Table of Contents
- Best Manual Pole Saw Reviews 2019
- DocaPole 6-24 Foot Pole Pruning Saw – Best Seller
- Silky New Professional Series 178-39 Telescopic Landscaping Pole Saw HAYAUCHI 390 – Top Pick
- Fiskars 14 Foot Power-Lever Extendable Manual Pole Saw Tree Pruner – Best Value
- ARS SC-EXW18 Telescoping Pole Saw – Runner Up
- Fiskars 8 Foot Compact Extending Tree Pruner – Also Consider
- Best Manual Pole Saw Buying Guide
Best Manual Pole Saw Reviews 2019
Whether you are professional working within the confines of local municipal restrictions or a homeowner with a light load of Spring trimming to do, the best manual pole saw can make your spring landscaping a breeze. That is why we have put together a list of the 5 best manual pole saw reviews while also providing a helpful buyer’s guide. The Silky is, unsurprisingly one of our top picks, but the other may raise a few eyebrows. Also, keep reading to find out our best value manual pole saw.
DocaPole 6-24 Foot Pole Pruning Saw – Best Seller
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Docazoo is definitely an interesting company in that they have only been around for a few years but have already climbed to the top of the market. This is even more surprising considering Docazoo does not specialize in pole saws, landscaping equipment, or cutting tools at all. Instead, Ducazoo provides a motley collection of integrative products which are mostly designed to be used together. For our purposes, the main reason that Docazoo is the best-selling manual pole pruner has as much to do with everything about it that has nothing to do with cutting as it does for its ostensible purpose in the first place.
Easily the biggest reason that the Docazoo is the best-selling product in the market category has to do with its multipurpose design. Basically, the primary product being sold by Docazoo is the extending pole called the DocaPole. While the saw blade attachment is fine, it is definitely not the main selling point and can be seen as a nice bonus more than the actual product. The DocaPole is so valuable primarily because it is designed to be used with a wide variety of attachments used for various tasks that involve an extension pole. Granted, most of these are different types of cleaning tasks, but the wide range of functionality cannot be denied.
As a Saw
From simply a pole saw perspective, the Docazoo still comes out as one of the better performing manual extension saws we could find. For one, the DocaPole is not just a great because it can offer such a wide range of functional versatility but also because it is a solid product in its own right. The DocaPole is made of aluminum which ensures that it is both strong and lightweight. However, the DocaPole goes a step further, literally, by also offering the tallest maximum working height of 24’. The unique design allows for extension that avoids bending while also allowing for a variety of blade positions to suit the setting.
- A less expensive pole saw
- Is the longest pole saw reviewed
- Pole is made of aluminum
- Can pivot 180-degrees
- Can be used as a hand saw
- Can use multiple attachments
- Not the easiest to use
- Not the best locks
Silky New Professional Series 178-39 Telescopic Landscaping Pole Saw HAYAUCHI 390 – Top Pick
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When it comes to landscaping pole saws, few companies have the prestige or reputation that Silky does. Founded around a century ago, Silky specializes exclusively in high-quality Japanese steel blades which does extend beyond merely the pole saw market. However, this is one of the rare instances where the saw blade is arguably as important, if not more so than the pole. This is because the Silky saw is by far the most impressive and effective, but Silky does not necessarily know how to make every other part up to the same superior standards. Still, it is one of the best all-around performing pole saws we came across and more than worthy of our top pick spot.
Considering Silky is known for their high-quality Japanese steel blades more than their extending poles, it only makes sense that this is the best quality of the Silky 178-39 professional pole saw. However, the way that Silky gets there involves more than just great materials–which they definitely do. Instead, one of the best qualities of the Silky pole saw blade is the sheer number of teeth crammed onto it. At 5 ½ teeth per inch, the Silky saw blade not only has a higher density of saw blade teeth, but it has more total cutting power with the largest saw blade 15” too. Unfortunately, Silky is not too shy or humble regarding the quality of their pole saw blade and price the 178-39 accordingly.
Outside of the saw blade, the Silky is still one of the top performing telescopic pole saws in other respects as well. For instance, while it does not provide the tallest maximum working height, the Silky is still one of the longer pole saws we reviewed with a 16’ extension providing a maximum working height of 21’. The telescoping pole is made of aluminum and features a fastening and locking design which prevents the bowing normally associated with longer poles. The only potential issue is the use of a plastic polypropylene handle on top of which foam has adhered. Of course, this does help keep the weight down as well as offering ergonomic cushioning.
