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Which Felco Tool Is Right for Your Pruning Project?

When faced with a pruning job, it can be hard to decide whether to use a lopper, hand pruners, snips, or a saw. Follow the guidelines in this article when choosing a Felco pruning tool to give your trees and plants the best care possible.

Diameter is Important

The diameter of the branch to be cut is the most important factor in choosing the type of Felco gardening tool to use. Cutting a branch beyond the capacity of your tool is dangerous to you, the tool and the plant.

Use snips for plants and flowers. Hand pruners are for small, easy to reach branches. Loppers work well for medium-size or inaccessible branches. Large branches or roots are best cut with a pruning saw.

Felco 300 snips

Snips and Garden Scissors

Smaller snips and scissors are handy for smaller plants like herbs and lettuce and are perfect for harvesting fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. They can also be used to prune vines and for deadheading flowers.

Keep a pair of snips handy in the house; the Felco 300 is great for trimming back and deadheading houseplants.

Felco 310 snips are designed for fruit or vegetable harvesting.

Hand Pruners (Pruning Shears)

The Difference between Bypass Pruners and Anvil Pruners

Felco hand pruners are available with two different types of cutting blades: bypass and anvil.

The most popular and generally-used blade is the bypass blade, which functions similarly to a pair of scissors. These blades make a slicing cut by having the upper blade slice past the lower, while the lower holds the branch in place. This type of cutter produces a very clean cut and is best used for tender stems and living plants. Use a bypass blade on roses and for cut flowers unless you are simply cutting off dead branches. The Felco 2 pruning shear is the most popular bypass pruner in the world.

An anvil blade works like a knife and chopping block. The upper blade cuts down onto the non-moving, non-cutting block. Cutting with a dull anvil blade can produce a crushing-type cut. A pruning tool with an anvil blade is best used for cutting dry, hard or dead wood.

Notice that the non-cutting blade (or hook) on a bypass pruner is also called the anvil blade: this can be a little confusing.

Felco model 7 pruners

Which Pruner is Best for You?

Hand pruners are appropriate for annuals, vegetables, small tree branches and shrubs.

A hand pruner can usually cut a branch up to 3/4 inch in diameter. Some, like the Felco 13 two-handed bypass pruner, can cut branches over 1 inch diameter.

The Felco 2 is the most popular bypass pruner. Unlike the other Felco models, the lower blade (the hook or anvil blade) is strongly attached with rivets. This makes a powerful pruner, but replacing the lower blade (though rarely necessary) requires riveting.

The Felco 6 and Felco 12 bypass pruning shears have a smaller cutting head for easier reaching into tight, densely-branched areas. These models also have a slightly smaller grip and may be more suitable for those with smaller hands.

Professionals, people with joint problems, or those who use pruners for hours at a time may prefer a gardening tool with more ergonomic features. The Felco 7, Felco 10 (left-handed) and Felco 12 are bypass pruners with rotating handles to ease wear-and-tear on the wrist and fingers. The Felco 8 ergonomic pruner and Felco 9 (left- handed) have a specially-angled bypass cutting head that helps avoid angling your wrist while pruning.

For left-handers, the Felco 9 and Felco 10 are mirror-images of the Felco 8 and Felco 7 respectively, allowing true left-handed pruning.

The Felco 11 bypass pruner is exactly like the popular Felco 2, but has a more easily replaced anvil blade (also know as the hook: the lower, non-cutting blade on a bypass pruner). The lower blade is attached with screws instead of rivets, unlike the Felco 2.

Felco 30 anvil pruners are so sharp that they cut as cleanly as a bypass blade. The model 30 cutting blade is beveled on both sides for clean-cut pruning and the unique brass anvil-cutting block is non-stick for easy cleaning.

The Felco 100 cut-and-hold pruning shear has special attachments the bypass blades. These hold on to the cut piece. It's perfect for cutting roses or other flowers from your garden.

Loppers or Two-Handed Pruners

Loppers are the gardening tool typically used to cut branches 3/4 inch to 2 inches diameter. The longer handles on loppers give you extra reach and greater leverage for added cutting power. Loppers are great for vines, small trees and shrubs. Loppers are especially useful for pruning prickly plants and branches that are hard to reach.

Original Loppers

Original Felco loppers (Model 22) are manufactured with solid, cast aluminum-alloy handles for low weight and high strength. The handles are guaranteed for life by the manufacturer. We have never seen a broken original Felco lopper handle.

The Felco 22 is the king of loppers. Immensely strong handles with a large, super-sharp cutting blade, these loppers can slice through hard-wood branches nearly 2 inches in diameter.

The best selling Felco lopper, the Felco 22 is a great lopper. Many professionals would never want to be without their trusty model 22.

Felco 200 series with carbon-fiber handles

Expert Loppers

Felco has done it again with the new lopper series Felco 200 and Felco 210. They've combined unique know-how with an unparalleled mastery of cutting edge-technology with these exciting, new expert loppers. Reducing the weight of the more traditional loppers by as much as 39%, you'll appreciate a significant improvement in comfort. These new loppers are available in several combinations with interchangable handles and blades. There are two types of blades: straight and curved. There are two types of tube handles: aluminum and carbon-fiber each available in three lengths: 9, 13 and 17 inches. Put these options together and you get the 10 different Felco expert loppers: F200A-40, F200A-50, F200A-60, F200C-50, F200C-60, F210A-50, F210A-60, F210C-40, F210C-50, F210C-60. The two remaining combinations, straight-blade with 9-inch carbon fiber handles and curved-blade with 9-inch aluminum handles, can be custom-assembled, but are not available for sale.

