Gardening Tools

10 Best Hedge Shears 2020 Reviews

I have one. It’s not the best hedge shears, not by a mile. They’re so old, I don’t even know the brand. The other day the handle snapped-off, and I had to weld it back on.

Adding fuel to the fire, their shock-absorbers had broken-off somewhere along the way.

Now my hands, more often than not, smash into each other when I forget to slow my cutting-stroke down a split-second before the blades slice shut. The pain’s so intense it makes my eyes water, I can’t even curse it hurts so much. And if you happen to see me doing a crazy dance looking to stab anything with my shears, you’ll know why. And for the sake of peace on earth, you’d advise me to buy a new one.

I have a gas hedge trimmer, but more often than not, for better or worse, I reach for my old hand-held shears. A gas trimmer is my go-to option when I have to trim yards and yards of bougainvillea ornamental vines.

For those who don’t know, they’re the hedge you grow to keep everybody out!

Don’t be fooled by their beautiful multi-colored flowers that people ooh and ahh over, from a distance. When you get close, when it’s time to cut them back, you’ll see their true nature. They’re vicious and impenetrable. There are millions of sharp pointy thorns, many over two inches long, and the older they grow, the harder and tougher they are to cut.

There’s been a couple of mornings when, after watching Rambo and a few whiskeys the night before, I’d try and take them on with my hand shears, and they’d mercilessly rip my arms to shreds. So yes, there is a need, sometimes, for a mechanical hedge trimmer.

For me, getting up close and personal with nature, the only sound my steel blade snipping away, with no machine droning in my ears, disturbing the peace, equals happiness. And it’s not just me that’s happy, it’s the chameleons, the baby birds, lizards, praying mantis, and hundreds of wonderful little creatures you wouldn’t notice if you used a mechanical trimmer.

Choosing The Best Hand Shears

Before you go out and buy new shears, some investigative self-profiling is a must.

Do you sense there’s a touch of Michaelangelo’s sculpting genius in you? Could you turn hedges and bushes in something similar to the Medici gardens in Florence, Italy? If you plan to walk in the footsteps of the master sculptor, to turn a bush into the spitting image of your pretty little wife, or square-jawed husband, then it’s best to get yourself small, razor-sharp shears. You could be gifted with a deft-cutting touch.

For us, ordinary mortals, who just want to keep our gardens tidy and beautiful, the size of the shears don’t matter and would depend more on our workload.

Mine are long and heavy because I want my arms to look like Arnie’s, and I’m always in a hurry to finish the work. Gardening is my workout. I’m outside breathing fresh air, surrounded by chirping birds and stray cats—the money saved on gym fees I use to buy other useful tools for my outdoor bodybuilding studio.

But if bodybuilding’s not your thing, get yourself light, aluminum shears. If there’s plenty to cut, look for one with long blades and a soft, comfortable grip, and your cutting will be over chop-chop, and without cramped-up fingers. Shock-absorbing bumpers are a little detail that many ignore and shouldn’t. These prevent your hands from hitting one another in the heat of the moment. If you apply excessive force while cutting, nothing wrong with that, you have to get shears with big, durable bumpers.

Hedge-Shears

Should you buy ordinary or extendable shears?

I’m built like an orangutang, and I can scratch my knees standing straight. I don’t need extendable shears. If you have short arms like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, then you probably need extendable shears, or you’d have to use a ladder.

Then there’s the blade and the way it cuts.

There are straight and wavy-edged blades. Straight-edged blades are easier to clean, with a whetstone, and you can line up your cut-angle better.

Wavy-edged blades will help if you’re cutting foliage that isn’t uniform, like vines. You’ll be able to put the blade in the exact place where you want to slice. Serrated edges give you the same advantage, and they help you cut thicker foliage and small branches if you have to.

