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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Ratchet tools (and loppers in particular) have become extremely popular because they take the stress off your joints and multiply the amount of work you can do with less effort. The family-owned Florian company was the first to introduce ratchet garden tools, and they still make some excellent options.
This one works in stages, much like a regular ratchet, giving you excellent leverage with minimal effort. Gardeners who lack strength in their hands seem to do better with ratchet loppers. These by Florian have hardened steel Teflon coated blades. The hickory handles have cushioned grips. It cuts branches up to 2 inches in diameter. Ratchet loppers come at a price, but gardeners with hand problems are usually grateful they can keep working.