Best pole saws 2021 | Gas and Battery Pole Saws

Removing branches from a tree is a tricky and dangerous business, but there is a specialized tool that excels at the job and saves you having to climb a ladder to attempt removal: the pole saw. Think of this machine as a chainsaw on a stick. It is the fastest, safest, and most efficient way to prune trees, allowing you to stand on the ground while removing a tree branch.

Pole saws: motor or cordless

A pole saw can be powered by a gasoline or cordless motor, with a battery and a small electric motor. In gasoline models, the power head sits at the operator’s end and rotates a drive shaft that runs the length of the pole. At the other end of the post, the drive shaft turns a small chainsaw head. Gasoline powered pole saws are sturdy machines capable of many hours of hard work sawing branches, even up to the full working diameter of the saw head.

Battery operated pole saws are light to medium duty machines (call an arborist for larger jobs). The battery and trigger switch are located on the operator’s side and the motor is located next to the chainsaw head. Any manufacturer will tell you that the saw reaches a specific height and cuts a specific diameter. Our experience is that most of these claims are moot (all scope figures here are claims only). It takes a lot of effort to saw a tree branch 10 to 15 feet off the ground, and the larger the branch in diameter, the more force you have to apply yourself. It also assumes that you are able to provide extended reach with your arms raised, perhaps even over your head. The only saws we’ve ever seen that regularly saw large limbs, high up, are gasoline-powered varieties.

Tree health and safety

We would be incomplete without a few words here on health: the health of the tree and yours.

1. For long or heavy branches, work from the outside to the inside. Start away from the trunk of the tree and work inward, making simple cuts from top to bottom to shorten the branch and reduce the weight of what will fall. For the shortened piece that remains, use the three-cut method: make a starting cut on the bottom of the limb and cut up. Stop. Finish the cut from the top, making this second cut on the outer side (away from the trunk of the tree) about an inch outward from the cut below. This will cause what remains of the limb to free fall. Remove the remaining heel with a simple top-to-bottom cut. You can see the method carefully illustrated here. This method prevents a falling branch from tearing off a strip of bark, permanently injuring the tree in the process.

2. Always leave the branch collar, the little raised bark ridge where the branch meets the tree. The collar contains healing cells that will help the tree to close on the cut branch.

3. Be vigilant about safety, yours and that of others. A falling tree branch, even a small one, can fall with enough force to dig into the lawn and can easily injure you, a child or a pet wandering around the cutting area. Keep children and pets inside while you work.

4. Wear safety glasses. Wood chips and sawdust cut above your head will fall on your face, so protect yourself. If you are sawing large limbs, invest in a chainsaw helmet and face shield.

How we selected

With over 40 years of chainsaw experience, we take chainsaws seriously, whether they are handheld, pole, gasoline or battery powered. We have selected machines here from manufacturers who have proven themselves with us in tests; we’ve eliminated products that focus on bells and whistles and manufacturers that are internet entities and may not be there when you need parts or service. We also left out corded electric saws. The cord adds weight and drag to a machine that is already not particularly easy to use. If you want to add weight, you might as well go for a gasoline powered machine and take advantage of the power it offers.

Light duty

Black + Decker 20V Pole Saw

Black + Decker

$ 198.62

Model Number: LPP120
Power: 20 volts
Battery charger included: Yes
Max recommended member diameter: 2 inch

We used Black & Decker’s 20-volt power tools and found them to be brave, for their price. If all you have to do is remove small branches that are reasonably close to the ground, this small saw should serve you well. The company rates this pole saw for a six inch limb. We think this is optimistic, especially since you have to manually oil the chain between cuts (this means for larger limbs most of the oil is worn out of the chain when you get to the center of the chain. member).

Could you see a member bigger than our two inch recommendation? Yes. Would you like? No, for three reasons: you, the limb and the saw. Making repeated cuts in a six-inch branch is difficult, even for a gasoline-powered saw. You run the risk of jamming the saw in a half-downed limb. And we’re pretty confident that the wear and tear on you and the saw would be unwanted. If you need to saw larger branches, get one that works with a higher voltage motor or gasoline engine.

