A pole saw is exactly what it says it is: a saw on a pole. Some pole saws have a motor while others do not. All, however, are intended to be used to trim the branches of trees. Most motorized pole saws take the form of a small chain saw and are powered either by gas, battery or direct connection to an electric power source. Unpowered pole saws almost all use a small pruning saw at the end of the pole. But while manually powered pole saws still have their uses for this best pole saw buying guide we’re going to keep the focus on powered pole saws. Let’s get started.
Best Pole Saw Comparison Chart 2018
- BLACK+DECKER LPP120 20V
- reach of up to 14 feet
- 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery
- 8-inch cutting bar
- 2-year limited warranty; includes battery
- GreenWorks 20672 G-MAX 40V
- extended up to 8 ft
- Includes 2Ah Battery and Charger
- 8-Inch bar and chain
- 3-piece aluminum shaft
- Remington RM1025SPS Ranger
- Ability to cut high branches 10-feet to 15-feet overhead
- 2-in-1 detachable pole saw
- 10-inch bar and chain
- Powerful 8-amp electric motor
- WORX WG309 Electric Pole Saw
- 8-foot extension pole with tool-less installation
- Powerful 8 Amp motor offers a consistent performance
- Patented auto-tension chain system
- Compact and light weight design
- Oregon Cordless 40V Max PS250-A6
- 4 times quieter than a gas saw
- 40V MAX Lithium Ion Power
- Mid-mount motor design for better tool balance
- light-weight, balanced, low-vibration & quiet
6 Best Pole Saw Reviews 2018
BLACK+DECKER LPP120 20V Lithium Ion Pole Saw, 8″
If there’s a rap against battery powered pole saws it’s that they tend to be less powerful than their gas-powered or plug-in cousins. The Black+Decker LPP120, however, bucks that trend with a surprising amount of gusto that will easily handle 6” wide branches and could likely handle something a bit heftier. Just to make it even more attractive (and practical) it’s also one of the lightest powered pole saws out there, tipping the scales at a svelte 6 ¼ pounds. As such it’s a real arm saver compared to some of the gas powered alternatives. Read More
Because of its lightweight design the LPP120 is a joy to work with. And because of the cutting power it brings to the table you don’t waste time holding the saw overhead. Just present it to the branch you want to cut, cut it and move on. Noise levels on the LPP120 are also remarkably low (which your neighbors are sure to appreciate) and while the price is a bit higher than on other pole saws the B+D quality warrants the stretch.
- Surprising power for a 20V saw
- Easy to maneuver
- Plenty of power where you need it
- Extendable up to 10 feet
- No auto lubrication option
The Black+Decker LPP120 Cordless Pole Saw is one of the best on the market. It’s light enough to use for extended periods, powerful enough to cut decent sized branches, quiet enough to not disturb the neighbors and built to last.
Greenworks 8-Inch 40V Cordless Pole Saw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20672
The Greenworks 8” G-Max Cordless Pole Saw is powered by a 40 volt lithium ion battery and is about 1/3 lighter than comparably powered gas alternatives. What you’ll notice as soon as you swing it into action overhead is that there’s virtually no vibration when compared to gas powered pole saws and it should go without saying that it’s considerably quieter as well. The shaft can be extended out to 8 feet which gives you an effective overhead height of about 12 feet (extending any further would cost leverage and control). It’s a bit heavier than the B+D LPP120 but it also has a bit more bite and will make short work of medium sized branches. A single charge of the battery is designed to allow you the equivalent of 50 cuts through a standard 4×4. That should, in theory, be plenty to do a bit of pruning on that tree overhanging the patio or pool. The 2Ah 40 volt battery is also compatible with more than 2 dozen other GreenWorks power tools. Read More
- Hot knife through butter on medium sized branches
- Quiet and easy to maneuver
- Lack of vibration saves your arms
- Battery level monitor
- No storage case
The 40 volt, lithium-ion powered Greenworks Cordless pole saw has the power you need to take care of those pruning jobs around the house and it’s light enough that you don’t have to sacrifice your arms in the process.
Remington RM1025SPS Ranger 10-Inch 8-Amp Electric Chainsaw
What you lose in convenience with this cord-dependent 8 amp pole saw/chainsaw combo you make up for in sheer power as it effortlessly slices through 8” branches like they weren’t there. When you’ve removed a few of these decent sized branches just pop the chain saw off and use it to reduce them to firewood without skipping a beat. The Remington RM1025SPS Ranger is a must-have backyard tool if you have a lot of trees on your property. It’s effective up to approximately 15 vertical feet and you never feel at any point that the thing has become unwieldy. The adjustable aluminum shaft provides the rigidity you need to maintain control and the no-slip grip greatly reduces the possibility of accidents or miscuts. Toss in the fact that it’s probably the quietest 10” chain saw on the planet and you’ve got yourself a winner. Read More
- No problems with the pole, even fully extended
- 8 amp electric motor has no fear of branches
- The plug-in nature enables you to finish the job
- Remarkably vibration free for a 10” chainsaw
- Produces some considerable heat
The Ranger is perfect for more heavily wooded properties where there always seems to be plenty of pruning that needs to be done. It’ll reach skyward some 15 feet, the anti-role pole design will keep it focused where you present it and it has a price that will bring the smiles.
