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!
Last update on 2019-07-16 at 02:59 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.
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.
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
Last update on 2019-07-16 at 02:59 PST - Details
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 is a Pro himself, who has been in the business of home renovation & construction, working with various tools. He used to be the owner of 2 local construction companies with over 18 years experience. His works also include writing inspiring Do IT Yourself Tips & Tricks.