Loppers are the go-to tool to use in the yard if you have thick branches that you want to cut quickly and cleanly, without having to use too much brute force. Loppers are built tough and designed to handle all of your pruning needs, but finding the perfect tool, one that can handle the type of shrubbery you have, without the risk of bending or breaking the blades is tougher than you may think.
Since there are so many of these tools are the market, you’ll find that trying to weed out low-quality models is no easy task. Fortunately, I’ve put together a guide that will go over the most important features to look for and how you can identify a high-quality pair of loppers from a pair that won’t last the season. I’ve also put many of the top-selling models to the test and created a must-have list of the six models that will save you plenty of time and hard work out in the yard. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes each of these models, how they rated, and their standout features.
Loppers for Pruning Comparison Chart
TABOR TOOLS GG12A Anvil Lopper
Looking for extra-tough loppers that can handle the jobs that your hand pruners can’t? This latest pair from Tabor Tools features a two-inch cutting capacity, so it can handle even the largest established hedges. These loppers allow for quicker removal of woody and dry growth and they’re the perfect tool for cut to length work and preparatory cuts. This tool is pro-quality all the way and designed with rubberized grips, complete with twenty-two inch handles that provide an excellent grip that will feel comfortable in your hands. Coming in at thirty-inches, these loppers will allow you to work with more leverage for tougher, more efficient cuts.
- Ergonomic handles
- Thirty-inches in length for ultimate leverage
- Rubberized grip
- Two-inch cutting capacity
- Too bulky for small branch use
The compound lever system features a variety of moving parts and pivot points, which will increase the force that’s applied to the blade. The blade’s multiple moving parts will multiply the amount of force applied to the blade, so less effort from the user is required, yet you’ll get smoother cleaner cuts. This lopper is perfect for both home and pro use and is available at a price that won’t break the bank.
Fiskars Bypass Lopper
If you want loppers that can make clean cuts that promote new growth, then this pair by Fiskars is the perfect fit. These loopers are ideal for cutting living green branches and stems and will allow you to achieve the type of clean cut that will encourage new growth. The blades are precision ground and fully hardened. The blades are also equipped with a low-friction, rust-resistant coating that will help the blades to easily glide through branches, without debris and sap sticking to the blades. This tool measures in at twenty-eight inches and offers a cutting capacity of one and a half inches. The bumper’s shock-absorbing design will increase user comfort by eliminating the jarring feeling that occurs when you cut through tougher, thicker branches.
- Includes shock-absorbing bumpers
- Rust-resistant, low-friction coating
- Provides clean cuts
- Low price
- Covered by a full lifetime warranty
- Blades require frequent sharpening
This bypass looper is perfect for routine yard maintenance, thinning shrubs and bushes, and trimming and shaping shrubbery. The looper is not designed to remove diseased or dead growth but does do an excellent job of cutting through thicker stems and branches to provide the type of clean cuts that will allow a branch or stem to heal properly. The longer handles will allow you to use the leverage you need when cutting through thicker bushes and branches, while still promoting better than average user control for more precise cuts.
Spear & Jackson 8290RS Loppers
This pair of heavy-duty loppers features an anvil ratchet design that makes them the perfect choice for working with harder, thicker wood. In fact, it can easily handle cutting through two-inch branches. This model features ratchet action, which is designed to give the user a mechanical advantage by improving the cutting action, which will require minimum effort from the user. To use the loppers, simply open the handles, activating the ratchet, then close the handles until you hear a click, for the first cut. Repeat the process for additional cuts, it’s that simple. The blades are made out of carbon steel that has a nonstick coating that eliminates gunk buildup from debris and sap. The coating will also reduce friction and protects the blades from rust and corrosion.
- Telescopic handles
- Carbon steel blades
- Nonstick coating
- Ten-year guarantee
The telescopic handles will extend up to thirty-one and a half inches, so you can easily access hard to reach places and neatly trim and thin small to large shrubs, trees, and bushes. The aluminum handles help to keep the weight down, yet many buyers have complained that the loopers were much heavier than expected. The nonstick coating on the blades combined with the tough carbon steel construction ensures this is a pair of loppers that will last season after season, even with heavy-duty use.
