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4 Best Pruning Saws for Tough Branches (2021 Review)

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In this guide we’ll take a look at the best pruning saws for the UK market.
I’ve compared electric vs manual, blade quality, weight and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What is the Best Pruning Saw?

In a rush? Here's my top choice...

Bahco Laplander Folding Saw

Portable, sturdy and highly functional!

This Bahco Laplander Folding Saw is an excellent and extremely portable tool. The 19 cm blade locks away securely, easily folding out and staying in place at the touch of a button. Its compact 22 cm folded size makes it very easy to carry around, and the clade-coated blade with Bahco XT toothing cut through wood without problems.

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Everything I Recommend

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT FEATURES
  • Grippy plastic handle
  • Non-stick, rust-resistant coating
  • Safe and portable
  • Ideal for larger branches
  • Secure locking system
  • Rust-resistant for a long lifespan
  • Extends from 1.5 - 2.5 m
  • Triple-ground blade cuts cleanly
  • Soft-grip handle
  • No-maintenance blade
  • 16 cm rust-resistant blade
  • Lightweight at only 600 g

More Detailed Pruning Saw Reviews

Bahco Laplander Folding Saw

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Grippy plastic handle
  • Non-stick, rust-resistant coating
  • Safe and portable
OUR RATING
100
PRICE
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Bahco Laplander Folding Saw Review

This Bahco Laplander Folding Saw has been a popular choice amongst gardeners and bushcrafters for some time; a quick internet search will bring up footage of Ray Mears (well-known bushcrafter and survival expert) using this exact model to cut and split large branches.

This goes to show its quality and strength; it’s a powerful yet lightweight tool, with a 19 cm long high-quality steel blade, and a rubberised ergonomic handle.

Able to cut through branches and logs of at least 15 cm thick, there’s not a lot that it can’t do in terms of woodcutting, and for that reason it’s immensely useful in the garden.

This is one of the best pruning saws in terms of versatility because it’s a great all-rounder. It’s suitable for pruning back trees, but also for splitting and reducing down firewood. Using a regular sawing action sees it get through both green and dry wood.

Plus, due to its foldable nature, and extremely light 200 g weight, it can be taken on camping trips or ‘survival’ expeditions, and be used for any number of outdoorsy tasks. The blade locks into the handle, measuring 23 cm when folded, which is sufficiently small to carry around the garden when pruning, or keep in your camping bag.

It’s a bit more expensive than most folding saws of the same design, likely due to its notoriety and reputation, but this doesn’t negate the fact that it is a very capable tool that will perform well both in the garden and further afield.

Pros

  • Cuts through green and dry wood
  • Noticeably more light weight than many pruning saws
  • Compact 23 cm size when folded
  • Can cut through branches of at least 15 cm in diameter
  • Ergonomic rubberised handle is comfortable and grippy

Cons

  • Sometimes the locking mechanism may need to be adjusted so that it closes properly (done by adjusting a screw)
  • Leather hanging strap can get in the way when sawing
  • Blade has slightly more flex in it than a non-folding saw

Davaon Pro Wood Cutting Pruning Saw

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Ideal for larger branches
  • Secure locking system
  • Rust-resistant for a long lifespan
OUR RATING
98
PRICE
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Davaon Pro Wood Cutting Pruning Saw Review

With a 25 cm long blade, the Davaon Wood Cutting Pruning Saw is well equipped for cutting through thick branches.

When pruning, it’s likely you’ll come across a mix of branch thicknesses, and this tool will tackle more than just young saplings. It can cut through wood of around 15 cm in diameter, with most of the effort being done by the carbon steel blade, as opposed to requiring pressure to be applied.

As a result, it becomes relatively easy to cut through large branches (although, as always, certain tree species will be tougher than others).

The sharp teeth have a non-stick coating to reduce friction and resistance when pruning, which allows the blade to move cleanly when a standard sawing action is used.

When not in use, the blade folds into the ergonomic handle, resulting in a tool that measures 30 cm. This is 8 cm larger than the folded Bahco Laplander saw, which might make it slightly less convenient to carry, although for pruning jobs in the garden the difference is unlikely to be noticed.

A longer blade does mean that larger strokes can be used when sawing, which some people may prefer.

