What is the best pruning saw?

Pruning saws, as the name suggests, is a saw that is specifically used to prune a tree or a bush.

For the amateur gardener, winter – traditionally thought of being a “dormant” season, especially in locales such as the Northeast, where the weather fluctuates by a good number of degrees and snow is a common occurrence – is considered “tree pruning season.”

Needless to say, in order to effectively prune a tree, one needs a tool specifically designed for such a job…and no gardening arsenal is complete without a pruning saw.

A pruning saw is able to cut thicker branches that can remain untouched by simple shears. Pruning saws can either be hand-held/manual (and their handles, in this case, are either made of wood or an artificial alloy that makes it non-slip and plastic-like) or electric.

To benefit gardeners – be they professional landscapers or home gardening amateurs – we have compiled a list of the five best pruning saws. These saws were determined to be the best based on value (“more bang for your buck”), ease of use, look, feel, and effectiveness in pruning.

Here, then, is our list of the five best pruning saws, listed in order from good, to better, to best.

GOOD: Fanno 13″ Curved Pruning Saw

This hand-held pruning saw has a wooden handle, a curved 13″ blade, and 6 tri-blade “teeth” per inch.

At an overall length of 20 inches, it has the advantage of being compact and easy to handle.

And, at a price point of $29.25, this affordable pruning saw is definitely a good and quick investment if you’re in desperate need of adding a pruning saw to your toolbox.

The good news about this saw is that it allows for both forward, and backward, motion when cutting, which is a natural movement when it comes to sawing.

In addition, the hardwood handle is laminated, so it’s easy to grip, and doesn’t cause any sort of splintering.

Finally, it’s easy to fit into your toolbelt.

The bad news? Well, this saw just works. It doesn’t do anything special. It doesn’t look particularly appealing. You get what you pay for, and frankly, if you have the most basic of plants – your rhododendrons, your dogwood trees – this is precisely what you need: nothing fancy that can get the job done nonetheless.

This product is manufactured by Fanno, a California-based saw company that manufactures all types of saws and saw accessories.

GOOD: Silky 270-33 Zubat 330mm Large Teeth 1.4 Thickness Blade Version

This is one of those instances where “more expensive” doesn’t mean “best quality.” Still, don’t take this to mean that the pruning saw is cheap and/or ineffective: this manual pruning saw is also flexible and well-priced.

Two versions of this saw are available for sale: the 330 mm version, which costs about $40, and the 390 mm version, which will set you back about $60.

It’s very light and flexible, and the detachable belt holder is included.

In addition, according to the manufacturer, the blade is rust-resistant (because it’s made from an iron alloy as opposed to straight iron), and the knife is also equipped with a sure-grip handle that will stay in your hands.

However, not all is perfect with this knife. A few customers have reported that the teeth of the blade have fallen off after only a short time of use.

In addition, this is a Japanese product – customers who are used to buying American products may not like the fact that this is a Japanese product (which also accounts for the more expensive price).

This product is made in Japan and sold by Silky in North Carolina (which is where the official importer and the wholesale distributor of the Silky Saws company is located).

BETTER: Fiskars 18 Inch POWER TOOTH Pruning Saw Blade

This is a pruning saw that actually looks like a saw. At 18 inches, it also has one of the longest blades on the market.

Fiskars is a trusted American name-brand – as a longtime manufacturer of scissors, Fiskars gives you reliable quality at a reasonable price.

Best of all, the blade is made from steel, making it as durable as it is reliable.

The handle provides a lot of benefits, as well: because the handle is D-shaped, it’s easy to grasp and protects the hand from the cut of the brush.

In addition, the handle is also “soft-grip,” meaning that it will protect you from getting callouses, especially if you grip it too tightly and for too long.

However, there are also some drawbacks to the saw, as well. The D-shaped handle may prove difficult to hold for some customers. In addition, the longer blade of the pruning saw may compromise the actual quality of the cut the saw makes.

