How to Choose The Best Chainsaw Pole Pruner

Branches are never out of reach when you use a handy chainsaw pole pruner. Here’s how to take the guesswork out of purchasing one.

Man holding axe behind his head in the forest
Why use an axe when you can make trimming jobs easier with a pole-mounted chainsaw?Abby Savage via Unsplash

Sometimes you need a little extra reach to handle limb-lopping chores on trees in the yard or when you’re trimming strategic limbs around your tree stand to open up clear shooting lanes. This is when a chainsaw lopper or pole saw can be invaluable. And while manual models have been around for years, today’s modern electric- and gas-powered rigs will get the job done faster, easier and with a lot less work on your part. Ready to buy one? Here’s what to look for.

Electric Models Save Weight

Greenworks pole saw
This model extends to 8 feet and is compatible with a full set of tools to handle all of your yardwork chores.Amazon

Electric chainsaw loppers are quieter than gas-powered models—a consideration for those working on hunting properties where you don't want to disturb wildlife. They also tend to be lighter, making them easier to wield. Corded models might be ok around the yard, but you'll want to go cordless if you're going to be working away from a power source. Plus, you'll never have to worry about accidentally sawing through electrical cords.

Gas-powered Models Provide Power

Poulan Pro pole saw
This model’s 28cc motor provides good power and you can add a bar extension to reach out to 12 feet. These units also accept 6 other accessory tools for trimming, blowing, edging and brush cutting.Amazon

Yes, gas-powered chainsaw loppers are noisier and hunters may not want to leave the lingering scent of gasoline in the air, but when it comes to sheer cutting power, they can't be beat. Motors run from 20 to 40cc's. The larger the motor, the more power you'll have, but you may also be adding weight. Another plus to gas-powered models is that you can run them all day (no recharging), and many are capable of cutting through branches up to 8 inches, which is about the maximum you'd want to tackle with a pole saw without transitioning to a heavier conventional chainsaw.

Cutting Bar Length and Pole Extensions

Worx pole saw
This chainsaw lopper has a pole that easily disconnects from the cutting head, so you can transition to using just the chainsaw to cut up limbs once they’re down.Amazon

Cutting bars generally run from 6 to 12 inches on chainsaw loppers with 8 inches being standard. The general rule is to choose a cutting bar that's 2 inches longer than the diameter of the limbs you want to cut, so an 8-inch bar will handle 6-inch limbs with ease. While most companies offer pole extensions to increase your reach, at a working height of 10 feet or so loppers become unwieldy, particularly if there's a breeze.