There are a few different types of pruning shears. All of them have a use and provide a different function in your garden.
Bypass pruners are best for live plants and greenwood.
Anvil-style pruners are best for dead wood, you should be careful when using these as they can cause crush injuries to fresh green stems and branches.
Ratcheting pruners provide increased cutting strength, this also makes it the best type to use if you have a condition that causes reduced hand strength like arthritis.
All pruners will help reign in your plants if they are getting out of control. To use your pruners effectively make sure that you sharpen them regularly.