Hand pruners are designed to cut stems and branches up to three-quarters of an inch in diameter. There are two types of hand pruners. Although bypass pruners, the type or pruner with two curved cutting blades, are sometimes better, anvil pruners are often much cheaper. If you only do light, occasional pruning, anvil pruners might be a good choice. Anvil pruners are ideal pruners for dry growth, like dead branches, and old growth that has hardened.
Anvil pruners cut using a scissor action that presses a sharpened blade against a flat, grooved plate. This plate serves the function of an anvil, hence the name of these hand pruning shears.
Because of the thickness of the flat plate and the shape of the blade, anvil pruners might not be able to get the same close cuts as other types of hand pruners. They are better suited for trimming back branches to leaf pairs and other pruning tasks farther out on tree or bush branches.
In some cases, especially if the anvil pruners are dull, the pruners might crush a branch rather than cutting it. Crushing the branch causes breaks to appear below the prune cut and can, in some cases, allow pathogens to enter the tree or bush.
Ease of Use
Anvil pruners are often require less pressure to make the cut because of the ratchet mechanism in many anvil pruners. This mechanism helps to hold the blades in place and keep then from slipping out of the cut as you apply more pressure to complete the prune.
Anvil pruners can range in cost from a few dollars to around $50 as of 2010. The more-expensive pruners will have better quality blades and mechanisms that are more reliable. Some higher-end anvil pruners have geared mechanisms to help reduce the pressure required to cut through branches. Geared pruners can help make tree and bush maintenance easier for people with arthritis and similar conditions.