Overhanging branches can block your garden or yard from getting the necessary sunlight, becoming safety hazards over time and potentially causing lawn or property damage. Pruning trees every so often can keep them looking healthy and vibrant.
Tree pruners come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes. Depending on your situation, you’ll want to choose a pruner that has the proper functionality. Our number one pick, the Black and Decker Lithium-Ion Pole Saw, has a powerful, long-lasting battery to help you get the job done with minimal effort.
What to know before you buy a tree pruner
Pruner style will play an essential role in your decision. Some tree pruners are manually operated, using either handles or ropes to control the blades, while others are battery or gas-powered. You’ll want to learn a bit about each style to see which makes the most sense for your needs.
Type of tree pruners
You may already be familiar with pruning shears, seeing as they are one of the most common gardening tools. These pruners are small handheld options, similar to giant scissors, designed for cutting shrubs, flowers, bushes and smaller tree branches. Pruning shears won’t work well for large branches, but they can help keep your landscaping and gardens look tidy and manicured.
Loppers are essentially long-handled pruning shears, offering larger blades and more leverage, best used for small and medium-sized branches with a diameter of 2 inches or less. Compared to shears, the longer handles allow you to access harder-to-reach areas.
Manual pole pruners
If you need extended reach, a pole pruner is your best option. While loppers might only give you an extra foot or two of extension, pole pruners utilize a long sturdy pole, usually adding 10-20 feet. Some pole pruners might have squeezable handles controls, while others will feature pullable ropes to maneuver the blades. These pruners are great for tall trees and small to medium-sized branches.
With a reach comparable to pole pruners, pole saws are available in electric-powered, battery-powered, gas-powered and manual versions. These models will feature either a curved saw blade or a motorized blade similar to a chainsaw.
Electric and battery-powered pole saws are simple, relatively quiet and offer decent power when cutting through rigid branches. Gas engines give pole saws more substantial power but emit more fumes and tend to be on the noisy side. Manual pole saws require the most physical effort but are usually the most affordable option of the three.
What to look for in a quality tree pruner
Extension and reach
Depending on the type of trees on your property, you’ll need to find a pruner with adequate reach. If you’re dealing strictly with low hedges or bushes, loppers and shears might do the trick. For anything higher up, you’ll require a pole pruner or pole saw. Always check the length of a pruner before making a purchase.
Some models are extendable, having both a minimum and maximum length listed. As important as choosing a pruner with a long enough handle is, selecting a model that’s too long can make trimming difficult on lower branches.
Manual vs. motorized
Before buying a pruner, you’ll need to decide if you prefer a manual or motorized style. Manual options require the least amount of maintenance but will give your arms a workout when pruning multiple or large branches.
Automatic motorized pruners are much easier to use but can be costly and require frequent charging or refueling, as well as blade oiling. Gas-powered models will require additional maintenance to keep the engine in top shape.
Keep the total weight of the pole, blade, battery, engine and other components in mind when choosing your pruner. To achieve a comfortable grip and safe even cut, the pruner should feel balanced in your hands.
The majority of pruners will have a rating describing the maximum branch size they are designed to cut effectively. Smaller shears and pruners may have a rating of less than one inch in diameter, while motorized pole saws can cut branches up to 8-9 inches thick.
How much you can expect to spend on a tree pruner
The least expensive pruning shears are available for under $10, though most mid-range tree pruners cost between $30-$100, with expensive motorized options ranging up to $200.
Tree pruner FAQ
When should you prune your trees?
A. You’ll achieve the best results if you prune live branches while the tree is dormant. This usually coincides with late winter and early spring, before the appearance of foliage. However, you can trim dead or unhealthy branches throughout the year.
Why is pruning important?
A. Pruning a tree properly can reduce the risk of falling limbs and the accompanying damage. It also benefits the tree’s overall health by stimulating new growth and removing diseased branches, making your tree more appealing.
What’s the best tree pruner to buy?
Top Tree Pruner
What you need to know: This battery-powered saw is cordless and portable, making it easy to prune trees anywhere on your property.
What you’ll love: With a maximum reach of 14 feet, you can cut hard-to-reach branches with a diameter of up to 6 inches.
What you should consider: The heavy head can sometimes be tricky to balance.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top tree pruner for the money
What you need to know: A budget-friendly pruner that is great for small branches and twigs.
What you’ll love: The 46-inch reach lets you trim pesky mid-height branches without making a mess.
What you should consider: This pruner is not suitable for heavy-duty use or on branches more than 1 inch in diameter.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: Featuring an extension cord plug, this is a powerful backyard pruner designed for large branches or small logs.
What you’ll love: The powerful 6.5 amp motor and telescopic pole lets you cut any branch up to 7.5 inches thick.
What you should consider: Depending on the length of your extension cord, you’ll have limited mobility.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Matthew Young is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.
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