A chainsaw on the end of a pole! What a wonderful invention! Now you don’t have to climb the tree and endanger life and limb – no, just the tree-limbs! You don’t need to spend hours sweating with an old handsaw while holding on for grim death!
No need to shell out hundreds of dollars hiring a tree-surgeon when you can buy a good pole saw at a fraction of the cost and – if you’re reasonably fit – prune the tree branches yourself. And if you follow a few simple rules you can do it safely and competently.
But how do you know which are the best pole saws and which one is best for your needs? In our carefully curated pole saw reviews, we investigate manual, electric-corded, electric-battery, and gas-powered pole saws to help you identify the best pole saw for your needs.
Top 8 Best Pole Saw Reviews for 2020
Here are the best pole saws 2020:
- Best Overall: Black+Decker LPP120
- Best Corded: Black+Decker PP610
- My Favorite: Sun Joe SWJ807E
- Best Cordless: Greenworks 40V (Combo Kit)
- Best Budget: Sun Joe SWJ803E
- Runner-Up Best Budget: Sun Joe SWJ802E
- Best Gas-Powered: Remington RM25PS Maverick
- Best Manual: Fiskars 7′ – 14′ Extendable Pole Saw
Best Overall: Black+Decker LPP120
For those who need the freedom to work away from a power supply, without having to worry about trailing an electric cable behind them, this lighter weight, 20-volt cordless pole saw from Black+Decker is the way to go.
It comes with a three-piece extension pole, which means it can be used to cut logs at ground level as well as extending to its maximum reach of 10 feet, allowing a user of average height to cut branches up to 14 feet high.
This highly-rated pole saw comes complete with battery and charger and will be good for one hundred cuts through 1-1/2-inch pine branches before it needs to be re-charged.
- 20-volt MAX* Lithium-ion battery – no trailing cables to worry about and 5 times better charge retention than NiCad batteries.
- Weight is only 6.3 lbs – easier to manage during longer pruning sessions, tackling those high branches.
- 3-piece extension pole with maximum reach of 10 feet.
- 8-inch cutting bar and chain – cuts branches up to 6 inches thick.
- Comes with a starter bottle of bar & chain oil, blade guard and steel wrench for chainsaw tension adjustment.
A lot of thought has gone into the design of the Black+Decker LPP120, to create one of the best-balanced pole saws on the market. This combined with its lighter weight, makes this top-quality pole saw easy to operate, even when using at full extension.
With Black+Decker’s excellent back-up service with the widespread availability of replacement chains and other parts, you can be assured that if you follow through on the simple to maintain instructions, this tool will provide good service for years to come.
Best Corded: Black+Decker PP610
This corded electric pole saw is one of the best and most reliable on the market. It is backed up by Black+Decker’s ongoing investment in research and development plus their first-class customer care and spare parts availability – they have a reputation to maintain, which works in the customer’s favour!
- A powerful corded, 6.5-amp, inline electric motor – keeps going till you finish the job. Doesn’t fade like battery powered tools do when they lose charge.
- Extension length: 9.5 feet – This is one of the longest pole saws available and effectively gives you a 12-foot reach or more, depending on your height! Excellent for reaching those high branches.
- A very lightweight pole saw at only 8lbs – vital when wielding such a top-heavy tool. Allows you to use the pole-saw for longer.
- Low kickback Oregon bar and chain – provides greater level of safety.
- Automatic oiling system with transparent oil window – keeps the chain lubricated in use and makes it easy to see when more oil is needed.
- Easily cuts through branches up to 10 inches across (the length of the chainsaw bar).
- Comes complete with a plastic scabbard which slips over the bar and chain – keeps you safe from accidental injury when not in use.
The advantage of a constant power source is not to be underestimated if you have a lot of trees to prune. However, you will need a long extension cord or a suitably rated gas generator if you want to use this pole saw at a distance from your electric power supply.
The length of the extension pole is easily adjusted with a twist mechanism. Used at its shortest length, this turns it into a chainsaw that can cut up the felled branches into smaller lengths for firewood.
This is a top-rated, practical pole-saw which won’t break the bank! It will give years of sterling service if properly maintained.
