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Home » Hand Tools » Garden Loppers

Garden Loppers

Pruning loppers

Loppers are designed for pruning tree branches and thick stemmed hedges up to a diameter of 2 inches. There are two basic varieties of lopper available and the differences relate mainly to the way they cut.

Anvil Loppers.

Anvil loppers utilize a flat anvil and a sharp cutting blade. The blade will have a straight cutting edge that matches the flat profile of the anvil. The branch is forced against the anvil and the blade cuts through. Go for a good quality brand such as Bahco.

Bypass loppers.

The cutting blade on a pair of bypass loppers is curved. Rather than cutting through the branch and meeting another surface, the blade passes by the counter-head rather like a pair of scissors. The counter head acts to hold the branch whilst the blade cuts. The curved profile of the blade increases cutting efficiency.

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Which loppers are best?

Anvil loppers tend to crush the branch so are more suitable for rough work and cutting dead wood where a clean cut is not important.

Bypass loppers give a clean, precise cut and are suitable for all types of live wood pruning, especially fruit trees. Professional gardeners and arboricultural specialists tend to prefer this type. A sharp, good quality pair of standard bypass loppers will perform better than any other type. One of the best manufacturers of garden cutting tools is Bahco and these loppers are ideal for the majority of tasks and should provide years of service. For absolute top quality, the Bahco are a good choice. Felco also produce some high quality loppers.

Geared and ratchet loppers.

Ratchet loppers, such as these from Spear and Jackson enable you to cut through thick material with less effort. The ratchet feature basically means that as you pump the handles the blade will gradually work its way through the branch. There is a trade off though - it takes longer to cut through thin material plus twigs can get stuck in the ratchet mechanism.

Geared loppers, like these from Wilkinson Sword employ mechanical advantage to allow easier cutting through thicker material. Another option is to use long handled standard loppers for more leverage.