The trouble with trees, shrubs and ornamental bushes is: they just keep on growing! If only they would behave themselves and stay at the right height and width, life would be so much easier! But as every true gardener knows, the greatest satisfaction comes from shaping and managing these fantastically useful architectural plants which give such unique character to our gardens and yards.
Winston Churchill famously said during the 2nd World War: “Give us the tools, and we will finish the job.” When it comes to doing battle with tough old roots and branches, one of the essential gardening tools is a decent hand saw for cutting tree branches.
However, with so many different products competing for our hard-earned dollars, how do you decide which is the best pruning saw for your needs? How do you know which is the best saw for cutting tree branches and which is more effective on smaller branches? Can you buy a high-quality yet affordable pruning saw for trees? Are some saws better for cutting down small trees?
There are pruning saws to suit every pocket and, to paraphrase George Orwell: “not all pruning saws are equal”! Some pruning saws fold over to hide the sharp blade when not in use, others have a straight or curved blade, some come with a scabbard, some are designed to stand up to rigorous daily use such as those used by professional arborists and tree-surgeons, others are meant for more occasional, light use.
Pruning saws come into their own when even good-quality pruning shears just won’t “cut it” (!) or a chainsaw would be overkill and just too big or heavy to reach tight corners in dense undergrowth.
Indeed, many gardeners who use the high-quality saws featured in our pruning saw reviews would tell you that their pruning saw is much better than a chainsaw in many situations, not to mention safer, easier to carry and – it doesn’t need a drop of gasoline!
In this article we have curated what we believe to be the ten best pruning saws on the market today. Our useful guide entitled “How to choose the right saw for your needs?” will help you make an informed decision when comparing the various pruning saws.
Other questions answered in our pruning saw reviews include:
Read on to find the answers to these questions and more, in our guide to the 10 top-rated hand pruning saws available today.
Top 10 Best Pruning Saw Reviews for 2020
Here are the best pruning saws for cutting branches:
- Silky Zubat 270-33 Hand Saw
- Samurai Ichiban GC-330-LH
- Corona RS 7120 RazorTOOTH
- Bahco 396-LAP Laplander
- Silky Gomboy 121-24 Hand Saw
- Tabor Tools T9A Pruning Saw
- Felco 600 Folding Pruning Saw
- Coher Folding Hand Saw
- Wolf Garten PC370MSPRO
- WilFiks Heavy Duty Hand Saw
1. Silky Zubat 270-33 Hand Saw
The Silky Zubat 270-33 Hand Saw is a professional quality, Japanese pruning saw with a 13-inch curved, hard chromium blade. Many tree-surgeons use Silky saws, which tells you a lot about their quality and reliability “on the job”.
The blade has a full tang, (the part of the blade which goes into the molded rubber handle), which makes it very stable in use. These Silky saws can either be used by hand or mounted on a Zubat Professional pole, which adds greatly to its usefulness.
It goes without saying that this is one of the sharpest pruning saws you can buy and great care is advised when handling it. This saw cuts best with a pull action.
The tailor-made scabbard, made from rugged polypropylene, provides excellent safety protection as well as a convenient method of carrying it. The scabbard has built in plastic loops for attaching it to leg straps.
This Silky curved blade pruning saw is one of a range of professional tree cutting tools. It has the versatility of being both a hand and a pole saw and will make short work of the vast majority of tree-pruning jobs.
Well worth the money if you are a professional gardener or arborist or have a large number of trees, bushes and shrubs to maintain. Amateur gardeners who value high-quality tools will love this saw too!
2. Samurai Ichiban GC-330-LH
The English translation of the Japanese product description for this truly exceptional pruning saw, invites you to experience “sharpness never tasted so far“! There is no doubt that most people will never in their lives have come across such a high-quality pruning saw!
This “Ichiban” (Japanese for “Number One”!) saw is more than worthy of the perfection and attention to detail traditionally demanded by Samurai warriors!
The Ichiban blade is made from Kyoku steel, famously used in professional chef’s kitchen knives. This saw slices through wood on the pull stroke with frightening ease! It has a 6-inch curved and tapered blade with fine, multi-dimensional teeth (6.35 per inch).
The precision sharpened impulse hardened teeth (last three times longer than conventional teeth) combined with the highest quality Japanese steel make this a fearsome weapon in any gardener’s armory.
The reputation of the Samurai Ichiban goes before it. This is, as the Samurai company declares, “probably the most efficient, user friendly saw currently available in the world.” Well worth it’s price tag!
