“ Brand: Qualcast / Type: Loppers - Shears „
This is actually the second Heavy Duty Lopper from Qualcast that we have owned. It is not because it is such a great product rather the first one after six months and only a handful of uses, fell to pieces while in use and the securing bolt that holds the two arms in place literally fell apart and the nut and bolt disappeared into the depths of a bush. I took it back to B&Q however without a receipt they originally refused to take it however after a small confrontation they relented and replaced the item, since then the new one has worked fine however I'm still a little cautious over the quality of the build. My main reason for buying this was that it was the cheapest on the shelves so maybe it is cheap for a reason as it cost £20.00 to buy give or take a penny.
This lopper is ideal for dealing with thicker branches on bushes or trees that a conventional pruner cannot handle or that are too thick for hedge cutters. The longer handles also give you some extra reach and while this does add to the weight of the product it is still pretty easy to manipulate and use. The longer handles also means you have more leveridge and therefore do not have to use as much force making them suitable for those of us who do not have big arm muscles.
I like the fact that the handles are moulded and quite thick without being overly bulky, I have only ever really used this product in short bursts of gardening however I have never had any problems with aching arms or blisters. The blades are nice and sharp and provide a clean cut without the need to provide tons of force. Whilst there is a limit to the branches that it can handle due to the width that the blades open this is plenty big enough for all of the bushes in our garden and also some of the smaller branches on a couple of the trees. The extra reach that the long handles provide is also useful.
Overall I have been happy with this product second time around however I am still a little cautious when using it and check the retaining nut of a regular basis to ensure that it is still tight. Over time I'm coming to the conclusion that maybe it was a one off quality control issue rather than a problem with the design or material quality. Given the relatively cheap price compared with the others on sale it is worth a go if you are not looking for anything too heavy duty.
A lopper is perhaps one of those things that many would not know what it actually was, and if you have any trees or large bushes in your garden, then having a decent heavy duty lopper available with your garden spade, fork and rake is going to be a must. So when we moved to a new house that had a few trees and low bushes around the garden, I knew I was going to need one, and hence purchased this pair from Homebase for just under £20.
But what is it? Well if you had a garden and I said 'secateurs' to you, you problem know that they are like pruning shears - like a handheld pair of tough scissors that you use to prune roses, plants and small trees. Well a looper is like the granddaddy of secateurs - a more heavy weight tough pair of scissors that takes 2 hands to operate, and is used for cutting through small or medium branches on trees, bushes, hedges etc.
Now Qualcast are synonymous with making garden tooling (normally lawnmowers), but they do branch out into making spades, forks etc as well, which is where this lopper comes in. In terms of quality, I would probably place Qualcast as middle of the road in comparison to other garden tool manufacturers. But when I went to look at these loppers in Homebase, the quality overall was quite impressive, and that sort of convinced me that they were worth the investment.
So for around £20, what do you get? The overall length of the lopper is 72.5 cm, weighing in at 0.91 kg. At the one end you have the carbon steel blades which are connected to the long steel handles. The theory behind this arrangement is all to do with amplifying the power ratio you apply. The idea is that if you try to cut a large branch with your hand held secateurs, the only power you have to apply is the strength of your hand closing, and unless you are very strong, you will probably not cut through the branch. On these loppers with the long handles, you now have a lot more leverage to apply more force (from both your arms for 2 handed operation) to the cutting blades, and hence, you are able to cut through thicker branches with relative ease. Just to make that application a little more comfortable, Qualcast have also ergonomically designed the handles to be ultra comfortable and grippable, meaning that you feel like you've got a firm hold of this device in operation if you are balancing half way up a ladder into a tree. Also worth noting that, just to be sure that you are getting a quality product, Qualcast also have the confidence to include a manufacturer's 5-year guarantee.
So what are they like to use? I was sort of driven to get these loppers after I broke yet another pair of secateurs on a particularly difficult branch on a bush. So when I came home with these, that branch was the going to be the first to get a trail run 'Hot knife through butter' is perhaps the best way I can describe it because the blades just sliced through the branch with minimal effort. I went on and tried a few others, with the same results, and over the last several months these have seen regular action around the garden pruning various trees and bushes. They do feel to be well made and solid in your hands and, despite cutting through some serious branches, I've not been in a situation yet where I thought the loppers were going to 'explode' apart or that one of the handles might give way and fail.
Now I know some people might say, 'why don't you just use a saw?', but the problem there is that you can't always get a saw in to cut the branch. With these loppers and their relatively long reach, you can reach right into a bush or tree and cut the branch right by the trunk in one easy cutting movement.
To balance the review, it always worth highlighting any negative points, and to be truthful, there are none that are significant. The only minor one that I can highlight is to do with the bolt that holds the 2 halves of the cutter together, and around which everything pivots. I've found that eventually through use, this can work loose, and if you're not careful, the nut will drop off of the end of the bolt into the hedge or on the ground and be lost, then leaving the bolt to fall out. Minor inconvenience, but every so often I just re-check it to make sure that it is tightly in place and not going to come loose. I find a similar situation with secateurs as well, so it probably more to do with the overall design of these types of tools rather than specific to these Qualcast loppers themselves.
In summary, whilst these normally sit in the back of your shed for many months of the year, when you do get them out to use, they are a tool that means business, and Qualcast have done a very nice job producing a set of loppers that are easy and comfortable to use, and seem to have a good overall tough and durable design that will last for years to come. Balance that with the reasonable price, and these are an absolute bargain for what you are getting. Hence, these come highly recommended.
