising though, I just reviewed their garden loppers and they are miles ahead of the competition there too.

These have hardened high-quality steel blades which are dependable for sure. These hardened carbon steel blades are both strong and long-lasting meaning less frequent sharpening and less likely to damage delicate stems – their bypass blades open and close smoothly, requiring only slight force to cut dense branches so they aren’t just for cuttings. They also have the anti stick groove like bypass secateurs so you’re probably thinking why not do away with secateurs entirely given these are such a rave review? Well, it’s not all sweet 😀

There’s a drawback though, if you decide to put these up against bypass secateurs you’ll be thoroughly disappointed. They just don’t have the same power. Yes, they are low maintenance, easy to clean & sharpen, a simple yet dependable design but this is for smaller branches and cuttings. If you use them this way it minimises maintenance and sharpening, creating a great gardening experience just hovering along making the odd little trim here and there.

Pros:

  • The built-in sap groove prevents the blade from sticking when cutting “sappy” wood, offering a stick-free trimmer.
  • Made of SK-5 steel, it is a robust and durable garden pruning shear. No need to worry about the bending or wrecking of the blade.
  • The hand pruner is covered with ilaflon and has an excellent anti-corrosive and anti-rust capability.
  • Blade is razor-sharp and it’s going to be very easy cut.
  • The invisible structure of the spring makes the pruner lovely and concise. It also makes working with a strong spring easier and more effective.
  • Handles are designed ergonomically, comfortable and anti-slip. Safety lock helps prevent injury. Cutting ability: 18 mm or 0.75(inch)

Cons:

  • If you use these like secateurs then you will blunt the blade no question
  • Not as strong as bypass secateurs

The Housolution Pruning Scissors offer a practical lightweight harvest shear design with unobtrusive leather strap lock spring-action.

They are a nice design – ergonomic and aesthetic but what I like most is they are extremely durable and the blades can be re-sharpened many times so you’ll get plenty of use from there.

And despite being sharpen-able, the blades are heavy duty and will remain sharp for plenty of cuts mainly due to being crafted with high carbon steel then treated to a fine polishing technology which helps prevent rust and corrosion too.

But as always, I couldn’t leave a review without putting both sides of the coin forward 😀 Like the Spears, these cannot be considered as a complete pruning solution. They are not robust secateurs at all and certainly are limited to the finer work such as cutting stems and trimming smaller branches – new shoots and the likes.

Yes these are cracking, if you’re cutting your runner beans or tomatoes (any fruits and vegetables for that matter) then you’ll completely minimise damage to the plant, and from that perspective they are a must have tool. I certainly keep mine handy for the smaller work, but I don’t rely on them beyond that!

Pros:

  • Cutting edge fruit picking & pruning tool for professional cutting and gardening long blades allow reaching stems inside bundles.
  • High-quality carbon steel blades, which are resistant to corrosion prevent rusting, are simpler to wash and decrease great fruit pruner from germ build-up.
  • The polished coating ensures longevity of sharp and effortless precision.
  • Long straight blades help to reach inside the bundles, ideal for picking fruits and vegetables.

Cons:

  • Not a full secateur solution and really for lighter work

If you’re looking for a true set of garden scissors, then the gonicc professional Bonsai Tree pruning scissors are what you’re looking for. The first thing you’ll notice is just how comfortable they are in the hand despite what you might call an odd shape if you’re not familiar with this style of garden scissor!. The next, if you have some small shrubbery to hand is how sharp the cut! these are a serious cutter of smaller vegetation and shoots. There is absolutely no tear or damage to the plant which is quite impressive given the price point on these!

Despite being names Bonsai pruning scissors, I’d go ahead and say the best application on these is deadheading (after the obvious trim shaping). And, whilst these shape a bush or plant superbly, and the thin blades lean toward a crisp cut, for us Brits, as a general garden scissor they do very well dead heading and trimming new shoots in general. I’d have to say though, unless using them specifically for shaping and trimming first, then crossing them over as a multi purpose functional garden scissor, then I’d have to give them a miss. Nothing wrong with them, it’s just the top picks blow these away for comfort and use in the average garden from my perspective (dead heading, cuttings, branch trimming, etc).