The cutting mechanism on the shears also makes a difference. A single pivot bolt that keeps the blades together, with a nut to adjust the tension, is the simplest and most durable design you could find. One with a tight-lock nut even better. Ones on cheap shears unscrew as the blade opens and closes, and the delay, every time you stop to tighten it, can be very frustrating. Shears, where the pivot is part of a gear mechanism, amplifies your cutting power. I find these aren’t as balanced as single-pivot shears, and too weighty in front, putting too much strain on your shoulders.

There you have it, all the pros and cons, and some laughs about the power the best hedge shears puts in your hands, especially if you’re an aspiring artist.

It was with much difficulty that I managed, with all the available choices, to condense these brilliantly engineered tools into a list of just ten, but I have, and here you have it.

Top 10 Best Hedge Shears

Best-Hedge-Shears

ModelRating
Okatsune Long Handled 8-Inch4.7
ARS HS-KR1000 7-Inch4.8
TABOR 25-33-Inch Telescopic4.6
Spear & Jackson 8-Inch4.8
Fiskars Power Lever 8-Inch4.6
Bahco Pro Super Light 10-inch5.0
Bahco Pro Super Light 10-inch5.0
Fiskars 25-33-Inch Telescopic4.5
Corona HS 8.5-Inch4.7
Okatsune 6-Inch5.0

1. Okatsune Long Handled 8-Inch

Okatsune shears come from the land of the Samurai sword, and the bonsai tree.

These are forged from steel and crafted with precision—one of the best you can buy and a professional gardener’s first choice. They’re 30.7 inches long, with a hot hammer-forged blade of 8 inches that can slice a sheet of paper like scissors. The slick Japanese white oak handles have slight indentations giving you a comfortable grip.

It has shock absorbers to make cutting easier on your hands and fingers. This perfectly balanced tool weighs 2 lb 5 oz. Something as classy as an Okatsune can’t come cheap, and only a master-gardener would pay so much for this classic – the most expensive one on the list.

Pros

  • Leather sheath included
  • Lifetime guarantee
  • Long handle
  • Top-quality blade

Cons

  • Short blades

2. ARS HS-KR1000 7-Inch

This Japanese product is the result of a 150-year tradition of tool making excellence. The hard chrome-plated 7-inch steel blades cut paper like scissors as well as branches up to ½ an inch thick. This lightweight, 1.85 lbs, and 25.5-inch long, and versatile shears makes creating a Michaelangelo sculpture in your backyard a piece of cake.

The length has a gentle curve for more maneuverability, and it has a pivot bolt to adjust blade tension for maximum cutting power. The blades are replaceable if they get damaged, but the chances of that happening are slim. It is a big investment buying one of them, but it’s for the long-haul, and that’s where its value lies.

Pros

  • The best for topiary work
  • Japanese blade
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Durability issues
  • Pricey

3. TABOR 25-33-Inch Telescopic

These shears were first produced in a kibbutz in Israel, which could be why they’re so durable.

The telescopic handles extend its length from 25 to 33 inches giving you more cutting options.

Forged carbon steel blades that aren’t straight-edged but wavy can cut through a branch ½ an inch thick. There’s a large and easy to use blade tensioner to loosen-up the blade for light, fast cuts or tighten for harder, slower cuts.

It has non-slip, ribbed-grips, as well as two solid shock-absorbing bumpers that reduce the jarring effect on your hands as you slice through the foliage. To extend these, you don’t clip or unclip the moving part. Instead, you turn to loosen and reverse-turn to tighten in position. If there’s one complaint, it’s their 3.25 lbs weight, but other than that, they’re a steal for what you’re getting.

Pros

  • Durable steel construction
  • Ribbed-rubber grips
  • Telescopic extension
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Heavier than most
  • Short blades

4. Spear & Jackson 8-Inch

This award-winning British manufacturer has been in operation since 1760 and takes immense pride in their tools. Their product, known as sharp-advance shears, is a combination of performance and extra features such as adjustable tensioning and geared cutting action. Together these two factors amplify your cutting power to give you the best cuts possible.

