While finding the best set of pruners is generally a matter of personal preference, after years of experience i feel it important to let everyone know about a very good and inexpensive set of bypass pruners that is currently on sale at Canadian Tire (pictured above). With bypass pruners, the blades pass one another, unlike anvil pruners where one blade comes down on top of the other. These are best for general pruning jobs around the garden; anvil pruners are better for hard, dry wood such as twigs.
The Yardworks pruners are solid, forged steel from blade to handle so are very durable. They are also made from high-carbon steel, which sharpens very well, although tends to rust more easily; as they are very solid any rust can be rubbed off with steel wool or a file and still be sharpened so that’s a minor issue. The only problem i have had in 5–6 years is the little wire catch that keeps them closed can break, but that is fairly easy to fix or ignore. The pruners are on sale at Canadian Tire for $8.00 + HST from April 8–14. The express store at Danforth and Pape usually carries them. If you miss the sale you can find them on sale, usually at %50 off or more, a few times a year. Even at full price they are a good investment.
The only other pair of bypass pruners that i have found to be better is the industry-standard Felco, which has lasted me about 25 years. They are a little more difficult to sharpen but the blades can be replaced (as long as you don’t leave that too long since the rest of the pruner is aluminum and steel and aluminum tend to fuse over time). These can be bought at Lee Valley for $63.50 + HST and are worth the price if you are serious about your pruners. The only problem with these, apart from the blade becoming fused and not removable, is losing the spring that keeps them open; it is just sitting on two little projections and can slip off, springing away and getting lost in the garden (just saying, from experience).
The absolute non-choice is anything else you can buy on the market. I don’t know all pruners but anything else i have bought and anything you will find in the shed is rubbish that will not sharpen well, will perform poorly and even fail in the first season, and is a terrible value. Whether they are inexpensive or not, other pruners will make your work difficult and result in damage to your plants. You might as well take a kitchen knife with you. Below is an example: Fiskars, which is over-priced and under-performing. Even at the current sale price of $11 + HST, they are not worth it. Buy the Yardworks!