Loppers come in two basic types. The basic type are essentially oversized secateurs with telescoping handles which you operate with both hands to manually cut branches.
- Best Pick: Fiskars PowerGear X Telescopic Tree Pruner UPX86
The advanced type, the Pole Lopper/Pruner, is a specialised gardening tool. This two-in-one implement comprises of spring-loaded blades to cut branches and an ultra-sharp saw to saw through branches.
Last update on 2019-10-17 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
These are mounted on a telescopic, extendable pole, which eliminates any need for a ladder. The pruning blades are operated indirectly with control cords.
Reach, flexibility, manoeuvrability, and adaptability are the hallmarks of this Fiskars product that is designed specifically for those hard-to-get branches
This Fiskars pruner telescopes out to 400 cm, providing 600 cm total reach, and the cutting head is adjustable through 230 degrees; moreover, it is also attachable in different positions.
This combination means that even high branches that are shielded by twigs or are in awkward positions are defenceless against the UPX86. Its non-stick clean-cutting steel blades will cut medium-hardness woods up to 3.5 cm and softwoods even up to 4.5 cm.; however, this kit should not be used on tough, dead branches.
Although the PowerGear X does not include a branch saw, it is available as an optional accessory. This will be a damper to some in view of this rig’s already steep price. On the plus side, its mix-and-match adaptability means that you can also attach a fruit-picker, available as an add-on.
This kit’s design is ‘user-friendly.’ It feels even lighter than it is because of its excellent balance, and this makes it – even when fully extended – manoeuvrable. The cutting cord passes internally through the outer handle (but not the inner telescoping extension), eliminating any possibility of snags.
Our main ‘beef’ with this Fiskar unit is the steep cost. However, this is a premium product at a premium price, and this is reflected in the generous 25-Year Warranty.
The easy pick for the gardener who demands top quality in an adaptable pole pruner that will easily cut high and hard-to-get branches.
- An infinitely adjustable unit, thanks to the cutting head being fixable in any position and its angle variable through 230 degrees.
- Elements like internally-housed cord, optional attachments, and more, bespeak unusual attention to design.
- Offers the ability to both reach and grasp high and hard-to-get branches that other pole pruners cannot.
- Not suitable and should not be used for tough, dead branches or for hardwoods more than 3.5 cm.
- The price, especially for a pole pruner without an all-in-one saw, is on the high side.
A very good value-for-money buy, this Gardebruk tool has specs and features found in more expensive models
The Gardebruk Tree Pruner Telescopic Saw & Lopper has a lot of draws apart from its attractive price. To begin with, its pole telescopes out up to 260 cm. and the handle is rubberised for comfort and to facilitate prolonged use. The pruner’s upper-blade has a non-stick coating to minimise sticking in spongy phloem or in branches that ooze a milky sap when cut. For a pole lopper, the Gardebruk is also quite manoeuvrable.
However, at such a can’t-beat price one cannot have everything and the flaw in the flue of this pole lopper is workmanship and materials. For example, the handle extension lock is far from rugged and tends to break; likewise, the cord frays after several uses and sometimes also breaks. The saw is not quite firm and stable. As such, this economical rig is meant for occasional or limited use; it should not be subjected to heavy-duty use and we do not recommend it for professionals.
The design, however, compensates. Various elements, such as the cord and pulley, the hooked blade, and the rig’s manoeuvrability, make it very easy to use. In turn, this ease-of-use makes the Gardebruk the preferred entry-level option for novices who want to potter about their foliage with a pole pruner.
The inexpensive choice for the casual gardener who wants a tool that is versatile and full-featured but does not require a tough rig that will take wear-and-tear.
- This product screams ‘value!’ Big-time pruning and sawing capability at a small-change price.
- Various little ‘plusses,’ such as rubberized grip, non-stick coating, and hooked blade
- Easy to use and manoeuvrable.
- Not a rugged kit, the Gardebruk does not stand up to heavy-duty use.
- The cord and the handle extension lock are not reliable or long-lasting.
- The saw, made of thin-gauge steel, flexes and bends under pressure.
This unit’s C50 tempered steel blades, ratchet action, and twist-and-lock feature makes an easy job of pruning thick or dead branches
S&J’s Razorsharp Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper is not only a very popular product, but it is also a Gold Award winner for 2018’s Great British Growing Awards. It is easy to see why: aluminium handles result in a lightweight unit, comfort grips make the lopper easy to handle, and the ratchet mechanism makes for progressive cutting and clean cuts.
Cutting through really thick branches is a piece of cake if you operate these loppers correctly. Start the cut, then ease off, then apply pressure again. The ratcheting system will engage the correct gear depending on the width of the blades’ opening so as to apply maximum force.
This S&J is rightly well-reputed for its long-lasting, heavy-duty blades. However, the handles are not heavy-duty. Because the material used is aluminium, what this kit gains in lighter weight it loses in sturdiness. With the handles fully extended, if one works on a strong branch the handles fairly often bend though this may be a consequence of incorrect usage, i.e. failure to utilise the ratchet system. Even so, we suggest a workaround: cut dense, thick branches only when the handles are retracted all the way in.
These loppers have a ten-year guarantee so Spear & Jackson itself is probably confident of this product’s durability and longevity.
A good choice for the DIY gardener who wants a clean-cutting, easy-to-use lopper that is durable and long-lasting.
