Chainsaw vs Pole saw – what’s the difference and which do you need?


chainsaw versus polesaw

Cutting down trees and trimming branches and bushes are important tasks that need to be carried out throughout the year for many different reasons. For these, you’ll most likely be faced with two cutter options – chainsaw and/or pole saw. Everyone knows what a chainsaw is, and a pole saw is (you guessed it) basically a saw on a pole. But of course, there’s more to it than that.

What are the differences between a chainsaw and a pole saw?

The biggest difference between a chainsaw and pole saw is the length. A chainsaw is short and is used to cut trees or logs in close proximity to the body, whereas the pole saw shaft extends to reach branches and hedges that you can’t get to with a chainsaw. Both have an engine or motor on one end and a chainsaw blade on the other.

What is a chainsaw?

The quickest and most effective way to trim large branches, fell trees, or cut firewood, a chainsaw is a common cutting tool that has teeth on chain. The cutting chain is attached to the guide bar which is mechanically powered to spin the chain.

Petrol-powered chainsaws

The biggest advantage of petrol-powered chainsaws is that they’re small and light. However, the basic capability of a petrol-powered chainsaw is limited so it’s recommended you use it for no more than two hours a day.

Cordless chainsaws

Cordless or battery-powered chainsaws are an excellent option and with better battery technology coming out all the time, they are increasingly the more reliable type of powered saw. If you have spare batteries, you can use a cordless chainsaw all day without stopping.

What is a pole saw?

Pole saws are great for reaching tree limbs and branches that are hard to reach, without getting the ladder out. Due to the length of the extended shaft, the pole saw can be harder to control and more dangerous to use, however investing in a good one and learning to use it is well worth your time if you’ll be doing a lot of trimming. Like chainsaws, there are two main types – petrol-powered and cordless.

Petrol-powered pole saw

These are a popular choice for landscapers and arborists, however the cordless equivalent is gaining favour. These pole saws are powerful, mobile, and easy to use, giving a great amount of cutting power that’s versatile enough for different scenarios.  With a petrol-powered engine on one end and a small chainsaw blade on the other, the length of the pole is dependent on the model, but models generally extend to 2-3m. 

To operate, you prime the engine, pull the cord to get the engine going and then use the trigger to increase or decrease power to the blade at the end. As well as the above benefits, petrol-powered pole saws are generally efficient in their fuel usage.

Cordless pole saw

Using a rechargeable battery pack, cordless pole saws are a simple push-button start, with the motor located on the bottom, which connects to the trigger that controls the speed of the blade. Like all cordless machinery, the battery will drain faster with thicker branches, but this is easily fixed with a spare battery, charged and ready to go.


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