5 Best Ratchet Secateurs of 2024

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The Best Ratchet Secateurs

The Best Ratchet Secateurs
  1. Davaon Pro 2-in1 Ratchet Secateurs

  2. Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Ratchet Secateurs

  3. The Gardener's Friend Ratchet Pruners

  4. Wilkinson Sword Ratchet Anvil Pruner

  5. EasyKut Ratchet Secateurs

Ratchet Secateurs Reviews

Editors Choice
  • Single-cut mode is useful for working quickly, and ratchet helps save energy on tougher jobs
  • With ratchet can cut thick hardwood branches up to 24 mm
  • Cleaning pad included makes it easier to clean blades after use
  • Easy to change between 'ratchet' and 'single cut' using the easily-accessible dial

  • May open a little wider than comfortable for those with small hands
  • Knuckles may occasionally get knocked by guard as cut is completed

Unlike other pruners on this page, the Davaon Pro Ratchet Secateurs make it possible to switch from ‘ratchet’ cutting, to ‘single-cut’ mode for more versatility in the garden.

This means you don’t have to waste time with the ratchet when cutting smaller, easier branches, but can easily switch it on when your hands need a rest, or you need to tackle something more challenging.

Even without the ratchet activated, on the ‘single cut’ mode, the secateurs can manage relatively wide branches, up to approximately 16 mm in diameter – but it feels harder work. The ratchet cutting makes it possible to cut branches up to 24 mm thick. This is the highest capacity recommended by any of the five pruners featured here.

Made with a sharp hardened-steel blade, and operating with an anvil cutting mechanism, these secateurs have an aluminium body to help keep the weight down. They weigh 260 g in total, making them the heaviest secateurs on this list, though in the grand scheme of things they are still lightweight. They can be used by either left- or right-handed gardeners.

Measuring 21 cm long, these standard-size secateurs are suitable for most hand sizes; however, they may open a little wider than comfortable for smaller hands. It’s also possible to change from ‘single cut’ to ‘ratchet’ in the middle of a job. The adjustable dial is accessible even whilst holding the secateurs.

They’re some of the best ratchet secateurs on the market if you want the versatility of a ratchet and non-ratchet mechanism in the same tool. This can help speed up jobs when the ratchet isn’t necessary, but save energy on tougher cuts.

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Runner Up
  • Comfortable size for the majority of gardeners (29.5 cm)
  • Four-step ratchet system makes cutting easier on the hands and is suitable for gardeners with reduced hand strength
  • Can be used by both left- and right-handed users
  • Produces a very straight and even cut
  • Good quality sharpening kit included that can be used on a range of bladed tool

  • Locking the handles is difficult as they need to be squeezed together tightly before you can engage the catch
  • May open too wide for small hands

A useful pair of ratchet secateurs for smaller branches, the Spear & Jackson Kew Gardens Secateurs are most effective on woody material up to approximately 10 mm in diameter.

If you’re tackling lightweight pruning jobs in the garden, these secateurs can make the whole process a lot more enjoyable – and they’re advantageous for gardeners with limited hand strength and mobility.

The four-step ratchet system, combined with the non-stick carbon blade, make it easier to prune and tidy, including jobs that may cause discomfort with standard secateurs. With the ratchet mechanism, much less strength is required.

Although they’re not as suitable for cutting through thicker branches as some of the other secateurs on this page, they’re not weak either; they can still be used to cut back challenging plants like bamboo.

Measuring 29.5 cm, these secateurs are quite large, and are generally a comfortable size for most gardeners. They’re relatively streamlined and have an ergonomic grip on one of the handles. They weigh approximately 230 g which is still lightweight albeit heavier than many of the models featured on this page.

One of the biggest drawbacks in terms of design is the safety-catch locking mechanism, which seems to be a running theme with some secateurs. On this particular pair, you have to squeeze the handles together whilst securing the lock in place, which isn’t always easy to do.

