By Stephanie Lezotte
After I retired my old hand pruner due to rust that had made them completely unusable, I purchased a Fiskars Bypass Hand Pruner as a replacement set. This affordable (under $20) yet exceptionally well-made tool has delivered hours of easy, clean cuts. What attracted me to this particular set was the patented “Ultra-Blade technology” label on the packaging. Fiskars makes the claim that blades with this type of technology will stay sharp five times longer than other blades. Blade longevity is important to me, as I don’t want to spend time sharpening blades more often than I have to.
I didn’t have the opportunity prior to purchasing to investigate this Ultra-Blade technology, so when I got home I did some research. There was no mention of Ultra-Blade technology on the Fiskars website; the “technologies” that are mentioned for hand pruners include Easy Action, Micro-Tip, Power-Grip, Power-Lever, Power Curve, PowerGear, and Softgrip. Likewise, Ultra-Blade is not listed as a blade coating technique, either. Even when I locate the exact model number on the website, there is still no mention of the Ultra-Blade technology in the product description. This is somewhat disconcerting; why market a patented technology if it is not important enough to describe? I did learn that the steel blade features a low-friction coating (Teflon) that helps it slice through wood, prevents sap from gumming up the blades, and is rust-resistant. Perhaps this describes an Ultra-Blade technology that Fiskars abandoned or renamed.
This is a basic hand pruner with no special features other than an orange plastic blade lock slider and a hidden spring that won’t get clogged or pop loose. I have had no difficulty with the lock slider sticking as I have with other models, and I only have to use one hand to hold and unlock the tool. The comfort-grip non-slip handle is actually comfortable—this pruner feels like a sturdy extension of my hand.
The handles, though not ergonomic, are the perfect distance apart as to not overextend the natural curve of my grip. I have not experienced hand or wrist pain while using this tool, unlike with my Blue Hawk Lopper (see my other review). Since these handles do not have much of a curved shape, I imagine both lefties and righties can use this tool with ease.
The Fiskars Bypass Hand Pruner consistently produces quick, effortless, and clean cuts on both dry and green wood. The cutting capacity is 5/8”, and it has successfully cut through dogwood, crepe myrtle, rose bush, butterfly bush, hydrangea, and bamboo. After one-and-a-half seasons, I have not noticed blade wear or irregular cuts. This unit is far superior to my previous hand pruner, a Garden Plus with improperly aligned blades that scraped each another with every pass, quickly reducing its effectiveness. On the Fiskars, there is a screw that can be loosened or tightened to adjust blade alignment.
One characteristic I look for when purchasing tools of any type is durability. Because I work at a fast pace, I can be a little rough on my tools. After using the pruner, I will often gently toss it in the lawn or flower bed while collecting the pruned branches. The Fiskars have held up remarkably well but in the event of a malfunction (such as a broken spring that is seemingly irreplaceable since it is inside the tool itself), I am comforted by the lifetime warranty offered on this set. Further, the locking mechanism is secure; never have they accidentally unlocked when I tossed or dropped them.
If you do a lot of pruning or prune thick branches, I recommend purchasing a hand pruner that offers additional features such as ergonomic handles, a ratcheting mechanism, hold/lock & cut mechanism, or a rotating handle. On the other hand, if you need a pruner for occasional trimming, the lifetime warranty on this tool and quality of its blade make for a good choice.
Two consumer items to note. First, this product contains a Proposition 65 Warning. This means the State of California has identified certain chemicals in the Fiskars Bypass Pruner that they believe to be cancer-causing agents. Second, this model is advertised as being made in the U.S.A., but the packaging says made in China.
A published writer and novice gardener, Stephanie Lezotte dabbles in over 1500 square feet of newly purchased gardens that yield hundreds of tulips, daffodils, hostas, and daylilies. She enjoys trying new gardening tools and techniques and isn’t afraid to get (a little) dirty.