If you’ve got a tree with lofty branches that needs some work, you’ve got a two choices – call a professional, or invest in specialty tools and learn to do the maintenance yourself. If the former is your choice, go grab a phone book. If you’d rather take care of it yourself, you’ll need some tools, particularly a pole saw.
What is a Pole Saw?
A pole saw – sometimes also referred to as a pole pruner – is essentially a mini-chainsaw on an extendable pole. The saw will usually only have six or eight inches of cutting area, meant for cutting branches instead of tree trunks. The extension pole usually reaches between 7 and 9 feet, although there are some that can go out to 10.5 feet.
What Should I Look For in a Pole Saw?
You’ll want to try and find a good power-to-weight ratio. Using a pole saw can be taxing at times, as you have to support an guide a piece of equipment high up in the air. While a 14-pound saw might not sound heavy, if you have to hold it out from your body for a length of time it will start to feel very heavy.
More and more pole saws are coming as electric models, given that they have the same cutting power but are cheaper to build and run than a gas-powered model. They’re also cheaper to buy and easier to maintain, making them a favorite for homeowners. If you have a small yard, go for a corded model – not needing a battery pack or other adaption equipment makes these the lightest of all pole saws. However, they have limited reach. If you need to cut more than 50-100 feet away from an available socket, you’ll want to go for the cordless electric models. In both cases, look for something in the 8 amp range for best energy usage.
If you have lots of trees to hit, you may need to step up to a gas-powered saw. Even the best cordless pole saws are only good for an hour or so of use between charges. For gas-powered saws, look for saws in the range of 32cc-34cc in order to cut through branches quickly.
Tips and Tricks for Using Pole Saws
Just like with full-size chainsaws, pole saws need proper precaution and proper methods of use to operate safely and efficiently.
- Check the area – Make sure the saw, along with what you are cutting, stays well clear of things such as power lines or other property that could be damaged. Also, make sure they area around where you may be standing and moving is free of trip hazards.
- Be cautious of climate – if it is windy or potentially rainy, you should not operate our pole saw.
- Know the condition of the tree – Dead branches, loose bark, and rotting areas can cause different reactions from your pole saw, causing it to saw faster, slower, or be more vulnerable to kickback.
- Two feet, two hands – Keep a good base, making sure both of your feet are firmly planted and you are balanced across them. Never take a foot off of the ground while the saw is running. Also, always keep both hands on the pole saw.
By choosing the right saw and following these tips and tricks, you can get the best experience during the use of your pole saw. A pole saw can be a very handy tool when used properly, but can be dangerous when handled without care.