There is also a sharpener included, which can be used for sharpening a range of different tools that you may have in your shed – from loppers to shears to knives (and of course, also secateurs). Given the price, this set therefore offers a fairly impressive deal.

Overall, these are some of the best ratchet secateurs if you’re doing a lot of lightweight pruning jobs in the garden. The four-stage ratchet system is particularly useful for anyone with weaker hands, and the additional included sharpener is an extra asset to have in the shed.

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Also Good
  • Suitable for gardeners with weaker hands, limited mobility and arthritis
  • Can be used to cut thick and hard wood as well as green, delicate stems
  • Cuts through stems/branches up to 14 mm thick
  • Lightweight at 219 g - easy to support and hold
  • Suitable for both left- and right-handed users

  • Blade safety catch can be very stiff and difficult to open
  • Not the best for small hands - the secateurs may open too wide and therefore be difficult to close

For anyone finding that hand weakness is preventing them from pruning, these Ratchet Pruners from The Gardener’s Friend are some of the best ratchet secateurs on the market.

Perfect for anyone with arthritis, limited mobility, or any gardener who wants an easier time when it comes to pruning, these secateurs use a ratchet system to make it possible to cut branches up to 14 mm without causing strain on the hands.

Made from lightweight aluminium, with large handles and a comfortable rubber grip, they only weigh 219 g and are easy to support and use for extended periods.

If you’ve got brambles, trees or shrubs in your garden that require cutting back, the three-step ratchet mechanism makes it possible to cut them in stages, with the hardened carbon steel blade doing most of the work.

There is even a small detachable sponge that can be oiled to help with cleaning the blade after use. Plus, it’s possible to replace the blade if necessary, which isn’t possible with all secateurs.

The secateurs use an anvil cutting system which works well on hard wood. They also cut the majority of softer branches stems and branches as well, without just crushing and tearing them – although in a few instances the cut may still be more of a ‘crush’.

Due to the way they have been designed, these secateurs are ambidextrous, and can be used by either left- or right-handed gardeners.

Unfortunately, there is one downside to the secateurs’ overall design, and that’s the safety catch to keep the blades shut. In some cases, it can be very stiff and difficult to open.

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  • Small and lightweight - ideal for carrying around in a pocket
  • Capable of cutting hardwood branches/stems up to 20 mm
  • Capable of cutting greenwood branches/stems from 4 - 8 mm
  • Can be used by either left- or right-handed gardeners
  • Strong and robust overall construction despite small size

  • Blade is not replaceable so it's not possible to extend the life of these pruners
  • Those with larger hands may find the overall size too small

As you might expect from Wilkinson Sword, their Ratchet Anvil Pruner has a sharp, high-quality blade that can cut through a lot of different branches and dramatically assist with pruning.

The SK5 non-stick blade cuts through hard branches up to 20 mm thick. It can also slice through greenwood of around 4 – 8 mm (although the anvil cutting system may start crushing, rather than cutting, on thicker greenwood than this).

One of the factors that makes this Anvil Pruner particularly useful is its portability. You can put it in your pocket and carry it round the garden easily, keeping it on hand for any pruning jobs. This is due to its light weight (coming in at just 160 g) and small size (it measures just 18 cm long in total). At first glance, it may seem like a rather small and flimsy tool, but it’s much hardier than it looks.

There is a reliable three-step ratchet mechanism which helps cut bigger branches without causing as much strain as regular secateurs, and the construction is robust. It’s useful as well when you start to tire near the end of longer jobs, because the ratchet takes a lot of the strain.

Given the way they’ve been constructed, and the power they possess, these are some of the best ratchet secateurs to buy if you’re after value for money. Despite being a robust and powerful tool, from a reputable brand, they are surprisingly inexpensive.

Although it can be useful that these are a pocket-size tool, their small size may be a disadvantage to those gardeners with larger hands.

Much like the ‘The Gardener’s Friend’ Ratchet Pruning Shears, these Wilkinson Sword pruners can be used by either left or right-handed gardeners. However, unlike TGF, it’s not possible to replace the blade if necessary in the future.