Curved Blade and Straight Blade Loppers

The straight blades are smaller. The slim-line design of the cutting head allows you to cut in tighter areas and closer to the branching point. The 200 series cutting blade paired with a unique grooved anvil blade will help you get a more secure hold. Straight blades are available on the F200 series.

Felco has designed a new curved blade that is tougher and can handle the harder jobs. This unique blade helps give more leverage and requires less effort when cutting: that means less work for you. Curved blades are used on the F210 series.

Aluminum vs. Carbon-fiber Handles

Felco's expert-level aluminum tube handles are amazingly light-weight yet so strong. These economical aluminum tube handles are available on the F200A and F210A series.

Felco expert-level carbon-fiber handles are even lighter and stronger than the aluminum tubes. State-of-the art manufacturing processes make these carbon-fiber handles amazingly tough and incredibly light. Carbon-fiber handles are available on the F200C series and the F210C series.

Different Handle Lengths

The shorter 9-inch handles are more useful for tighter areas and softer materials like vines, shrubs or hedges. The mid-size 13 inch handles are useful for all-around pruning for gardening and home use. The longest 17-inch handles are recommended for use in less-dense areas and on the hardest materials like trees. All three handle lengths are available on each series of expert lopper.

Anvil Loppers

Felco now offers two extremely powerful anvil loppers to round out their line. Anvil loppers are the best for cutting dead branches or dry, fallen wood. The F-230 is a straight blade anvil lopper intended for use where a precise cut is important, such as removing dead branches from ornamental trees. The F231 curved anvil lopper applies cutting power more evenly and is best for easier cutting of very hard dead wood. Both these anvil loppers have a protected high-leverage cam assisted action that increases the power of the cut. Both use tempered steel cutting blades for extra toughness and easy sharpening. Both have easily-replaced solid aluminum anvils. And of course, every part is available at the Felco Store.

Felco pruning saw in use

Pruning Saws

Use a pruning saw for cutting any branch above 2 inches in diameter. Saws also work well for smaller branches. Most pruning saws have a high tooth pitch (3 to 4 mm) for cutting green wood or branches. Pruning saws with a smaller tooth pitch (1 to 2 mm) are used for cutting hard wood or dead branches.

All Felco pruning saws have durable, non-slip handles and taper-ground, hard-chrome plated blades with each tooth individually sharpened.

The Felco 600 folding pruning saw is handy, safer to carry and works when a hand pruner or lopper won't do. Its securely locking fold-out 6-inch blade cuts branches up to 4 inches diameter.

For larger branches in tight spots, the Felco 621 pruning saw is a perfect fit. It comes complete with it's own protective holster for attachment to your tool belt, so you can take it anywhere. The model 621 pruning saw can handle branches up to 6 inches in diameter.

The largest Felco pruning saw, the Felco 611 saw is great for cutting the largest branches: up to 9 inches in diameter. The model 611 also has it's own protective holster with belt attachment.

Sharp Blades are Important

Make sure your tool of choice has a sharp blade. When blades are clean and sharp, they produce straight, smooth cuts. This type of cut promotes a natural healing with the formation of calluses. This is similar to the formation of a scab on human skin.

Dull blades can tear the tissue and leave a jagged cut, which can become infected with diseases and pests. Felco 903 diamond sharpening stones are easy to use and can sharpen almost any blade including Felco pruners, snips, and loppers. For quick honing between sharpenings, use the Felco 902 sharpening stone. Replace a blade that has deep nicks or is chipped. Most Felco tools have convenient replacement blades; a reasonable alternative to replacing the tool.

Tool Care and Repair

Make your job easier and more enjoyable and keep you tools in tip top shape with Felco accessories and Felco brand spare parts.

Felco makes a number of quality accessories that you'll love. Treat yourself to a genuine leather Felco holster for your pruner and lopper. These handy holders are an excellent quality product that will help you keep track of your tools and you'll look cool wearing them too!

Keep your tools clean and free of debris. After each use, spray your tool blade using the Felco 980 universal lubricant and wipe clean with a soft cloth. It protects all types of metals against corrosion and provides an effective waterproof coating. This protects your tools and helps prevent the spread of disease from plant to plant.

During tool maintenance and at the start and end of each season, apply a dab of Felco 990 grease. This will help protect your tool against wear and tear on moving parts and the special formula is designed for optimum protection against corrosion.

Felco owners agree, that one of the most important features about Felco tools is the freedom and convenience to replace virtually any piece of a tool as a regular part of maintenance. Lost a spring? Chipped a blade? Ripped a handle cover? Worn out shock absorbers? No problem, the Felco Store stocks all the parts you'll need to keep your Felco tools working like new.

Now You Know Pruning Tools

Choosing the right pruning tool for your project is easy if you know the cutting capacity and the intended purpose of each tool. Protect yourself, your tools and your plants by not going beyond the recommended cutting capacities. Help your plants heal quickly by choosing tools with sharp, clean blades. Purchase quality tools with a reputation for long-lasting sharpness and durability - Felco tools are all you'll ever need.