Learn which bypass loppers are the best loppers for your pruning tasks any time of year, including Fiskars, Corona, and Felco brands.
You’re in need of a great pair of loppers for your tree pruning needs but you’re not sure which to buy. Loppers can range in price from $30-$200, are available in multiple sizes and are sold by numerous brands. That’s a lot of information to digest.
The problem is with such a huge selection available, how can you possibly narrow it down to the one best pair of loppers to invest in which are both efficient and powerful? Furthermore, do you need anvil or bypass loppers, and what is the difference?
Luckily, we are here to help.
We’ve used many different types of loppers over the past 20+ years and have narrowed your choices down to the 3 best loppers.
Our recommendations below will highlight the loppers you should be using in order to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and your garden looking great!
Read our best loppers review to learn the following:
- A quick introduction to loppers.
- An overview of how loppers differ from pruning shears.
- The two different kinds of loppers to choose from, bypass or anvil (and why bypass are the best).
- Our time-tested recommendation for the all-around 3 best loppers on the market.
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Top 3 Best Loppers for Your Garden
Loppers, in addition to pruning shears, are a go-to tool for your garden for many reasons.
First of all, pruning is a necessary garden maintenance task that can help improve the aesthetic look of your plants. Pruning is defined as the act of removing branches, stems, leaves, flowers, and other plant tissues, which is done in order to follow the “3 Pillars of Pruning©.”
The “3 Pillars of Pruning©” refer to why you should prune your plants and are as follows:
- Pillar 1: Pruning out dead/diseased plant material.
- Pillar 2: Prune out crossing or rubbing branches or stems.
- Pillar 3: Prune to shape or form plants.
There are other reasons to prune, such as for safety reasons, but the “3 pillars” are critical to follow for overall garden health and maintenance.
For an introduction to basic pruning, you might be interested in our free, 7-day Smart Pruning Basics course.
Types of Pruning Cuts
When you prune, you make two kinds of cuts: thinning cuts and heading cuts.
Upon removing material from any plant, the plant will redirect its energy to the stems and buds that remain. That’s why you definitely need the best loppers you can find to get the job done and give your plants clean cuts so they heal faster and stay healthy.
Why You Need The Best Loppers
Now that you have some basic pruning knowledge, let’s talk about the loppers that will fit your needs by starting with what they are and how they differ from pruning shears.
Whether you are a beginner gardener or even a more experienced gardener, the reality is your trees and shrubs are all screaming for your attention so they can be healthy and continue growing season after season. That means you need the best loppers to handle your pruning tasks.
But first, why do you even need them? How about dependability, durability, and cleanliness. The best loppers are dependable due to how they’re built as well as the materials used to construct them. In addition, loppers will give you a longer reach than pruning shears for those just-out-of-reach cuts you need to make, along with giving you also clean cuts on your plants so they look their best and heal fast. Finally, the loppers we highlight here are durable for use in different pruning situations and weather.
Pruners vs. Loppers
In a nutshell, size matters.
Pruning shears are a garden hand-held tool used to cut away smaller branches or stems with more precision and finesse. Pruning shears work best when used on small stems generally up to 1-inch thick.
Loppers can also be used for some fine-cuts. However, they are best used for larger stems or branches over 1-inch thick, that need more cutting leverage. Loppers are generally used for stems up to 2 or 2 1/2 inches in diameter. If larger than 2 1/2 inch stems, and unless you are using some larger compound-loppers, a handsaw or chainsaw would be best for larger cuts. Our lopper pick, the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers, cuts stems and branches up to 1 1/2 inches in diameter, where larger stems Sean prefers to use his hand or chainsaw.
For more information about the differences, click here to listen to DIY Garden Minute Ep5 Pruning Shears vs Loppers!
Best Loppers: Types and Features
Anvil vs. Bypass: Which Loppers Are Right For You?
- The bypass lopper holds and positions a stem much better than an anvil type of lopper.
- The bypass loppers also cradle the stem for a cut where anvil loppers just sit on top of a cutting board, basically.
- Bypass loppers create a clean cut due to the shearing cut with minimal stem tissue damage, where anvil loppers actually crush the stem to complete it’s cut.
- Bypass loppers make more precise cuts, where anvil loppers have a blunt, curved cutting tip that is best for basic removal of plant mass.
- The final reason bypass loppers are better is due to their ability to stay sharp longer as the shearing mechanism can be built with a grove that moves any sap away from the blade keeping it cleaner longer and staying sharp longer. Anvil loppers don’t have this.
Therefore, bypass loppers are the best type of lopper compared to anvil loppers for the reasons listed above.
Features Of The Best Loppers
- Cutting Size Matters – You need the tool that will make the correct size cuts for your needs. You need loppers that cut stems or branches from 1-inch to 2 1/2 inch diameter.
- The Grip, The Feel – You need to know how it will feel in your hands and how comfortable it will be when actually using it. It also shouldn’t put a lot of strain and/or pressure on your shoulders and wrists. If it doesn’t feel comfortable in your hands just holding it and added strain on your shoulders and wrists, then you definitely don’t want to use it. Our recommended loppers are very comfortable and are made to not put any strain on any part of your body.
- Weight Issues – The weight of the loppers in your hands is also very important. Lightness and maneuverability will be a huge factor in how consistent your cuts will be and your patience during longer pruning sessions. In addition, think about how heavy the loppers will be after holding them for extended amounts of time.
- Blade Material – You want the strongest treated steel you can find that is tempered to be as durable as possible. No matter how careful you think you will be, if not steel and not strong or treated, you WILL snap or break that cutting blade on your loppers at some point. It is inevitable.