My Favorite: Sun Joe SWJ807E
This Sun Joe corded electric pole-saw is a high-quality tool which has the added advantage that it can be disconnected from its extension pole and used as a regular, hand-held electric chainsaw.
This makes it much easier to chop branches into logs after they’ve been cut down, effectively giving you two tools for the price of one!
- Powerful 8-amp electric motor with push-button start: provides the cutting power to eat its way through branch after branch without stopping.
- Built in safety switch prevents accidental starting.
- Extension length 8.8 feet – gives you a 12-foot reach or more, depending on your height.
- 10-inch bar and chain make short work of branches up to 9.5-inch in width.
- Easily converts into a hand-held chainsaw for work closer to the ground.
- Replacement chain available in addition to very good customer back-up service.
For the price, this is one of the very best pole saws on the market. It will enable easy trimming and pruning of tree branches a height of 12 feet or more from the ground, and up to 10 inches thick.
The unique two-in-one feature increases the versatility of this pole saw and is worthy of serious consideration if you want to chop up some logs for firewood or simply reduce branches to a manageable length.
Best Cordless: Greenworks 40V (Combo Kit)
The cordless Greenworks G-Max 40V is a really great buy as it is both a pole saw with regular chainsaw attachment and a fully-fledged hedge trimmer! These come as separate attachments and can easily be swapped over by unscrewing/screwing on to the extension poles.
It comes with a powerful 40-volt rechargeable Lithium-ion battery which will power the pole saw/hedge-trimmer for an hour of useful work before it has to be recharged – and then, only needs an hour on charge to restore it to full power.
With some simple pre-planning along with other jobs that need done, this will enable you to actually use the saw/trimmer for three to four hours over the course of a day, which is probably as much as anyone would want to spend wielding a chainsaw on the end of a pole.
But, if you’re feeling fit and your budget can stretch to the purchase of an extra battery, you can swap batteries from charger to pole-saw and do the job in half the time!
- Rechargeable, no nonsense 40-volt battery lasts for an hour before it needs recharging.
- Aluminum extension shaft comes in three parts – you can work with the short extension pole for lower trimming jobs or go all the way to 8 feet higher than your body height.
- Comes with both chainsaw and hedge trimmer attachments, making this a ‘two-for-the-price-of-one’ investment.
- Easy chainsaw tensioning adjustment – allows you to keep the chain at the correct tension during operation.
- Automatically oiled chain with translucent oil tank gauge providing clear view of bar chain oil levels.
- Replacement chain can (and should) be purchased.
The beauty of a cordless tool like this, is that there will be no more grappling with extension cables and no more worries about distance from power supply during operation. This best-selling 2-in-1 pole-saw/hedge-trimmer combo is a very good buy indeed.
Best Budget: Sun Joe SWJ803E
A ‘multi-angle pole chainsaw’ – now we’re talking! The business end of this high-quality pole saw can be adjusted from the standard fixed, in-line position to a range of angled positions so that with ease, you can tackle the variety of challenges presented by awkwardly shaped branches.
This saw comes with an easy to assemble Oregon bar and chain and the 8-amp electric motor gives more than enough power to cut down tree limbs up to 9 inches thick.
- Adjustable head – fixed in-line or angled, for those hard to reach branches.
- 10-inch cutting bar and chain – ideal for pruning tree branches up to 9 inches wide.
- Extension pole 7 feet 2 inches, giving up to 14 feet of reach depending on user height and position of tree branches.
- Powerful 8-amp corded electric motor – no battery fade, just keeps going until the job is done.
- Safety cut-out switch prevents accidental starting.
- Automatic oiling mechanism.
The Sun Joe SWJ803E electric multi-angle pole chainsaw is a great budget buy for anyone who needs to trim their trees and bushes and doesn’t want to deal with the messy business of refuelling a gas-powered tool.
It has the added advantage of a multi-angle Oregon bar and chain head – (Oregon bars and chains are of the highest quality) which, coupled with the strong 8-amp motor will make short work of those routine pruning jobs.
Runner-Up Best Budget: Sun Joe SWJ802E
This 6.5-amp corded electric pole saw is another great budget buy, especially for someone who wants a lighter pole saw – this weighs in at only 7.9 lbs, making it one of the easier to handle pole saws on the market.