Sun Joe SWJ800E 8” Electric Pole Saw
Although the chainsaw is a modest 8 inches on this Sun Joe telescoping pole saw it feels bigger because of the hungry way it digs into branches nearly as thick as it is long. That hunger is driven by a voracious 6.5 amp plug-in motor that takes no prisoners and which handles all lubrication duties itself so you can get on with other things, like taking another dip in the pool. Like most electric powered pole saws the SWJ800E is nice and quiet, although it comes up a bit short of the competition in the vibration department. The pole itself will extend to nearly 9 feet which gives you an effective range of 14 or so feet, which is nothing to sneeze at. The SWJ800E is wonderfully balanced for a pole saw. No small feat as some pole saws begin to feel awkward the minute you fully extend them. Not the Sun Joe. If working around a power cord doesn’t bother you then you should consider the SWJ800E for your future pruning tasks. Read More
- Well balanced from tip to tip
- A very reasonable 7 pounds
- Self-lubricating chain is a big plus
- Extremely affordable
- Plastic gears could use a redesign
The Sun Joe SWJ800E is a great little pruning tool that will handle all but the biggest tasks without trouble or complaint. If quiet dependability and formidable cutting power even when fully extended are traits you want in a pole saw you’ll get them here.
WORX WG309 Electric Pole Saw
The WORX WG309 Electric Pole Saw is an aggressive beast that makes no apologies for its tendency to turn 9” branches into kindling in short order. If you like to feel your pole saw chewing its way through heavy branches (and who doesn’t?) the WG309 is your kind of electric pole saw. This is not to say it’s rough to handle, it’s not. It just has a feel about it that’s a little less refined than some of the other electric pole saws on the market. And there are plenty of people who prefer that type of thing. The chainsaw component is driven by a no-baloney 8 amp motor, the handle can be rotated making maneuvering easier and with auto-tension built in you don’t have to keep stopping to adjust the chain. Read More
- 8 amp motor eats thick branches for lunch
- A rugged type of visual appeal
- Tool-less installation of the 8 foot extension pole
- Auto lubricating chain means you don’t waste time
- Can sometimes feel a bit top-heavy when extended.
Although the WG309 may be a bit heavy for some tastes, others will appreciate how that little bit of extra weight works with the powerful 8 amp motor to slice and dice even thick branches without breaking a sweat. This is a serious pruning implement and one you’ll want in your arsenal. Especially if you have heavy older trees on your property.
Oregon PS250-A6 40V Cordless Pole Saw
The Oregon PS250 A6 40 volt Cordless is a pole saw after your own heart. It’s not as burly as some of the other pole saws on this list but if your property has medium sized trees and you like working in the yard on the weekend when the weather is nice it’s easy to handle and gets the job done. The lithium-ion battery when fully charged will provide cutting power for 500 2-3” branches which means it’ll handle pretty much whatever your yard dishes out. The saw is not meant to be detached from the pole and that pole is made of fiberglass and will telescope out to more than 10 feet. That provides an effective cutting height of 14 or 15 feet depending on the height of the user. Read More
- Auto lubricating feature saves you time and hassle
- Battery life is generally excellent
- Recharges quickly to boot
- One of the best looking pole saws out there
- Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive pole saws out there
The PS250 A6 Cordless is a beautifully balanced machine that’s easy on your arms due to its smooth, practically vibration-free operation. And that vibration-free operation is important because otherwise the saw’s 13+ pound weight would likely be an issue. As it is the extra weight is distributed so well it’s hard to notice. The handle looks a bit unwieldy but is actually very comfortable and the long battery life enables you to finish your job before you have to recharge.
Types of Pole Saws
Before purchasing the best pole saw for your particular needs you’ll need to consider a few things like the weight, the size of the saw itself the effective range and of course price. But there’s another consideration you need to keep right up front as well: the power source. Pole saws are typically either human powered or powered by one of 3 types of engine; those that burn fossil fuels, those that use electric power cords and those that are battery powered. Below we’ll take a brief look at these different types of pole saws.
Gas powered pole saws are louder than electric ones, generally bigger and heavier than electric ones and send plenty of exhaust into the air. So why would anyone ever use one? Because if you own a landscaping company and you are pretty regularly tasked with trimming back large branches on large trees you don’t really have time to find places to plug your pole saw in. Nor do you have time to deal with dead batteries. Not to mention the practical performance levels of the electric saw. You need to cut and move, cut and move, cut and move. For all of the above reasons gas powered pole saws still have a well-deserved place in the arsenal of the landscaper.
