Tough Loppers for the Home Gardener

by Jason Dyck
(last updated April 9, 2014)

With the advent of warmer weather, it's time to tackle some of the garden work I've been looking forward to. I had cut down a small fruit tree, but I needed to chop up the smaller branches that the chainsaw wasn't suited for. For the job, I chose the Corona Compound Action Bypass Lopper. It was one of the less expensive options, but Corona is a reliable brand and the compound action promised better leverage for the larger branches.

(For more information on Corona's wide range of lawn and garden tools, check out their website at http://www.coronaclipper.com.)

I'm comfortable using simple bypass loppers, which take a lot of force to use. The compound action made my life a lot easier, but it introduced a few challenges as well. Some aspects of the tool I only discovered after I had gotten it home. For instance, Corona tempers the metal in the whole blade, where some manufacturers only temper the edge. This way, not only is the tool stronger, but if the blade has to be sharpened later the new edge will still have the tempering.

The tree branches I needed cut varied in size from whip thin to a couple of inches thick. The Compound Action Bypass Lopper is supposed to be able to handle branches up to an inch and a half thick. I found that it could handle larger than that, but it became very hard to avoid twisting by accident, and knocking the blades out of alignment. If it twists the wrong way, blades can collide and break. Because of this, we accidentally broke a blade on the first loppers we bought and we had to replace them. Limiting the tool to use as directed is always a good idea!

Half a tree has been chopped up now, so here are my thoughts on the loppers' performance.

  • Ease of use. The levering effect of the compound action made the Corona loppers much smoother and powerful to use than simple bypass ones. They are a little heavy over time, but I could cut branches much longer without my arms wearing out than with ordinary loppers. This was especially good for large branches. The one drawback is that the handles have to swing further for that leverage. This only really became an issue when I was trying to chop inside my waste can or among dense groups of branches. Those tasks were very difficult with the limited space.
  • Maintenance. After I had done quite a bit of cutting, I noticed that the blades were not lining up as closely. Because of this, some branches were not cutting cleanly, especially small flexible ones. The complexity of the compound action leaves more room for things to get out of whack, especially if you cut branches that are a little larger than prescribed. A little tightening of the bolts was enough for me to resolve that, but being careful and preventing the problem would have been better.
  • Pros. The power and smooth handling are great. For big jobs the loppers allow you to cut things you might otherwise need a power tool for, and for small jobs the easy motion cuts down on fatigue. The sharp, quality blades are nice and also make the work more efficient and comfortable.
  • Cons. The slightly more complex action of the compound makes it more prone to problems if you are not careful enough in the size of the branches you cut. You need to pay attention to the size of your branches and err on the side of caution. The larger swing of the handles makes this a poor choice in dense trees for pruning out just some branches, or in any other use where the space to work is limited.
  • Overall experience. I really enjoyed using the Corona loppers. They did the job I needed much more easily than I had expected. I look forward to finding more jobs to use them on!

Author Bio

Jason Dyck

Jason has been a cook, a hotel clerk, a website developer, a landscaper, a dance instructor, a financial auditor, and the list goes on. He holds Associate degrees in English and Social Science. Jason lives in Utah with his wife and two sons. ...

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