Hand, Pole, and Electric Pruning Saws…Oh My!

Have you found yourself gazing at your favorite little nook in your study, thinking about lopping off a few branches of that tree outside to let in a bit more natural light for reading? Do you feel that extremely tall lilac bush is about to consume the smaller bushes next to it for lunch? Have you glanced at your pruning shears and sighed because they whimper at the thought of attacking those behemoths lining your walkway?

Perhaps it’s time to consider a new tool for your gardening arsenal: the pruning saw. With so many different choices to check out, you may find yourself wallowing in details. Not to worry! In this guide, I will condense a lot of those details for you and help you understand which is the best pruning saw to purchase.

If you’re just interested in the best pruning saws by type, either scroll below or check out the quick list here:

Reasons to Get a Pruning Saw

Here are a few reasons you may have for getting one. Or, if you’re just looking for more reasons to add to your own and convince your wife, you can choose from this list.

Aesthetics – You don’t have to be an agricultural artist, sculpting your landscape into bunnies and dragons, to appreciate a tidy grove of trees or row of bushes. Neatly-shaped shrubs can, say, open up the view of your garden pretties by unblocking windows and clearing pathways.

Size – Pruning shears lack the reach and power of a pruning saw, meaning you may not be able to get to those high, thick branches trying to force their way into your son’s upstairs bedroom window. Like he needs another excuse to climb that tree. “But Mom, you’re always telling me not to run down the stairs!”

Plant Health – If your tree has a limb suffering from disease, your shears may not be able to get the thicker affected branches. For the safety of the healthy parts, better to have the right tree pruning saw strong enough to lop off the bigger stuff so there’s nothing of the disease left to spread.

Fun Stuff – Want to blaze a trail through thick growth and play explorer with your kids? Need a handy tool to help you make a fire or clear a space for your tent while camping? Consider giving the pruning saw a look-see.

If you’ve tried looking up pruning saws yourself, your head just might be spinning from all the different types. Here’s a quick list to sum it up for you.

Types of Pruning Saws

The Best Folding Pruning Saws

A classic-style pruning saw hard at work.

Hand Saws – Are just what they sound like: sturdy saws powered by your own hands and muscles. Common types include bow saws and ones that look like overlarge kitchen knives.

Folding Saws – Very handy for camping trips because they fold up to a smaller size for easy take-along.

Electric or Gas Saws – Not in the mood to grit your teeth and power through that really thick branch while occasionally stopping to wipe sweat from your brow? A gas or electric pruning saw will supply its own energy, making quick, sweat-free work of those annoying boughs. Well, they do as long as you supply the gas or electricity.

Pole Saws – If you don’t have a ladder nearby to reach those high branches, or if heights make you a bit nervous like me, a pole pruning saw gives extra length to your arms without needing to leave the ground.

What Size Saw Should You Get?

The objects you intend to prune will guide you to the size of pruning saw you’ll need. Many pruning saws handle branches around one to three inches in diameter.

If your branches are thicker, you may need a beefier, straighter blade as opposed to a thin, curved one. With pole pruners, make sure to consider how heavy the apparatus is so you don’t tweak your back trying to use it.

Are the branches you’re wanting to prune in a small, narrow area? A bulky blade may not fit where you need to go.

Using a Pruning Saw

A few tips to help you on your pruning journey:

  1. It’s a good idea to wear safety glasses and gloves while using a pruning saw to protect your valuable assets.
  2. If you can do it safely and comfortably, try to cut downward from top to bottom so that gravity is working for you and not against you.
  3. Make note of other branches and parts of the tree near your cutting spot. You don’t want to hurt the poor tree any more than necessary.
  4. To prevent the branch from tearing off and further wounding the tree while you cut, see if you can remove some of the weight from the bough, like smaller branches and groups of leaves.
  5. To reduce the chance of slipping, begin cutting by first making a groove where you intend to remove the limb.

This video gives more information on pruning properly:

The Best Pruning Saws (By Type)

Finally, the moment you’ve all been waiting for! Unless you just skipped to this section. That’s OK, too.

Here are the products that I consider the best for each category of hand saw, electric saw, folding saw, pole saw, and overall.