It has the added advantage of an adjustable chainsaw head, which like it’s more powerful 8-amp twin, allows the user to angle the head for cutting awkwardly shaped branches, or use it as a fixed, in-line saw to get to the higher up, harder to reach branches.
- 8-inch Oregon bar and chain – easily cut branches up to 7.5 inches thick (Oregon are renowned for their professional quality chainsaw parts).
- 6.5-amp corded electric motor – no battery fade: keeps going until the job is done.
- 9.4-foot extension pole – this enables a person of average height to reach branches up to 14 or 15 feet high.
- Adjustable head – for reaching into awkward, tight spaces.
- Strong plastic bar and chain cover for protection when not in use.
- 2-year warranty.
The Sun Joe SWJ802E with adjustable head, is ideal for those who want a cheaper but good-quality lighter pole saw for those occasional domestic garden pruning jobs to keep trees and bushes from getting out of hand.
With the instant, clean power of an electric motor and the useful angled head facility, it will make short work of branches up to 7 or 8 inches thick.
Best Gas-Powered: Remington RM25PS Maverick
For those who need the extra power and speed of a gas-powered pole saw, the 25cc Remington RM25PS Maverick has proved itself to be one of the best gas-powered pole saws available.
This is powered by a 2-cycle engine, which requires the correct mix of oil and gas (40:1) – a transparent mixing container with measurements for various mixes is cheap to buy and makes the fuelling process straightforward.
This gas-powered saw is ideal for people who will use the saw at regular intervals throughout the year and need the freedom to move anywhere with the saw, unencumbered by a power cable.
- 3-stage choke.
- Includes 2-cycle oil (runs on a 40:1 gas to oil mixture = 1 liter of gas plus 25 mm of oil).
- Low kickback 8-inch bar & chain.
- 7-foot extension pole – gives up to 12 feet reach for high branches.
- Converts to hedge-trimmer with add-on attachment (available to purchase separately).
- QuickStart technology for easier pull starting – no more sweating for ages trying to get the thing started.
The instructions state that the correct oil should be used which has a fuel additive to assist with engine lubrication. If you follow the guidance given in the instruction manual, this saw will perform well.
The best-selling Remington Maverick is a sturdy, well-made pole-saw and will give excellent and reliable service when properly maintained and used up to the limit of its cutting power.
Best Manual: Fiskars 7′ – 14′ Extendable Pole Saw
If you don’t have too many trees with thick branches to prune, are on a limited budget, or just prefer to reduce your carbon footprint, you will be amazed at the ease and effectiveness of this manually operated extendable tree pruner, which comes with a saw blade in addition to the built in pruning blade.
Fiskars make high-quality tools that are built to last and this is no exception. It actually doubles the power you are able to exert on the pruning blade, due to the extra leverage built into the design of the pull cord mechanism.
The precision ground steel blade will chop effortlessly through branches over one inch thick and the extremely sharp saw attachment is exactly what you need to take care of the thicker limbs that the pruning blade can’t cope with.
- Strong oval-shaped, lightweight fiberglass extension pole with easy locking mechanism, extends to 14 feet for reaching high branches.
- Precision ground steel pruning blade with low-friction coating, makes short work of branches up to just over 1 inch thick.
- 15-inch WoodZig precision sharpened saw attachment for larger branches.
This Fiskars manual tree pruner with saw attachment is ideal for keeping a low-maintenance garden under control. The ergonomically designed extension pole fits snugly in the hand and the strong yet lightweight fiberglass pole allows precise positioning with one hand while pulling the cord that operates the cutting blade with the other. The saw attachment completes the utility of this tool and offers excellent value for money.
How to Choose a Pole Saw?
Pole saws come in all shapes and sizes and in a variety of powered or manual options and in a range of budgets to suit all pockets.
In this guide, we will look at the different kinds you can buy and discuss the unique benefits and the pros and cons of each type. We will also cover vital safety aspects.
Common to all types of pole saw, is the need to keep the cutting surfaces lubricated. If a chain is allowed to dry up, it will overheat, and the life of the chain and its cutting power will both be drastically reduced.
All chainsaws have a separate chain oil reservoir which you have to keep topping up during use. There is also a little hole at the end of the bar that holds the chain, which must be kept lubricated. When you see smoke coming from the bar and chain, you know it’s overdue for an oil top-up!
