Best Bypass Loppers (2020)
When it’s time for your yard to have its regular upkeep, you might face a dilemma when you have to chop off twigs that are too thick for normal pruning shears but too thin for a pruning saw to work on. “What should I use to trim those branches?” you might wonder. That’s where loppers come in. These pruning gears are just the right tool to prune branches ranging from 0.5 to 2 inches in thickness. After thorough research and trials, we have shortlisted five of these tools that deserve a spot in our list of the best bypass loppers of the year.
Bypass loppers are basically pruning shears with long handles. The tool is maneuvered using both hands and the handles are usually from 12 inches to 36 inches long to provide adequate leverage. Some loppers have telescopic handles, i.e. they are extendable. There are several types available at the market that can tackle twigs or varying diameters, depending on their specifications. Before heading on to find out about the best bypass loppers leading the market, let us take a look at the types first.
Bypass loppers are basically pruning shears with long handles. The tool is maneuvered using both hands and the handles are usually from 12 inches to 36 inches long to provide adequate leverage. Some loppers have telescopic handles, i.e. they are extendable. There are several types of these tools available at the market that can tackle twigs or varying diameters depending on their specifications. Before we head on to find out about the top loppers leading the market, let us take a look at the types first.
The basic two types of loppers are bypass and anvil. Both the types have multiple variations, but the rudimentary difference in the type among the two is the blade and its mechanism of action. You might come across other names besides bypass and anvil, but those are just subcategories under either of the types.
Bypass loppers have blades that do not meet at one point, the cutting blade ‘bypasses’ the counter blade. The mechanism is similar to that of scissors & prunes plants as delicately as possible. They are ideal for pruning live growth and twigs less than an inch thick.
Anvil loppers have blades that do meet each other. The mechanism involves the cutting blade pressing down on a flat surface (the anvil) which results in the branch to be crushed. The pruning via this mechanism is not as gentle as the bypassing type, but it is quick and efficient. These loppers are ideal for clearing out dead growth.
Types of bypass loppers
Other than the basic kind resembling plain hedge shears with long handles, there are some variations in this tool that are slightly advanced in their mechanism. These types of loppers are somewhat augmented to provide better efficiency ease to the user.
Compound bypass loppers use mechanical advantage via multiple pivot-point levers that aid the user to exert extra effortlessly pressure if needed. Also known as lever-action loppers, these tools have jointed metal segments in varying angles which can provide two to three times increased force when cutting, without putting additional strain on your hands.
Geared bypass loppers have gear sets below the cutting blades, which amplifies the cutting power and leverage. As with gears, the teeth lock into each other, causing one of the gears to turn the other, in opposite directions. This basically means the force applied by one of your hands is transferred to the other handle via the gears, causing the blades to close on each other without you having to exert as much force from the other hand.
These nuances might not appear to be that big of a deal, but when cutting thick branches that require extra power and strain, these jointed-pivots and gears can multiply the force you apply, sparing you from providing that extra bit. As a result, the cutting is much easier and comfortable.
Product Comparison Table
#1 Felco 200A Straight Cutting Head Bypass Lopper
Being in the market for over six decades, Felco is one of the top reliable brands out there which earned the Felco 200A expert bypass lopper the first place in our list rightfully. While being on the pricey end, this Swiss made tool is a standard one and is very durable with premium quality blades. The tool is equipped with a micrometric adjustment feature which ensures that the blades are aligned perfectly. The cutting capacity of this tool is up to 1.4 inches and it weighs around 1.7 pounds.
The aluminum handles have rubber grips and the hardened steel blades seldom require sharpening. You can also replace the straight cutting blade with the curved ones of the same brand (sold separately). The tool comes in varying lengths (16, 20, 24 inches) and is worth buying if you are already a Felco patron. Although the price could be frowned upon by some, it’s a downside you can certainly ignore and not regret later; after all, you get what you pay for! Any defect surfacing within 1 year of purchase will be repaired or replaced.
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#2 Tabor Tools GG11A Compound Bypass Lopper
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The Tabor Tools GG11A is 30 inches long and has a cutting capacity of up to 1.75 inches. It makes clean, precise cuts and has been reviewed to ‘cut almost everything’. The hardened carbon steel blades have a non-stick coating and the aluminum handles with rubber grips contributes to the overall comfort of using it.
The compound action makes using the tool less strenuous for the user as sated earlier and claims to deliver 3 times more force. The tool lies on the heavier end unfortunately, which is around 3.7 pounds, and comes with a conditional warranty of 12 months.
#3 Fiskars PowerGear 2 Bypass Lopper
As the name suggests, this Fiskars PowerGear2 bypass lopper is a geared tool and claims to provide 3 times more power like the Tabor Tools GG11A. This lopper comes in 3 sizes (18, 25 or 32 inches) with the longest one having better leverage. It has the highest cutting capacity of 2 inches and requires quite a lot of space to open up fully.
The blades are made of hardened bypass-style steel that have a low-friction coating on them. The handles are equipped with soft padding to ensure proper grip. Weighing around 2.8 pounds, this lopper comes with a full lifetime warranty.
