Felco #7 Bypass Pruner: Product Review
“Swiss Precision. Made to Last.” One of the best bypass hand pruners on the market.
Available on Amazon
I’ve owned the Felco #7 Bypass Pruner for 24 years. (In the video below I said 10 years, but I was mistaken.) I purchased it when I started my tree care company back in the mid ‘90s.
I thought it’s time to write a review on the gold standard bypass hand pruner, since mine still performs brilliantly after more than two decades. The only part I’ve replaced is the Volute spring between the handles. (I hooked the original spring on a branch, and it went flying.) The original blades have never been replaced. They’ve been sharpened dozens of times and still cut like they’re brand new.
Felco is a Swiss brand founded in 1945. Felco manufactured its first iconic bypass pruner–the Felco 2—in 1948. (It’s probably the most copied bypass pruner on the planet.)
- Type of Cutting Head: Bypass
- Adjustable Blade Tension: Yes. Micro adjustments very easy to make.
- Fit and Finish: Excellent
- Locking Mechanism: Thumb latch
- Spring Type: Volute
- Advertised Cutting Diameter: 0.98 inches
- Offered in Right and Left-Handed Models: Yes
- Special Features: Rotating bottom handle, wire cutter, angled head, all parts replaceable, adjustment key/wrench (comes with the pruner).
- Bumpers: yes
- Handle Frame Material: High-strength/light-weight drop forged aluminum
- Handle Grip Material: Rubberized top coated handle, composite plastic-like rotating lower handle
- Blade Material: Specialty formulated hardened steel – high carbon
- Blade Plating or Coating: None
- Replaceable Blades: Yes
- Can Blades Be Sharpened: Yes
- Weight: 10-¼ oz.
In the short video, Jack shows the parts of the Felco F-7 (or #7) pruner, including the unique volute spring, the bumpers to absorb the shock, the rotating handle, and the ergonomic design.
It’s been 24 years since I opened my first and only Felco #7 pruner. The packaging is long gone. I believe it was packaged in a thermoformed clear plastic front and a cardboard placard back that slipped into the plastic window. A notch stamped at the top of the package allowed the shear to hang from a peg board display. I purchased it at an arborist supply store.
HIGH QUALITY, FAIR PRICE
As a licensed arborist with a successful tree care company, I needed the highest quality, most reliable hand pruner on the market. I paid about $45 in 1995, and I used my Felco #7 on the job every day. It probably made several hundred thousand cuts–or maybe more. I’m confident that a cheap, low-quality pruner can’t compare to the performance of the Felco pruner. When you want quality, you’re going to spend more money. I’m a tool-for-life guy, and the Felco pruner never let me down.
Unlike many other pruner manufacturers, Felco offers a complete line of replacement parts.
Quality, quality, quality. Felco #7 is built like a fine Swiss watch. The tolerances are almost “aerospace grade” – from the forged high-strength aluminum handles (making for high strength and low weight) to the high carbon steel blades. Even the precision bolt and screws and the unique locking mechanism ensure quality.
Let’s not forget about the Volute spring between the handles. The spring is a closed loop of stainless steel, specifically designed to keep dirt and debris from clogging it. It also compresses farther than a conventional “helix” (coil) spring, allowing the handles/blades to close more tightly.
Twin bumpers incorporated into the handles (just ahead of the Volute spring and just aft of the cutting blade mechanism) provide excellent shock absorption. The bumpers are made from a very “squishy” rubber-like material. When the final pruning cut is made, the bumpers absorb impact when the handles slam together, making for comfortable operation.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of the bypass pruner is the rotating bottom handle. Dating back to 1966, the design was developed for the professional (arborist, landscaper, or the serious gardener) who makes several hundred cuts per day or thousands of cuts per week. The rotating handle helps eliminate carpal tunnel syndrome and hand fatigue. It also spreads the cutting force exerted by the fingers and increases the cutting force capability by 30%. I used one of Felco’s original pruners, the #2 (without a bottom rotating handle), and I can attest that as a professional arborist, the #7 provides a much more comfortable experience. In all my years of tree care work and daily pruning, I never developed any hand or wrist issues.
Other pruning shears have not offered the same comfort level. A fixed bottom handle versus a rotating one isn’t bad—it just depends on the number of pruning cuts one makes in a day, week, or year. For a professional who makes a living by pruning, the rotating handle is a game-changer. For the homeowner or weekend gardener/landscaper, a fixed bottom handle should perform well. However, for anyone with hand issues or carpal tunnel syndrome, the #7 Felco pruner may be the perfect tool.