3. Corona RS 7120 RazorTOOTH
Corona are a Californian company with a long history of high-quality tool making. This 13-inch, curved, tempered steel alloy saw has triple-ground, impulse-hardened teeth which cut twice as fast as conventional teeth.
Blades are replaceable at modest cost. This means that a spare blade can be carried and swapped over when needed. The saw comes in a strong cardboard sleeve.
A very comfortable to use, fixed blade saw which cuts medium to large branches smoothly and easily. One of the better makes of pruning saw on the market today. Replaceable blade will appeal to professional users.
4. Bahco 396-LAP Laplander
Bahco saws are renowned for their quality and razor-sharp blades. Made in Sweden, the 396-LAP Laplander Folding Saw is ideal for pruning tree branches as well as for taking on camping trips.
When folded, it is easily and safely carried or stowed in a rucksack. Its reliability and durability has been tried and tested many times by both gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts.
The replaceable folding blade is a very serviceable 7½ inches long and its excellent locking mechanism – it stays locked in both open and closed positions until the release button is pressed – keeps the user safe from unpleasant surprises.
It is also an amazingly durable saw, staying sharp for longer than many others due to the hardness of its extremely sharp teeth. This great little saw also comes in at a very affordable price point. What’s not to like?!
The Bahco 369 Laplander folding saw is one of the very best hand pruning saws on the market. We have no hesitation in recommending this as a reliable and durable addition to any gardener’s toolkit. Many professionals swear by the quality of Swedish saws and this is no exception.
5. Silky Gomboy 121-24 Hand Saw
This Silky Gomboy Folding Hand Saw has deservedly won a huge following. Reported by many reviewers to out-class the Bahco Laplander and the Corona, this pruning saw will prove it’s worth time and again.
The razor sharp, precision ground blade is 9½ inches long, made of impulse hardened Japanese steel for long life and is securely locked in place with a no-nonsense steel button at the end of the handle.
The functional design, with its tapered kerf to prevent binding, favors utility over superficial add-ons. It comes with a tough, hinged, clear plastic case which has drain holes to prevent moisture build-up inside and can be attached to your belt.
The folding Silky Gomboy saw is undoubtedly one of the highest quality pruning saws on the market. It cuts on the pull stroke and very little force is needed to saw through tree branches up to and including 4 inches diameter.
Highly valued by professionals and seasoned gardeners alike, this is a versatile, no-nonsense pruning saw which will give years of trouble-free cutting.
6. Tabor Tools T9A Pruning Saw
Each saw tooth is sharpened on 3 sides for very efficient, effortless cutting on the pull stroke. The soft grip handle is very comfortable in use and the saw comes with a well-designed, hard-wearing polypropylene scabbard which keeps the saw safely out of harm’s way when not in use.
Costing a bit more than smaller folding saws, this is a professional quality saw which will deal with the toughest of tree pruning challenges.
This is a high-quality, professional grade, fixed blade pruning saw. Made from hardened steel, the razor-sharp teeth enable effortless cuts to made. The tough scabbard holds the saw securely when not in use and for the person who uses a pruning saw on a regular basis, will quickly become their “go-to” favorite saw.
7. Felco 600 Folding Pruning Saw
Made from rust-resistant chromed steel, the 6-inch saw blade is thinner along its top edge and thicker along the bottom edge where the teeth are. This unique design prevents the clogging and binding that so often happens with other pruning saws.
The Felco 600 has a completely new locking system – instead of the old, hook locking method, the blade clicks into place when fully opened without a hook having to be engaged. This means it is instantly ready for use.
This Felco pruning saw is one of the best hand pruning saws you can buy. The unique non-clogging, non-binding properties of the blade design make it well worth considering.
8. Coher Folding Hand Saw
The Coher Folding Hand Saw comes with a very useful plastic carry holster which you can attach to your belt.
The folding saw blade is made from the highest quality hardened steel and has triple edged, curved teeth (8 per inch), which enable it to easily rip through branches, drywall, plastic or bone. The blade can be locked in two open positions which gives it greater versatility when pruning awkward branches.
A novel addition on this saw is the chrome bolt which allows you to tighten or loosen the blade tension – this allows more control over the flexibility of the blade when cutting different types of material.
The Coher folding pruning saw is a well-made tool which has been thoughtfully designed and packaged for practicality and all-round usefulness. A very serviceable, keenly priced pruning saw which compares very well alongside the big names.
9. Wolf Garten PC370MSPRO
The Wolf Garten PC370MSPRO is a German manufactured quality pruning saw that is specifically designed to fit on the end of a pole for safe pruning of tree branches up to 15 feet in height.
