Buying a lopper is not simply a matter of determining which is the popular and best-reviewed brand. It should be a trusty gardening partner, and choosing one means you have to consider what’s suitable for your gardening needs, the type of lopper, the price, and the level of effort needed to use it. As an overview, here are the primary things to consider which we will talk about in succeeding sections.
- Type of wood to cut and foliage height
- Cutting power and leverage
- Manufacturing and build
- Blade material
- Handle length and type
- Cutting mechanism
- Safety features
- Ease of repair if needed
- Warranty and value for money
Read our Best Loppers Review to find out.
- Fiskars 28 Inch Bypass Lopper Black/Orange (391461-1003) (Editors choice - High Quality)
- Spear & Jackson 8290RS Razorsharp Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Loppers (Runner up)
- TABOR TOOLS GL16A Bypass Lopper, Chops Branches with Ease, Classic 28 Inch Tree Trimmer (Amazing Price)
- Corona SL 3264 ComfortGEL Bypass Lopper, 30-Inch, Standard Handle (Affordable Product)
- Felco (459067) 200 A Straight Cutting Head Expert Loppers with Aluminum Tubes, 24-In, Silver/red (Great Product)
I had a closer look at popular loppers and arrived at a shortlist in terms of features, cutting power, and durability. Each design has its own pros and cons, so it is a matter of balancing the features you like and drawbacks. I have also included warranty information whenever available.
Fiskars 28 Inch Bypass Lopper Black/Orange (391461-1003)
- This lopper is ultra-lightweight at less 2.9 lbs.
- portable, and easy to use.
- It can easily cut branches up to 1.5-inches thick
- has a pair of shock-absorbing bumpers behind the blades
- The blades also have a special coating that works against sap gumming.
- The tool also has ergonomic non-slip grips, that can help to maneuver around trees and tighter spaces.
- Some users reported that while the build is solid and sturdy, the lopper’s blades have the tendency to get nicks and chips after a few months of usage.
- The blade surface also tends to develop rust over time.
VALUE FOR MONEY: The Fiskar’s 28” lopper is decent for its price point at the $20 - $30 range. On the occasion that the handle breaks or the blade chips, it is covered by a lifetime warranty.
Spear & Jackson 8290RS Razorsharp Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Loppers
- This lopper is popular for its durability, as its blade is made with SK5 carbon steel.
- The blade is also coated with PTFE for long-term rust resistance.
- It has non-slip aluminum telescopic handles which extend from 15.75” to 31.5”.
- It is not recommended for cutting smaller branches.
- If you are cutting limbs much thinner than 2”, you will need to adjust and squeeze several times so that the grip can engage the branch. This can be a little tedious because the cutting edge goes back to its original span after every single cut.
- It is at the heavier end of the group at 4.17 lbs.
VALUE FOR MONEY: At the $40 - $50 price range, this is a durable tool and it comes with a 10-year warranty. It has enough coating to prevent rust and is made of heavy-duty materials. However, it is quite inconvenient to use for varying branch thickness because of its unique ratcheting mechanism.
TABOR TOOLS GL16A Bypass Lopper, Chops Branches with Ease, Classic 28 Inch Tree Trimmer
- The GL16A is a really light 28” lopper at 1.24 lbs., making it easy to carry around.
- It has good cutting power for small shrubs and generally any greenwood.
- The handles are rubberized for better comfort and handling, and they feature holes for easy storage.
- The blade has a non-stick coating for precision cuts and less need for cleaning.
- This is relatively a small lopper, so the maximum thickness of branches that it can cut is 1.25”.
- With its build and good cutting power, it could have been better if it can deal with at least 1.5” limbs since other 28” loppers can do that.
VALUE FOR MONEY: The GL16A is within the price range of $60.00 and up, which makes it at the pricier end of the group. That seems fair since this lopper has garnered a lot of positive feedback in terms of durability. However, it can be an issue for some that it only has a 12-month warranty period.
Corona SL 3264 ComfortGEL Bypass Lopper, 30-Inch, Standard Handle
- The Corona SL 3264 is 30” lopper that feels lightweight at 3.3 lbs.
- It sports a sturdy 25” trapezoidal handle, which is covered by proprietary “Comfort GEL” grips for improved control and comfort.
- The tool also has a shock-absorbing bumper near the fulcrum.
- The trapezoidal handles can be a bit bulky for storing conveniently.
- The clippers are somehow too long that it gets in the way of maneuverability, but this is a minor issue.
- The item comes with just a limited warranty on parts as well.
VALUE FOR MONEY: Falling within the price range of $20.00 and up, the SL 3264 is a decent lopper in terms of cutting power and comfort when handling. However, the warranty coverage is not as good as its peers’.
Felco (459067) 200 A Straight Cutting Head Expert Loppers with Aluminum Tubes, 24-In, Silver/red
- This Felco 24” lopper is reviewed by gardening enthusiasts and experts as easily one of the most durable pruning tools in the market.
- It has sturdy aluminum-alloy cast handles supported by non-slip grips.
- Despite being just a 24” lopper, its straight cutting head is capable of dealing with branches up to 1.4” inches – which is marginally but conveniently better than its peers.
- It is also relatively lightweight at 1.73 pounds.
- It is one of the more expensive ones at above $100.00 and you are mostly paying for the durability when you go for this brand.
- The Felco 200 is a standard bypass lopper with no additional gearing or features.
- Felco tools have a 12-month warranty period, which seems a little short considering the price point.