I also like that all the pruner parts are replaceable through Felco. At the time of writing this review, I have not found another manufacturer who “knocked-off” the design that offers a complete rebuild kit. Watch our video on how to remove and replace Felco pruner blades.
The Felco design has a unique blade tension mechanism that includes a bolt, gear-toothed locking nut, a gear-toothed micro adjustment lock, and a thumb latch pruner lock. The mechanism allows the operator to “fine-tune” the cutting quality/performance and keep the pruner locked securely closed when not in use.
ALSO AVAILABLE FOR LEFT-HANDED FOLKS
A version of this pruner has been designed and is available for left-handed users, marketed as the Felco #10. Many of the “copy-cat” versions of this pruner are only available for right-handed users. Felco clearly wants to own the market for quality hand pruners.
CUTTING CAPACITY AND SPECS
The pruner is advertised to cut almost an inch (0.98-inch). I made ¾-inch cuts in really hard mesquite wood. I easily cut softer woods up to an inch in diameter.
- Cutting Quality: Exceptionally clean cuts
- Cut on Bias: Yes
- Quality of Cuts on Bias: Exceptionally clean cuts
- How Easy Is It to Cut Wood (hand strength required): Easy. Rotating handle amplifies cutting power by up to 30%.
- Comfort in Hand: Very comfortable.
- Optimal Hand Size to Maximize the Cutting Diameter: Large hands
Sap accumulating on the blades often results in the blades sticking together, so a sap groove prevents that problem. A wire cutting notch slices through soft gardening wire, sparing the pruning blades from cutting wire, which could damage them.
An angled cutting head reaches into tight pruning spaces. The attention to detail in the Felco pruners makes them stand out from the competition.
The Felco #7 pruner contains a lot of metal parts. Many of them are made from high carbon steel, which rusts when exposed to moisture. It’s a good idea to dry your pruners before you put them away. If they are damp, chances are the pruners will have water vapor/water in the pivot mechanism between the blades, which is impossible to reach with a dry rag. Instead, use a lubricant to oil this area. A little squirt between the blades is all it takes. While you’re at it, give all the steel parts a light coating of lubricant. It keeps your tool in top shape. We recommend Tri-Flow®.
Also, the composite rotating handle (of both the Felco #7 and #10) can be removed from the forged aluminum frame. Clean and lubricate it, then push the handle back onto the frame. You should hear an audible click when the handle is securely attached to the frame. Now, your pruner is completely cleaned, lubricated, and ready to use.
SHARPENING THE BLADES
For sharpeners, there are three Felco options available: a high purity corundum stone; a diamond-coated hardened steel sharpener; and a carbide sharpener. Visit the Felco website to review the options available.
We also offer an extensive list of sharpening tools for bypass hand pruners. See our review of the Best Sharpeners for Garden & Landscape Tools: Guide & Recommendations.
It’s a good idea to wear gloves while pruning, but it’s a personal choice. I recommend using gloves while using hand pruners, but some people feel that they have better dexterity with a bare hand. For a good glove that offers great dexterity, look for a pair with cotton backs and nitrile palms. Although these are less “cut-resistant” than a pair of leather gloves, at least they offer some protection. I like the nitrile palmed gloves made by Atlas. They provide excellent grip and dexterity, decent cut resistance, and help keep hands clean. You can find them on Amazon.
Consider wearing safety glasses. A twig or rose cane in your eye makes for a really bad day. We recommend Wiley-X
Felco warrants its products free from manufacturer’s defects. “Any good found to be defective within one year of the date of purchase will be repaired or replaced once the good, along with the original bill of purchase, has been returned to PYGAR USA Inc.” The customer is responsible for the shipping cost back to PYGAR.
If you’re ready to buy a tool for life and don’t mind paying a premium for it, then the Felco #7 (or Felco #10) is for you. My 24-year-old pruner is in great condition and was well worth the investment. I haven’t replaced any parts, except a Volute spring (which was my fault for losing it). The rotating handle offers comfort for people with carpal tunnel syndrome or with hands that tire easily, plus the 30% increase in power helps get through material one-inch in diameter (with less hand strength). “Swiss precision. Made to last” is Felco’s motto. It’s true. I’ve reviewed a LOT of hand pruners, and this is by far my favorite.
WHERE TO BUY
The Felco #7 Bypass Pruner is available from Amazon.
The left-handed version, Felco #10 is also available from Amazon.
The pruner is also available from Felco on their website: the #7 for $77.63 + $12.00 (shipping). The Felco #10 (for left-handed people) is also available from Felco for the same price and shipping cost. You can also find Felco pruners at the Pruners Warehouse: The #7 is $58.59 (free shipping) and the #10 is $62.69 (free shipping).
Last update on 2020-05-28 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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