Overall, at 299 g, this is a lightweight, easy-to-use tool and it has the longest blade of all folding saws featured here. It easily cuts through a mixture of branch sizes, and is very reasonably priced. In fact, it’s one of the best pruning saws on this list if you’re after value for money because you get a lot of quality for a relatively low price.

Pros

  • Long 25 cm blade means larger strokes can be used when sawing
  • Cuts branches of at least 15 cm in diameter
  • Sawing does not require a lot of additional pressure to be applied as blade's teeth do a lot of the work
  • Handle is comfortable and provides support for the hand whilst sawing

Cons

  • Straight strokes required or blade may feel like it's 'twisting'
  • There is some flex in the blade

Silverline Extendable Pruning Saw

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Extends from 1.5 - 2.5 m
  • Triple-ground blade cuts cleanly
  • Soft-grip handle
OUR RATING
88
PRICE
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Silverline Extendable Pruning Saw Review

Pruning taller trees often means getting the ladder out, but there are other options if you’d like to make things a bit easier (and quicker). This Silverline Extendable Pruning Saw has a 47 cm blade and an extendable handle, making it simpler to cut higher branches.

It can be adjusted from 1.5 – 2.5 m, meaning that most hedge tops and garden trees can be tackled, and it’s easy to move from one branch to the next, without having to reposition a stepladder each time.

The pole sections are simple to extend, locking into place to create a secure handle, and there are two extendable sections, giving three length options to choose from in total (not extended, one segment extended and both segments extended).

Whilst some extendable tools can have a top-heavy weight imbalance, making them difficult to use, this pruning saw remains sufficiently light weight and manageable even when fully extended. It can be used to cut branches of around 12 cm at full reach, which is likely more than will be required most of the time.

It has both a soft-grip handle, and a thick blade cover, making it comfortable and safe to use and carry. However, there is one limitation: the handle can’t be made any shorter than 1.5 cm so it may be a little long for close-range pruning.

This means that although this is a useful tool for reaching higher branches, an additional ‘regular’ pruning saw will likely be required for any low-level cutting. Even so, this is one of the best pruning saws to have around if you want to get pruning jobs done without the use of a platform or ladder.

Pros

  • Can cut branches of 12 cm in diameter when fully extended
  • The blade is well protected in storage by a thick plastic sheath
  • Two adjustable pole segments means there are three different extension lengths
  • Light weight means it can be held high whilst sawing for an extended period

Cons

  • Blade can flex which may make it harder to pull out of higher branches if it gets stuck
  • Without extension this saw measures 1.5 m so it’s not comfortable for use at low levels

Felco F600 Folding Pull-stroke Pruning Saw

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • No-maintenance blade
  • 16 cm rust-resistant blade
  • Lightweight at only 600 g
OUR RATING
86
PRICE
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Felco F600 Folding Pull-stroke Pruning Saw Review

One of the best things about pruning saws is how practical they can be due to their portability. This Felco F600 Folding Pull-stroke Pruning Saw is the smallest of the saws featured on this page, with a 16 cm blade and a 19 cm handle. When folded, it’s 19 cm long which means it can easily fit into a gardening toolbox or camping bag.

Of course, there’s no point in having a saw that’s easy to carry if it doesn’t work well when required, but fortunately this Felco F600 is also great at pruning and easy to manoeuvre into tighter spots thanks to its small size.

As a result, it’s one of the best pruning saws featured here for working in more overgrown areas, which is something that can be difficult (or impossible) with larger saws.

It weighs 181g, so using it one-handed in tighter spots, or carrying it around, can be done with little physical effort. And, despite its light weight, the chrome-plated steel blade still delivers a lot of strength and cutting power.

The Felco F600 is best at cutting green wood, and can manage branches of around 10 cm in diameter. However, it’s necessary to get used to the ‘pull’ stroke action required to use this double-toothed draw saw.

This may be jarring to begin with, as, unlike many saws, the F600 cuts only on the ‘pull’ stroke as opposed to the push. Incorrect use can lead to damaging the blade, but it’s easy to adapt to the correct technique.

When it comes to the locking mechanism, the blade locks when extended, but doesn’t lock when folded. Whilst it stays in place, this is still a safety consideration to bear in mind when storing the saw, especially if young children are around.

All in all, the F600 is a particularly good model for getting into difficult, overgrown areas due to its size. It’s also suitable for slipping into a backpack for camping due to its compact construction and light weight.

