Are you looking for a cutting tool which is safe, fun to use and will save you a whole heap of time in yard and garden? Are you wary about using a traditional chainsaw but would like a tool with similar characteristics? If so, the Black and Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper 4.5 Amp Electric Chainsaw will tick all the boxes and in this review you’ll discover exactly what makes this tool so great.
When countless users describe a product as ‘really amazing’ you know you are onto a winner. Ideal for pruning and light cutting duties, this lopper will make short work of all those tasks around the garden and the only regret you will have is not buying one sooner.
This saw will deal with all those jobs which are just too small for a traditional chainsaw but tiring when done manually. It’s sure to make a great addition to your garden power tool collection.
Performance and Handling
The LP1000 Alligator is a light duty saw best suited to pruning tree branches and cutting logs with a diameter up to 4 inches. It’s therefore perfect for light storm clean up and cutting branches into manageable pieces, either for firewood or removal.
Are you a little daunted by the prospect of using a traditional chainsaw? Don’t worry, handling this lopper is far easier than using most chainsaws and as such is perfect for those people seeking a safe and easy to use cutting tool. Not only this, users also find it a great alternative to manual loppers, handsaws and clippers. If up until now you have struggled along with manual tools, you will be amazed by how much time and effort you will save using this machine. It certainly cuts down on the back breaking work!
Let’s start at the beginning and look at how you power up the LP1000. Just plug it into a power supply and then squeeze both switch actuators. You’ll find these located, one on each handle of the lopper and both must be pressed for the tool to work. This is to ensure that the tool is operated with two hands.
When it comes to cutting, the action is different to that of standard chainsaws. Instead of cutting from the bottom or top of a branch the lopper cuts sideways using a scissor action. This is demonstrated in the video which you will find further on in this review. One of the big plusses of this system is that you can get right down and cut at ground level. If you try this with a traditional chainsaw you risk running the chain into the dirt and as you may know this is one of the fastest ways to ruin your chain. Another advantage is that you can also cut branches at awkward angles which is sometimes difficult to do with a normal saw.
Users are overwhelmingly positive about the LP1000’s performance, especially its powerful cutting ability. Most small cutting and pruning jobs can be handled with the minimum of fuss and people have used the lopper for a wide variety of tasks, including trimming bushes, cutting limbs into firewood and taking off palm tree fronds to name a few. When it comes to cutting small branches the lopper comes into its own. You will find when using a standard chainsaw that the chain will often have difficulty gripping a small branch and will jump off it. This makes cutting small branches precarious but using the lopper’s scissor action you won’t have this issue to worry about.
With all these great things going in its favor, it is hardly surprising that this labor saving tool is popular with many gardeners. In addition, because of its lightweight construction and excellent maneuverability, it is especially popular with women and people who have difficulty using heavier power tools. It is also a great accompaniment to a chainsaw which can be put to use on larger jobs. It is also a very quiet saw so you won’t have to reach for the ear defenders every time you take it out.
So now I’ve told you how easy the Alligator is to handle and what excellent cutting ability it has, I should mention a few issues you need to be aware of. When sawing unsecured wood, care is needed as sometimes the wood may spin instead of cutting. This shouldn’t prove to be too much of a problem and will just require you to secure the wood.
Perhaps more of an issue is that the LP1000 is so simple (and fun!) to use it is easy to overdo things and spend too much time cutting. You may find that after a while your hands get sore from the handle vibrations (although you may not notice this at the time) and continuous exposure to vibration can lead to long term damage. I would recommend that you limit your cutting time or invest in a pair of ant-vibration gloves. These can be bought for as little as $15 and are well worth the investment. At the first signs of tiredness, take a break. This is an ideal time to re-oil, check the chain tension and clear any debris from the chain.
Overall, despite these few minor issues, you will find that this saw delivers great performance and is an absolute breeze to handle.
The LP1000 is equipped with a heavy duty 6 inch bar, either side of which are the two jaws. The bar has been designed with a small radius tip which reduces the size of the kickback zone making it safer to use. The bar is fitted with a low-kickback chain, able to deflect kickback and allow the wood to gradually ride into the cutter.
As with all chainsaws, you need to ensure that the chain tension is properly maintained at all times and the Alligator is no different. The saw’s automatic chain tensioning system takes all the hard work out of doing this. All you need to do is slacken the two chain cover retention nuts with the wrench provided and the tensioning device will push the bar out, setting the correct tension so you don’t have to worry about getting it right. Then, simply re-tighten the bolts and you are good to go.
Every now and again when the chain will no longer properly tension you will need to invest in a replacement chain. The user manual states that chain part code RC600 only should be used. Unfortunately, this chain has now been discontinued, however the Oregon A42 can be used on this model.
This bar and chain provides excellent cutting strength and will comfortably take care of all the tasks for which the LP1000 was designed. One thing you will need to do, however, is clean the device and remove debris on a regular basis. During use, twigs and other foliage can get trapped around the chain and safety cover and especially around the sprocket that drives the chain. To clear this you will need to remove the chain access cover with your wrench to get at the debris. You may need to use a flat head screwdriver or a pair of nose pliers to get at the smaller pieces of trapped wood. Regular cleaning will ensure that the Alligator will continue to perform at peak levels and will also prevent issues with the chain jumping off the bar.
Design and Construction
The Black and Decker LP1000 is constructed from tough plastic and metal.
As shown in Diagram 1 below, there are two on/off actuators, one on each handle and these must be depressed to operate the saw. There is a short power cable attached to the top handle which is only about a foot in length so an extension cord will be required. On the main body of the saw you will find the cover used for oiling the chain as well as an outlet where the chippings are ejected.