Review also on Ciao under Randal1.
I find gardening is quite time consuming and I often struggle to find the amount of time required in order to keep my gardens looking decent. I have gardens to the front and rear of my house which are quite large and whilst it is nice to have a large garden area, it can be difficult to maintain.
Around my front garden is a large hedge and assorted shrubs which do need cutting and pruning and although I purchased a cordless hedge cutter to help me with this task, I found that even though it is a godsend as it makes cutting the hedge so much easier, it is not suitable for cutting through thicker branches.
I had tried using secateurs and even a saw on some branches, but this proved very difficult. The secateurs were fine to use on some lower shrubs but the higher branches could not be reached and I also found I could not reach into the shrubs properly using secateurs.
I realised I needed what I have always thought of as 'long handled secateurs' and set off to my local Homebase store to see if they had any in stock and came away with the Qualcast Heavy Duty Lopper.
I have never purchased anything made by Qualcast before, but these steel cutters appeared sturdy and good quality. Whilst they are not exactly light-weight, they are by no means heavy, I just initially thought that after using for a period of time my arms would ache, but then again this is true about many garden tools, hedge cutters included!
The length of the loppers is 72.5cm and they have thick, moulded handles which sit comfortably in your hands.
Another feature is the 5 year manufacturer's guarantee which came with the loppers, which also gave me peace of mind about purchasing these. Priced at £19.99, it seemed a reasonable price to pay for something that hopefully was going to make my life easier in the garden.
When I came to use the loppers I was really surprised at how easy they are to use. Whilst I expected they would do the job, I didn't realise it would be so effortless! By that I mean that I expected to have to use some strength to cut through the branches and maybe have a few attempts. However, the blades cut through branches easily with minimum effort and in one smooth movement. I didn't have to use force, nor was I gritting my teeth, the blade just sliced through a branch swiftly.
The reach is good enough that with a small set of steps, I can cut the higher branches and also reach into the trees and shrubs to tackle the branches.
I do find that I cannot use them for a long period of time if I am reaching up or into trees and shrubs because my arms begin to ache, just as they do when using the hedge cutters. However, I do manage around half an hour at a time and I do not struggle at all with the actual cutting action.
One side of the blade is slightly curved and the other side is flat which lies against the claw, so the bevel is on the outside. When pruning a tree using loppers, it is best to keep the bevel of the blade facing away from the trunk of the tree as the tree will push back on the blade as you cut the branch. If you fail to keep the bevel facing away, then the tree's resistance can push the blade into the claw of the lopper which could lead to your blade becoming damaged. This was a handy tip a neighbour gave to me when I was out in the garden cutting back some branches and I have used the loppers this way ever since, with no problems at all.
I have had my loppers for nearly a year now and have used them many times. They are ideal for cutting through branches that your hedge cutter cannot manage. My tool is showing no signs of wear and tear is great quality for the price I paid. I really couldn't be without these heavy duty loppers now.
The Qualcast Heavy Duty Loppers are still available in Homebase stores priced at £19.99.
Highly recommended by me!
I am on a killing spree in the garden: die die die, I mutter freakishly, as the brambles and over-grown hedges get some, courtesy of my choppers.
I already had a pair of long-handled garden shears, but the Other Half spotted the Qualcast heavy duty loppers in Homebase for £19.99 and thought them the perfect gift for rampaging me. Romance is not dead!
These loppers are able to tackle far thicker branches easily and give me an extra 70cm of reach up and into the tangled hedges. (It's alright, the neighbours are on board with the whole garden apocalypse I am wreaking). The thickest branch the loppers have tackled is the size of thumb and fore-finger circled, in both holly greenwood and elderberry wood, and that was in a single forceful motion, without worrying at it. They obviously require a bit of strength behind them, 'though.
The loppers are robust, with a metal cutting blade which closes up safely like a parrot's beak, when put away. They are fairly stiff, so don't fall open, which is a plus with children about. I have a hook in the utility room on which they hang (the loppers not the children).
The chopping mouth works on a lever system, held together with bolts. On very first use, this became a problem: one of the bolts worked loose and fell out of the mechanism, rendering it useless. We couldn't find the original bolt, as by the nature of the work delving around in a tangle, it was impossible to see where it had gone. Fortunately we had bolts of a similar size in the tool-box, so replaced it and got the loppers back in action. However, this has been a recurrent problem: we've replaced two of the three large bolts so far and I have to constantly check them for loosening.
The long handles are grey, with green rubberised hand-grips at the ends. These are quite comfortable to use, although I did get aching arms after a while. But then I was using a lot of unaccustomed muscles, (I mean, how do you think the hedges got so bad in the first place?!)
All in all, I'm reasonably happy with my heavy duty loppers. The issue of losing bolts is annoying, but they do cut through sturdy branches that smaller garden shears would quail at, and it saves me from having to dig out the saw.
And now I'm away to finish that hedge off to the strains of Echo and the BunnyMen. Thanks for reading.
Product details (as available from the Homebase website):
* Get rid of tougher branches with this Qualcast Heavy Duty Lopper.
* Features: Dual reciprocated blade.
* Handle details: Ultra comfortable handle with an ergonomic design.
* Length: 72.5cm.
* Weight: 0.91kg.
* Length of blade: 145cm.
* Material of head: Carbon steel.
* Material of handle: Steel.
* Colour: Light green and dark green.
* Guarantee: 5 year manufacturer's guarantee included.