Black and Decker Alligator Lopper

First off, know that I’m scared to death of chain saws, so much so that I’d never used one until I ordered this puppy.

Why was I so leery? Because they strike me as portable mayhem machines, based on injuries I read about as well as those I’ve seen in the hospital and OR over the years.

But I finally decided to take a flyer on this one because clearing tons of brush and stuff out back has taken a toll on my delicate C3-4 and C4-5 interspaces, to the point where I have occasional numbness in both hands after long sessions using my trusty Fiskars lopper to take down the substantial unwanted growth — often 2-3 inches in diameter — out back.

All the stuff I read about this device extolled its safety features and it looked worth a shot, especially after I dropped nearly $200 for a highly praised manual ratcheting lopper that proved useless since I am evidently too stupid to figure out how to use it properly.

Anyway, this machine arrived and it is thrilling, to say the least, to see how easily I can take down substantial wood that would’ve required tons of effort manually.

The only negative about the lopper is its short battery life: It works about 20 minutes before the saw goes dormant, and the battery takes about 9 hours to recharge.

The good ole’ boy who tried it out a couple days ago while fixing up some stuff around the house thought the saw was exceptionally well designed and very safe, but noted that the first thing he’d do is buy a spare battery — or even two — so he could work as long as there was work needing to be done.

I wished I’d listened then ’cause after today’s abbreviated session I was vexed about having to quit till tomorrow for the requisite 9-hour recharge.

I just ordered two more batteries for so the next time can be an all-day chopfest. Highly recommended.

-- Joe Stirt  

[Note: We first reviewed the corded version of these Alligator Loppers back in 2007. It also appears that the battery operated model is frequently out of stock.--OH]

Black and Decker Battery Powered Alligator Lopper
$70
Available from Amazon

Black and Decker Alligator Lopper (Corded Model)
$80
Available from Amazon

Manufactured by Black and Decker