VALUE FOR MONEY: The Felco 200 is a durable lopper with decent cutting power but it is 2-3 times more expensive than its counterparts of the same size. It is also important to note that the warranty for the product is only 12 months.
What is a Lopper and What are its Types?
Among gardening tools, the lopper is the best utensil for cutting branches with a thickness of 1/2 to 2 inches. Loppers have two handles that act as levers, which multiply and transmit the strength from your hands to the cutting mechanism. Hence, they can cut thicker foliage without the need for exerting much effort.
Thinner stems, flowers, and herbs are better cut by a pair of pruners, which can aptly be described as a lopper’s younger and smaller sibling. On the other hand, branches thicker than 2” should be cut using a pruning saw. Trying to cut very thick branches with a lopper can cause damage to the tool, and even cause strain or injury to the user.
Now there are two general types of loppers and your choice is primarily determined by the type of wood that you’d like to cut. The first one is called the bypass lopper which operates like scissors. Two blades pass by each other, creating a clean and precise cut that’s ideal for live plants.
The second type of loppers uses an anvil. Instead of two cutting edges, an anvil lopper has only one sharp blade that slices against a flat anvil. This type results in more of a crushing action instead of a precise cut, hence it is more applicable to cutting deadwood. Anvil loppers are not suitable for greenwood since it can cause damages to the plant.
How Do the Lopper’s Weight and Handle Length Affect Usage?
The strength of leverage is determined by the length of the lopper’s handles. Longer handles allow for greater leverage, meaning it can deliver stronger cutting power with the same amount of force exerted by the user. The sizes of lopper handles range from 15” to 32”.
Before purchasing one, you check if it is comfortable lifting the lopper. There is a trade-off between handle length and weight since longer ones tend to weigh heavier and prolonged usage can cause fatigue. The same is true for designs with retractable or telescopic handles, which works well with hard to reach branches but comes at the expense of added weight.
Cutting Power and Cutting Mechanisms
While leverage depends on the length of the handles, the lopper’s cutting power depends on the cutting mechanism built within it. There are three major classifications of this:
Geared loppers have a set of gears at the fulcrum. These give you more leverage when cutting wood as it multiplies the force exerted by your hands.
Ratchet loppers have a latch that cuts into the branch incrementally. Squeezing the ratcheting lopper once makes the latch close into the wood and it stays there when you release it. Squeezing again will make it cut deeper until you get the whole branch.
Lastly, compound action loppers have a combination of several pivot points that support the blade instead of a single fulcrum. These pivot points provide additional leverage for cutting but may require further opening to accommodate thicker branches.
So which cutting machine is the best? There is no clear-cut answer to this question since it mostly boils down to personal preference and experience with using a particular type.
I use geared ones in my garden because I just deal with small bushes that require quick precise cuts. Perhaps those who deal with thicker branches up to 2” would prefer one with a ratcheting mechanism, as it latches and cuts incrementally. This takes less force from your hands but may take more time to cut a branch.
What Happens When Loppers Get Damaged Over Time?
Wear and tear are inevitable for gardening tools, and the same is true for the blades of any lopper. You will feel that its cutting power decreases over time, as it takes more effort and the cut becomes less clean. Before you purchase one, it will be good to plan ahead whether you will get a lopper with replaceable blades, or one that is disposable after the blades get dull or damaged.
Normally, cheaper loppers don’t have replaceable blades since it is more practical to just buy a new one when it becomes unusable. You can tell if a lopper has replaceable blades if it has bolts that hold the blades in place. Normally, loppers with replaceable cutting edges are more expensive.
What Else Should I Consider When Buying a Lopper?
Speaking of wear, tear, and blade replacements, another important consideration when buying a lopper is the warranty coverage. I personally prefer buying one that’s a little pricier if it has a long warranty period for repairs and replacement.
The warranty period of loppers varies widely from one year to one decade. Some manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty for service and parts, but you should watch out when buying online because some have no warranty at all.
I cannot stress this enough. Cutting branches always put stress to the mechanisms, blade, and body of your tool so wearing it out should be an expected part of its life cycle. Read about the warranty first before buying it!
(Drum roll please…) Out of our list, the winner is the Fiskars 91466935J 28-inch Bypass Lopper. It strikes the best balance between price, features, and warranty.
- The price for its durability is just right. Case in point, the Felco 200 bypass lopper takes the first place in terms of durability but it is also the most expensive. The Fiskars 28” lopper is not far behind in terms of sturdiness and it comes at just 1/5 of the price.
- It has really good warranty coverage. In the rare instance that your Fiskars 28” get damaged such as chipped blades, it is covered by a full lifetime warranty. This is a huge advantage among its counterparts. The 10-year warranty for the Spear and Jackson 8290RS ratchet anvil lopper is worth mentioning, but Fiskars 28” is still more affordable.
- It is relatively lightweight and can cut thicker wood. In terms of weight and maneuverability, 28” GL16A bypass lopper from Tabor Tools get the top spot at just 1.24 lbs. However, it is only suitable for thin branches less than 1.25”. Fiskars 28” is more versatile as it can deal with branches up to 1.5”, and it is still relatively light at 2.9 lbs.
Ultimately, choosing the best lopper means considering a lot of different factors. The most important question to ask is, will it work for your personal gardening needs? Afterward, it becomes a matter of finding the sweet spot among cost, durability, cutting power, warranty, and ease of use.