- Is a longer pole saw
- Pole is made of aluminum
- Has a 15” blade
- Is ergonomically designed
- Has more teeth than most
- Has a lifetime warranty
- The most expensive pole saw reviewed
- The handle is made of plastic
Fiskars 14 Foot Power-Lever Extendable Manual Pole Saw Tree Pruner – Best Value
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Though it is not quite as reputable, Fiskars is still seen as one of the top manufacturers in the pole saw market. For one, Fiskars is one of the oldest continuously running companies was found stretching back hundreds of years. On the other hand, Fiskars is not technically a pole saw or landscaping equipment specialist, though the company does at least specialize in cutting tools. In fact, rather than approach the pole saw market with the absolute best, and most expensive, product, Fiskars instead makes it a point to provide high-quality consumer-grade products.
Meeting the Mold
When choosing a more budget-friendly option, it is important to look for a product that meets certain minimum requirements more than that it provides performance above and beyond others. For the Fiskars, you actually get a good mix of features that are better than the industry average, but there are definitely some flaws holding it back. On the positive side, the Fiskars is tied on our list for the largest blade at 15” which is also designed to provide twice the cutting action of a standard manual tree pruner. That said, the same feature which increases the cutting power also carries with it some unintended consequences.
Too Old School
While the original pole saws did not have moving parts, a lever design started to become popular with pole saws in the 1950s. This design made it much easier for someone who was not proficient with pole saws nor physically gifted to use a telescpoing saw without much issue. However, this lever design is inherently more prone to failure than a design that has fewer moving parts. On top of that, the technique for using a lever pole saw, while physically easier, is not actually simpler and instead requires as much, if not more, finesse than a standard design. Thankfully, Fiskars does at least offer a lifetime warranty, so you do not have to worry about the lever action failing.
- A less expensive pole saw
- Is a longer pole saw
- Has a double lock
- Has a 15” blade
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Has twice the cutting power
- Pole is made of fiberglass
- The cord can get stuck
ARS SC-EXW18 Telescoping Pole Saw – Runner Up
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ARS is another company that has been around for over a century and is a bit more specialized in high-quality Japanese steel cutting tools that pole saws or landscaping equipment more generally. However, this too means that the ARS has the same advantages that other pole pruners with high-end blades do–even if some of its other specs keep it lower on our list. This is not to suggest that the ARS is poorly performing, but we do not necessarily think that the value is there, even if the pole saw is effective.
By far the best quality of the ARS SC-EXW18 is the blade which is comparable in quality to any other high-end Japanese steel blade manufacturer out there. First, the ARS is Marquench hardened which is a process that replicates some of the principles and techniques that make Japanese steel so strong and retain such a good edge in the first place. On top of that, the blade is then Turbocut to ensure that the edge is consistent along the edge of each tooth and from tooth to tooth. Finally, the ARS pole saw blade is chrome plated to provide resistance against water and other corrosive chemicals.
While the blade may be the best quality of the ARS tree limb saw, the pole itself is not too bad either–outside one major flaw. This is the shortest pole saw that we reviewed with a maximum length of only 6’ and the shortest maximum working height on our list. On the other hand, the pole is made of aluminum and coated with an ergonomic foam padding. Even better, this allows the ARS aluminum pole saw to come in at the lowest weight on our list at just over 1 ½ lbs. This shorter length does allow the ARS hand tree trimmer to maneuver in places that would be more difficult, but the blade does not pivot or articulate in any way.
- Has an ARS Turbocut
- The blade is Marquench hardened
- Is made of aluminum
- The lightest pole saw reviewed
- Blade is chrome-plated
- Has an ergonomic grip
- A more expensive pole saw
- The shortest pole saw reviewed
Fiskars 8 Foot Compact Extending Tree Pruner – Also Consider
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Fiskars makes another appearance on our list, but this time the consumer-grade brand provides more of the type of product you would expect. That is to say, this Fiskars is definitely going to be out of place with a professional landscaping crew but will fit right in for light pruning around the home. As such, it is important to understand the limitations of the Fiskars, but that also comes with the benefit of the lowest price too. Basically, if you have a few low-hanging branches that you need to clean up, this is the ideal pole saw for the task.
One quality that is not often discussed, likely due to the difficulty in accommodating the issue, is maneuverability. Because the blade is positioned at the end of an extension pole saw, moving the pole saw is implicitly awkward and difficult. While this may be the shortest pole saw we reviewed, this actually allows you to more easily maneuver the pole saw without trouble. On top of that, the Fiskars is one of a few long pruning saws on our list that features an articulating head that can pivot up to 180-degrees. This makes the Fiskars one of the better options when dealing with trees that have complicated and winding branch structures.
