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The Best Hand Pruners

Updated on August 20, 2014

Felco Hand Pruners: A Review

Garden pruners are the most essential tool that any gardener will ever use. They are so important that it makes sense to buy the best. You need a pair that cut perfectly every time, feel balanced and comfortable in the hand, don't break and can be easily maintained, and give a lifetime of use.

Many professional gardeners consider the best hand pruners to be made by Felco. They produce a wide range of hand pruners in various styles, and over the years I've been lucky enough to try most of them. You can find out about the various types of Felco pruners here. I hope this will help you choose the best hand pruners for your particular needs.

A Little About This Reviewer

I've been a professional gardener, designer, landscape company owner and consultant for the past 35 years. Over that time I have found by trial and error the garden tools that withstand tough use and do what they are supposed to do reliably.

I like tools that feel good to use as well as looking good. The worst thing in the gardening world is a tool that is awkward to use; it leads to mistakes and accidents. I also like tools that last. I'd rather pay a little more and buy a garden tool that lasts years than a cheap version that breaks and needs replacing just at the moment you need it most.

I learnt my pruning skills, and was introduced to Felco hand pruners whilst working in a famous rose garden, many years ago, and I've found no better pruners since. My recommendations are based upon my experience. I hope they help you in your choices.

Felco Secateurs...Model No. 2

This is my personal favourite hand pruner.

All the professional gardeners and nurserymen that I know use the Felco No. 2 model, and this is it. Plain, simple and a piece of perfect Swiss engineering. I think it qualifies as a work of art.

Felco no. 2 pruners are the ultimately engineered secateurs, preferred by professional gardeners everywhere. Ergonomically designed, they are the most comfortable and efficient secateurs on the market. Nothing makes a cleaner cut than a pair of Felco Secateurs, and cleaner cuts mean quicker wound healing and less die back.

Felco no. 2 pruners have a lifetime guarantee, which is a safe bet as they are indestructible. To keep them in pristine condition you can dismantle them easily, for cleaning and oiling, and although I’m not technically minded, I get real pleasure from being able to service my secateurs on a rainy day.

They aren’t the cheapest to buy, but they will outlast twenty cheap pairs. If you are serious about gardening, you can’t do better than a pair of Felco no. 2 pruners.

If you do manage to damage any part of your Felcos, you can replace it easily.

Felco supply spare parts and blades, and offer servicing. I like to service my Felcos myself: it feels so good to take them apart, clean and oil them and put them back together.

Manufacturers Video Demonstration For Felco 2 Maintainance

Special Feature Felco Hand Pruners

One of Felco's main tenets is to create products that are ergonomic. I've tried most of these models and they are all good, but I still prefer the Felco 2.

Felco F-9 Classic Pruner for Left Handers
Felco F-9 Classic Pruner for Left Handers

Speciality pruners for left handers and those with small hands

Being ambidextrous myself, it didn’t occur to me that left handed people would need left handed pruners, but of course they do!

When you are pruning, you use your thumb to flick the safety catch on and off. Left handed people need the catch on the opposite side of the pruner, otherwise they have to stop, swap hands each time they need to close the safety catch.

I watched one of my gardeners struggle with this problem, and solved it by providing the Felco F-9 Classic Pruner for Left Handers.

Felco F-6 Classic Pruner For Smaller Hands
Felco F-6 Classic Pruner For Smaller Hands

Felco also make the Felco F-6 Pruner For Smaller Hands..

I don’t know about this model as I’ve never used it or provided it for anyone. My hands are on the smallish side, and I’ve never had a problem using the classic Felco F-2. Perhaps they would be useful for exceptionally small hands. I wouldn’t suggest children, because these tools are really sharp!

Felco F-7 Gardening Hand Pruner with Rotating Handle
Felco F-7 Gardening Hand Pruner with Rotating Handle

The Felco F-7 Hand Pruner with Rotating Handle is a bit of a mystery to me.

A friend of mine won’t use anything else, but I found them rather awkward and uncomfortable to use. This might be because I have smaller hands, and the handles far too big for my palm.

The concept behind the F-7 is that if you are doing a lot of pruning, the rolling handle prevents repetitive strain injury. I can’t say I found that they helped me at all, but as I said, a colleague of mine thinks they are the best of all. If you don’t plan to prune day after day, for hours on end, I don’t think that the added cost of this model is worthwhile.

Felco F-8 Classic Pruner with Comfortable Ergonomic Design
Felco F-8 Classic Pruner with Comfortable Ergonomic Design

The Felco F-8 Classic Pruner with Comfortable Ergonomic Design is one of their newer developments.

This is a model I haven’t tried out, so all I can say is that I can see the handle has been given a new angle designed to make certain cutting positions easier.

Felco F-4 Classic Manual Pruning Shears
Felco F-4 Classic Manual Pruning Shears

The F-4 model is a good sturdy hand pruner that costs less than the classic F-2 model. When I needed to supply a lot of hand pruners to employees, and they were likely to get lost, these were the ones I gave out.

The F-4 is just as indestructible, and cuts just as well as the more expensive models. The downside is that it lacks the toothed adjusting ratchet which makes quick blade tightening so quick and easy. You have a rather clunky bolt that needs a spanner, so that is a definite drawback.

The F-4 also has that tendency that most cheaper hand pruners have whereby the safety catch becomes loose during use. This means it slips closed whilst pruning which is really annoying. Again there isn’t the easy adjustment ratchet that the better models have.

So it has it’s drawbacks, but if you are in the habit of losing your pruners in the compost heap on a regular basis, these are the ones for you!


How I Lost And Found My Best Hand Pruners

And finally, a story about my Felco no. 2 secateurs

I was given my first pair of Felco secateurs as an apprentice gardener over thirty years ago. I still have them and use them most days in the garden. They cut as well today as they did all those years ago.

I lost them once in a garden, and they were found a year later buried in the compost heap. I had bought a second pair by then, but decided to clean them up as they had sentimental value. The spring and blade had rusted, so I bought replacements for them, but the main body cleaned up perfectly without a trace of rust or damage. They are still my favourite pair of secateurs.

They are a piece of perfect engineering, a joy to use, and come with a lifetime guarantee. If you really want the best hand pruners, Felco F-2 Pruners are simply unbeatable.

Which secateurs do use?

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