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Pole saw, from the name itself you can say there’s a saw on a pole. And that is, indeed, correct. A pole saw has a lightweight chainsaw attached to its top which helps in pruning and trimming of branches.

This outdoor tool is popular with homeowners with a backyard filled with trees and shrubs. Using a pole saw, you can easily cut the thick branches and clear shrubs. And if you’re planning to buy a new pole pruning saw then this detailed guide will help you pick the best model.

Using Pole Saw

What is Pole Saw Used For?

What is Pole Saw Used For


For better health and appearance of the tree, you must trim off a few of its leaves or delicate branches. Trimming is generally done in minutes as it does not involve cutting thick logs. Also, trimming a tree encourages healthy growth that makes your landscape look beautiful. Using a pole trimmer saw you can trim off extra growth in minutes.


Although we use the terms trimming and pruning interchangeably, there are a few differences between them. While trimming is the removal of green shoots from the end sides of a tree, pruning involves the removal of unnecessary branches. A pole saw is extremely helpful in pruning down tree branches as it can chop off a thick branch in seconds that might take long minutes to cut manually.

Cut Hard to Reach Branches

If you’ve cut or are still pruning tree branches climbing up the ladder with a prune saw in hand then you might know some branches are difficult to reach. And that’s when a pole pruning saw helps the most. The extended reach of the pole helps to reach high and difficult to reach branches easily. Leave the rest up to the chainsaw at the pole end as it will prune the unwanted branch down.

Brush Clearing

Planted several brush trees in your garden? Then you probably know how fast they grow. No doubt, they glorify your landscape but are high to maintain. And an electric pole saw helps to cut through challenging branches in minutes. Thus, maintaining brush trees is no longer elbow grease with a good quality pole saw.

Helpful Pole Saw Accessories

Before operating any sharp tool you need to have safety accessories by your side. This ensures safe operation and maximum user safety while using such sharp electric tools. And below listed are a few helpful accessories that will make your pruning/trimming task much easier.

Eye Protection Glasses

Never, I repeat, never operate a pole pruning saw without wearing your safety goggles. Tiny debris falling from above can cause heavy irritation to your eyes. Also, there are a few cases of cornea damage due to wooden debris falling into the eye. So always wear good eye protection glasses before starting your pole saw for trimming trees.


Holding a pole properly leads to safer and more accurate cuts. And if you’re not sure about where the top-mounted chainsaw will lean holding the pole bear-handed then grab a pair of gloves. Now here, I do not mean to pick the pair of soft woolen mittens. You need gloves with a rubber grip that helps you lift the pole saw better. In addition to a good grip, the gloves will also protect your hands from stings, thrones, and splinters while picking up the pruned branches.

Ear Plug

I would not force you to wear earplugs, especially when using electric or cordless pole saws. This is because they are less noisier than gas pole saws and are perfect for homes with small to mid-size backyard/garden. But you will need good earplugs or noise-canceling headphones when operating a gasoline pole saw. Or if you’re planning to prune a large area.

Hard Hat

Pruned branches do not always fall according to your calculations. Protect your head by wearing a hard hat. Though they look funny, there are several cases where people have claimed how a hard hat saved their lives.

A Rake

Save cleaning time by using a rack once you’re done trimming/pruning branches. A good metal garden rack will collect leaves and sticks from a large area easily. Also, it would be a good idea to have a wheelbarrow nearby to dump and transport the garden waste to the desired location.

How to Use a Pole Saw

How to Use a Pole Saw – Step-By-Step Guide

Pruning down branches using a pole saw is all easy as long as you follow the proper cutting method. And if you do not have first-hand experience on using a pole saw then read the below detailed step-by-step guide on using a pole pruning saw for better and safe trimming/pruning every time.

Plan in Advance

Take a short survey of your backyard/garden. Note down all the trees you want to trim or cut branches off. By the time you’re surveying your backyard, charge the batteries of your cordless pole saw to 100%.

Or in the case of a corded electric pole chainsaw, make sure the extensions reach the intended area easily. Check up for the gas or oil ratio before using a gas pole saw for the flawless completion of your landscaping project.

Keep the work area clean

Remove any tree branches, pile of leaves, or limbs out of the way before you begin pruning trees. Having a clean work area eliminates trip hazards that could be extremely dangerous using a pole saw.

Arrange the extensions(if any) in such a manner that they do not get into your way while trimming trees or shrubs. The wires(extensions) should be a minimum of 6 feet away from your legs.

