The Bottom Line
- The Alligator Lopper is really a chainsaw for light cutting -- only it's safer than a chainsaw.
- Use Alligator Loppers as a specialized tool for repetitive, stationary tasks.
- Dispense with sawhorses and cut branches right on the ground with Alligator Loppers.
- Double switching system and protective jaws for added safety.
- On a worksite with lots of brush or branches underfoot, Alligator Lopper's cord would be in the way.
- The manual that comes with Alligator Loppers is hard to read.
- The oil hole is small, rendering lubrication painstaking.
- You have to clean it, as you would a standard chainsaw.
- Alligator Loppers can cut mid-sized branches (up to 4" thick) too thick for standard loppers.
- The clamping jaws grab and cut in one motion.
- Lower guard and top jaw encase cutting teeth, promoting safety superior to that of most chainsaws.
- Other safety features: reduced kickback guide bar, reduced kickback chain and double switching.
- Double-switching system is like safety handle on mowers: let go of the triggers, and device stops.
- Alligator Loppers are powered by a 4.5 amp motor.
- Alligator Loppers really function more like chainsaws (but safer!), but they do resemble loppers.
- Alligator Loppers are good for repetitive, stationary work, for which the cord's not in the way.
- Alligator Lopper's manual would read better if instructions were segregated from safety tips.
Guide Review - Black & Decker Alligator Loppers
Rating this tool fairly is a difficult job. When rating a tool, we are usually (even if only implicitly) comparing it to another tool. But to what do we compare Alligator Loppers: to chainsaws or to hand tools that perform similar tasks, such as standard loppers?
The waters are muddied further by the fact that the Alligator Lopper is a corded electrical device. So if we were to compare the Alligator Lopper to a gas-powered chainsaw, each would have its own distinct pros and cons. Which is better? That question can be answered only in the context of performing a particular task. Where maneuverability is required, gas-powered tools are a logical choice; but for more stationary tasks, corded devices offer a clean, easy-to-use alternative.
Ultimately, the Alligator Lopper must be judged in light of its capabilities as a specialized tool. The following are examples of jobs for which I'd use Alligator Loppers:
- A hurricane knocks down a tree in your front lawn. With little debris underfoot (because it's only 1 tree), use Alligator Loppers to remove the branches, before using a heavier chainsaw to buck the trunk up into manageable lengths.
- If you're sawing wood to burn for a stove, cut the bigger logs first with a heavier chainsaw, then clean up the smaller branches left on the ground with Alligator Loppers. No sawhorse is required, as the design protects the saw's tip from striking the ground (a major safety hazard with most chainsaws).
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