What Are The Best Tree Loppers?

In This Article

Tree Loppers are a great tool for cutting and preparing branches prior to feeding them to your garden shredder. If you know what are the best tree loppers, you will have a tool that will last you for years.

Just as with many other garden tools, choosing tree loppers is not as easy as it should be. There are many different types with different cutting blades and mechanisms. Sadly, manufacturers provide little information on which sort of lopper is best suited to your needs.

In this review we are going to consider:

  • Which is better, Anvil or Bypass Cut Loppers?
  • Types of lopper cutting mechanisms
  • What to look for when buying loppers?
  • What is the best anvil lopper?
  • What is the best bypass lopper?

Don’t Want to Read The Full Article? Here’s our top tree lopper.

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Lopper

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers

Current price – £32.49

Check it out on Amazon

Which is better, Anvil or Bypass Cut Loppers

In all honesty, this question should not be which is better – Anvil or bypass cutters.  The real question is, “What are Anvil and Bypass Cutters designed for and which is best for my needs?”  The link goes to a post in which we sought to answer that question for both secateurs and lopping shears.

In short, Anvil Cutters are designed for tougher, dry wood.  They are suited for applying much greater force and are able to withstand the turning/twisting moment that can occur when trying to cut tough branches with bypass cutters.

Bypass cutters work like scissors.  Both blades move over the other to provide a tighter, cleaner cut.  Bypass cutters are designed for cutting softer, greener shoots that do not require too much power.

Types of Lopper Cutting Mechanisms

Loppers are now available with several different cutting mechanisms.  These are designed to provide the maximum possible cutting force at the blades, with the minimum possible power applied to the handles.

Common cutting mechanisms are:

Directly coupled

In loppers with directly coupled blades the handles are either directly attached to the blades or are attached via a simple pivot link.

2 bypass lopper cutters. Trying to answer - What Are The Best Tree Loppers
Bypass cutters connected to the handle by a simple pivot link. Blade closing force is increased by about 50%

Pros of Directly Linked Blades

  • Simple mechanism – not much to go wrong
  • Use of a pivot link can increase the force available at the blades

Cons of Directly Linked Blades

  • No multiplier on cutting force.
  • Loppers can get twisted as you attempt to bring your muscles to bear.

Ratchet Cutters

Ratchet mechanisms are getting popular on both secateurs and lopping shears.  The blades are attached to the handles via a ratchet gear system.  The idea is that the handles provide the maximum force when they are at an angle of about 45degrees or less to each other.  As you close the handles the blades dig in and the ratchet clicks to lock that position.  The handles can now be opened back to the optimum angle for applying force while the blades remain locked in place.  Progressive ratcheting down allows bigger, tougher branches to be cut with far less effort.

Pros of ratchet cutters

  • Repeated, small movements allow the optimum force to be applied to the blades
  • Tougher, thicker branches can be cut with a ratchet mechanism than for a simpler, direct coupled mechanism
  • Ideal for those of us with some loss of strength in our hands and arms. Enables the cutting of smaller branches without excessive force applied to the handles.

Cons of ratchet cutters

  • The blades only move a little as the handles move.  It can be frustrating to have to keep moving the blades to engage the ratchet mechanism when cutting smaller, softer materials.
  • More complex that simple cutters – more to go wrong
  • Adds weight to the loppers

Geared cutters

Geared cutters work a little like the ratchet models.  The gears are provided to improve the power supplied at the blades.  Unlike ratchet models, you only get one press of the handles to make your cut.

Pros of Geared cutters

  • More force applied to the blades than with a simply linked mechanism
  • Less complex mechanism that ratchet cutters

Cons of Geared Cutters

  • To get more force at the blades there has to be more movement of the handles.  The amount the blades can open may be limited (so the size of branch that be cut is limited) by the required range of movement of the handles
  • Getting a wide range of movement of the handles can limit which branches you can reach with the loppers.

I don’t have any geared loppers but the photo below illustrates the small opening of the blades compared to the range of movement of the handles on two pairs of hedge shears.