On a manual pole saw, an occasional drop of oil between the blades will keep them from seizing up.
Cordless (Battery-Powered) Pole Saws
Battery-operated pole saws are ideal for homeowners who do not have too many trees or bushes to trim. Generally speaking, a fully charged battery will last about an hour before needing to be recharged. Of course, this limitation can be overcome by having two batteries – one on charge and the other in use.
An important point to bear in mind when purchasing a battery-powered pole saw, is that anything under 18 volts will be too weak. A Lithium-ion battery will last for 300-500 charges before it wears out, i.e. between 2-3 years, so you should factor in the cost of a new battery every few years.
The great thing about a battery-operated pole saw is that you don’t need to worry about trailing a power cable or finding a power socket – it is truly portable.
Corded Electric Pole Saws
Electric-powered, corded pole saws have the advantage that power is instantly available so long as you’re within reach of a power socket.
For those who have extensive yards to keep tidy, this will require the use of a good extension cable which will have to be strategically positioned as you move round to work on trees in each part of the yard.
On the plus side, corded pole saws allow the user to keep going without having to stop and recharge or swap out a battery.
Gas Pole Saws
Gas-powered pole saws while being more powerful are usually heavier and require a bit more maintenance than electric and battery-powered units.
You will also need to keep a fuel can and a chainsaw oil can handy so that the fuel tank and oil reservoir can be refilled when the engine runs out of gas.
Gas pole saws are more likely to be needed by the homesteader or professional user who use this type of tool regularly and want the freedom to work in locations that are nowhere near a power supply.
If you decide to buy any type of powered pole saw, then you must buy an extra chain – it will surprise you how quickly the chain becomes blunt and needs sharpened. You can learn to sharpen the chain yourself with some extra tools (there are lots of videos online demonstrating correct sharpening technique) but be careful – one slip and a chainsaw link can give you a nasty cut. Leather gloves are advisable when handling cutting chains!
Manual Pole Saws
Manual pole saw pruners have a surprisingly effective cutting action because they use the principle of strong leverage to sever tree branches up to two or three inches in diameter.
They are ideal for the homeowner with a few trees to prune each year, who is happy to work steadily round each tree and does not require the extra speed that a powered pole saw provides.
Manual pole saws are the easiest to maintain – you only have to keep the blades sharp and well oiled. They are also far lighter to use than a powered chainsaw.
While a pole saw greatly reduces the risk of accidents because you don’t have to climb the tree to sever the branches, they are still capable of inflicting serious injury if used incorrectly. It is important to bear in mind the following points to ensure your personal safety:
Always maintain the pole saw in good condition – either learn how to do this yourself or get a professional to keep it sharp and in tip-top condition.
Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to assemble and use the tool.
Don’t over-reach; make sure you are in a stable position before operating the pole saw and check the area around you before use so that you are not tripped up or unbalanced by low hanging branches etc.
When using a powered chainsaw attachment separately from its extension poles, (e.g. to saw logs) never hold the chainsaw in the mid-line of your body. Always ensure that the chainsaw blade is operated to the right side of your body. This way, if the chainsaw kicks back unexpectedly, it will miss your vital organs!
Kickback is the cause of many awful chainsaw accidents and everyone who intends to use one should educate themselves on the appropriate safety techniques to reduce their risk of injury.
Thanks to our in-depth pole saw reviews, you know the difference between gas-powered, electric corded, battery-operated and manual pole saws. You should now be in a position to make an informed choice about which is the best pole saw for your needs.
To recap – choose a battery operated or gas-powered pole saw if you don’t want to be troubled by trailing cables; choose a corded electric pole saw if you will be working within reach of a power outlet and need to keep working until the job is done. And if you only have a few trees to prune, then a lightweight manual pole saw will do sterling service.
If you find it hard to choose, our ‘Best Overall’ pole saw, the cordless Black+Decker LPP120 is well worth considering.
Whichever pole saw you decide is best for you, don’t forget to stay safe and learn how to maintain your pole saw – and make sure you have the extras you require, depending on the type of saw you purchase, such as fuel, fuel can, oil, replacement chain, sharpening kit, extension lead and so on.
Stay safe and have fun pruning your trees!