Troy-Bilt Comfort Plus Bypass Pruner (RR 4000): Product Review
A quality bypass pruner for cutting ¾-inch branches and stems.
Available on Amazon
Troy-Bilt has been around since 1937 when they introduced their first Rototiller. They now make a variety of power tools for use in the landscape and garden environment. More recently they’ve gotten into gardening hand tools, including their new Comfort Plus (model RR 4000) bypass pruner.
VERY COMFORTABLE HANDLES MADE FOR EASY PRUNING
True to the product’s name, the Comfort Plus bypass pruner has very comfortable handles. Each handle has a non-slip rubber-like coating, so even with wet/sweaty hands I had a secure grip. A nice feature is that the grip has a natural thumb rest on both the left and right hand sides of the pruner, making it an ambidextrous pruner.
SUPERIOR GERMAN STEEL MAKES Clean Cuts BUT NOT AT 1 INCH
The Comfort Plus cutting blades are made from a triple-hardened German steel. They’re incredibly sharp and the blades are tough as nails. Despite cutting through tough deadwood (which isn’t what bypass pruners are designed to do), the German steel didn’t dent or burr.
However, I had problems when trying to cut through 1 inch material. Troy-Bilt claims that the Comfort Plus bypass pruner will cut through wood up to 1 inch in diameter, but the best I could do was to cut through ¾ inch diameter soft/medium live wood. On the other hand, I could cut through those ¾ inch diameter stems and branches all day long. The sharp blades made quick work of material that size and made very clean cuts.
An added bonus is the non-stick coating on the blades that’s intended to repel sap and create cleaner cuts (although, in my experience, that kind of coating does tend to wear off over time).
Loose Blades Caused Cutting Problems
When I first tried the Troy-Bilt Comfort Plus bypass pruner, it cut through everything except the bark. I made several cuts this way and was really surprised. Typically this means that the blade tension is too loose so I tightened the Torx bolt holding the blades in place. Sure enough, it then sliced through the bark with no problems. Although it’s an easy fix, I’m not impressed that the pruner came from the packaging with a loose hex bolt.
Another concern is the fact that I needed a Torx (or star) screwdriver or key wrench to tighten the blade tension. Fortunately I have one in my oversized tool collection, but there are many homeowners who don’t have this kind of specialty tool to adjust blade tension (and I haven’t seen a pruner yet that hasn’t loosened up over time).
Most bypass pruners can be tightened with an adjustable wrench and a screwdriver, but the Troy-Bilt Comfort Plus needs a special wrench. I think there could be a lot of frustrated customers out there when their pruner needs tightening and they don’t have the tool for it, making for a time consuming drive to the hardware store or wait if you’re ordering on line. Amazon has a set for $6.35. Perhaps Troy-Bilt should consider including a Torx wrench with the pruner.
One thing I did like about the Torx adjustment was that there was a tension detents designed into the bolt. As I twisted the Torx wrench I could feel a definite click inside the Torx bolt as it micro-adjusted itself to the proper pruning tension.
INTEGRATED BUMPER AND INTERNAL SPRING
A really nice feature is the handle assembly just aft of the cutting blades, which has an integrated spring inside the handle. Unlike conventional coil or volute springs that sit between the handles, the Troy-Bilt Comfort Plus bypass pruner has the spring built into the head of the pruner. I like this design as the spring is out of the way and is less likely to jam with debris.
The pruner also incorporates a nice rubber-like bumper (to reduce hand, wrist and finger fatigue while pruning) in the center of the upper handle, inside the cutting head. This is another place where being out of the way makes the pruner much less likely to fail.
One of the things I like most about this pruner is its ergonomic design. It just fit my hand and felt like an extension of my arm. It is lightweight and easy to hold at different angles while pruning. The cutting blades are offset, allowing you to keep your wrist straight while cutting.
Plus, the locking button is on the top of the handle making it ambidextrous for both righties and lefties. The button slides easily to the locked and unlocked position with just a thumb push/pull.
Given the placement of the locking button, handles and blades, there are no pinch points when using the pruner.
Troy-Bilt offers a limited lifetime warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
No Replacement Parts
Because the blade assembly is molded into the handles, there are no replacement parts for this pruner. With the extra sharp, triple hardened blades however, this pruner should last for years, even if the blade has to be sharpened.
You may have to adjust the blade tension before using this ergonomically designed bypass pruner. Be aware that you’ll need a Torx or star drive screwdriver or key wrench to do that. Once adjusted, the pruner makes beautiful cuts in ¾ inch material – but not the 1 inch that it claims (which is why it gets a lower rating for Cutting Performance) – is comfortable to hold, has tough German steel blades, and an integrated bumper that dampens shock.
WHERE TO BUY
The pruner is available directly from Troy-Bilt for $35.53 ($28.04 + $7.49 shipping).
It’s also available from Amazon (Prime) for $21.62 (price as shown at the time of this review).
Now over to you – Do you have a favorite pruner? What do you like best about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
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