Pros

  • Compact design that makes it easy to work in awkward areas
  • Effective cutting branches up to 4” in diameter
  • Folds up neatly for easy storage and portability
  • Comfortable for both left and right handed users

Cons

  • Can only be used on the pull stroke, unlike other models which cut on both the forward and reverse strokes for greater efficiency
  • Doesn’t lock when closed, so needs to be stored in a very safe and secure place to ensure it doesn’t open up

Things to Know Before Buying a Pruning Saw

Cutting back overgrown shrubs and trees can be a difficult job, but using the right tools is guaranteed to make it a lot easier.

Pruning saws can be used to tackle a variety of branch sizes, often capable of cutting wood up to 15 cm in diameter. They cut through branches that loppers can’t manage, and can be used for some fairly heavy-duty tasks.

There are a variety of pruning saws available, and some are better suited to certain jobs than others. The following information outlines why pruning saws are useful, what they can be used for, and how to select the best pruning saw for your garden.

There are a number of benefits to using a pruning saw, but here are a few of the most significant:

  • Pruning saws can cut through branches that are too thick for secateurs or loppers. Trying to force tools through branches that are too thick can damage them, so using a pruning saw on branches thicker than 4 cm is recommended.
  • Sharp pruning saws protect the health of your plants whilst pruning. Using low-quality tools, or tools that aren’t intended for cutting through such thick branches, can result in the branch getting ‘chewed’ as its cut. This can make it easier for bacteria and infections to get in. Using a quality pruning saw is a good way to create a clean cut, which is what we want!
  • With the help of a pruning saw you should be able to cut down most of the branches that you need to in the garden. The next ‘option up’ is to use a chainsaw, and most of us don’t want to do that on a casual Sunday afternoon.
  • Thanks to the foldable nature of many pruning saws, they are easy to transport. This makes them practical not only in the garden, but also when camping or hiking. 

Whilst most pruning saws can be used for more of less the same jobs, there are a few different styles that are worth mentioning.

Foldable/Non-Foldable Pruning Saw

Most of the pruning saws featured on this page are foldable, but there are also non-foldable saws available.

A foldable saw tends to be the more popular choice because they are more versatile; they’re safer to carry, store and transport, and they can therefore be easier to use for different applications (eg. on camping trips). However, because of their folding mechanism, the blades of folding saws can sometimes have more flex in them than non-foldable saws.

Non-foldable saws may feel sturdier than foldable saws, but there isn’t much between them in terms of performance. A non-foldable saw will require a blade sheath, as the blade will otherwise be exposed when the saw is in storage.

Type of Cutting Action

Whilst the term ‘sawing’ tends to conjure up images of  a standard ‘back and forth’ action, saws can cut in a couple of different ways.

There’s the classic sawing action, as mentioned, which cuts on the forward stroke, and not on the back one. But there are also saws which only cut on the ‘backward’ stroke. These are often referred to as draw saws or pull saws.

A ‘standard’ saw has teeth that are angled slightly towards the top end of the blade, whilst a pull saw’s teeth will angle towards the handle.

Whilst both methods will successfully cut through wood, a pull saw is considered to require less effort during cutting, and give more accuracy. However, standard saws generally tend to be easier to sharpen, whilst the entire blade may need to be replaced on a pull saw when it goes dull.

Extendable Pruning Saw

It’s worth being aware that extendable pruning saws exist, although they may not be useful for all applications.

These saws have extendable handles, making it easier to prune higher branches. Anyone with a lot of tall trees and bushes in the garden will likely find it useful to have an extendable pruning saw in the gardening armoury; however, having a standard pruning saw will likely be necessary as well.

This is because extendable pruning saws are often over 1 metre long even when they aren’t extended, which can make them harder to use on close-range jobs.

Nevertheless, they are an invaluable tool for gardens with taller trees and hedges, and can make pruning jobs faster as there’s no need to move a stepladder or raised platform around.

A Note on Safety

The first thing to consider when using a pruning saw is safety. Pruning saws are capable of cutting through thick branches, which means there’s the potential for big branches to fall to the ground when cutting through them.

It’s therefore necessary to wear appropriate protective safety equipment when using a pruning saw. This may include goggles, gloves, steel-capped boots and a hard hat.

Extra care must be taken when using extendable pruners because the branches are likely to fall from a higher height.