What Are The Best Tree Loppers? 1
top – geared – much lower blade opening compared to the bottom, direct coupled handles and blades

The key message for geared and ratcheted cutting mechanisms is, “You don’t get something for nothing”. If you want to get more force on the blades for less force on the handles, you are going to have to move the handles further.

For ratchet mechanisms you move the handles a small amount each time the ratchet clicks. Then you need to open the handles and cut a bit more. Overall, you move the handles through a far greater distance that for directly coupled blades.

For geared mechanisms without a ratchet, you will have to open the handles much wider than for direct coupled blades. The overall range of movement of the handles will be much bigger.

What to look for when buying loppers

We have already covered some of what to look for when buying lopping shears:

Bypass or anvil cutters

I own 2 x bypass cutting loppers.  The second set were bought because I had applied maximum power at a slight angle. The blades and the branch twisted.  As everything twisted, the branch moved between the 2 blades forcing them apart.  The blades deformed slightly making the scissor action a little out of kilter.  They still cut (which is why we still have them) but the cut is not as neat and clean as it should be.

My predominant use of tree loppers is cutting tough, dry branches.  I should have bought anvil cutters.

Cutting mechanism

For many people simple, direct coupled cutting is fine.  If, like me, you feel your strength is not what it once was, you should consider ratchet or geared mechanisms.

Telescopic Handles

Lots of loppers have telescopic handles.  The intention is that you can reach further up and/or across the tree. Extending the handles increases the moment you can apply allowing you to increase the cutting force.

While it is something else to go wrong, we think the benefits of telescopic handles outweighs any possible cons. Don’t be tempted to go for a maximum force cut with the handles fully extended. You are more than likely to bend them.

What are the best tree loppers?

We are now ready to look at the best tree loppers.

What is the best anvil lopper – the candidates

Amazon Basics Anvil Lopper

AmazonBasics Anvil Tree Lopper

FeatureAmazon BasicsComments
Cutter typeAnvil 
Cutter mechanismSimple – direct 
Telescopic (Y/N)N 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)72.3 
Weight (kg)1 

As tree loppers go, these Amazon Basics are, as the name suggests – very basic.  They are though, excellent loppers.  The aluminium tube handles  are very strong but light.  With a weight of just 1 kg, the AmazonBasics are excellent loppers.

AmazonBasics Anvil Lopper
59 Reviews
AmazonBasics Anvil Lopper
  • Carbon steel blade with aluminium tube handle and PP + TPR grip
  • Dimensions: 72.3 x 29.9 x 2.79 cm
  • Grey and blue colour
  • Coated steel for quick cutting

Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advance Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper

Spear & Jackson RazorsharpAnvil Tree Lopper

FeatureSpear & Jackson RazorsharpComments
Cutter typeAnvil 
Cutter mechanismRatchet 
Telescopic (Y/N)Y 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)71 to 103Handles extend from 40cm to 80cm 80cm = 31.5inches
Maximum branch size (cm)52 inches
Weight (kg)1.9Much of the weight is in the blades/cutting mechanism giving these loppers a ‘top-heavy’ feel

Spear and Jackson just about tell you everything there is to know in the description.  The handles are made from light weight, tubular aluminium.  For me, this gives an out of balance feel with too much weight concentrated in the cutter end.

Spear & Jackson RazorsharpAnvil Tree Lopper

With the ratchet mechanism able to cut up to 50mm branches (that is bigger than any electric shredder is rated for), these are genuinely heavy duty loppers.

Sale
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advance Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper
915 Reviews
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advance Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper
  • Ratchet action gives easy cutting in short steps - ideal for thicker, harder branches
  • PTFE coated blade for rust resistance and smooth cutting
  • Genuine Spear & Jackson product
  • Grow your own great British growing 2018 award winners

Fiskars PowerGear X Lopper Anvil

Fiskars PowerGear X Lopper Anvil

FeatureFiskars PowerGear X LopperComments
Cutter typeAnvil 
Cutter mechanismGear 
Telescopic (Y/N)N 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)8080cm = 31.5inches
Maximum branch size (cm)5.52 inches plus
Weight (kg)1.36The weight is well distributed giving a well balanced feel

As we have already mentioned, to get the force into the blades that handles have to be opened a long way. In the Fiskar’s video below, it is clear that the Powergear lopper cuts large branches quite easily. Just look how far the guy has to open the handles to get them on the branch.