4# Corona SL 3364 Extendable Bypass Lopper
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The Corona SL 3364 is the perfect tool for pruning small to mid-sized trees. The handles in this model are extendable up to 35 inches and is made of steel, but Corona markets another similar model with the standard 30-inch handles. Covered with ComfortGEL grips, the handles also feature shock guard bumpers to lower strain on the hands. This lopper too has a non-stick coating on its curved, tempered steel blades. The curvature of the blades tend to keep the branch closer to the pivot and thus enhances its performance.
The tool weighs around 3.6 pounds and has a cutting capacity of 1.5 inches. And like all Corona tools, it is backed up by a limited lifetime warranty.
5# Wolf-Garten rR900T Telescoping Bypass Lopper
Another extendable lopper on our list, the Wolf-Garten RR900T uses a pin-locking mechanism to secure the handles at the desired length, unlike the traditional cinching ring mechanism. The telescopic adjustment ranges from 25.5 to 35.5 inches. Weighing a hefty 3.86 pounds, this tool has a cutting capacity of up to 2 inches.
The premium quality German steel blades are very strong and has 4 times more cutting strength due to the dual-pivot cutting head technology. The blades have a non-stick, zinc coating to ensure clean cuts. However, this lopper cannot be taken apart, but the blades are replaceable and can be sharpened easily. Wolf-Garten offers a 10-year warranty for all their cutting tools.
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bypass loppers Buying guide
Loppers have an array of sizes, designs and features. Depending on your tasks, your strength and budget, buy a lopper with the following factors in mind:
1) Blade material. High-quality carbon steel tend to have increased durability and lower chances of bending. They also require less sharpening, especially the ones that have been hardened to endure the typical force of pruning trees. Do not compromise on this feature for the price.
2) Blade quality. Apart from the material, the quality of the blade can be affected by the type of coating and texture it has. The blades should be smooth and flat with a good coating of quality material to prevent any build-up of dust and sap. Moreover, pay attention to the gap between the blades. Too much or too little gap, both could affect the efficacy of the tool. There should be options on the tool to adjust how close and tight the blades are.
3) Cutting Mechanism. Compound loppers have several pivoting parts to enhance the cutting force and require more space to open up completely. Geared loppers use gears to enhance the leverage but do not call for as much space to open up. Both the mechanisms boosts the cutting force to deal with difficult pruning. In this case, depending on the type of plants you need to work on, try out both the types in person to decide which suits you better.
4) Grip. This factors are totally subjective and vary person to person. Some grips are designed to be soft, but they tend to wear out quickly while others could be contoured and slightly harder to withstand pressure but might be uncomfortable for some users. The sizes of grips differ as well. Try out some options in the store first before deciding on one.
5) Weight and Length. Like grip, these factors are subjective also. Aluminum loppers weigh less than the steel ones but are not suitable for heavy duty. Loppers can come in several lengths and the ideal number depends on the user. But do bear in mind, any extra length will increase the weight also. Therefore, based on the type and frequency of your tasks, consider a lopper that you can carry comfortably.
5) Cutting Power to Weight Ratio. In order to deliver the perfect cut, a good quality lopper with ample cutting power calls for proper materials and additional features, which generally means it would weigh more and would have a higher ratio. Striking the perfect balance can be quite tricky.
Less weight usually comes with less cutting power and requires less force from the hands. On the other hand, more weight would require more force, but it might not always promise more cutting power. The cutting power depends primarily on the blades and its cutting mechanism, and secondarily on the handles and the user’s ability. Given the primary features are top notch, the handles and you yourself are the tipping point. Shortlist your choices according to the blades and mechanisms first, then settle on a lopper with suitable handles weighing whatever you can maneuver comfortably.
Bypass loppers vs. anvil loppers.
Which to choose?
As mentioned earlier, the main difference between the two lies in the cutting mechanisms. Bypass loppers are much gentler on the plant while anvil loppers crush the branches while cutting.
Bypass loppers deliver clean, delicate cuts, that are ideal for live vegetation due to the bypassing blades. This is particularly beneficial since these cuts create smaller surface wounds, making it less stressful for the plant to heal. Pruning with bypass loppers would not adversely affect the growth of your plant, instead it could enhance it. These tools also enable cutting at an angle, which means there is no subsequent nubs or lumps. This means the end result is much neater and appealing. Bypass loppers would be ideal for live growth and for twigs up to 0.75 inch in thickness.
Anvil loppers cut using force between the two surfaces, due to which the surface wound is larger – meaning more stress and more wound to heal for a live vegetation. Anvil loppers are ideal for quickly clearing off large areas of dead growth or limbs that are chipping and hauling. When tenderness and precision is not the requisite, then this type of loppers are the pruning correct tools. Also, since the blades in this tool need to open up wider apart to fit around a branch, anvil loppers don’t fit in tight spaces. Therefore, these loppers would be best for pruning thick (over 0.75 inch diameter) and widely spaced branches.
Thus, depending on your plants and their growth, you can now figure out which type you should use.
If you are new into pruning and eager to learn more about loppers, sharpening the blades and other basics, read our article on how to use a lopper – the ultimate guide.
Do you own any of the loppers mentioned here? Did you choose a different one? Let us know in the comments!