Lawn & Garden
7 Best Manual Pole Saws of 2020
A manual pole saw is a handy tool that many of us desire to own.
Whether for professional or home gardening, a manual pole saw is the ideal tool for cutting off those notorious branches or vines that are high up and hard to reach from the ground.
You may want to get rid of long, thick, or overgrown branches. Using a ladder is a risky process while calling in a professional every time you need such a service will cost you lots of money. That’s why you need a manual pole saw.
Our top 7 manual pole saw reviews and buying guide will help you choose the model that suits your needs and budget.
7 Best Manual Pole Saws – Review
1. Fiskars 393981-1001 (Best Budget)
2. Silky 179-39 (Best Professional)
3. Fiskars 92406935K (Best Pole Saw & Pruner)
4. ARS SC-EXW18 (Best Lightweight)
5. Jameson FG-6PKG-7 (Most Advanced Pole Saw & Pruner)
6. Silky 372-42 (Premium Design)
7. Gilmour 820186-1001 (Basic)
1. Fiskars 393981-1001
2. Silky 179-39
3. Fiskars 92406935K
(Best Pole Saw & Pruner)
4. ARS SC-EXW18
5. Jameson FG-6PKG-7
(Most Advanced Pole Saw & Pruner)
6. Silky 372-42
7. Gilmour 820186-1001
1. Fiskars 393981-1001 – Best Budget Manual Pole Saw
- Blade length: 15 inches
- Max reach: 14 feet
- Weight: 5.35 pounds
Fiskars 393981-1001 is the most affordable manual pole saw on our list. Its low price makes it an ideal budget manual pole saw. But its reasonable price is not the only value this saw offers.
Its saw measures 15 inches long. This length is more than adequate for cutting medium to large branches. Besides the saw, it also has a precision-ground pruner, which is made of toughened steel to cut branches up to 1-1/8 inches thick.
You want a manual pole saw that extends to a decent height so that it can reach high branches, which is exactly what the Fiskars 393981-1001 offers: an extension of up to 14 feet. This trimming system promises to be sturdy and deliver up to 2X more power compared to standard pole saws.
For ease of handling, the entire system is made up of oval-shaped fiberglass poles designed to reduce the tool’s flexing, especially when fully extended. This feature also allows you to have maximum control over cut direction.
This model is also one of the lightest manual pole saws we have reviewed. At 5.35 pounds, it is certainly not the lightest, but it outdoes other heavier models such as the Jameson FG-6PKG-7 and Gilmour 820186-1001.
You also get a lifetime warranty with your purchase of this model.
Although Fiskars 393981-1001 is the best budget manual pole saw on our list, initial assemble may not be easy especially for first-time users. However, there are plenty of supplementary resources online to guide you.
2. Silky 179-39 – Best Professional Manual Pole Saw
- Blade length: 15-2/5 inches
- Max reach: 21 feet
- Weight: 6.9 pounds
Silky 179-39 is the best professional manual pole saw because it packs professional-grade features, excluding having the maximum reach, one of the longest blade lengths, and is considerably lightweight.
This top-rated manual pole saw is built for professionals who want the best out of their manual pole saws. It extends up to 21 feet to reach those branches that are too high up for standard and shorter manual pole saws to reach.
To complement this impressive length, the pole saw packs a 15-2/5-inch long blade made of Japanese steel. It is ideal for professional cuts of up to 7.7 inches.
The saw makes a decent attempt to contain its weight given it is made of a 4-section 3-extension telescopic aluminum pole, which extends up to 21 feet. At only 6.9 pounds in operating weight, you will not struggle to control the tool.
Maintenance is easy with this model. It has a removable saw head whose disassembly is easy and fast. You don’t require any professional tools for this task.
Even though you are not getting a lifetime warranty such as that of Fiskars 393981-1001, this model does come with a manufacturer’s limited lifetime warranty, which covers material and workmanship defects.
In fact, this tool boasts of a maximum working reach of 26 feet. There is no other tool on our list that rivals this one in this department.
Although the Silky 179-39 is the best professional manual pole saw, it comes at a steep price.
Fiskars 92406935K – Best Manual Pole Saw and Pruner
- Blade length: 15 inches
- Max reach: 12 feet
- Weight: 4.34 pounds
Fiskars 92406935K is designed as a pruner to eliminate the need to ladders when cutting down high branches, but it also has a saw that can cut even thicker branches than the pruner.
This pruner will be useful when you need to reach prickly or dense shrubs. It also enables you to make low cuts without having to bend or kneel especially with its decent maximum reach of 12 feet. It may not be the longest model on our list, but this height is adequate for your pruning needs.
If you want to get rid of thicker branches, this tool has got you covered. It comes with a 15-inch
Control and ease of handling are some of the key consideration made by this pruner’s manufacturers. For this reason, it boasts of a rope-free design, which eliminates the snags and tangles common in rope models, while giving you two-handed control for optimal and safe handling.
