Do you often feel like you need to struggle between a hand pruner and a chainsaw? Some pruning tasks are simply too much for a hand pruner, but minor enough that using a chainsaw is dangerous. That's where pruning saws come in.
Pruning saws are built with a metal blade and teeth. But they're available in a huge range of shapes and sizes.
We've compared some of the bestselling pruning saws on the market. Here are our top recommendations:
Top 6: Best Pruning Saws
This is a hand saw that's built for gardeners who want a high-quality tool to do serious pruning jobs.
The G18L model has a high carbon steel blade that provides optimal cutting performance. For equal cutting performance from a longer-lasting blade, there's also the G18HL model. This model has an impulse hardened metal blade.
These are some of the main features of the saw:
The impulse hardened blade cannot be sharpened because it's too hard to use with a sharpener. It is possible to sharpen the other blade, but it's difficult to do so because of the positioning of the teeth. Because of this, the manufacturer recommends not sharpening it. Sharpening it improperly will ruin it.
The blades are able to retain their sharpness during heavy use because they have been heat treated. This hardens them so that they don't chip or dull.
The marquench hardening process goes a step further. It hardens both the inner blade and outer coating. Then the hardened blade is tempered for a certain period of time to add to the durability.
The impulse hardening process is even more intensive, but because of that, impulse hardened blades are more expensive. An impulse hardened blade will retain its sharpness for up to three times longer than marquench hardened metal. Impulse hardening involves heating and cooling the blade within a single second.
This is done by using a high-frequency current. It is an advanced scientific process that many companies don't bother to use.
The handle is comfortable. The molded hook on the end curls around the pinky finger, which means you have more power to your grip. You don't have to worry about your hand sliding off the blade. There are also ergonomic ridges that further prevent slip and increase comfort.
The handle doesn't use rubber to prevent slippage, but that isn't a huge problem. There are enough anti-slip features to keep your grip steady. The only potential drawback is that the grip may not be as padded as with some other models.
The swing lock is different from many saws. Rather than locking the blade in every position, it only locks the blade when open. There is no folding lock. The open lock is very sturdy, preventing wobbling or friction between the handle and the blade.
Adjusting the tension is easy. All you need is a straight bladed or Philips head screwdriver, which most people have in their toolkits. This allows you to change how tightly the blade adheres to the handle. You can create a little bounce for energy-efficient pruning or remove any looseness for a more precise cut.
If you're concerned about the lack of a closed lock, you can tighten the screw slightly when the blade is closed. This should take care of any potential issues with the saw opening unexpectedly.
Since the saw is less than 10 inches long while folded, it's simple to carry. You may be able to hold it in a pants pocket or tuck it into a gardening kit. It's also extremely lightweight, so it won't add to any struggles you might have with heavy equipment.
It's very easy to begin a cut thanks to the pull stroke technology. Each cut is clean, and the speed is faster than with much of the competition. If you're looking for a fast, clean cut, this is the pruning saw for you. It's especially favored by industry professionals.
The straight blade means that the saw works best for people whose pruning tasks are between the waist and shoulders, rather than above their heads or close to the ground.
Each blade comes with chrome plating that helps prevent rust from forming. This material also keeps wood resin and sap from clinging to the blade. It should be noted that after the blade has been used for a while, the plating may begin to wear down.
If you see that the blade has a dull color, that's a sign that the plating has begun wearing off. This shouldn't impede the saw's performance, but it will leave the blade vulnerable to rust. As long as you oil and lubricate the blade, though, you shouldn't have issues with rust formation.
There is a lifetime warranty on the saw, though it only covers material defects and craftsmanship errors. You won't be able to get a replacement if the saw wears down due to improper use or natural causes.
This is our top pick overall because of the efficiency, design, and strength of the materials.
This is another high-quality saw from ARS. It's a good choice if you want something small enough to put in your pocket. If you're looking for a larger blade, though, you might want to go with the previous option on the list.
Even though the saw is small, it is capable of dealing with heavy-duty pruning jobs. It can cut through branches that even hardcore loppers can't manage. The design is small and lightweight, with a total length of 13.5 inches. Folded, it's just eight inches long.
It shares most of the same specifications with the previous option. You can adjust the blade using a standard screwdriver. The blade is plated with chrome and made from marquench hardened steel. The teeth also use the Turbocut technology, and the blade is replaceable.