The 8-inch carbon steel blades are corrosion and rust resistant for durability and maximum sharpness. The strong tubular aluminum, non-slip, soft-grip handles make it one of the lightest shears on the market, weighing just 1.55 lbs. With their strong focus on innovative tools, it’s no wonder these shears cost more than most.

Pros

  • Light and maneuverable
  • Tensioner ratchet
  • Geared cutting action
  • 10-year warranty

Cons

  • Overall length too short for the larger tasks
  • Small blade

5. Fiskars Power Lever 8-Inch

Believe it or not, this Finnish company, which started as ironworks, has been around since 1649, and their American factory since 1977. The four-point pivot power-lever mechanism combined with 10-inch serrated edge blades makes this shear twice as strong as a one-pivot shear. The hardened, rust, and corrosion preventative steel blades also have a self-sharpening patented design for less maintenance.

Durable steel handles with non-slip cushioned grips, shock-absorbing bumpers, and low-friction blades will make your trimming experience even easier.

They weigh 2.88 lbs, so you won’t get tired while you manicure your green garden statues.

For all they can do to make your time in the garden more enjoyable, they’re one of the least expensive ones available.

Pros

  • Dual-pivot cutting system
  • Shock-guard bumpers
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Hanging hole

Cons

  • Short blades

6. Bahco Pro Super Light 10-inch

Bahco is a Swedish brand that started over 130 years ago as a steel mill producing fishing hooks hence the fish and hook insignia on all their tools. Their 22-inch shears have a hard-serrated 10-inch blade with a cutting capacity of ½ an inch thick. The high-quality straight-edged steel blades are held by a single pivot bolt and are perfectly aligned for easily executed razor-sharp cuts. For less hassle and more safety, there’s a lock-bolt to prevent the blades from separating.

Its lightweight 1.8 lbs are due to the aluminum handles, which have smooth, comfortable grips, as well as large bumpers to reduce the impact as you finish the slicing action. The sturdy, compact shape and the slight angle between the handles and blades make close cuts and maneuverability easy. This top-range shears is pricey but is guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Pros

  • Heavy-duty but lightweight
  • It has a defect warranty
  • Spares available

Cons

  • Broad blades make it hard for very fine cuts
  • Pricey

7. Bahco Pro Super Light 10-inch

Bahco is a Swedish brand that started over 130 years ago as a steel mill producing fishing hooks hence the fish and hook insignia on all their tools. Their 22-inch shears have a hard-serrated 10-inch blade with a cutting capacity of ½ an inch thick. The high-quality straight-edged steel blades are held by a single pivot bolt and are perfectly aligned for easily executed razor-sharp cuts. For less hassle and more safety, there’s a lock-bolt to prevent the blades from separating.

Its lightweight 1.8 lbs are due to the aluminum handles, which have smooth, comfortable grips, as well as large bumpers to reduce the impact as you finish the slicing action. The sturdy, compact shape and the slight angle between the handles and blades make close cuts and maneuverability easy. This top-range shears is pricey but is guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Pros

  • Spares such as new blades are available
  • Heavy-duty but lightweight
  • It has a defect warranty

Cons

  • Broad blades hard for very fine cuts
  • Pricey

8. Fiskars 25-33-Inch Telescopic

These Finn designed shears can be extended by eight inches enabling you to have a longer reach. Included in the design is power-lever technology that reduces the effort of slicing through foliage by more than half. When it’s extended, as much as 32 inches, the moving parts lock safely into place with tight-lock flip switches.

This self-sharpening 10-inch serrated steel blade can even cut through a one-inch rope in an emergency. The powder-coated and rust-resistant steel handles have strong and sturdy non-slip grips for extra control and comfort. And to reduce wear and tear on your hands, it has a shock-absorbing bumper. This one’s also great value and in the same inexpensive price range as its partner.

Pros

  • Double the cutting power
  • Telescopic handles
  • Lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Struggle with thick vines

9. Corona HS 8.5-Inch

This tool manufacturer began in California’s orange groves in the 1920s and has built a top-quality reputation for precision cutting tools. The 8.5-inch forged carbon steel blades’ cutting action is exceptionally smooth due to the precision-made pivot bolt. Both blades are straight-edged, but the top blade has a flat indent an inch wide for if you need blunt force to cut a thicker branch.