On the other side of the Lopper (Diagram 2) you will find the chain cover which can be removed by un-tightening the bolts shown.
On the front of the saw are the upper and lower jaws which enclose the guide bar and chain.
Simple but solidly constructed, this is an extremely well designed and effective cutting device.
This saw is powered by a feisty 4.5 amp motor. With a quick calculation we know that when operating at peak capacity the LP1000 can generate around 0.72 hp. We know that voltage is 120v and Amps are 4.5 so the total watts are 120 x 4.5 = 540. If 1 HP is equal to 746 watts, then 540 watts is the equivalent of 0.72 horsepower (540/746). This is plenty of power to cope with its light cutting duties.
You will obviously need an extension cord to operate this machine. This cord needs to be one suitable for outdoor use as well as being the correct gauge. You can read our article here to decide which cord you need. For example if you are using a 100 foot extension cord, based on the fact that our machine has a 4.5 Amp rating, you will need at least a 16 gauge cord. Note that it’s okay to use a higher specification, such as a 14 gauge, and indeed performance may also be better with this option. Check out the table in our article for further guidance. One final point on the power cord, it is recommended that this is tied off with the saw’s power socket so that they don’t separate during use. (See diagram below).
Obviously, one major downside of this saw is that you are restricted by the length of the power cord. You may be able to overcome this if you have a generator. We know that the lopper generates 540 watts so you will need a generator with a ‘rated power’ of at least this to run the saw. The rated power of the generator is usually 90% of the maximum power but the higher the power rating of the generator the better.
On a positive note, if you do have to use a cord you don’t need to worry about charging and ensuring you have enough battery power to finish off your job.
To summarize, you will find this to be a powerful little motor for the size of the saw and definitely capable of handling all the pruning and light cutting duties you throw at it.
Chain Oil System
As with all chainsaws, you need to ensure that the Alligator’s chain is kept properly lubricated. This is a simple procedure and is done by opening the oiling cover (See Diagram) and adding chain oil from the bottle provided into the filling hole. Oil will then be released to the chain in the correct quantities.
The manufacturer recommends that this should be done every ten minutes so keep your bottle close to hand. To lubricate the chain you should use a good quality bar and chain oil or SAE 30 motor oil. (SAE 30 refers to the viscosity of the oil to be used). When pruning, it is recommended that a vegetable based chain oil is used to prevent harm to the trees.
A large number of users have pointed out that the plastic oiler bottle which comes with the product is pretty rigid making it difficult to add oil. If you have difficulties you may wish to use a simple oil can with a spout or run down to your local discount store and pick up a cheap plasic bottle with a nozzle.
As mentioned, you will need to keep adding oil every ten minutes or so. Some users have sprayed oil directly onto the chain and while you can do this it isn’t recommended. Using the oiler system will ensure that the correct amounts of oil are released.
On a final note, you should be aware that oil is not provided with this product.
Many people are uncomfortable at the prospect of using a traditional chainsaw. Maybe you don’t have great hand-eye coordination or perhaps you just don’t like working with an open blade – traditional saws can be quite daunting.
Whilst the LP1000 needs to be handled properly, it has a number of built in safety features which help to make it a much safer tool to use than a traditional saw.
As well the reduced kickback bar and low kickback chain mentioned earlier, the LP1000 has two actuators which must be squeezed to operate the saw. This prevents accidental start-up and also makes sure that operators use the saw with two hands.
Perhaps the most impressive safety feature is the patented jaws which are designed to protect the user from coming into contact with the cutting chain. Rugged metal guards covering the jaws are designed so that the only thing which comes into contact with the chain is whatever is being cut. The guards move out of the way during cutting and then immediately jump back into place when the saw has stopped. This is great if, for example, you lose your grip on the saw.
Overall, thanks to Black and Decker’s innovative design, you will be hard pressed to find a safer cutting tool on the market.
The LP1000 weighs a paltry 6.5lbs, which is on a par with lightest chainsaws on the market.
Included with your purchase are a user manual, wrench and plastic oil filling bottle. A carry case is not included but you can purchase one for around $30 if required.
• Excellent safety features
• Quiet during operation
• Easy to start up and handle
• Light weight
• Cutting action means you can cut closer to the ground
• Great for pruning and light cutting
• Low price
• Requires frequent oiling
• Twigs and debris require clearing on a regular basis
Black and Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper Consumer Ratings
There are well over a thousand reviews on line and 93% of people rate this product as either good or excellent. This figure clearly speaks for itself and you won’t find many more popular saws currently on the market.
It’s fair to say most people love the LP1000. They like that fact that it is so easy to use and maneuver and takes away so much of the manual hard work that tidying yards and gardens often involves. Users also enthused about the saws safety features and how much less intimidating it is than using a traditional chainsaw.
Negative reviews were in the minority but centered on the need to remove debris from the cutting equipment and the chain having to be frequently tightened. Most people did not have an issue with these things, which is possibly down to the fact that the time saved from doing the work manually more than makes up for this minor inconvenience.
You should consider buying this saw if:
• You are uncomfortable using a traditional chainsaw
• You require a saw for pruning and light cutting
• You find it a struggle to prune and cut up small branches and brush by hand
• You have access to a power source
You shouldn’t buy this saw if:
• You want something capable of medium/heavy duty cutting
Price of the Black and Decker LP1000 Alligator Lopper
At well under $100, this saw represents superb value for money.
The product comes with a limited two year warranty against defects in material and workmanship.