Though it is a runner-up and the least expensive extendable pole saw reviewed, this Fiskars is still reasonably durable. Granted, there can be some issues with the locks when trying to cut an especially hard type of wood, but otherwise, the hand tree saw has no major durability issues. The steel blade features triple-ground teeth which helps retain the blade’s edge while still producing a fairly aggressive cutting action. Steel is also used for the pole itself even though the entire product is the second-lightest on our list at just over 3 ½ lbs. Also, if the locks should fail while applies significant force, this Fiskars features the same lifetime warranty that all of their pole saws come with.
- The least expensive pole saw reviewed
- Can pivot 180-degrees
- Has triple-ground teeth
- Has a lifetime warranty
- Is made of steel
- The lightest pole saw reviewed
- A shorter pole saw
- Not the best locks
Best Manual Pole Saw Buying Guide
Because a manual pole saw does not have automatic components, some of the features and qualities you would normally use to judge landscaping equipment no longer applies. This is not to suggest that a manual pole saw has no moving parts, but they are unlikely to be the overriding concern. Instead, it is often far more relevant to look towards the materials the pole saw is made of to determine the general quality of the product. This is because the materials will ultimately determine how durable and strong the pole saw will be out in the field.
This is often seen as the best material to use for all things considered in regards to a manual pole saw. That said, aluminum having superior physical properties comes at a price–in this instance a quite literal price. As such, pole saws made of aluminum are liable to be more expensive than those made out of other materials. However, the advantages provided by aluminum may more than makeup for the difference in price. This is mostly due to the fact that aluminum is one of the lighter materials used that is also strong enough to withstand professional-grade jobs.
Steel could be considered a bit of a legacy material that is still regularly used due to tradition and other, non-performance reasons. It is worth noting that steel is not exactly a poorly performing material and instead is just less than ideal for a number of circumstances. Still, there is not another material commonly used for pole saws that is stronger or more durable than steel. On the other hand, while it is not quite as expensive as aluminum, steel is still the second most expensive material used. On top of that, steel is also the heaviest material used which will increase the amount of fatigue you feel while using the pole saw.
Plastic is used with most manual pole saws, but the issue comes with where and how much of the pole saw is plastic. Most hand cushions will be reinforced with a plastic base to provide a strong surface over which the foam grip adheres. Not only that, plastic will often be used at non-critical points because it is incredibly lightweight and inexpensive to make compared to the other materials used. That said, plastic is also by far the weakest material used–and it does not matter which type of plastic is used. Of course, this only really becomes an issue when the manufacturer uses plastic to construct the pole–and even then it matters how far the pole extends and how heavy the saw blade is.
Fiberglass is actually one of the least common materials used for manual pole saws largely because the value is just not there. This is not to suggest that fiberglass is poorly performing, but when you compare the price to durability ratio of fiberglass with the other materials on this list, fiberglass presents the worst value. This is because fiberglass is more expensive than plastic but only marginally stronger which negates the point of using plastic in the first place. That said, fiberglass is by far the most flexible material used which will at least allow the pole to bend and flex rather than break. However, you will want to be careful with fiberglass if you live in a northern region as fiberglass can become brittle and break in freezing temperatures.
It may be a bit of a surprise, but this is actually the most important part of a manual pole saw due to a couple of reasons. On the other hand, there are a number of different pole designs which each carry with them their own distinct advantages and disadvantages. As such, there really is not a single type of pole which will be the best for all situations, though there are definitely some designs which provide more functional versatility than others. Keep in mind, this analysis of a pole saw’s pole assumes that these differences are compared between products made of the same materials.
The first and most obvious thing to consider when looking at a pole saw’s pole is the maximum working height. This will inherently place a figurative ceiling on the limbs and branches you can effectively cut with the pole saw. That said, it is important to remember that the length of a pole will often require some flexibility to prevent breakage once it gets to a certain length that will depend on the materials used and the weight of the saw blade. Of course, whether the flexibility of a longer pole is beneficial for its use or a design flaw will often hinge on how the other design aspect is fashioned.
While the pole itself will ultimately determine the maximum working height, most manufacturers do not use a single pole. Instead, most manual pole saws will actually use a number of smaller pole sections that telescope into or screw on top of another pole section. The more sections the pole saw has, the longer the maximum working height but also the less stable the pole will be. Each point of connection will ultimately present a place where the pole can bend too much–especially if the joints are poorly constructed, a weaker material is used, or the saw blade is exceptionally heavy.
