6 Best Loppers For Cutting Tree Branches | Anvil, Bypass, Ratcheting

If you are overwhelmed by the selection of tree loppers on the market, you are not alone. There is such variety these days, and it can be cumbersome to wade through all of the information to select the ideal product for you.

Having experienced the same dilemma myself, I’ve made it easy for you to decide which brand and model will suit you best in this easy-to-follow buyers review guide. So stop wasting time with tedious online searches and read through my buyer’s guide and product reviews for the Best Loppers For Cutting Tree Branches below before you buy.

If you need a quick answer, here are our top 3 picks for the best tree loppers in the market that should work well.

Loppers Vs Secateurs

You may not realize the difference between loppers and secateurs as they essentially do the same thing, but there is. Knowing which tool is best to use in a situation can save you time and hassle when you are completing yard work.

Loppers are a two-handed manual gardening tool ideal for trimming back thicker branches up to two inches in diameter. Then handles are long, which gives the user more leverage to execute force when cutting through branches.

Secateurs can trim back branches just like loppers, but they are on a smaller scale. Typically, you can use secateurs with only one hand, and they are ideal for thin branches up to half an inch and delicate trimming methods. Secateurs are perfect for flower stems and smaller branches, but the opening of the blades limits the size you can cut effectively.

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Loppers
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Secateurs

Choosing The Best Loppers For Cutting Tree Branches

Before choosing your tree lopper, you should examine the numerous elements that make up a high-quality product. By reading through this buyer’s guide, you can see just which factors will help you determine the style and model of tree lopper you need.

Blade Style Anvil Vs Bypass

You can find two lopper blade styles, which include Anvil and Bypass.

Anvil Lopper Blade
Anvil Lopper Blade
Bypass lopper blade
Bypass Lopper Blades

Anvil Loppers

Anvil loppers use a single sharp blade that cuts down onto a flat anvil surface. You may not always get a 100% clean cut when using this style of lopper as it only has one sharp cutting blade and one flat anvil surface. This style of lopper is really designed for cutting deadwood when a clean-cut is not a priority.

However, the upside of an anvil lopper is to prevent blade jam. You may have experienced blade jam with a pair of scissors, where the item you are cutting gets wedge between the blades. This can happen with the woody fibers of tree branches. With the anvil design you avoid this meaning you will experience less downtime in freeing up the blades after the cut.

Bypass Loppers

Bypass loppers are the most common type of lopper blade designed for use on live wood (not deadwood). They consist of two blades that pass by each other and give a nice clean cut. Bypass loppers resemble scissors in the way that they function for cutting. However, they can become jammed when cutting large branches or very fibrous material and require freeing up.

It’s a trade-off, do you want super-sharp clean cutting blades, if so pick Bypass Loppers. Or do you want a fast and effective way of clearing large areas, with less concern about the cleanness of the cut…if so Anvil Loppers are the best choice.

Cutter Mechanism

How the tree lopper works can add to the ease of use by providing a mechanical advantage for cutting, and consequently these extra components to offer this performance improvement will add to the overall weight of the product. The basic design of a bypass lopper will have a single pivot similar to a pair of scissors, whereas upgrade options include compound action and ratcheting technology. So let’s look into these in more detail…

Compound Lopper 1
Compound Loppers
Ratcheting Loppers 1
Ratcheting Loppers

Compound Action

Compound loppers will have pivoting arms within the handles offering a mechanical advantage to help increase the amount of force you can exert while cutting. This style is ideal for use on large branches or if you do not have a great deal of upper body strength when using loppers.

The addition of the extra steel will increase the product’s total weight, making it difficult to use for a prolonged period.

Ratcheting Loppers

The mechanism on ratcheting loppers is notably different than compound models. The ratcheting apparatus helps hold the blades in place so the user can reopen the handles to apply more force for the cut. Some models will allow you to open and close two or three times, making pruning easier.

Lopper Handle Reach

When shopping for loppers in your area, you may find various models that range from fixed lengths to telescopic handles. Each has its advantages, so choosing the product that will suit your needs best is vital for proper care of your vegetation.

