Hooyman Ratchet Pruner Review

   11.26.18

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner Review

The Hooyman Ratchet Pruner is billed as a handy little hand-operated pruner which has ratchet action to allow cutting of large limbs, along with a small detachable hand saw that folds into the handle. I’ve had one of these for about a year and a half now, and it’s high time I reviewed it.

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner, closed, manufacturer image.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner, closed, manufacturer image.
(Image: © Battenfeld Technologies, Inc)

Features per Manufacturer

  • Ratcheting Mechanism provides 10 times the cutting force
  • High-Strength Anodized Aluminum Frame
  • Ultra-Strong SK5 High-Carbon Steel Blade
  • Black Teflon Blade coating for smooth, easy cuts
  • Quick-Detach Folding Saw in handle
  • Aggressive MegaBite XP 4-edge tooth design
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner in the package.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner in the package.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

Specs

  • Weight: 11 ounces
  • Overall length: 9 inches
  • Saw blade length: 3.25 inches
  • Saw overall length: 8.5 inches
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner open, real-world.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner open, real-world.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

First Impressions

I happily went to work just as soon as I unpacked the new Hooyman Ratchet Pruner when it arrived, and got mixed results. Here’s a quote from my notes:

Ratchet pruner sucks for palmettos. So far works great for small limbs and such.

Alas, my results remained mixed throughout all of my experience with this little tool. When the ratcheting works, it snips off medium-sized limbs pretty well. But the ratchet feature often fails to work on larger limbs, leaving you squeezing the handles over and over again while the blades fail to ratchet. This means you have to use your other hand to hold the blade closed while you open the handles and re-squeeze with your other hand. Un-good.

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner closed, real-world.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner closed, real-world.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Sweet Spot

There seems to be a “sweet spot” in which this thing snips limbs pretty well. I would estimate this to be 1/4″ to 5/8″ diameter. Within that range, I usually get clean one-squeeze cuts.

It can work okay on larger limbs if the blade sticks in the wood while you open and re-squeeze the handles to get a “bite” with the ratchet mechanism… but this often fails.

On smaller brushy limbs, the Hooyman Ratchet Pruner just plain sucks. The blade will simply not cut small limbs, instead mangling them against the anvil portion. This is caused by the ratchet mechanism allowing the blade to continuously operate one notch farther open than it should.

Speaking of the anvil, there’s a groove in it, for the blade to go into as it shears through a limb. Because the blade so often fails to close that far, the groove becomes loaded with bark and other matter.

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner. Groove in bottom jaw fills with bark and debris. Saw detach plunger (arrow) lacks spring tension.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner. Groove in bottom jaw fills with bark and debris. Saw detach plunger (arrow) lacks spring tension.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The Saw

My experience with Hooyman saw blades is that they usually work pretty well, and this one does okay. It folds out from one of the pruner handles, which are made of cast aluminum. That handle detaches from the pruner body by pressing a cross pin (indicated by arrow in the photo above) and sliding it out of a groove.

Unfortunately, that plunger has no spring tension to keep it locked, therefore the saw handle can fall off of the pruner unintentionally. Doh!

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner with saw open and detached.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner with saw open and detached.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The saw blade locks open or closed by means of a plunger (arrow in photo below), and thankfully this one is spring-loaded.

Hooyman Ratchet Pruner saw close-up. Arrow indicates blade lock plunger.
Hooyman Ratchet Pruner saw close-up. Arrow indicates blade lock plunger.
(Photo © Russ Chastain)

The saw works pretty well for light work, which is all you’d expect to do with a little blade like this one. The teeth are a bit fine, but they do the job.

All in all, the saw is the best part of this thing.

Conclusion

As you can tell, I am less-than-impressed with the Hooyman Ratchet Pruner. The pruners are astoundingly frustrating, and if you can use this for very long without wanting to smash or throw it, you’re a better person than I.

The saw is actually pretty good, but at a whopping $34.99 MRSP (currently out of stock), you’d be far ahead to simply pick up a decent compact folding saw for your pack.

While you’re at it, buy a simple rugged set of garden pruners and call it done.

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