The telescopic comfort-grip handles are able, with a twist-to-loosen action, to extend from 15 to 26-inches. There is a sturdy shock-stop bumper to reduce your hands from jarring on impact as you finish your cutting stroke. Handling its 3.5 lbs weight might be challenging for some. Known for its durability, strength, and overall efficiency, it’s surprisingly inexpensive.

Pros

  • Long blades & indent for brute force
  • Telescopic handle
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • Extension lock can fail
  • Heavy

10. Okatsune 6-Inch

Designed to the almost exact specifications as the shearer in the number one position, but with a couple of differences. This one’s shorter, 21 inches, and compact enough to really get your shoulders into the cutting action. The hot hammer-forged ‘Izumo’ Yasuki steel blades measure 6.9 inches and can slice paper just as easily as it cuts leaves.

It also has slick white oak handles, but its total length is 9 inches shorter and half the weight, 1 lb 12 oz, compared to its partner, the 8-inch shears. There are slight indents on the handle for a comfortable grip and better balance. They’re perfect for all your shearing work from heavy-duty to creative topiary and costs a third of the price. Both these Japanese shears are collector’s items, and I’d buy them both if I could.

Pros

  • Half the weight of its bigger partner
  • Costs a third of the price of the 8-inch
  • Leather sheath included

Cons

  • No shock absorbers
  • On the small side

FAQs

Best Hedge Shears Reviews

When and how do I trim my hedge?

The first few years after you’ve planted a hedge is the best time to shape it, and this you should do during winter or the start of spring. After that, you trim at least two to three times a year.

Always trim so that the bottom of the hedge is the widest part so it can enjoy sunlight from tip to base. If you don’t, it will lose foliage around the base, and all you’ll have are bare branches.

I often flip the shears over, making it easier to cut a downward curve. You’ll get the hang of it with time; it isn’t so complicated.

How do I give my hedge a beautiful shape?

If you’re looking for perfectly symmetrical hedges, use a guideline stretched taut between rebar or any straight stick or pole to help you. I prefer to judge my lines by eye, but then again, I prefer a more wild natural-looking garden. Whatever you choose, the perfect geometric shape or an unruly garden it’s entirely up to you, but for them to stay healthy, compact, and dense, they need a yearly trim or two.

How do I keep the blades sharp?

Secure your shears in a vise and gently clean the blades using a fine metal brush and some cleaning oil. On the edge of the blade, there’s a narrow sliver on the cutting side that does the real work. Using a 600 grit whetstone, that’s been soaked in water, file away from the edge upwards, using long strokes, gently until it’s sharp. Next, file the broader part above the strip using a 1000 grit whetstone. The bottom blade doesn’t need sharpening, only some cleaning with a wire brush. Keeping the blade sharp is one of the most important things you can do for continuous gardening pleasure.

Conclusion

10 Best Hedge Shears Reviews

The only way to judge the quality of the best hedge shears or any garden tool for that matter is to see how they’re made from start to end. In the case of shears, I don’t think they’re made from a solid piece of metal forged in the same furnace.

I’d love to know because if that as the case, they’d never snap in two. I’m only saying this because of my experience. By welding the blade and the handle of my broken shears, I created a stronger tool. Perhaps the best option is to buy one with a metal handle so you can weld it to the blade if it broke?.

But I’m off to buy one of those Samurai shears at the top of my list. Since I reviewed and looked at them closely, all I’ve done is dream of having one. The ones painted red and white on the handles, the Japanese colors for good luck. And if the wooden handles should snap off one day, I’d innovate. I’d weld tubular steel onto the blade joint at the top and slip bicycle handles on the ends for grips.

And in no time, I’ll be back in my garden with my modified hybrid shears slicing away and whistling a tune in unison with the chirping birds.

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