DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner review

It's a battery-powered pruning tool you never knew you needed

DeWalt 20V MAX Cordless Battery Powered Pruner
(Image: © Future / Alex Temblador)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

Pruning just got easier with the DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner. This lightweight pruner is powered by a 20V battery that will last long enough to get most pruning jobs done. The tool can be held with just one hand and can slice through 1.5-inch or smaller tree limbs and branches with incredible smoothness and ease. A built-in light can even illuminate dark spaces as you prune. While it’s a bit of a luxury buy, at least you can count on the DeWalt brand and our rave review of this stellar battery-powered pruner.

Pros

  • +

    Lightweight

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    Battery-powered

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    Built-in LED light

  • +

    One-handed control

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    Some safety features

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    Efficiently cuts through 1-1.5-inch branches

Cons

  • -

    Slightly pricey

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    Have to press trigger each time for it to cut

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I didn’t know that there was such a thing as a battery-powered pruner. The only pruners I was aware of are the best pruners that you have to work by hand. When I was offered the chance to try out DeWalt’s 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner, I hopped on the opportunity.

To be honest, I didn’t really understand why you would need a battery-powered pruner. Why wouldn’t you just use a hedge trimmer or a chainsaw? When I got the DeWalt pruner in my hands and took it out into my yard, I finally understood the genius of it.

Designed to be held with one hand, this battery-powered pruner does the hard work for you. With pruning shears, you have to use your own hand muscles to cut through plants and branches and no matter how sharp those shears are, that can wear on you. Hand cramps? No thanks. I don’t even think I could cut through an inch-thick branch with gardening shears on my own. At least, I wouldn’t want to.

The DeWalt pruning shears sliced through 1-1.5-inch-thick branches like cake. And it could even cut through some thicker branches with multiple cuts in the same place. I didn’t have to put much effort into working the DeWalt pruner. It only took pressing the trigger each time I wanted it to cut.

Throughout the process, I realized why I’d rather use this pruner over a hedge trimmer or a chainsaw. They have too much power output which can sometimes make it hard to cut thinner branches as the chain or bar will push the branches away and not necessarily "catch on" and cut. Sometimes I want to prune the top of a tree limb rather than cut the whole limb off, and with the DeWalt pruner, I can do that easily. 

Read on for my full review of the battery-powered DeWalt pruner and why it’s the one gardening tool that you never realized you needed.

Alex Temblador
Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer who has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications such as Tech Radar, Tom’s Guide, Real Homes, Gardeningetc, Home & Gardens, Dwell, Architectural Digest, Insider, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 103 years old, sits on half an acre of land, and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry. 


Alex loves to test products for Top Ten Reviews, Tech Radar, and Tom’s Guide buying guides and reviews, which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latine writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces.

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: Key specs

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Model no.:DCPR320D1
Fuel/power source:20V battery
Maximum cutting thickness:1.5 inches
Size/dimensions:3.2 x 10.2 x 12.5 in
Weight (with battery):5.3 lbs

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: First Impressions

The pruner arrived with a charger and battery in a compact box, completely assembled. I liked that the shears were protected with a clear, removable plastic covering and that I could hold the pruner in one hand with ease. It wasn't too heavy and felt comfortable in my grip. I noticed right away that the trigger system, which has some safety features built-in, would allow right- and left-handed folks to use the pruner. 

The battery took only a few hours to fully charge. Overall, I loved how compact the pruner was as it would make storing the tool really convenient. 

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: Price & availability

The DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner is available through Home Depot, ACME Tools and other tool-specific online stores. 

You can buy this pruner with or without the 20V battery and the charger. With the full charging set, it’s $169. If you have a DeWalt 20V battery on hand, you could buy the pruner for as low as $119.  

It’s slightly more expensive than I would like, but considering the brand name and the quality of this gardening tool, I would say that this price point makes sense. Once you use it, you’ll see that your money was spent wisely.

Score: 4/5

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: Design

The DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner is lightweight and can be held with one hand – right or left. On the bottom is the battery, and when put in place, the pruner can be stood upright on even ground. Pruning shears are at the top of the tool and have a 1.5-inch gap to fit the tree limb into place. A light automatically turns on when you press the triggers, which helps to illuminate the blades when you’re pruning in dark spaces.

The ergonomic handle has two triggers. The bottom trigger has a safety flip lock that has to be held down with your bottom two fingers. From there, you can use your pointer finger to press the top trigger.

There isn’t much else to the design. It’s a compact tool that can be placed on a shelf and won’t take up too much space. A clear plastic cover for the blades is included and should be used when the pruner is stored away. 

Score: 5/5 

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: Performance

I’ve tested many gardening tools and few have been as delightful to test as the DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner. Pruning has never been as fun as it has been with this little machine.  

After I charged the battery, which only took a few hours to do, I removed the plastic cover from the blades and took the lightweight pruner to a dense thicket of brush in my yard. It has some small tree limbs that have been more difficult to trim up than I would have liked. The limbs are slightly too big for a hedge trimmer (or are made of wood that’s too thick) and too small for a chainsaw. When I’ve gone to cut them with a chainsaw, the limb is pushed away by the bar chain and I’m unable to hold it in place with one hand and use the chainsaw. (If I could reach the part of the limb where it touches the trunk of the tree, I could probably cut it with a chainsaw, but the brush is too thick to get to that area.) 