Fixed Length

These loppers are not adjustable. The handles are one fixed length and will only reach as far as your arms will take them. If you have branches that are out of reach, you will have to use a step ladder to gain height to complete a job with fixed-length loppers. Fixed length loppers have the advantage of fewer moving parts making them more robust and more likely to last longer and take abuse.

Telescopic Handles

Several brands offer telescopic handle loppers. These models can extend up to 80% of the handle length allowing you to reach higher branches without using a step ladder or moving around the tree as much. This style can save you the time you spend doing yard work.

Grip Type

Using loppers can be an exhausting task, especially when you have numerous trees and shrubs to cut back. Some grips will even include ergonomic styles to help avoid repetitive damage to your hands and wrists.

If you spend a lot of time outside completing yard work, having a comfortable grip is essential to minimize the stress on your hands.

Handle Bumper

You may not realize the benefit of the handle bumpers on loppers, but they are critical to its use. The bumpers are the material on the handles that ensure they keep them from getting too close together. These are essential for bypass blade tree loppers, while anvil style models do not require them.

Branch Cutting Capacity

The branch cutting capacity can vary, depending on the brand and size of the tree lopper. But, on average, this popular gardening tool will easily trim and cut back branches up to 1.5 inches in diameter.

However, you can find some heavy-duty styles capable of handling dry, dead branches of up to 2 or even 3 inches.

Cutting Blade Quality

The quality of blades on a tree lopper can make all the difference in your pruning. A good quality product will contain carbon steel blades. This material stays sharper longer than the stainless steel alternative, and they are easier to sharpen when you need to touch them up.

When comparing carbon steel to stainless steel, one consideration is that the carbon tree loppers will rust more quickly. Therefore, you must wipe them clean after use to avoid any rust build-up that could affect operation later. I would recommend a light wipe with a cloth and some oil to keep them in pristine condition, followed by a clean-up at the end of the pruning season.

Replacement Parts

One thing you may choose to consider is the availability of replacement parts. Not all product components are interchangeable from one brand to the next. You will need to find the manufacturer’s distinct parts to fit your tree lopper since each brand can vary slightly and will not fit or work with other models. So maybe check if they offer them individually as replacements.

Weight

With any hand-held gardening tool, weight can be a determining factor when choosing a product. For example, you do not want a model that is too heavy to hold while trimming back your trees. On the other hand, bulky items can cause strain on the wrists, arms, shoulders, and back.

I’m 6′ 3″ and comfortable handling any of these tools, but if you are not so big or struggle with wrist or shoulder issues then it’s definitely better to opt for a slightly smaller, lightweight model. If you cant generate enough power to leverage the cutting blades it’s not going to be an enjoyable pruning experience, so play to your strengths in terms of size and weight of the loppers you choose.

Several lightweight tree loppers in the market are perfect for hours of use without creating any issues. However, if the tool is too light, stubborn branches could compromise the integrity of the lopper with repetitive force. Therefore, you want a durable product for continuous use but not too heavy for you to handle.


Best Pruning Lopper Reviews

When examining the styles of loppers, it is apparent that different situations will require a specific tree lopper. By recognizing this deviation, you should read all the reviews of the best tree loppers in each category to make the best decision possible.

No one wants to waste time and money purchasing a product that does not suit their needs. We want to ensure that you get a thorough description of all styles, making your choice easier. Therefore, our product reviews encompass the best products for anvil, bypass, and ratcheting models.


Fiskars 32-inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper

Best Bypass Tree Loppers

Fiskars 32-Inch Bypass Lopper

Fiskars PowerGear 32-inch Bypass Loppers top my best loppers list. It’s a popular choice not only for its cutting power but also for its lifetime warranty and outstanding build quality, making it my best bypass loppers choice. When I pulled these off the mounting card they are supplied with and opened the handles to check the range of movement and feel I was blown away. The two-pin pivot PowerGear mechanism generates up to three times the cutting power and splays the blades open for a 2″ cutting gape.

The lightweight aluminum handles make these an ideal product for anyone concerned about weight. Okay, they are not the lightest but have a great weight-to-power ratio. Back this up with super comfortable grips and I was really happy with what this tool had to offer.

I took to the testing center – my backyard – and began cutting through a variety of branches and limbs with ease and pleasure. Thick bamboo, birch, and oak were no problem and I experience a clean cut with no problems with the blade sticking on any limbs. These are the perfect loppers for pruning live wood.

