Which fruit picker is best?
If you have ever wondered how your apples, pears and walnuts get to the market from the tops of the tallest trees, the answer is simple: a fruit picker. A fruit picker consists of a metal basket or mesh bag attached to the end of a long pole. Workers stand safely at the bottom of the tree and use the teeth or prongs positioned above the basket or bag to gently remove fruit.
If you have a mature backyard orchard or neighborhood tree and need a sturdy, simple picker, the Ohuhu Fruit Picker Tool is a great option.
What to know before you buy a fruit picker
Industrial orchardists know that the basket capacity of their fruit picker makes a big difference in the speed of the harvest. Some hold just a single fruit or two at a time, while others can accommodate a half-dozen large fruits at once. Keep in mind that a larger basket may mean a heavier picker.
Telescoping vs. fixed handle
The length of the handle determines how much fruit you can harvest from the very tops of trees.
- Telescoping handles: These can be adjusted to accommodate the height of the fruit. They are usually more expensive, but they expand your ability to harvest from taller trees.
- Fixed handle: This is the simplest type of picker you buy — and often the cheapest. However, they can only extend so far, and they can make it cumbersome to harvest from lower branches, too.
Type of fruit
If you are harvesting grapefruit or a large variety of apples, the distance between the tines in the basket isn’t of much concern. These fruits are unlikely to slip through.
For smaller fruits and nuts such as pecans, walnuts and hazelnuts, you’ll need to use a fruit picker with a bag or with a basket of closely spaced tines.
What to look for in a quality fruit picker
Telescoping handle that locks
A telescoping handle is no good if it continually retracts when you’re not expecting it. Locks keep it steady and stable. The best fruit pickers may even have two locations to lock the handle in place when it is fully extended.
Delicate fruits are easily bruised as they drop into the basket. Look for a fruit picker that has a pod to soften their landing.
While a wooden pole with a metal basket is quaint and traditional, it won’t last as long as other more modern materials. With exposure to rain and sun, the handle might rot, and the basket might even break off the pole. For durability and frequent use, look for fiberglass or aluminum poles and sturdy steel baskets.
How much you can expect to spend on a fruit picker
Both the materials and technology that make up the telescoping handle affect the price of a fruit picker. Expect to spend $30-$100.
Fruit picker FAQ
What are the dos and don’ts of using a fruit picker?
A. There is a certain level of skill needed to expertly wield a fruit picker.
- Watch out for falling fruit. As you pick on one branch, the others may jostle and release their delicious cargo on your head.
- Use a simple twisting motion to pick. Center the fruit in the basket and pull down gently as you twist the fruit picker.
- Only pick one or two fruits at a time until you are more practiced. Eventually, you will be able to pick a half-dozen at once, but it’s best to go slowly in the beginning.
- Always wash the fruit you harvest, even if it’s from a tree in your backyard.
Do you need to use different fruit pickers for different fruit?
A. As long as the basket is appropriately sized to prevent fruit from slipping out, you can generally use the same picker for a wide variety of fruit and nuts.
How do you know which fruit is ready to harvest?
A. Your harvest time will depend on the fruit varieties you are picking. Some apples and pears change color, indicating they are ready to pick, while others look the same throughout their life cycle. If you have a picture of the ripe fruit, use that as a guide. You can also conduct a taste test to see if it’s time to pick.
Keep in mind that you will not harvest all of the fruit off the tree at once. Fruit ripens in stages, which allows you to use everything you pick.
What’s the best fruit picker to buy?
Top fruit picker
What you need to know: In just three simple steps, you can get the length you need to pick fruit from the very tops of trees.
What you’ll love: It is lightweight aluminum and durable. It’s easy to use with built-in prongs. The basket is lined with a pad to prevent bruised fruit. The telescoping handle extends up to 13 feet.
What you should consider: The basket is difficult to attach to the handle.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top fruit picker for the money
Fiskars Extendable Fruit Picker
What you need to know: This lightweight, extendable fruit picker has an adjustable bag angle for easier picking and a washable mesh bag.
What you’ll love: Fruit falls into a mesh bag instead of a basket to prevent bruising and scratching. The fiberglass telescoping handle extends up to 12 feet. This picker comes with a full lifetime warranty.
What you should consider: The telescoping handle sticks and is difficult to extend fully.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This is the best choice for picking fruit at the tops of tall trees.
What you’ll love: The handle extends up to 24 feet, and the basket holds more than one piece of fruit at a time. The picker has a pad to protect fruits, but close-set basket sides mean it’s also great for picking nuts. This picker’s handle can also accept other attachments from the DocaPole line.
What you should consider: Fully extended, the handle can break easier.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Suzannah Kolbeck writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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