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According to the poet, Robert Frost, “The woods are lovely, dark and deep,” etc., etc. Out in the woods, he didn’t have to worry about tree limbs hanging down in his yard, but if you have a house with even one tree around it, you’re going to face that problem sooner or later. Pole saws are the answer.
There’s a grab bag of companies out there making and selling pole saws. In fact, there’s so many it can quickly become confusing. With so many to choose from it’s easy to make a mistake and get the wrong tool, then wind up regretting it. That’s a waste of time and money, so let’s do it differently.
We’ve done the reviews for you. We’ve looked at the available tools on the market today, compared their options, histories, dependability, options, and power, then put together this easy-to-read guide to assist you in making the best choice – for you.
We’ve included some eye-candy with the pictures, but pay close attention to the details. That’s where you’ll find all the detailed information you need to select the best pole saw for your personal needs and your budget.
|Poulan Pro 967044201||4 Years||4.7/5|
|Sun Joe SWJ800E|
(Best for the Money)
|WORX WG309||3 Years||4.3/5|
This 40-volt, battery operated pole saw is well-balanced, lightweight, and easy to handle. It gets the job done with no muss or fuss.
It boasts a tool-less assembly as well as an easy adjustment for chain tensioning. The automatic oiler for the bar and chain includes a translucent oil tank allowing you to view the oil level any time you want to. It’s very economical on oil and doesn’t leak the way some models do. Refilling the oil is quick and painless. The whole bar/chain/oiler assembly is very well designed.
The included charger is fast and the battery has its own state-of-charge indicator. The battery is long-lasting, working at full power for over an hour, and it could probably go further than that before needing a recharge. You might get tired before the battery runs down.
It starts and stops instantly – an important safety feature.
It will cut limbs from 1/2″ to 6″ diameter quickly and efficiently, whether they’re pine, oak, or cedar. It cuts through shrubs and hedges with equal speed and skillfulness.
The safety on it is awkward to use at first, but that’s the only drawback. This saw is definitely our top pick.
The runner-up is also a 40-volt, battery operated pole saw. The battery lasts a long time, up to an hour-and-a-half, and the automatic oiler keeps the bar and chain well lubricated all the time. You can monitor the oil level through the indicator window.
The chain self-tightening adjustment system is very quick and effortless. All you have to do is cut branches.
It handles a wide variety of woods and branch thicknesses. Unless you’re cutting down a tree, this saw will get the job done. It makes quick work of shrubs, hedges, and underbrush too. It’s well-balanced, lightweight, and won’t wear out your arms and shoulders. It even has two poles, giving you the option of a long or short extension.
This oil reservoir on this saw does tend to leak quite a bit. You’ll want to put something under when it’s not in use or drain the reservoir. It uses a lot of oil during in use so make sure you have plenty on hand. The other drawback that keeps it out of first place is the apparent lack of replacement chains. They don’t seem to be available anywhere. Chains can be sharpened, but a replacement would be nice.
This corded saw from Sun Joe, is what we call the best pick for the money. You’ll need an extension cord but this saw really gets the job done – it cuts through branches up to 7-1/2″ thick.
Tensioning the chain is simple – just turn a screw. Assembly and adjustment are both equally simple. It has a very sturdy feel to it and the pole is quite strong, there’s no twisting or bending to it. Extending and retracting the pole is as easy as a quick turn of the locking collar.
The extension cord limits how far you can get from the house or building, but that’s to be expected. What was unexpected was the lack of any oil in the box. You’ll have to get some before you can use it. Get a lot because the oil reservoir leaks.
The trigger lock is awkward to use and there needs to be a slot for the adjustment wrench to keep it with the tool.
None of these are deal breakers – this is a good saw – but they are enough to keep it out of the top two. Nonetheless, for the money, this is the one.
This pole saw doubles as a corded electrical chainsaw. Remove the pole and it has everything you need to quickly use it as a lightweight chainsaw. The conversion from one mode to the other is tool-less and simple.
The automatic chain tensioner, advertised as “patented”, doesn’t work – at all. You’ll have to tension it manually, and since it’s designed to be automatic, doing it manually is a royal pain. The chain comes off constantly during use, meaning you have tension and re-tension it all the time, adding insult to injury.
Since this is actually a chainsaw on a pole, all the weight is on the far end of the pole. Extending the pole more than a few feet results in a huge strain on your arms and shoulders. The Terminator himself would have a hard time holding this thing steady when it’s fully extended – it’s just too heavy.
Safety alert! The chain keeps moving for nearly five seconds after you release the switch. You can also turn it on by mistake because there’s no trigger lock.
And . . . it leaks oil.
Use this as a chainsaw if you must but be careful, it’s dangerous.
This corded electrical pole saw works fine on branches and small tree trunks. The problem is, it seldom works or doesn’t work for long. It doesn’t work on hedges or for trimming small bushes though, the limbs constantly get caught in the chain and jam it. Pulling them out isn’t easy. Nothing on this saw is easy.
The oil reservoir leaks worse than any others on the list. You’ll run through a lot of oil on this saw. It leaves a puddle wherever you set it.
There are numerous electrical problems with this tool. The switch in the handle has to be thumped to get it to work. There are also electrical problems in the motor. These electrical issues are completely unacceptable.
This saw is top heavy and hard to use when the pole is extended. Replacement parts aren’t readily available and Earthwise customer service is essentially useless. The internal gears stripped and fixing it should have been an easy repair but they aren’t available and customer service was no help at all.
The bad design on this pole saw makes it last on the list, and deservedly so.