These loppers were able to slice through everything I could fit within its jaws, with ease. The non-stick, coated, corrosion-resistant blade meant that the cutting tool remained free of dirt and debris throughout. These would also work well when cutting trees and branches containing excess sap. I highly recommend these as my best loppers… on a very good shortlist. View details of Fiskars 32-inch Bypass Lopper at Amazon.com

Pros      

  • PowerGear mechanism provides exceptional cutting power
  • Aluminium handles are lightweight to handle
  • 2″ branch cutting capacity is excellent for live wood
  • Superb build quality

Cons

  • Long handles can make working in tight spots more challenging

Corona DualLink Extendable Heavy-Duty Bypass Loppers 27.5″-37.5″

Corona SL 4364 DualLink Extendable Heavy-Duty Bypass Lopper

These Bypass Loppers are what is called for when you need to cut back small to moderately sized live wood of up to 1 and 3/4 inch diameter. They feature Corona’s patented DualLINK system that works in much the same way as a compound mechanism, ensuring you get 3 times more force when cutting.

I road-tested these on some low-hanging branches of my birch trees that had gotten a little untidy and in need of a reshape. First up, the extendable handles provided an additional 10-inch reach (37.5 inch total reach) that made getting to those higher-up branches more achievable. You do need to open the handles to their widest position in order to get the best hold of any reasonably sized branches though which was fine for my birch tree but I imagine would feel a little compromising if I were to try this on a tree with rigid branches that were closely intertwined. Click here for Corona DualLink Extendable Bypass Loppers

These are manufactured from trapezoid steel which is known for its strength and durability, but weighing in at just under 2kg, these are the heaviest loppers in our pick. They do offer ease of use with both comfort gel gripped handles and a Shock GUARD bumper system that helps absorb the impact of cutting. Both of these features were most welcome after 10 or so minutes of holding the loppers in the air to make cuts above my head.

Pros      

  • Extends up to 37.5 inches in length
  • DualLink blade mechanism makes for precision cutting

Cons

  • Steel frame means some users may find them too heavy to manage for long periods

TABER TOOLS 30-inch Aluminum Anvil Lopper

Best Anvil Tree Loppers

TABER TOOLS 30-Inch Aluminum Anvil Lopper

The next entry for Anvil Loppers is from TABER TOOLS and I’m featuring them because they are a great value entry-level product that won’t disappoint if your aim is general pruning and a moderately sized annual yard and garden tidy. They are 30-inches in length and weigh a little over 1kg with a manufacturer’s recommendation of cutting small to medium-sized branches and growth with a maximum diameter of 1.5 inches.

They do feature Taber’s patented Compound Action Power Gear Technology which means you’ll get 3 times more muscle power when you’re cutting through tougher branches but the flip side of that with this particular model is that shorter handles mean you really have to open them wide to secure your grip on each branch. Check out Taber Tools 30-Inch Aluminum Anvil Lopper from Amazon.com

That’s fine if you are tackling nearby and low hanging branches but as I found when I set to work on my fruit trees last fall, the higher branches were out of reach without a step ladder and I really had to navigate my way through any rambling, intertwined areas to avoid the handles getting stuck amongst the branches.

They do come with a carbon steel blade and a non-stick coating which does a great job of keeping debris from sticking to the blades after use and so far, so good, there is no sign of corrosion. They do feel a little loser than they did when I first bought them and will benefit from being tightening before I use them again to prevent any slippage.

Go for these if you are looking for a straightforward and non-nonsense yard maintenance option at a reasonable price.

Pros      

  • Compound mechanisim to increase cutting force
  • Lightweight handles
  • Good value and affordable

Cons

  • Not ideal for hard for congested areas of cutting and when branches are high up
  • Bolts may need tightening after prolonged use

Fiskars PowerStep L85 Anvil Lopper 23 Inch

Fiskars PowerStep L85 Anvil Lopper

The Fiskars PowerStep L85 Anvil Lopper is a powerhouse tool that is versatile enough to work well for both right and left-handed users. Manufactured using precision stainless steel, these measure 57cm in length and weigh in at 680g making them the lighter of our two anvil loppers options.

