Pruning shears are a staple of any gardener’s toolkit – sharp specialty scissors that are made for cutting through small branches and plants. They have a variety of uses, like trimming and shaping plants and bushes, cutting produce for cooking, and generally keeping your plants neat and well-manicured. But if you’re a lefty, you can’t pick up just any pair. In this article, we will tell you the difference between different types of secateurs and review and compare the best left handed pruning shears to suit your needs.
A lefty can get the best use out of pruning shears with versions specifically designed for them where the left blade lies on top. When you, as a lefty, hold right-handed shears in your left hand and try to cut with them, your thumb pushes outwards, and your fingers pull inwards. This motion pushes the blades together if you’re right-handed, but the opposite happens for a lefty. An unwanted side-effect of this is that you might end up tearing your plants instead of producing clean cuts. By trying to avoid this issue, your hand could suffer stress-related injuries, especially if you use them on a regular basis.
That’s why using the best left handed garden pruners is necessary. At first glance you may not be able to tell, but there is a visible difference between left handed and right handed scissors. There are several other gardening tools where handedness matters, like lefty grass shears, hoes, and weeders.
You also need to consider what kind of pruning shears you want – anvil shears, or bypass shears. What kind you buy depends on your gardening needs.
Table of Contents
- 1 In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks…
- 2 Ratchet or Anvil Pruner Vs Bypass Pruner
- 3 Best Left Handed Bypass Pruners
- 4 Best Affordable Left Handed Pruning Shears
- 5 Best Ratchet Pruning Shears for Left Handers
- 6 How to Clean and Maintain Secateurs
- 7 FAQs
In a Hurry? Here are Our Top Picks…
TOP BYPASS PRUNERS
Felco F9, F10, F17 Pruning Shears
- 0.98″ and 0.79″ cutting diameters
- Adjustable bypass blades
- Fixed and rotating handles
TOP RATCHET PRUNERS
Felco F 32 Pruning Shears
- 0.98″ cutting diameter
- Adjustable curved anvil blade
- Fixed handles
BUDGET BYPASS PICK
Bahco PX-M2-L Bypass Secateurs
- 0.79″ cutting diameter
- Adjustable bypass blades
- Fixed handles
Ratchet or Anvil Pruner Vs Bypass Pruner
Bypass pruners suit most home gardener’s needs. They consist of two blades that pass each other when you press them together, like most other types of pruners you might use. They have very sharp blades and produce clean, precise cuts with little fear of damaging your plants.
They are great for trimming plants with thinner stems or branches and for cutting live plant tissue without having to worry about accidentally killing or damaging your plant. Plants will recover faster from the clean cuts produced by these pruners.
The design of most bypass pruners will allow you to cut very close to the buds of your plants, or close to the stems of plants.
Anvil pruners have a single, very sharp blade, and a flat-edged, grooved jaw. When you use anvil pruners, the sharp blade slams against the jaw to cut plant matter. These pruners are best suited for use on dead plants or thin tree branches. You probably shouldn’t use these on live plants with softer tissue, as they might get crushed or mangled by the pruner’s crushing action.
Ratchet pruners are a variant of anvil pruners, and have a special mechanism that allows you to cut thicker or harder plant limbs more easily. The mechanism clicks into place when you squeeze the handle, requiring significantly less force to make a cut. They are a good option for people with arthritis in their hands, but tend to be more expensive and sometimes heavier than normal pruners. The bulky ratchet mechanism also makes it harder to get into tight spaces when pruning your plants.
Ratchet pruners don’t come in lefty or righty versions as the top blade strikes the bottom jaw right in the middle, so the line of sight while cutting is not an issue. The handles are always symmetrical as well.
Related: Best Can Openers for Left Handers
Best Left Handed Bypass Pruners
Felco pruning shears are widely available on the market, and are known for being high quality products. The Swiss company has been around for about 70 years, and is a trusted brand by many gardening enthusiasts. They have many options for left-handed users, and we will be looking at three of them in this section. The F9, F10, and F17 are left-handed versions of existing top right handed Felco pruners and are some of best left handed pruning shears around.