You need to consider:
- What will you use the loppers for and what plants will you prune?
- Do you need a more ergonomic lopper for your wrists or hands or shoulders?
- How much does the lopper weigh and will you be comfortable holding the loppers for an hour or longer?
- What material is the cutting blade made from and how was it treated so you have the most durable tool?
Pro-tip: Never cut more than 1/3 of an entire plant as this can stress the plant out and create root die-back.
Benefits of Best Loppers
In our opinion, you should always opt for bypass loppers over anvil loppers.
Whether cutting whole stems or needing to cut as close to stem or branches points-of-attachment, the bypass loppers are best. Sean’s absolute favorite loppers, Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers, get the job done and are easy on your body for less injury.
The Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers are the best loppers you can buy because they are durable, light-weight, take lots of abuse, and make each pruning cut feel like you are cutting through butter. Other loppers on the market might feature compound cutting mechanisms or can make larger cuts, but they can’t match the toughness or quality of the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers. Furthermore, some of the competition’s loppers have literally fallen apart while making cuts or their handles have failed so badly that the cuts couldn’t even be completed due to metal fatigue and shearing completely away. You definitely get what you pay for, and the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers are the best for your money!
The Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers have been a go-to tool for Sean while maintaining clients gardens for health and shaping while running his landscape business for over 10 years. Year after year, through all the seasons, these loppers never failed to stay sharp or hold together. Because of this, the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers are still Sean’s go-to pruning tool for larger hand pruning cuts.
The Top 3 Best Loppers
1) Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers
Cutting Size: 1-1 1/2-inch | Weight: 2.4 lbs | Warranty: Lifetime Limited Warranty
We really like the simplicity of construction, the durability, and how the 28-inch bypass loppers feel in our hands when using this Fiskars product.
With the 1 1/2-inch maximum cutting size and close-clean cuts, the 28-inch bypass loppers make pruning easy and seamless. The 28-inch bypass loppers consist of two forged-steel pieces.
This means very few pieces to maintain or potential to fail or replace.
Any Compound or Power-Lever loppers will have more pieces to handle and maintain, with a higher probability of failing.
Built into this prime pruning tool is a fully-hardened steel technology and a precision ground blade that stays sharp with a low-friction coating to resist rust and help make cuts smoother.
This lopper even has a shock-absorbing bumper stop to take away any jarring when completing a cut, where other loppers have other stops or rubber bumpers that still jar and pop off with heavy use. The hardened, durable steel handles have non-slip comfort grips help make cuts easier.
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2) Corona AL 8462 High-Performance Orchard Lopper, 32-Inch Length
Cutting Size: 1 1/2-inch | Weight: 2.6 lbs | Warranty: Manufacturer Warranty: make a request
Our 2nd favorite lopper is the Corona AL 8462 High-Performance Orchard Lopper. It has a very different feel than the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers but is still a versatile and useful lopper.
The light-weight aluminum handles make it a tempting tool to use during a day of pruning.
It has replaceable, dual arc bypass blade of fully heat-treated forged steel and it boasts a forged, slant-ground hook with a self-cleaning, deep sap groove.
This pruning shear also features a locking nut that eliminates a nut-retaining clip that older models had.
This pruning shear is in 2nd place due to its great durability, but also because it has been known to break or fail when in use, in our experience.
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3) Felco 30 in. Bypass Lopper
Cutting Size: 1 3/4-inch | Weight: 1.32 lbs | Warranty: Contact Manufacturer
Our third pick for bypass loppers is the Felco 30 inch Bypass Lopper.
Like most Felco products, these loppers are made with lightweight materials, is resistant to corrosion, and built with handles to specifically absorb any shock when cutting. It has a different feel to it than the Fiskars or Corona, as it is much lighter in weight and a bit more expensive.
This lopper has an adjustable and replaceable, easy-to-switch-out blade for continuous use. It is manufactured with a fully-hardened, precision ground steel blade that stays sharp longer even with heavy use.
This lopper, like most other Felco products, has more pieces than the Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers so it will need more tuning before each use. It also has more pieces resulting in more opportunity for failure.
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Need to sharpen your new loppers or pruning shears?
Here is a great sharpening kit to GET IT DONE!
Best Types of Loppers Conclusion
When you are ready to prune your trees or shrubs to keep them healthy and shaped just right, make sure you have your bypass loppers ready.
The three bypass loppers we have presented are well made, durable and strong. Mostly made from tempered, treated alloys and steel, so each one of your cuts will be clean and precise.
Bypass loppers are highly recommended over anvil-types due to their precision and ability to reach difficult cuts.
Our pick: Fiskars 28-inch Bypass Loppers because:
- Their construction
- Their materials
- Ease of use
- Uncomplicated general maintenance
Even though we wish the handles were a little longer, its a small price to pay for loppers that cut with such ease.
Now we want to hear from you! What type of trees or shrubs do you need to prune? Did you find a pair of loppers above that might work for your needs?
Let us know by leaving a quick comment below!
Related Pruning Resources:
- Best Pruning Tools for 2019
- Best Pruning Shears For Any Gardener: A Must-Have Tool!
- How to Best Prune Your Garden This Winter
- Ep. 9: Fall Pruning Do’s and Don’ts
- DIY Garden Minute ep. 2: Pruning vs. Dead-Heading Revealed!
See you in the garden!
~ Sean and Allison
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P.P.S. Check out our Resource Library page for FREE printable freebies in our Resource Library!
- “17 Tools For Accessible Gardening” – HGTV
- “How to Use Power-Assisted Loppers” – Fiskars
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