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Compare the best pole saws

Find a saw that'll go out on a limb for you.

Have a trimming or pruning job that’s way up in the air? A pole saw can offer a safer and more convenient solution than using a chainsaw or hand pruners on a ladder.

The right type of pole saw for you depends on factors like how often you plan to use it, your experience level and what you’ll be cutting.

Compare some of the best pole saws

NameAverage priceTypeMax extension (feet)Weight (pounds)Blade length (inches)Engine/motorPurchase
Friskars PowerLever $46Manual14615N/ABuy now
Echo PPF-225 $439Gas7.812.81021.2 cubic centimetersBuy now
Greenworks 20672$142Cordless89.2840 voltsBuy now
Sun Joe SWJ800E $66Electric157.786.5 ampsBuy now
BLACK+DECKER LPP120 $139Cordless1014.4820 voltsBuy now
Data obtained May 2019. Prices are subject to change and should be used only as a general guide.

What is a pole saw?

Pole saws consist of a manual or powered saw on the end of an extendable pole. Their primary use is to prune or trim high branches or shrubs that are hard or impossible to reach with a ladder or other means.

Types of pole saws

You’ll find a variety of pole saw types, and the right choice for you will depend on your experience level and what you want to use the saw for.

TypeDescriptionBest forProsCons
GasConsists of a gas engine and a small chainsaw bladeLarge jobs and professionals
  • The most powerful option
  • Long run time on a tank of gas
  • Portable
  • Can be heavy
  • Loud
ElectricPowered by electricity and need to be plugged inAverage-sized yards
  • Lighter than gas models
  • Little maintenance
  • Unlimited run time while plugged in
  • Restricted by cord length
  • Not as powerful as gas models
CordlessRuns on a batteryOccasional use
  • Low maintenance
  • Portable
  • Short run time on one charge
  • Less powerful than corded or gas
CombinationA multitool that allows the saw to be detached from the pole; can also be used as a small chainsaw or hedge trimmersSmaller tasks around the yard
  • Several tools in one
  • Can be cost effective
  • Detachable chainsaw best for small jobs
  • May be less powerful than other options
ManualConsists of a long pole with a curved hacksaw blade at the endTrimming and pruning trees with minimal damage
  • More control
  • Safer
  • Inexpensive
  • Requires more physical effort to use
  • Less cutting power

How to compare pole saws

Consider these main features of a pole saw when comparing models:

  • Price. Prices can range from around $40 for a manual model to $500 for an advanced gas-powered version. For the average homeowner, a mid-range model should be sufficient.
  • Length. Pole saws can extend anywhere from eight to 30 or more inches. Consider the height of the trees or shrubs you plan to trim to figure out the length of pole you need. Always go by the maximum extension, rather than the reach, as some manufacturers factor in the height of the person using the saw to come up with the reach figure.
  • Blade. The blades on powered pole saws work like small chainsaws, with a rotating chain that spins around the circumference of the bar. These blades come in different bar sizes, which typically range from four to 10 inches. The blades on manual pole saws are stationary and rely on your manpower in order to cut.
  • Weight. Gas-powered saws are usually heavier than corded models, and manual saws are the lightest options. Consider how much weight you can reasonably control when choosing a pole saw.
  • Extra features. Some higher-end models come with extra bells and whistles like an automatic chain lubrication feature, adjustable angle head, anti-vibration handle and removable extensions for easier storage.

How to use a pole saw

Read the manual that came with your saw for specific operating and running instructions. These are just general guidelines for using a pole saw.

  1. Clear a large space beneath the area where you’ll be working on and ensure that no people or pets will enter it while you work.
  2. Most cuts require your blade to be placed above the branch you’re trimming.
  3. You may need to make several preliminary cuts to reduce the weight of the branch before removing it completely.
  4. Hold the pole at chest level and stand to the side of the limb you’re cutting, not directly beneath it.
  5. Start slowly and deliberately to create a groove in the branch. This will help to control your saw through the remainder of the cut.
  6. Keep your eyes on the branch throughout the cut, and be ready to move out of the way if necessary.
  7. Clear your work area before cutting another branch.

Pole saw safety tips

Keep these important safety tips in mind when using your pole saw to help prevent injuries:

  • Wear proper safety gear, like goggles, work boots, leather gloves and a hard hat.
  • Do not cut more than your saw can handle. Most models are designed to only cut limbs that are a few inches thick.
  • Never work on branches near or above power lines.
  • If using an extension cord, make sure it’s rated for outdoor use.
  • Only cut one limb or branch at a time.
  • Watch for kickback and spring-back. Make several smaller cuts if necessary to reduce the weight of the branch.

Bottom line

A pole saw can be handy for cutting high limbs, branches and shrubs. There are quite a few types and models to choose from, so it’s worth doing a little research before buying to make sure you’re getting the best fit for your specific needs.

Ready to buy? Compare top pole saws

Not sure if a pole saw is the right tool for the job? Compare popular chainsaws instead.

How did we choose these products?

We performed online research, comparing the type, size, price and overall features of popular pole saws to create our list of the best ones. We also factored in third-party product reviews to round out our research.

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