Opening the handles to almost 180 degrees means you have to be really close to the branch to before you can start to cut it. This is not always convenient. Especially when you are at the top of the steps struggling to reach a branch at the end of the telescopic reach of your loppers.

Sale
Fiskars PowerGear X Lopper Anvil L LX99, Size L, Cutting diameter: 5.5 cm, Non-stick coating, Hardened steel, Length: 80 cm, Black/Orange, 1020189
265 Reviews
Fiskars PowerGear X Lopper Anvil L LX99, Size L, Cutting diameter: 5.5 cm, Non-stick coating, Hardened steel, Length: 80 cm, Black/Orange, 1020189
  • Branch cutter for dry and hard wood, for pruning branches up to 5.5 cm in diameter, not suitable for cutting green and fresh wood such as live beds and roses, for right-and left-handed
  • Easy to reach branches that are height thanks to lightweight aluminium extendable handle, high safety thanks to handles with textured anti-slip coating
  • Clean and powerful cut: Non-stick coating on the blade for a smooth and clean cut, the lower cutting blade is curved for optimal catch of the branch being cut, reduced effort and a cutting performance 3 times higher thanks to the SoftGrip covered handles
  • Long life product, Stainless steel, Easy sharpening and replacement of the cutting blade (available under the reference number: 1026286), diamond file sold separately in the maintenance kit (available under the reference number: 1001640), finish design

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers

FeatureDavoan Pro Ratchet TelescopicComments
Cutter typeAnvil 
Cutter mechanismAdjustable gearThe opening of the blades is adjusted a little like with plumbers’ pliers.  Despite the name, there is no ratchet.
Telescopic (Y/N)Y 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)68/100 
Maximum branch size (cm)4.5Maximum size for use with the Bosch Turbine Cut shredder
Weight (kg)1.6The weight is well distributed giving a well balanced feel

I confess, I have never heard of Davoan.  However, these loppers caught my eye as being cheap, telescopic and heavy-duty.  That is a powerful combination.

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Lopper

There are a couple of comments that the handles are a bit weak when extended but the overall impression is superb.

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers – More Power Less Effort Thick Cut – Quick Click Extendable 680mm to 1000mm Garden Pruner - Best on Pruning Tree Hedge Branch – Quality Gardening Tool
340 Reviews
Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers – More Power Less Effort Thick Cut – Quick Click Extendable 680mm to 1000mm Garden Pruner - Best on Pruning Tree Hedge Branch – Quality Gardening Tool
  • ✔ UP TO 5 TIMES CUTTING POWER – Great for Pruning Thick and Thin Tree Branches, The Efficient Ratchet Lopper Action Reduces Effort By Allowing Cuts In Several Pressure Increasing Steps Rather Than One. Gives You More Cutting Power So You Use Less Energy With Each Squeeze. This Premium Heavy Duty Garden Lopper Saves Time And Makes Lighter Work Of That Difficult Branch Cutting
  • ✔ EXTREMELY SHARP FOR EASIER CUTTING – Sharp Heated Treated & Hardened SK5 Carbon Steel Top Blade Is Larger to Cope With Slicing Through Thicker Branches With Ease. This Anvil Garden Lopper is Great For Thick, Dead and Woody Branches. Solid Durable Lower Non Cutting Anvil Is Metal (not cheap plastic) and Grips the Branch For Accurate Trimming. Ideal for Tree Branches, Hedges, Plants. Blade Stays Sharper For Longer Too On This Gardening Pruning Tool
  • ✔ QUICK CLICK COMFY EXTENDABLE HANDLES – Soft Grip Handles For Extra Comfort, Easy Quick Click Twist Locks Effortlessly Extend The Handles 680mm – 1000mm So You Can Reach Those Higher Branches Easier. A Perfect Pruner Addition to your Secateurs and other Gardening Tools
  • ✔ QUALITY ALL ROUND - Manufactured To High Standards To Ensure Long Lasting Use. This Hand Tree Lopper Has A Strong Light Weight Aluminium Handle Design, Strong Low Friction Ratchet Mechanism Provides More Comfortable Less Fatigue Pruning, Rust Resistant, Coated Blade To Ensure Easy Cleaning. Overall weight 1.6kg. Premium Quality Garden Tool That You Can Enjoy Using For Years

