Ergonomic pruner suggestions

Sooo, I apparently have carpal tunnel now, likely aggravated by extensive use of pruners at work and home. I do christmas trees and greens at work right now, I think that was the final straw. Currently wearing a splint and resting it.

Presently I use Corona clippers, but should look into something more ergonomic. Any suggestions?

I’ve never gotten CT but I prune constantly and I mean all day long from about mid Dec until mid May. Then I start again in mid-July and continue into mid Sept. Lots and lots of fine cuts with a hand pruner as I move from left hand cutting with my saw to predominantly right hand pruning with my hand pruners. A range of fruit trees but the majority of it is apples where I don’t use the loppers much.

I’ve used rotating handles of Felco and Bahco and a wide range of other hand pruners, but my wrist used to get so sore by spring I could barely brush my teeth. When I switched to an ARS VS8 (medium sized hands) my wrist never got sore again. If your hands are large you can try the 9" model- short fingers the 7.

Of course it could be coincidental. Maybe I just learned to loosen up- it’s important to work with as little tension as possible, but the ARS pruners cut better than anything else I’ve ever used.


Thanks Alan. Do you use the rotating handle or regular ARS?

Yeah those are the best one you could get hands down. I have the older ones so no comment on newer models. I also really like the cleaning spray ARS sells. It removes sap well, even sap that has dried on the pruners.


No rotating handles,

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ampersand, I use the rotating handles Felco, which for me (a girl) with less of a hand grip than you guys, has worked very well for me. I am fortunate not to have any wrist or hand issues (often a hazard of my type of job), but I will definitely be checking out Alan’s suggestion of the ARS VS8, especially if they make a left-handed version. Anything I can get to increase my leverage, since I can’t squeeze as hard as a guy.

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No left handed version- sorry. Didn’t we go over this before? I too am left handed but use that hand for the saw work. I prune ambidextrously.

Think we did, Alan. I can use pruners in my right hand, too, just have more grip strength in my left. Most lefties tend to be pretty ambidextrous. In fact, I use right handed scissors to cut with. I’m a quilter and sewer. I learned to use scissors in kindergarten, and my teacher (not a fan of left-handed people) told me she didn’t have any left-handed scissors, so if I wanted to learn how to use scissors, I had to learn to do it right-handed. Boy, was my mom mad at that teacher, lol! But, the damage was done, and to this day, I canNOT cut with left-handed scissors!

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My mom is from Germany and is left handed but they teach everyone to write right handed, no lefties allowed. She can not write left handed any better than I can.

I have very limited movement in my fingers. I bought a set of small rechargeable electric pruners and love them, much stronger than I thought. They work well but probably won’t hold up to daily commercial use, but for home use their great.

When my hands start to feel fatigued or painful I switch to loppers for most of the work. Even just rotating to the loppers for a spell will give your hands much needed relief. Today I did a lot of pruning, I started with the loppers in the garage and by the end of the day I was mainly doing lopper cuts since my hands were complaining.

Yup, I do that, too, Scott, I didn’t even realize I was doing that I have a pair of Corona loppers that just seem to work really well and are wicked sharp. Both really important for girl-strength, lol! Makes the job so much easier.

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It used to be like that here too. My dad was left handed but had to learn to write with his right hand in Coaldale, Pennsylvania. I’m right handed but bat and play golf left handed. Well used to, i can’t play anymore due to a car accident. When I joined a gym the guy guessed I was left handed as my left bicep is bigger than my right from decades of baseball and golf. I can pretty much do everything with my left hand anyway except write. These days I have cramping problems in my hands, if my right is cramping I use my left, and vice versa.

I use both the VS8 and the VS9 non rotating. I tried a rotating handled pruner but found that the head moved off the cut.

I have been told that I have paws rather than hands but I tend to use the VS8’s for the finer summer pruning of the young tender soft growth. The smaller size seem easier to control for more precision cuts.

With espaliers there is more summer pruning.

The VS9’s are generally used for the dormant reshaping pruning which tend to be the harder thicker cuts.

They are fantastically comfortable.


Ill second Alans suggestion of the ARS VS8 pruners. After the last time he talked about them I ordered one in and a nice belt holster to go with it. Its a joy to use, I had it only my belt all day today using it constantly. No soreness at all. And this coming from a man with RA.

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When the branches are small I use my pruners though I rotate back in forth with my corona saw. The saw takes no effort for small cuts. Pruners are sometimes used to cut what in my book should be done with the big loppers or saw. I carry that stuff in a five gallon bucket from tree to tree. I kind of work a tree over one at a time so I do a variety of different things. The loppers come out when I see a big mess first thing.

Thanks for the input everyone. I’ll be investing in a saw too. I usually use pruners on huge stuff that I shouldn’t.

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You probably already know this, but if you use one hand to push away the wood you are removing while squeezing the hand pruner with the other hand you can remove much larger wood. Otherwise there is the two handed Felco 13 that doubles as a mini-lopper.

Another nice thing about the ARS- it is very hard to spring the blade or hook by excessively twisting it. The metal is so hard it is likely to break before it bends. I’ve broken blades by dropping a pruner on ice. That will never happen with a Felco. Of course, the harder metal holds a better edge.

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