At 4.34 pounds, this tool is one of the lightest you can get especially given some of its bulkier rivals weigh as much as 9-10 pounds.
You also get a lifetime warranty with your purchase of this pruner.
Although the Fiskars 92406935K is 2-in-1 pruner which will take care of your pruning and cutting needs, it is rather short at 12 feet, so it may not be ideal for very high reach.
4. ARS SC-EXW18 – Best Lightweight Manual Pole Saw
- Blade length: 13 inches
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
- Max reach: 6 feet
You will love the ARS SC-EXW18 because it is an extremely lightweight pole saw. At only 1.7 pounds, it is the lightest model on our list and no other comes close to rivaling its weight.
This featherlight pole allows you to cut at a distance while maintaining precision control, something that may be difficult when using bulky pole saws. You won’t have to worry about struggling to control this tool.
You will experience the true power of this tool when pruning thorny bushes and shrubs because its ease of handling makes you reach and navigate such vegetation better.
Due to its lightweight and compact nature, this pole saw is highly portable. You can move around with it especially if your working on different parts of your farm or garden.
Its handle has an ergonomic comfort grip, which is enhanced by a 3-stop telescope.
There are two main issues we noted with the ARS SC-EXW18. First, it has a very low maximum reach of only 6 feet. Its reach is 3 times shorter than the professional Silky 179-39.
The second issue is the notably short blade length of 13 inches, making it the shortest on our list of pole saws. Thus, this tool will serve you best for light-duty pruning and cutting.
5. Jameson FG-6PKG-7 – Most Advanced Pole Saw and Pruner
- Blade length: 16 feet
- Max reach: 12 inches
- Weight: 10 pounds
Jameson FG-6PKG-7 is an advanced tool, which serves as both a pole saw, and tree pruner.
It boasts of a double-pulley system, which requires less force to operate compared to conventional pole saws. This system will also help you make clean bypass cuts with a smooth release on branches.
To complement such efficient cutting, this pole saw has an impressive 16-inch Barracuda Tri-Cut saw. Jameson says that this long saw has impulse-hardened teeth, which reduces its wear thus maximizing durability.
This tool is ideal for both high and low height pruning. The base pole will allow you to reach up to 6 feet. If you need more reach for those high branches, you can add the 6-foot extension pole provided to achieve a 12-foot reach.
The base and extension poles are made of high-quality fiberglass, which is light and durable. The pole ferrules are made with aircraft-grade aluminum and have exterior leaf spring locking buttons for a firm attachment.
Although Jameson FG-6PKG-7 is the most advanced pole saw we have reviewed on our list, you may notice that it is rather heavy, especially with extended usage.
6. Silky 372-42 – Premium Manual Pole Saw
- Blade length: 16.5 inches
- Max reach: 20 feet
- Weight: 7.9 pounds
Silky 372-42 is a premium manual pole saw that boasts of the highest retail price on our list. But the price is not the only thing that makes this pole a premium choice. It’s a heavy-duty, aluminum telescoping pole saw.
This saw has a 3-extension, 4-section telescoping pole, unlike any other we’ve seen. When fully extended, the pole reaches 20 feet with a maximum working area of 25 feet.
To ensure that the pole if firm and study while all 4 extensions are included, the aluminum-alloy poles are oval-shaped to provide full control over the blade’s direction especially when cutting high branches.
The tool has an advanced dual-locking mechanism designed to ensure the structural rigidity of the poles, especially when extended. The primary locking mechanism includes locking pins/buttons while the second mechanism is made up of friction clamps.
Another premium feature you get with this tool is its 16.5-inch blade with precision-ground, razor-sharp, super-aggressive teeth for fast and efficient cutting.
As we’ve noted, the Silky 372-42 is a premium manual pole saw, whose price will only favor people who have no budget limitations. Otherwise, budget buyers will not enjoy the features and benefits of this pole.
7. Gilmour 820186-1001 – Basic Manual Pole Saw
- Blade length: 16 inches
- Max reach: 18 feet
- Weight: 9.15 pounds
Gilmour 820186-1001 is a basic manual pole saw, which does not pack advanced features like other models we have reviewed, but still does a decent job of pruning high branches.
The tool has a pole made of fiberglass. It comes in three 6-feet parts, which have a combined reach of 18 feet. This length makes the pole ideal for light to medium-duty cutting since it won’t reach very high branches.
It also comes with a 16-inch curved saw blade, which has a nonstick coating for easier maintenance. The head which provides attachment for this blade is made of cast aluminum.
As a bonus, this pole saw has a hook at its back, which is useful for pulling down branches after they are cut. Also, it has a paintbrush holder.