General Use

Here are some general pointers when it comes to branch cutting, but you should always make sure that you are sufficiently trained before embarking on tree surgery:

  • If you are cutting back whole branches you should start by reducing the branch gradually from the end. Large branches are heavy and can fall unpredictably, so break the job down into safe sections.
      • If branches split due to the weight of the rest of the limb, this can lead to a tear rather than a clean cut (not what we’re after!). A tear can be bad for the health of your plant. This is therefore an additional reason to steadily reduce the weight of the branch by gradually cutting it back.
      • Particular care should be taken when using an extendable/pole saw as heavy branches falling from a height are potentially very dangerous. Again, reduce the branches gradually.
  • Before making each cut, check that you have room to make the cut without damaging nearby branches.
      • Wherever possible cut from the top to the bottom so that you have gravity on your side. Make sure you can make the cut keeping the blade straight so that it does not get stuck halfway through.
  • Position yourself securely with a wide stance, ensuring your feet or on secure ground. If you are using a ladder, make sure it is securely positioned.
  • When using a manual saw, make a groove by drawing the blade back several times in the place you want to make the cut. This will prevent the saw from slipping.
  • When you have removed the branch, tidy up any splintered branch ends to leave a clean finish.
  • When the whole job is complete, clean your saw (see maintenance below) and store it in a dry place well out of reach of children.

Sap, resin and sawdust can build up on your pruning saw.

Therefore, it is important to clean your saw regularly, otherwise it may become corroded and less efficient. This will make future work harder and also cause damage to your plants. It becomes more likely that diseases will spread if pruning tools aren’t kept clean.

If you are pruning diseased plants, or even just as a protective measure, keep a container of rubbing alcohol or disinfectant handy. Dip the blades in this between cuts and then wipe dry.

To remove the sticky sap residue from your pruning saw after use you can use a wire brush along with paint thinner or white spirit.

You should clean your saw every time after use and finish off by wiping the blades with a rag dipped in light-grade machine oil to prevent rust.

Sharpening the Saw

Not all saw blades can be sharpened, which is something to check when buying the saw. For example, impulse-hardened blades can’t be sharpened. These blades should stay sharp for a very long time with general home use. However, when they do go blunt, replacement blades should be purchased and fitted.

Other manual saws can be sharpened. It is a bit of a fiddly process, but worth doing as a sharp blade makes sawing much easier. It is also better for your trees and shrubs – a sharp blade will make a cleaner cut.

Here’s a general guide on how to sharpen a saw blade:

  1. Wear thick work gloves and clean the blade of your saw with soapy water and a stiff brush and wipe it dry.
  2. Secure your saw with clamps or a vice so that it doesn’t slip.
  3. For best results, use a Cant file. This is a triangular-shaped file that makes the job a little easier and more precise. This file fits between the teeth of the saw enabling it to sharpen each tooth. If you don’t have a Cant file, you can sharpen the saw blade with a small, round file.
  4. Start from the rear of the saw and work toward the tip. Sharpen the edges of the teeth pointing away from you one-by-one. This will be alternate teeth and you will be sharpening the flat side not the bevelled edge.
  5. Give each tooth the same number or strokes of the file to ensure even sharpening. A very blunt saw might need 10 or more strokes on each tooth, but if you do it regularly a few strokes on each tooth will be fine.
  6. Once you have reached the end of the saw, turn it around, re-clamp it and do the same to the other side.

Pruning Saw FAQs

A straight pruning saw is better suited to cutting lower branches – between waist and shoulder height. Because of the way our bodies work, this position makes it easier to move a straight saw.

Curved saws are useful when sawing above shoulder height or below waist height. Because of the angle you will be sawing at, a curved blade will make these jobs easier.

Not really – each branch-cutting tool has its uses and limitations. A pruning saw needs to be used when the branch has a diameter of over 4 or 5 cm (depending on the maximum cutting diameter of your loppers). If you try to use loppers on a branch with a higher diameter than they can cope with, they will either chew the branch up, break, or give your hands a really tough time. Use a pruning saw instead.

Having a foldable pruning saw is a matter of preference. If you are purely going to be using the saw in a small garden, where you will be mere meters from your tool store at any time, then it won’t really matter if your saw is foldable and portable. A foldable pruning saw is more practical to have on you at all times, in case you suddenly need it. As an added bonus, they can also be multi-functional, coming in handy on camping trips.

Sources
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