The Best Polesaw
A pole saw is one of those tools that you’d rather have around the house, use only a few times a year, than not have it at all.
The other option, of course, is to clamber up a ladder with a pole pruner and a chainsaw and have a go at those branches and shrubs while trying to balance yourself with potentially dangerous tools.
We don’t recommend the above especially when the pole saws don’t cost much. They are indispensable, save you tons of effort, time, money and probably a trip to the hospital.
The first pick is the WORX WG309, a corded electrical pole saw that gets you the best of both worlds. It features a detachable chainsaw at the end of an 8-feet extension pole.
Attach both the poles and you can easily reach branches 10-12 feet above the ground, depending on how tall you are.
Once you are done trimming or pruning the shrubs, you can detach the chainsaw and work on the limbs for easy disposal.
Being electrically powered, it’s low maintenance, starts at the touch of a button (no messy pulls after a period of hibernation) and features automatic oiling and chain tensioning.
The caveat is that you will be lugging around a long power cord. Not a huge problem if you consider that it costs almost half of what a gas powered pole saw does and saves you hours on maintenance.
The WORX WG309 is perfect for trimming small to medium-sized branches and shrubs around your home. It weighs 10 lbs. and is easy to maneuver even when you are reaching out at full stretch.
The saw at the end is a tad heavy given that it’s extended at the end of two poles. But with a little practice, you can use that added weight to your advantage. The trick is to just rest the saw against the branch before applying power.
It goes through 5-7” thick branches like a knife through cheese.
- Pros: Simply tighten the chain, fill the oil reservoir. 10-12 foot reach. Cuts through branches that are 5-7″ thick.
- Cons: A little heavy at the end. It’s also corded.
If you hate lugging around a cord in the yard and the pruning jobs around your home are limited to branches and shrubs that are 3-5 inches in diameter, then you might want to check out the LPP120 cordless pole saw from Black and Decker.
This budget-priced cordless pole saw is powered by a 20-Volt Lithium-Ion battery and allows you the freedom to go anywhere without being limited by a cord.
B&D claims that it lasts for about 100 cuts of 1-1/2-inch branches on a single charge. That might fluctuate depending on the density and the hardness of the wood. But on average, you can get about 120 square inches of cuts from this on a single charge. The charge time is about 4 hours, which is decent.
Cordless and electric is a great combo. No messy oil leaks or maintenance woes. You can plug it in to charge, power-on and get on with your chore.
The Black & Decker LPP120 comes with an extension pole that can be extended to 9 feet in 3 interlocking pieces. It’s not wobbly and stays steady even when you are working on denser and heavier branches.
This gives it a total overhead reach of about 10-14 feet, which is excellent given the price point. It weighs just 6 lbs.
It has an 8-inch cutting chain which allows you to work through medium-sized branches at best. With a little time, effort and re-tightening of the chain, you may be able to cut through thicker branches as well. But we don’t really recommend that.
- Pros: 14-feet overhead reach. Cordless convenience. 4-hour charging time. Budget friendly.
- Cons: Less powerful than a gas powered or corded pole saw.
The Poulan Pro is a cordless pole saw that’s often compared to a gas powered one for its ability to trim down heavy branches.
That might sound like a tall claim. But Poulan walks the talk with this beast of a machine that can be the perfect replacement for your old gas-guzzling clunker.
It is fast, easy to use and lightweight. It features two extension poles, which when attached together allow you to reach up to 14 feet depending on your height. The over-mold grip handle gives you great control when it’s operational.
An automatic oiler ensures that the oil levels are maintained for optimum performance at all times. Also, there’s an oil level indicator that alerts you when the levels start to dwindle.
Powering the Poulan Pro is a 40 Volt battery that extends the run-time beyond 2 hours on a single charge. That translates into fewer passes and less time spent recharging the battery. You can always upgrade to a 4Ah battery for longer run-time.
As we mentioned earlier, this one has an 8” chain that can cut branches that are up to 8 inches in diameter. Unless you have a lot of woodwork or live in a heavily wooded area where you tackle thick branches on a regular basis, the Poulan Pro will be the option for you.
The extra power comes at the cost of a little extra weight at the cutting head. If you have used gas powered pole saws before, this won’t be a problem at all. But if you have upgraded from a lightweight machine, take some time to get a hang of the handling and balance.
- Pros: 4-year warranty from Poulan. Cordless. Up to 14 feet reach.
- Cons: A little heavy near the cutting head.
The Oregon Cordless PS250 has identical specifications to the Poulan Pro. It is a cordless electric pole saw powered by a 40 V Lithium-Ion battery.
The Oregon is built like a brick. It features an extension shaft made of fiberglass composite. Not only is this lighter than metallic ones, it is also more flexible.
Have you ever found yourself in a corner, unable to reach a branch? The Poulan is flexible and can bend a little, allowing for a more comfortable reach. It extends to 10.4 feet at its maximum and gives you almost 16 feet reach overhead.
Another neat feature is that the motor is mounted on the middle of the shaft. Most are mounted toward the head. This improves the weight balance and despite being slightly heavy at 13.4 lbs, it is still pretty easy to maneuver.
