Fiskars Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner: Product Review
Cuts through up to 3/4" hard wood but has a few drawbacks.
Available on Amazon
These anvil style pruners from Fiskars have a ratcheting mechanism that allows you to make your pruning cut in stages: with each squeeze of the handles the cutting blade bites more deeply into the wood until it finally cuts all the way through. As a result, it allows you to more easily cut through thicker branches than you could with a regular pruner. Or at least that’s the theory behind ratchet action pruners like this one.
Here’s what Jack and I found in our testing …
The fixed (upper) handle has a rubberized, non-slip surface while the moving one doesn’t so your fingers can slide a bit as you open and close the blades. That’s a nice feature that cuts down on the possibility of getting blisters from prolonged use.
The handles are made of a reinforced fiberglass composite (not just plastic) that’s supposed to provide strength and durability while reducing weight. They don’t feel as sturdy as metal handles but the pruner is definitely lighter than one made entirely from metal.
We’ve seen reviews of the Fiskars Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner saying that the handles snapped after only a few cuts. But we found that even when exerting a lot of force on the handles, there was no bending or indication that the handles would break.
The pruner has a very nice squeeze-to-release feature to open the lock but it’s not easy to close it – if you squeeze too hard or not quite hard enough, it won’t lock and it’s tricky to get it just right.
The lock extends beyond the sides of the handles, making it easy to grasp. The problem is that it’s also easy to pinch your hand between the lock and the handles.
Most pruner locks allow you to activate the lock with your thumb while holding the pruner. The problem with the placement of the lock on the Fiskars Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner is that it’s almost impossible to access while holding the pruners because it’s covered by your hand.
Overall, the locking mechanism on this pruning shear needs a redesign.
The Fiskars Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner cuts easily through both ¾ inch live wood and deadwood. It generally makes a very clean cut although it “catches” a little at the end of the cut. The cutting blade moves off center with each ratchet – the more you squeeze, the farther off center it moves – causing the cut to not always be totally clean when cutting through larger diameter stems. There doesn’t seem to be any way to adjust the blades to try to alleviate that problem.
With larger diameter material, I had to use two hands to activate the ratcheting mechanism. If you have strong hands, you can do it with one hand.
The pruner made very clean cuts through smaller material and easily cut through up to about 1/3 inch with one cut (without ratcheting). Both straight and bias cuts were nice and clean with smaller diameter wood.
The ratcheting mechanism worked very well – it was smooth and easy to use. Just remember that a ratcheting mechanism only works when there’s something between the two blades and the cutting blade is on top.
While there isn’t a visible bumper (and anvil pruners don’t generally have bumpers), there’s some sort of dampening mechanism that causes a squishy feeling when you close the blades together. When the blades are closed, you can squeeze the handles together and they’ll close even further.
The fully hardened, precision ground steel blades are not replaceable or adjustable, and while it’s possible to sharpen the cutting blade, it would be difficult to do it evenly along the entire blade edge (and on an anvil pruner like this, the cutting blade needs to be perfectly straight to work properly).
The blades have a similar design to that found on other recently introduced Fiskars pruning tools (for example, see the Fiskars Power-Lever Lopper ). The width and blunt end make it difficult to get into tight spots to make cuts, limiting the Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner to pruning branches and stems that are easily accessible. You may not be able to get in close enough to make pruning cuts just outside the branch collar or in thick growth.
The cutting blade wobbles from side to side, as do the handles, and there’s no way to tighten things up. Some of the rivets that hold the handles and blades in place are loose. I wonder if this is a quality control issue or a design decision but either way, it’s rather disconcerting when the pruning shears have that much “give”.
The blades stayed reasonably sharp and there was no sign of nicks in the edge, even after using it repeatedly on mesquite.
As with all Fiskars products, this pruner comes with a lifetime warranty, meaning that it’s warranted to be free of defects in material and workmanship for as long as you own it.
The Fiskars Ratchet Action Anvil Pruner makes fairly clean cuts through ½” or less and can easily cut through ¾ inch deadwood and mesquite, although the cut doesn’t always go cleanly all the way through at larger diameters because the blade tends to move off center a little. The squeeze-to-open feature on the lock is nice, but the position of the lock makes it likely that you’ll pinch your hand between the lock and the handle when making pruning cuts, and it’s tricky to lock.
Where to Buy
Fiskars products are usually available in home improvement stores and garden centers, although the Ratchet Anvil Pruner may not always be available. You can purchase it online directly from Fiskars or through Amazon for around $16.50.
Now over to you – Which ratcheting and/or anvil pruning shears have you used? What did you like? Not like? Let us know in the comments below!
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