The Best Loppers and Where to Get Them

Gardening can be tough and challenging work. It requires a lot of thinking, planning, and more importantly, labor. One of the more hard things to do in your garden is keeping it aesthetic and healthy.

Taking out weed and pests are just a part of the problem. Sometimes, dead branches and body parts of your trees and shrubs can also pose a threat. That is why you’ll need the best loppers since these can quickly snap off unwanted stems and branches without much effort!

Picture
Tabor Tools GL18 20-Inch Bypass Mini Lopper, Makes Clean...
Corona Compound Action Anvil Lopper, 32 Inch, FL 3420
Best Pick
Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5-Amp Electric Chain Saw
Power Drive - 28 Inch Heavy Duty Ratchet Pruning Anvil Hand...
Length
20 inches
32 inches
25 inches
28 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
2 inches
6 inches
1 inch
Unique Feature
Precision cutting
Four-bar compound linkage
Alligator clamping jaws
Ratchet anvil mechanism
Rating
4.8/5
4.6/5
4.8/5
4.6/5
Picture
Tabor Tools GL18 20-Inch Bypass Mini Lopper, Makes Clean...
Length
20 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
Unique Feature
Precision cutting
Rating
4.8/5
Picture
Corona Compound Action Anvil Lopper, 32 Inch, FL 3420
Length
32 inches
Cutting Capacity
2 inches
Unique Feature
Four-bar compound linkage
Rating
4.6/5
Best Pick
Picture
Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5-Amp Electric Chain Saw
Length
25 inches
Cutting Capacity
6 inches
Unique Feature
Alligator clamping jaws
Rating
4.8/5
Picture
Power Drive - 28 Inch Heavy Duty Ratchet Pruning Anvil Hand...
Length
28 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
Unique Feature
Ratchet anvil mechanism
Rating
4.6/5

Last update on 2018-02-18 at 10:16 PST - Details

Behind the Loppers Mechanism

Loppers are similar to a pair of shears. It’s a large cutting tool that helps you snap off branches quickly and smoothly. Although it might sound simple, there’s a bit of trick involved when manufacturers design this cutting tool.

About the Handles

One of the first things that should catch your attention is the loppers' massive frame. It’s the largest cutting tool out of all gardening equipment, and the large handles mostly cause it. These handles usually range from 30 centimeters in length, but it can also extend up to two meters for taller trees.

Now you might wonder, why should loppers be designed to be in such high proportion? Why can’t it be like conventional cutting tools? The secret here is to increase its cutting force of the loppers. As you should probably know by now, loppers are designed mainly for pruning. It means it needs to cut a variety of items.

From twigs, shrubs, light branches, down to the thickest barks, loppers must be capable of cutting through all types of woody stems. The quickest and most practical way to have a high cutting force is to increase the distance between the blade and the source of strength.

As for this case, you cut things using the end opposite to the tip of the blade. Just imagine using scissors, it’s practically the same. However, with these long loppers, you get maximum cutting strength thanks to the blades’ increased length.

While that’s the main principle that the loppers use, it’s also a real bonus that the length allows you to reach higher trees.

About the Blades

The second component that strikes the most about loppers is its unique edges. Unlike other tools, loppers don’t make use of simple straight edge blades. These are not your traditional scissors that only cut.

Scissors are designed to be simple because the tasks that it does are also simple. Cutting paper, hair, yarn, and other soft objects don’t need rocket science. However, loppers handle not just tough branches, but also living things.

Using blades that have poor designs will not just limit the cutting capacity, but it can also significantly damage the growth of your plants. That is why it’s important for you to decide which blade you’re going to use, given that there are two types. These kinds perform differently while also giving your distinct results.

Anvil Type

The anvil type got its name because it’s more of a crushing tool than a cutting tool. That means that the anvil lopper does not have two sharp blades. Rather, it has one sharp edge while the other acts as a sort of flat platform where the sharp edge lands. Thus, it mimics the function of the anvil, hence its name.

The idea with the anvil is that you place the branch on the flat surface, while the sharp edge pushes it towards the anvil. That causes it to break because of a crushing mechanism as opposed to slicing or cutting.

The main advantage that the anvil type holds is that it’s stronger compared to the next type which we will discuss below. It’s ideal if you’re working with the toughest woody plants out there, thanks to its crushing force.

Moreover, the construction of this tool prevents it to jam when you’re dealing with the fibrous material. Woody plants tend to have stringy compositions. That can pose a threat to your loppers since the fiber might jam with your loppers’ joints.

However, it does have a disadvantage. Anvil loppers are not the best to use if you plan to do intricate and aesthetic gardening. The crushing force of these loppers will tend to leave unruly ends and uneven tears. Furthermore, it may damage your plant’s growth.

