Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541 review

A cut-price tool for all-purpose pruning

Testing the Fiskars P121 Bypass Pruner.
(Image: © Pete Wise)

Top Ten Reviews Verdict

The Fiskars P541 is one of the best affordable bypass pruners you can buy, with good cutting performance and a lightweight, ergonomic design. It struggles a little with thicker tree branches, but performs well in other pruning activities.


  • +

    outstanding price

  • +

    good range of cutting capabilities

  • +

    comfortable handles


  • -

    may struggle with thicker tree branches

  • -

    you get the build quality you pay for

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The Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541 is a classic, lightweight model of one-handed pruning shears, designed to perform a wide range of pruning tasks toward the easier-going end of the pruning spectrum. 

These shears can delicately prune soft plants, remove dead flower heads, cut woody shrub branches, and  – with a bit of effort – cut relatively thin tree branches. Do bear in mind that the P541 has a maximum cutting width of 0.95″, which will limit your options when it comes to pruning trees. 

One of the key reasons to choose this pruner, rather than another pair of bypass pruning shears, is affordability. The P541 costs far less than high-performing alternative models such as the Felco No. 6. 

Despite its reasonable price, the P541 has some great design features that earned it a place in our roundup of the best pruners you can buy. The blades are made with hardened steel – ideal for long-term performance with minimal upkeep required. Meanwhile, the handles are made with a combination of durable, lightweight aluminum and soft-surfaced plastic, ensuring easy, comfortable usage. 

We assessed this pruner by using it to perform a variety of pruning tasks around the yard. In-keeping with the tool’s advertised capabilities, our test activities included deadheading, cutting soft plant stems, and pruning slender tree branches. 

The UK equivalent to the P541 is the Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P121. The two models are similar in most respects, although UK readers should note that the P121 does not feature the ‘SmartFit’ lever used to adjust the width of handle opening on the P541. A Fiskars P121 is shown in the testing photographs.  

Headshot of Pete Wise, a freelance journalist.
Pete Wise

Pete has reviewed hundreds of gardening products for titles including TopTenReviews, Ideal Home and the London Evening Standard – as well as writing articles on diverse topics for other publications such as The Guardian and BBC Good Food. A long-term contributor to the blog of leading scissors-maker Ernest Wright, Pete has in-depth understanding of the qualities and design features that go into a really good pair of shears. 

Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541: At a glance

Our reviewer holding the Fiskars P121, which is the UK equivalent to the P541 Bypass Pruner.

Our reviewer holding the Fiskars P121, which is the UK equivalent to the P541 Bypass Pruner. (Image credit: Pete Wise)

Finnish brand Fiskars is one of the biggest-names in affordable cutting tools for the home and garden. Founded in 1649, the company has a remarkably long history of designing and making useful, accessible products – especially scissors and shears. 

The Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541 continues Fiskars’ fine tradition, offering a great combination of effective design and economical manufacture. 

It’s usually possible to get hold of a Fiskars P541 for less than $30, from online stockists such as Target. Readers in the UK who are seeking a similar option that’s available in their region can turn to the Fiskars Solid Bypass Pruner P121 on Amazon, for example..  

Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541: key specs

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The specs of our Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541 review unit
TypeBypass pruner
Cutting capacity0.95″
Blade materialHardened steel
HandednessLeft or right

Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541: Performance

The Fiskars P541 is designed for all-purpose pruning, from delicate tasks like deadheading to cutting relatively thin tree branches and twigs. So, our reviewer tested the shears by using them to perform a variety of tasks around the yard.  

The Fiskars P121 Bypass Pruner, cutting a tree branch.

The Fiskars P121 Bypass Pruner, cutting a tree branch.  (Image credit: Future)

We started with the relatively tough task of cutting tree branches. The P541 proved capable of doing this type of work, although we had to put in a little more effort than was necessary when doing similar tasks with higher-spec bypass pruners. Nonetheless, the P541 cut a variety of tree branches effectively.  

Using the P121 Pruning Shears to cut delicate plant stems.

Using the P121 Pruning Shears to cut delicate plant stems. (Image credit: Pete Wise)

The P541 also proved capable of carrying out lighter pruning work, such as deadheading, and cutting the stems of tender plants. We were satisfied with the clean, hygienic cuts the P541 made across the stems. 

All things considered, the P541 is by no means the best pruner you can buy for any particular pruning task. However, this tool is a good option to cover most of the bases, from precision plant pruning to light tree pruning tasks. 

This is an affordable model of pruner – and you will usually get what you pay for, when it comes to product quality. The P541 won’t last you a lifetime, but based on our hands-on testing, these shears could indeed give you effective pruning in the short-to-medium term. 

Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541: should you buy?

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Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541 score card
Price & availabilityUnbeatable, budget-friendly price.5/5
DesignAn effective design with comfy ergonomic handles.4/5
PerformanceReasonably good performance across tree and plant pruning tasks.3/5

Buy it if...

Value for money is a factor 

The Fiskars P541 gives you decent pruning capabilities, at a far lower price than some premium alternatives. 

You have small tree branches to prune

These bypass shears are very good at cutting relatively thin tree branches (although they may struggle with thicker ones).

There’s lots of pruning to do 

Lightweight and easy on the hand, the P541 is a convenient option for users who have lots of pruning to do around the yard. 

Don't buy it if...

Long-term use is your priority 

While the blades of the P541 are hardened for long-lasting sharpness, the overall build quality of the tool means you might be using these shears for years, but probably not decades. 

You have thick tree branches to cut 

Any branches over one-inch thick are an unsuitable match for the P541. For wide branches, consider a higher-capacity pruner instead. 

Traditional style matters to you 

This pruner has a smart, modern aesthetic which will appeal to many users. However, it’s a world away from the style of a traditional pair of secateurs. 

How does it compare?

While we would gladly recommend the Fiskars P541 to users who value affordability and versatility, some other readers will be better served with an alternative model. 

The Felco 6 Bypass Pruner is similar to the P541. However, the Felco pruner gives you better cutting performance, and far greater longevity thanks to its build quality and ease of maintenance. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Felco No. 6 costs about twice as much as the Fiskars P541.   

If you have lots of thick tree branches to prune, then we’d suggest looking at an entirely different type of pruner – not just a different model. For example, the Greenworks 24V 6" Brushless Pruning Saw is our top-rated solution specifically for branch-cutting.  

How we tested the Fiskars Plus Smartfit Bypass Pruner P541

Writer, Pete Wise, inspecting the Fiskars P121 Bypass Pruner.

Writer, Pete Wise, inspecting the Fiskars P121 Bypass Pruner.  (Image credit: Pete Wise)

Our reviewer tested the Felco 6 Bypass Pruner by using it to prune various plants around the yard. He tested the shears on a wide range of plants, from marigolds with juicy stems to half-inch-thick crabapple tree branches. He also tested the bundled-in Felco 2/30 Adjustment Key by using it to loosen and tighten the nuts on the pruners.  

See more about how we test.