pruning saw

Best Pruning Saw Reviews and Buying Guide 2019

Best Pruning Saw Reviews 2019

With summer quickly drawing to a close, the customary shift to cooler temperatures, and the inclement weather that it brings, will soon necessitate the trimming of branches. While you can always wait for winds and rain to do half the job for you, it is often a better idea to prune them with a special saw ahead of time. That is why we have prepared a list of the 5 best pruning saw reviews of 2019. We also put together a helpful buyer’s guide and FAQ, so you know what you are looking for. The Silky and Fiskars are the clear winners, for different reasons, but they are also significantly more expensive than most pruning saws. Keep reading to find out what is the best deal around.

Silky 270-33 Zubat PROFESSIONAL Series – Best Seller

silky pruning saw 270-33
https://www.amazon.com/270-33-PROFESSIONAL-Curved-Scabbard-thickness/dp/B0014C4QMG/
While not the oldest company, strictly speaking, Silky is definitely one of the more prestigious– at least when it comes to saw blades. In fact, the company is celebrating its centennial this year, and they have put that century-long experience to good work in producing the Zubat professional series pruning saw. It is not every day that you find a best selling product that also happens to be the most expensive, but the sheer level of craftsmanship and quality of the Zubat seems to speak for itself. This is not to suggest that the Silky Subat pruning saw is without its issues or concerns, but thankfully, those are limited to purchasing and have nothing to do with the actual quality of the product in question. As such, unless you need a pruning saw with a specific feature or for a particular kind of job, it is safe to say that the Silky pruning saw is every bit worth the initial cost of entry.

Great Blade
To get it out of the way early, the major issue with the Silky Zubat pruning saw, outside of the fact that it is the most expensive product on our list, is that it can be difficult to be sure that you are purchasing the product through a verified seller. As such, we strongly recommend that you do not go bargain hunting for this product given that there is a rash of counterfeits flooding the market from non-verified sellers. However, if you are willing to pony up the rather steep initial investment, you will be rewarded with one of the best performing pruning saws we found outright. First, the Zubat pruning saw comes equipped with a 13” blade which, while not the largest on our list, is more than capable of handling most branch trimming duties. That said, this 13” blade is easily more powerful and durable than many blades that are ostensibly larger than it. This comes down to the fact that this is the only pruning saw on our list with a saw blade that has a full tang. This means the blade extends all the way into the hilt and will not snap off at the handle as some lesser products may.

Great Cut
Of course, the quality of a pruning saw’s blade will only go so far when judging the quality of its cut, but that is also expertly crafted too. For instance, the Silky pruning saw uses Japanese-style teeth which means that they are not stamped onto the blade. On top of that, the whole blade itself is impulse-hardened, providing a significantly harder blade than anything cast or stamped. This construction is then reinforced with the use of a curved blade as well as a hooked tip, so you can apply a great deal of force through your cut without having to worry about the blade slipping off of the end of the branch. Still, Silky is not satisfied as a number of other competitors are able to achieve some of these features, but the Zubat pruning saw goes further. For instance, this pruning saw features the most teeth per inch at 6.5 but still manages to come in at a svelte 1.5 mm thick with only a 1.4 mm kerf. 

Pros

  • Has a 13” blade
  • Has 6.5 tpi
  • Has a full tang blade
  • Has an impulse-hardened blade
  • Has Japanese-style teeth
  • The blade is only 1.5mm thick

Cons

  • The most expensive pruning saw reviewed
  • Amazon does not regulate counterfeits

Fiskars 14 Foot Power-Lever Extendable Tree Pruner (93016059J) – Top Pick

fiskars pruning saw 93016059j
https://www.amazon.com/Fiskars-Power-Lever-Extendable-Pruner-93016059J/dp/B000XSF3YM/
Though it may have had humble origins, Fiskars is by far the oldest and most experienced company on our list. In fact, the comparison is not even remotely close as the company took its eponymous name from its small, Finnish town of origin in 1649. Of course, the company was a more general ironworks corporation at the time, and this genealogy still expresses itself today through the wide range of different products offered by Fiskars. Thankfully, this broad net of production does not actually inhibit Fiskars from manufacturing one of the best pruning saws we encountered. That said, this is definitely not like most of the other options on our list and is better suited for particular trimming jobs. Still, when you consider the various levels of high-end manufacturing that goes into this product combined with its expanded range of uses, it is easy to see why we rated it our top pick.