Thus, a good precaution is to know which plants are robust. Usually, the thicker the stems, the better it can take a beating with the anvil lopper.

Bypass Type

As we mentioned earlier, the bypass type is a lot weaker compared to the anvil loppers. However, it’s a lot cleaner in cutting, and it’s also better for aesthetic gardening. The bypass type’s primary distinction is that it has a “jaw” as opposed to an anvil.

This jaw is not sharp to the point where it can cut. These jaws can be straight, curved, or concave, depending on how you want to use it. The purpose of this is to hold the branch in place. Once the stem is in place, the blade located above the jaw is the one that swiftly cuts through it.

Thus, this method seems to emulate that of a guillotine style. You simply use one razor sharp blade while a blunt edge keeps it stable.

The main advantage that you get with these types is that it’s perfect for almost anything. Unless you own a garden that has a lot of dense and sturdy wood, you won’t need an anvil type.

With the bypass type, you can use it for delicate plants and even trees with harder wood. In fact, you can even use this for healthy plants, although it won’t generate the same efficiency as the anvil type. Still, bypass models are a lot more versatile despite the lack of power.

Are There Any Things in Common?

Although these two loppers function differently, they do have similar components too. For instance, the adjustment of these two pruning tools is the same. It features a spring adjustment screw which you can find on its lever. You’ll need to adjust these once in awhile since the blade of your loppers is susceptible to be loose over time.

Another thing to note is that this adjustment may be the same for both, but there are unique benefits that it presents. As for the anvil type, the loosening of this spring allows you to detach the flat area. You do this if you want to reposition it or completely replace it.

On the other hand, the bypass type benefits from this spring adjustment mechanism if ever it is tangled. As we mentioned earlier, anvil types are much more ideal for woody plants since bypass types get tangled up pretty badly. Loosening the spring would allow you to regain control towards the blade.

Our Top 5 Picks

Picture
Tabor Tools GL18 20-Inch Bypass Mini Lopper, Makes Clean...
Corona Compound Action Anvil Lopper, 32 Inch, FL 3420
Best Pick
Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5-Amp Electric Chain Saw
Power Drive - 28 Inch Heavy Duty Ratchet Pruning Anvil Hand...
Length
20 inches
32 inches
25 inches
28 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
2 inches
6 inches
1 inch
Unique Feature
Precision cutting
Four-bar compound linkage
Alligator clamping jaws
Ratchet anvil mechanism
Rating
4.8/5
4.6/5
4.8/5
4.6/5
Picture
Tabor Tools GL18 20-Inch Bypass Mini Lopper, Makes Clean...
Length
20 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
Unique Feature
Precision cutting
Rating
4.8/5
Picture
Corona Compound Action Anvil Lopper, 32 Inch, FL 3420
Length
32 inches
Cutting Capacity
2 inches
Unique Feature
Four-bar compound linkage
Rating
4.6/5
Best Pick
Picture
Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5-Amp Electric Chain Saw
Length
25 inches
Cutting Capacity
6 inches
Unique Feature
Alligator clamping jaws
Rating
4.8/5
Picture
Power Drive - 28 Inch Heavy Duty Ratchet Pruning Anvil Hand...
Length
28 inches
Cutting Capacity
1 inch
Unique Feature
Ratchet anvil mechanism
Rating
4.6/5

Last update on 2018-02-18 at 10:16 PST - Details

Fiskars opens our list with its PowerGear2 lopper. The lopper presents itself in a sleek black and orange finish, with a powerful-looking blade. And make no mistake; this bypass lopper is given a strength boost thanks to its advanced gear technology.

We like

  • plus-circle
    Advanced equipment technology
  • plus-circle
    The device technology located near the joint of the jaw gives the lopper three times more leverage than traditional bypass loppers
  • plus-circle
    It comes with modified tools that let you shift your tool’s cutting power while pruning
  • plus-circle
    The best way to use this is when pruning uneven branches that have a thicker end to it
  • plus-circle
    It gives it a 2-inch cutting capacity
  • plus-circle
    Has a lifetime warranty
  • plus-circle
    Its leverage is further improved thanks to its 32-inch length

We do not like

  • minus-circle
    The gear mechanism is active, but the material of the blades are nothing special
  • minus-circle
    It’s quite thick compared to other products
  • minus-circle
    It could affect how you angle and position this lopper

Tabor Tools is another known brand in the industry. This manufacturer has made it a point that they focus on the precision and speed of their loppers. With that said, their 20-inch bypass lopper might be 12 inches down compared to the first product, but it still packs a punch.