Another meaningful, though less important, aspect of a pole saw’s pole to consider is how the saw blade is fastened to the pole. While every pole saw allows for its own saw blade to be easily fashioned, some manufacturers have expanded their model’s versatility with a universal connector. While this can allow some pole saws to use a competitor’s saw blade, more often than not it is used to allow the pole to connect with a number of different attachments. This can include things like various cleaning attachments to implements used to grab or collect debris.
After the pole, a pole saw’s most important component is the saw blade, though this is definitely a less important part. That is not to suggest you should not get a good pole saw blade, but you often do not need to worry about whether the included saw blade is superior or not. This is because most manual pole saws offer the ability to change out the saw blade or use a completely different model altogether. In fact, the most expensive part of a manual pole saw, by far, is the pole, with the saw blade often barely cracking $40.
That said, it is still important to know what to look for in a pole saw’s blade, whether you need to get a better attachment later or not. Considering the saw blade is responsible for the actual cutting action of the pole saw, it is a good idea to judge it similarly to other types of saw blades. For instance, like most other saw blades, more teeth allow the saw blade to provide a smoother cutting action while the spacing between the teeth will determine how aggressive of a cut the blade makes. However, since manual pole saws are used almost exclusively to cut raw, untreated wood, the design should be a bit different than the types of saw blades you would use to rip 2x4s.
Another quality to consider, though if you do not need to worry as much about it, is the material that the saw blade is made of. One of the main reasons you do not need to worry about this as much is that most pole saw blades are made out of steel. Of course, there are still a number of ways to treat the steel before and after manufacture to provide even more benefit to it. While hardening and sharpening are nice, it is often more important for a pole saw’s blade to be treated with anti-rust and anti-corrosion treatments.
The action refers to the cutting action of the pole saw’s blade and is a fairly easy decision to make. Basically, if you have difficulty using a pole saw over your head, then you will likely want to opt in for a pole saw with a lever cutting action. This is a lever that sits on the handle portion of the pole, and when you pull the lever, the saw blade will move either back and forth or pivot forward and backward. While this is easier to do for long periods of time, it is also a far less effective cutting action than doing it manually.
This is because the lever cannot generate nearly as much cutting force as you can by cutting the branch or limb manually. On top of that, the lever action is inherently less durable as the lever mechanism provides another point of mechanical failure that a manually cutting pole saw does not. That said, if you are simply pruning a tree and worried about cutting down thicker branches, the lever action is significantly easier on the body. However, if you do intend to use a lever-action pole saw, you need to make sure not to cut branches more than a couple of inches in diameter.
Manual or Power?
When choosing a pole, generally one of the first considerations is whether to get a manual or power pole saw. Power pole saws can be either gas-powered or electric, but they are both generally more expensive than manual pole saws of a comparable market. On top of that, either type of power pole saw may run afoul of local ordinances against emissions, noise, or other consequences of a power pole saw.
Of course, there are simply some situations in which a power pole saw is simply not ideal. For instance, if you do not have much work to do in the big picture, it does not really make much sense spending hundreds of dollars on a power pole saw. On top of that, if the branches you need to trim are not too terribly high up or thick, the extra power and ‘convenience’ from a power pole saw is undercut by the vibration and extra weight.
Which cutting Action?
When you do decide that you need a manual pole saw, the next major decision will come down to the cutting action. Basically, the more predominant cutting action involves manually manipulating the whole pole. However, this action can be difficult for some and will inherently fatigue the user–a problem especially troublesome for homeowners. To alleviate this concern, some manufacturers make manual pole saws with a lever cutting action. A lever cutting action allows you to generate acceptable cutting power with just the force it takes to pull a lever by hand. While this method is far less physically taxing, it is not actually any easier and does not generate as much cutting power a non-mechanical manual pole saw.
Outside of the general safety instructions, there are some tips which are specific to using a pole saw. For instance, as much as it may seem okay, you should never use a pole saw while standing on a ladder to increase the maximum working height. Even if you can balance yourself on the ladder, the issue comes with the branch as it falls. Basically, once the branch falls, you are no longer able to exert much control over it–especially once it hits the ground. As such, the big risk with using a manual pole saw while in a ladder is not so much that you will fall off of the ladder but that the fallen branch may knock the ladder out from under you.
Though manual pole saws may mostly seem similar at first glance, there are a whole host of qualities and features that can distinguish the best from the rest. We feel the Ducazoo’s versatility combined with its solid performance more than makes it deserving of its best-seller spot. However, for our money, and top pick performer, we still think the Silky’s great saw blade combined with one of the better poles is tough to beat. Of course, if you are looking for a better value option, it is tough to go wrong with a Fiskars, though they generally all have some annoying design feature.