Melnor Talon Bypass Pruner (83270): Product Review
A inexpensive, marginal quality bypass pruner.
Available on Amazon
Melnor has been known for decades for its sprinklers and watering tools. More recently they decided to dive into the pruning market. They offer a line of lopping and pruning tools, known as Talon, that’s easily identified by a gold-colored cutting blade. This signature look signifies that the blade is coated with titanium for blade strength and wear resistance. In this review, we put the Melnor Talon Bypass Pruner to the test.
PRUNER MEANT FOR LARGER HANDS
I found that the pruners were the right size for me to grip both handles. But I have big hands and the Melnor Talon doesn’t work as well for those with smaller hands. When my wife tried to hold them the handle spread was too large for her medium sized hands. It was difficult for her to get a cut started. The only way it was possible was to choke-up on the handles so that her index finger was above the handle bump (which is meant to keep your fingers away from the blade) and place it on the flat metal part of the lower handle next to the counter-blade (the non-cutting blade).
HARD RUBBER-LIKE BUMPERS WERE A PINCH POINT
Just behind the volute spring is a rubber-like (more like plastic) bumper that is supposed to ease the shock at the completion of a pruning cut. However, the bumper material was very hard and did little to absorb the shock.
More problematic, however, was the pinch point where the handles came together at the bumper point. On several occasions, I pinched myself hard enough to cause a blister. This area of the pruner needs some real attention from the design department. And be sure to wear gardening gloves when using the Talon pruner!
The handle design on the Melnor Talon bypass pruner puts the handle ends very close together. I found that the metal, triangular-shaped bottom handle created yet another pinch point while pruning, making for a very uncomfortable pruning experience.
CUTTING WAS GOOD AT ¾ INCH BUT NOT IN THE 1 INCH RANGE
Melnor claims that the Talon bypass pruner will cut through 1 inch material. I’ve found that many companies rate their cutting capacity based on how far the blades spread apart at their maximum, rather than the size of material the pruner can actually cut through. Sure enough, if you measure the distance between the tips of the two blades on the Talon, there’s a 1-inch gap. But when I tried cutting a 1-inch piece of material it failed miserably. Granted I was cutting some medium hardwood (Palo Verde), but a good pruner will cut even this wood without any problems. The good news is that the Talon made clean cuts through ¾ inch wood with no difficulty.
CUTTING BLADE QUALITY WAS AN ISSUE
The more cuts I made, the more the cutting blade developed a burr and the more titanium wore off (or at least the gold colored coating wore off). I’ve found that most pruning blades that are coated in titanium are more of a selling feature than an actual benefit. Titanium is harder and lighter than steel, but I have rarely found it a particularly good coating to make a blade stronger.
SLIPPERY HANDLE GRIPS
The handle grips on the Talon are coated with a plastic like material. I’m not sure why Melnor made that design choice as it’s not as slip-resistant or any easier to hold than a rubberized handle coating. In fact, my hands kept slipping on the grips when wet or sweaty, even when wearing gloves.
LOCKING SWITCH WAS EASY TO USE
The locking button is placed in an intuitive spot, right on top of the pruner head. I found it very easy to lock and unlock the pruners with a slide of the button.
NO REPLACEMENT BLADES
At present, there are no replacement blades for the pruner.
The Melnor Talon bypass pruner has a warranty that covers it against materials and workmanship defect only.
At only $9.97, the Melnor Talon bypass pruner is a perfect example of “you get what you pay for.” It works but it has some quality issues (burrs formed on the cutting blade after only about 20 cuts), it cuts through only ¾-inch branches (rather than the claimed 1 inch), and it pinches your hands with each cut. If you have large hands and a limited budget, this pruner may work for you (but wear gloves!). If you have small hands, give it a miss.
WHERE TO BUY
The Melnor Talon bypass pruner (model 83270) is available at Target for $9.99 and the Home Depot for $9.97. It’s also available on Amazon for $9.97 although it’s been out of stock recently.
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