Wear safety gears

Always put on your safety gear before operating such a sharp power tool. I’ve already listed safe pole saw accessories above that will result in safer operations. Apart from that, wear the right clothing and footwear to protect yourself from any injuries. Avoid wearing flip-flops. Boots or running shoes are a good pick.

Position Yourself

The best way to cut a branch is to stand off to the side rather than standing directly below it. This not only provides a better cutting angle but also reduces the chances of the heavy branch falling to your head. Also, you can angle-cut the branch for it to fall down properly without damaging other branches or trees.

Adjust pole saw Length & Blade

After positioning yourself, it’s time to set the pole saw length and blade angle. Extend the pole length such that the chainsaw remains close to it. Do not extend the pole height beyond the branch as it will also make cutting uncomfortable. For best settings, refer to the included user manual.

After setting the pole length, you need to adjust the blade angle. Many pole chainsaw provides an option to adjust the angle, if not many, you get at least 3 angle settings. Set the blade angle such that it cuts through the wood seamlessly with fewer kickbacks.

Begin with lower branches

Always begin by pruning the lower branches of the tree. This will give you a better view of what other branches need to cut down for a better look. Also, it eases access to higher branches for a safer cut.

Start the chainsaw

Start the tool and begin by cutting a few limbs first. Once you get the idea of speed move towards thick branches. Rather than cutting the thick branch in one go, it is ideal to make a groove first. Groove helps in the proper cutting of thick branches without the blade slipping in between.

To make a groove in the tree branch, begin cutting the wood slowly. Do not apply too much pressure, instead, tap the throttle with your finger. Once the groove is deep enough you can cut the thick branch easily with your electric pole saw.

Power Off

Once the branch is pruned, keep your eye on it as it will fall. Move quickly to protect your head and body from the branch. It is not necessary that the branch will always fall straight. So it is better to take precautions to avoid any unfortunate accidents.

Besides, let the chainsaw stop completely before pulling it down. It only takes a few seconds for the blade to stop. This one simple step can also save you from accidents.

How big of a branch can you cut with a pole saw?

How big of a branch can you cut with a pole saw

This is one common question asked by many homeowners, how thick of a branch can you cut with a pole saw. And honestly, the answer depends upon the pole saw model you’re using. However, any pole saw can cut thick branches measuring up to 3-8 inches thick.

A residential pole saw provides a cutting depth of 1.5 to 3 inches. This works perfectly for backyards and garden trees. In fact, use a cordless or electric pole saw with such cutting depth and you can trim/prune all tress or long shrubs of your garden.

But if you own a large backyard with a number of trees then it would be best to buy a gas pole saw. This eliminates the need to recharge batteries after a few cuts as well as no need to set extension cables. Simply fill up the gas and check on oil levels. The power and long-running time of gasoline pole pruning saws make them ideal for large backyards and commercial use. Also, a professional pole saw provides a cutting depth of more than 5 inches which can handle thick branches very well.

Can you use a pole saw to cut down a tree?

Yes, it is possible to cut down a tree using a pole saw given that the chainsaw part is separable from the pole. Also, not all pole saws are powerful enough to cut down a tree. Besides, you need to follow a proper pruning procedure to take down a tree.

Begin by pruning smaller and lower branches of the tree and then reach to higher ones. After that, separate the chainsaw from the pole and begin cutting the bark of the tree. Again, it is better to make a groove first and then cut the rest of the bark for better positioning of the tree when it falls.

A cordless pole saw is not powerful enough to cut down a tree. On the other hand, a gas-powered pole saw is a good pick to cut a tree. This is because it offers more power as compared to electric and battery-operated pole saws.

Can You Use Pole Saw on a Ladder?

The purpose of using a pole saw is to skip climbing a ladder for pruning tree branches. However, if you still wish to reach branches where the extended pole is not reachable, you can use a ladder. But let me warn you very clearly, using a pole saw on ladder doubles the risk of injuries. In my opinion, you must never attempt using a pole saw on a ladder. Call for professional help if you’re not able to reach the desired height by a pole saw.

The Bottom Line

Pole saws are a wonderful invention that allows you to prune difficult branches of a tree by standing on the ground itself. You do not need to call a professional every time you wish to trim/prune a few branches.

There are 3 major types of pole saws, cordless, corded, and gasoline. While electric and battery-powered pole saws are perfect for home use, gas saws are suitable for heavy-duty work/commercial use.

And now that you know the different uses and proper usage of the tool, I am confident that you’ll be able to landscape your backyard/garden beautifully. Happy pruning!


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