Trees and shrubs need regular pruning. It is an essential maintenance task that keeps them both healthy and looking great.
Without regular pruning, fruit trees grow out of control, and branches will begin to encroach on roofs, walls, fences, and even electrical lines.
While pruning your trees and shrubs can be a daunting task, using the best tree pruner for the task at hand makes for quick and efficient pruning. Even if you don’t really know what you are doing!
With such a wide variety of tree pruner choices out there, choosing the right one can be challenging. That’s why we have created an in-depth review of the best tree pruners for every job. We’ve made the selection process a no-brainer and we even included tips on how to use them safely and effectively!
Our Top Picks
Best Manual Tree Pruner
Best Motorized Tree Pruner
- Our Top Picks
- Our Top Motorized Tree Pruners
- Our Top Manual Tree Pruners
- What To Look For In A Tree Pruner
- Types Of Tree Pruners
- Manual Tree Pruners
- Benefits Of A Manual Tree Pruner
- Electric Tree Pruners
- Gas Powered Tree Pruners
- How To Choose The Best Tree Pruner
- How To Use A Tree Pruner
- Safety Tips
- Final Thoughts
Our Top Motorized Tree Pruners
Sun Joe SWJ800E Telescoping Electric Pole Chainsaw
This model from Sun Joe is a corded, electric-powered telescoping saw that can reach up to 15 feet. It features a 6.5 AMP motor that has enough power to quickly tackle the overhead branches of moderately sized trees. This pruner can tackle branches up to 7.5 inches thick!
Since it is a corded pruner, you will never have to worry about it running out of steam, but you will need an extension cord to give it any considerable reach. It also comes with an auto-oiler so you don’t have to continuously lubricate the chain, and offers the power of many gas-operated saws without the fumes.
Unlike gas-powered pruners, this one starts at the single push of a button and features a safety switch so you don’t accidentally jump the gun.
- Never runs out of power
- Up to 15 feet of pole length
- Can tackle branches up to 7.5 inches thick
- Safety switch
- Telescopic models always run the risk of rotating
- Oil reservoir can leak
Black and Decker Lithium Ion Pole Saw
Black and Decker is a well-known brand when it comes to power tools and this pole saw definitely lives up to their high standards.
This model uses a 20-volt lithium-ion battery that makes it tough enough to handle all of your difficult trimming jobs without the hindrance of a cord and no need for gas.
The 8-inch saw is capable of cutting branches up to 6 inches thick and you can trim up to 100 1.5 inch branches per charge.
The 6.5-foot shaft can be extended up to 10 feet to allow you to reach those high-up branches and weighing in at only 6.3 pounds, it’s almost as light as a manual tree pruner. The only downside is that the cutting head is heavier than the base so it can feel a little off-balanced.
Finally, one of our favorite features is its compact size. It can be disassembled for easy storage and comes with a blade cover to prevent damage in storage.
- Powerful battery
- Disassembles for easy storage
- Cuts branches up to 6 inches in diameter
- Can feel off balanced
Greenworks G-Max Cordless Pole Saw
Greenworks G-Max cordless pole saw isn’t your typical 8-inch pole chainsaw, it also comes with a 20-inch steel blade hedge trimmer attachment.
The G-Max features a 40-volt lithium-ion battery system that will allow you to make 50 cuts per charge. It also features a sturdy pole and an automatic oiler that applies oil to the bar and chain as needed so there is no need for manual oiling.
This machine is on the heavier side, clocking in at close to 15 pounds with the battery attached. It is also only expandable up to 8 feet, making this tree pruner/hedge trimmer combo best suited for small to moderate-size trees.
- Saw/Hedge trimmer combo
- Automatic oiler
- Only expands to 8 feet
Our Top Manual Tree Pruners
Fiskars 14 ft Power Lever Extendable Tree Pruner
This manual pole saw from Fiskars may not be the tallest on our list, but it is a great option when it comes to trimming small trees and bushes.
