Stanley-FATMAX-featured-image Pruning & Cutting Tools

Stanley FATMAX Hybrid Forged Bypass Pruner (DBS6054): Product Review


Ease of Use
Quality
Cutting Performance
Summary

A good quality 1/2-inch bypass pruner manufactured to fit larger hands.

Overall Score 3.6

Stanley has been in the business of making tools since 1843 but only recently introduced gardening products so I was curious to test the Stanley FATMAX Hybrid Forged bypass pruner.

ERGONOMIC DESIGN

As soon as I put the pruner shear in my hand it felt like it was supposed to be there. It has wider handles than a typical bypass pruner, making it very comfortable to hold – if you have larger hands. The wider handles also spread the force across a wider surface area of your hand when making pruning cuts.

However, those with smaller hands will have a tough time wrapping their fingers around the wider handles. My wife found that she couldn’t get a good grip on the handles because the width of the handles made it difficult to curl her fingers around them.

Overall, I’m impressed with the level of detail Stanley put into both handles.  The top handle has a perfect thumb rest and the bottom handle has finger contours, making for a comfortable grip.

The cutting head is offset, which allowed me to keep my wrist straight while pruning tough to reach areas. Angled heads like this are designed to reduce hand fatigue and this model was no exception.

Stanley-FATMAX-handle-width-comparison

Wider handles (as compared to a typical bypass pruner) spread pruning pressure over a wider area

Non-Slip RUBBERIZED HANDLES

The handles have a rubberized coating on both the top and bottom. I found this coating gave me excellent grip, even while using gloves. The coating worked well with ungloved, sweaty wet hands as well.

Stanley-FATMAX-ergonomic-rubber-grips

The rubberized handles gives you excellent grip

LOCKING MECHANISM IS EASY TO OPERATE WITH ONE HAND

The locking mechanism is a red button located at the front of the pruner (left side) near the cutting blades. It’s very visible and impossible to miss. I found it particularly easy to slide back and forth with my thumb, even with gloves on, and it locked the blades without a hitch.  It’s recessed into the handle, keeping it out of the way while pruning.

Stanley-FATMAX-locking-button

Locking button is easy to operate

Cuts Through ¾ INCH BUT Takes WAY TOO MUCH EFFORT

The FATMAX Hybrid Forged bypass pruner has average cutting power. The package says it’ll cut through ¾ inch branches and stems. I was able to cut through material that thick, but it took tremendous force and I couldn’t sustain pruning at this level for more than one cut. So no matter what the advertising claims on the packaging say about cutting through ¾ inch material, I would consider this pruner to really only cut ½ inch diameter material.

One concern was the burr that developed on the cutting blade after trying to cut through ¾ inch wood. This put tremendous stress on the cutting edge and I believe was the culprit in causing the burr.

Stanley-FATMAX-bur-on-blade

A burr developed on the Stanley FATMAX pruner blade

That said, the pruner excelled at delicate cuts in the range of 1/16 inch (deadheading and cutting back perennials). Whether cutting meatier ½ inch material or fine pruning, all the cuts were clean.

Integrated SPRING AND BUMPER

The pruner spring is a standard coil with a rubber-like bumper encapsulated inside. The posts that
hold the spring have a unique tab retention system, with twin tabs on each post that prevent the spring from dislodging.

I found that the bumper did a good job of absorbing shock at the end of each pruning cut. The spring had enough pressure to keep the pruner wide open and enough give to make pruning cuts easy.

Stanley-Fatmax-spring-and-bumper

A nice spring and bumper combination make for easy pruning

Quality Construction With Advanced Materials

The cutting blade is made from forged steel – very sharp and hard stuff. It’s coated with a titanium carbonitride (TiCN) layer that helps prevent sap residue from accumulating and helps with corrosion resistance. But I’ve found even the best coatings wear off over time, so I suggest drying off the cutting blades after each use and applying a light coat of oil.

The handles are made from forged aluminum, which makes them very strong and lightweight. The reason Stanley calls the product “Hybrid Forged” is that the pruner features a “heavy duty head with a lightweight aluminum body.”

No REPLACEMENT PARTS

There are no replacement parts available at the time of this review.

WARRANTY

Stanley offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers against workmanship and material defects. To register the pruner, you can call (877) 278-0973 or simply provide your proof of purchase to submit a warranty claim.

RECOMMENDATION

Stanley has done a nice job at making little changes to a tool that is ubiquitous in the garden and landscaping environment. With wider, contoured and fully rubberized handles, as well as an integrated spring and bumper, this pruner has some nice improvements over the typical bypass pruner. However, those with smaller hands may find the handles too large and it doesn’t easily cut through the 3/4-inch diameter you’d expect from a quality bypass pruner. Overall, the FATMAX Hybrid Forged bypass pruner is a good performer with a ½ inch diameter cutting capacity.

WHERE TO BUY

At present the Stanley FATMAX Hybrid Forged Bypass Pruner (DBS6054) can be purchased at Walmart for $23.35 +$4.08 shipping, Ebay for $24.47 + $4.21 shipping, and Jet for $26.69 + 5.99 shipping. Stanley said it’s available at Menard’s, but when I looked there was no item found. It is not yet available on Amazon.

Now over to you – Do you have a favorite pruning shear? What do you like best about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Stanley for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

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