The 4 Ah 40V battery is compatible with all of Oregon’s power tools that use a 40V battery. So, you can buy one of their hedge trimmers, chainsaws, or edgers without a battery and use the same one instead.
The operation is butter-smooth without any vibrations in the hand. You can get close to 2 hours of run-time on a single charge, which again is phenomenal for residential use.
The only possible downside is that with the battery loaded, it is almost 13.4 lbs. which can start to tire your hands if you are pruning for an extended period of time.
- Pros: Fiberglass composite extension shaft. Up to 4 times quieter than a gas powered saw. Smooth operation, devoid of vibrations in the hand.
- Cons: If you’re smaller than you might find the 13.4 lbs cumbersome.
The Remington Ranger is a chainsaw-pole saw combo tool like the Worx. This allows you to detach the chainsaw and use it as a standalone tool.
But when you are looking to trim shrubs and branches, attach it to the telescopic extension shaft that extends your reach to 15 feet above the ground.
It is made of aluminum and hence the tool weighs a pleasant 12 pounds, giving you the flexibility and dexterity you seek for the job.
Extending and collapsing the bar is a breeze due to a flip lock clamp that can be engaged even with one hand.
There are some neat safety features integrated into the Remington Ranger. A trigger-lock is intuitively placed to prevent the trigger from being pressed accidentally. This is an excellent feature if you have a large property and take frequent breaks.
Also, it has an anti-twirl mechanism which prevents the tool from twisting in your hands mid-way while it is operational. That’s a common problem faced when using heavy-duty gas powered pole saws.
The saw is a beast. It is powered by an 8-amp motor and can glide through thin bushes and hedges. On the thicker side, it can easily cut branches and logs that are up to 6” in diameter.
The catch is that the Ranger RM1025P has a bulb pressure fed manual oiling system. You must squeeze the bulb every time you engage the saw. Also, when you store it away, keep a rag or a blanket under it because it may leak oil.
- Pros: Chainsaw and telescopic extension bar combo. Reach up to 15 feet. Multiple safety features.
- Cons: Manual pressure fed oiling system.
Factors to Consider in a Pole Saw
Designed to cut down tree limbs or branches that are too high, pole saws are essentially saws mounted on a pole to extend their reach. In some cases, these saws can be used to minimize the level of risk involved. You normally have to use a ladder to cut branches that are out of reach.
Every year, emergency rooms across the country admit and treat more than 90,000 individuals for ladder related injuries according to the CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission).
The Length of Reach
The goal with a pole saw is to reach branches that are above your personal reach. You should never operate a chainsaw above shoulder height. With a pole saw you can you should consider your own reach and height, before settling on a given choice.
Size/Diameter of The Branches
The size of the guide bar and chain of the pole saw determine the maximum branch diameter you can cut. As such, you should keep the diameter of the logs and branches you wish to cut in mind when selecting a pole saw.
Battery, Electric, or Gas Powered?
You should have a reliable source of power if you choose an electric option; furthermore, consider the implications of being tethered to a power cord as well. If you choose a gasoline powered option, be ready for a heavier piece of equipment as it features a motor with moving parts.
Ease of Use
Does the pole saw come with features designed to make it easier to use? For instance, do you need to oil the pole saw manually, or does it come with an in-built oil reservoir? Do you need to adjust the tension of the chain? To keep the pole saw in proper working condition, you need to be able to fulfill its maintenance requirements.
Different Types of Pole Saws
Manual (hand-operated), battery, gasoline-powered, and electric pole saws are the four main types available. For a closer look at the main pros and cons associated with each type, read on:
A pole saw that is designed with a blade resembling a hacksaw attached to the tip of a pole is referred to as a hand operated or manual pole saw. To cut through tree limbs and branches, the user simply makes quick strokes. The blade on some hand operated pole saws are operated using a rope pulley set-up.
A battery powered saw typically uses a lithium-ion battery and the saw is attached to a telescopic extension. These saws aren’t tethered to an outlet and are portable. Most batteries last between 1-2 hours.
The main difference between a battery powered and corded electric pole saw is the addition of an electric cord which needs to be plugged into an outlet to power the saw. Even though the cord limits their use to areas where power outlets are available, they can be used continuously for extended periods of time with no power drop off.
In addition to being the most powerful variety, gas-powered pole saws can be used non-stop for extended periods of time and tend to be highly portable. While they are more portable, they are heavier because of the motor.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pole Saws
1. Is it Possible to Sharpen the Pole Saw Blades?
Yes it’s possible. Remember, a pole saw is simply a chainsaw at the end of a telescopic extension.
If the chainsaw isn’t detachable, a manual rat-tail file works best. However if the chainsaw is detachable and you can remove the guide bar and the chain to be used on an electric file.
2. How Far Can a Pole Saw Reach?
Depending on the length of your arms and your height, you can reach up to 11 to 15 feet since most come with a 6 to 10 foot reach length. Hand operated pole saws have a longer reach, extending past 20 feet; making them better for reaching branches that are farther than what’s possible with a powered one.
When it comes to pole saws, it can be difficult to find one that stands out above the rest. When you break it down, you want to look at power (usually measured in amperes or CCs), portability (corded vs cordless), reach, and combination saws.
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