While plug-in pole saws won’t typically produce the type of power a gas-powered saw will they are nonetheless often more powerful than battery driven poles saws and ideal for most of the pruning requirements you’ll encounter in the yard. Their major advantage over cordless electric pole saws is that you won’t have to deal with dead batteries, ever. Plug in electric pole saws are also among the lightest powered pole saws out there as there’s no battery involved. Their major downside is that you’ll be constrained by the length of the power cord. And in some cases, with large properties, it may be simply impossible to run a cord all the way to the tree you need to prune as the maximum practical length of the cord is about 100 feet.
Cordless electric pole saws represent a major convenience for those with a tree or two on their property that may require a bit of attention from time to time. When you need to cut back that tree that’s grown over the deck a bit you just grab the cordless pole saw, have at it for a few minutes (no fumes to deal with, no cords to run), and put it back in the toolbox in the garage when you’re done (after recharging the battery of course). In addition they also tend to provide greater mobility as you won’t find yourself getting tangled in a cord as you move around trying to find the right angle of attack. Finally, compared to gas powered pole saws, cordless electric pole saws are virtually maintenance free.
How to Choose the Best Pole Saw
- Power to weight – When looking for the best pole saw for your particular needs you’ll want one that exhibits the best power to weight relationship. Remember that you’re going to have to hold the pole saw over your head while you work so one that’s heavy and weak will force you to hold it up longer than one that is light and strong. Maybe that’s not an issue for you. But for most people it is certainly a primary concern.
- Gas or electric – You’ll also need to consider whether to buy a gas or electric powered pole saw in which case you’ll want to weigh the considerations we listed above, including the amount of pruning to be done and the size of the property. Remember too that most electric pole saws simply won’t deliver the type of cutting power a gas-powered saw will. For most homeowners however, the cutting power delivered by an 8 amp electric pole saw should more than suffice.
- Safety – There’s no doubt that these are dangerous pieces of equipment. Think about it: you’re holding a chainsaw 10 feet over your head trying to cut branches with it. If you lose your grip or something else happens that pole saw could come careening down on your head. Either that or the branch you just cut so effortless with your pole saw will now come crashing down in your general direction. So you’d better be prepared to move and move fast. Also, running a power cord 50 or 100 feet across a yard carries its own list of hazards.
- Educating yourself – Before you ever venture into the yard with your pole saw in hand make sure you are fully versed in how to use it. Learning on the fly with such a potentially dangerous piece of equipment is not an option. Here are a few tips that will help ensure you get the job done while avoiding accidents.
- Always check the work area – Oftentimes trees planted many years earlier grow around power lines and hide them. Pole saw operators who are not careful can cut these power lines causing the ends of the live wires to dangle toward them, the ground or the house.
- Be careful when you prune – You should never prune on excessively windy days or days when it’s raining out. Especially if you’re using an electric pole saw that requires a power cord.
- Know your tree – Not all branches are in the same condition. Some are old and rotten at the core or have lots of loose bark that will go flying when you apply the pole saw to it. In some cases your pole saw may become caught up in the rot causing a safety issue.
- Don’t be cavalier – Some folks use the pole saw for a while and feel like “I got this”. You can then see them holding the pole saw with one hand while talking on their cell phone or sipping a beverage (never drink alcohol and operate a pole saw, ever). Always keep 2 hands firmly on the pole and make sure you’ve got a nice solid, well-balanced stance.
How to Maintain a Pole Saw
Like any other piece of equipment a pole saw needs to be maintained properly in order to ensure it works the way it’s intended to over the long haul and never becomes a safety hazard. Maintaining a pole saw is not rocket science but it does require the user exercise good judgment and a keen eye. The following are some common sense maintenance tips that will help you get the most out of your pole saw.
- Before using your pole saw check that all nuts and bolts are tight and that there aren’t any loose components anywhere on the device. Also, check that the trigger mechanism is working properly and give the chain a visual inspection to look for any damage, debris stuck from earlier usage, breaks or anything else that looks suspicious.
- When you finish with the pole saw unplug it or remove the battery and then give it a good cleaning. Again looking for any damage that might have occurred during use. If you have a storage bag for your pole saw place it back in the bag and then stow it away somewhere safe where kids can’t get a hold of it.
- You should also conduct periodic checks of your pole saw that are a bit more comprehensive. That means checking all cables and electrical connections as well as checking the oil level. If you discover an oil leak during inspection check your warranty to determine the right course of action to have it repaired. Trying to fix it yourself will likely invalidate the warranty should it still be in effect. Never use a powered pole saw if anything seems out of sorts.
Pole saws are another one of those modern conveniences that few people think about but which play an important part in property maintenance and, as such, in the quality of our everyday lives. Any of the devices that have made our best pole saw list will serve you well for many years to come. Just be sure to find the right one for your circumstances and follow the operational and maintenance tips provided.
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