Pole saws, no matter the type (manual, gas-powered, electric or cordless), can be likened to insurance. You don’t need a pole saw until you actually need one.
We live on a property that is crowded with trees and as such, probably have more need of a pole saw pruner than most homeowners. It’s no fun and in fact, hazardous to be limbing a tree with a chainsaw at face level and higher.
Manual Pole Pruner
We started out with a professional type of fiberglass pole saw pruner combo that we’ve used for some 30 years. It’s basically either a pruning head or a saw blade head that attaches to 10-foot sections of fiberglass poles. We’ve used it for tree pruning and even tree takedowns.
Now, any of you who’ve used a long pole saw for any length of time knows what a workout that can be. It’s also nearly impossible to perform an undercut. There were occasions when we wished we had a powerhead attached to the saw blade. Something like a chainsaw on a pole, for instance.
Hazards in the Woods
Living amongst the trees, we have to keep an eye on damaged trees and limbs. This year (2018) we’ve had all kinds of tree damage from hurricanes, torrential rains and snow.
Limbs can be damaged and compromised by ice, wind, excessive rain and age. As we’re writing this, we just had a pine tree fall from the weight of our first early winter snow, and whenever there’s significant weather, you can hear limbs of all sizes crashing in the woods.
Pole saws are good for helping to keep the smaller lower branches trimmed for safety as well as appearance, so we set off in pursuit of one.
Powered Pole Saws
We surveyed the various brands and compared them based on:
- Gas versus electric (including cordless)
- Compatibility with other tools
Gas Pole Saws
Regarding the gas vs electric models, we really liked the Stihl brand. We own two of their well-made chainsaws. But the price ($500 to $600) seemed quite steep for an occasional use tool. Plus, that’s all they did; in other words, not much versatility.
Stihl makes a battery powered line as well, but they are also expensive ($400 to $500), and their lowest priced compatible tools—like their blower—clocks in at $225.
About the same time we launched our search for a powered pole saw, our corded leaf blower gave out.
Power Tools with Crossover Capability
We found the Green Works 40 Volt “system” and ordered both the pole saw and the compatible blower along with a charger and two batteries. They’ve both performed well.
The blower has received the most use. We compared it against the top competition and you can see how it matched up with a rival Stihl leaf blower here.
TIP: Get the most out of your battery operated tools with crossover capability.
Battery Powered Pole Saw
The pole saw has been periodically useful for situations like:
- Trees and limbs overhanging roofs, driveways, and roads
- Cutting “spring loaded” trees and limbs from a safe distance
- Limbing up w/o having to use a ladder
- Rough cutting lumber (using just one section for shorter reaches)
Benefits of the Pole Saw Design
We like the simple design and the solid way the sections lock together.
The saw end itself is fairly lightweight so that it is well balanced with the battery installed at the other end.
The pole saw breaks down into 3 sections which is convenient for transport and storage.The chain is easy to adjust and the oil port easy to fill.
Pole Saw Battery Life
The battery life on the Greenworks 2.0 model is about 15 minutes. With the 4.0 battery, we think it should go for 25 minutes or more. There’s some guessing here in that the saw isn’t run as constantly as the blower.
For longer jobs, we like to have a charged battery handy as a backup.
Pole Saw Cutting Tips
One thing to note is that the little saw takes some time to cut through the wood. It also leaves a somewhat ragged cut and, as mentioned with the manual pole saw, it’s tricky making an undercut.
Keeping at a safe distance from falling limbs is paramount.
Undercuts can prevent a limb from peeling down the trunk causing more damage to the tree and possibly keeping the limb from detaching.
Always follow all of the safety precautions recommended by the manufacturer. If you don’t have it on hand, you’ll need to buy the recommended safety gear.
See pole saw cutting video demonstration at the end of this article.
We actually enjoy tree work and cutting up firewood, and yes, even clearing a path where storms have laid down trees. Our need for a power pole saw is not that frequent, but man, it’s sure nice to have the right tool for the right job when the occasion arises.
We hope our information on this type of pole saw will be useful. Do let us know your take on the selection and use of these amazing tools.
Have the right tool for the right job when the occasion arises!
Part 1 – Cordless Pole Saw Tips and Demonstration
Part 2 – Cordless Pole Saw Tips
Thanks for visiting… may you grow great gardens!
G. Coleman Alderson is an entrepreneur, land manager, investor, gardener, and author of the novel, Mountain Whispers: Days Without Sun. Coleman holds an MS from Penn State where his thesis centered on horticulture, park planning, design, and maintenance. He’s a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and a licensed building contractor for 27 years. “But nothing surpasses my 40 years of lessons from the field and garden. And in the garden, as in life, it’s always interesting because those lessons never end!” Coleman Alderson