12 Popular Cutting Tools for Gardeners

While some individuals would want you to believe that there is a magic list of garden tools that each and every gardener should possess, the truth is, gardening tools come in all sizes, shapes, and features. Over the years, these tools have gone through significant evolution courtesy of changes in technology. Garden tools have grown more specialized over the years and each season comes with a new set of gardening tools.

But before you dive into a buying spree of the latest and most functional garden of the current season, you should ensure that you have all the basic tools covered and properly understood. Below is a list to shed some light on the matter.

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Hedge Trimmer


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It is also known as a bush trimmer. This is a garden tool that is used to make light tasks of trimming hedges of any size. Some hedge trimmers are manual, others electric and other still gas-powered. The gas-powered models tend to be heavier though they are flexible since they are not limited by cables while electric hedge trimmers are quieter, lighter and easy to use.

The size of the branch a hedge trimmer can cut through is determined by the tooth gap sizes. For instance, a hedge trimmer with a 12mm tooth gap, the blade is perfect for 12mm branches. Lastly, being a two handed tool, the unit you choose should be perfect to hold with both hands.

Anvil Pruner


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This is a type of pruner that works the same way a knife cutting items on a cutting board does. The cutting board, in this case, is the anvil. This type of pruner is hand-held and is mostly used in situations where the cleanliness of a cut is not as important as the removal of the item. This is because it crushes the items. It is perfect to use on dead material or in making preparatory cuts. Anvil pruners are also ideal for cutting thick branches up to 0.5 inches thick.

Bypass Pruner


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This is the most common type of pruner in the gardening tool industry. It is designed to work in the same way that scissors work. It features two sharp blades that cross each other to execute a precise cut to live stems. However, it is only one sharp blade that does the cutting. To help maintain the health of a plant, the blade should be kept sharp at all times.

The Bypass pruners are used on plants with diameters measuring 0.5 inches or less. Using this unit to cut through dead and hardwood branches will only damage them fast.

Loppers


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Loppers are similar to pruning shears only they are much larger. They feature long double handles and blade and have to be operated with both hands. Just like pruners, loppers also sport anvil and bypass models.

A good lopper can cut through branches that are 2 inches in diameter or even larger depending on the flexibility, porosity, and strength of the wood being trimmed. For those with trees in their compound, it is good to have loppers to use in cutting away stray branches and those that have decayed. They are hardier than pruning shears and can handle tougher tasks as well.

>>> Read more: 6 Best Loppers for Pruning

Bow Saw


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Simply put, this is a saw that sports a bow-shaped frame and a straight and long blade. The frame is hollow which contributes significantly to the lightweight nature of the saw. Bow saws are designed for use in cutting green woods including shrubs, tree branches and sawing logs to size. They are preferred in situations where speed is needed more than having a neat finish.

The blade is removable and is of two types. There are peg tooth blades that essentially cut through hard and dry wood and raker tooth blades that are perfect for cutting through wet wood. The peg tooth blades have 6-8 teeth in every inch while raker blades have 4-6 teeth per inch.

Pole saw


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These are exactly what the name suggests; saws mounted on poles. These are lightweight chainsaws that are designed to help in cutting high floating branches while your feet remain planted firmly on the ground. They come in three types depending on their source of power. These types include cordless pole saws, electric pole saws, and gas-powered pole saws.

These all vary in performance, weight, and convenience. Of the three, the cordless pole saw is the most convenient, the electric pole saw is the lightest, and the gas-powered pole saw are the best performing. Adding to this, the gas-powered pole saws feature 9 feet shafts, and the electric pole saws feature blade sized between 6 and 10 inches.

Pole Pruner


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This is quite a strange tool. It is designed with the cutting power of a hand pruner but has a reach of 8 feet and in some even higher. This is a perfect tool to use in trimming trees and vines.

While pole pruners have been made to be safer than the pole saws reviewed above, you still have to exercise caution while using them. Speaking of which, you should use this pruner while carrying out minor pruning on trees, or performing trunk clean ups.

It is important to note that they are made of different materials as well. However, those with a drop cast are better than those with a head made of steel. Also, fiberglass poles weight about 40% of the total weight of wooden poles.

Standard Pruning Saw


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This is a tool that is designed to fit in the gaps that a lopper cannot. It used to trim trees and plants. The teeth along a standard pruning saw are sharp which helps to make the cut through thick wet wood easy. Unlike a standard carpenter saw, however, this tool cuts on the pull stroke and not on the push.

The blade of the saw may either be curved or straight and is usually attached to a secure handle. The handle is usually curved to help in better angling which cutting thick and curved branches.

Chain Saw


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This is powerful and can hazardous too. It is best suited for tree felling and heavy duty tasks like cutting through ice and even cutting through concrete. Given its extraordinary power, it should only be used by competent persons with the right protective footwear. It is portable and sports sets of teeth attached to a chain that rotates when the engine is turned on. The chain along with the teeth run on a guided bar.

The chains and teeth are designed from steel and come in varying gauges and pitch. Chainsaws are either gas powered or electric. The electric chainsaw models are quiet and light but far less powerful than gas-powered tools.

Grass Shears


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From the name you can tell what the tool has been designed to do. To better understand this tool, we should separate them into two different categories depending on their mode of operation. Bear in mind that the use and application is the same for both tools though.

A manual grass shear is more like a pruning shear only with long handles designed at right angles with the blades. It is used in cutting grass in an upright position. Some manual grass shears feature a horizontal blade and are ideal for getting rid of grass lawn mowers miss and those with vertical blades that are used for trimming lawn edges.

Electric grass shears are designed differently, and some even resemble vacuum cleaners with regards to their external design. These feature blades on their front.

Hedge Shears


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In layman’s terms, we could describe these are large scissors cutters that are designed and equipped to trim hedges and shape shrubs in a desired pattern. They can either be electric or gas powered.

They feature straight and long shear blades that are usually under a foot long. Some feature wavy edges to help hold the stems in place before cutting into them. With their long blades, they cut a large hedge area with a single stroke. They differ from pruners in that you do not need to aim to cut right above the nodes of plants. Instead, you snip to create lines close to the perennial ground.

Scissors


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This type of gardening tool closely resembles normal office scissors in design and look. It, however, comes with large handles and is perfect for trimming highly delicate plants like the bonsai trees. They feature sharp blades and measures anywhere around 210 mm with a blade length of 55mm. They are very light with a weight of about 250 grams.

Conclusion

Truth be told, there isn’t any gardening tool that a gardener will have, and it be the only tool they need. All the tools mentioned above complement each other. For this reason, while it is hard, and probably even uneconomical to get all of the above, a gardener should choose a few that will most meet his/her common gardening needs.

Hoang Quang

Hello! I’m Quang Hoang and Grow Gardener is my little nook for all the adventures, and occasional misadventures, on my journey in gardening! As I continue to awaken life in little seeds and struggle to keep flora alive, I’ll be here sharing with all of you what I’ve learned! Join me in my little garden, and let’s grow together.

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