On test: se­ca­teurs

Find the right ones for you

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Se­ca­teurs tend to be the first thing you pick up when you’re off to do some work in the gar­den. They’re use­ful for dead­head­ing and snip­ping off un­tidy shoots, for har­vest­ing flow­ers and veg­eta­bles, and for the pre­ci­sion prun­ing that keeps your shrubs and climbers per­form­ing per­fectly year af­ter year. There are so many vari­a­tions of this ver­sa­tile hand tool that you may be left won­der­ing how to make the right choice. The pri­or­ity in terms of plant health is to make clean, neat cuts. When choos­ing which pair to buy, this cut­ting ef­fi­ciency must be bal­anced against your own com­fort, their ease of main­te­nance and over­all value for money. We set about test­ing a se­lec­tion of se­ca­teurs that would suit most gar­den­ers. Tools were selected un­der three cat­e­gories: by­pass se­ca­teurs, anvil se­ca­teurs, and se­ca­teurs specif­i­cally de­signed for gar­den­ers with a weaker grip (see p81 to find out more about th­ese dif­fer­ent types). The last cat­e­gory mostly com­prised se­ca­teurs with a squeeze­ac­tion ratchet mech­a­nism. We didn’t test se­ca­teurs with roll han­dles be­cause, even though they can be ex­cel­lent tools and worth a try, they are de­signed to re­duce strain on the hand caused by repet­i­tive prun­ing, and we felt that most home gar­den­ers would prune for only rel­a­tively small amounts of time.

How we tested

The hor­ti­cul­tural staff and stu­dents at Sparsholt Col­lege put the se­ca­teurs through their paces on a range of plant ma­te­rial. Each tool passed through sev­eral hands to get a bal­anced re­view of per­for­mance. We used medium-sized se­ca­teurs suit­able for most hand sizes. Testers were am­a­teur and prefes­sional gar­den­ers on cour­ses this year. They were asked to com­ment on and score the op­er­a­tional ef­fi­cacy of the se­ca­teurs. Af­ter that the price was fac­tored into the scores. Testers’ scores were checked against their com­ments for con­sis­tency. Turn to p82 for a sum­mary of our Best Buys.

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