Investing in strong steel has a second benefit: it circumvents the need to buy 'ratchet' secateurs, which use an extra spring and cut through a branch in stages. Ratchets do make cutting easier on the hand, but they add more moving parts and therefore complicate the equation, introducing more scope for things to go wrong.
The sharper the blade the less force is required, because the steel is doing the hard work for you. Invest in strong steel, and there’s also less need for a ratchet - an extra spring – which involves adding more moving parts, steps and things that can go wrong, thus complicating the whole equation.
三级成人视频Swiss brand Felco (which is very good) is the most widely used here in the UK (the Felco 2 secateurs are a design classic, which have been in production for 70 years and come with a lifetime guarantee – more on which below).
However, Lerigo says he found the latch used to open them involved too much fumbling around on ladders for his liking, a situation not helped by cold, numb or gloved hands. It was when he met Jake Hobson – a Japanese cloud pruning specialist (author of ) – that he discovered the benefits of Japanese tools (not only are Japanese chef’s knives superior, but it would seem we also have something to learn from their gardening tools).
Lerigo devoutly describes his chosen make of Japanese secateurs, Okatsune, as a bit of kit that Marie Kondo would approve of: simple, effective, and capable of sparking joy, time and time again.
Here, we present our pick of the very best secateurs and pruning shears, tried and tested...
Why we like them: sharp, Rockwell scale approved carbon steel and "life-changing" functional design
A三级成人视频s promised, the Hitachi Yasugi high carbon steel of these Okatsune secateurs stands out, producing a clean, precise, efficient cut. Apparently, they’re made with “Izumo” iron sand, which was used in the manufacturing of ancient Japanese swords.
三级成人视频The strength of the steel can be measured according to the Rockwell scale, using indentation hardness tests – and this implement boasts an impressive Rockwell hardness of 60.0-61.0. But they combine this hardness with flexibility, so that the cutting blade always aligns with the counter blade, even after intensive usage.
They’re pleasant to handle – and so long as you don’t lose them in the compost, they’re also yours for life (they’re not as bright a shiny red hue as the Felco 2’s, but the red and white colourway is still easy to spot in the gloaming: the red shows up in daylight, the white at night). I can see why they’re the loppers of choice for professional gardeners in Japan. The Okatsune 103’s are an admirably versatile pair of pruners.
There’s less cushioning in the handles, so the experience of pruning feels precise, clean and direct. The practical, flickable open-close latch mechanism is so simple to use that even a gloved Neanderthal wouldn’t struggle with it, and it means I don’t end up all fingers and thumbs dangerously close to the blade. In fact, you don’t even require fingers to open them: you can simply hold the secateurs in your hand and brush the catch against your leg or hip – forwards to unlock, back to lock.
They make me feel in control, which is pleasing. I’m not alone: The Telegraph’s gardening expert Bunny Guinness has described them as “life-changing, so sharp, so well made – they have done me prouder than any other make I have owned.”
The Okatsune 103 are lighter than the Felco 2’s, weighing a trifling 202g, and the design is more compact. They can also be (leave it in water for about five minutes until soaked through, and a gentle rub along the blade will sharpen it). Other than that, all you have to do is clean the blades after use, oil them with a light oil occasionally (Lerigo is a fan of ), and store with blades closed to protect the blades (and you).
For the purposes of comparison, like the Felco No.2’s, they have a maximum cutting diameter of 25mm.
Why we like them: these secateurs are so appealing they're practically an objet d'art
Leading pruning specialist Jake Hobson learnt the craft of tree training, pruning and rootballing in rural Osaka, and founded Niwaki (it means “garden tree”) to bring Japanese techniques to Western gardens. His range of secateurs don’t disappoint.
“A good pair of secateurs is the single most important bit of kit for any gardener,” he explains. His bypass designs have a simple, chunky catch at the bottom, just like the Okatsune. According to gardening writer Anna Pavord, he approaches the subject “with the eye of an artist”, and as a result, his loppers – in particular these limited edition S-Type secateurs – are a work of art in themselves. The only reason the Okatsune pruners pipped them to the post here is because of the price: but really, I'd highly recommend both – it just comes down to aesthetics.
三级成人视频Known to Hobson affectionately as his “double yellows”, the bright yellow are made with KA70 carbon steel, they’re a 23cm long pair of whoppers, weighing 239g.
Hobson also sells hand-sewn leather holsters with copper rivets in which to store them. They can both be cleaned the Japanese way with odourless, non-oily camellia oil and also with a “Crean Mate” – a scouring block for cleaning resin, rust and other gunks from blades.
See also: our guide to the best hedge trimmers available to buy
Why we like them: a signature postbox-red design classic with a lifetime guarantee
T三级成人视频he sharp blade of these Felco 2’s (first manufactured in 1948) proved well-suited to the most unruly of shrubs and the thickest of tough branches, but also the most delicate of stems and plants with thinner stems in need of deadheading.
