shows which ones will clip the most and cost the least.
Some garden chores simply require a hand pruner. Edna Pol uses hers for trimming shrubs and clipping dead flowers.
"The main thing is that the pruners feel comfortable in your hand and they're lightweight and they operate very easily," Pol said.
Consumer Reports tested a variety of small pruners. They checked how well they cut, as well as the comfort of the grip and the reliability of the lock. All of the pruners tested were what are called by-pass pruners.
They work like scissors with one blade overlapping the other. The test found big differences in performance.
The $7 Companion 85311 from Sears was not very easy to cut with and the lock did not work well.
"The problem with this one is that the lock is very unreliable. Sometimes, this push button catches and sometimes it does not, so it becomes a real nuisance to work with it," said tester Rico DePaz.
The $7 Garden Pals 32105 pruner from Wal-Mart is better at cutting, but it has an annoying habit of locking when you are using it.
Consumer Reports says that the $35 Felco 6 is an excellent pruner. It works well and makes clean cuts through branches up to a half-inch thick.
They also say another excellent pruner is the $22 Fiskars Power Gear. It is a little bigger and heavier, but can be adjusted to fit your hand.