I once read a story of a gardener that fell to his death when landing on secateurs in his pocket. Ever since, I have avoided carrying them around unless ‘in use’ – and in those cases, they are kept in a tool tidy or trug unless they’re in my hand.
Many carry secateurs purely for minor tasks such as deadheading. This is where folding pocket secateurs really come in handy. They’re also a much safer tool to have on you.
I’ve actually had these for a few years now, a gift from my wife after my first allotment season (I guess that was the point she realised this wasn’t a ‘hobby’ that was going away any time soon!).
What are they?
These fold down to only 9cm x 3cm and come with a pouch for storage. The pouch has a loop that allows you to thread a belt through it, but I’ve never found the need to do that. Personally, I find they fit comfortably in either front or back pockets.
When open, they measure 14cm x 9cm – still smaller than most regular secateurs, but not by a huge margin.
Made from stainless steel and weighing 140g, the build quality is excellent. They’re big and strong enough to know they’re there, but light and compact enough to simply have in your pocket. It’s claimed they cut a woody stem up to 10mm diameter, and soft stems up to 15mm. There are 2 additional tools within – a mini saw and garden knife. Think of it as a swiss army knife for gardeners!
Portability and Safety are the main benefits of these secateurs, and indeed the very reason I have them. They’re not a replacement for regular secateurs, but they are a useful addition to your kit. In use, I find the stated cutting diameters to be accurate, but it can take a little more effort than I’d like when you get to the top-end of those sizes.
With that said, it’s rare I find myself in a situation where I need to make big cuts with these – they really come into their own when you’re deadheading or snipping a stray branch.
While the handle has a slight curve to it, they’re not especially comfortable to use for any extended period. I wouldn’t use them to prune a vine or tree, leave those jobs for a full-size pair.
Both the included pocket knife and mini saw are nice to have ‘just in case’, but I can’t say I’ve used either more than a handful of times in the years I’ve had them. Perhaps a rambler or similar would, however, find more use for these.
I have found that the ‘catch’ (that stops them springing open when you unfold them) will occasionally reattach when you perform horizontal cuts. That means that you can sometimes make the cut, then have to use your other hand to release the catch again. However, it’s not a huge issue and doesn’t happen consistently.
It would be true to say that these aren’t suitable for prolonged use, nor are they great for all kinds of pruning. However, folding tools – whether they be multi-tools or otherwise, are never intended to replace a full-size equivalent – they’re here for convenience more than anything else. In that respect, these perform perfectly well. Overall, in terms of both feel and quality, they perform much better than most folding tools.
I won’t be giving up on full-size secateurs any time soon, but I also wouldn’t be without these.
The attractive packaging also makes them a great gift – there’s even a version in pink too!