What is a Pole Saw? (Everything Explained: Types and Uses)

What is a Pole Saw? (Everything Explained: Types and Uses)

Have you heard about pole saws?

But not exactly sure what they are?

Or what they can do?

If so, then you’re in the right place.

I put together this guide to answer the question, “What is a pole saw?” so you can determine if this type of saw is the right tool for you.

If you’re thinking of doing any type of tree trimming or branch cutting, then a pole saw is a great tool to have in your possession. But, there are some key things you need to know before using one.

So, keep reading to find out everything there is about pole saws.

What is a Pole Saw?

Basically, a pole saw is a saw that’s mounted on the end of a pole.

This tool is also commonly referred to as a “pole chainsaw” or “pole pruner”.

While it may seem odd to have a chainsaw on the end of the pole, it’s actually a very useful way to use a chainsaw for certain tree cutting tasks.

You can find my review of the best poles saws here.

What is a Pole Saw Used for?

Pole saws are primarily used for two things:

  • Pruning branches that are too high up to reach.
  • Trimming across surfaces that prevent you from reaching a bush or tree.

The most common reason people use pole saws is to prune branches on tall trees.

Since it’s never safe to use a chainsaw on a ladder or to cut a branch that’s above shoulder level, a pole saw is an essential tool for this type of work.

By extending the pole of a pole chainsaw, you can reach very high up in the air to cut branches and limbs that otherwise would require the use of a bucket truck or hiring a tree service company.

The second reason people use pole saws is to trim bushes and trees that are hard to get to on the ground.

A typical example is trying to trim part of a bush that’s just out of reach.

Instead of jamming yourself into the thick shrubbery or trying to cut with a hedge trimmer with one arm stretched out, a pole saw can be extended to reach those far off areas with ease.

As you can see, a pole chainsaw is a great tool for a wide range of tree- and shrub-trimming tasks.

How far can a pole saw reach

How Far Can a Pole Saw Reach?

The length of a pole saw will depend on the brand you buy, but most tools can be extended between 8 and 15 feet long.

But, keep in mind that this is just the measurement for the pole extension length.

You also have to take into account how tall you are and how long your arms are, as this will impact the total length for how far a pole chainsaw can reach.

For example, if you’re 6 feet tall and your arms stretch out 2 feet, then you essentially have 8 feet of reach just by using your hands.

So, if you combine your 8 feet of reach with the extended length of the pole saw you buy, you can reach some pretty far distances.

Let’s say you bought an 8-foot pole saw. Combining that length with your 8 feet of reach actually means you can cut wood at distances which are 16 feet away (8 + 8 = 16).

If you had a pole saw that could reach to 15 feet, then you would get a total of 23 feet of reach (15 + 8 = 23).

Pole saw cutting branch

How Thick Can a Pole Saw Cut?

Now that you know what is a pole saw and how far it can reach, the next question you might have is how thick of a branch can it cut.

When it comes to pole saws, these tools come in various lengths, including 8-, 10-, and 12-inch blades.

And the general rule of thumb for cutting safely is to always use a chainsaw blade that’s at least 2 inches longer than the thickest branch you need to cut.

Doing so will prevent nicking the tip of the blade, which could cause a dangerous chainsaw kickback.

Since kickback is hard to control under normal circumstances, it can be even more challenging when your chainsaw is up in the air.

Thus, doing what you can to prevent a kickback from occurring in the first place is in your best interest.

So, if you’re using an 8-inch pole saw, then you’ll want to only cut branches that are up to 6 inches wide.

10-inch pole saws are good for 8 inch pieces of wood. And 12-inch pole saws are good for 1–inch branches.

Types of Pole Saws

There are three different types of pole saws:

  • Battery Operated
  • Electric
  • Gas Powered

We’ll take a look at each pole saw type so you can determine which one will be the best option for your needs.

Battery Pole Saws

Pole chainsaws that run on batteries are the most convenient tool to own.

You don’t have to fill these chainsaws with fuel or run a power cord to keep them running.

They’re also the quietest option available.

However, battery pole saws are the least powerful type and don’t last very long. You can usually get about 30-45 minutes on each charge.

These pole chainsaws generally have a shorter bar length and max out at 8 inches.

Battery pole saws are especially useful in gardens that don’t have a lot of large trees with thick branches that need to be trimmed. They can also be used for trimming hedges.

Electric Pole Saws

Electric pole chainsaws have more power than battery pole saws, so these tools can be used on shrubs and trees with slightly thicker branches.

They also running forever since you plug them into a power outlet.

However, that same benefit can be cumbersome at times since you have to keep the cord from getting in your way while cutting. A cord also limits how far you can use the tool from a power source.

These poles saws are longer than battery saws, however, with cutting blades that are up to 10 inches in length.

Electric pole saws are also lighter than battery pole saws because they don’t have a battery pack attached to them.

Gas Pole Saws

If you need a pole chainsaw with a lot of power, then you’ll want to consider a gas-powered pole saw.

Having more power also means that you’ll get longer bar lengths, up to 12 inches, and better cutting capabilities.

Keep in mind though that gas pole saws are much noisier than the battery and electric versions. You’ll definitely want to wear hearing protection when operating one of these tools.

Check out my chainsaw safety equipment reviews for the top gear recommendations.

Should you have a large yard with a lot of trees to prune or bushes to trim, a gas pole saw is the one you’ll want to use because it’s the most versatile and longest-lasting tool.

A gas powered pole saw can last for a few hours on a single tank of fuel.

Finding the Right Pole Saw

I hope this article was helpful in answering your question, “What is a pole saw?”

Now that you know what a pole saw is used for and the various types that are available, you should be able to find the best pole chainsaw that will work for you.

If you’re interested in learning more about top handheld chainsaws that you can get for log and tree cutting, then check out my top rated chainsaw buying guide for more information.

Happy sawing!

Your pal,
Chainsaw Larry