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When pruning woody trees and shrubs, the right tool makes all the difference. You need a lopper. Loppers are hand pruners with long handles. While the longer handles will give you added reach to prune higher branches, that's not their true advantage. The handles on loppers give you leverage, so your pruner can handle larger branches; up to 2 inches in diameter, depending on the lopper.
Look for a carbon-steel blade and the option of replacement parts. Since loppers have long handles, they can be cumbersome to hold and use. Test out a few different options, to see which feel most comfortable in your hands.
Loppers can cost anywhere from about $20 up to $200 or more. If you are going to be doing a lot of pruning, buy the best loppers you can afford. A good quality lopper should last you for life.
Fiskars PowerGear2 32 Inch Lopper
This is a solid, basic lopper and it will do a fine job for the majority of your needs. The blade is hardened steel with the nice additions of remaining sharp and a non-stick coating. Trees can be very sappy, and the coating will make things move along. The handles are lightweight aluminum, lessening the strain on your arms. Their patented PowerGear technology puts some of the work of getting through the branch on the mechanism and off your hands. They claim it gives you three times more power. It cuts branches up to 2 inches in diameter. It is 32 inches in length.
Corona DualLINK with ComfortGEL Grip
These are great for light-duty pruning. They can cut through branches up to1 3/4 inches and have a two-zone blade for cutting larger and smaller branches. If you're going to do a lot of light pruning, the ShockGuard bumper will be appreciated. They have gel grips for better control. The blades are resharpenable forged carbon-steel. It is extendable to 31 inches, or you can get a non-extendable model.
KSEIBI Extendable Anvil Razor-Edge Pruning Lopper
Sometimes you like the option of making the handles longer or shorter, to get in tight or extend your reach. This model extends from 27 to 40 inches. You get their Teflon coated, non-stick blade and strong, but light, aluminum handles. It cuts branches up to 2 inches in diameter.
Black & Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5 Amp Electric Chain Saw
Of course, there are power loppers. This electric lopper has a 4.5 amp motor and works basically like a chainsaw, except the blade is what they call a clamping jaw. It grabs around the branch and holds it as you cut. Since you’ll probably need two hands to control the lopper, this is a good feature. It’s a nice little tool for the price. Although if you have a chainsaw, you could make do with that. It cuts branches up to 4 inches in diameter.