Higher Levels
A quick look is all it takes to see that the Fiskars pruning saw is the odd man out in our list, though this should not be taken as a negative. To wit, the Fiskars is the only product on our list that features its saw blade affixed to the end of an extendable pole. This alternative design allows the Fiskars to more easily get at branches which would otherwise be out of reach and require balancing on a ladder to cut with a handheld pruning saw. Even better, the Fiskars pruning saw makes it a point to take a lot of the work out of using an extended type in the first place. This is accomplished with the inclusion of a power lever that enables you to trim those tall branches without having to physically move the entire pole to cut. It is worth noting that because the cutting action is engaged through indirect mechanisms, this can take a bit of practice to get the hang of and is inherently a bit more complicated than your standard hand held pruning saw. Still, there are few alternatives on the market which are more capable of trimming tall branches without too much effort.

Good Build
Outside of the inherent advantages that the Fiskars pruning saw design affords, the company also made it a point to provide a generally robust product at its base. To be a bit literal, the Fiskars may easily be the heaviest product we reviewed, but it is still incredibly light compared to other extended pruning saws. A big part of this has to do with the use of fiberglass for the pole, as opposed to heavier materials like aluminum or steel. Thankfully, Fiskars made sure to follow the proper industry standards when it comes to their blades as the Woodzig blade is made of fully hardened steel. As if that were not enough, the Fiskars pruning saw also features the longest blade on our list at 15” which provides for one of the thicker maximum cutting thicknesses. Keeping in line with a design that enables the Fiskars pruning saw to perform quick and easy cuts, the curved blade offers the ability to apply more force than straight blades, while the hooked tip prevents the blade from sliding off of the branch during the backstroke.

Pros

  • Has a 15” blade
  • Has a 14’ extension pole
  • Blade has a hooked end
  • Has a power lever
  • Is made of precision-ground steel
  • Has a lifetime warranty

Cons

  • Is a more expensive pruning saw
  • Is more difficult to use

Corona RazorTOOTH Folding Pruning Saw, 10 Inch Curved Blade, RS 7265D – Best Value

https://www.amazon.com/Corona-RazorTOOTH-Folding-RS-7265D/dp/B001RD7LRO/
Even though it may not necessarily be one of the older companies on our list, Corona Tool still has plenty of experience accrued since its founding in 1928. Even better, Corona Tool is a company which has always focused on outdoor landscaping equipment, though they do not specialize in pruning saws like other companies we encountered. Still, Corona Tool is not only our best value pruning saw, but it is also one of the few to push the boundaries in terms of innovation in order to identify new avenues towards achieving a professional level of performance. Were it not for some unique qualities and modestly superior aspects of its competitors, this could easily be our top pick.

Mostly Great Blade
The blade of the Corona pruning saw is every bit as well-constructed as the top-rated pruning saws on our list. This is actually a bit surprising considering that this pruning saw is also significantly less expensive than the products rated above it. Granted, the RazorTOOTH pruning saw does have one of the shorter blades on our list at only 10”, but it is still exquisitely crafted. For instance, this is the only pruning saw that we reviewed which is made of SK5 steel, a carbon-infused steel that is naturally stronger than most used in saw blade construction. That does mean you will have to be a bit more careful in cold weather conditions, however, as the blade is also more brittle.