What is the best bypass lopper – top candidates

AmazonBasics Bypass Lopper

AmazonBasics Bypass Lopper

FeatureAmazon BasicsComments
Cutter typeBypass 
Cutter mechanismSimple – direct 
Telescopic (Y/N)N 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)72.3 
Weight (kg)1 

These appear to be identical to the Amazon basics Anvil Loppers with the Anvil replaced by bypass blades.

There is nothing not to like.

AmazonBasics Bypass Lopper
29 Reviews
AmazonBasics Bypass Lopper
  • Carbon steel blade with steel tube handle and PP + TPR grip
  • Dimensions: 72.3 x 29.9 x 2.79 cm
  • Grey and blue colour
  • Coated steel for quick cutting

AmazonBasics Telescopic Bypass Lopper

AmazonBasics Telescopic Bypass Lopper

Amazon also provide a telescopic version of their bypass lopper. 

FeatureAmazon BasicsComments
Cutter typeBypass 
Cutter mechanismSimple – direct 
YN 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)67.3 to 90.823cm increase in reach seems miniscule.
Weight (kg)1.38 

Customers love this lopper.  Like several other of the telescopic loppers in this review, the AmazonBasics model uses pegs and holes to lock the telescopic handles.

To us, the increase in reach with telescopic handles is not enough.  There are better alternatives available

AmazonBasics Telescopic Bypass Lopper
148 Reviews
AmazonBasics Telescopic Bypass Lopper
  • Carbon steel blade with aluminium tube handle and PP + TPR grip
  • Dimensions: 67.3-90.8 x 27.3 x 3.81 cm
  • Grey and blue colour
  • Coated steel for quick cutting

Faithfull SAMBYLOPR Samurai Bypass Lopper Ratchet

Faithful Samurai Telescopic Bypass Lopper

FeatureFaithful Samurai BypassComments
Cutter typeBypass 
Cutter mechanismRatchetVery simple ratchet mechanism with few moving parts.  Should be relatively easy for a user to maintain/repair
Telescopic (Y/N)Y 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)70/99 
Maximum branch size (cm)4.5Maximum size for use with the Bosch Turbine Cut shredder
Weight (kg)1.6The weight is well distributed giving a well balanced feel

Faithful is another brand we have not heard about before this review.  Users seem to hold them in extremely high regard.   We like the simple ratchet mechanism. 

What catches our eye is the locking mechanisms on the telescopic handles.  Most loppers go with the twist left to unlock, twist right to lock.  I find I twist as I squeeze and I frequently undo the locking while trying to cut.  With these Faithful Samurai loppers there are pins to lock  the arms. 

Sale
Faithfull SAMBYLOPR Samurai Bypass Lopper Ratchet Telescopic
51 Reviews
Faithfull SAMBYLOPR Samurai Bypass Lopper Ratchet Telescopic
  • High carbon steel blades with a non-stick cutting blade to resist rust and reduce friction
  • Cutting capacity: 45 mm
  • Handle length: 700-990 mm

Fiskars PowerGear Lopper Bypass

Fiskars PowerGear Bypass Lopper

These bypass loppers are identical to the Fiskar anvil cut loppers we mention above.

FeatureFiskars PowerGear X LopperComments
Cutter typeBypass 
Cutter mechanismGear 
Telescopic (Y/N)N 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)8080cm = 31.5inches
Maximum branch size (cm)52 inches
Weight (kg)1.06The weight is well distributed giving a well balanced feel

These Fiskar Powergear bypass loppers cut up to an impressive 5cm in diameter.  That’s great.  Just remember, anvil cutters are designed for cutting bigger, tough branches.  As the prices are similar we think the anvil cutters are a better buy.