Like with the previous blade, sharpening is technically possible but not recommended. It's difficult to align the teeth, and you don't want to accidentally ruin the blade.
There is also molding on the end that prevents your hand from sliding off the handle. It's similar to the molding on the previous saw, but the angle isn't so pronounced. It will stop your pinky from slipping, but it won't provide extra gripping power.
The ridges on the handle also prevent slippage. There are enough anti-slip features to make up for the lack of rubber coating. A rubber handle may provide a more ergonomic grip for those with joint issues, however.
The saw is excellent for campers, since you can easily stow it in a backpack or with your luggage. Not only that, but you can slide a lanyard through the hole in the handle and attach it to your neck or equipment.
It performs with the same efficient, clean cutting strokes as the previous ARS saw. The only real difference is that it can't cut through some larger materials, due to the short reach of the blade.
The chrome plating prevents rust, but it may wear off after prolonged use. The first place you'll see it wearing off is around the teeth. Oiling and lubricating the saw will help keep rust from forming. It's also important not to get the saw wet, to dry it immediately if it does come in contact with water, and to store it in a dry place.
Like the prior option, there's a lifetime guarantee against material defects and craftsmanship errors. The warranty won't apply to breakage caused by human error or a natural wearing-down of the blade.
This pruning saw uses a pole configuration. It can extend anywhere from 6 to 16 feet, so it's a great choice if you need to prune tree branches high off the ground. The extension is significantly longer than with many competing pole saws on the market.
Because of the long extension, the saw is often favored by landscapers, foresters, and other people who work with tall trees. Since it's pricier than shorter pole saws tend to be, though, it might not be the best investment for those who don't need the longer reach.
The pole is outfitted with a specialized pruning head. This tool is capable of snipping through branches of up to 1.25 inches in thickness. It's a good choice if you want a pruner that's less intensive than a saw.
For thicker branches, there's a fourteen-inch saw blade. This blade has sharpened edges on three sides for more smooth and precise cuts, even at difficult angles. The metal used is high-carbon steel, which is capable of slicing through tough materials.
The three-sided blade design also improves efficiency. When you cut forward and backward on the branch, you make twice as much headway while using half the usual power. You can cut through about four times as many branches before feeling tired as you can with an average competing pole saw.
The carbon steel has been tempered so that it retains its edge through hundreds of cuts. In addition, a non-stick coating has been applied to the surface. This helps reduce friction, create smoother cuts, and save your energy. Maintenance is easy; all you have to do is wipe the model down after each session.
The pole itself is crafted from high-quality fiberglass. This makes it lightweight enough to wield with ease, even at its fullest extension. At the same time, the material is durable enough to stand up to years of heavy use.
The handle is covered with foam, which gives you a softer grip. For this reason, it's an ideal choice for gardeners who need to clip high branches but are worried about their joints. The cushioning helps protect against fatigue and joint pain even during long gardening sessions.
The model is also engineered with a pulley system. The compound design allows you to slice through thick branches with very little effort. That's another reason the product is favored by professionals and gardeners with arthritis.
The grip is adjustable as well. This means that you can shift the handles to fit comfortably in your hand. The customization allows you to get the best use out of the pulley system, whether you have small or large hands.
Milliard is also a company that prides itself on its customer service. You can reach out to them with any concerns or questions about your purchase. The company's mission is to create safe, comfortable tools.
Another important note is that this saw doesn't use batteries or electricity. Instead, the pulley system provides all the power you need to saw through thick branches. This means you don't have to worry about battery replacement or getting tangled in an electrical cord.
Engineered and manufactured by a Japanese company, the Samurai Ichiban is a great choice for those who want a curved hand pruning saw. The handle and blade both feature innovative technology. We recommend the 13-inch saw because of its versatility, but there are smaller options if you want something pocket-sized.
Also included with the purchase is a plastic scabbard. You don't have to worry about leaving the blade out and hurting yourself, since there's always a safe place to put it. The sheath has a belt loop for easier carrying around your environment.
The saw has unique teeth that allow for aggressive cutting. The blade resists binding and has a curved, tapered shape. This gives it advantages when working above your head or below your waist, so it's a good choice for trimming low shrubs or tall branches.