Good Design
One of the reasons that Corona Tool opted for a smaller blade likely has to do with the fact that this is a folding pruning saw. This makes it much easier to store when you are finished trimming branches as well as carry to and from the foliage in question– though you will still want to be careful during transport as the teeth are still somewhat exposed even in the folded alignment. Beyond the folding style, the Corona pruning saw also features an impulse-hardened blade with a Japanese-style tooth design. In fact, the RazorTOOTH pruning saw is an aptly named product as its teeth utilize the 3-sided triple ground approach. This allows the Corona Tool pruning saw to feature the second-highest density of teeth on our list at 6 tpi.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive pruning saw
  • Has an impulse-hardened blade
  • The blade is made of SK5 steel
  • Has 3-sided teeth
  • Has a folding design
  • Has 6 tpi

Cons

  • Only has a 10” blade
  • The folded blade’s teeth are still exposed

TABOR TOOLS Folding Saw with 8 Inch Straight Blade and Solid Grip Handle, Hand Saw for Pruning Trees, Trimming Branches, Camping, Clearing Forest Trails. T6. (Straight Blade 8 Inch) – Runner Up

tabor tools pruning saw tts25a
https://www.amazon.com/TABOR-TOOLS-Straight-Trimming-Branches/dp/B00VI2QKYE/
Unlike some of the other companies on our list, Tabor Tools does not have nearly the background or storied history that some do. Having only been founded in 1982, the company does at least specialize in outdoor landscaping equipment, though it does not focus explicitly on pruning saws or their blades. That said, this is still an incredibly convenient option for the right person, especially if you have difficulty working outdoors. On top of that, the Tabor Tools pruning saw is the least expensive product that we reviewed, though some minor design flaws prevent it from being considered out best value option.

Solid Engineering
Considering how inexpensive this pruning saw is, it is all the more surprising that it still features many of the same great qualities you expect to find on products costing 3 times what the T-6 pruning saw does. For one, the Tabor Tools pruning saw uses precision-grounding processes to ensure that its 3-angled teeth are able to bite into the branches and cut through the rough timber with ease. On top of that, the blade itself is made of steel that is impulse-hardened to ensure that it can handle plenty of use and abuse. Finally, the Tabor Tools pruning saw also comes equipped with a fully metal locking mechanism, so you do not have to worry about the blade slipping in or out of its handle.

Up and Down
One of the more convenient aspects of the T-6 pruning saw is its ability to fold the blade into the handle. What is even more noteworthy is the fact that this is one of the few such pruning saws which can accomplish this feat and not leave some of its teeth exposed. However, the reason the Tabor Tools pruning saw achieves this state is due to the straight blade design used. This is far from the ideal blade design as it ultimately requires more force to be used when trying to make a cut and also utilizes less of the teeth with each stroke. On top of that, the Tabor Tools pruning saw also features the shortest blade on our list at only 8”.

Pros

  • Is the least expensive pruning saw reviewed
  • Has a folding design
  • Has precision-ground, 3-angled teeth
  • Has a safe locking mechanism
  • Has an impulse-hardened blade
  • The blade is made of chrome-plated steel

Cons

  • Only has an 8” blade
  • The blade is straight

Razor Sharp 14″ Curved Japanese Style Hand Saw – Perfect for Trimming Branches and Shrubs – Typhon East – Also Consider

https://www.amazon.com/Razor-Sharp-Curved-Japanese-Style/dp/B0783PHH8Y/
typhon east pruning saw
Typhon East is a new company stationed out of Florida for which there is little available information. One thing that we do know is that it neither specializes in pruning saws nor does it even focus on outdoor landscaping tools. While the company touts its use of high-quality materials and top-tier manufacturing processes, this upstart definitely has a long way to go if it plans on dethroning any of the other companies situated above it. While there is definitely a place for the Typhon East pruning saw in the market, it is definitely as a more budget-friendly option.

Decent Design
One of the first things that stands out about the Typhon East pruning saw is the sheer length of its saw blade which is the second-longest on our list at 14”. This is especially surprising considering that it is one of the less expensive options we reviewed and seemingly closer in line with the approach of more expensive products. In fact, a big draw of the Typhon East pruning saw is that it is a much less expensive option than your general fixed-blade products. This pruning saw makes it a point to incorporate the Japanese-style teeth that are incredibly popular as well, though it should be noted that the Typhon East does not utilize the multiple rows of alternating teeth as a traditional Japanese-style does.

