Over the years I’ve tried lots of different loppers and settled on Bahco as my go-to. I like the fact that they produce a very light orchard lopper with 32" handles (34" length).
However, because I love my ARS hand pruners, I decided to purchase a couple of relatively expensive ARS loppers. Both have 30" handles, about- total 32" length, one has a compound leverage mechanism and a blade and anvil configuration while the other is a bypass type, with a hook and blade that passes the hook. Bypass is usually recommended because of a lesser tendency to crush the wood behind the cut. Anvil types are usually employed for brush clearing or to reduce the volume of brush after removing it from fruit trees.
The ARS bypass has a problem of excessive thickness of the hook, making it harder to make precise cuts of small wood. I ground down the hook towards the tip to make it more like the Bahco, and that alleviated the problem. Now my helper uses a Bahco and I switched to the shorter handled ARS except when I need more extension.
Recently, I’ve been dealing with a shoulder injury that is slow to heal (I’m 67 and prune all day long, month after month, so something is bound to give, right?)
I’m in peaches and plums now, which require a lot of lopper work, so I decided to try the compound lever model. Wow! The sucker cuts with very little effort and is extraordinarily light weight.
The one liability of an anvil system is that it tends to push the wood away from the fulcrum towards the tip of the blade and anvil which reduces leverage. This is especially a problem when reaching up because the partial solution is to push the blades against the wood to force the cut inward where you have leverage.
However, even with this problem, the tool requires less muscle than any lopper I’ve ever used and cuts so well there’s not much wood crushing going on. The anvil also prevents the bark stripping that can occur with a bypass if you aren’t placing the hook inside the blade (the blade often needs to be on the side of wood being removed to avoid stripping bark when you cut).
So now I’m using the fancy, compound lever, blade and anvil job that costs about $160! No problem for me because skilled labor fetches a high price less than an hour from NYC.
I’ve tried to break the tool to see how strong it is by attempting to cut excessively thick wood. Can’t seem to break or bend the handles with my arm strength, which is greater than the average city dweller that doesn’t pump weights. I’ve also been careless about springing the blade and anvil system, but haven’t managed to do that either, even by twisting like an amateur. The other ARS seems equally unbreakable.
Both use the extra hard steel that holds its edge better than a Bahco or any other lopper I’ve used, including the poorly engineered and overpriced Felco.
I realize my words are a bit difficult to understand but I hope you can get the gist of us. Maybe in a few years I will be in a wheelchair and have the time to make youtube videos that will make all this easier to understand.
I don’t have that much time to give away presently.
Actually, this seems to be the best source for both designs. http://www.wood-avenue.com/product_p/lp-a30l.htm
It was the only source I could find in the U.S. for the blade and anvil model, although searching now I found a source asking almost $400 compared to the $160 price at Wood Ave.