Best Overall Pruning Saw

Samurai Ichiban Pruning Saw

Samurai Ichiban 330mm Pruning Saw with Scabbard

Now I might be biased because I absolutely love almost anything from Japan, but I’m not alone in loving this pruning saw. Users of this Japanese saw both rave and caution about the sharpness of the blade, as well as the ease with which it cuts through thick branches.

Weighing in at about 12.8 ounces, this light model with a comfortable rubber grip is great for getting a large project done fast. You’ll be finished before you know it. And with the included sheath, you can channel your inner samurai and impress your neighbors. Just keep in mind how sharp this tool is and don’t get too fancy showing off.

One of the cons of this brand is the difficulty of sharpening the coarse teeth should they get dull. Purchasing a replacement blade may be a good idea, although, depending on how much you use it, you may never need one.

See Prices


Best Pruning Saw for the Money

Corona RS 7120 Razor Tooth Pruning Saw

Corona RS 7120 13″ Razor Tooth Pruning Saw

For a price that’s at least half of the others on this list, you get a lifetime warranty for this 13-inch saw from a company that’s been around since the 1920s. Its weight and ease of use is comparable to the Samurai Ichiban, especially for those looking for a lighter pruning saw.

The issues with this brand center around the locking mechanism, with reports of the hinge pin coming loose and the lack of different locking positions available. Users have also expressed a desire for a better quality handle.

See Prices


Best Folding Pruning Saw

Corona RS 7265D Razor Tooth Folding Pruning Saw

Corona RS 7265D 10″ Razor Tooth Folding Pruning Saw

This curved, 10-inch blade is quite sharp and lightweight. Combined with its folding ability, this makes it very handy for portability and effortless use. The low price is equally user-friendly. Corona has been making outdoor tools like this for longer than every single person reason this article (unless you’re over 97, and if you are, please email me!).

As mentioned above, some purchasers have described problems with the hinge pin sliding out and the lower quality of the handle. Also, a handful have touched upon the exposure of a small part of the blade when in the folded position, though many have not experienced any problems arising from this detail.

See Prices


Best Pole Pruning Saw

Fiskars 14 Foot Power-Lever Extendable Tree Pruner

Fiskars 14 Foot Power-Lever Extendable Tree Pruner

The 15-inch blade with a special coating to reduce friction, the 14-foot pole for long reach, and the Power-Lever feature all make this an excellent choice in pole saws. The fiberglass pole is lightweight and saves you from performing that scary balancing act atop a ladder. It deconstructs to a smaller size for storage. The limited lifetime warranty will give you some peace of mind as well.

While the extendable component is a most desirable feature in this pruner, a few users describe issues with the locking mechanisms sometimes not tightening enough. There is also some flexibility in the fiberglass pole when fully extended, which is practically unavoidable when considering the length it spans.

See Prices


Best Electric Pruning Saw

Black & Decker PHS550B 3.4 Amp Powered Handsaw

Black & Decker Handsaw

Got more to cut other than a few branches? The changeable blades of this electric saw, with the assistance of the 3.4 amp, 4,600 SPM motor, allow you to cut through metal and plastic as well as wood. Its weight, compact size, and 6-foot cord make it an easy tool to use around your home and landscape. It even comes with a storage bag to keep your blades and cord all nicely bundled together, saving you from long searches because you misplaced that metal-cutting blade last time you used it.

Other users of the B&D Handsaw have said that cutting certain sizes and materials can be time consuming. While changing the blades doesn’t require special tools (a screwdriver is recommended for assistance), it can be difficult and has a bit of a learning curve.

I know, I know. this is technically not a pruning saw. But it’s pretty neat and it’s very handy around the house if you want to speed up your gardening workflow.

See Prices


There you have it, a guide to both using and purchasing pruning saws for all your landscaping needs. If you have experiences with any of these products, please share them in the comments…I am always looking to improve my recommendations and I know other gardeners have experiences to share!

Got a friend trying to choose a pruning saw to tackle their own jungle? Share this article with them. Thanks for reading!

Resources

  1. http://garden.org/learn/articles/view/3922/
  2. http://treesandshrubs.about.com/od/pruning/a/How-to-Use-A-Pruning-Saw.htm
  3. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74AlzCeYIPk
  4. Featured image: https://www.fema.gov/media-library/search/23791#{“keywords”:”23791″}
  5. Folding pruning saw: https://pixabay.com/p-1318871/

As always, feel free to check out my review process for Epic Gardening.