If you’re still thinking about buying these you won’t be disappointed. A few mention they’ve quickly had a deformed edge – this is certainly not my experience so I’m guessing they were unlucky and got a poor heat treat on the blade edge resulting in a weak blade. Another common problem is the rusting. I have to say, the high carbon steel is a sign of quality and results in a very nice edge that lasts. A good tip to stop this is a quick wipe down then a spray with WD-40 or similar oil based lubricant to push away any remaining residue moisture on your blades.

Pros:

  • Lovely in the hand for hours at a time – the oval design helps a lot here
  • Super sharp and clean cutting – ideal for smaller trimming on plants you want to keep in tip top health
  • Very light to use – much better than secateurs for light work

Cons:

  • Rust fast – due to the high carbon steel which is a must

If the gonicc garden scissor style peaked your interest then the Drapers should have you sold. These are another nice pair of scissors with a similar large oval grip, you might also describe these are florist scissors since they are small and light, designed for neat trimming.

The best is still to come though, with two pairs of scissors they have you covered on larger branch trims as well as the smaller dainty hard to reach bits- one set acts much like bypass secateurs (though don’t expect to be cutting huge branches they are not designed for this) and the other straight scissors are ideal for reaching in between thickets of small shrubs. They will give a really really crisp cut on smaller foliage.

Don’t get yourself confused on the cut length whilst talking about what these can do. You’ve literally got about one and a half inches of useable blade on the bypass and slightly under two inches on the straight scissors. The overall dimensions are nothing to do with blade length, these are small and dainty garden scissors for light work!

They come with a big advantage over the gonicc’s too. The rubber handles are the first thing you’ll appreciate when picking these up. They do really feel good in the hand and with the Oval shape you already know it’s decent comfort all round for hours of trimming and playing with your bushes 🙂

One thing to mention on the downside – you buy decent high carbon steel, so you have to look after it. Make sure, (just like the gonicc and all decent shears), you keep the blade dry after use, and oiling goes a long long way to help improve the longevity of these too. If you do that, you’ll have a decent sharp pair of garden scissors for a long long time to come!

Pros:

  • Two pairs for the price of one!
  • Straight scissors and secateur style – ideal for small branch trims and deadheading hard to reach spots
  • Super well priced – cheapest by far!

Cons:

  • Only good for small work – don’t buy these thinking you’ll be trimming roses easily

My favourite of the true garden scissors is the Spear & Jackson 4252KEW Soft-Feel Garden Scissors. Why? Well straight off the bat I can tell you they are stronger than the Draper twin set, and actually combine both of their strengths and still give a really clean cut on your small shrubs and plants. The scissors operate in the same way as bypass secateurs and have a nice sap groove which stops sticking and distortion of your blade on the thicker cuts.

The first thing you’ll notice is just how comfy the rubber grip is. They fit into most sized hands very comfortably. I’d say the largest hands may struggle a little, but otherwise, a great one size fits all tool.

After that, you’ll be surprised just how well these cut! You can take out sensibly stuff with these – smaller rose branches and down are ideal but come with the big benefit over secateurs that they are much lighter.

The spring retracts the cut and helps control the hand. This is a big plus over the Draper and gonnic garden scissors which offer no support at all The other thing I really like is the lock, it’s such a simple loop and arm, simply pull the blades closed and flick over the arm to the keep, a bit like a garden latch!

Overall, these are a bit on the upper end of a budget for garden scissors but you won’t be disappointed as they are as close to an all round set of garden scissors and heavier secateurs that you’ll get!

Pros:

  • Super quality cut – expected at this price point
  • Handles are comfortable – you’ll be able to use these for hours
  • The retractable spring is a real bonus – use these like secateurs!

Cons:

  • Price – it’s right up with quality secateurs that have far more cut power.


About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from gardentoolbox.co.uk, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message: info@gardentoolbox.co.uk

View all posts by Terry Smith

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