Best manual pole saw/pole pruner?

melissa0607June 16, 2007


We are buying a house that has a lot of overgrown trees around it. Can anyone recommend a good manual (not gas or electric) pole saw/pole pruner? It seems like there is quite a price difference between brands like Fiskars versus Silky, etc. Does it make a big difference in the ease of use?



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I just got a pole saw/pruner for higher branch's and the brand is Florian. It is ratchet driven so it doesn't require much strength to cut sizable branches and limbs. I like it so far but have yet to use the saw attachment which is seperate. Many brands are combos with the saw already attached. You get those from most home improvment stores. Florian can be found on the web. Good luck.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 5:02PM
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Get the longest and lightest one that they have replacement saw blades for.
Mine's a Fishbars that is heavy and too short. Cuts very well, even though it will wear your arms out from its weight and reaching up beyond a comfortable body height. It has the ratchet trimmer on it. Next one wont to save weight. Too many oak trees here.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 6:54PM
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canguy(British Columbia)

Stihl has a version with a Marvin head and Jamieson pole. Rather than telescoping, the pole sections clip together.These are the most popular with our commercial customers. The poles come hollow for light weight or foam filled for working around power lines. The foam keeps water and dirt from collecting in the pole which would provide a path for electricity.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2007 at 10:12PM
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dmullen(Southern CA)

I own a Florian and have used Fiskars. Both are very nice.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 1:20AM
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One of mine is a Wolf Garten that extends from about 5 ft. to 10 ft. but it too is expensive. It has changeable "heads," one of which is a loper. Another is a saw attachment but I do not have it.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2007 at 8:49AM
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maineman(z5a ME)


I started with a Wolf Garten that I found at a liquidation store, and a couple of years later went to a Silky when I needed greater pruning height. The Silky was expensive. Have you determined yet how high you need to prune?


    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 1:16AM
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We have a Fiskars. I find that the lopper action is fine for small branches, but the saw is very awkward to use. Also, the telescoping pole allows you to reach to almost 14 feet, but with the saw attached, trying to get the lopper hook in place can be difficult. At around $30, the Fiskars is an okay buy, but it is far from ideal.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 1:27PM
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Some of the branches we will need to get to are pretty high, but I think we could probably get most of them with a 14' pole. Sounds like maybe we could just start with a Fiskars and upgrade down the road if necessary.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 10:34PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


In answer to your email, in which you asked,

"You mentioned that you got a Silky pruner when you needed more height -- did it seem worth the extra money? If so, was it because the blade was better or the pole was sturdier, etc?"

I think it is better if I answer your email here rather than by return email. That gives you the advantage of "peer review" from other forum participants on my answer.

It was "worth" the extra money because it could prune limbs quite a bit higher than my Wolf Garten pole could reach. It is well made, as you would expect from the expense, and its superior pole design helped me deal with the potentially unwieldy heights that I was sawing limbs at.

Incidentally, you usually don't want to prune the limbs so high, because it gives your trees a "plucked chicken" look, but in this case removing the limbs was a preparatory step to felling a tall pine tree in a difficult situation, where I need to attach guide ropes up high in the tree for leverage in controlling its fall exactly where it needs to go.

The Silky pole saw also has come in handy for removing some high hazardous deadwood.

For a lot of people the Silky would be an unnecessary luxury, but if you must have the extra height capability, you have to pay for it, whether you get a Silky or a competitive pole saw.

Incidentally, for pruning limbs beyond the reach of the Silky, I use a "professional" rope saw. With it I have removed limbs 50 feet above ground. Be aware that sawing with a rope saw is considerably slower than sawing with a pole saw, so I would not consider a rope saw as a replacement for a pole saw.


    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 9:18AM
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I came here to post about something else and saw this thread. This was next on my list of tools because I see I have dead branches, the city has been on my case in the past about my birch trees in front. Last year, I decided I was going to do it myself, but using regular, sharpened pruners on a stepladder the required 8' is just a little more difficult than I should try to do. Last year I hired somebody who just came around, he didn't seem to do much I can't do except add more to his pickup load. I think I paid him around $75, and he did get a few too high that I couldn't, maybe even with a pole saw, but a lot of it I could if I had the right tool.

Once I get it on the ground, it is a nuisance, but I can cut it up to the required specs, bundle and tie it so that the city will haul it away without having to take it way the heck out in the boonies to the landfill, it was $10 each load, and this is a chronic problem getting rid of yard waste the city won't take, bulky indoor waste they will.

I always try to make sure if I pay someone they won't dump it somewhere illegally, a lot have or know places where people will let them dump for fill, firepits, a couple have been able to dump it at their employer's on site dump, etc., etc.

What would be the cheapest, lightest, blade-replaceable one for a woman in her 60's whose arms aren't that strong any more?

If it's too high, I will again have to hire someone, but much of it I see needs taken care of now is at about 10-14 feet.

Once again, I have two wastebaskets full of clay I dug out to make a drain, didn't want it back in my garden, and don't want to pay somebody AGAIN to haul it off for me, same thing last year from having new steps poured and post holes dug, didn't want the clay chunks messing up my planting. Maybe somebody on freecycle, I don't know who would want it, worth a try I guess.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2007 at 2:19PM
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maineman(z5a ME)


"What would be the cheapest, lightest, blade-replaceable one for a woman in her 60's whose arms aren't that strong any more?"

"Cheapest" and "lightest" don't tend to go together in pole saws. And even the lightest pole saws are somewhat unwieldy to use and can be tiring. I'm in pretty good physical condition, but using a pole saw can be tiring for me. By trial and error, I have developed some techniques that make the job a bit easier. I raise the pole to the vertical position before extending its length. And I always lean the pole saw on the tree at every opportunity. But when you saw through a limb, the pole saw is no longer leaning against it and you have to be ready to "catch" the pole.

There may be a good, cheap pole saw that would be good for you, but I don't know what it is. "Good" and "cheap" don't usually go together.


    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 12:16PM
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OK, thanks, I'll put that on the back burner. Thank you for the tips on if or when I do get one, will wait 'til fall. Maybe the hardware store I usually patronize will have a recommendation plus I can see what I would be dealing with. Can always check the big box stores, too.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2007 at 2:44PM
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DrynDusty(z8 AZ)

I use a pole saw and loper combo purchased from the local Ace Hardware, the Ace brand. As Maineman says, it's work, but nothing a health adult can't handle. I've removed branches 2 or 3 inches in diameter about 12 feet up. Be aware that such branches can do a lot of damage when they fall. Norm

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 7:03PM
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I have the Fiskars and consider it barely adequate. The lopper feature works on very small branches only, the saw is very easy to bend, and the locking lever on the telescoping pole doesn't lock tight enough, so if the saw gets stuck the sections tend to collapse into each other rather than move the blade.

I think the Fiskars would be a good unit if they had just used a one-piece 10' pole instead of telescoping sections. It would be lighter, they could sell it cheaper, and it would work pretty well up to that height.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2007 at 12:40PM
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I know this post is old but maybe this helps someone.......I run a tree service and I use a corona telescoping polesaw without the lopper attachment. It telescopes to about a 20 foot height, its light cause it just has a saw on it and telescopes easily. I got it from Lowes and it cost like 30 bucks.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2011 at 10:43PM
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I know the guy who invented this brand new telescopic tree trimmer and you can also attach other tools and more attachments are on the way! The ratchet system is awesome because it takes the pressure off your hands and does the cutting for you instead of hurting your hands. It's sold on Amazon. Check out the link below if your interested.

Here is a link that might be useful: Buy Best Tree Pruner Here!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2012 at 12:04PM
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