When it comes to pruning season, trimming and shaping trees and shrubs with thick, woody growth can feel like a daunting task. While your secateurs and other essential gardening tools may not be up to the task, a strong pair of anvil garden loppers is more than capable of tackling tougher trimming jobs. Used with with both hands their long handles make them ideal for cutting branches up to 50mm thick and if you’re pruning dense dead wood, then a pair of loppers with an anvil blade is the tool for you.
Cuts are made as the top blade slices through the wood onto the flat anvil base. They can crush stems as they cut and although bypass blades make cleaner, more precise cuts, anvil blades have greater force. They are ideal for clearing dead branches and making the first cut on thick branches before removing them cleanly with bypass loppers or a saw. Loppers are available with telescopic handles that extend for greater reach and most have an additional cutting mechanism to help you cut thicker wood with less effort, helpful for those with less strength and for very tough wood.

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If you're pruning larger branches, take a look at our review of the best pruning saws or for smaller cuts our round up of the best secateurs. For help clearing up see our test of the best wheelbarrows.

We also have guides detailing how to prune fruit trees in winter and pruning mistakes to avoid, as well as information on other tools such as the best Japanese gardening tools and how to use them.


Best anvil loppers to buy at a glance

Our expertise

We tested the different types of anvil loppers, using them in the garden on a range of different woody shrubs and trees to help you find the right one for your garden. Each pair has a detailed list of pros and cons for clarity and has been rated according to handling, cutting, maintenance and value for money. Every pair in our round up below has scored a minimum of four out of five stars, so you can buy with confidence.

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In every review we award the outstanding products our coveted Best Buy award. To see these and the others we recommend, browse our pick of the best anvil loppers below:


Best loppers in 2022

1

Wolf Garten Telescopic Anvil Lopper

RRP: £114.99

Our rating: 4.8/5

Gardeners World Magazine Review of Wolf Garten telescopic loppers
Gardeners World Magazine Review of Wolf Garten telescopic loppers

Pros:

  • Comfortable with non-slip grip handle
  • Easy telescopic handles lock securely in place
  • Cut effortlessly
  • Flat screws prevent damage to wood

Cons:

  • Expensive

The Wolf Garten loppers were our highest scoring model overall and were awarded a BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy for the best telescopic loppers. They have a non-stick steel blade with a metal anvil and the extending aluminium handles have matching locking holes on each handle to keep them even and a comfortable, non-slip grip. With flat screws, there was no damage to wood and the cut was effortless. Replacement blades are available and the warranty lasts for 10 years.


2

Fiskars Power Gear X Anvil Lopper LX9

RRP: £79.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

Fiskars Power Gear X Anvil Lopper LX9 - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Fiskars Power Gear X Anvil Lopper LX9

Pros:

  • Light and comfortable
  • Good reach
  • Clean, powerful cutting action
  • Curved anvil hooks branches into place
  • Long warranty

Cons:

  • Expensive

A BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine Best Buy winner for general use these garden loppers feature a coated, non-stick steel blade with a curved metal anvil that helps you catch and grip branches as you cut. There’s a geared mechanism as well as light and narrow, aluminium handles, which have a rubber grip. The loppers cut cleanly with a wide cutting width and there are also useful hanging holes in the handles. They come with a generous warranty of 25 years.


3

Darlac Compact Compound Anvil Lopper

RRP: £39.99

Our rating: 4.5/5

Darlac Compact Compound Anvil Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Darlac Compact Compound Anvil Lopper

Pros:

  • Very light
  • Simple design and easy to use
  • Excellent cutting strength for size
  • Great value

Cons:

  • Small cutting width
  • Limited reach

Awarded a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy award for the best for ease of use, these small, light loppers have a steel blade with a rust-resistant coating and a metal anvil. The oval handles are made from aluminium with a rubber grip for added comfort and there’s also a compound-action cutting mechanism, which we found provided excellent strength when working. These lightweight loppers have a small cutting width, however a lifetime warranty is included and replacement parts are available.


4

Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advantage Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper

RRP: £57.49

Our rating: 4.5/5

Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advantage Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Advantage Telescopic Ratchet Anvil Lopper

Pros:

  • Light and comfortable
  • Cuts smoothly
  • Handles adjust easily with one hand

Cons:

  • Narrow cutting width
  • Handles slide into place by eye only

Our testers were impressed with these Spear and Jackson loppers and awarded them a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy award for the best ratchet loppers. The carbon-steel blade and anvil are non-stick and rust-resistant, plus there’s a five-stage ratchet mechanism. The twist-and-slide aluminium handles have a rubber grip and extend 72-104cm. The included warranty is valid for 10 years.


The best of the rest

Although some models didn't quite achieve a BBC Gardeners' World Magazine Best Buy award, they still have various features that make them worth recommending. Browse our pick of the best of the rest on test.


