Trees require regular upkeep to help them maintain a healthy appearance, but reaching the areas that need attention is often easier said than done. The best tool for this job is a pole saw, which lets you trim and prune those hard-to-reach areas safely from the ground.
If you need this tool for your yard and have questions about where to start, we’re here to help. In this article, we’re going to cover the best pole saws for various needs. We’ll also go over our pole saw buying guide to help you pick the model that’s right for you.
Best Pole Saw Reviews
At the top of our picks, we’ve got the Greenworks PRO, which is one of the best cordless pole saws on the market. This battery-operated unit comes complete with an 80 volt battery and rapid charger that makes it one of the more powerful options in cordless.
It also has a brushless motor which extends the charge you’ll get from your battery. Greenworks claims up to 80 cuts on 4×4 lumber on a single charge which is excellent.
The pole length is 8 feet giving you plenty of reach and it comes with a 10 inch chain bar. The longer bar and higher power makes it a solid contender for heavier users, even when compared to gas models.
This unit also has an angled head for easier cutting, and the automatic oiler provides continuous lubrication and extends chain life. Overall, if we had to pick the best cordless pole saw, the Greenworks PRO would be our top pick.
The only real downside here is weight. At 12.8 lbs, it’s not exactly heavy but the battery does add several pounds compared to electric models. Also, even with the brushless motor and 80V battery, you will have to recharge or swap out batteries if you want to do a lot of cutting at once.
- Quiet operation
- Brushless motor helps the battery last longer
- Powerful for a battery-powered option
- Battery platform works on other Greenworks tools
- On the heavier side
- More expensive than some electric models
Sun Joe is an offshoot of the Snow Joe brand, and this line specializes in electrically powered tools. The company is considered one of the rising stars in the outdoor power tools space.
Their Sun Joe SWJ800E model features a 6.5-amp motor and 8 inch cutting bar that can take care of most of your cutting needs . This telescopic pole saw extends to 8.7 feet which is on the longer end of pole saws. At 7.7 lbs, it’s also one of the lighter models on the market.
It has several handy features, such as a push-button to start the saw, a built-in safety switch, and an ergonomic design to make it more comfortable to use. The ergo handle and foam grip are particularly important on pole saws because of the way you need to hold the tool.
Sun Joe’s blade and chain is a high-quality Oregon one, which comes with an auto-oil feature to keep it lubricated while you’re using it and extend its lifespan. Oregon is arguably the best name in chainsaw chains.
All Sun Joe products come with a two-year warranty and their customer service is really excellent.
Finally, the price is hard to beat. It’s really one of the best values in the space if you’re looking for moderate use and will be within reach of an electric outlet.
On the downside, it is fairly loud at 108 decibels. Also, some users have noted that the bar oil reservoir leaks, though most users don’t have this issue. You’ll also need to be careful to keep the reservoir full.
- Extendable body
- 2-year warranty and excellent customer service
- Fairly loud
- A few users noted leaking oil from the oil reservoir
Now I know most of you may be looking for a power pole saw, but the Silky Hayauchi manual pole saw is a real beauty. If you want the greatest reach possible and aren’t doing a lot of cutting, the Silky may be just right for you.
The Silky comes with 4 pole sections including 3 extension sections that extend a whopping 21 feet, more than you’ll find or be able to handle in any power pole saw. It’s easily adjustable with locking clips so it won’t slip.
It weighs only 6.9 pounds, in line with the lightest electric pole saws. But the difference is that it’s mostly in the pole, not the saw, so it’s much easier to handle and reach farther.
The blade is over 15 inches, giving you plenty of cutting capacity, and it’s a high quality build that cuts with ease.
It doesn’t come with a lopper but you can purchase on separately if needed.
- 21 feet of reach
- Very light
- High quality construction with limited lifetime warranty
- Comes with an extra replacement blade
- Manual saws require more effort
- More expensive that some power pole saws
Now, let’s look at the high end. If you’re looking for a professional grade tool, this is it. Just to be clear, the Honda Power Head is the motor and pole with grips. You can purchase a range of 6 attachments separately – from pole saws to trimmers, edgers, cultivators, and blowers. It’s easy to switch them out with Honday’s push and click locking system.
It’s got a beefy 35cc motor which is 4-stroke and runs on regular gas. This is a big benefit over 2-stroke engines that require mixing oil and gas. It’s also surprisingly quiet and has an anti-vibration system for easy handling.
The downside here is cost. Professional grade motors and attachments will set you back more than most other models. But if you’re looking for great quality and plan on heavy use, it’s hard to beat the Honda name or reputation of the VersAttach system.
- Professional grade quality
- More powerful than most other models
- Honda reputation
- 6 optional attachments that are easily interchangeable
- Attachments come separately
Last up on our list, and we’ve got the Worx WG309, which can be used as both a pole saw and a stand-alone chainsaw by detaching the saw from the pole. If you’ll be doing cutting at regular height (below head level) and overhead, this is a great feature to have.
The 8 amp motor and 10 inch chain bar give you ample cutting power and size for most branches. It’s also got an 8 foot extension pole which is plenty for most users and the handle rotates to get the right angle.
Like other electric models on our list, the Worx saw has self-lubricating abilities to keep the bar and chain running smoothly. It weighs in at 10 pounds which is slightly heavier than the Sun Joe model we reviewed, mostly because of the ability to detach the chainsaw separately.
Finally, it’s very affordable. Overall, this is a great combo pole saw & chainsaw option with plenty of power and reach for most moderate needs.
- Two-in-one pole saw and chainsaw
- 8 amp motor and 10 inch chain are plenty for most users
- Very affordable
- Heavier than stand-alone electric pole saws
What is a Pole Saw?
