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If you love snipping and pruning in your garden then battery-powered, cordless secateurs and pruners or electric pruning shears as they are sometimes known, are the new must-have garden tool. Thick branches and deadheading can be a hard squeeze with manual secateurs, especially if you suffer from arthritis, an old injury or just simply can’t find the strength anymore.
In a hurry? Jump to The Conclusion
Currently, there are two types of battery-powered, cordless secateurs and pruners on the market. Trigger operated pruners and power-assisted secateurs, as shown below. The trigger battery-operated models are the best secateurs for arthritic hands. If you have trouble operating conventional secateurs then these are a worthwhile investment.
There is very little size difference between the two. Your decision on which model to choose will be based on comfort. The trigger operated powered pruners, seen above in picture 1, have a comfortable one finger trigger action and can cope with a branch thickness of approximately 25mm.
The conventional-looking, power-assisted secateurs (shown in picture 2) also have the ability to cut branches up to 25mm. They work like ordinary manual secateurs, however, as you squeeze these secateurs together the power takes over and snips the branch clean off.
How long do Cordless Pruners last on a Single Charge?
Powered pruners contain a small lithium-ion battery which can be charged by either a USB connection or a small plugin charger, depending on the model. A lithium-ion battery is great because the battery rarely loses charge when not being used, so it is always ready for action. Most models have a usage time of approximately 30 minutes which is approximately 400 cuts or snips! This is more than enough time to prune fruit trees, roses and shrubs.
Are Powered Secateurs Worth the Investment?
30 years of gardening has certainly given me a chance to try out many different types of secateurs.
Firstly, it will be no surprise that the cheap manual secateurs really don’t last long, sometimes not even a season. The mid to expensive range (around £25-£45) of manual secateurs are good but have a life span, which averages around 4 years. In my experience, the life span is generally dictated, not by overuse but by how they are used.
I’m sure most of us don’t want to admit that we push our pruners to the limit when pruning!…”If I just twist and two-handed squeeze these secateurs a little bit more, they will go through that 2-inch branch!” Unfortunately, that’s where the blunting and weakening of the tool starts to develop.
The good news is that this wear doesn’t occur with powered secateurs. There is no wearing, sideways action which causes blunt untidy cuts, the mechanical power brings the blades squarely down creating a nice clean cut. As long as you don’t go cutting garden wire and the like, a pair of powered secateurs should service your garden pruning for many years.
I own a pair of the Bosch power secateurs, I love them for the extra power they give me when pruning the fruit trees and thicker stemmed shrubs. You can snip away as you would with normal secateurs on stems up to about 4mm, then as soon as you start to cut through anything bigger the power cuts in and finishes off the job, very clever.
At first glance they look bulky, however, they are cleverly designed to sit perfectly in your hand (much closer to the blade) when you squeeze them together. With conventional secateurs your hand sits at the end of the handle to give maximum leverage/power, I have always found this slightly uncomfortable. I have now bought my mother a pair for Christmas!
Electric Pruning Shears – Trigger operated.
I also own a pair of The Burwells trigger operated Electric Pruning Shears and they are the next step up to power-assisted secateurs. There is also an extension pole as an accessory for these pruners, enabling the snipping of hard to reach, high up branches.
The Burwells are good at snipping stems quickly, on plants like roses, fruit canes and fruit trees with the added advantage of the mechanical opener (most secateurs are opened by a spring mechanism between the two grips). This mechanical system does really help when the blades get stuck together with sap, as they often can!