This diminutive-yet-capable pruning saw transitions easily from the garden to the great outdoors, making it a very versatile tool for home, workplace and campsite alike.
Soft and comfortable grip
Relatively short blade
Doesn’t lock in closed position
No lanyard, pouch or carry case supplied
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Stihl PR16 Handycut: first impressions
The Stihl PR16 Handycut comes from a brand best-known for manufacturing power tools for both domestic and professional use. Many people will have a Stihl chainsaw, leaf blower or lawnmower in the shed at home. They also make a range of heavy-duty hand tools for pro arborists and foresters, as well as lighter-duty pruning shears, saws and secateurs designed for backyard and garden use. The PR-16 Handycut comes from this range, but this compact-yet-capable tool can do far more than simply tackle tasks in your backyard or garden. It also doubles up as one of the best camping saws around.
It has a folding 6.25-inch chrome-coated carbon steel blade. In terms of size and weight, it’s perfect to stash in your best daypack or slip into the pocket of your best hiking pants, as it’s among the lightest and most compact saws we tested. The bright orange color for which the brand is known also means you’re unlikely to lose it amongst long grass and undergrowth.
If you’re comparing this folding saw with the Felco F600, you might be starting to notice that the specs and features seem to be identical. There’s a good reason for that – colorways and branding aside, it is exactly the same tool. Stihl and Felco entered into a partnership agreement back into 2015, so that the current Stihl-branded garden tools are actually made under license by Felco.
As such, spare parts (including blades) are replaceable and interchangeable between the PR-16 and the Felco F600. If you’re shopping around for this saw, buy whichever of the two products you can find at the best price – unless you particularly like Stihl orange over Felco red, or vice versa.
Just like the Felco model, the handle is nicely sculpted, with a rubber pistol-style grip that feels both secure and comfortable in the hand. A thumb indent on the back of the saw also enables better control and precision. It also has a large lanyard hole, though no lanyard is supplied. It’s worth fitting a loop of paracord or similar if you’re likely to be pulling this saw out of your pocket on a frequent basis.
• RRP: $30 (US) / £26 (UK)
• Weight: 153g / 5.4oz
• Blade length: 16cm / 6.25in
• Overall length: 35cm / 14in
• Closed length: 21cm / 8in
• Teeth per inch: 6
• Blade: Chrome-coated carbon steel
• Lanyard: None
Stihl PR16 Handycut: in the field
Again, just like the Felco F600 – since they’re made in the same factory – the Stihl PR-16 is actually manufactured in South Korea. The 16cm blade is high-quality steel that has been impulse hardened rather than quenched, increasing the steel’s hardness. It features triple-ground teeth designed to cut on the pull stroke, with six teeth per inch. This makes fast work of branches up to about three inches in diameter, ripping quickly through green wood and seasoned wood alike. The coarser blade does make starting off a cut a little trickier than blades with more teeth, but on the flipside it makes for fewer strokes and rarely clogs with sap or sawdust.
The soft touch, non-slip handle is perhaps our favorite element of the design. It is ergonomically shaped for either left or right handers and feels exceptionally comfortable in use. We particularly like the top thumb indent, which aids dexterity when cutting in confined spaces, for example if working in thick tangles of brush or processing piles of deadwood. The lever that locks the blade in place is made of hard plastic, but it has a stiff backspring that means it is unlikely to deploy accidentally. It also has a very positive action as it clicks into place, which is reassuringly solid.
When folded, the design is equally secure, as the contours of the handle completely cover the tip of the blade. There are a few teeth on display though, which isn’t quite as neat or elegant looking as some rival saws. And while the few millimeters left exposed aren’t enough to catch on anything, bear in mind that the blade doesn’t lock closed, so if it were to open a fraction, this might become an issue. Still, we experienced no problems on test, and overall we were very impressed with this tough little saw, which delivers considerable cutting power in a very compact and portable package.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.