The two-trigger button system is easy enough to handle, especially since the two buttons are right above and below one another. I like the ergonomic handle too. It’s not too big and is quite comfortable, especially for someone like me who has small hands. Upon pressing the two triggers, the blades come together. It emits about 81 decibels of noise, which surprised me, because it’s not loud. The 81 decibels occur for only the moment that the triggers are pressed. So essentially, it's a quick noise that sounds almost like gears moving. Once the blades return to their original position, the sound goes away. 

To use the pruner, I fitted small tree limbs that I wanted to cut between the blades and pressed the buttons. I was so surprised by how easily the blades cut through the trees. It was like butter. The cut was clean and even.

I used the pruner on various trees, some of which was new growth and some that were comprised of wood that was thicker than others. I even used it on softer vines and a few thin plants growing out of the ground. The machine handled all of them well, cutting in the exact spot that I wanted.

The one thing I should mention is that when I press the two buttons at the same time, the blades cut once. I then have to let go of the top trigger and press it once more for the blades to cut again. In other words, the blades do not move continuously when I press both triggers. 

I can understand why they designed it like this, but also a continuously moving blade would be nice, especially for some limbs made of wood that was tougher in thickness or limbs that were slightly larger than 1.5 inches. I could cut through such limbs but it took multiple cuts in the same spot to do so. I just held the pruner in place and hit the trigger about 3-5 times until it cut through those more difficult tree branches and limbs.

The battery held out for a long time, over multiple testing sessions. I don’t think it would die on you in a single pruning job. If you have a pruning job that takes multiple hours to do, you should probably use a different gardening tool anyways.

Unfortunately, I didn’t notice the built-in light turning on during my pruning sessions, but it was quite bright outside when I tested the pruner, so the light wouldn’t have been noticeable to me. I did test the light in a darker space in the garage and it was visible. It’s a nice feature to have in case you need it.

Overall, I was thrilled with how well this pruner cut and how easy it made pruning. Was it fun? Yeah, kind of.

Score: 5/5

Should I buy the DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner?

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Score Card
AttributeNotesRating
Price & availabilitySlightly expensive but price matches quality; sold at various online retailers ★★★★
DesignLightweight pruner with a light that illuminates the shears and a safety-minded trigger system.★★★★★
PerformanceSlices through 1.5-inch or smaller tree limbs and branches with ease. ★★★★★.

 Buy it if… 

You have a lot of small limbs that need to be pruned  

Gardening shears take too much effort and energy to use, especially when you have a lot of small tree limbs that need to be pruned. Save yourself some time and effort with the DeWalt pruner.

You want something that’s easy to start up

Because it’s battery-powered, the DeWalt pruner takes less than a minute to start. It doesn’t require oil or any adjusting with a tool. Simply add the battery and you’re good to go.

You’re right- or left-handed

This pruner can be used with one hand, whether it’s your left or right hand due to the trigger being placed in the center.

 Don’t buy it if…  

You’re on a budget

The battery-powered DeWalt pruner is almost a luxurious buy. You could absolutely save money with gardening shears and maybe even use a hodge podge of other tools you have at home in place of this one. 

You want the pruner to continuously cut with the push of a button 

To get the pruner to cut, you have to press the trigger button over and over again. It doesn’t cut continuously.

You need to take care of larger jobs

This pruner can only cut through things that are 1.5 inches or smaller. Anything larger is going to require a different tool – like a hedge trimmer, chainsaw, or brush whacker.

DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner: Also consider...

The Dragro Electric Pruning Shears can cut up to 1.2-inch-thick branches and comes with two 21V batteries so you can cut for longer. Though it doesn't have the same cutting capability as the DeWalt pruner, it's much more affordable. 

Save money and prune by hand with the MEPEREZ Premium Germany garden clippers. Designed to prune trees and branches of various kinds, they're specifically suited to those with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or simply want something that doesn't hurt their hands. Not to mention, these shears are incredibly cheap too. 

The Ryobi ONE+ 18V Cordless Pole Lopper offers something the DeWalt pruners can't do: the ability to prune in high places. You will need more storage space for these pruners, but that's because this pruner is outfitted with a pole that can reach up to 8.8 feet. This tool is not necessary for every homeowner, but it works well and is nice to have on hand when needed. 

How I tested the DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruners

The DeWalt 20V MAX 1-1/2 in Cordless Pruner was the first battery-powered pruner I’ve ever tested. I used it to cut various branches in a swath of brush in my backyard. I made sure to test it on different types of trees and even some that were slightly larger than 1.5 inches in diameter. Every element of the pruner was tested to be able to write this review.

Find out more about how we test.

Alex Temblador

Alex Temblador is a Dallas-based award-winning author and freelance writer that has covered home, design, architecture, and art in publications such as Real HomesGardeningetcHome & GardensDwellArchitectural DigestTech Radar, Tom’s Guide, among many others. She recently bought her first home, a green Sears & Roebuck house that's over 100 years old, sits on half an acre of land and features a stunning wraparound porch, original hardwood floors, pocket doors, and a butler pantry. Alex loves to test products for Top Ten Reviews, GardeningetcReal Homes, and Homes & Gardens buying guides and reviews which has helped to expand the richness of her first-time homeowner life. The Mixed Latinx writer can usually be found working or relaxing in her outdoor spaces.