02.Alligator lopper corded
Black and Decker Alligator Lopper GK-1000XE
The Alligator Lopper is an electric-powered chainsaw which claims to make “short work of the toughest logs and branches”, as well as “small branches and vines”, so we asked a professional arborist to test these claims.
The product’s instructions claim it has a maximum cut diameter of 10cm and a minimum of 2.5cm. Our tester found these to be accurate – any slimmer than 2.5cm and the vibration becomes too great, while any greater than 10cm (we tried up to 15cm) and the jaws are not able to clasp the wood.
The chainsaw works in a scissor-like fashion, with two handles with a button within each. Both of these need to be pressed to start the chainsaw. It’s very easy to use, however the weight of the motor at the mid point can make it feel unbalanced compared with a normal chainsaw. Oiling it is easy and debris didn’t fly up into the tester’s face when cutting.
You’ll need a long extension cord if you are going some distance away from a power outlet, which means you have to be careful the power cord doesn’t go anywhere near the jaws of the product.
Also, our tester was concerned with the safety aspect of the way it cuts. Since the chainsaw makes a straight cut, it means not being able to direct where the branch will fall. This may allow the branch or trunk to fall onto anyone nearby including the person cutting, or a nearby building. The instructions show how to avoid this, but warnings on the product itself would be advisable.
The Alligator Lopper is a handy tool and works well. However, we recommend you closely follow the instructions and warnings supplied separately. CHOICE would like to see a prominent warning printed on the product, so people can avoid having trees or large branches fall on them.