In terms of performance, they have a hook-shaped counter-blade which means branches are securely held in place as you lop. These are intended for use specifically for dry and dead branches of up to 4cm (1.5 inches) in diameter making them ideal for cutting back small to mid-sized growth. But, when you do encounter slightly thicker branches that don’t want to budge, these have a cleaver step mechanism that allows you to trim branches in two or three steps and allow for greater leverage without using excessive amounts of force.

I’ve been using these loppers now for over 12 months and I am impressed with the smooth and precise cutting that comes with loppers that are fitted with a hardened steel blade. I’ve not had to sharpen them yet and there are absolutely no signs of rust either. Click here for Fiskars PowerStep Anvil Loppers.

There are a few features of these loppers that really serve to make lopping more comfortable. First, the non-stick coating means that I don’t need to keep wiping these free of debris while I’m working. Then there are the non-slip grip handles that make them more stable in my hands even on a hot and sweaty day. I also love that these anvil loppers by Fiskars include an innovative shock-absorbing bumper solution to ease and reduce any potential stress to the hands, wrists, and arms once you finish each cut.

Due to their hard-working performance, ease of use, and comfort features, they deserve a place on my list of anvil loppers.

Pros      

  • Hook-shaped couter blade for holding branches more securely in place whilst cutting
  • Non slip grip handles and shock-absorbing innovation for extra comfort
  • Step mechanism for cutting stubborn branches in stages

Cons

  • Not suitable for fresh growth or wet branches

Spear & Jackson Ratcheting Anvil Lopper

Best Ratcheting Tree Loppers

Spear & Jackson Ratcheting Anvil Lopper

When you need something more substantial for cutting extra tough branches and growth and a basic anvil lopper won’t do, then the extra power from a ratcheting mechanism may be what’s called for. This ratcheting anvil lopper from Spear & Jackson has a whole host of features that makes light work of cutting back even dead, woody branches in high up or hard to reach places.

As with the Taber anvil above, they are made from lightweight aluminum and weigh in just a little heavier at 1.5kg. They do offer telescopic handles that extend from 18 inches up to 28 inches and can be adjusted with a simple twist and lock action mid-cut. I’ve found this to be a really useful feature when cutting back the various different areas of my yard from trees to shrubs to bushes – it’s all possible given the varying lengths available with this lopper.

Okay, so you’re not going to be able to cut branches with any greater diameter than 1.5 inches but they are great when faced with dead, woody branches in high up or hard to reach places thanks both to the ratcheting housing that combines additional leverage with more force. I also find that overall, the ratchet-style lopper decreases the risk of tatty-looking cuts and is certainly more precise.

This particular model is fitted with a carbon steel blade and a PTFE coating to ensure they will always stay sharp, will never rust, and also makes for smooth cutting. Oh, and they have easy-grip handles to make for a more comfortable hold.

All in all, an extremely durable option for tougher, small to medium-sized branches and growth and a tool to add to your collection that will last for years to come. Click here for Spear & Jackson Ratcheting Anvil Lopper

Pros      

  • Extendable twist and lock handles
  • PTFE coated for long lasting durability and smooth cutting

Cons

  • Cuts branchesno bigger than a standard anvil lopper

Tiger Jaw MM Mini 16.5-inch Compact Ratcheting Anvil Lopper

Best Lightweight Loppers

Tiger Jaw MM Mini 16.5-Inch Compact Ratchet Looper

And now for something different. At just 545g and 16.5 inches in length, these ratcheting anvil loppers from Tiger Jaw are the most lightweight and compact option in our best anvil loppers picks. But don’t let that put you off! We all know that small often has advantages. These can easily be stored when not in use and moved around small outdoor spaces where large tools cannot operate efficiently.

I got my Mom some of these to help her maintain her small yard and make sure her small plot didn’t become overgrown. They are great for cutting back smaller branches when a little pruning is required but thanks to the ratcheting mechanism and ergonomic handles they make handling more substantial branches of up to 1.5 inches manageable too – even for someone who doesn’t have a great deal of upper body strength. Click here for Tiger Jaw MM Mini 16.5-Inch Compact Ratchet Looper.

