It’s highly recommended that you get yourself a pair of pruning loppers if you do a lot of gardening and nature conservation work. Hand pruning loppers are two-handed, long-handled scissors for cutting plants. They have longer handles and are great for cutting through branches that are about 1 to 2” thick. If a branch is smaller, use pruning shears and if it’s larger than that use a pruning saw.
Ideally, loppers are an improved version of pruners; some modern designs have a gear or compound lever system which increases the force applied by the user.
How to choose the best hand loppers ?
Hand loppers come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, strengths, styles, and prices and we must admit that choosing one isn’t easy.
Regardless of the type of work that needs to be done, you will require a tool that is sharp, comfortable to use, durable, and one that accomplishes the task at hand.
Choosing a good tool that works well for you is very critical as it makes your work easier, keeps the plants looking good, and reduces the risk of injury.
To find such, there are several important factors that you need to put into consideration.
- Type of cutting blades
There are two main types of pruning loppers which are best suited for different types of pruning:
- Bypass loppers – these are more common. They have two blades that slide against each other. Bypass loppers give the cleanest cuts thus allowing the plant to heal faster. However, these aren’t suited for cutting dry branches.
- Anvil loppers – these have a single straight blade that cuts into a flat edge known as the anvil. The anvil loppers function in a similar manner as a knife on a chopping board. They can be used to cut thicker branches than bypass loppers and are also great for cutting dead branches.
- Quality of the blade
Ensure that the blades are high-quality so that they can stay sharp for a long time. Low-quality blades may work well in the first couple of days but after a few weeks, they may not be as sharp. There could be rust on the blades and the edges could get damaged in a short time especially when used to cut thicker branches.
Good loppers should have blades that are made of hardened steel – carbon steel, high tempered steel, and high tempered carbon steel are good materials for making blades.
Some hand pruning loppers have plating over the blades made of either titanium or chrome. This plating prevents the blade from rusting. Other blades are covered with a non-stick coating that’s sap-resistant which is particularly helpful when it comes to cutting plants like pine that have especially sticky sap.
Additionally, high-quality blades should be easy to sharpen.
- Ergonomic design
A good set of pruning loppers should feel easy on your hands. They should be easy to hold and close using one hand without requiring too much strength to do so. These tools generally make the pruning experience more enjoyable and significantly reduce wrist strain if you prune frequently.
Some important aspects that you should look out for are soft-grip handles, rotating handle, angled blades, and a slightly curved shape. Find designs with soft foam handles that cushion the impact.
Longer handles give you more leverage. Loppers with longer handles make it so much easier for you to cut through branches. There are some designs with telescopic handles that make it possible for you to extend the handle length when you need better reach.
- Center screw
The center screw may seem like a non-factor but it plays a huge role in the functioning of the pruning loppers. This refers to the bolt that goes through the middle of the lopper on which two blades pivot on.
This bolt is responsible for controlling the distance between the blades and should be tight enough to hold the blades together firmly. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it hinders the closing action of the loppers.
If the blades are held together very tightly, you will need to apply extra effort when cutting branches resulting in muscle fatigue. On the other hand, if the screw is too loose, branches may get stuck between the blades resulting in messy cuts.
Quality loppers should allow you to adjust the tightness of the blades. Brand new loppers come adjusted and so you won’t have to fine-tune them.
- Locking mechanism
Go for loppers that have a mechanism that allows you to lock them when not in use. This is a very important safety feature that ensures that the sharp blades don’t harm anyone when in the locked position.
The locking mechanism should be easy to open and close but aren’t supposed to do so accidentally such that they get in the way of normal use. It should protect the user against any accidents as well as the blades when not in use.
- Availability of replacements
You shouldn’t throw away your pruning loppers if a part of them breaks, wears out or gets damaged – especially if they cost you a lot of money. Choose one whose spares are readily available. Usually, if the loppers have a removable bolt it means that the blade may be replaced.
- Strength of the spring
The spring is what pulls the blades apart so that you don’t have to manually pull them open after cutting the branch and relaxing the grip. The spring should be strong and firmly held in place. However, it shouldn’t be so strong that you’ll require a lot of effort to close the blades. If the loppers do not have a spring they’re more like scissors – you are supposed to manually pull the handles so that the blades become apart. This is very tiring.
The two main types of springs are coiled metal springs and wire springs. Coiled metal springs are also referred to as volute springs.
- Maintenance and cleaning
After you’re done pruning, you notice that the loppers are dirty and gummed up with sap which can be corrosive if left to sit for long. The dirt also makes it hard to close and open the loppers.