The curved blade which has hooks at each end, makes it easier to control on the end of a telescopic pole. Ideal for light pruning of tree branches when the use of a ladder is not advisable.
The Wolf Garten pruning saw has a 13-inch hardened steel blade and is designed to cut on both push and pull stroke. It is compatible with the Wolf Garten ZM-V4 pole.
A high-quality, German engineered pole pruning saw for tree branches that are too high or too difficult to reach without a ladder. A valuable tool which is built to last.
10. WilFiks Heavy Duty Hand Saw
WilFiks make a range of very good hand tools at a very affordable price point. Their Razor-Sharp Heavy Duty Curved Hand Saw has been well received by users and features a 13-inch blade with induction hardened teeth, which makes them stay sharp for up to five times longer than standard teeth.
The blade is designed with three cutting surfaces which enables fast cutting. The pistol grip soft rubber handle is very comfortable in the hand and the saw comes with a protective polypropylene sheath with belt loop for carrying safely when not in use.
This fixed blade pruning saw from WilFiks is both durable and affordable. With a very practical, strong scabbard it is a good, entry level pruning saw for anyone who has several trees and bushes to maintain.
How to Choose a Hand Pruning Saw for Cutting Small Tree Branches?
Types of Pruning Saw
There are three types of hand pruning saws for small trees and tree branches:
- straight bladed saws
- folding saws
- curved blade saws
Straight bladed pruning saws usually have a pistol grip type of handle and are ideal for general pruning jobs on green wood up to five inches thick.
Folding saws need no scabbard, are easily carried and are very handy for light pruning jobs and for cutting up brushwood for campfires.
Curved blade saws are designed for cutting larger branches up to 4 or 5 inches in diameter. The curve makes them more stable in use and improves the efficiency of the cut.
A major factor for most people is the amount of money they want to spend. When it comes to buying a pruning saw, the size of the saw and the frequency with which you use it will affect your choice. Generally speaking it is best to spend as much as you can afford.
How Often Will You Use Your Pruning Saw?
Frequency of use should be one of your major considerations when buying a hand tree-cutting pruning saw. Professional and other users who use their pruning saws daily make higher demands on their saws and require more robust saws where comfort, ease of use and cost of replacement parts will have a higher priority than lower frequency users who only need to use a pruning saw on the odd occasion.
How To Use a Pruning Saw?
Most hand pruning saws are double toothed draw saws, which means they are designed to cut on the “pull” stroke. These saws tend to pull themselves into the cut.
This means that only very light downward pressure is required on the “pull” stroke and none at all on the “push” stroke, which is counterintuitive if you are used to using a conventional crosscut saw.
If you have only ever used a conventional cross-cut saw for sawing wood, it may take some time to learn how to get the best out of your pruning saw.
Handy Tip! When cutting branches larger than 1-inch diameter make a cut on the underside first then cut through from the top side. This ensures that the branch will break off cleanly without tearing off a strip of bark on the underside when the limb falls. This is important because it reduces the risk of disease entering the tree.
How to Maintain a Pruning Saw?
Sap and dirt from tree bark will attack and corrode the blade of your pruning saw if not dealt with. After each use, we recommend following this simple routine to keep your pruning saw in tip-top condition:
- Wipe the blade clean of sap residue with a moistened piece of kitchen paper.
- Dry it off and apply a few drops of oil, wiping the oil all over the blade to give it a protective coating which will prevent oxidization and rust. Any light lubricating oil such as bicycle chain oil will do.
We hope this review of the 10 best hand pruning saws for cutting tree branches has been helpful, along with our short guide on how to choose and maintain your pruning saw.
Whether you are an occasional gardener who likes to potter at weekends or a professional who seeks the very best and most durable of pruning saws or somewhere in between, the information provided above will help you narrow down the options depending on the kind of tree-pruning work you have in mind.
If you are an occasional gardener with only a few trees or large bushes to contend with then one of the more modestly priced folding saws such as the WilFiks 13-Inch Curved Hand Saw may well be what you are after.
Or, if you are a seasoned professional who does a lot of tree-pruning work, and you are looking to upgrade or replace a tried and tested pruning saw, then you will probably want to consider one of the higher spec pruning saws such as the Samurai Ichiban, the Silky Zubat 270-33 or the Felco 600.
And if you are somewhere in between, then you should now be much better informed about the type of saw which will suit your gardening needs and budget.
Primary considerations must always take account of the demands made on the tool – how often you use the saw will determine the level of quality you require, whether you have a lot or only a few trees or bushes to prune and the amount of money you have available, will all contribute to the final decision. The ultimate aim is to reduce the stress on yourself and the plants.