Sale
Fiskars PowerGear Lopper Bypass, Hook Head (L) L78, Power Gear II system, Non-stick coating, Cutting Diameter : 5 cm, Hardened steel, Length: 70 cm, Black/Orange, 1000584
442 Reviews
Fiskars PowerGear Lopper Bypass, Hook Head (L) L78, Power Gear II system, Non-stick coating, Cutting Diameter : 5 cm, Hardened steel, Length: 70 cm, Black/Orange, 1000584
  • Branch cutter for Fresh Wood, For tree branches, shrubs and hedges up to 5 cm in diameter, For right-and left-handed
  • Work effortlessly with the extremely lightweight and strong handles made of reinforced fiberglass plastic
  • Clean and powerful cut: Non-stick coating on the blade for a smooth and clean cut, The lower cutting blade is curved for optimal catch of the branch being cut, Reduced effort and a cutting performance 3 times higher thanks to the SoftGrip covered handles
  • Long life product, Stainless steel, Easy sharpening and replacement of the cutting blade, Diamond file sold separately in the maintenance kit (available under the reference number: 1001640), Finnish design

GRÜNTEK Telescopic ByPass Lopper XT 940

GRÜNTEK Telescopic Bypass Lopper

FeatureGRÜNTEK Telescopic ByPass Lopper XT 940Comments
Cutter typeBypass 
Cutter mechanismGearSmart cut system – claims to deliver a 2.5x increase in cutting force
Telescopic (Y/N)Y 
Length (unextended/extended)(cm)68.5/94 
Maximum branch size (cm)4Need a good quiet shredder or the AXT TC to dispose of these cuttings
Weight (kg)1.37The weight is well distributed giving a well balanced feel

GRÜNTEK Telescopic Bypass Lopper

We like this image. It shows both the advantage of using telescopic lopping shears, as well as how much stretching is often needed.

Like the Faithful Samurai Loppers, these Guntek loppers also have locking pins to secure the handles at the required telescoped length. 

GRÜNTEK Telescopic ByPass Lopper XT 940 Smart-Cutting System. Extra Long Extendable Lopper 685-940 mm, with ergonomic handle
539 Reviews
GRÜNTEK Telescopic ByPass Lopper XT 940 Smart-Cutting System. Extra Long Extendable Lopper 685-940 mm, with ergonomic handle
  • The sharp Bypass Lopper TX 940 is especially suitable for light and clean cuts: up to 2.5 x higher cutting capacity.
  • The lopper with telescopic extension is made for cuts up to 3 meters height. Lopper Length: 685-940 mm
  • SMART-CUT-SYSTEM thanks to the lever ratio and the gear, the gardener achieves a multiple increase in the cutting performance and provides easy cutting of fresh and dry wood and branches
  • SHARP upper blade made of high quality TOOLSTEEL with good a good resharping abilty , special anti-stick coating and PRECISION cut. The round aluminum lever arms with convenient 2-component ANTI-SLIDING handles and rounded corners minimize stress during extended use

Conclusion

As you will have seen, we have not conducted a comprehensive review of each of the loppers in this roundup.  Instead, we have tried to provide you with a selection of types, mechanisms and prices.

All of the loppers we have looked at are available with either anvil cutters or bypass cutters.  The changing of the blades is easy for the manufacturers and they would not want to lose out on a marketing opportunity.

If we had to choose to own just one set of tree loppers, we would plumb for anvil cutters.  That reflects the role in which we use loppers.  That is, we use loppers to cut quite large, tough branches up to about 4m in size (that’s the largest size that can get shredded in our quiet shredder).  That is the sort of work for which an anvil cutting mechanism is designed.

The Garden Shredder Review Choice – Best General Purpose Tree Lopper

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Lopper

Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Loppers

Current price – £32.49

Check it out on Amazon

Last update on 2020-07-12 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API