These loopers by Corona feature a one and a half-inch cutting capacity, thanks to the four-bar compound linkage which basically triple’s the blade’s cutting power. The handles are made out of fiberglass and feature a length of thirty-two-inches. At the ends of the handles, you’ll find grips that are made out of thick foam, for improved user comfort. The blades are made out of high-carbon steel, complete with a nonstick coating that prevents debris and sap from sticking to the surface. This pair of loopers is recommended for pro use and is designed to handle a wide variety of applications.
- Carbon steel blades
- Thirty-two inches in length
- Nonstick blade coating
- Foam hand grips
- Heavy design can cause user fatigue
This is a durable pair of loopers that’s perfect for home and pro-use, however, the heavier design can quickly lead to user fatigue and can make it difficult to use for a long period of time. The carbon steel blades with the nonstick coating promote fast and clean cuts, allowing you to tackle a wide variety of pruning and trimming jobs in the yard. Overall, these loopers are a great choice for home and pro use but may be overkill if you’re looking for a tool that can handle small pruning jobs.
MLTOOLS Extendable Lopper
The loopers are made out of high carbon steel, complete with a ratcheting mechanism and an extendable length of thirty-nine inches. The lightweight design is contributed to the tough aluminum handles that include non-slip grips. The blades feature a cutting capacity of 1 ¾ so they can handle cutting, trimming, and pruning jobs of all sizes. The ratcheting mechanism allows you to make precise cuts using minimal effort, so they’re perfect for users with weak hands, arthritis, or past hand and wrist injuries.
- Lightweight design
- High cutting capacity
- Carbon steel blades
- Ratcheting action
- Not beginner-friendly
These extendable MLTOOLS loopers are ergonomically designed, lightweight, and comfortable to use, so you can spend more time in the yard, tackling all your cutting and trimming jobs in one shot. These loopers allow you to make fast, efficient cuts using minimal effort. The tough carbon steel blades can slice through pretty much anything, while the length of the loopers will give you access to those high, hard to reach branches, allowing you to instantly give your shrubs and trees a clean and fresh look.
These loopers by T-Mai come equipped with a telescopic rod that allows you to adjust the length from twenty-seven inches up to forty inches. This will significantly reduce the amount of exertion needed to cut through thicker branches. This model comes equipped with a few gears that you’ll use to adjust the cutting mouth size. This model will be perfect for landscaping, potted pruning, trimming, pruning, and thinning shrubs and bushes, and other types of heavy-duty landscaping tasks.
- Highly adjustable
- Telescopic handle
- Tough blade design
- Satisfaction guarantee
- Low cutting capacity
These lightweight loopers are designed for heavy-duty use and feature a telescopic pole that’s highly adjustable so you can reach even the hardest to access areas on trees and taller shrubs. This tool can be used to prune both woody and dry growth and green branches and stems, featuring a cutting capacity of 1.9 inches. The loopers have been designed with functionality and comfort in mind and come equipped with contoured ergonomic grips for a faster and easier cutting and pruning experience.
Loppers for Pruning Buyer’s Guide
If you have a large yard and have several shrubs, bushes, and small trees on your property, then a pair of loppers will come in handy for many pruning tasks. These tools are easy to handle, so you can make more precise, clean cuts and they’re the perfect tool to use to trim, prune, and shape your shrubs and bushes. Ragged cuts can seriously damage a plant and discourage new growth, which is why using a tool that can make a clean cut is so important.
When you’re searching for a new pair of loppers, the first thing you’ll notice is that there are different designs and sizes of loppers available, in a variety of price brackets. Because of this, it’s important that you choose a pair that will work for you based on your lawn maintenance needs, strength, and budget.
In this guide, I’ll go over the different options and features available, which are:
- Blade Type
- Blade’s Quality
- Cutting Mechanism
- Cutting Power
- Bumper Design
The type of blade you choose will be important since each type of blade features a different kind of cutting action. One type of blade is a better option for removing diseased or dead stems and branches, while the other is a better choice if you want to encourage new growth.
