I am employed by Hatcher Garden and Woodland Preserve, a public botanical garden in upstate South Carolina. If you are in our area, stop by for a visit. Hatcher is a member of the American Horticultural Society. One of the benefits of AHS membership is that we receive email updates. One communication was so helpful, I wanted to share it with you. I found the information especially useful during this season of gift shopping for other gardeners.
Most of us buy our hand pruners based on the size of the limbs that we want to cut. This means, of course, the bigger the cutting capacity, the better the pruners. Right? Maybe not so much. Corona Tools provided a graphic to indicate what size pruners you should purchase, based on hand size. The dimensions are given in the photo below. To summarize, if you have Barbie-doll hands you should buy pruners that allow a ½-inch capacity. If you have catchers’ mitts on the end of your arms, you should buy pruners that allow for a 1-inch limb capacity.
Do not be tempted to force your hand pruners to cut a larger capacity than their design allows. You will end up with a mangled limb, torn bark, hand strain, or a broken tool. Move on to long-handled loppers with an appropriate cutting capacity. Bypass pruners (one blade sweeps by its counterpart, like scissors) give the cleanest cut for live branches, while anvil style pruners (blade closes against an anvil, like a knife against a cutting board) work better on dead or dry wood.
Many thanks to Corona Tools for providing the helpful graphic.