Can a Pole Saw Cut Down a Tree? (ANSWERED)

Pole saws are primarily used to cut limbs of branches. They help to remove dangerous dead limbs, ensure branches aren’t growing too close to power cables and roofs, and clean up after a storm. They can also effectively cut thick vines and bamboo. But, can they be used instead of a chainsaw to cut down a tree?

Jump to the answer or read on for more context.

Can a Pole Saw Cut through a Tree Trunk?

A pole saw is primarily designed to cut tree branches up to 8 inches thick. You might notice it’s uncommon to find a pole saw with a blade more than 8 – 12 inches thick. They’re not as large as chainsaws because they’re not really designed to work on tree trunks. Rather, pole saws are designed to work on auxiliary branches.

With that said, it’s not impossible to cut a tree trunk with a pole saw. Stronger gas powered pole saws, for example, would likely make light work of a medium sized tree, while electric pole saws might struggle.

Take this video below, for example, where this pole saw owner cuts down an 11″ tree with his pole saw alone. He is strategic in his approach. He cuts off the branches first, and doesn’t try to cut through the trunk entirely. Instead, he weakens the trunk so he can pull the tree down in a controlled manner:

Note that we’re not endorsing what he does here (there are some relatively dangerous practices here), but we’re sharing it out of interest and to prove a pole saw can cut down a whole tree!

Should I Cut a Tree Trunk with a Pole Saw?

In general, it’s a good idea to use the right tool for the job. When working on tree trunks, that means using a chainsaw. We’d be hesitant to use a pole saw on a tree trunk larger than 8 inches in diameter. There are some cheap options to get an appropriate chainsaw, however. Many towns and cities have tool libraries so you can borrow or rent the right tool for the job.

If you’re working on larger trees, it’s important to check with your local council to make sure it’s ok to remove the tree, and get an arborist if it appears dangerous to remove the tree yourself.

Can a Pole Saw Cut Down a Tree? (Answered)

Yes, a pole saw could cut down a small tree that is less than 8 inches in diameter. However, it’s important to make sure it’s used safely and in accordance with the manual. It would be much easier to use a chainsaw designed for thicker branches.

A pole saw does have its purpose when cutting down trees. For example, you can remove the branches on the tree before cutting it down. This makes felling the tree much easier and safer. But when it comes to the trunk, you’d probably want the power of a chainsaw.

What’s the Most Powerful Type of Pole Saw?

There are many different types of pole saws you can buy. The main types are gas pole saws, and the two electric pole saw choices: corded and cordless.

A gas pole saw is the most powerful option, and would probably do a better job of cutting through wood than most others. We tend to find that gas motors are more responsive and powerful than electric motors. However, gas pole saws are heavier and require significantly more maintenance.

A corded pole saw allows consistent access to power without the need for a gas motor, which decreases the weight considerably. However, you need to be near a power outlet, which is not always feasible. This is especially the case if you’re a contractor or working after a storm when the power might be out.

A cordless pole saw is therefore a good medium. You can get some strong cordless models these days (check our review of the best cordless pole saws) that are almost as good as gas models.


In general, there are better tools for the job than pole saws when cutting down trees. It’s better to use a chainsaw to cut down a tree, especially if it is more than 8 inches in diameter. But that’s not to say it’s impossible. Keeping in mind that pole saws are not as powerful as chainsaws, they still have the ability to work their way through hard woods with patience.

There are some things you could do to ensure your tool is powerful enough to do the job. Getting a saw with a strong motor and long blade would be a first step. A gas powered pole saw, for example, would be better at getting through tree trunks than an electric pole saw. Furthermore, it’s important to ensure the saw’s blades are sharpened before you put it to work.