Choose a set that is easy to clean – one that’s easy to disassemble not only for cleaning but also for sharpening.
- Size and weight
You need to check the weight of the hand pruning loppers especially if you’ll be doing a lot of pruning. If it’s very heavy it’ll cause more fatigue and could also cause wrist strain. Aluminum loppers are light-weight and ideal for everyday use.
Loppers whose handles are made using aluminum are generally lighter than those made using steel which is typically used to make heavy-duty loppers with a larger cutting capacity.
- Cutting capacity
When looking at the lopper’s cutting capacity, you need to put into consideration how heavy they are relative to your strength. You should buy loppers with a smaller “power” which cannot cut thick branches then use a pruning saw for that.
Don’t use the tool to cut larger branches than it can handle. This will cause the blades to bend or even break.
Top 10 Best Hand Pruning Loppers
We have put together a list of the best hand pruning loppers available in the market. The wide range of loppers we have reviewed varies in price, style, material, cutting mechanism and so much more.
Here is the list in descending order from our least favorite to the best overall:
Table of Items list
- #10 – Jardineer 30.2″ Bypass Loppers & 15.5″ Pruning Saw
- #9 – Gonicc Professional 30 inch SK-5 Steel Blade Anvil Lopper
- #8 – Corona SL3264 SL 3264 Comfort GEL Bypass Lopper, 30-Inch, 1
- #7 – 8290RS Razor-sharp Heavy Duty Ratchet Anvil Loppers
- #6 – Other Best Product
- GARTOL Garden Loppers
- #5 – Best of New Arrival
- Lineparallel Anvil Lopper
- #4 – Fiskars 15 Inch PowerGear Super Pruner/Lopper
- #3 – Black+Decker BD1824 7-1/2-Inch Bypass Pruner and 15-Inch Lopper Combo Set
- #2 – GG12 Anvil Lopper with Compound Action
- #1 – Fiskars PowerGear2 Lopper (18 Inch)
#10 – Jardineer 30.2″ Bypass Loppers & 15.5″ Pruning Saw
This innovative tool is a heavy-duty cutter for branches that provides maximum cutting performance with precision cuts. Here are some of its features that make it so easy to use:
- A branch cutter and a pruning saw to help you chop off live branches as well as dead ones
- A maximum cutting capacity of up to 2”
- Carbon steel blades that don’t get bent easily after heavy use
- Sharp blades that make smooth cuts
- Long lever handle that is wrapped in soft rubber to reduce fatigue during work
Keep in mind that the Jardineer 30.2” is not supposed to be used for cutting dry wood. If you need to cut dry wood, use the pruning saw instead. Also, remember to wipe off all the dirt and sap from the blades before storage if you want to enjoy a highly efficient cutting experience.
#9 – Gonicc Professional 30 inch SK-5 Steel Blade Anvil Lopper
The Gonicc Professional Anvil Lopper makes it possible for you to cut branches in the most effort-saving manner thanks to its compound lever system with multiple pivot points that function to increase the force applied. Its other features include:
- An anvil blade that cuts as it closes onto a flat edge called the anvil
- High-quality carbon blade that is ultra-strong and stays sharp for a long time
- Heavy-duty handles with a super comfortable grip for optimum performance
- A cutting capacity of up to 2” allowing you to cut fresh branches with a diameter of up to 2” and dry branches with a diameter of up to 1.4”
Considering that the blade is quite sharp, ensure that you always keep your loppers away from reach of children. You should also apply anti-rust oil on the blade every once in a while to prevent it from rusting.
#8 – Corona SL3264 SL 3264 Comfort GEL Bypass Lopper, 30-Inch, 1
This bypass lopper adopts high-quality materials to provide an ergonomically designed tool that gives its users the best pruning experience. Here is a list of other features of the Corona Bypass Lopper:
- Comfort GEL for maximum comfort and control
- Smaller grip 25” extra strength trapezoidal steel handles
- Blades that are specially coated in such a way that they’re non-stick enabling maximum effectiveness and enhanced performance
If you’re looking for loppers that are super light and get the job done without much effort, then this is definitely what you ought to go for. It cuts right through aggravating pricking branches that seem to be overhanging.
#7 – 8290RS Razor-sharp Heavy Duty Ratchet Anvil Loppers
Expect to be sent on a chopping frenzy by the Spear & Jackson Ratchet Anvil Lopper.
- Ratchet action that allows you to cut easily in short steps. This is very appealing when you’re cutting thick branches that are quite hard.
