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When to use Ratcheting Pruners – Benefits of Ratchet Hand Pruners

One of my favorite pair of pruners for heavier garden work is my ratcheting pruners. They are also known as ratchet hand pruners, and make light work of heavy tasks.

It does not matter if you have one small hydrangea bush or a yard full of garden beds.  At some point, you will need to remove some dead growth, overgrown branches or untidy flowers from your garden shrubs and plants.

And some of those branches will be thick.  There are so many pruners on the market. 

I have a basket full of them. Some work better than others, and some I can’t live without.  Not all pruners are equal. Ratcheting pruners make light work of heavy garden tasks and are perfect for those with weaker hands.

Using Ratcheting Pruners

If you have heavy shrubs that need pruning, get out the ratcheting pruners. They make light work of heavy tasks.

Why use ratcheting pruners?

As I have aged, I have found that I have less strength in my hands.  Most pruners will work for me for lightweight tasks.  But a pair of very sharp scissors or regular pruners will also do those jobs with ease.

There are times when the branches are thicker, and normal pruners just won’t cut through the branch easily.  I hate having to trudge back to the shed to get loppers, and this is when I just love my ratcheting pruners. 

Ratcheting pruners are a similar size to bypass pruners so I can carry them around with me.  But they are sort of like bypass pruners on steroids.

They can easily cut through branches up to 1″ thick with ease.

No struggling to cut a thick stem or having to make a series of small cuts to get through the branch. Even if age is not a problem, any gardener will like to use a tool that makes gardening chores easier.

Ratcheting pruners are considered anvil pruners.  This means that they have one sharp blade and one flat, blade that does not cut, but acts like a blacksmith’s anvil. 

As you squeeze the handles, the sharp blade comes down on the branch you wish to cut and the anvil holds the branch in place so that the cut can be made.

This action is much like a blacksmith who places something on an anvil and uses a hammer to reshape or flatten the object.Blacksmith AnvilThis is why ratcheting branches work so well for larger branches.  I’m amazed at their quality and their ease of use.  It got me asking myself, based on my experience, “what makes a great set of ratcheting pruners?”  Lots of features come into play but, for me, these are the important ones.

1. Design of ratcheting pruners

A design that reduces wrist strain and requires less pressure to close and to operate.  A pair of pruners that has a design that makes using them easy is high on my list of must have features.

Being able to trim thick branches on a holly bush is a cinch if you use a pair of Ratcheting pruners.

Use ratcheting pruners for thick holly bush branches2. These pruners have sharp blades

A good set of ratcheting pruners will have blades that are sharp and will stay sharp. I especially love pruners with high carbon steel blades.

3. Look for a good guarantee

I don’t know about you, but I am tired of buying pruning tools that won’t work after a few months of use, or break from use.   A good guarantee gives peace of mind. 

You will know that, if anything goes wrong, you will be able to get a repair or a replacement pair during the guarantee period.  Look for a guarantee of at least several years.

guarantee4. Buy a pair with coated blades

Look for a pair of ratcheting pruners that have coated blades.  This will make brush cutting easier.

5. Size of branch that can be cut

Be sure to see what diameter of branch that the ratcheting pruners you are considering will cut.  Good ones will cut at least 3/4″ in diameter.

Each spring spend time pruning forsythia bushes. Some of the canes are very large and racheting pruners come in handy for these.

Ratcheting pruners can cut up to 1" branches6. Check the handle style

Some ratcheting pruners have ergonomic designs and others are shaped more like bypass pruners. My hands often slip on normal double handled pruners, so I like a pair which has an ergonomic design and finger grip.

Uses for Ratcheting Pruners 

This type of pruner is not a one size fits all pruner. There are times when you do not want to use them.

They are best saved for heavier pruning jobs where the branches are thicker.  They are not recommended for roses, since they can crush the stem which might allow infection to set in.

They are also not recommended for lightweight pruning. Any good bypass pruners will do this type of job.  These are for heavy duty jobs. Also, for branches larger than 1″, loppers are a better choice.

A good pair of high quality ratcheting pruners is an excellent pick for you if you have a lot of heavy pruning to do and when you want a sturdy tool that can be put to the test.

These pruners are a godsend for gardeners that have arthritis, or for those gardeners who have a large amount of flowering shrubs that need to be trimmed every year.

Is there a pair of ratcheting pruners in your tool kit?  If you want to make light work of some of your heavier gardening tasks, perhaps it is time to add a pair.

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