The saw comes with a second extension to give it a claimed maximum reach of up to 14 feet. You can see a curvature in both poles in the photo that demonstrates this. Note that the more the pole bends, the more force you will need to provide to saw the branch.

Light duty

Ryobi One + 18V Cordless Pole Saw

Model Number: P4361
Power: 18 volts
Battery charger included:
Max recommended member diameter:
2 inch

Another definite choice in the light-duty category is this Ryobi 18-volt pole saw with a maximum reach of 9.5 feet; it is quite similar to the Black + Decker saw pictured above, with two exceptions.

First of all, it is an automatic lubricator (it automatically supplies the chain with oil from an oil tank). Additionally, this saw has an offset head that facilitates simple downward cuts (the second cut, made in the three-cut sequence described above). Note that the tradeoff for an offset head is that it limits your ability to easily rotate the saw, especially in circumstances where you need to form a bottom pivot plunge cut.

If you plan to make simple downward cuts, moving horizontally, in small tree branches, the tilted head will probably work for you. We’re fans of the Ryobi 18-volt One Plus power tools, which perform well in the light-duty category. For larger branches, look at the medium duty saws below or the heavy duty saw at the end of the article.

Service environment

DeWalt 20V pole saw


$ 209.95

Model Number: DCPS62OM1
Power: 20 volts
Battery charger included:
Max recommended member diameter:
4 inch

Our experience with DeWalt’s 20 Volt XR Battery System is enough to convince us that not all 20 Volt power tool platforms are created equal. The DeWalt is a mid-range machine capable of repeatedly cutting into larger limbs, and it’s perfect for users who are already plugged into the company’s 20-volt XR landscaping or construction tools.

The DeWalt has a claimed maximum reach of 15 feet and is the only cordless tool here with a substantial “cut-off strip”. This is a wide toothed aluminum strap under the chain that helps you dig to prevent the saw head from bouncing off the limb as it cuts (think felling point or guard tip). shocks on a standard chainsaw). Plus, like the other pole saws pictured here, the DeWalt has an angled head that makes it easy to make simple horizontal cuts from the top of the branch to the bottom.

Service environment

Greenworks Cordless Pole Saw

Green works

$ 229.00

Model Number: 20672
Power: 40 volts
Battery charger included:
Max recommended member diameter:
4 inch

Greenworks chainsaws have performed very well in recent testing, and we think the extra investment in a higher voltage motor and battery is necessary if you do a lot of delimbing. Examples: owners with a chalet in the mountains, volunteers who maintain hiking or horseback trails and people with a long driveway that winds through the woods.

Like the other pole saws pictured here, the Greenworks is expandable with a removable midsection that allows you to reach up to 11 feet. And the same applies: for hard and tall cuts, these multi-piece sticks can flex significantly, increasing the force you need to deliver. If you plan to make repeated cuts of large diameter branches (4 to 8 inches or more) high in the tree, you need a saw capable of this. The Greenworks could handle one or two, but you and the saw would likely become exhausted in the process.


Echo Gas Powered Pole Saw

Model Number: PPF-225
Power: 21.2 cc engine (50: 1 2-stroke fuel mixture)
Battery charger included: N / A
Max recommended member diameter:
8 inch

If you do a lot of cutting, you need the real deal (gasoline), and this Echo Pole Saw is what you need. The PPF-225 is powered by the company’s 21.2cc pro-duty engine, a lightweight, high-torque motor perfect for this application. The fuel supply is a rotary valve carburetor that provides proper power to part of the throttle and in any position (and it is not unusual in pruning large trees or large branches that you ended up with the saw held at a number of odd angles).

We also like that the Echo uses the company’s i30 starting mechanism, a spring assist that helps you start the engine with a simple pull. Having used several Echo products equipped with i30, including chainsaws, we can say that this is one of the best pull-start mechanisms. The saw has a reach of 7-9 inches and you can purchase a 3-foot extension for this. If there is one tool that can easily cut at full reach and full diameter, this Echo Pole Saw is it.

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