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What is a Pole Saw and Why do You Need One?
We will get to find out the very best pole saws in a moment. But first, what actually is a pole saw? A pole saw is considered as a light chainsaw and it is attached to a long pole. Usually, a pole saw helps to cut tall, pesky branches. On the whole, it makes the process much easier. Most importantly, high branches are difficult to cut; using a ladder is not always safe, so it is better to use this tool to cut branches safely.
A pole saw is useful in different situations, reducing the risk of serious injuries. In general, it allows you to cut high branches without any issues, but it also includes some risk factors, so it is better to hire professionals, or consider hiring a pole saw advisor, to work on your project.
While manually powered pole saws have their uses, this comprehensive pole saw buying guide will mostly focus on powered ones. So, let’s get started.
5 Best Pole Saw Comparison Chart
- BLACK+DECKER LPP120 20V
- Can reach up to 14 feet
- 20-volt MAX lithium-ion battery
- 8-inch cutting bar
- 2-year limited warranty, including a battery
- GreenWorks 20672 G-MAX 40V
- Extended up to 8 feet
- Includes 2Ah Battery and Charger
- 8-Inch bar and chain
- 3-piece aluminum shaft
- Remington RM1025SPS Ranger
- 2-in-1 detachable pole saw
- Ability to cut high branches 10-15-feet overhead
- 10-inch bar and chain
- Powerful 8-amp electric motor
- WORX WG309 Electric Pole Saw
- 8-foot extension pole with toolless 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 and quiet
5 Best Pole Saw Reviews of 2020
1. BLACK+DECKER LPP120 20V Lithium Ion Pole Saw, 8″
If there’s a rap against battery-powered pole saws it’s they tend to be less powerful than their gas-powered or plug-in cousins.
The Black+Decker LPP120, however, bucks this trend with a surprising amount of gusto that will easily handle 6” wide branches and could, in all likelihood, handle something a bit heftier. It’s also one of the lightest powered pole saws out there, tipping the scales at a svelte 6 ¼ pounds, making it attractive and practical.
As such it’s a real arm saver compared to some of the gas powered alternatives.
The LPP120 is a joy to work with due to its lightweight design. Its cutting power means that 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 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.
2. Greenworks 8-Inch 40V Cordless Pole Saw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20672
The Greenworks 8” G-Max is powered by a 40 volt lithium ion battery and is about 1/3 lighter than comparably powered gas alternatives. You’ll notice that there’s virtually no vibration compared to gas-powered pole saws. It should go without saying that it’s considerably quieter as well.
The shaft can be extended out to 8 feet, giving you an effective overhead height of about 12 feet (extending any further would cost leverage and control). It’s slightly heavier than the B+D LPP120 but it has 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. This should, in theory, be plenty if you need to do a bit of pruning on that tree overhanging the patio or pool. The 2Ah 40 volt battery is compatible with more than 2 dozen other Green Works power tools.
- 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 is lightweight and has the power you need to take care of those pruning jobs around the house.
3. Remington RM1025SPS Ranger 10-Inch 8-Amp Electric Chainsaw
This cord-dependent 8 amp pole saw/chainsaw combo has sheer power as is able to effortlessly slice through 8” branches. When you’ve removed a few decent sized branches just pop the chainsaw off and use it to reduce them to firewood.
The Remington RM1025SPS Ranger is a must-have backyard tool if you have plenty of trees on your property. It’s effective up to approximately 15 vertical feet and you never feel that the tool is becoming unwieldy.
The adjustable aluminum shaft provides the rigidity you need to maintain control and the no-slip grip greatly reduces the possibility of accidents and miscuts. Toss in the fact that it’s probably the quietest 10” chainsaw on the planet and you’ve got yourself a winner.
- No problems with the pole when 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 considerable heat
The Ranger is perfect for more heavily wooded properties where plenty of pruning needs to be done. It will reach skyward by some 15 feet, the anti-role pole design will keep it focused where you present it, and it has a price that will make you smile.
4. Sun Joe SWJ800E 8” Electric Pole Saw
Although the chainsaw is a modest 8 inches, on the Sun Joe telescoping pole saw it feels bigger. This is due to 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 handles all lubrication duties itself, allowing you to get on with other things.
Like most electric powered 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, giving you an effective range of 14 or so feet, so nothing to sneeze at.
The SWJ800E is wonderfully balanced for a pole saw. This is no small feat: some of such tools begin to feel awkward the minute you fully extend them. Not the Sun Joe. If working around a power cord doesn’t bother you, you should consider the SWJ800E for future pruning tasks.