Falling Short
While there are definitely some positives that the Typhon East gets right and provides room to grow on, there are also some major missteps too. For instance, while some of the other products have been known to break, especially in colder weather where they may become more brittle, few have the kind of documented issue with this that the Typhon East does. On top of that, the saw blade may feature a decent design for the teeth, but that does not really matter as much when they dull as quickly as many report these ones do. This means that the additional force the pistol grip and curved blade allow may be a necessity, but it also may lead to the blade breaking too.

Pros

  • Is a less expensive pruning saw
  • Has a 14” blade
  • Has a pistol-grip handle
  • Comes with a sheath
  • Has a curved blade
  • Has Japanese-style teeth

Cons

  • The blade is flimsy
  • The teeth dull quickly

Best Pruning Saw Buying Guide 2019

Material

While not, strictly speaking, the most important quality of a pruning saw, the material the blade is made of is definitely near the top of the list. That said, there is generally a bit of a give and take when you judge a blade’s material as it impacts a wide range of different qualities from the general durability, extenuating durability, the ability to keep an edge, and the ease of sharpening the teeth once they have been worn dull. It is worth noting that a number of pruning saw blades will include a chrome-plating or coating, but this is not actually designed to improve the blade’s actual cutting ability. Instead, these coatings and platings are designed to prevent sap and other materials within the tree from catching the blade as you make your cuts.

Pretty much all pruning saw blades will be made of some kind of steel, though other metals are occasionally used. Steel is a good choice due to its natural strength and relative lightness, but there are a number of different types of steel available. Some of the more popular pruning saws include blades made of carbon-steel because it is incredibly strong and keeps an edge extremely well. However, carbon-steel is also noted for being far more brittle than traditional steel, meaning it is more prone to breaking in cold weather and is significantly harder to resharpen without precision machining tools.

Metallurgy and Machining

These two qualities are best understood as being the “fine-tuning” of making a pruning saw, though these decisions will generally play a huge role in how well the saw performs. In fact, while the specific metal chosen is an important factor when judging different pruning saws, the metallurgy and machining might be even more important. This is because both of these qualities play a major role in the actual cutting quality of the saw blade and can also influence its overall durability.

For instance, within the realm of metallurgy, it is best to look for a saw blade advertised as impulse-hardened. That said, this is simply a new way of saying induction hardened which is a standard method of tempering steel. Still, impulse hardening a steel blade is especially effective at providing for a stronger, harder metal that is both less likely to break as well as easier to keep sharpened. This is definitely a superior method than simply casting the blade or, even worse, using a stamped steel blade.

In terms of machining, this almost always relates to the way that the teeth are arranged and sharpened. It is worth noting that because raw timber, which even the modest branches a pruning saw cuts are considered, has not been cut to reflect uniformity of grain, your standard saw design will be less effective. Whereas most saw blades, whether for a hand saw or a power saw, have a single file of teeth, pruning saw blades generally employ multiple, alternating rows of teeth. On top of that, the teeth themselves are often sharpened on multiple sides to provide a better cutting surface for the irregular growing pattern of raw timber.

Design

There are a couple of ways you can approach judging a pruning saw’s design. The first involves the actual mechanical indication of the pruning saw while the second focuses more on the saw blade’s shape. The first is technically less important to the overall cutting performance, though it can be vitally important depending on the branches you need to cut. For instance, a pruning saw affixed to the end of an extended pole allows you to trim branches that would otherwise be out of reach. On the flip side, this can make trimming branches that are closer to ground level more awkward and significantly more difficult than a hand pruning saw.

The design of the pruning saw’s blade, on the other hand, will play a larger role in the saw’s overall cutting performance. Specifically, you want to get a pruning saw whose blade inherently puts more pressure on the wood being cut and allows for better control. One term you might see which indicates a good design is “Japanese-style,” though all this really means is that the blade is crescent-shaped. 