5

Darlac Heavy Duty Double Compound Action Anvil Lopper

RRP: £36.99

Our rating: 4.3/5

Darlac Heavy Duty Double Compound Action Anvil Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Darlac Heavy Duty Double Compound Action Anvil Lopper

Pros:

  • Light and easy to use
  • Good reach
  • Spare parts available

Cons:

  • Long blade only cuts tough wood at base
  • Struggles with denser wood
  • Strain on wrist when cutting tough wood

A long steel blade with a rust-resistant coating and light, narrow aluminium handles with a rubber grip make these loppers light and easy to use. Guaranteed for life, the tool features a compound-action cutting mechanism and offers great reach. While spare parts are available, the loppers did struggle on tougher wood putting strain on the wrists while working.


6

Wilkinson Sword Ratchet Lopper

RRP: £38.99

Our rating: 4.3/5

Wilkinson Sword Ratchet Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Wilkinson Sword Ratchet Lopper

Pros:

  • Very light and easy to use
  • Cuts most wood cleanly and smoothly
  • Good value

Cons:

  • Narrow cutting width
  • Ratchet catches occasionally

Good for less able gardeners, these loppers feature a long, non-stick blade made from carbon-steel with a metal anvil. There are long, narrow aluminium handles with a rubber grip, plus a three-gear rachet mechanism, although our testers found this did sometimes catch. The warranty on this model is 10 years.


7

Burgon & Ball RHS-endorsed Telescopic Ratchet Lopper

RRP: £48.99

Our rating: 4/5

Burgon & Ball RHS-endorsed Telescopic Ratchet Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Burgon & Ball RHS-endorsed Telescopic Ratchet Lopper

Pros:

  • Cuts tough wood well
  • Handles easily adjusted with one hand

Cons:

  • Handles slide into place by eye only
  • Handles bow under pressure
  • Narrow cutting width
  • Heavy

There’s a five stage spring-ratchet mechanism on these Burgon and Ball loppers which feature a carbon-steel, non-stick blade with a chrome-plated anvil. While heavy, the tool cuts well through tough wood and the telescopic handles extend 72-104cm. The loppers are guaranteed for 10 years.

More like this

8

Stanley FatMax Anvil Lopper

RRP: £34.99

Our rating: 4/5

Stanley FatMax Anvil Lopper - BBC Gardeners' World Magazine
Stanley FatMax Anvil Lopper

Pros:

  • Bumpers absorb shock well
  • Tapered handles cut narrower stems with ease
  • Sturdy and strong

Cons:

  • Big and heavy
  • Struggled with thicker, tough wood
  • Hard to hold above head for long periods

These garden loppers feature curved, tubular steel handles with bumpers, plus a plastic and gel grip to ease the impact on your hands. They feature a coated-steel blade with a metal anvil. There is a geared mechanism, but the tool doesn’t open as wide as some other models and some effort is required to cut thicker stems. The included warranty lasts a lifetime.


How to choose the best anvil loppers

Loppers are ideal for tougher pruning jobs later on in the year and there are a wide range of choices available. In this guide, we go through some of the different models of anvil loppers and the various features they offer, so you can understand which type might work for you.

What are loppers used for?

Loppers are essentially a pair of large, long handled secateurs, capable of taking on stems which would be too thick for even your very best secateurs. Ideal for the autumn and winter pruning period, loppers are designed to cut branches up to around 50mm thick. The tool features long, even telescopic handles, which are operated with both hands to tackle stubborn growth.

What are anvil loppers?

Anvil loppers feature a single blade closing onto a flat base, operating in a similar way to a knife cutting on a chopping board. There may also be a mechanism in the head of the loppers, which could be a ratchet, compound-action or geared mechanism which will help them cut more powerfully and with less effort from you. A ratchet cuts in multiple steps, while geared and compound action provide more leverage to a single cut.

Anvil loppers are the toughest type of garden loppers and will particularly suit any jobs which involve clearing a lot of dense, dead wood. Lopper blades are usually made from steel or carbon-steel and can have a protective or non stick coating to increase durability.

What are extendable loppers used for?

There are many long handled loppers which can help you reach further or higher up branches, but some are extendable, with telescopic handles. Being able to adjust and extend loppers means you can increase your leverage and cover more areas of your garden.

The adjustable nature of telescopic tree loppers means you can alter the length for your needs, rather than being left with excessively long handles while you complete jobs within easier reach.

Many of these long reach loppers with telescopic handles have an additional cutting mechanism which should help make slicing through tough wood a less strenuous job.

There will often be other handy features on loppers, extendable or otherwise. These include grips over the handles for added comfort or ‘bumpers’, which soften the impact of each cut by preventing the two handles from banging together.


How we tested loppers

We tested a range of anvil loppers with different features including telescopic handles and ratchet mechanisms. Our experts put the loppers through their paces on various woody branches and stems to test their overall performance. Each pair was assessed according to the following criteria with equal marks attributed to each:

  • Handling: Looked at comfort, weight, balance, manoeuvrability and ease of use.
  • Cutting: Focussed on the blade material, strength, cutting widths and cutting efficiency.
  • Maintenance: Assessed ease of cleaning and sharpening and whether replacement blades are available.
  • Value: Considered the price versus quality, design, performance and warranty.

For more information on our testing process, take a look at how we review.


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This review was last updated in February 2022. We apologise if anything has changed in price or availability.

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