What does impress me about Tiger Jaw products is how easy it is to get replacement blades should you ever need them. That being said, the steel blade that this lopper comes ready fitted with is coated making it non-stick so there’s less chance of branches and foliage becoming trapped in the anvil as you cut. All in all a neat little package that serves a small-scale purpose.

Pros      

  • Lightweight and compact
  • Replacement blades readily available

Cons

  • Not suitable for larger branches

When to Use Tree Loppers

Tree loppers are a terrific gardening tool to have on hand and are the perfect tool to use for jobs that don’t warrant the use of a pruning saw. These manual products are essential for maintaining your trees healthy and keep them viable throughout the year. You should use tree loppers in situations where:

  • There is dead, dying, or damaged branches
  • Encourage growth in a specific direction
  • Cut back branches that interfere with the surroundings

Using tree loppers is more effective when the tree is in its dormant season. This time of year typically happens in late winter to early spring. This time frame allows you to cut back your tree without foliage easily and cause the least amount of damage.

You can also use tree loppers in late fall, but you should do any trimming after all of the leaves have fallen and it has entered their dormant season.

How To Sharpen Loppers

Tree loppers will require sharpening after prolonged use. Cutting back branches will be easier and more effective when your blades are sharp. Depending on the type of blades your lopper has, the sharpening method can vary.

  • Remove any dirt, sap, debris from the blades before attempting to sharpen the blades
  • You can sharpen carbon steel loppers with a hand-held stone or file since the blade consists of softer material
  • Stainless steel loppers are harder material and will require a file

Remember to sharpen the blades facing away from you. Use a downward motion toward the blade’s edge, which helps to remove blade material evenly, creating a sharper edge. Once you complete one side, turn them over and repeat the procedure on the other side.

Applying a small amount of lubricant to the blades when sharpening is complete will protect the blades from build-up and keep them lubricated for use.

How to Use Tree Loppers

The operation of a tool or the application of fertilizer or weed killer requires guidance or instructions. This can be a Step-by-Step guide or a set of instructions.

The style of tree loppers you have will determine how you use them.

  • You want to ensure that you completely open the loppers by adequately spreading the handles to fit the entire branch within the blades.
  • Ensure that the branch sits deep within the loppers. Avoid snipping away at parts since that method can dull the blades and create excessive strain on your hands and wrists.
  • Use an even, swift motion to cut the branch. If you have ratchet loppers, you can reopen them to exert more force if needed.
  • Do not strain to reach branches, as this can compromise the energy it takes to cut. Use a stool or stepladder if you need to reach higher areas.
  • When using bypass loppers, ensure that they do not twist during the cutting process. Movement like this can leave you with an uneven cut.
  • Using safety glasses is always a safe bet, especially when cutting in an area where debris can get in your eyes.

By following the safe operation, you can use your tree loppers efficiently and give your trees the attention they need to remain healthy and viable.

Best Loppers Verdict: Final Thoughts

Choosing a tree lopper does not have to be an exhausting task. By reading through these product reviews and our buyer’s guide, you are sure to pinpoint your specific needs and determine which style and model will suit you best.

Consider your types of trees and how much workable area you have to use garden tools when trimming back branches. While some homeowners may benefit from extendable handles, others may not have ample space to accommodate them.

After a thorough exploration of the best loppers available, I’ve pruned it down to just three choices covering the best anvil, bypass, and ratcheting loppers. If you prefer an anvil lopper for a friction-free cut then shoot for the very effective anvil loppers from Taber Tools? This lightweight option will make easy work of branches up to 1.5 inches thick. Alternatively, is it a bypass lopper you need? For precision cutting with bags of power and a 2″ cutting gap, you should choose the Fiskars 32-Inch PowerGear Bypass Lopper. This is also my choice for the best of the bunch.

Alternatively, if is it extra power you need that can only be achieved by using a ratcheting lopper? In which case, pick the Spear & Jackson Ratcheting Anvil Lopper. Thanks to the ratcheting mechanism it slices through branches of up to 1.5 inches in diameter with ease. This tool does the hard work for you, plus it has telescopic handles to get that bit of extra height. Hopefully, this helps you get the job done!

FAQ’s Best Tree Pruning Loppers

Here are some answers to the most common questions about tree pruning loppers.