In this guide we’ll take a look at the best tree loppers for the UK market.
I’ve compared design, durability, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What are the Best Tree Loppers?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Extremely powerful, easy to use, and practical!
These heavy duty loppers by Spear & Jackson have a telescopic handle that can extend from 40 – 80 cm. They are extremely tough, able to easily cut through branches of up to 5 cm, with a clever ratchet system that makes them pleasant to use and extremely efficient.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Tree Lopper Reviews
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Heavy Duty Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper Review
The best tree loppers on the market are these heavy duty loppers by Spear & Jackson.
They’re extremely strong and can easily handle branches up to 5 cm thick.
These tree loppers are built with a clever ratchet mechanism that allows you to cut through even the most stubborn branches.
They are long-handled loppers that can increase in length from 40 – 80 cm. This is incredibly helpful for pruning any tricky hard-to-reach areas!
The overriding consensus is that these branch loppers can ‘cut through virtually anything’, and after trying them myself, I couldn’t agree more!
These heavy duty loppers really are the best tree loppers around.
Fiskars 1000584 Bypass Loppers Review
These Fiskars FSK1000584 Bypass Loppers are another impressive pair of loppers.
They’re very lightweight, yet extremely strong.
These tree loppers can handle branches of up to 5 cm by making use of some some innovative technology. You can use the ratchet system to cut in one step, or multiple steps if necessary. This makes it a lot easier to cut through branches which have got a bit more bite!
They’re not telescopic, but at 70 cm they’re certainly long enough to extend your reach considerably.
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp 18-30 Inch Telescopic Ratchet Bypass Lopper Review
If you’re after something which isn’t too heavy duty, but will still get great work done in the garden, these telescopic loppers by Spear & Jackson are a great option.
They’re lightweight and more economical price-wise than some of the heftier models, yet can still easily cut through branches up to 4 cm thick.
The telescopic handles can extend from 45 – 76 cm offering a great amount of reach. Plus they make use of a ratchet system to allow you to ‘crank’ through those thicker branches.
These Spear & Jackson Razorsharp 18-30 Inch Telescopic Loppers are the perfect choice for the standard garden where branches will generally be under 4 cm in diameter.
Fiskars PowerGear X Tree Pruner UPX82 Review
The Fiskars PowerGear X Tree Pruner is a high-quality pruner that’s perfect for cutting fresh young shoots, twigs and dense shrubs.
It has a reach of 1.6 m so it’s ideal for low trees and bushes, and you won’t have to compromise your safety up on a ladder!
The adjustable cutting head can be fixed in any position, through 230° for easy and safe pruning. You won’t find yourself having to stand awkwardly trying to get the cut you want.
Plus, the non-stick upper blade guarantees a clean cut every time!
With a long service life thanks to the robust steel blades and aluminium handle, this functional pruner will be a long-lasting addition to your toolkit!
Davaon Pro Ratchet Telescopic Anvil Lopper Review
The Davaon Pro Ratchet Anvil Lopper has up to 5 times the cutting power of regular loppers!
This is all thanks to the heat-treated, hardened carbon-steel blade.
Designed to slice through thicker branches with ease, this tree lopper is durable and grippy for accurate trimming.
Built with handles that can be quickly extended, you can easily reach higher branches safely.
The quick-lock telescopic handles can be extended from 68 cm to 100 cm in just a few seconds.
They have a lightweight aluminium design that makes them easy to support and comfortable to use for long periods of time.
Things to Know Before Buying Tree Loppers
Tree loppers are immensely useful tools, suitable for many different tasks. They’ll help keep your garden looking neat and are great for trimming hedges, pruning trees, and cutting back shrubs.
Loppers offer the perfect midpoint between pruning shears and pruning saws. In fact, given that some loppers can cut branches with a diameter of up to 5 cm, they may well be the only tool you end up needing!
Finding the best tree loppers to use in your garden will depend on what you plan to use them for. You may be surprised by just how many different types are available!
To help you separate the wheat from the chaff, I’ve put together the following useful information:
A logical place to kick this article off – why buy tree loppers in the first place? Their uses stretch far and wide, but a couple of common reasons for needing to use tree loppers in the garden are:
- To stop trees from blocking out sunlight. They may be blocking light from you in your garden, and making things feel a bit dark, or they may be stealing sunlight away from other plants. Lopping and pruning is necessary to make sure trees don’t overpower nearby plants and flowerbeds!
- To stop plants from interfering with each other. Again, if trees, plants or shrubs are positioned close together, you may find that their branches start to intertwine. This isn’t great for the aesthetics of the garden or the health of the plants – stop plants from meddling with each other by lopping back some branches!
- To keep peace with the neighbours. No matter how good your relationship with your neighbour, trees that start to encroach on their property are going to cause tension. Pruning and lopping will keep branches on your side of the fence and avoid any fraying nerves.
- To maintain shape. Sometimes bushes, shrubs and trees will take things into their own hands (branches?) and start to grow in unexpected directions. To keep things looking neat, pruning and lopping is indispensable.
- For health and safety purposes. This might be just as much for the health of the tree as for anyone in the near vicinity. Diseased branches need to be removed to try to stop the problem in its tracks. Equally, damaged branches should be lopped off to avoid them breaking and causing damage to property, other plants, or people.
