Loppers are a step up from hand pruners. Loppers are basically hand pruners with long handles. While the longer handles will give you added reach to prune higher branches, that's not their true advantage. The handles on loppers give you leverage, so you can pruner can handle larger branches; up to 2" in diameter, depending on the lopper.
Look for a carbon-steel blade and the option of replacement parts. Loppers can cost anywhere from about $20 up to $200 and a good quality lopper will probably last you for life.
This is your basic loper and it will do a fine job for the majority of your needs. The blade is hardened steel with the nice addition of a non-stick coating. Trees can be very sappy and the coating will make things move along. The handles are lightweight aluminum, lesseing the strain on your arms. And it has the popular Powwer Gera technology, which puts some of the work of getting through the branch on the mechanism and off your hands. Cuts branches up to 1 1/2" in diameter. 21.5" Length. $17.59 - $29.99
These are a bit more heavy-duty. If you're going to do a lot of light pruning. The ShockStop bumper will be appreciated. The blades are resharpenable forged carbon-steel. Again, the handles are lightweight aluminum. Cuts branches up to 1 1/2" in diameter. 29" Length. 1 Year Warrenty. $27.99
For nominally more money you can step up to a slightly larger lopper. Again, this lopper incorporates Fiskars PowerGear technology, which focuses leverage where the resistance is greatest, to reduce your effort and strain. This hardened steel blade with non-stick coating is replaceable. The handles are lightweight aluminum. Lifetime warranty. Cuts branches up to 2" in diameter. 31 1/2" Length. $31.26 - $36.81
Sometimes you like the option of making the handles longer or shorter, to get in tight or extend your reach. This model from Corona extends from 21 - 33 inches. You get their Teflon coated, non-stick blade and strong, but light, fiberglass handles. The blade is replaceable. Cuts branches up to 1 1/2" in diameter. 1 year warranty. $32.79
Another lopper design that's becoming very popular is the ratchet lopper. It works in stages, much like a regular ratchet, giving you excellent leverage with minimal effort. Gardeners who lack strength in their hands seem to do better with ratchet loppers. These by Florian have hardened steel Teflon coated blades. The hickory handles have cushioned grips. Cuts branches up to 2" in diameter. Rachet loppers come at a price, but gardeners with hand problems are usually grateful they can keep working. $172.00
Of course, there are power loppers. This electric lopper has a 4.5 amp motor and works basically like a chain saw, except the blade is what they call a 'clamping jaw'. It grabs around the branch and holds it as you cut. Since youll probably need 2 hands to control the lopper, this is a good feature. Its a nice little tool for the price. Although if you have a chain saw, you could make do with that. Cuts branches up to 4" in diameter. $92.99 - $99.99