A pole saw is essentially a small chainsaw attached to the end of an extendable pole. Professional and amateur gardeners alike use this tool to reach overhead areas that require trimming or branch removal. The most basic form is a manual saw that you operate by moving it back and forth like any other manual saw, but there are power electric, cordless (battery), and gas versions that we’ll discuss below.
Pole Saw Uses
Pole saws have multiple applications that make them a useful tool for anyone with trees or shrubs.
- Cutting branches. Branch cutting is the most common use for this tool. If you find yourself in a situation where you are unable to reach a branch overhead, a pole saw will protect you. The idea is to avoid both using a ladder and standing on the balls of your feet, practices that create instability and dangerous cutting conditions.
- Tree and shrub trimming and pruning. Pole saws are ideal for trimming unwanted growth as well as annual pruning for those hard to reach places.
Pole Saw Buying Guide
As you might imagine, there are lots of factors to keep in mind when trying to decide which is the best pole saw for you. Here are some features to look for when shopping.
First, ask yourself these questions:
- Will you be using the saw occasionally in a small yard or more often for a larger property?
- How tall are the trees and shrubs you’ll be trimming?
- Will you sometimes want to work in wet conditions?
- Will you have easy access to an electric outlet?
- How important is ease of maintenance, weight, and noise?
- What’s your budget?
The first thing you’ll have to decide is whether you want a manual, gas or electric model.
Manual Pole Saw Pros and Cons
Manual is of course the most simple. It’s just a saw and a clipper on the end of the pole. I used one for years and it worked great for smaller jobs and infrequent use. Of course, for anything more than that, your muscles will thank you for buying a power model.
One advantage of manual pole saws is that they’re much lighter than any power pole saws and can often be extended further, giving you more reach. Since they’re manual, they’re also generally safer to use.
Electric Pole Saw Pros and Cons
Electric models are an excellent option if you have a smaller yard and will be using the saw occasionally. They tend to be light, easy to operate and maintain, and relatively quiet compared to gas models. They’re also affordable.
The downside here is that you need to be near an electric outlet and have to watch out for that pesky electric cord. Being electric, they’re not made for wet conditions. They’re also not as powerful as gas models so they’re not ideal for larger properties or heavier work.
Cordless Pole Saw Pros and Cons
Cordless (Battery) pole saws are generally good for light and moderate work and provide you much more range than a corded model. You also don’t have that annoying electric cord to trip over. Like electric models, there’s virtually no maintenance and they’re quiet and easy to operate.
One negative is the battery itself as they need to be recharged. But, batteries keep getting better and better and generally the battery will last longer than you’ll need unless you’re doing a lot of cutting all at once.
Of course, you can also buy an extra battery. Many manufacturers now offer battery platforms, allowing you to use the same batteries for different tools.
Gas Pole Saw Pros and Cons
Gas pole saws offer more power and range than the other options and are ideal for larger properties, cutting large limbs, and more frequent use. This is what you’ll see professional landscapers using.
The downside is weight as gas powered pole saws will run several pounds heavier than electric or cordless. They also require more maintenance and are generally more noisy than electric and cordless.
Pole Saw Power
When looking at power for electric and cordless models, you’ll want to check out the amp (A) rating. Most models have ratings around 6-8 amps, which is plenty for light or moderate yard work.
For gas pole saws, you’ll want to look at the size of the engine in ccs or the actual horsepower if it’s given. Motors range anywhere from 23cc up to the 40s. If you’re regularly looking at cutting a lot of larger branches, you’ll want to look for a larger cc.
Pole Saw Weight
Weight is a feature that you must take into account, given that you’ll be lifting the tool above your head. Believe me, this is more important than it might appear at first. Your arms, shoulders, neck, and back will really feel the difference of a few pounds.
Gas-powered pole saws are generally heavier and require some upper body strength, but a lot of lighter models extend less, so this feature can be a bit of a tradeoff.
Pole Saw Length
How far the pole will extend is important depending on how far you need to reach. Many models have poles in the 6-9 foot range measured from the base of the handle to the tip of the blade, but this can vary.
Also, manufacturers can be a little tricky here and say things like “12 foot overhead reach capacity” when it’s really a 6 foot pole held overhead 6 feet off the ground.
If you’re not sure here, it’s best to go a little too long than be a little too short which is very frustrating.
Cutting Bar Length
Cutting bar length refers to the effective cutting length of the pole saw. This determines the maximum diameter of branches your pole saw can cut, which ranges anywhere from six to twelve inches.
The longer the cutting bar length, the greater the tool’s ability to cut through thick tree branches. Most pole saws have an 8 or 10 inch bar length, which is plenty to cut through most branches.
You can often find decibel ratings for pole saws which tells you how loud they are. Electric and cordless chainsaws tend to be quieter, which is nice for your hearing and if you don’t want to tick off your neighbors.
Gas pole saws are usually louder and may have decibel ratings over 100 which means you’ll definitely want to use hearing protection.
We hope you found the information in our buying guide and reviews helpful in your search for the best pole saw. Making the right purchase depends on how well you assess your needs, so make sure to take your time to carefully evaluate them and research the products you’re interested in.
After carefully reviewing all the products from our pole saw reviews, our pick for the best pole saw is the Greenworks Pro 10-Inch Cordless 80V Pole Saw. It’s got all of the benefits of cordless combined with a brushless motor that extends time between charges. It’s also got the size and power to handle most jobs for homeowners.
That said, the Sun Joe electric pole saw is very affordable and lightweight if your needs are closer to the house and the Honda system is hard to beat for it’s high end performance and versatility.