- 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. If quiet dependability and formidable cutting power (even when fully extended) are traits you want in a pole saw, then this is the one for you.
5. WORX WG309 Electric Pole Saw
The WORX WG309 is an aggressive beast that makes no apologies for its tendency to turn 9” branches into kindling. If you like to feel your pole saw chewing its way through heavy branches (who doesn’t?) the WG309 is your kind of electric pole saw.
This is not to say it’s rough to handle, it just has a feel about it that’s a little less refined than other electric pole saws on the market. There are plenty of people who prefer that type of saw.
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.
- 8 amp motor eats thick branches for lunch
- A rugged type of visual appeal
- Toolless 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, others will appreciate how that extra weight works with the powerful 8 amp motor to slice and dice even thick branches. This is a serious pruning implement and one you’ll want in your arsenal, especially if you have heavy, older trees on your property.
6. BONUS: Oregon PS250-A6 40V Cordless Pole Saw
The Oregon PS250 A6 40 volt Cordless is a pole saw after your 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, say, a sunny weekend, it’s easy to handle and gets the job done. Once it’s fully charged, the lithium-ion battery will provide cutting power for 500 2-3” branches, meaning it’ll handle pretty much whatever your yard dishes out.
The saw is not meant to be detached from the pole. The pole is made of fiberglass and will telescope out to more than 10 feet providing an effective cutting height of 14 or 15 feet depending on the height of the user.
- 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 ones
The PS250 A6 Cordless is a beautifully balanced machine that’s easy on your arms due to its smooth, practically vibration-free operation. This is very important because the saw’s 13+ pound weight would otherwise be an issue.
Yet the extra weight is distributed so well it’s hard to notice it. The handle may look a bit unwieldy but it is very comfortable. Furher, the long battery life enables you to finish your job before you need to recharge.
Types of Pole Saws
You’ll need to consider a few things like weight, size, effective range and price when purchasing a good pole saw. But there’s another important consideration: 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.
We’ll take a brief look at these different types of pole saws below.
Gas powered pole saws are louder, heavier and generally bigger 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 regularly tasked with trimming back large branches on large trees, you simply don’t 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 when you need to costantly cut and move. For all of the above reasons, then, 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 pole saws and ideal for most of the pruning requirements you’ll encounter in the yard. Their major advantage over cordless electric pole saws is the fact that their user will never have to deal with dead batteries.
Plug-in electric pole saws are also among the lightest powered ones out there because there’s no battery involved. Their major downside, however, is that you’ll be constrained by the length of the power cord. And, in some cases, as 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 requires a bit of attention. When you need to cut back a tree that’s grown over the deck, you can simply grab the cordless pole saw, use for a few minutes (no fumes to deal with, no cords to run), and put it back into the toolbox in the garage when you’re done (after recharging the battery, of course).
In addition, they also tend to provide greater mobility, so 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 devices are virtually maintenance-free.
How to Choose the Best Pole Saw
- Power to weight – When looking for an excellent 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 compared to one that is light and strong. This may not be an issue for you. But, for most people, it is a primary concern.
- Gas or electric – You’ll need to consider whether to buy a gas or electric powered pole saw in which case you’ll want to weigh the considerations 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 tool 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 and trying to cut branches with it. If you lose your grip, or something else happens, that tool could come careening down on your head. Either that or the branch you just cut so effortlessly with your pole saw will. 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 venture into the yard with your pole saw in hand, ensure that 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 whilst avoiding accidents:
- Always check the work area – Trees planted many years ago often grow around power lines, hiding 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, 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. In some cases your pole saw may become caught up in the rot, causing a safety issue.
- Don’t be inattentive – Some folks use the pole saw for a while and become dangerously complacent. You can then see them holding the device with one hand while talking on their cell phone or sipping a beverage (never drink alcohol and operate a pole saw) with the other. Always keep two hands firmly on the pole and ensure you’ve got a solid, well-balanced stance.
How to Maintain Your Pole Saw
Like any other piece of equipment, a pole saw needs to be maintained properly to ensure it works the way it’s intended to and does not become 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 tool:
- 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 using the tool, unplug it or remove the battery – and then give it a good clean. Again look for any damage that might have occurred during use. Place your device inside a storage bag if you have one and stow it away somewhere safe where kids cannot’t get a hold of it.
- You should also conduct periodic checks of your pole saw that are a bit more comprehensive. This 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 play an important part in property maintenance. Any of the devices that have made our good-quality pole saw list will serve you well for years to come. Just be sure to find the best one for your circumstances and always follow the operational and maintenance tips provided.