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5 November 2021

Best secateurs for 2021

We put 10 secateurs to the test to see which is the best for pruning and also comfortable to use
CT
Ceri Thomas
Secateurs

Good secateurs are an essential part of your gardening toolkit. A well-designed pair will have sharp blades and comfortable handles that allow you to keep continually pruning without getting a painful hand.

However, there is a huge range of secateurs to choose from, with widely ranging prices, so it’s difficult to know which pair to choose.

The gardeners at Great Dixter put 10 popular models to the test to help you make the best selection.


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The best secateurs from our test

Only logged-in Which? members can view the full test results. Join Which? now to get instant access to our test scores and Best Buy recommendations below.

Best Buy secateurs model 1 on test

Secateurs model 1 on testPriceWeightLength
£42202g200mm

A previous Best Buy, these secateurs stood out from the crowd during our testing to get a well-deserved Best Buy again. With razor-sharp blades, they cut with precision, slicing swiftly and cleanly through all types of stems. Log-in or sign up to reveal the model that earned our Best Buy recommendation on test.

Best Buy secateurs model 2 on test

Secateurs model 2 on testPriceWeightLength
£46240g215mm

Their sturdy design, comfortable handle and easy maintenance made them universally liked with our testing panel. Log-in or sign up to reveal the model that earned our Best Buy recommendation on test.

How we tested secateurs

We sent two samples of 10 standard bypass models of secateurs to be tested by the gardening team at Great Dixter in East Sussex.

The team used each pair of secateurs over eight weeks on a range of gardening tasks, including pruning and cutting down perennials. A number of gardeners tried out each model.

The secateurs were assessed on how easy they were to use and maintain, how well they cut and how comfortable they were to use.

What to look for in secateurs

Lookalikes It might be tempting to buy a pair of secateurs that look like a more expensive brand, but we found the quality control on imitation ones didn’t live up to our Best Buys. 

Left-handed gardeners If you’re left-handed, look for a pair of secateurs specifically designed for you, as the catch and blades will be aligned to make it much easier to use. 

Catch position The gardeners conducting the trial at Great Dixter preferred secateurs with catches on the side or end of the handles. The team found catches located on the top of the secateurs problematic.

Handle grip Check the grip of the secateurs and make sure it feels comfortable in your hand. Some handles can be cold or slippery or get dirty easily, so consider whether you’d prefer to wear gloves when using them. 

Cutting ability All our Best Buys cut cleanly, but we found that some secateurs often bent stems instead of cutting them. 

How to care for your secateurs

Cleaning after use Secateurs can quickly get clogged up with green, sappy debris. They can also become coated in a film of sap. It’s worth cleaning this off regularly with wire wool, as well as disinfecting the blades with a weak solution of household disinfectant. Dry the blades afterwards to stop them getting rusty.

Lubricating the blades Use an oily cloth to keep your secateurs lubricated. Another idea is to invest in a can of lubricant spray containing Teflon. Available at bike shops for around £5, this should help prevent debris from collecting in the mechanism. 

Sharpening The blades of your secateurs will become blunt over time. With bypass secateurs, you should sharpen only the slanting side of the top blade. Better brands, such as Felco and Niwaki, offer sharpening services, so while they may be more expensive initially, they will last for life