What’s the Difference?

A-Type, B-Type, SR-1 Hybrid

We recently added a new Tobisho model to our secateurs line-up, the Tobisho A-type (on the left in the picture).

At first glance it looks much the same as our current model, the SR-1 (on the right) - same red and yellow grips, same clever locking mechanism on the bottom of the handles, similar shape and blades. But there’s a price difference and we’ve had several enquiries about what is different about them.

The Tobisho A-type secateurs are an older, traditional design which are more time-consuming to make. The blade, made of blue paper steel, is brazed to the body - you can see a thin gold band between the two steels. This is the sign of authenticity for A-type secateurs. Blue paper steel in secateurs is unusual because blue steel is harder and more brittle than other steels - it will take and hold an edge like nothing else but is more easily damaged by rough work as a result.

The Tobisho SR-1 secateurs, on the other hand, are a hybrid cross between the A-type design and B-type design. What, you ask, are B-type secateurs? Well, take a look at the picture again.

B-type secateurs (such as the double yellow-handled Niwaki GR Pro in the picture) have more rounded, symmetrically-shaped handles. The blade and handle are made from one continuous piece of steel, which is a speedier, more modern production technique.

Now take a look at the SR-1s again. You can see that the right handle is slightly more curved like the B-type and the left handle is chunkier and has a less-exaggerated bend than the A-type. Like the B-type, the SR-1s are made using the more modern production technique of making the blade and the handle from one continuous piece of steel.

Which one is right for you? 

Aside from construction techniques and steel types, the main difference between the A-type, B-type and SR-1 is 'the feel’ in your hand. The Tobisho A-type feel a tad bigger in the hand and the deep curve on the handle snugs them tight into the palm of your hand. My brother, also a gardener, and a fellow with medium-to-large sized hands, recently tried out the A-types for the first time and he preferred them to the SR-1s. I personally prefer the SR-1s or the Niwaki GR-Pro B-type as I find they fit my slightly smaller, not-as-strong hand better. 

Ultimately I think the best way to choose your secateurs is to try them in person to test the fit, length, weight and spread. You want a tool that sits comfortably in your hand, isn't too long or too short, or too heavy or too light. And think about how you use your secateurs - are you rough or careful with your tools, need an all-rounder or want a more refined tool?

Tobisho SR-1

Tobisho A-Type

Niwaki Gr Pro