Corona Branch & Stem Bypass Pruner (BP 4180): Product Review
A nicely-priced bypass pruner that does a fine job
Available on Amazon
Want a lightweight, cost-effective solution to your bypass hand pruning needs? Corona was nice enough to send me sample of their Branch & Stem Pruner (BP 4180) to review. Let’s see how it performed.
- Type of Cutting Head: Bypass
- Adjustable Blade Tension: Yes, through a nut and bolt system at the blade pivot point
- Locking Mechanism: Sliding thumb pin
- Spring Type: Helix (coil spring)
- Advertised Cutting Diameter: 5/8″
- Offered In Right and Left-Handed Models: No, only right-handed
- Special Features: Lanyard/hanger loop at end of the handle
- Does It Have Bumpers: Yes
- Handle Frame Material: Nylon
- Handle Grip Material: Nylon
- Blade Material: High carbon steel
- Blade Plating Or Coating: No
- Replaceable Blades: Yes
- Can Blades Be Sharpened: Yes
- Weight: 7 1/8 oz.
Check out the video to see the Corona Branch and Stem Pruner in action, and to see in detail some of the parts that I talk about below. (Note that I had recorded several video reviews that day so I was losing my voice!)
The Corona bypass hand pruners came packaged with a thermoform plastic see-through front and a cardboard backer. The backer can be easily slid open so that I could “Try It” (hold it in my hand, squeeze the handles, try out the locking mechanism, etc.) before I decided to buy it. I like this packaging a lot. Many of Corona’s tool lines come with some sort of ‘Try It’ or “Touch and Feel” packaging. It also is pegboard ready with a hole punch in the top of the package.
Helix (Coil) Spring Works Well
Many pruners these days, particularly more expensive models, have Volute springs (see the picture below). In contrast, the Corona Branch & Stem Pruner has a coil spring, also known as a “helix” spring (pictured below between the handles of the BP 4180). Both types of spring work to expand the handles with enough force to keep them spread apart, yet not so much pressure that it takes a lot of hand strength to compress them.
The spring on the 4180 has the perfect amount of tension and I like the way it’s attached to the bumper and nylon posts so it’s unlikely to be accidentally dislodged.
Bumpers are used to absorb shock and prevent pruner handles from slamming together when the pruning cut is finished, which would cause unnecessary hand fatigue. Bypass pruners either incorporate twin bumpers (one in each handle) or just a single one in one of the handles.
The Corona Branch & Stem Pruner BP 4180 has only one bumper, located on the top handle. It felt like it was made from a piece of semi-hard plastic and I found it rather stiff. I am used to soft, squishy rubber-like bumpers that really take the shock-factor out of the pruner as the cut is completed. Although the 4180 bumper did its job, I have seen better bumpers.
What also took out some of the pruning shock was the flexing of the nylon handles at the completion of the cut. The flex was not significant but it did help with the overall shock absorption.
Fine Tuning the Blade Tension
Fine tuning the pressure between the blades is done by loosening or tightening a hex nut that passes through the center of each blade. This can be easily done with an adjustable wrench.
Effective Locking Mechanism
The pruner is designed with a sliding button that moves a pin into position to keep the blades securely fastened in the locked position.
It was easy to operate the thumb lock one handed by simply sliding the button back and forth. (You can see me demonstrate how it works in the video above). It should be noted that these bypass hand pruners are designed for right-handed folks only – so the one-handed operation for the thumb lock is only possible when using the right hand.
I had no problem cutting through ½ inch Mesquite wood (which is really hard stuff). I am more than confident that this pruner would cut up to its stated 5/8 inch diameter material if used on softer woods like pine, tulip trees, apple and the like.
For reaching into tight spaces, the cutting head is intentionally offset. I like this feature and found that it works exactly as intended.
Note that this pruner will work best for someone with medium to large hands. Someone with smaller hands can still use it, but the cutting blades will not open as far, thereby limiting the diameter of the material that can be cut.
One of the nice features of this pruner is the ergonomic handles. They’re comfortable to hold and provide a very secure grip.
I normally prefer to see an anti-slip coating on pruner handles, especially when the handles are made of nylon (which can be a little slick when hands get wet). But in this case, I found that the Branch & Stem Pruner didn’t need a coating due to the molded finger ridges in the bottom handle. This more than compensated for the lack of anti-slip material and my hand did not slip off the handles even when it was wet or sweaty.
Many Replacement Parts Available
One great feature of this pruner is that every part is replaceable with the exception of the nylon handles. Visit the Corona website to order parts.
As long as you take care of the handles, this pruner should last a lifetime given its ability to be rebuilt at any time.
Torx Screws Needed to Replace the Blades
The BP 4180 bypass pruner uses Torx (a registered trademark of Camcar Textron) screws to attach the cutting head to the handles. This requires a special screwdriver (a T-20) that many people probably don’t have. Fortunately, I have a set of Torx drivers, making the job of installing replacement blades a snap.
I have reviewed other bypass pruners that incorporate a slot drive (flat head) channel into a Torx head, making it possible for the average homeowner to use a standard screwdriver to adjust/replace the pruner blade mechanism. I’d like to see this feature incorporated into future design mods of the BP 4180.
There are two things I’d like Corona to consider if they ever do a redesign. First, have a screw that can be loosened or tightened with a regular flathead screwdriver instead of only a Torx driver. Secondly, I would have the bumper material changed out for a much softer one.
As with any garden or landscape tool, proper care will greatly extend its usable life. Check out the articles and videos below for details.
For gardeners and home landscapers, it’s a good idea to wear gloves while pruning – but it’s a personal choice. Some feel that they get better dexterity with a bare vs gloved hand. For myself, I like the nitrile-palmed gloves made by Atlas. They provide excellent grip and dexterity, decent cut resistance, and keep hands clean all at the same time.
And finally, safety glasses are another good thing to wear. A twig or rose cane in the eye can make for a really bad day. I always recommend safety glasses from Wiley X.
Corona has a limited lifetime warranty against defects in material and workmanship.
Overall, I like this bypass pruner. It’s lightweight, durable, has nice tight tolerances and good fit and finish. The ergonomic handle design makes the tool comfortable to hold and the angled cutting head is terrific for getting into tight spots. Replacement parts are always a good thing and the Corona Branch & Stem Pruner BP 4180 offers everything except the handles. The cutting blade is razor sharp and cleaves its way through extremely hard wood with ease, although the bumper could use some improvement. Put all that together with a very reasonable price point and this pruner is a good bang for the buck.
WHERE TO BUY
Your best bet is to secure the Corona Branch & Stem Bypass Pruner (BP 4180) on Amazon.
Replacement parts are available directly from Corona on their website.
Last update on 2020-09-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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