The inner curve of a Japanese-style pruning saw allows you to apply more pressure while cutting and also utilizes more teeth for each cut. This, in turn, allows a Japanese-style saw blade to cut better than a straight pruning saw blade, excepting other factors. The other design feature to look for with a pruning saw is a blade that has some kind of a hook at the end of the tip. While the hook will generally be rounded to prevent any accidental injury or the blade becoming stuck on an errant branch, any kind of hook will help ensure that the saw blade does not slide off of the branch in question while cutting it.

FAQ’s

Which Type Is Best?

A quick look at our list will make immediately prescient that there are a few different ways to approach the design of a pruning saw. While it might initially seem as though there are only two different types, a subtle difference in engineering actually shows that there are 3 major types of pruning saw: the extended, the fixed blade, and the folding blade. Each of these ostensibly serves the same basic purpose, but they are also better or worse for different situations or cutting jobs. For instance, the extended pruning saw is clearly ideal when you have a task which requires the ability to reach higher than your arms allow.

This allows you to trim branches at heights that would otherwise require the use of a ladder which can put you at risk of falling. Between the two handheld types of pruning saw, the fixed blade and folding blade, the indicated use bears more in relation to the rigor of the work performed. Specifically, fixed-blade pruning saw will provide a significantly sturdier cut and is less likely to break at the handle. On the other hand, a folding blade pruning saw is much easier to carry around when not in use and stores away in a much smaller profile.

Considerations About Climate

While the climate is not generally much of a consideration for the overwhelming number of saws, the specific setting and use of a pruning saw make it more relevant. This is because pruning saws are generally used outdoors between the spring and autumn seasons. Obviously, if you are using a pruning saw during the summer season, this is less of an issue since the temperature is unlikely to impact the saw’s performance. Though, it is still important to make sure that you properly maintain the blade if you live in a wetter region and the blade does not have a protective coating. However, things can get a bit more tricky when you use a pruning saw during the spring or autumn, especially if doing so in a colder climate.

The reason for this has to do with the different types of metals used in the construction of pruning saw blades. While not an industry standard, the use of carbon-alloy metal for a pruning saw blade is becoming more and more common. While this provides the saw blade increased general durability and allows it to maintain a sharp edge for longer, it also makes it more brittle. This is especially relevant in colder climates where a low temperature can actually make a carbon-alloy saw blade brittle enough to snap.

What to Look For

Though a number of the options on our list may seem superficially similar, there are a number of engineering choices which help distinguish one from the other. For instance, one of the arguably most important aspects is the teeth which can be judged in a couple of different ways. On the surface, the sheer number of teeth, rated in teeth per inch or tpi, provides a rough estimate of how much material the blade can remove with a single stroke. However, the specific construction of the teeth will also play an important role in the speed of the cut. Traditionally, pruning saws had a single row of teeth which were sharpened on one or two sides. Of course, if you are looking for a superior pruning saw, you will want to get one that is triple-ground and features multiple rows of alternating teeth.

Another primary feature to at when judging a pruning saw is the material the blade is made of which, while metal, can come in a number of different grades. Traditionally, pruning saws are made of steel, but since this is inherently an alloy, there are a wide variety of different admixtures to choose from. One of the more popular options is to look for carbon steel, though as mentioned prior, that can present its own challenges.

Conclusion

As we discovered, what at first seemed like a fairly simple discussion reveals itself to be significantly more complicated than first thought. The Silky offers the best cutting performance out of all the pruning saws we reviewed, but it is also the most expensive and can be rife with unregulated counterfeiters. The Fiskars will not be ideal for every situation, but if you need to trim branches well beyond reach, this is the pruning saw for you. The Corona RazorTOOTH is likely the most competent folding-blade pruning on our list, while the TABOR TOOLS is the least expensive, albeit a bit on the small side. The Typhon East is an acceptable fixed-blade model if you are not looking to spend quite as much as Silky demands.