Like other types of pruning tools, loppers are available in a couple of basic blade types; bypass and anvil. The type of loppers you purchase will depend on your specific pruning needs.
Bypass loppers are the most commonly used type available. This design features a couple of blades that are designed to smoothly move past each other when you make a cut. These blades are known for their precise, clean cuts. Using this type of blade design will be very beneficial to your plants since a smoother cut will allow your plants to heal at a much faster rate. The drawback here is that these blades also have a reputation of getting jammed when they’re used to cut dead or dry branches. This can also cause the blades to bend, which would make the loppers totally useless.
The anvil-style models feature a single straight blade. This type of blade works much like a knife and is good for trimming back live wood or dead wood prior to using loppers with a bypass blade, which can make a nice clean final cut. Anvil-style blades are designed to handle thicker branches, unlike bypass loppers. However, you can’t expect a clean cut when you’re using anvil-style blades since this blade design crushes the branch or stem, instead of cutting cleanly through.
Blade quality will be another spec to check out. Many homeowners and gardeners prefer blades that are made out of carbon steel, which is designed to withstand the type of force that is exerted. Blades that are made out of carbon steel have a reputation for lasting longer than stainless steel and are not as prone to breaking and bending. They also don’t require frequent sharpening. Additionally, blades made out of carbon steel should come with a coating that’s designed to resist sap buildup.
Stainless steel blades will require regular sharpening to ensure your blades are performing at their best and this material is naturally rust-resistant, so you won’t have to worry about rust and corrosion like you will with blades that are made out of carbon steel.
There are a few different types of cutting mechanisms to choose from; geared, compound action, and ratcheting.
Models that are equipped with a ratcheting cut mechanism are easier on the hands and allow you to simply squeeze the handles together, then release them to make a cut. This makes the whole cutting process a breeze.
Compound cut mechanisms feature several pivots and moving parts and require the user to open the loppers much further in order to have the blades completely cover the cut area.
The geared loppers feature a design that gives the user more leverage when cutting.
The grip for loppers will also matter since an uncomfortable grip will have an impact on how long you can use them. Handles are available in a variety of sizes and shapes. Some grips will feature a contoured grip, while others will have a grip that’s made out of a softer material. Models that feature a grip that’s made out of softer material tend to have a higher risk of damage but are more comfortable to hold.
Grip size will also be important since grips that are too short will not give you the type of leverage you need.
Some models will also feature a telescoping handle, so you can extend it when you’re trimming taller hedges. On average, the length of the handle can range from fifteen inches to thirty-four inches. The longer the handles are, the more leverage the user will have, which equals an easier cutting process. High-quality models are able to cut through thicker branches, but if you’re only dealing with thinner branches and stems in your yard, then a model with shorter handles will be sufficient.
Choose loppers that feature a lightweight design, since this will also have an impact on how comfortable and easy the loppers are to use. Models that are categorized as heavy-duty and made out of stainless steel will be much heavier but can handle bigger jobs, while lightweight loppers will only be suitable for smaller jobs and are often made out of aluminum. While weight may not seem like an important spec, consider how long you’ll be able to comfortably handle a pair of loppers that weigh more than six pounds. Do you have a large yard with several shrubs? Then a lightweight pair may be a better option. However, the weight of the loppers is often a tradeoff for blade cutting power since models that are designed for pros are more durable and made out of heavy-duty materials that can handle cutting through thicker branches and stems, without bending or breaking.
The cutting power from a pair of loppers is based on the length of the handles, the comfort of the loppers, and how much they weigh.
When you’re trying to narrow down your choices between a couple of pairs of loppers, consider how much each model weighs, how much weight you can handle, and whether or not you’ll be able to handle them comfortably. Heavy-duty loppers are going to weigh more and they’re going to require more user power and strength to use. They will also weigh significantly more than models that are designed for light pruning. Determine how much cutting power you really need, and whether you can handle a larger pair of loppers.
On the handles, located right by the blades you’ll find a rubber bumper. This bumper prevents your knuckles from banging into each other. These bumpers will also work as shock absorbers, which will also improve user comfort. If the pair of loppers you’re interested in doesn’t have a bumper, don’t purchase them.