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  • Great performance considering low price
  • Large finger guard makes these secateurs comfortable to use for most gardeners, even with gloves on
  • Blades are good quality and retain their sharpness well
  • Cuts easily through hard branches up to 20 mm
  • Bright orange colour means they’re easy to spot if dropped in the garden

  • Safety catch can be a little fiddly to put on and take off

Finding good tools on a strict budget can be hard, but the EasyKut Ratchet Secateurs are both easy to use, and easy on the wallet. Despite their inexpensive price, they can cut branches up to 20 mm thick.

Although they may not come from such a well-known brand as the other secateurs featured on this page, they have still earned a place on this list due to their quality and performance.

Using a three-stage ratchet mechanism, these secateurs make it very easy to cut through relatively thick woody branches, reducing the amount of strain put on the hands.

The grips near the edge of the blade also help hold stems in place during the pruning process, helping to achieve a neat, clean cut.

Measuring approximately 20 cm long, they are a suitable size for gardeners with both small and large hands, and the D-grip handle is sufficiently wide enough to allow gloves to be worn whilst using the pruners.

Alongside their good performance, these secateurs also have a useful colour scheme; the bright orange colour is easy to spot amongst grass, plants and flowerbeds – great news for anyone who is prone to putting things down and forgetting where they are (guilty as charged over here!).

The overall construction is surprisingly hardwearing, especially for such a low-cost tool, making these some of the best ratchet secateurs to buy on a budget. Several customers have reported owning a pair of these secateurs for over five years, with them still working reliably.

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Clive's Smart Buying Tips

  1. When it comes to secateurs, you have a choice of a ‘bypass’ or ‘anvil’ cutting system. Bypass blades are better at achieving clean cuts on smaller stems, whereas anvil secateurs will cut thicker, woodier plants.
  2. I recommend anvil secateurs when buying a ratchet model. Likelihood is that you’re after a ratchet system because you need to cut thicker stems and branches, so anvil is the way to go!
  3. A three-stage ratchet mechanism will dramatically reduce the amount of effort required when pruning. If you want to prune a variety of stems, some of the best ratchet secateurs also have an option to cut without the ratchet. This might sound counterintuitive, but it can avoid using the ratchet when it’s not necessary on thinner stems.
  4. You’ll also need to think about the construction materials. The best ratchet secateurs will have hardened steel blades. I also recommend looking for secateurs with an aluminium construction as this makes them both durable and lightweight.
  5. You’ll notice that most of the ratchet secateurs featured below are between 20 – 30cm long. These generally suit the majority of gardeners. If you want something more portable, we also review a more compact set of secateurs at 18cm long. For those with large hands, I recommend choosing between some of the larger secateurs.

When it comes to the best ratchet secateurs, I’ve chosen the Gardener’s Friend Ratchet Pruners. These secateurs are made from lightweight aluminium; they weigh just 219g yet are still capable of cutting through branches up to 14mm in diameter. They’ll work on both hardwood and softer stems.

How to Choose the Best Ratchet Secateurs

Secateurs are an indispensable gardening tool when it comes to pruning and tidying.

They’re a simple, affordable, lightweight tool that can assist with anything from dead-heading roses to trimming small, low-hanging tree branches.

However, these jobs can still be hard on the hands, which is where ratchet secateurs come in. They make pruning less demanding and can be particularly beneficial for those who struggle with hand strength.

The following guide will help you find the best ratchet secateurs for your garden.

What Are Ratchet Secateurs?

First off, let’s clear up exactly what ratchet secateurs are, and how they can help.

Ratchet secateurs have a mechanism that helps with cutting and pruning.

Instead of trying to cut the branch/twig/etc. in one go (which can require a lot of hand strength), the ratchet mechanism allows the secateurs to cut in several different stages. You squeeze the secateurs and they cut down slightly into the branch. Then you release, and the blade stays embedded in the branch. When you squeeze again, the blade cuts in further, without requiring anywhere near as much strength as non-ratchet secateurs.