We like

  • plus-circle
    Power-through cutting mechanism
  • plus-circle
    Although it has a 1-inch cutting capacity, its reduced strength allows it to be lighter and more swift in cutting
  • plus-circle
    Easy storage
  • plus-circle
    It has a creative design that allows you to use the holes when storing the loppers
  • plus-circle
    The 20-inch size also makes it easier to store
  • plus-circle
    Top-notch blade
  • plus-circle
    The blade comes with hardened carbon steel that has a coating of low-friction material. That allows it to last while also being effective in cutting

We do not like

  • minus-circle
    It’s not the best to use when you’re dealing with branches that are around 2 inches
  • minus-circle
    The short handles might be awkward to carry for some
  • minus-circle
    This aspect did receive positive feedback depending on who you ask

Corona is the first product on our list to feature the strong anvil lopper. This crusher produced by Corona is at a good 32 inches, which fits the bill for most anvil loppers. With its 24-inch fiberglass handles and high-carbon steel blade, you’ll get both power and comfortability with the Corona.

We like

  • plus-circle
    Sturdy and well-built blade
  • plus-circle
    Besides the high-carbon steel material, this is also resharpenable with a 2-inch cutting capacity
  • plus-circle
    Four-bar compound linkage
  • plus-circle
    This technology allows the tool to increase its cutting force to up to three times more than its original
  • plus-circle
    Comes with a lifetime warranty
  • plus-circle
    Fiberglass handles are ergonomic to use
  • plus-circle
    While large, it’s relatively easy to use this to reach higher plants

We do not like

  • minus-circle
    The frame of the lopper tends to bend a little when facing a tougher and thicker stem
  • minus-circle
    Quite cumbersome for some gardeners when using it for a prolonged time


Now here’s a little surprising fact that we didn’t mention. Black & Decker presents a new twist to the traditional bypass and anvil loppers with its electrical alligator lopper. This lopper looks like an alligator by using a pair of chainsaw-like jaws.

It grabs the thickest of branches and saws them until it’s off. It’s almost like a mixture between a lopper and a chainsaw!

We like

  • plus-circle
    Innovative clamping jaws make this the best tool for the thickest of branches
  • plus-circle
    It runs at 4.5 amp which gives sufficient sawing power to its alligator jaws
  • plus-circle
    This tool can cut up to six inches of thick wood
  • plus-circle
    It also comes with a well-built cutting bar and chain to further extend its already strong cutting power
  • plus-circle
    Authority and comfortability in one
  • plus-circle
    Since it is electric powered, you won’t have to worry about applying force to the tool. That significantly reduces your workload and stress

We do not like

  • minus-circle
    It doesn’t produce the cleanest cuts
  • minus-circle
    It can leave an untidy end to the branch you’ve cut, so this is not ideal for aesthetic pruning
  • minus-circle
    Besides being electric, it also uses oil which is hard to locate
  • minus-circle
    It doesn’t indicate how much oil you use and how much is left inside

The Power Drive comes last with its 28-inch anvil lopper, making it the competitor to Corona’s anvil lopper. Gardenite boasts effortless cutting made possible by its ratchet mechanism.

It improves its cutting power up to five times more than normal. Moreover, you’ll get easy-to-use handles and top-notch durability with the Power Drive!

We like

  • plus-circle
    Made of cast aluminum for durability and comfortability
  • plus-circle
    It’s strong but extremely lightweight to use
  • plus-circle
    Highly recommended for people with disabilities and those with smaller hands
  • plus-circle
    Blade comes with the best standards
  • plus-circle
    It’s made out of tempered carbon steel and comes with high-quality Teflon.
  • plus-circle
    That allows it to remain fresh from the heat and also makes it non-stick
  • plus-circle
    The ratchet mechanism gives your pruning five times more than its usual cutting force

We do not like

  • minus-circle
    Although the cutting force is strong, the frame of the blade does not easily accommodate to larger branches
  • minus-circle
    The ratchet’s performance may fluctuate causing you to start over again

The Verdict

Now that we’ve reviewed all five products, it’s time to pick a winner. Again, when we talk about loppers, it’s important to consider its cutting force, durability, and cleanliness when cutting. The other factors are also important, but fundamentally speaking, these are the priority.

With that said, Fiskars PowerGear2 wins in the bypass department. This tool is very straightforward and does the basics well to excel. While it may not boast the most eye-catching innovation, it’s the safest bet among all.

Of course, if you prefer to use anvil loppers because you have a fibrous garden, by all means, choose the two we reviewed. On the other hand, the alligator lopper is best for people dealing with large tree branches.

It's all about what you prefer. Good luck and don’t forget to share and tell us what you think below! 

Thomas Roberge
 

This website was created and is supported by a person who has been in the business of working with power tools, dedicated to home improvement projects both professionally and for the do it yourself type of person.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: