Tree maintenance is an important part of property ownership, especially if you want those trees to stick around for as long as possible. Even the healthiest trees require routine care to keep their beauty and structural integrity. With a pole saw, you can skip the ladder and make quick work of cutting and pruning that will keep your trees looking great and growing strong.

Disease, bad weather, and age can all take a toll on the trees around your home. The sooner you tend to sick or damaged branches, the better chance the tree has of leading a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, these branches are often just out of reach. 

Pole saws come in many styles, but the one thing they all have in common is the ability to reach branches several feet off of the ground. So before you grab your chainsaw and stepladder, here’s what you need to know about adding a pole saw to your tool collection:

What to Look for in a Pole Saw

Manual vs. Powered

Manual pole saws are powered by the user. While manual they are simple and lightweight, they’re much less popular than their powered counterparts.

Powered pole saws are like extended chainsaws. They require much less labor and can complete jobs faster than a manual saw.

Power Type

Electric corded pole saws are great if you have access to an outdoor outlet. Battery-powered pole saws are convenient and can go anywhere, but are best used for quick projects. Even with a fully charged battery, they deliver less power.

Gas-powered pole saws offer the most power and are perfect for big projects. Unfortunately, they also require the most upkeep and can be quite expensive. Gas-powered saws are loud, meaning they’re not ideal for small properties with nearby neighbors. 

Bonus Attachments

Many pole saws come with detachable heads. You can swap these heads out for specialty attachments like hedge trimmers, pruning shears, and brushcutters.

Top 10 Best Pole Saws

Best Overall

1. Milwaukee M18 Fuel Cordless 10 in. Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 12.7 lb

Handle length: Up to 7 ft

Cutting bar length: 10 in

Additional attachments sold separately

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When it comes to electric power tools, the vast majority are designed for light use by everyday homeowners. So when a company like Milwaukee Tool claims its battery-powered tools can meet the needs of professional landscapers, you know it’s going to deliver.

The M18 FUEL 10” Pole Saw really shines when it comes to sheer power. This pole saw can make 150 cuts on a single battery charge. The motor reaches full throttle just one second after being turned on. Even dense hardwood trees won’t stand a chance.

As is, this pole saw is shorter than most. You can purchase a separate extension shaft for a maximum length of 10 feet. The pole saw itself is already on the premium end, so take this into account when comparing different options. For anyone willing to invest in a pole saw packed with power and versatility, Milwaukee Tool definitely delivers.

Most Versatile

2. Remington RM1035P Ranger II Electric 2-in-1 Pole Saw & Chainsaw

Key Features

Power: Electric corded

Weight: 12.5 lb

Handle length: Up to 10 ft

Cutting bar length: 10 in

Detachable chainsaw with inline motor

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For the past century, Remington hasn’t just been a leader in power tools. The brand specifically earned its reputation by creating some of the first chainsaws for both professionals and homeowners. 

If you want the convenience of a pole saw mixed with a miniature chainsaw, the Remington RM1035P Ranger II has everything you need. This pole saw features a sleek inline motor that lets you easily reach between branches without any hassle. But you can also attach the base directly to the cutting head for a corded handheld chainsaw.

The most common issue with this pole saw is the weight. Not only is it a bit heavier than other options, but the weight distribution leaves something to be desired. This isn’t the best pole saw for long cutting sessions, especially for smaller users. If you’re unbothered by sore and tired arms, though, you won’t find a better version of the two-in-one pole saw.

Best Budget

3. BLACK DECKER Corded Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric corded

Weight: 8 lb

Handle length: Up to 9.5 ft

Cutting bar length: 10 in

Oregon low-kickback bar and chain

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With over 100 years of power tool innovation under its belt, BLACK DECKER is one of the most recognizable names in the industry. Even if you’re not already a loyal customer of the brand, consider investing in BLACK DECKER for your first pole saw.

The BLACK DECKER 6.5 Amp 9-1/2 ft. Pole Saw is significantly lighter than battery- and gas-powered models. The motor delivers 6.5 Amps of power to cut through otherwise hard-to-reach branches without strain or fatigue. It also features an Oregon low-kickback blade and automatic oiling system for easy maintenance of the chain and cutting bar.

There’s no need to worry about running out of juice, so you can get the job done in one go rather than stopping to recharge or refuel. As long as relying on a power cord isn’t a dealbreaker, this BLACK DECKER pole saw is a worthy addition to any lawn care arsenal.

4. Oregon Cordless PS250 8-Inch 40V Telescoping Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 13.5 lb

Handle length: Up to 10 ft

Cutting bar length: 8 in

Battery charges in about 140 minutes

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If you’re looking for a company that knows a thing or two about saws, don’t miss the chance to add an Oregon pole saw to your tool kit. Oregon has been creating forestry products since the 1940s. Today, the brand serves a wide variety of professional and residential customers looking for the best in cutting technology.

The Oregon PS250 Cordless Pole Saw is quite portable, especially for the amount of power it delivers. This electric pole saw runs quietly and features three power configurations tailored to your specific project. 

The telescoping handle can extend up to 10 feet, letting you reach otherwise inaccessible branches that need to come down. The motor is mounted in the middle of the pole for a more balanced weight distribution. Oregon really prioritizes comfort-of-use with this design, making it ideal for anyone looking for a pole saw with low vibration and kickback.

5. Greenworks 8-Inch 40V Cordless Polesaw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 8.38 lb (not including battery)

Handle length: Up to 8 ft

Cutting bar length: 8 in

Automatic blade oiler

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Greenworks is known for supplying battery-powered tools to homeowners and landscaping professionals alike. While high-quality electric tools are becoming commonplace, this company really paved the way for making the technology more accessible to the average person. 

Along with a chainsaw-style head, this pole saw comes with a 20-inch dual-action hedge trimmer attachment. This Greenworks pole saw automatically applies oil to the chain and cutting bar to preserve the blade’s integrity. Oil is stored in a translucent tank so you can check the level with a quick glance.

If you already own Greenworks tools with the G-MAX 40V Li-Ion Battery System, you can add this pole saw to your collection without worrying about compatibility between your batteries and charging stations. The Greenworks 40V 8” Cordless Pole Saw & Hedge Trimmer includes everything you need to maintain basic landscaping. 

6. Ryobi ONE 8 in. 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Cordless Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 8 lb

Handle length: Up to 9.5 ft

Cutting bar length: 8 in

Battery fully charges in just 30 minutes

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With so many brands focused on meeting the needs of professionals, it’s nice to see a company put consumer power tools at the forefront. Ryobi is a Japanese tech company most famous for making power tools in the United States. Of course, they also offer a variety of lawn and garden tools.

The Ryobi 18V ONE 8” Pole Saw is a lightweight model powered by a 1.3Ah battery. It’s designed with an inline motor for precision cutting between tight tree limbs. You can easily maneuver the cutting bar to trim the exact branches that need to come down. This pole saw also includes a shoulder harness for additional balance and control during long jobs. 

One of the biggest selling points of this pole saw (and Ryobi’s complete range of ONE products) is the ability to use a single battery with nearly 200 different tools. While the battery charges quickly and packs a punch, it doesn’t come close to the power you’ll get from a corded or gas-powered pole saw. Go with this pole saw if you plan to trim small branches and shrubbery across a large property.

7. WORX WG323 20V Power Share Cordless 10-inch Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 10 lb

Handle length: Up to 8 ft

Cutting bar length: 10 in

Detachable handheld chainsaw

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With the growing popularity of battery-powered lawn and garden tools, more and more companies are coming out with their own lines of interchangeable battery packs and attachments. WORX is one such company that has put sustainability and consumer convenience at the top of its priority list.

The WORX 20V Power Share Cordless Pole/Chain Saw is unlike most others you’ll find on the market. While you can use the extension pole to cut branches up high, you can also remove the top and use it as a handheld chainsaw. Unfortunately, the design is a bit bulkier than other models, making it hard to reach between some tree limbs.

The chain is equipped with an automatic tension system. It also includes easy-to-read indicators for the automatic oiling system and the battery life. If you don’t mind trading a streamlined profile for a host of extra features, there’s a good chance this is the best pole saw for your needs.

8. TrimmerPlus TPP720 8” Polesaw with Bar and Chain Attachment

Key Features

Power: Gas

Handle length: Up to 7 ft

Cutting bar length: 8 in

Attaches to compatible string trimmers

Automatic chain oiler

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Unless you’re brand new to lawn care, you’ve heard the name Troy-Bilt. This company has been making tillers, mowers, snowblowers, and string trimmers for over 80 years. The Troy-Bilt TrimmerPlus line of attachments, including the PS720 TrimmerPlus Add-On Pole Saw, is a newer addition to the brand’s offerings.

With the PS720 TrimmerPlus Add-On Pole Saw, you can transform your compatible string trimmer into a handy pole saw. This gas-powered pole saw works with attachment-compatible Troy-Bilt trimmer models. It also works with many attachment-capable string trimmers from popular brands like Remington, Craftsman, Hyper Tough, and Cub Cadet.

This pole saw attachment works just like the full-size version. The extendable handle can reach up to 7 feet, for an average working height of 11 to 12 feet. It also includes an automatic oiler to keep the cutting bar in tip-top shape. Unfortunately, it’s common for the chain to fall off and become dull even with minimal use. If you’re looking for a pole saw attachment for your gas-powered trimmer, though, this is a great entry-level option.