- Ratchet-and-gear system coupled with super-sharp blades means it really cuts through 45 mm branches as advertised.
- This is also a very comfortable kit: for a ratchet-and-gear lopper, it is comparatively lightweight and not difficult to hold and handle.
- The knob-controlled handle-locking mechanism (at the base of the handles) is top-notch, eliminating unintentional (and sometimes painful) sudden retraction.
- When the handles are telescoped out and you are trying to cut through a thick branch, the hollow aluminium arms may well bend, though this could also be a result of poor technique.
- The handles need to be moved rather more than the competition (and than seems necessary) to open the blades to a useable width.
- Aluminium handles with a steel blade and anvil result in loppers that are not well balanced and are top-heavy when handles are extended.
As well designed as it is constructed, Davaon’s muscular and rugged rig can even be used by pros and exudes power
The Davaon Pro’s main claim to fame is that it cuts thicker, tougher, branches than other loppers – up to 55mm – and for many, this would be sufficient reason to plump for it.
However, it has several more USP’s to praise. Chief among these is that the ratchet mechanism enables you to cut dense, chunky branches without exerting yourself. To correctly leverage the ratcheting, do not apply the cut with steady or increasing force but do so in a succession of squeeze-and-release steps – and you’ll be surprised at how effortlessly you make short work of a tangle of thick branches.
Other points we praise include a tempered SK5 carbon steel blade, handles that extend up to 100cm, and comfort grips. A notable feature that you may not read about is the excellent craftsmanship and precision-tooling of these loppers. Design is a strong point too, for this kit is both lightweight and well-balanced. Extended handles can be locked both conveniently and safely, allowing confident handling. The product carries a ‘Money Back’ Guarantee.
One downside, though. When the handles are fully extended and one attempts to lop a tough, thick branch, they may bend. However, a probable contributing factor is the use of poor technique and the applying of manual force instead of ‘leveraging’ the ratcheting system.
All said, a top choice for the experienced semi-pro who takes care of his own garden and helps out neighbours and does on-the-side jobs.
- As strong, powerful, and rugged as loppers can get, this unit can give – and take – a beating.
- At this price point, you will be hard-pressed to find other loppers that can bid a fond farewell to branches as thick and tough as this Davaon does.
- These loppers are that rarity: a premium product without the price premium. You get rather more than what you pay for.
- So very powerful that you may be tempted to try to cut a tough, dense 10cm limb – resulting in damage to the loppers and fatigue to yourself.
- ‘Forcing the issue’ with the aluminium handles fully extended may well cause them to bend.
A premium product without a premium price, this Spear & Jackson kit has all-round strengths and no major shortcomings
This Spear & Jackson pole lopper/pruner is the winner of a Great British Growing Awards gold award for 2018 and is our top pick. The thing we loved foremost is that this lopper is unusually well-designed: its balance makes it easy to hold and operate and the cords are a cinch to use.
Though the nuts and bolts get loose and need tightening, this rig is also well-constructed – the components are machined to precise tolerances and there no play in the moving parts. The steel pole may feel heavy to some; on the plus side, it is also heavy-duty – it does not bend and will not snap off even when extended to its full 234 cm.
S&J is evidently responsive to customer complaints and committed to improving its products. Early batches of this model generated some complaints about the cord fraying and breaking. Subsequent shipments of the same model come with a much improved, stronger, cord.
One common gripe is that the saw’s metal is too thin, causing undesirable bend and flexibility. We believe that this drawback is compensated by the saw which is ultra-sharp. In addition, if the pole is held firmly and at the correct angle, the razor-sharp blade will make easy work of even thick branches.
The precision-crafted 4930FZ/03 is the choice for the savvy gardener who wants the very best but doesn’t want to burn a hole in his pocket.
- Tough and durable; this unit really takes a lot of wear and tear.
- Effortless pruning of branches up to the advertised 3cm – and with a modicum of effort, even 4cm branches.
- Price! As it is quite unusual for price to be a ‘pro’ for a premium product or a ‘best pick,’ this is a special plus point.
- The somewhat reduced opening angle of the blades can make it tricky to grasp a particular branch amid a tight cluster.
- The saw, though razor-sharp, is made of metal that is a shade too thin; as a result, it bends laterally under pressure.
How To Prune Garden Trees Safely
When using loppers, whether to lop branches off a tree or trim a hedge, eye protection should be your first concern. When you prune a tree, not only are bits and pieces of wood falling down, your face is angled upwards; therefore, protecting your eyes is of paramount importance.
Even when you are trimming a bush, wind can blow wood particles and sawdust in your eyes. So, Rule One: wear safety goggles.
You also need a hard hat when pruning larger branches. Moreover, position yourself at some distance from the branch that you are lopping (for obvious reasons!). Also, avoid pruning larger branches with a first cut at the join; instead, consider lopping them off in pieces to eliminate the possibility of a heavy limb hurting you or a pet.
Do not loosen the clamping nut or knob while holding the pole at an angle greater than about 30 degrees else you run the risk of the telescoping pole slamming with some force into its inner/outer cylinder – and perhaps squashing your finger.
Finally, as when doing any chores in the yard, wear gardening gloves. You will probably be handling branches and twigs, and these may well have sharp edges or points, or thorns.
If you follow these simple safety rules, you will end up with nothing more serious than minor aches and pains after a healthful upper-body workout!