A lopper like the Felco 211-60 could be an even better option than the best pruners for some gardeners. This is especially true for folks who have lots of trees to keep in perfect shape.
If you know how to prune a tree, you’ll be aware that some branches are too thick or too tough to cut with an ordinary pair of pruning shears. With their larger blades and two-handed operation, loppers can provide that extra cutting power, when you need it.
The Felco 211-60 is a top-notch model of lopper made by Swiss brand Felco, which has been manufacturing gardening shears of various types since 1945. Measuring 23.6in, the 211-60 tool gives you a lot of leverage – as well as extended reach – to cut through fairly thick tree branches. It promises 40% greater cutting power, compared to the Felco 200 and 210 series loppers.
Bundled in with the Felco 211-60 comes one small, but very important, accessory: an adjustment key. This key can be used to take the lopper apart, or put its parts back together again. With the 211-60 (and many other Felco cutting tools), it’s recommended to dismantle the tool frequently for cleaning, sharpening of the blades, and replacing worn out parts. You can buy replacements for almost all of the 211-60’s components, so you can keep the lopper in great condition for many years, without ever needing to send it for repairs.
Do bear in mind that this is a lopper, which means the tool is designed mainly for cutting thick tree branches. A smaller (and sometimes sharper) type of pruning tool such as a pair of pruning shears will usually be more appropriate for delicate pruning tasks – especially pruning soft plant stems. If you’re in need of a high-quality, specialized tool for tree pruning, the 211-60 could be a perfect solution.
To find out how the 211-60 compared to rival pruners and loppers, we put the tool through its paces in a hands-on testing process at our reviewer’s home. Read on to find out whether the Felco 211-60 really is the top of the loppers.
Pete has reviewed hundreds of gardening products for titles including TopTenReviews, Ideal Home and the London Evening Standard – as well as writing articles on diverse topics for other publications such as The Guardian and BBC Good Food. A long-term contributor to the blog of leading scissors-maker Ernest Wright, Pete has in-depth understanding of the qualities and design features that go into a really good pair of shears.
Felco 211-60 lopper: At a glance
Swiss tool-maker Felco is legendary, in green-thumbed circles, for its finely crafted cutting tools. Pruning shears, in particular, are Felco’s specialty – but the brand makes some very good loppers, too.
The Felco 211-60 is a 23.6in pair of loppers which takes part of its name from its length, this being a European tool measuring 60cm. With a 1.4in cutting capacity, the 211-60 can cut larger branches than any one-handed pruner we’ve tested, while its two-handed operation, sharp blades and long handles generate a high level of cutting force.
You can purchase the Felco 211-60 online from retailers such as Amazon, at prices in the region of $70-100. That may seem like a big spend, but when you consider this tool’s ease of maintenance (and the availability of spare parts), the Felco 211-60 starts to look like a good-value long-term purchase.
Felco 211-60 lopper: key specs
|Blade material:||Hardened steel|
Felco 211-60 lopper: Performance
During our hands-on testing, the Felco 211-60 never failed to cut through the branches of our reviewer’s trees (which are a mix of hard-wooded crabapple and pear trees). The blades made their way through the wood within a few seconds or less, even when we were dealing with branches over 1-inch thick.
This being a lopper, not a pruner, a big part of its appeal is in the two-handed design, which should enable powerful, user-friendly cutting. On this front, the 211-60 delivers. The handles are comfortable and lightweight, thanks respectively to their ergonomic grips and aluminum construction. However, cutting large branches with the 211-60 did prove to be more strenuous than cutting similar branches with super-sharp Felco pruning shears, such as the Felco 6 Bypass Pruner.
We really appreciated the shock absorbers on the insides of the 211-60’s handles. Located just below the cutting blades of the loppers, this feature reduces the level of vibration that reaches your hands and arms, which can make a big difference during extensive pruning.
To preserve the 211-60’s optimum performance, it’s recommended to oil the blades frequently. It’s also advised to take the tool apart and sharpen the blades from time-to-time. We were sure to carefully clean the blades after each use, to preserve the their good condition. Thanks to the bundled-in adjustment key, it was simple to disassemble and then reassemble the lopper. With that said, some users who don’t feel confident in taking it apart may feel reluctant to carry out this chore.
Felco 211-60 Lopper: should you buy?
|Price & availability||The tool has a high price point, but offers great long-term value.||4/5|
|Design||Superb lopper design, with powerful blades and lightweight handles.||4/5|
|Performance||Cuts a wide range of branches effectively, but requires some effort.||4/5|
Buy it if...
Your trees have tough, thick branches.
The Felco 211-60 is capable of cutting very tough branches up to 1.4in thick. That’s a significantly greater cutting capacity than the average pruning shears.
Quality matters to you
This is a superbly constructed lopper that’s built to last. We were particularly impressed with the aluminum handles, which are tough yet lightweight.
Using a bit of muscle is okay with you
When you’re lopping with a manual tool like the Felco 211-60, you’ll use a bit more strength than you’d expend while using a power lopper.
Don't buy it if...
Tool maintenance is not your bag
It’s strongly recommended to take the Felco 211-60 apart regularly, so that you can clean and oil the blades, or replace parts. This won’t suit every user.
You need to cut branches over 1.4" thick
Loppers are limited to a certain cutting capacity, due to the design of their jaws. To cut the thickest of tree branches, you’ll need to use an alternative type of tool such as a pruning saw.
Funds are tight
While the Felco 211-60 offers very good long-term value, you can get a perfectly effective pruning tool at a much lower price.
How does it compare?
For cutting fairly thick tree branches, with a diameter somewhere around 1in to 1.4in, you’re unlikely to find a more effective lopper than the Felco 211-60. However, some of our other top-rated pruning tools might be a better fit for certain users.
Costing a fraction of the price of the 211-60, and featuring a simple, one-handed design, the Wolf-Garten Anvil Pruner RSEN is an easy-going option that gives you much of the wood-pruning power of the 211-60 – although it doesn’t offer anything like the same reach or leverage.
If you have lots of thick tree limbs to cut, with diameters greater than the 211-60’s 1.4" limit, then you might want to consider using a different type of tool, known as a pruning saw. One very good example is the Greenworks 24V 6" Pruning Saw, which is essentially a mini chainsaw that’s purpose-made for tree surgery.
How we tested the Felco 211-60 Lopper
We tested the Felco 211-60 Lopper by using the tool to prune a variety of tree branches in our reviewer’s yard – from spindly twigs to tough branches over 1in thick. The trees used in testing were a mixture of pear trees and crabapple trees, both of which have hard wood that proves difficult to prune for some cutting tools. We also tested the 211-60’s ease-of-maintenance, by disassembling it and cleaning the blades.
See more about how we test.