- PTFE coated Sk5 carbon steel blade that is rust-resistant and remains sharp for long
- Tubular aluminum handles that are very strong
This is an amazing tool – it is light yet strong, has a locking mechanism, and a soft non-slip grip. You will not be disappointed.
#6 – Other Best Product
GARTOL Garden Loppers
With the GARTOL Garden Bypass Lopper and Pruner, you are guaranteed to enjoy clean cuts without having to stop often to clean up.
Features of the GARTOL Garden Lopper:
- Sturdy and sharp Sk5 carbon blade that stays sharp through heavy use without getting bent, broken, or warped.
- A protective coat on the blade’s surface that is rust-resistant and makes the lopper easy to clean
- Shock-absorbing bumpers that help eliminate the jarring conclusion at the end of cuts for more comfortable use. The lopper also has rubber on its handles that provide a comfortable grip.
- A balanced size design that makes cutting thick (a diameter of up to 2”) branches very easy
#5 – Best of New Arrival
Lineparallel Anvil Lopper
The Lineparallel Anvil Lopper is an ideal choice for all kinds of pruning tasks including pruning small trees, branches, and landscaping. Some of its amazing features include:
- Cutting capacity of diameters that are 2.2inches thick
- High-quality Sk5 carbon steel blade that is heat-treated for durability
- Ergonomic design featuring a soft handle for convenient and comfortable handling thus enabling easy operations
- A steel knife base with a barbed design that prevents sliding when cutting the branches
- Convenient design that is easy to use providing effortless precision cuts.
#4 – Fiskars 15 Inch PowerGear Super Pruner/Lopper
The Fiskars 15” Power Gear Supper Lopper is a heavy-duty garden tool that gives you 3 times more power on every cut. It’s ideal for cutting thick branches that traditional pruners cannot cut through.
Here are its features:
- An advanced blade design that’s made of steel and finished with a rust-resistant, low-friction coating
- A maximum cutting capacity of branches with a diameter of between 1-4”
- Gear technology that multiplies leverage giving you up to 3X more power
This lopper is so easy to use compared to other tools that it earned the “Ease-of-Use” commendation from the Arthritis Foundation
#3 Best budget
#3 – Black+Decker BD1824 7-1/2-Inch Bypass Pruner and 15-Inch Lopper Combo Set
This Black and Decker Looper set is the third on our list. This is because it has an 8” cutting capacity with non-stick hardened steel blades so it cuts smoothly and easily. The blade stays sharp for long even with repeated heavy use. Other attractive features include:
- Triangular blades
- A low-friction coating that helps the blades glide through branches preventing them from gumming up with sap. This feature also helps the blades to resist rust
#2 Runners up
#2 – GG12 Anvil Lopper with Compound Action
The TABOR Tools GG12 Anvil Lopper allows for the removal of dry and thick branches quickly and with ease. These loppers are built for professional-grade applications – they’re recommended for trimming trees and chopping thick branches. It’s most prominent features are:
- A sharp and hardened carbon steel blade that stays sharp even after heavy use.
- Comfortably long handles that provide good grip and also allow you to reach higher branches effectively
- Low-friction, non-stick coated gliding blade that generally makes the lopper a powerful, balanced, and easy to use tool.
#1 Best Overall
#1 – Fiskars PowerGear2 Lopper (18 Inch)
If you’re looking for the crème de la crème of hand pruning loppers, look no further than the Fiskars PowerGear2 Lopper. This limited edition tool is extremely well-crafted so that it allows you to cut without necessarily requiring a lot of force to be applied.
All this is thanks to the patented power gear system that multiplies the applied energy giving you up to 3 times more power. Its features are:
- Cutting capacity of up to 3-4 inches
- Rounded ergonomic handles with a soft grip that enhances comfort and control
- Hardened bypass-style steel blade that features a low-friction coating for smooth cutting and improved resistance to rust
- Modified gears and an innovative cam mechanism that optimizes the cutting power working exceptionally well on thick branches. The result is that every cut is made smooth and easy. This tool too has gained the “Ease-of-Use” commendation from the Arthritis Foundation.Top of Form
Wrap up !
Pruning loppers may be used to regularly trim flowers and trees or cut long overgrown branched off shrubs and other plants to refresh their appearance. To do all these, you’ll require a good gardening too with a range of features to enhance the performance.
We do hope that our list of the best hand pruning loppers was helpful. We independently researched and tested the tools so we’re in a good position to recommend them.
Choose one that you feel will work best for you and make clean cuts on relatively thick branches. Good hand loppers should naturally fit in your hand so that it feels like an extension of your hands.