Black & Decker Alligator Loppers

Review of a Strange Product

The Alligator Lopper is a strange mix of lopper and chainsaw.
The Alligator Lopper is a strange mix of lopper and chainsaw. Black & Decker

Alligator Loppers resemble standard loppers (two handles, two jaws) and, like them, are used to trim branches -- but the similarity ends there. Really a chainsaw, this Black & Decker product strikes one as being a specialized tool. Because it is corded, it is not as maneuverable as gas chainsaws, standard loppers, handsaws or axes. But its safety features and power are selling points, and, matched to the right job, this tool excels.

Just be sure to have complementary tools handy to do the rest of the work.

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Pros and Cons

Here are some good points that the tool boasts:

  • The Alligator Lopper is really a chainsaw for light cutting -- only it is safer than a chainsaw.
  • Use Alligator Loppers as a specialized tool for repetitive, stationary tasks.
  • Dispense with sawhorses and cut branches right on the ground with this tool.
  • Double switching system and protective jaws for added safety.

Its bad points include:

  • On a work site with lots of brush or branches underfoot, Alligator Lopper's cord would be in the way.
  • The manual that comes with Alligator Loppers is hard to read.
  • The oil hole is small, rendering lubrication painstaking.
  • You have to clean it, as you would a standard chainsaw.

Product Description

  • Alligator Loppers can cut mid-sized branches (up to 4 inches thick) too thick for standard loppers.
  • The clamping jaws grab and cut in one motion.
  • Lower guard and top jaw encase cutting teeth, promoting safety superior to that of most chainsaws.
  • Other safety features: reduced kickback guide bar, reduced kickback chain, and double switching.
  • Double-switching system is like the safety handle on mowers: Let go of the triggers, and the device stops.
  • Alligator Loppers are powered by a 4.5 amp motor.
  • This product really functions more like a chainsaw  (but it is safer), but it does resemble conventional loppers in some ways.
  • Alligator Loppers are good for repetitive, stationary work, for which the cord is not in the way.
  • The manual would read better if instructions were segregated from safety tips.

Review of Black & Decker Alligator Loppers

Rating this tool fairly is a difficult job. When rating a tool, we are usually (even if only implicitly) comparing it to another tool. But to what do we compare Alligator Loppers: to chainsaws or to hand tools that perform similar tasks, such as standard loppers?

The waters are muddied further by the fact that the Alligator Lopper is a corded electrical device. So if we were to compare it to a gas-powered chainsaw, each would have its own distinct pros and cons. Which is better? That question can be answered only in the context of performing a particular task. Where maneuverability is required, gas-powered tools are a logical choice. But for more stationary tasks, corded devices offer a clean, easier-to-use alternative.

Ultimately, the Alligator Lopper must be judged in light of its capabilities as a specialized tool.

The following are examples of jobs for which one might use this device:

  • A hurricane knocks down a tree in your front lawn. With little debris underfoot (because it is only one tree), use Alligator Loppers to remove the branches, before using a heavier chainsaw to buck the trunk up into manageable lengths.
  • If you are sawing wood to burn in a woodstove, cut the bigger logs first with a heavier chainsaw, then clean up the smaller branches left on the ground with Alligator Loppers. No sawhorse is required, as the design protects the saw's tip from striking the ground (a major safety hazard with most chainsaws).

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.