Not for nothing are they billed “the most popular pair of Felco secateurs in the world”. I found the rubber cushioned, shock absorbing, forged aluminium alloy handles to be gentle on my wrists, with a slick bypass cutting action. I can see why this Swiss-made pair of secateurs are so popular. “Although not the cheapest, they are the most reliable and hardwearing," says David Austin nursery manager Chris Lowe. "Cheaper brands don’t stay sharp long enough and are not up to the daily pruning of the thousands of rose bushes we have here. They’re simply the best."
T三级成人视频hese are secateurs to have and to hold until death do you part: they come with a lifetime guarantee, and the cutting blade is replaceable, too (in fact, all the parts are, including the replaceable anvil blade with a sap groove which helps prevent the cutting blades from sticking together after repeat use. Clever). Just make sure you don’t lose them.
H三级成人视频owever, as much as I wanted to love them, and despite the superior, precise blade, Lerigo was right: the catch mechanism used to open and close them is fiddly compared with its smoother competitors, and nigh impossible with gloves on or one-handed, up a ladder, because the clasp requires a thumb to be operated. I also found that my own hands were slightly too small for them.
This is a supremely solid all-rounder, nonetheless: the company claims its products are subject to 100 quality control processes, so whether I’m tending a pruning a lone rose bush or have an entire vineyard to tend to (one day, one day), they’re clearly of a quality which should stand me in good stead. They have a maximum diameter cutting capacity of 25mm.
Opinel is a chic French knife and tool brand worth having on your radar. Design-wise, I like the combination of steel and beech wood. Cunningly, these secateurs also have three positions to fit the diameter of the branches and the size of the hand (wide opening, narrow opening, closed).
The cut is clean and effortless: however, the stainless steel blade has a cutting capacity of diameters of 20 mm – less than the Felco and Okatsune secateurs featured here.
I三级成人视频f you like to buy British, Burgon and Ball might be for you. The company have been based in Sheffield since 1730, and these particular carbon steel secateurs are endorsed by the RHS.
They have the same awkward open and close mechanism that I disliked in the Felco’s – but on the plus side I liked the fluorescent covering, which means you can't miss them in a pile of leaves.
So that’s a big tick for maximum visibility – and they come with a 10-year guarantee too. The alloy handles are robust and padded with rubber cushioning to protect the wrists. Should they fail on you, you can purchase a pack of replacement springs for £4.99.
If you like the idea of these, I’d also point you in the direction of designer Sophie Conran’s collaboration with Burgon & Ball. These have the chunky mechanism I prefer, and are striking aesthetically: entirely silver, with a simple golden bronze lock clasp to clip the handles together when not in use.
The stainless steel handles mean they’re markedly resistant to rust. “I have been known to abandon my tools in the garden as I rush off to do something else, leaving them at the mercy of the elements,” explains Conran. They’re 20cm long, and are presented in a pretty eau de nil gift box. Go on – add them to your barrow...
N三级成人视频o comprehensive guide to secateurs would be complete without referencing Wilkinson Sword: as well as Felco, these are some of the most ubiquitous, lower budget pruning shears to be found in the UK. And in fairness to them, I wasn’t unimpressed: they come with a 10-year guarantee and are made with fairly good quality SK5 Japanese steel blades. The rather bling cast aluminium handles promise to be light but strong-ish (they weigh 216g in total), and the grip is fine.
I didn’t mind the open/close mechanism too much either: you just flick the small switch by the side of the blades down (be careful not to get your fingers too close, mind) and a bouncy spring between the handles boings open. When closed, the safety lock keeps you safe from the sharp blades.
However, while they promise the standard 20mm cutting capacity I’ve come to expect from many brands, the reality is more like 15mm. Fine for a cheap pair of secateurs, but not a product that's likely to last you a lifetime.
Smooth blades all have their limits, says Jake Hobson. Steel is hard and sharp, but it can chip if abused. Try not to cut wire, metal, stone, plastic or any other hard material. Even bamboo fibres and some very hard woods, especially knots, burrs and dead wood, can damage steel edges.
三级成人视频Do not twist or apply uneven pressure: try to cut branches diagonally, not straight across. Blades may chip or crack through misuse and bad luck, although damage can be ground out with a file.
According to Telegraph gardening expert Helen Yemm三级成人视频, secateurs usually jam because of a build-up of dried sap and general garden grot on the blades. A good clean, followed by a wipe with an oily rag, sorts the problem out. Presumably you have tried that.
Alternatively, it could be time for a thorough service, she recommends. "Burton McCall (which only services Felcos, no other brand) will send them back looking “like new” for £25, with a replaced blade. Visit or call 0116 234 4600.