Chainsaw vs Pole saw: 10 Differences You Need To Know Now

Each year, you will face the daunting task of cutting down dead trees or branches. Luckily, you won’t have to do this using an axe or similar equipment. You will find a couple of saws that can handle these tasks efficiently and with less effort.

Typically, there is an ongoing debate over Chainsaw vs. Pole saw. Also, users are wondering which is better for these garden maintenance tasks.

Keep reading this blog post if you have the same questions about these saws. We will break down all their features and differences. Moreover, we will dive deeper into their particular uses when you use them for tree chopping.

Chainsaw vs. Pole saw
The main differences between a Chainsaw and a Pole saw are their size, handle length, cutting functionality, applications, the convenience of use, safety, power source, power capacity, guide bar length, and price. Both can cut trees, but only a pole pruner has a stretchable blade.

What is a Chainsaw? 

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A regular chainsaw is mainly used for chopping and cutting. A chainsaw consists of a bar, chain, engine ( gas or electricity), teeth, and blades. The chain rotates, which allows the teeth and blades to cut through wood. Mainly, these saws are used for chopping firewood or felling and limbing trees.

There are various types and models of chainsaws, but the most common ones are those with gas-powered engines. There are electric chainsaws as well. Both of them are great at cutting down trees and chopping wood. However, each has distinct advantages that set it apart.

1. Electric Chainsaws

These have emerged in recent years. These are smaller than chainsaws with powerful gas engines, making them easier to carry and handle. However, they are more suitable for mid-sized or smaller cutting projects.

These chainsaws can use a battery or a power cord. In general, they are affordable and work perfectly for inexperienced users. However, they should consider their safety, including wearing safety glasses.

2. Gas Chainsaws

You can consider these gas-powered models the original and most commonly used types of chainsaws. They are deemed heavy-duty chainsaws. You can find them with homeowners, but they are more suitable for professional landscapers.

You can find this type of chainsaw in many forms and designs. For instance, there is a top-handle chainsaws and read-handle saws too.

Sufficient running time is a highly prized advantage of gasoline chainsaws. Also, they provide higher functionality, as they do not need an external power source or rely on batteries like battery-operated chainsaws. 

What is a Pole saw?

A pole saw is commonly used for tree pruning. So, it is often possessed by professional pruners. This saw got its name from its appearance. It looks like an actual pruning saw that is connected to a pole.

This appearance makes the saw ideal for tree maintenance, specifically for tall trees. With such saws, you can cut higher branches without climbing a ladder. This design makes this saw ideal for use during wet conditions.

The whole idea of using a chainsaw on a ladder goes against all the safety tips. Holding a chainsaw above your shoulders increases the chance of an accidental drop. Moreover, this can cause you to fall off the ladder.

So, using a pole saw spares all such troubles. However, in this case, you will need to keep your safety equipment on too. So, wearing earmuffs, protective glasses, and pants is a rule of thumb when dealing with saws.

Just like chainsaws, pole saws come in two different operating styles. There are electric pole saws as well as gas-powered pole saws. There are manual pole saws too, but they are the least popular.

What are the Differences between a Chainsaw and a Pole saw?

A Chainsaw and a Pole saw are very different in appearance and function. It is not possible to mistake one for another in terms of appearance.

However, common confusion is usually caused by a need for more understanding of their functional capacities.

1. Size 

A Chainsaw and a Pole saw vary in length and overall size. The former is always shorter, while the latter is thinner. Moreover, a chainsaw has a bulky engine, whereas a pole saw is lighter and easier to hold.

The heaviest pole pruner weighs around 11 pounds, while the average weight of chainsaws, particularly gas-powered models, ranges between 10 and 15 pounds. Typically, an electric model weighs somehow below this average.

2. Handle length

This is one of the most specific factors that set the two saws apart. A Pole saw or pruner has a very long handle. This handle allows a user to reach tree branches without a chair or a ladder. You can extend the adjustable pole handle to reach a height between 12 and 15 feet (3.60 and 4.50 meters).

A chainsaw, on the other hand, does not have this feature at all. So, it won’t be an excellent fit for cutting purposes above shoulder height. Still, you can find some professional models of chainsaws with long, but not extendable, blades.

3. Cutting Functionality

Both saws are meant for cutting but do not cut the same type of wood. For instance, a chainsaw can chop down a whole tree or divide thick wood chunks. On the contrary, a pole pruner cuts thinner wood or trims dry branches or limbs.

4. Applications 

You may have guessed that the uses of these popular tools are different. A pole chainsaw is an ideal candidate for a simple tree-trimming project. On the other hand, a chainsaw is made for more complex forestry and construction projects, including felling trees.

The difference in the applications comes from the difference in their design nature. A chainsaw has a more versatile engine that can easily and quickly chop down large trees. A pole saw, on the other hand, lacks such versatility.

5. Convenience of Use

Both machines offer a decent level of convenience, especially for trained hands. However, a trimming beginner can face difficulty holding, balancing, and controlling a fuel-powered chainsaw. These are heavy.

Holding an extended pole is uncomfortable, as you must keep your arm stretched. Still, balancing a heavy chainsaw is easier.

6. Safety

A chainsaw can be very hazardous, primarily when handled by beginners. Whether used by professionals or beginners, the risk of losing your grip is always present. So, wearing protective equipment while using a chainsaw is always recommended. This is mandatory to avoid the risk of self-cutting.

A pole pruner, on the other hand, is a lot safer. You are not in closer contact with the blades while running. So, the only risk a pole saw poses is the chance of a chopped limb falling over your head. This is why you must have a protective helmet and glasses on.

7. Power Source 

Chainsaws run primarily on gasoline. However, other models run on electricity. However, these are less popular and powerful than gas models. Meanwhile, pole saws offer more diversity in power sources. For instance, it can run on gasoline. There are also cordless pole saws that depend on batteries and corded pole saws.

Moreover, there are manual pole pruners. Such models do not need any power other than their physical strength. This operation option is never found in chainsaws.

8. Power Capacity 

Any type of chainsaw will be more powerful than a pole pruner. However, the power capacity difference is drastic. The average capacity of a chainsaw can reach 6 kW, while the most powerful pole saw can have a power capacity of 1.8 kW.

 9. Guide Bar Length 

Despite having an extendable blade, a pole pruner has a shorter bar. The average length of a pole pruner bar ranges between 9 and 13 inches. A chainsaw, on the other hand, has a bar length ranging between 14 and 28 inches.

10. Price 

The most common and best-selling types of pole saws are the electric ones. These are typically considered cost-efficient, especially when compared to gasoline-powered chainsaws. The latter can be three times more expensive. However, such a price gap can say a thing or two about the difference in capabilities and features.

Chainsaw vs Pole saw: are they the same?

Different types of mechanical saws provide different functions. Falling into the category of saws won’t make them substitute for each other. They are designed differently and applied in very different ways.

For instance, a pole saw can take down higher tree limbs or branches. A chainsaw, on the other hand, takes down a whole tree. The thicker a tree is, the more suitable a gas chainsaw will be.

Gas- and electricity-powered machines are not the only models of pole saws available. There is a manual type of pole saw and a battery-powered variety. A chainsaw does not come with manual running.

Generally, a chainsaw works for dense and thick trees, whereas a pole pruner works for taller and higher branches. The latter is not for chopping but can efficiently prune a tree.

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( Licensed Chainsaw Professional )

Jake is a chainsaws expert with a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field. He is a licensed professional by the National Chainsaw Program, which attests to his skills and expertise in the safe and efficient use of chainsaws.