Tuesday 19 December 2017

Garden gifts for the tool shed (6), Felco secateurs

Proper pruners

Hang on to your Felco secateurs
Over six days before Christmas I make some suggestions. They are tools that I regularly use. I cannot claim that there are not better ones and if you have your own personal favourites please let me know

Felco secateurs
Professional pruners
We bought Brenda’s big sister Joyce a pair of Felcos for Christmas several years ago. Her enthusiasm was hardly deafening. One might even say she looked somewhat deflated.
That was before she used them. She now claims to have been ecstatic when she realised how It transformed her gardening.
Too many gardeners put-up with next to useless cheap secateurs. They do not know what they are missing. Good secateurs cut cleanly and tackle thick woody shoots with ease.
At one time I always carried Felcos in my car when I visited friends and relations. Too often had I carelessly offered to prune a shrub for them and my anticipated five minutes turned into an hour because their own secateurs were so pathetic.
You can choose several models of Felcos including special ones if you are left handed. My own hand span is small and I buy number sixes

An ambitious Felco cut. Perhaps Jack should take the strain?
All Felcos have red handles and I still manage to lose them!

This is one of many sources of Felcos. Shop around for a good price

My pruning posts are the least read ones! Too many gardeners fear having a go. Get out in the garden this Christmas or gain confidence about pruning by clicking the link in my theme column!

Reply to HELENE
Peter Williams' reply to Helene's question in the comment column

Dear Helene,
Felcos are always good when new but I find that they do blunt just as quickly as other makes despite their very high initial cost.  The cheaper Felcos are just that - rather inferior in all ways to the expensive ones. ​
I do resharpen the blades but never manage to get them quite as sharp as when new.  Replacement blades are available but I believe that they cost as much as the disposable secateurs mentioned below. 

The disposable secateurs that I have used for a number of years are really excellent (grey/silver pair below).   They have cost £5.99 for the last couple of years and I get them from a discount store in York called Boyes.  They do not have a brand name but simply state that they are made from High Carbon Japanese steel SK5.  They are superbly sharp (better that Felco) and will cut thin paper beautifully.   They remain sharp for a long time and their relatively small size just suits me.  The catch cannot easily be released with the holding hand and that is the  only slight disadvantage to the model.  Last year's pair are shown at the top of the photograph.  I have seen them on sale at Chelsea and other flowers shows for £10 - still a bargain.

Since last Spring I have also been using a simple pair of Japanese secateurs that I purchased at Harrogate Spring  Flower show from a Dutch stallholder.  They cost £17 and are the best small secateurs that I have ever used.  Wonderfully sharp and a delight to use.  They are labelled Chikamasa PS-7.  I have looked them up on the web and unfortunately most suppliers want Felco prices for them. 



  1. Felco secateurs are the best ones, despite I try to be careful with them, I lose them once in a while and have to buy a new one. After a long time I find the old one in the compost heap.....

    1. Brenda threw one on a bonfire with the prunings and I left one on a gravestone, found six weeks later!
      I have learned the hard way to be really careful Janneke

  2. I purchased a pair of the ones with the revolving handle many years ago following carpel tunnel operations. They are my most important garden tool.

    1. So precious you have not lost them unlike Janneke and myself

  3. Had Felco for 35 years lost them this year my 88 year old dad also had a pair I'm happy again but my dad has lost his pair
    ! I have to do all of the pruning now.

    1. I expect your old dad keeps an eye on you anon!
      Felco has so many loyal supporters

  4. I have owned many pairs of secateurs over the years, some I have liked, some I have not - mostly to do with the locking mechanism. I want to be able to flip it open with the thumb on the hand I hold it with, and not use two hands to open it. The second issue is how quickly they go blunt, like most people, I can't be bothered sharpening them and keep buying new ones - cheap ones - around £10-15.

    My most resent investment is a cut and hold bypass pruner, it is wonderful for certain things but doesn't replace a normal pair of secateurs.

    You didn't say why you believe Felco is the best ones. I clicked on the link, there were Felco secateurs ranging from £15.40 - £69.99...I would assume some are better than other in that wide price range?

    1. Thank you for your searching questions HELENE
      My support of Felco is that they give long service and I never need to sharpen them and they continue to cut thick woody shoots.
      I do find on an old pair that the 'flick open/close' does tend to stick, perhaps I should oil them more often.
      My friend Peter like you has a different strategy. He has discovered the manufacturer of a very sharp pair of a similar design to Felcos that costs about £20 but which can be bought periodically in a super store in York for as little as £6 if you can catch them! He buys a new pair every season!
      I will ask him for details and either place it in comments or as an addendum to the blog
      My own Felco no 6s can be bought for about £40

    2. Thanks Roger, great if you can ask your friend about the name of the secateurs he buys - maybe I can get them online. If you reply to my comment I will get notified if you have an update. I found the Felco secateurs on Amazon for £34.99, seems like they are called number 6 Compact now, I assume the 6s was S for small. I have added a pair to my shopping list - will be interesting to see how long they stay sharp as that's why I usually throw away mine.
      Thanks for highlighting this useful topic!
      Happy Christmas to you and yours.

    3. A rather different post about tools tomorrow!
      Happy Christmas to you

    4. Hi Helene
      Peter Williams has replied to your query - its on the post!

  5. Thanks for this series of article, and of course for all your other efforts over the year. I always look forward to a new one! Happy Christmas to you both.

    Peter W

  6. I didn't read the comments above .... I just put them on my present list and they arrived from Amazon in time for Christmas. Today was nice and sunny and there was plenty to prune. I was impressed. Now all I have to do is look after them and not lose them.

  7. Just found my favourite Chikasama PS-7Y secateurs on eBay for £29.03. I have small hands and these are perfect. I've tried many other brands, but wouldn't have any other now, not even Felco. Bright yellow too, to find them easily in the flowerbed!

  8. Sorry, spelling mistake - should be Chikamasa.

    1. I could not spell it either Audrey. Thank you for your advice. I am not familiar with them and will check them out
      (Nearly rubbed you out - thought you were spam!)


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