In order to maintain your garden and keep the plants under control and growing strongly you will require a pair of hand pruners. This tool appears to be quite a simple cutting device but a lot of work has gone into the design and manufacture of these instruments to ensure that they are comfortable to use and that they perform well every time.

Hand pruners are also known as secateurs, depending on where you live, but no matter what you call them, they are essential for all of the trimming, cutting and pruning tasks that crop up around the garden.

They are necessary for pruning established plants, taking back the growth to improve the quality of the next year's plant. Whenever you need to take a hardwood cutting and require a good clean cut, a sharp hand pruner is essential.

A good hand pruner will be light in the hand but the blades will be made of forged steel and will be capable of cutting through stems up to half an inch thick without a lot of trouble. Many companies who manufacture hand pruners have designed certain models to meet ergonomic requirements to make their use as comfortable as possible.

There are two types of pruners that are generally available, although there are many variations of these two types. They are bypass and anvil pruners.

A bypass pruner is capable of making neat, even slices thanks to the beveled cutting blade on top and bottom. An anvil pruner works more like a guillotine with the top blade coming down as the stem is held on the anvil. These types of pruners are designed to cut dead wood branches.

Regardless of which type of hand pruner you buy, you will want to get one that feels the most comfortable in your hand. It may have an offset head, the cutting blade might be set at an angle or the handles may be made with thumb notches so that it is more comfortable to hold. Any one of these features might simply prove to be an annoyance to you, you won't know until you pick one up and give it a few test cuts.

Other important factors you will need to consider before you buy a new hand pruner is whether the blades can be removed to be sharpened or replaced, whether the pruner comes with a safety latch or how smoothly the spring that allows the pruners to open and close operates.

It's important to remember, the hand pruners that cost the most money are not necessarily the best pruners for you. Some are made with a specific function in mind and this function may not be the use that you are intending for them. Shop around and find the hand pruner that feels best in your hand.

It is generally acknowledged by experts in the gardening industry that the makers of the best hand pruners is a Swiss company called Felco. Felco hand pruners are available in a wide range of sizes and ergonomic design and one should meet the needs of every type of gardener.