Last updated on September 6, 2021
What is a pole saw and where do you use it?
A pole saw is basically a saw on a pole. It can either be powered (E.G small chainsaws) or (hand) non-powered. Powered pole saws can be electric, battery-powered, or run on gas.
Originally designed as gardening tools mainly for pruning, pole saws have since evolved and have seen use in other areas and fields, including roadside cleaning and emergency response.
Though less common, their superior reach grants them certain advantages over traditional chainsaws and most other conventional garden tools for cutting high branches.
Uses of a pole saw
So, what do you use a pole saw for? There are different ways on how to use a pole saw:
Avoid overusing manual shears, hand saws, and a ladder. Using a pole saw makes it easier to reach high and cut even thick branches.
This also eliminates the need to climb up a tree as well as remove the risk of falling.
Pruning is usually done after the colder seasons. This is to help the tree grow healthier and fuller leaves.
Pruning is also an essential maintenance step when wanting to give tree canopies an intended shape.
Certain bushes can grow tall. Using a pole saw to clear these unwanted bushes is both efficient and safe as some bushes that have grown too thick can often house harmful insects and thorny branches.
Think of this as tree-grooming. Removing deep, unwanted roots or removing dead vines and rotten branches that are high up are made trivial with a pole saw; even more so with powered ones.
Things to know about pole saws
Starting mechanisms available
There are powered and manual pole saws. Remember that these tools serve the purpose of getting to far-reaching areas and thus have the cutting chain or edge at the tip of the extendable poles. Some key characteristics:
Sources of power
A pole saw can be electric, gas, hydraulic, or non-powered. Below is a quick rundown of each.
Electric – Pole saws powered by electricity. Can be corded or cordless. Light to medium-duty tasks.
Gas – Pole saws equipped with a gas motor perfect for heavy-duty tasks. Runs longer and is usually operated via a variable power trigger.
Manual – The most basic pole saw. Primitive, yet effective in certain scenarios where control and flexibility are better than raw power.
Also known as the poles, these can range anywhere between 6 – 15 feet, with some models having adjustable rods. The longer the pole, the greater your reach.
Certain powered pole saws, such as those by Husqvarna, feature anti-vibration handles that reduce or even completely eliminate vibration, thereby allowing for better control with less fatigue.
Pole saws vs chainsaws
While both are used for gardening and landscaping. A pole saw is used to shape and clean up high hard-to-reach garden elements safely and effectively, while a chainsaw is used to cut down trees and process timber already on the ground. Here are a few distinctions:
Manual vs gas vs battery operated pole saws
Safety precautions before using a pole saw
Preparing the pole saw
How to use a manual pole saw?
If you know how to use a knife, then using a manual pole saw isn’t too different.
- Plan your cuts. Start with low branches first, moving your way up to higher ones.
- Line up the blade with the branch, making your cut nearest its base.
- Gripping the long handle, hold it upright and plant your feet
- Just like a regular saw, ‘stroke’ the blade across until the branch falls off.
- Keep in mind that cuts are made in the down-stroke.
How do you use a cordless pole saw?
Having ever used a chainsaw makes using one of these easier as they’re basically small chainsaws but instead of a normal grip, you have a very long pole.
Tips for using gas pole saw
They’re like cordless pole saws, only that they pack a lot more punch. Of all the pole saw types, these have longer runtimes and are the heaviest but are not necessarily the best. Keep a couple of things in mind:
Can you use a pole saw with a rope?
To get rid of any confusion, certain pole saws are actually 2-in-1 pruning saws too.
These often have ropes or strings that are hooked onto a spring-loaded mechanism that easily cuts smaller branches.
If you know how to use a pole saw with a strap, it will help give you more control over manual pole saws.
However, in relation to that, using braided rope along with a pole saw to reach limbs a rope can be used to keep pressure downward on the cuts if the tool is viable and too high up to manually apply downwards pressure.
Here’s how to use a pole saw with rope:
Tips for felling branches
- Clear the area below. The area beneath where you wish to fell branches must be totally free of people, objects, and debris. The area must also be sealed off until you are done.
- Do sectional or jump cuts to reduce the weight of larger, heavier branches.
- Position the saw to a degree where it’s easy and comfortable for you to control its weight.
- Always cut at an angle and never directly overhead.
Tips after using a pole saw
- If you’re using a powered model, remember to always release the trigger or completely turn off the saw before lowering it.
- Clean up the area of fallen branches and twigs as they can be hazardous later on if left alone.
- Clean up the pole saw. After use, make sure that there is nothing stuck on the teeth of the blades. For powered models, give them a good blow and quick clean to remove traces of dust and wood bits.
How to maintain pole saws?
- Always make sure that the chain oil reservoir is filled before each use.
- Always tighten any loose screws, nuts, and bolts.
- Regularly inspect your pole saw for wear and tear and replace worn-out parts as needed.
- Regularly sharpen the chain blade and appropriately adjust the tension before and after use (loosen as the saw cools) .
- Clean the tool after each use with a damp cloth. And properly lube the guide bar
Can you use a pole saw as a hedge trimmer?
Not ideally. While using a pole saw to trim hedges can be useful for reaching far away areas, they’re not really intended for this.
Hedges are usually made up of thin, clumped-up stems hidden behind a facade of leaves, making hedge trimmers the more viable option as they can better shape hedges whereas pole saws would most likely end up damaging them.
Can you use a pole saw underwater?
It’s not recommended that you use a pole saw to cut branches underwater. But if you’re trying to cut a root or branch somehow submerged under 10ft of water. Such as on a lake or river edge.
You have to consider your options, but for the sake of your loved tools use a manual saw.
You need to look at the inner workings of your gas pole saw and decide if the parts submerged are only mechanical and not electrical. Then decide if it’s worth the cut you need to do at the long-term damage water can do it such as full tool failure.
Most chainsaws, even gas-powered ones, aren’t 100% waterproof, so completely submerging a pole saw will most likely just end up wrecking it.
There’s really no instance that you should use your pole saw underwater.
Although I have heard of someone using a cordless DeWalt angle grinder underwater in the sea with a plastic bag over the motor.
It lasted long enough to make the cut before breaking. So let us know how it goes.
Can you use a pole saw to chop a stump?
You can, but it’d be a pretty rough chop. While pole saws can deal with thick branches, stumps are sections of a tree’s trunk, making it very thick and dense.
The power of even a gas pole saw might not be enough to make it cleanly cut all the way through.
Alternative to pole saws
The pole saw is already the alternative for far-reach cutting, so finding an alternative to it is a bit of a step back. You can go with the old-school ladder and saw combination, but this is riskier since you can potentially fall.
One unconventional alternative is using a rope chain. Basically a straight chainsaw blade with 20ft of rope attached to either side.
Which can effectively saw off limbs located 20ft up and over. You’ll just need a good throw and a good arm so that you can pull on the rope chain in a nice cutting rhythm, you will have gravity on your side but don’t get too tired.
Nevertheless, here’s a good list of saw types that you can use for your other projects .
Anyone with a big backyard will definitely benefit from owning a pole saw. Pruning and trimming tall trees and bushes will become trivial matters with one of these. Gone will be the days of using a pole saw on a ladder to get to those pesky, hard-to-reaching branches.
Though they’re not as much a staple as other garden tools, they can really add to the scope and versatility of your gardening and landscaping capabilities.
Here’s a quick guide for down cutting trees .
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