There is a fair amount of confusion, and crossover, in the branch-cutting world when it comes to the difference between loppers and pruners. Being sure of each tool’s purpose can help when it comes to choosing which one to use for the job.
“Pruners” generally refers to a small one-handed tool which is used for cutting shrubs and flower bushes (like rose bushes). Thanks to their compact size and proximity to the plant, these pruners are great for ground-level jobs and for accurately cutting exactly where you intend to.
That said, you will notice in the reviews below that there are some pruners which don’t fit into the above description:
Pole pruners work with a mechanism like a litter picker and consist of one long pole. They’re used for cutting higher branches and only require one hand to activate the cutting mechanism. Another hand is needed to stabilise the pole. They’re great tools, which will stop you from having to get the ladder out, but they’re better suited to light work – they don’t have the same strength as tree loppers.
So, what distinguishing features do tree loppers have?
These are very powerful tools which essentially resemble long secateurs. Depending on the model you buy, they are able to cut branches up to 5 cm in diameter. As a result, they’re much hardier than pruners and can be used to complete a vast array of jobs. Many loppers, although not all, will have a telescopic handle allowing you to extend them to reach higher branches.
There are two different types of cutting systems that loppers may have.
Loppers with an ‘anvil’ cutting system have one cutting blade and one anvil blade. The cutting blade moves, whilst the anvil blade stays still. It works similarly to a knife cutting on a chopping board – the branch finds itself trapped under the cutting blade (the knife) and is sliced against the anvil (the chopping board).
If the loppers make use of a ‘bypass’ cutting system, the two blades will glide past each other, much as scissors do. Both of the blades move, and the branch is cut when the two blades cross.
So, which cutting system makes for the best tree lopper?
Pros and Cons of Anvil Loppers
With anvil cutting, the cutting action is more powerful. All of the cutting force is distributed over the one moving blade. As a result, loppers using this system will be better suited for cutting thicker, tougher branches.
However, a disadvantage of anvil loppers is that they are more likely to damage and crush the branch. When the cutting blade comes down, the force is felt on both sides of the branch being cut, crushing it structurally.
If cuts aren’t clean, and plants get crushed, it not only damages the plant but also increases the risk of bacteria entering.
Therefore, anvil loppers are not ideal for creating neat, clean cuts, and are better suited to cutting dead branches than live ones.
Pros and Cons of Bypass Loppers
Now we turn our attention to bypass blades. Loppers with bypass blades require more strength than anvil loppers. Both blades need to be powered to move past each other. As a result, it is more difficult to cut through thicker branches using bypass blades.
That said, bypass blades create a much cleaner cut. Thanks to the bypass cutting action, only the side of the branch which is being discarded is in danger of being crushed.
Bypass blades are therefore well suited to pruning living stems and branches as they won’t damage the remaining plant.
Jobs are always made easier if you can avoid lugging a ladder around, or balancing perilously off one.
Loppers with telescopic handles can allow you to have a much further reach when pruning and lopping. Some telescopic loppers can extend to up to a metre in length making it a breeze to reach the upper branches of trees and bushes.
You do sometimes have to forfeit a bit of accuracy when using telescopic loppers – you can’t expect to be able to have complete control over the exact cutting point from so far away.
However, we’re generally talking about mere centimetres, and being able to prune without a ladder is a real blessing.
It’s advisable not to extend telescopic loppers more than necessary for the job in hand; the longer the handles are extended the weaker they will become. Such is the nature of telescopic handles.
If you want the ability to prune high up, without a ladder, but don’t fancy telescopic handles, some loppers already offer quite a lot of reach. For example, the Fiskars FSK1000584 Bypass Loppers are already 70 cm long.
Loppers with a ratchet cutting system make cutting easier by allowing it to be done in several steps.
If you’ve ever used a nutcracker with a ratchet, you’ll know how much kinder a ratchet system can be on the hands.
Having loppers with a ratchet system is ideal if you’re tackling some tough branches. It makes them easier to approach in stages. Ultimately, you’ll be able to get through larger branches much easier than you would have done without the ratchet system.
Tree Lopper FAQs
Bypass loppers look and act in much the same way that scissors do, but tend to just have one blade that does the moving. You keep the loppers steady with your weaker hand, and with your stronger hand push down on the handle to move the blade and cut the branch.
Anvil loppers on the other hand only have one blade which crushes the branch against a softer metal surface on the other side. The cut might not be as clean, but anvil loppers tend to be more capable of dealing with thicker material.
- Prune in late winter or early spring, before new growth starts.
- Determine which branches are the skeleton branches (important main branches) as these should not be removed.
- Next, decide which branches you want to remove first – these should be the ones that show any sign of damage. Simply remove these branches using your pruners.
- Any areas that are very thick with branches can be thinned.
- Remove branches that cross over, so that air can circulate around the tree.
- Eliminate any branches that are growing inwards.
- If you are pruning for aesthetics, remove any branches that stick out at odd angles. You may need to stand a short distance away to identify these.
To prune safely, wear a long sleeve top, gloves to protect your hands, and safety goggles at all times. If you are pruning taller branches, a hard hat is highly recommended. For safely pruning the branches above your head, it’s recommend to use telescopic loppers as opposed to a ladder.