9. DEWALT 20V MAX XR Pole Saw

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 9.8 lb

Handle length: Up to 10 ft

Cutting bar length: 8 in

Built-in bucking strip and tree hook

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DeWalt is a trusted name in the home and garden sphere, as well as among professional construction and woodworkers. While the company is not known for its battery-powered tools, it has jumped onto the bandwagon in recent years with a collection of cordless power tools for consumers.

The 8-inch cutting bar is ideal for small pruning jobs and the inline motor makes it easy to slip between tree branches. It also features a bucking strip and tree hook for added support during operation and when lowering cut branches. The automatic oiling system keeps the low-kickback bar and chain in working condition without any fuss on your part. 

The DeWalt 20V MAX XR Cordless Pole Saw can make up to 96 cuts on a single battery charge. However, the 20V battery does fall short of most other cordless pole saws and leaves this model somewhat underpowered. This pole saw is perfect for pruning thin branches but not for anything bigger.

10. Enegitech Pole Saw Shaft Attachment

Key Features

Power: Electric cordless

Weight: 3.64 lb (10.44 lb with power head)

Cutting bar length: 10 in

Requires separate power head

Equipped with Oregon cutting bar and chain

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Owning a pole saw certainly is handy but you might find yourself only reaching for this power tool once or twice a year. Enegitech solves this problem by offering a 58V power head with a collection of six removable attachments. 

The Enegitech ZMPC02 10-inch Pole Saw Shaft Attachment features an impressive cutting bar that can handle branches up to 6 inches thick. It utilizes an Oregon steel cutting bar and chisel tooth chain, so you know the saw itself is high-quality. The translucent, automatic oil tank protects the blade during use.

The pole saw shaft attachment by itself weighs less than 4 pounds, so it’s easy to hold overhead for extended periods without fatigue. Unlike many other pole saw attachments, this model is only compatible with the Enegitech ZMDG5122P Power Head. If you’re just looking for an affordable power tool setup that you can easily customize to fit your property’s needs, then this might be worth the investment.

Ultimate Pole Saw Buyer’s Guide

Picking the Right Pole Saw for You

Not all pole saws are the right fit for every scenario. Knowing how you plan to use your new pole saw (tree height, branch thickness, frequency, etc.) will help you find the perfect model for your future landscaping projects.

Cutting Bar Length

The length of a pole saw cutting bar determines how large of branches it can cut through. Ideally, the cutting bar should be at least two inches longer than the biggest branch you plan to cut.

Weight

Lighter pole saws allow for more control and for longer periods of cutting without fatigue. Generally, gas-powered pole saws are the heaviest. Followed by battery-powered, corded, and, finally, manual models.

Handle Length

Choosing the right pole saw largely comes down to how high up you need to reach. They come in all different handle lengths for different project types. Extendable handles allow for working at various heights with a single saw.

Maintenance Requirements

Gas-powered pole saws generally require more routine maintenance than electric-powered ones. Keep this in mind when selecting the best power type for your needs.

Operating Your Pole Saw Safely

Just because a pole saw is smaller than a traditional chainsaw doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous to operate. It’s important to familiarize yourself with your new saw and invest in proper safety equipment

Respect a pole saw as you would a full-size chainsaw or hand saw. Store your saw out of reach of children or pets who might be injured by the blade even when powered off.

Give Everything a Once-Over

The first rule of power tool safety is to double-check everything before you start. Even if you used your pole saw yesterday, inspect the entire machine before turning on the motor: 

  • Ensure the chain is secure on the cutting bar.
  • Inspect the power cord, battery, or fuel tank for leaks or damage.
  • Check that all attachments are correctly connected.
  • Extend the handle to the appropriate length and ensure it is locked into place.

If your pole saw has an automatic oiling system:

  • Check the oil tank level.
  • Ensure the automatic oiler is functional by placing the cutting bar against a stump and turning on the motor — a line of oil should be left behind on the stump.

Wear the Right Gear

Before operating a pole saw, ensure you’re wearing appropriate gear. Sturdy, closed-toe shoes are a must. Wear thick, full-length pants and a shirt with sleeves to protect your arms and legs. Some users even suggest wearing chainsaw chaps to properly protect your legs.

Be aware that debris will likely fall from overhead while you operate the pole saw. You should always wear safety goggles and a protective hat to prevent injury. 

Gas-powered pole saws can be quite loud. It’s a good idea to wear protective earplugs any time you’re near loud power tools, even if you’re not the operator.

Don’t Cut Directly Overhead

Speaking of debris falling from above, you should never stand directly below the branch you plan to cut. Instead, hold the pole saw at an angle and allow plenty of room between yourself and the soon-to-be-falling branch. 

