Bypass Loppers vs Anvil Loppers – 4 Key Differences

Bypass Loppers make cleaner cuts on live wood, while Anvil Loppers can cut through tougher dead branches. Choosing the right type of Lopper depends on the kind of pruning work required.

Pruning trees and bushes often requires cutting through branches up to 2-3 inches thick. Using the right type of lopper for the job makes the work much easier. The two main options are bypass loppers and anvil loppers.

How Bypass Loppers Work?

Bypass Loppers work like scissors. They have two curved blade edges that slice past each other in a scissor-like motion. This makes a clean, smooth cut across the branch or stem without crushing it.

The sharp blades ensure the Bypass Loppers make precise cuts all the way through green branches and stems up to 2 inches in diameter.

The scissor action requires less force than chopping to cut living wood. Bypass Lopper handles are usually shaped for optimal leverage to cut through thick branches with ease.

How Anvil Loppers Work?

Anvil Loppers have a single sharp blade that chops against a flat metal anvil or plate. The wood gets crushed and split between the blade and the anvil. Anvil loppers rely on this chopping action rather than slicing to cut through branches.

The solid blade and anvil construction give anvil loppers greater cutting power. They can cut through dry, dead wood up to 3 inches thick by chopping through it.

However, the cut is less clean or precise than bypass loppers. The ends get frayed and crushed.

Anvil loppers are best for cutting through tough, dead wood rather than living green branches.

Their chopping action and durable construction allow anvil loppers to cut through thick, mature stems that would be difficult for bypass loppers. But for general pruning of live trees, bypass loppers make better cuts.

FeatureBypass LoppersAnvil Loppers
Cutting ActionScissor-likeChopping
Best forGreen/live woodDry/dead wood
Max Cut Diameter2 inches3 inches
Cut QualityCleanCrushing

Bypass vs. Anvil Loppers: Which is Better?

In general, Bypass Loppers are better for pruning living trees and bushes. The scissor-like cut helps living plants heal better without splitting or cracking. Bypass loppers quickly cut green branches up to 2 inches thick.

Anvil Loppers are ideal for cutting dead wood or trimming very thick, mature branches. The chopping action makes it through even the toughest dead wood up to 3 inches thick.

Consider what you’ll be using the loppers for most – live pruning or deadwood cutting. This will determine whether bypass or anvil loppers are the better choice.

It’s worth investing in a good quality pair of loppers with shock-absorbing handles for easier cutting. Proper loppers make pruning tasks much faster and easier on the hands.


In summary, the choice between bypass and anvil loppers depends on the pruning task at hand. Bypass loppers are better suited for precisely cutting live branches and promoting healing in trees and bushes.

Their scissor-like action makes clean cuts through green wood up to 2 inches thick. Anvil loppers are ideal for cutting through thick dead wood thanks to their durability and chopping power.