Pole saws, even the top-end ones, aren’t the most expensive tool you’ll ever buy, but when you’re trying to beautify your home or business, getting the wrong one can send your blood pressure through the roof. Take the time to think it over before you buy and you’ll save yourself a world of grief.
When you’re buying an electrical pole saw the most immediate thing you’ll notice, and have to choose between, is whether you want a battery operated saw or one that uses an electrical cord. There are some very real pros and cons to battery operated versus corded electrical tools. Let’s take a look at them separately to make things easier.
Battery operated pole saws give you an unlimited range of motion and activity. If you find yourself going around and around a tree or a huge pile of bushes you won’t have to worry about getting an extension cord tangled up in things. You can move back and forth as the need arises constantly having to check on the where the cord is or have the saw yanked out of your hand or suddenly loose power when the cord snags on something.
The more trimming you do, the more branches and limbs will be laying on the ground, presenting increased opportunities for tangled cords. It also means you’ll have to spend more time on cord management, moving it over and under and around things to keep it clear.
Batteries free you from all of it. With battery operated saws, the only thing you have to worry about is where your next cut is going to be.
Batteries also give you the freedom to range far afield beyond the reach of most extension cords. You can even toss the saw in the back of a work truck and head for the other side of your property where there might not be any outlets around. If you’re taking care of anything larger than an ordinary residential lot, that freedom of range and movement will become priceless.
But there are two sides to every argument, so let’s take a look at the other one.
With pole saws that use electrical cords, you’ll never have to worry about running out of power. Batteries, even the best of them, have inherent limits on how much juice they can store before they begin running down. It’s just the laws of nature. If you have a lot of cutting and trimming to do this could become a huge issue.
Batteries for pole saws and other electrical equipment are expensive. The moment you run into a situation where you’ll be needing to work beyond the limits of how much power they can store, you’ll have to start purchasing those expensive spares. If you do professional yard word it’s probably a good investment, but if you’re only doing occasional work around the house, perhaps each spring, then you might be spending money you don’t need to.
If buying a spare battery isn’t an option for some reason, you’ll be in the alternate position where you’ll be able to work for a while then have to wait while the battery recharges for an hour to an hour-and-a-half. You can get some clean-up while you’re waiting, but it breaks the rhythm of your work and it can be hard to get back into it.
Extension cords are relatively cheap compared to the 40-volt batteries required by these tools. It might be more cost-effective to string a couple of them together to reach the outside of your property if you’re only using your pole saw once or twice a year.
A good pole saw needs to be lightweight. Ten or twelve pounds is fairly light until you have to hold it at the end of an eight-foot pole. An unbalanced weight can put tremendous amounts of stress on your arms and shoulders in next to no time.
Look for a saw that is well-balanced. Weight at the back end helps counter-balance the weight of the saw at the other end, reliving the stress on you and making the tool much more comfortable to use if you’ve got a lot of work to do.
A good pole saw should have lots of power. Electrical tools, and especially batteries for them, have come a long way in recent years. There’s no reason to put up with an underpowered saw. The one you purchase should, at a minimum, be able to cut through 6″ tree limbs without any problems. More is better of course, but 6″ is the minimum you should accept.
It should also be easy to adjust, and tool-less adjustments will always be preferable to adjustments which require hex wrenches or screwdrivers.
Make sure you get a good warranty, then make sure you fill out the card and send it in or fill it out online or whatever it is the manufacturer requires. It’s hard enough sometimes getting companies to honor their warranties with making their job easier by giving them extra ammunition to use against you. Fill out the warranty and send it in. Maybe you’ll never need it, but if you do, and you didn’t fill it out you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
On a related note, it’s rare to buy directly from the manufacturer so check with the retailer and see if they offer any exchanges or repairs for damaged or dead equipment. Since they have to deal directly with the public they have more of an incentive to do the right thing than manufacturers do. The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask – so ask.
As with any tools, there are a number of options you should consider when it’s time to buy. First of all, replacement chains.
Chainsaw chains can be sharpened of course, but eventually, even the best of them break or wear out so there comes a point when you’ll need to replace it. As much as it galls us to admit it, manufacturers have a tendency to “obsolete” equipment models as fast as they make them. A pole saw that’s brand new today might be obsolete in a few years. To avoid getting caught in that trap, go ahead and get an extra chain while you can.
After that, it gets a little easier. Chainsaws will always need oil. Get plenty of it.
They’ll also need a good carrying case to protect them when they’re in storage. Pole saws aren’t something that gets used a lot and throwing an old blanket around it isn’t the best idea. Carrying cases don’t cost much and they can extend the life of your tool.
Spare batteries are always a good idea for battery operated equipment. Who cares if the saw is in perfect working order but the battery is dead and there aren’t any on the market for it anymore? As with the extra chains, and using the same logic, get a spare while you can.
The battery operated Greenworks 20672 is easily the top pick on the list today. It’s well designed, rugged, dependable, lightweight, and easy to use. The battery carries a good charge for extended use so you’re not constantly running back and forth changing batteries. Quite simply, this is the pick of the litter.
The Sun Joe SWJ800E is our choice in these reviews for best for the money. The assembly and adjustments are quick and simple so you can get busy tearing up those limbs and bushes. You’ll need an extension cord, but considering its other features, it’s well worth it.
The marketplace can be a real jungle out there in terms of confusion and competing claims. We do these reviews so you can make your decisions without having to wade through the muck and the mire because we’ve already done it for you.
All you have to do now is take this review in hand, compare it to your personal needs in your own situation, and get the pole saw that best fits your unique requirements.