Although the Gilmour 820186-1001 is a basic manual pole saw, it requires additional assembly for it to work. You will need to drill holes in the fiberglass pole to attach the saw to it. At 9.15 pounds, it may also feel heavy especially with extended usage.
How to Buy the Best Manual Pole Saw
Following are these features that you need to look out for when making your choice.
1. Pole length
The length of the pole you get will depend on how high you need it to reach. If the branches you’re targeting are very high up, you may need a long pole such as 19 – 21-inch one.
For low branches or horizontal cutting, shorter poles are ideal.
If you want more flexibility, you can get an extendable pole, which allows you to extend it to your desired height.
Most of the poles we reviewed are made of fiberglass. This material is durable and lightweight. It also wears off slower than metallic ones.
However, the ideal material for the cutting blade is either steel or cast aluminum. Commercial-grade steel will take care of your heavy-duty cutting needs because it is sturdy and durable.
Aluminum is also an excellent material for the blade and the connectors used to extend base poles.
Since you will be holding the manual pole while cutting down branches, you don’t want something bulky that will make you tired and fatigued.
Some of the models we reviewed are as light as 1.7 pounds. There are much bulkier models which weigh as much as 10 pounds, but that’s probably because they have more advanced features than the lighter ones.
When working with heavy saws, ensure you pause before starting to confirm you have full control of the tool.
Blade length is very important when choosing your pole saw. It will determine the effort you need to exert and the thickness of branches your tool can cut.
Typical blade length range between 13-16 inches. A minimum-length blade is suited for light-duty cutting that does not involve very thick branches.
However, if you require a heavy-duty blade, which works well even with thick branches, then a long one such as that of 16 inches will get the job done.
The versatility of your pole saw will be determined by a combination of multiple factors such as the tool’s build quality, material construction, weight, and whether its poles are extendable.
Your pole saw can be considered versatile if such features are well balanced and if it is also capable of multiple applications, such as cutting and pruning.
Versatility is also enhanced by tools with removable saws for ease of maintenance.
How to Use Pole Saw and Tips
Once you’ve purchased your manual pole saw, it’s time to put it to use. Below, we’ll guide you on how to use the tool safely and efficiently.
- Clear working area: Ensure there are no people within the working area where the branches will fall. You can mark it as a safety zone. Also, ensure there are no trip hazards such as branches. If there are things you can’t move such as exposed roots note their location to avoid tripping and injury.
- Determine where cutting is required: Remember that removing a single branch may require many initial cuts to reduce its weight prior to the final cut. If you have that choice, then try making cuts along the horizontal or near-horizontal surface of the vine or branch. This approach maximizes cutting efficiency.
- Position the saw: Using both hands, lift your pole saw and bring it to a vertical position. Before cutting, pause in this position to ensure you have full control of the tool. Now you can proceed to position the saw on the cutting spot ensuring that its weight rests on the branch.
- Position yourself: The safest standing position is when you are positioned on the side of the limb, and your end of the pole rests on your chest. Never stand below the limb. Whenever you’re cutting ensure that your pole is at an angle.
- Cut a starting grove: Make the initial strokes in slow and controlled motion. Cut perpendicular to the branch so that you achieve deep bites into the branch.
- Finish cutting: Once the saw is secured on the groove you have, it is now okay to increase stroking speeds. Focus on the pull stroke as it is the most effective because it's aided by gravity.
- Clean up the area: Clean up the branch and any debris in your working area before proceeding to the next branch.
Safety tip: Wear the right protective gear including gloves, goggles, and footwear. Never cut branches near or above power lines. Also, note that manual pole saws can be heavy and tiresome to work with so pause to take a break if you feel tired.
Lastly, cutting very thick branches can be dangerous.
Having covered all the important aspects of a manual pole saw, you’re all set to proceed with your purchase.
Remember to check the pole length and get the one that’s ideal for your needs. Fiberglass poles are durable and sturdy while steel blades are tough and high-performance.
Also, refer to our user guide for best practices and safety tips when using a manual pole saw.
Our comprehensive manual pole saw reviews and buying guide makes it possible to get your desired tool.
- How to Use a Pole Saw - The Spruce
- 7 Best Manual Pole Saws – Review
- 1. Fiskars 393981-1001 – Best Budget Manual Pole Saw
- 2. Silky 179-39 – Best Professional Manual Pole Saw
- 3. Fiskars 92406935K – Best Manual Pole Saw and Pruner
- 4. ARS SC-EXW18 – Best Lightweight Manual Pole Saw
- 5. Jameson FG-6PKG-7 – Most Advanced Pole Saw and Pruner
- 6. Silky 372-42 – Premium Manual Pole Saw
- 7. Gilmour 820186-1001 – Basic Manual Pole Saw
- How to Buy the Best Manual Pole Saw
- How to Use Pole Saw and Tips