The saw is manufactured by Fiskars, and will set you back about $35. You can find the saw at any home improvement store (most notably, The Home Depot).

BETTER: Corona RS 7395 Razor Tooth Pruning Saw, 14″ Curved Blade

Corona Clipper is best known for making professional-grade tools, even for the non-professional gardener. As it’s been around for nearly a century, it’s earned a reliable reputation (as Fiskars before it has).

The 14″ blade makes it easy to handle — and the easy-to-grip handle makes it easy for even the most amateur gardener to take hold of the saw.

Customers who have used the product report that it is very durable, and the blade is very sharp. Many also report that the saw lives up to its claim of “cutting like a razor,” and that the blade takes a long time to go dull.

Best of all, the price point is comparable to other saws of the same quality: the average price of this saw is about $25.

So, what are the drawbacks? Despite the claims that it’s a professional grade saw, some customers found that the more expensively priced Silky saw provided the same results…and better. The same customers report that the Silky saw cut through the more difficult trees with greater ease than the Corona Clippers.

This saw, like the Fiskars, can be found at your local home improvement store.

BEST: Samurai Ichiban 330Mm Pruning Saw Scabbard

This is, by far, the best handheld pruning saw on the market today.

The blade is tapered, and while that paper-thin look may cause you to pause and think that you will damage the sword, the reality is that the thin blade actually cuts through the knotted trees and brush a lot quicker. The blade’s chrome plating makes it more resistant to wear, and the ergonomic handle is cushioned so that it can be gripped easier.

Of course, even the best blade on the market has its drawbacks. The Samurai Ichiban’s drawbacks include its price ($44.95, plus tax and shipping), and its difficulty to be found (many retailers that normally carry the blade are often out of stock, and sometimes, they need to be special ordered). Still, in terms of pruning saws, this will give you the best — and the most — proverbial bang for your buck.

Conclusion

When deciding on a pruning saw, you have to decide what works best for you, and your needs, and your garden’s needs. If you can find it, of course, get the best of the best: the Samurai Ichiban.

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  • Bill Hunt

    I just tried a brand new Fiskars 18 in. D-Handled Pruning Saw from Home Depot and was disappointed. Looks good, but its made in China and just doesn’t have the same tooth technology as Silky. Also it does not come with a sheath, and its a wider and longer blade that does not fit in any of the Corona or Silky sheaths I have. I tried the Fiskars side by side with a Silky Zubat 330mm 270-33. The Silky cuts much faster, no comparison. I have 13 and 14″ Coronas; I know the Silky Sugoi (16.5″) is about 30% faster than a 14″ Corona; haven’t compared Corona to the Zubat actually. Silkys are widely considered to be the best. I have not tried the Samurai Ichiban 330Mm, going to get one. I am a concerned about the “paper-thin look” mentioned; how easily do they bend?
    I think the reports of breaking Zubats are for the thinner 1.4mm blades. The link above appears to be the 1.5mm blade model; hard to tell as that spec is not mentioned. There are some user reviews mentioning bad suppliers that are selling the 1.4mm blades. I will say that when cutting aggressively on the push stroke (which is not necessary, since its a pull saw), I did bend my Zubat slightly near the tip, it still cuts great though and is my favorite handsaw. I also bent a smaller folding Silky, the SUPER ACCEL 210mm Large Teeth, near the tip. You can pull as hard and fast as you want with these saws, but be a little careful on the push stroke. The Silky Sugoi is thicker and more durable, but also more $$$, and heavier; not really in the same class as the 13-14″ saws.
    The Silky Sugoi (14.5″ and 16.5″ models) and Sugowaza (16.5″) should be compared to the Ichiban 15.75” Saw, and the Samurai 15.75” Heavy Duty Saw (this is clearly the bargain of the 15-16.5″ sheathed class, but is not tapered so it won’t be a quick).