If you’re on a mountainbike going up a steep winding trail you’re never going to just power up in top gear. The same principle goes for Fiskars Pro 610mm PowerGear™ bolt cutter. PowerGear’s patented technology boasts leverageenhancing gears that give 30% more power cutting tough material like hardened rod and bolts, especially during the most challenging part of the cut.
It would be fair enough if you thought this test would simply involve grabbing a padlock and cutting it – it might, just for good measure – but instead, it was more about testing on various items which would normally be cut with bolt cutters on an actual worksite.
As well as simply testing the cutting capabilities, it was important to test the handgrip and ergonomics, as they play an essential part in cutting toughened steel with hand tools.
Looking a little deeper into the mechanics of the Fiskars, PowerGear technology is centred around two adjustable eccentric bolts which allow optimising the jaw size for ideal cut performance, while the blades are forged and heat-treated to stay sharp, even in heavy use.
TEST #1: CUTTING
The first test cut was a steel coach bolt I’d glued to a concrete lintel for a different test. It was a serious chunk of metal and the jaws fully open was a tight fit. The bolt sat in the front half of the blades. As the pressure on the bolt loaded up I could feel the PowerGear kicking in as the blades slowly cut through the toughened steel. With another solid squeeze the bolt popped off and the job was done.
It did require some serious effort, and without the PowerGear technology I would probably still be standing there squeezing away with no reward.
The next cuts involved steel mesh, a solid piece of rebar and a trusty toughened padlock. The 610mm PowerGear bolt cutter performed impressively on all these jobs, requiring various amounts of effort depending on the girth of each item.
The common thread running through the multiple tests was tradie-quality clean cuts that didn’t involve squeezing so hard on the bolt cutters it felt like a dislocated shoulder was likely.
PowerGear technology works well. Even the thicker rebar didn’t slow down the Fiskars.
TEST #2: ERGONOMICS
Ergonomics on tools like bolt cutters, where power is loaded to cut an item, is critical. If the tool is not designed well and constructed from suitable heavy-duty materials, it can be downright painful to use when squeezing with all your might – which everyone has surely done at some stage on a lesser-quality set of bolt cutters.
But there was none of that with PowerGear. Fiskars used what it calls ‘Softgrip’ to enhance comfort and control, and after a range of heavy-duty cutting challenges I can say it lived up to the description. The handles felt great and were soft enough to feel good without being too soft to withstand the rigours of the worksite. There is a dimpled type of effect on the Softgrip handles which adds to the comfort and enhances actual grip.
TEST #3: DURABILITY
Any tool not built to the highest standards simply will not last when it’s called on to repeatedly cope with high-pressure loading. It was pleasing to see Fiskars had used tough steel construction with riveted handles designed to provide long-term durability. The quality of this product, even when cutting substantial materials that seriously push the limits, was obvious.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
All in all, the quality of these bolt cutters is impressive, as is the comfort of use, intelligent design and cutting performance. The PowerGear 610mm bolt cutter will get through anything found on a typical worksite, and the build quality will ensure the tool stays with you for many years to come.