Bypass or anvil scissors? - How to make the right choice

Bypass or anvil scissors? - How to make the right choice

Bypass scissors - this is how the mechanism works

The bypass scissors work with two sharp blades. Place a twig between the blades, slide them past each other and cut the plant tissue. The advantages and disadvantages of the bypass function are summarized in the following overview:

also read

  • Make the right choice: sweet cherry varieties
  • Make the right choice - St. John's wort location
  • Choosing the right thuja: Brabant or emerald?
Bypass scissorsadvantagesdisadvantagesuitable for
precise cuthigher effort when cuttingsoft, thin wood
no crushing of the tissuerapid fatigue of the wristRoses, cuttings, green cuttings

The precise, clean cutting of bypass scissors speaks primarily for use on shrubs and perennials with thin shoots up to a thickness of 2 to 2.5 centimeters. Since there are small and large scissors for left and right-handers with and without telescopic handles, we recommend trying out the favorite before buying it.

Anvil scissors - how they work in a nutshell

The anvil scissors only work with one sharp edge. This blade cuts the wood and hits a blunt counterpart, the anvil. Since hardly any lateral forces occur with this mode of operation, the anvil scissors score with better power transmission than the bypass scissors. The advantages and disadvantages of the anvil mechanism can be found here:

Anvil scissorsadvantagesdisadvantagesuitable for
no tiltingRisk of bruises on the drivedry and hard wood
little effortless precise cutThinning out dead wood
less wrist fatiguefrayed wound edges on the soft wood

The better power transmission of anvil shears speaks for their use on branches with a thickness of 2.5 to 3.5 centimeters. Technical refinements minimize the effort required to guide the cut, such as long scissor arms, a built-in gear or a stepped ratchet mechanism.


The specific advantages of the bypass and anvil mechanism only come into effect in the long term if you regularly maintain and sharpen the scissors. Thoroughly clean your garden shears and loppers from dirt after each use. You should sharpen the blades with a whetstone at least once a season in order to always leave smooth cuts on your trees.