How to Pick the Right Pole Saw

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Pole saws are not the first thing to cross people minds when they think of purchasing power tools, and this is because there are still a lot of people who don’t understand their benefits. If you have trees on your property, you need to maintain them to keep them looking their best. Instead of always calling an arborist or a professional landscaper, you can save money by pruning and trimming on your own. The costs may add up quickly, and there are many quality pole saws priced at under $100 that can get the job done.

Ladders and chainsaws are a terrible idea. Pole saws are the ideal solution for dealing with tree limbs and all kinds of trimming. They are available in various types and designs, pole length, saw blade length, power size and type. Buying a pole saw may seem like a simple matter, but to get the most out of your investment, you need to be smart about your choices.

When it comes to selecting your ideal pole saw, you should ask yourself this question: Which pole saw will best meet my requirements? Pole saws have a similar build and function, but there are some features you should consider before deciding which model will fulfill your specific requirements. Size and budget will probably be top of the list, along with power type. Understanding where and how you’ll be using it will make you better prepared to sort out through the choices while you ensure that you purchase a product that checks all the boxes.

Power or Manual

This debate never ends. Whether to go power or manual is entirely up to you. Both versions have their strengths as well as their limitations.

Manual pole saws are the traditional type that come with a clipper for snipping off smaller branches and a saw blade for larger branches. They are usually longer, meaning that with a manual pole saw, you can reach branches that are several feet up the tree. The gentle design of the blades and clippers minimizes the risk of mold spores and infection to get in the tree.  The downside to manual pole saws is that you will be the one supplying power to the saw.

Powered pole saws, on the other hand, use electricity or gas to saw a branch. These saws feature a completely different type of blade and have a miniature chainsaw bar. Electric pole saws are recommended if you have a power source in your garden. Gas powered pole saws are suited for cutting through thick tree branches.

The convenience and ease of use of powered pole saws make them very popular. However, they cost more than their manual counterparts, which is a small price to pay for the added efficiency, ease of use and convenience. Another downside is that powered pole saws require varying degrees of maintenance.

  1. Pole Length (Maximum Extension)

The whole point of using a pole saw is to be able to reach tree branches. Pole length is a feature you will see most variance in when shopping for your new pole saw.

Poles come in different lengths and can be constructed from steel or fiberglass. Manual pole saws can range from 7-15 ft. long, sometimes even more. Most recent models have telescoping poles with adjustable length that you can tune to your liking and lock it back in place. Extending poles are a favorite as they enable you to work on trees of varying heights.

Manufacturers always advertise the max reach, which represents how far the pole saw will reach into a tree while you hold it. This can be a little misleading. When you look at the poles closely, you will see a “maximum reach” sign. This is NOT the pole’s maximum length. The maximum reach on a pole saw incorporates both your arm length and the pole’s max length. Most models have 5ft. extra to the max pole length. Ensure the pole is at least 7ft. more if you opt for powered models.

  1. Cutting Bar Length (Blade Size)

The length of the cutting blade is another feature to look out for when picking an ideal pole saw for trimming your trees and hedges. Usually expressed in inches, cutting bar length simply refers to the length of the cutting bar. This number determines your pole saw’s suitability to cut thick branches. If you opt for a manual pole saw, a longer blade allows you to cut larger branches with less struggle, while also giving you more saw power efficacy with every pass of the blade.

On a powered pole saw, the exposed blade length represents your maximum cutting capacity. If, for instance, you have a 7” saw bar with 6” exposed, you can only saw branches 6” and under with a single pass. As a rule of the thumb, pick a bar length greater than the thickest branches you plan to cut. In general, try to go for powered pole saws with at least 8” of total bar length. Longer cutting bars are effective for the thickest branches. If you usually deal with thin branches, opt for a shorter bar.

  1. Weight Of The Pole Saw (Portability)

Another vital consideration that most homeowners ignore is the weight of the pole saw. You can easily move most pole saws from one point to the other, but some models are more portable than others. Pole saws can prove very exhausting to work with, especially if you plan to use them for long. Even though weight is a sign of stability and excellent artisanship, you need a pole saw that is easily controllable, lightweight and handles safely.

Gas-powered models may be powerful and more efficient, but they are heavy. Resist the urge to buy heavy pole saws no matter how budget-friendly or feature-packed they are. If you have never seen the doors of a gym, you are better off with electric pole saws that can be easily moved around.

  1. Noise

If you live in a quiet neighborhood, you might want to avoid gas-powered pole saws as they produce most noise. Electric and cordless models are relatively quieter, and you will less likely disturb your neighbors.

  1. Maintenance

You need to look at how often you will be using the saw and the amount of maintenance your pole saw needs. Generally, gas-powered pole saws require more attention than electric and battery powered versions. You need to carry out routine tasks like changing air filters to keep them in top working order. If you plan to use the pole saw on a regular basis, go for something more long lasting. For occasional home use, cordless and electric models are suitable. Electric saws also need less looking after, as you only need to check that the chain is kept sharp.

  1. Extra Features and Functionality

Extra features in pole saws are like the icing on the cake. Extra features can include ergonomic grips, safety switches, automatic chain lube mechanisms, removable poles, adjustable saw bar angles and more. All of the additional features can improve the safety, accuracy and ease of your tree pruning and trimming.

  1. Budget

How much you are willing to spend is another point to consider when planning to buy a pole saw. If you are just a beginner testing the market and on the lookout for a low-cost pole saw, then electric is the way to go.  If you feel like splurging and want something that will last for long, a gas-powered pole saw is the best option.


A pole saw is the ideal tool for dealing with excessive tree growth in a residential setting. Pole saws come in a variety of functionalities, shapes and sizes. When it comes down to the best pole saw, you should opt for what suits your unique needs. Our list covers the top things to keep in mind when hunting for your next pole saw. Always ensure your product is backed by warranty in case of a manufacturing defect.

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