Your pruning saw will form an indispensable part of your gardener’s tool-kit, fitting neatly in the space between your loppers and your chainsaw…and if you’re a “proper” gardener you need to have a chainsaw.
On a personal note, I rarely bother with anything other than my secateurs and my pruning saw for my pruning tasks, which I usually do after the plant has died back in winter or in early spring. Have a look at these five picks if you’re in the market for one. A good saw should last for years, so that little bit of extra money spent early on will really pay dividends a few seasons hence.
Which Size of Pruning Saw Do I Need?
Having sampled a lot of products on the market, I’ve found very little difference in capability between models. Generally speaking, a pruning saw will cut through branches 1/2 inch wide up to about 5 inches, after which a chainsaw comes into play.
Trees and plants are exceptionally good at healing themselves. After the branch has been cut, the wounded area is slowly covered by a callus to protect against decay. You can limit the possibility of damaging the tree by using a proper 3-cut method and by leaving a small collar (branch collar) protruding from the trunk.
Finally, saws are designed with either a curved or a straight blade. The common advice is that curved blades are better for smaller branches and straight blades for thicker ones. Personally, I haven’t noticed that much of a difference.
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Fiskars is one of the most respected gardening brands in the world, and justifiably so. They manufacture a range of premium-quality tools and their “7 Inch PowerTooth Folding Pruning Saw” is most definitely among them. At just under $17, they also qualify as being one of the best-priced models on the market.
Most pruning saws are quite bulky and end up jutting out of your pocket as you work in the garden. The PowerTooth, however, nicely avoids this issue because of its comparatively smaller length of seven inches. To use Fiskar’s (somewhat dramatic) terminology, the blade itself is “razor-sharp” and “triple-ground”. I was half-expecting a samurai sword to arive in the post. The blade might not live up to Japanese artisan standards, but it is pretty good.
Though I found the grip itself, along with thelocking mechanism, to be good, as far as the plastic handle is concerned, there have been several complaints about it breaking under heavy wear. I would consider this complaint in the context of the lower proce, however. If you’re planning on lots of heavy use, potentially on thicker branches, you’ll be better suited to a more expensive option (check out number two). Light use for the stingy buyer, however? A very good choice.
Silky 270-33 with Zubat Blade
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Unless I know I’m not going to use a tool a lot, I’m much more of the “buy it once, use it a lifetime” approach. I think I’m (hopefully) right in saying that I’m not alone in my tendency to develop emotional attachments to my gardening tool. The “Silky Zubat” is certainly of that stripe. It’s a high-quality piece that’s suitable for almost all sizes of branches bar the trunk. Indeed, my own experience and most other reviews online laud the ability of the saw to cut through almost any thickness of branch.
The blade is 330mm (13in.) long with a slight curved design. It’s chrome-plated so as to prtoect against rust and the teeth utilize a new technology called “Silky MIRAI-ME” – again, I’m not entirely sure what the term entails but the teeth are of a particularly high quality. The rubber handle is ergonomic (or at least it seems to be) and seems able to withstand significant amounts of wear.
Finally, it comes with its own black sheath that attaches to your belt. If you need the saw in a smaller size, it also comes in 9in. and 10in. models. An all-round superb product.
Corona Clipper (RS 7265)
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Along with Fiskars and Silky, Corona is a another well-known and well-respected gardening tool brand. This 10in. piece, which comes with a lifetime warranty, is aimed more at small and medium branches. It features the typical “three-angle” blades (blades with a 3-dimensional cutting edge) that have been hand-sharpened using a whetstone. The locking mechanism is solid and it rests quite easily in the pocket at only 10 ounces.
The blade is fully replaceable as are the screws for the blade hinge. I think the Corona Clipper is a particularly suitable choice for urban gardeners becuase, as mentioned, it is designed for cutting through lighter wood but is an obviously high-quality tool, one that should last you for decades if you choose to go with it.
Joseph Bentley Wooden Pruning Saw
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If you prefer a more traditional design with a little “heirloom” charm, then the 18in./46cm (total length) Joseph Bentley wooden pruning saw may be the way to go.
Alongside having a great deal of visual appeal, this piece also stands up on the technical front. Its carbon-steel blade (carbon and iron combination) has a slightly curved design which provides a faster cutting action and the grip is, despite being wood, very comfortable. One of the main draws is the fact that you wont have to worry about a rubber sheath coming loose after lots of hard wear. The handle is also surprisingly light.
I quite like the Joseph Bentley design, which supposedly dates back to the 1800s. Most of their gardening equipment has a similar old-world feel and it’s all top notch.
Finally, the handle is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, so your environmental conscience can rest at ease.
Black & Decker Handsaw
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I know this doesn’t fit the definition of pruning saw, but I thought I would include it anyway as the final pick. If you fancy cutting through those excess branches with as little elbow grease as possible, then this may be your answer. A tool like this will also come in useful for chopping wood for raised beds and vertical shelving. Black & Decker is a proven brand and, at only $40, their price for this product is very reasonable.
It only weighs five and a half pounds and the blades are interchangeable, so you can quite easily cut through metal or plastic (you’ve got no excuse not to install that rainwater butt now) if you need to. The only issue is that the cord is only six feet long, so you will need an extension.
Reader Reviews of Their Pruning Saws
If you have a pruning saw that you’re particularly fond or loathsome of, please get in touch! I’d love to include your review in this article. You can contact me through the “About” page.