Felco pruning shears have a comfortable grip to lighten the strain on your hands as you work. They are ergonomically designed and have rubber shock-absorbers to reduce wrist strain. Most models have revolving handles, which reduce the chances of you getting blisters on your hands while working.
Felco shears have sturdy, forged aluminum handles and hardened steel blades with sap and wire-cutting grooves in the blades to prevent them from sticking. The cutting heads are easily adjustable with a precision setting mechanism. They are very easy to maintain, and the company sells replacements for almost every part of the shears in the unlikely event that you would need to fix your tool. They even have replaceable blades.
Felco F 9 Pruning Shears
These Felco F 9 Pruning Shears are designed with larger hands in mind and have a cutting diameter of a little less than an inch. At 0.54 lb, they are the lightest of the three Felco models in this section. Unlike the F 10 and F 17, they do not have rotating handles but it does have an angled cutting head so that it feels like a natural extension of your hand.
Suitable for large hands.
Felco F 10 Pruning Shears
The Felco F 10s are heavier than the F9s, with the same cutting diameter. They are also designed for large hands. They have rotating handles to prevent blisters and reduce hand stress from prolonged usage, which might take getting used to in the beginning. They weigh 0.64 lbs.
Easy to use.
Suitable for large hands.
Felco F 17 Pruning Shears
The Felco F 17 shears are a little smaller and made for smaller hands. They have rotating grips like the F 10s, but have a smaller (0.79 inch) cutting diameter than the other two models listed here. They weigh 0.58 lbs. They have narrow cutting edges, so the blades can squeeze into tight spaces while you work.
Narrow cutting edge.
Good for slightly smaller hands.
Bahco is a Swedish maker of tools for many different industries and needs, and gardening is just one of them. They, like Felco, make left-handed variants for many of their products, and we’ll be looking at three of them here – the PX-M2-L, the PXR-M2-L, and the PG-03-L.
Bahco pruners are more economical than Felco but spare parts are less easily available. They’re also ergonomically designed and are meant to be lightweight and easy to use. They have safety locks for when you’re not using them.
Bahco PX-M2-L Bypass Secateurs
The Bahco PX-M2-L shears have comfortable rubber padding on their handles, making them comfortable to use. The handles size is perfect for medium-sized hands. It has a hollow inner face on the blades to prevent sticking. The head is inclined and the blades can be adjusted so you can keep cutting with a straight wrist. The cutter diameter is 0.79 inches.
Spare parts are hard to find.
Bahco PXR-M2-L Ergonomic Roll-Handle Pruner
These Bahco PXR-M2-L pruners come with ergonomic rolling handles that prevent blisters. Like the PX-M2-L, these have adjustable vertically and laterally inclined blades to keep the hand in a straight line while cutting. The hollow inner blade surfaces prevent sticking. This pruner is also ideal for medium-size hands. You can also interchange blades, springs, and handles for complete customization.
You can interchange blades, springs, and handles.
Handles open a bit wide.
Bahco PG-03-L Pradines Pruning Shears
If you need a compact pruner, the Bahco PG-03-L Pradines shears come with fiberglass reinforced plastic handles, which are a little less comfortable than the ergonomic handles of the other two designs. Their blades have a rust-proof coating for durability and smooth operation. These left handed bypass secateurs have a locking mechanism for one-handed use and are specifically designed for home gardening. Spare parts are not available for this model, unfortunately.
Locking mechanism for safe one-handed use.
Designed for home use.
No spare parts.
Best Affordable Left Handed Pruning Shears
These shears offer a quality pruning experience on a budget. They are perfect for gardeners who are just starting out or are on a tight tool budget.
Corona BP 6340 Left Handed Forged Aluminum Bypass Pruner
These Corona BP 6340 bypass pruners come with a sap groove and wire-cutting notch, just like the Felco brand models we discussed earlier. They can cut branches and stems up to one inch thick, and have angled, ergonomic handles to reduce wrist strain. These left handed garden secateurs come with a safety locking mechanism, and the blades and spring can be replaced if you need to do so. The high carbon steel blades can also be sharpened.