Cutting with a ratchet mechanism can make it so much easier and less strenuous to cut through thicker stems and branches.

However, sometimes you may find that you don’t need to use the ratchet mechanism (because you’re cutting something that is sufficiently small enough to manage). This can be one of the main disadvantages of standard ratchet secateurs. You will still have to use the ratchet mechanism, which means that some small jobs take longer than necessary.

However, there are some 2-in-1 secateurs on the market. These give the option of either using a ratchet mechanism, or using a ‘single cut’ mechanism. You can change between the two, and use the mode that is most appropriate for each branch.

READ NEXT: The Best Pruning Saw

The Benefits of Using Ratchet Secateurs

As already mentioned, using ratchet secateurs can help to reduce fatigue on your forearms and fingers. They’re a really useful option for anyone who struggles with hand strength or has arthritis. Many gardeners find they are able to get a lot more joy out of gardening again when they switch to ratchet secateurs.

You might wonder if it’s worth bothering with secateurs, especially if you already own tree loppers. But there are plenty of useful benefits to owning a pair:

  • They’re small, compact and easy to carry – secateurs often fit in a pocket, and can be carried around in the garden on the off-chance that you spot something that needs pruning. This is much easier than getting out a larger tool each time.
  • They produce sharp, clean cuts – although you may be used to using scissors for pruning, scissors aren’t always sharp enough and can introduce bacteria and disease into plants if the cut isn’t clean enough.
  • They’re easy and lightweight to use – secateurs are a great tool for any gardener regardless of their skill, experience or strength.
  • They require very little maintenance – although secateurs will require cleaning after use, that’s the only maintenance they regularly need. Occasionally, the blade will need sharpening.

READ NEXT: The Best Pole Saw

Bypass vs Anvil Secateurs

When it comes to secateurs there are two cutting styles: ‘bypass’ and ‘anvil’ (this is also the case for plenty of other garden cutting tools as well, such as loppers).

‘Bypass’ and ‘anvil’ refer to the cutting action of the tool. To make pruning easier and more effective, it’s important to choose secateurs that use the best cutting action for the job you’re trying to do.

Bypass secateurs work in the same way as a pair of scissors. The two sharp blades bypass each other, producing a clean and accurate cut.

Bypass secateurs are also useful because they can be used to cut near to the bud with no risk of damaging the stem. This is because the cut is automatically very clean, so damage is minimal.

Bypass secateurs are particularly recommended for pruning softer, green stems. The blades will cleanly slice through, without crushing or damaging the plant.

Anvil secateurs have a cutting mechanism that is more like a knife on a chopping board. The blade is pushed down to meet a flat base.

The benefit of these secateurs is that they tend to have more power than bypass secateurs. They also require less force, so are suitable for thicker branches and dead wood.

The downside of anvil secateurs is that the cut isn’t always as clean as it is with bypass models. They’re best for cutting woodier branches – live tissues and stems can end up getting crushed and damaged.

READ NEXT: UK’s Best Garden Shredders

Ratchet Secateurs FAQs

Secateurs are available in a range of sizes. If you have smaller hands than average, you can find small secateurs on the market (for example, models measuring around 18 cm in total). The length of the handles is more important than the size of the blades when it comes to comfort. If you’ve got large hands, opt for secateurs with longer handles (handles measuring around 21 cm, for example). 

There is no major difference between pruners and secateurs. In the UK, pruners and secateurs are the same tool.

It’s important to clean your secateurs regularly, otherwise dirt, debris and sap can build up. This will blunt the blades and make the cut less clean. Clean your secateurs regularly with soapy water, making sure they are properly dry. Once clean, oil the blade before putting it away.

When the blade goes dull and stops cutting as cleanly, you will need to sharpen it. Some secateurs also allow you to replace the entire blade.

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