Sharpening loopers should be done right after a big job. To do this, you’ll need to use a vise to hold the tool steady, in order to remove any burrs from the flat side of the blade. Of course, sharpening the blade will also make cutting and thinning plant life much easier on you. Be careful not to overdo it, to avoid ending up with a blade that’s misshapen.
In terms of cleaning the loopers, they should be washed off and dried thoroughly with a rag before storing. To ensure proper cutting action, you can also wipe the blades down with an oil, such as WD40.
If you have a bypass looper and it’s constantly jamming and catching, then you may need to tighten the jaws which can loosen from overuse. To do this, place the tool in a vise, making adjustments to the blade’s passing clearance by tightening the blade nut. This can be done using a couple of wrenches on each side of the nut. If the blade is bent then you may need to tap it back into shape using a hammer.
The length of your pruning loppers is a crucial factor that will help you reach higher into the tree crown. Most models will have a reach of around 25-30 inches, with some models pushing beyond that. However, if you want to cut larger branches even further away from you, I suggest looking to get a good cordless pole saw, as these can often reach up to 16 feet.
Now that you have the right pair of loppers for your shrubs and trees, it’s time to get started. However, if you’re a beginner, then the following tips on the dos and don’t of lopper use will come in handy and ensure you stay safe, make cleaner cuts, and get the most out of this important yard maintenance tool.
- When possible, make sure you prune branches and stems during the winter months. If you time your pruning correctly, you can encourage more new growth in the spring.
- When you’re pruning a small tree, make sure you cut with the bevel of the blade facing away from the tree’s trunk. Because of the wood’s growth structure, resistance from the wood being cut can cause the blade to push away from the trunk.
- To promote user comfort, make sure you don’t work with your arms extended since this can tire out the arms quickly and can result in making weaker cuts. Make sure you use loppers to help you reach cuts that would be impossible to access with pruners.
- If you have bypass-style loppers, avoid twisting the loppers when you cut. Instead, use a firm grip as you’re cutting and avoid allowing the tool to rotate. If you use this tool on wood that’s too dense or large for the loppers, the additional force you’ll need to exert can cause the tool to twist. If the loppers twist this will result in sloppy cuts.
- Avoid overusing loppers. This tool is able to cut anything that a pair of hand pruners can. With the addition of the longer handles, loppers allow you to exert more force in order to cut more, including material that you should be using a saw for. This tool also allows you to use them at a distance, so it can be very tempting to rely on them for jobs you shouldn’t. A simple pair of hand pruners are much lighter and easier to use for smaller branches and stems. Additionally, a saw is the only way you handle cleanly cutting wood that’s too big for loppers.
- Always keep your loppers nice and sharp. This tool can become dull rather quickly because it handles wood that’s thicker than what you can cut with hand pruners, yet they don’t have teeth like a saw. This tool is very easy to misuse, which will also cause them to become dull quickly. When you sharpen loppers, take a look at where the metal is dull and rolled over. If the metal is dull and rolled over near the blade’s tip then this is a clear indicator that you’re not using the tool correctly.
- Proper maintenance is a must. This tool should always be cleaned prior to storing it. Make sure you clean off the blade and handles, dry them, and store them correctly. If you plan on storing them away for the season, then I recommend applying a thin coat of oil to prevent rust.
The best loppers for pruning can help lighten the load and make your next pruning job much easier. By ensuring you choose the right pair of loppers, a pair that will work with your cutting needs, you’ll save plenty of time in the yard, while significantly lengthening the life of the loppers themselves. Beginners often choose loppers that don’t have the type of sturdy blade needed to get a job done, which can result in blade damage. If you’re looking for loppers that come loaded with the type of features you need for your yard, based on the type of shrubs and trees you have, your skill level, strength, and budget, then I’m confident you’ll find the perfect pair in my must-have list. Now that you know what features you need to search for and how to determine whether or not a specific pair will work for your cutting needs, you should have no trouble finding loppers that will allow you to quickly and efficiently trim your plant life, and instantly make your yard look beautiful and well-maintained.