Spring mechanism accumulates dirt and might stick.
Spear & Jackson 6459BS Left Handed Bypass Pruners
These Spear & Jackson 6459BS Bypass Pruners come with notched SK5 carbon steel blades, suitable for cutting through thicker branches and stems. They are lightweight, with aluminum forged handles and rubber shock-absorbers that let you prune for extended periods without strain. They allow you to adjust the blade tension to suit your pruning job.
Adjustable blade tension.
There are a few complaints about the blades tarnishing.
Best Ratchet Pruning Shears for Left Handers
These are the best left-handed ratchet mechanism pruning shears, perfect for people with arthritis or tendonitis who need tools that can be used without pain or difficulty. Remember that most anvil shears are ambidextrous because there is only one sharp blade that meets a flat anvil-like jaw in the middle.
Felco F 32 Pruning Shears
These Felco F 32 secateurs use a ratchet mechanism for added power, allowing you to cut through hard, dead stems easily. They have ergonomic, non-slip handles for comfortable, safe usage. These shears sport a safety lock for safe carrying, and parts are very easy to replace if needed.
The screw-mounted tapered cutting head with an adjustable brass curved anvil on these shears lets you snip away at hard-to-reach branches safely and easily as long as it fits within a cutting diameter of 0.98 inches. At 0.49 lbs, they are quite lightweight, which is a rarity among anvil shears, and are designed for use by people with larger hands.
Numerous safety features.
Not suitable for use by people with small hands.
The Gardener’s Friend Pruners, Ratchet Pruning Shears
These Gardener’s Friend pruners were designed with senior gardeners and people with arthritis or tendonitis in mind and feature 3-stage ratchet action to aid anyone with weak hand strength and mobility. They can cut branches up to one inch thick but can also be used for small snips, and have a soft rubber cushion on the grip to reduce strain. They have an interesting closed loop grip that isn’t seen on the other models here. They have a safety mechanism in place to lock the blades closed when not in use. They come with an oiled sponge for wiping down the blades after use.
Designed with accessibility in mind.
Suitable for a variety of use cases.
Cheaper than the Felco 32.
The safety mechanism is difficult to operate.
How to Clean and Maintain Secateurs
Just like most types of scissors, secateurs last much longer if you keep them well-maintained. By oiling, sharpening and cleaning them regularly, you can prolong their life significantly, and save money that might otherwise go into buying spare parts.
Keeping your garden tools clean and in good condition also helps you prevent plant diseases from spreading through your garden and damaging your plants.
Before you clean your blades, always check that the cutting action of your shears is still clean. If your blades tear the stems or get caught on them instead of producing a clean cut, you need to sharpen them. For bypass shears, always sharpen the blade on an angle from the outer edge, and keep the inner edge flat.
Here’s how you can keep your secateurs clean after each use:
Step 1: Soak them in hot water mixed with dishwashing liquid for a minute, to remove chunks of plant matter and dirt. Rinse off the soapy water.
Step 2: Gently clean the metal parts with fine wire wool or a scouring pad. Don’t be harsh, as this will dull the blades. This will remove the beginnings of surface rust and any material that remained stuck to the blades after cleaning them.
Step 3: Oil the moving parts properly. This keeps everything properly lubricated, reduces friction, and will also reduce rust by repelling water. Oil the mechanism, and rub the blades down with oil using a cloth.
Step 4: In the event that you used the shears to cut a diseased plant, add a pine disinfectant or bleach to the water when you clean them. This will prevent the disease from being spread to other plants by the shears.
We hope this guide gives you all the information you need to pick the right pair of secateurs for left handed people for your gardening needs, and that you find our tips for cleaning your shears useful.
Which is better: Bypass or Anvil pruners?
Bypass pruners are better than anvil ones if you’re cutting live stems or green branches because they have two sharp blades that shear cleanly without causing damage to the plant. Anvil pruners are better for thick and hard dead stems and branches because the top sharp blade cuts them against an anvil blade with more force.
References: The Art and Science of Pruning