Chainsaw Vs. Pole Saw (How to Pick the Right Saw)

Last Updated on September 5, 2023 by Barry Gray

When there’s a trimming, felling, or pruning job to be done, two machines get the job done swiftly and effectively: chainsaws and pole saws. I use them regularly for timber and yard work and can attest to their reliability! However, although they are not entirely similar despite physical appearances. Let’s explore the chainsaw vs. pole saw!

Chainsaws have superior raw power and cutting potential for heavy-duty cutting, like thick woods. They have less reach, less durability, and are more dangerous. Pole saws have a higher reach, better safety & durability, and are better suited to light-duty tasks like pruning branches in a yard. 

Chainsaws and pole saws are considerable in their own right, but understanding the differences between them and knowing when to use each saw will significantly benefit you. You’ll save time money and set yourself up for success in any future applications you need to complete. 

Chainsaw Vs. Pole Saw Comparison

chainsaw vs pole saw

Whether you want to do some cleaning around the yard or trim a dangerous tree for overhead hazards, a chainsaw and pole saw can work; but which one is better? In truth, they both work well, but each one has certain caveats that can make or break it for the individual user, such as mobility, ease of use, strength, speed, and reliability. 

If you have uncomfortably large trees in your garden and you want to maintain them with regular pruning, a pole saw will be the better alternative. The saw that attaches to the end of the pole is adjustable to enable you to cut high-hanging areas in a tree quickly and safely. It makes quick work of broken branches and thick, dense limbs. 

They also enable you to place your feet firmly on the ground, allowing for a much more balanced stance when cutting or pruning. On the other hand, chainsaws have limited reach and require you to step onto a ladder to reach higher areas. Standing on the rungs of a ladder is never safe, and the slightest wind or misstep can lead to fatal injuries.  

better using chainsaw

If you need to cut exceedingly thick branches between two and nine inches in diameter, you will want a chainsaw. They boast superior cutting potential compared to pole saws and often finish a cutting job in a fraction of the time. Thus, they are ideal for thicker cuts like logs or procuring timber for construction and building purposes. 

Nothing beats a chainsaw for chopping down a tree and chopping it up for splitting. You’ll also have less scrap wood to tidy up after cutting. You can also get a chainsaw bar into tight spaces to chop branches and brush.

It’s crucial to remember, though, that chainsaws may be dangerous and require some pre-planning; always use proper safety equipment training, and carefully consider what you’re going to cut and what will happen to the piece of wood. In contrast, pole saws are considerably easier to use, while safety equipment is still required.

When Should You Use A Chainsaw Over A Pole Saw?

when to use a chainsaw

Although chainsaws and pole saws can both cut, chainsaws tend to have superior raw power behind them. As an illustration, imagine you needed to knock in a stubborn nail: you won’t have any trouble using one hand, but your swing would carry significantly more impact if you were to swing with both hands. 

Pruning, falling, limbing, and bucking trees is a breeze with it. They are much more effective at cutting down trees or other thicker woods. However, it is also the most hazardous power instrument accessible without a license, so wear protective gear and never use a chainsaw when you’re alone. 

Chainsaws are available in three different power sources: petrol, corded electric, and cordless. Having a 240-volt wire dangling from the end of a fast-spinning chain blade is exceedingly hazardous. In the same breath, their solid power makes them great for construction, felling, and other heavy-duty applications. 

Cordless chainsaws provide the same power as traditional chainsaws but with increased safety and mobility. Their power, however, is limited by their battery life. A petrol-powered model is ideal for professional topiary work on a large scale where access to electricity is limited.

When Should You Use A Pole Saw Over A Chainsaw?

using a pole saw

A pole saw is an incredibly cutting versatile tool that makes it excellent for DIYers and professionals alike. It initially found its roots as a farming tool with multiple applications but later made its introduction as a fitting hardware tool. 

This multi-purpose cutting tool is the “casual” counterpart to the chainsaw but still requires that you remain vigilant to avoid fatal accidents. 

The pole saw is ideal for limbing trees, cutting branches down from the crown of trees, logging for fuel, and pruning fruit trees. When a thick branch plant needs cutting, and you cannot reach it from the bottom with a chainsaw, you typically have three choices: prune from a ladder, use a pole saw, or pay someone money to get it cut professionally. 

Some pole saws come with a detachable feature that enables the pole can be used either as a traditional chainsaw, or a typical pole saw. A pole saw is easier to operate and durable enough to last longer. Nowadays, pole saws have a self-oiling chain to make your task quicker and prolong their maximum longevity. 

The best pole for higher cutting trees comes with anti-vibration and non-slip grips; this feature makes them user-friendly. Specific models of pole saws for the higher cutting of trees include telescoping poles, which allow the user to adjust the length in accordance with your need.


Pole saws are excellent for cutting branches off high trees or trimming trees, plus they’re much easier and safer to use. If you need to cut thick woods, or you plan to fell trees, you can’t go wrong with the raw potential of a chainsaw. They can become stuck in the wood and jump back at the user, so be careful.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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