Clear the area around the tree before cutting any branches — even small ones. You will only have so much control over where falling branches land. Keep children, pets, and belongings far away from the potential landing zone to prevent accidents or injuries.

Using Your Pole Saw to Prune Trees

Most people use a pole saw to prune shade trees around their homes. This process is very simple. However, improper pruning can affect the tree’s structural integrity, health, and appearance.

For the best results, follow these steps to prune your trees:

Don’t Wait to Start

If your goal is to encourage strong, healthy growth for the future, the earlier you start pruning your trees the better. 

Young trees are more receptive to pruning as they’re still undergoing structural growth. While you can prune mature trees to remove damaged or unsightly branches, this practice won’t impact their future growth habits.

Pruning a young tree also means leaving behind smaller wounds that will (generally) heal faster. 

Look at the Big Picture

A freshly pruned tree won’t always look better than it started. The goal in pruning is to set your trees up for stronger growth in the future. Start at the top of the tree and work your way down, identifying which branches will support balanced long-term growth.

You should always remove branches that are damaged, defective, or affecting the tree’s overall growth. Cut branches that are touching or growing at too narrow of an angle — for most tree species, the ideal angle is about 60 degrees from the trunk. 

Know When to Prune

What time of year should you pull out your pole saw and get to work? That depends on a few factors.

When pruning young trees to encourage proper growth, winter is the best season. Winter pruning lets you take full advantage of your trees’ growth cycle. Most trees are dormant during this time of year. Once spring comes, the tree will enter its most vigorous growth phase.

To correct a tree that’s growing too far in one direction, turn to summer pruning. Pruning branches in summer will effectively “stunt” the tree’s growth in that direction. Summer is also the perfect time to cut away damaged or structurally unsound limbs.

Set Your Trees Up For Success

Of course, tree pruning doesn’t happen in a bubble. There are several outside factors that can affect how your tree responds to pruning.

Take note of common tree-borne pests and diseases in your area. These hazards often worsen during specific parts of the year, and you will want to schedule your pruning around them. Cutting branches will leave your trees susceptible to infection, and you want to do everything possible to limit their risk.

Avoid non-essential pruning immediately after transplanting a tree. The tree needs to time adjust to its new home, and excessive pruning will tax its systems.

Pole Saw FAQs

What is a working height?

Many pole saw manufacturers list a “working height.” This is the combined length of the pole saw’s handle and the average user’s arm — it is not the handle alone. It does not include the distance from the user’s arm and the ground.

Remember that this number is only an estimate. The exact working height will ultimately depend on your own arm length. It’s better to go by a pole saw’s actual handle length for an accurate measurement.

How do you determine an ideal pole saw length?

Since the whole point of a pole saw is being able to reach high branches, the last thing you want is a handle that’s too short. If you know the average height of the branches you plan to cut with a pole saw, you can work backward to find the right handle length for your needs.

For an accurate measurement of how high you can reach with any given model, stand like you’re holding a pole saw overhead. Have someone measure from the ground to your bottom hand (the one “holding” the saw’s base). Add this measurement to the handle length of any pole saw to determine approximately how far you will be able to reach.

Can you use a pole saw on a ladder?

Pole saws are incredibly useful because they allow for cutting tree limbs not reachable with a traditional saw. Unfortunately, you might still find some branches are too high to reach. 

It may be tempting to pull out a ladder to bridge the gap — don’t do it. Operating a pole saw on a ladder is just as dangerous as doing the same with a regular chainsaw. No amount of safety gear will change that fact.

You can instead cut down these branches with an appropriate tool like a rope saw. Or hire a professional tree cutting service to remove branches that are too high to reach yourself.

Can you cut through large trees or branches with a pole saw?

Pole saws are designed for a specific job, and they do that job very well. Use your pole saw to prune small branches of trees or shrubs. As a general rule, you should only cut branches that are at least two inches smaller than your saw blade.

Attempting to cut through a tree trunk or thick branch is not just ineffective. It’s also very likely to damage your pole saw — perhaps permanently. This increases the risk of malfunction and potential injury to the pole saw’s operator.

Do you need to use a pruning sealer?

Whether removing a branch because of disease, damage, or aesthetics, your tree is going to be left with an open wound. Just like people and animals, this wound can let in bacteria that could cause further damage to the tree. Pruning sealer, or wound paint, is often used to close this wound after cutting down a branch.

Recently, though, pruning sealer has fallen out of favor. Most arborists and landscapers now prefer to let the tree heal on its own. In some cases, using a sealant can actually impede the tree’s natural defense mechanisms (which are quite efficient on their own!). 

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