The teeth have been impulse hardened, which means that they'll retain their sharpness for longer. Meanwhile, the metal has been plated with chrome to make the saw rust-resistant. It also resists sap, pitch, and other sticky materials. Wiping the blade clean is an easy endeavor.
This is a highly recommended saw if you're doing general pruning work. It can efficiently cut through branches up to 4 inches thick.
The handle is cushioned with rubber, which allows for a stronger non-slip grip. It also helps to prevent against joint pain and fatigue. The ergonomic shape fits well in your hand, and the curved design increases your power during the pull-stroke motion.
Best Wood Chippers
This is another high-quality pole saw. It's even longer than the previous one on the list. With that said, the heavy-duty design is made for professionals and hardcore gardeners. It might not be the best for those who only do casual gardening, or those who can't handle heavy equipment.
The latest saw model was designed in 2020. It has a reinforced extension pole that's twice as strong as the first. Unlike other pole saws, it's also a two-in-one design. You can extend it to reach tall branches, and you can also use it as a hand saw for lower branches and shrubs.
The saw can extend to a whopping 24 feet in length, so it's excellent for tall trees. It allows you to do many serious jobs without needing a ladder, which can make the endeavor much safer.
The extension pole has aluminum walls built with twice the thickness and strength of the original design. When you're working on the ground, you can saw by hand by unscrewing the hand saw from the extender. This makes it one of the most versatile options on the list.
The blade features triple-tooth technology and bi-directional cutting. You make progress with each back-and-forth stroke. The handle has been outfitted with a comfortable grip for longer use.
Another great feature is that the product arrives completely assembled. If you use it while you stand, you can get up to 28 feet of reach. The best way to use the product is by extending it only as far as you need to. This helps reduce flex so that you get a smoother, more efficient cut.
Because the saw detaches from the extension pole, you can attach other garden accessories to the pole as well. If you need an extender for trimmers or a watering can or other materials, this is a great investment. The threaded metal tip is standardized and will fit any threaded accessories.
This pruning saw comes with a reusable blade cover, which allows you to protect the blade from degrading when not in use. The design also features a bark scratcher and branch hook. It's another curved option that increases your power with each stroke and prevents bacteria issues.
When you work on ladders or high up in trees, you don't want your saw to release unexpectedly. A safety clip ensures that the model stays closed until you're ready to use it.
The teeth are built to maximize the cutting performance. This blade can be used by hand, or it can be integrated with an Interlocken handle. Every purchase comes with a 10 year warranty.
The Interlocken system is what really sets this product apart. There are a variety of telescoping and fixed Interlocken pole designs that can be mixed and matched with compatible accessories. Because of this, you can make more than 1,000 different combinations of handles and tools using Wolf-Garten products.
If you want a more customizable reach, this is a great place to start. The Interlocken system means that you can get several fixed or telescoping poles, and then you can attach the saw to each of them to suit your needs.
Interlocken tools are available not just for pruning, but also for tasks including:
This means that not only can you get a pole that's compatible with your garden tools - you can also get a pole that's compatible with all of your home maintenance tools.
Wolf-Garten is also known for manufacturing individual pieces like hedge shears, loppers, and anvil pruners. Like the pruning saw, these can be used by hand.
The Interlocken system is reliable. When you switch between poles, a locking pin secures the handle in place. The poles are engineered so that there's very little wiggling or instability between the blade and the extender. Even when you're sawing hard at large branches, the system remains rigid.
The pruning system uses a "button guard" as well. One potential problem is that a blade could get stuck if a tree branch brushes the locking button and locks it in place. To mitigate this, the button guard protects the button from being accidentally pushed when the blade is in a tree.
The Bypass Lopper is part of the pruning system as well. Since the lopper has four pulleys, you generate four times the strength with a single cut. There's also an adjustable pull handle that allows you to change the rope length as needed, so you're not constantly struggling with extra rope.
The lopper has a rope guiding device. This combination of metal and plastic fits neatly over the pole and guides the rope, so loose rope doesn't get tangled.
A pivot system allows the cutting head to swing around as you pull the levers. This means that you can adjust the exact angle of the tool to fit the branch in question. That's not always easy when you're dealing with complicated, tangled trees.
The pruning saw itself makes clean, smooth cuts whether used by hand or attached to a pole. The steel has been double-hardened, so it doesn't break down during use.
Rather than using triple-sided technology, the blade uses double-ground teeth. This means that the striations tend to be deeper than those of a triple blade. You might not get the smoothest edges on the market, but you will get a reliable and quick cut.
Pruning saws come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so the best one for you will vary depending on your needs.
For the best overall hand saw, we recommend the ARS SA-G18L. This folding saw is tough enough to withstand heavy-duty use, durable enough not to wear down, and efficient. The cuts it makes are some of the smoothest and quickest on the market.
If you want something a little more portable, the ARS pocket saw is a good choice. It uses the same engineering to create a durable blade and comfortable handle, but it's small enough to fit in your pocket. The only drawback is that it may not perform very well on extremely large pieces.
The best curved saw is the Samurai. The digitally engineered handle is built to be ergonomic, so it's great for those with joint issues. The blade cuts easily through shrubs and branches, and the product also comes with a sheath that can attach to your belt loops.
For lightweight pole saws, we recommend the Milliard. The fiberglass extender is one of the lightest and most durable materials on the market. The pruning head makes pruning jobs easy. Thanks to the triple-sided blade and engineered pulley system, you can also cut with four times the efficiency of other pole saws.
The most versatile option on the market is the DocaPole. Not only can this saw extend to 24 feet, but you can also detach a hand saw for ground-level use. Any threaded garden accessories can be attached to the pole to increase your reach. It's an extremely useful tool to have if you frequently care for very tall trees.
Frequently Asked Questions
A pole saw is exactly what it sounds like: a saw attached to a pole. Some pole saws run with electric power, while others are operated manually. They're designed to let you trim tall tree branches without needing a ladder.
Sometimes the terms "pole saw" and "pole pruner" are used interchangeably. However, true pruners usually have a lopping head that allows you to cut through branches with a snap. Some pole saws may have lopping heads included. There may also be toolkits that have interchangeable saws and lopping heads.
Poles might be static or telescoping. Static poles have a single length, so they're good for people who want maximum rigidity in their cuts. Telescoping poles have an adjustable length, so they're ideal if you need to cut branches at a number of different heights.
Hand saws can come with curved or straight blades. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so the one for you will depend on the work you're doing.
Straight blades work best if you're pruning branches between your waist and shoulders. Meanwhile, curved blades work best if you're pruning low-level shrubs or branches above your head.
Your body is naturally designed to use straight blades at certain heights. If you're cutting directly in front of you, a straight blade works with the motions of your arm. A curved blade would cause unnatural up-and-down movements.
If you're using a blade at chest level, it's hard to keep the teeth of a curved model in the branch. Each stroke will cause the arch to lift away from the branch. This has detrimental effects on your efficiency, and it can make your cuts sloppy and harsh.
Straight saws remain pressed to the branch when used at chest height. They move more easily, cause less frustration, and generate more power.
When you're working above your head or low to the ground, though, a curved blade gives you an advantage. If you're bent over or reaching up, the curve "hooks" around the branch. It's easier to use a curved blade than a straight one at this angle because it gives you a better grip on the branch.
Pruning saws are made to prune tough branches that a lopper can't quite manage. They all feature a blade and a handle. But beyond that, there are tons of different shapes and sizes.
Folding hand saws are the most common choice for people who need a portable option. Some are small enough to fit in your pocket. Some are larger, built to deal with heavy-duty jobs. It's important to choose the right size for the largest branch you'll need to cut, and no larger.
Non-folding hand saws tend to come with a sheath or plastic carrying case. They tend to have longer blades than folding saws. Like folding saws, it's best to choose your size based on the largest branch you'll cut.
Pole saws are attached to poles rather than handles. These designs can reach into the upper branches of a tree. They're much safer to use than ladders. Many landscapers and arborists suffer serious accidents every year from pruning while standing on a ladder.
Almost all pole saws are curved, since they're made for working above your head.
Hardened steel is a type of carbon steel that has been heat treated. After being heated and cooled down, it undergoes more reheating.
The biggest benefit of hardened steel is that it's resistant to wear. Because of this, it's favored for use in sharp blades, as it negates the need for sharpening.
Hardened steel is also resistant to corrosive chemicals. Many of these blades are given anti-rust coatings or platings as well.