It comes equipped with the traditional Fiskars 15-inch WoodZig saw blade which is one of the best blades on the market. Made from quality hardened steel, it is made to last, and it is coated in a low-friction paint, allowing it to glide easily through branches (even those with heavy sap). The only downside to this Fiskars tree pruner is it can only handle smaller branches and works best on branches no thicker than 1.2 inches in diameter.
The pole itself is made from lightweight, durable fiberglass, and the length can be easily adjusted with the aid of a thumb-release lock mechanism. The ease of use, build quality, and value for the money, make this model one of the top on our list.
- Easy pole length adjustment
- Non-stick blade
- Fiberglass pole
- Only reaches 14 feet
Fiskars Extendable Tree Pruning Stik Pruner
Another Fiskars tree pruner made our list. This one is not your typical manual saw pruner, but rather a stick pruner that quickly snips hard-to-reach branches with its 12-foot extendable pole. Not only is it great for those high-up branches, but it can also tackle those low lying branches on hedges, saving you from the back strain caused by constant bending.
The blade is made with durable, hardened steel with the traditional Fiskars non-stick coating that stays sharp and prevents sap build-up.
The rope-free design means you can use both hands when pruning, giving you more precision and power.
- Precise trimming
- Resistant to rusting
- Ideal for those hard to get to prickly shrubs
- Designed for smaller branch size
- Pole only extends to 12 feet
Corona Long Reach Cut ‘n’ Hold Pruner
With an overall length of 62 inches, the Corona Long Reach Cut ‘n’ Hold Pruner allows you to easily reach those high areas without any strain.
This versatile tree pruner provides gardeners with 360-degree cutting capabilities. You can easily rotate or tilt the head of the pruner to get those hard-to-reach spots. The dual arc blade first bites, then slices the branch for precision pruning.
This pruner is even lightweight enough to easily maneuver around shrubs so you can prune everything you need with one tool.
- Convenient storage
- Blade cuts well
- Not ideal for hardwood branches
Jameson LS-6PKG-6 LS- Series Landscaper Pole Saw Kit
This pole saw by Jameson is one of the longest on our list. It consists of three 6 ft. poles that attach together to reach up to 18 feet. Unlike some telescopic poles that can rotate, each extension has a ferrule mechanism that solidly holds the parts in place while you are working.
Not only is this pole long, but the fiberglass build makes it tough and durable.
The saw itself is a sturdy 16 in. Tri-Cut saw with angled rows of teeth that aid in maximum cutting efficiency. The built to last blade can be used on branches up to 16 inches in diameter.
- Customizable pole length
- 16 inch blade
- Sturdy fiberglass pole
- Blade does not swivel
- On the pricey side
Milliard Extendable Tree Pruner
The Milliard Extendable Tree Pruner consists of a saw and a system of sharp shears used to snip smaller branches. The saw blade is 14 inches long and made from high carbon steel that is built to last. The three-sided saw blade teeth are designed to optimize the cutting efficiency of the pruner with each stroke, and a non-stick coating reduces friction and minimizes sap accumulation.
The six-foot pole is extendable up to 16 feet but it can be a little too flexible for our liking when fully extended.
- Carbon steel blade
- Non-stick pruning shears
- Adjustable foam grip handle
- Pole bends easy
- Foam handle can come apart
What To Look For In A Tree Pruner
When shopping for a tree pruner, you need to keep several factors in mind to ensure you choose the best tree pruner for your particular needs.
One of the main reasons people opt to buy a tree pruner is so they don’t have to climb a ladder to reach those tall branches.
Before choosing a tree pruner, walk around your property, surveying the trees that you will be pruning. How high up are the branches? If you are only dealing with bushes or low hedges, a good pair of shears or lopers may be all you need, but for the higher branches of fruit and shade trees, you will need a pruner with an extendable pole.
Nothing is worse than purchasing a tree pruner only to discover that the pole isn’t quite long enough to reach. You also want to make sure that the pole is not too long, as it can make trimming lower branches difficult.
Finally, keep in mind your height. A taller person will need a shorter pole and a shorter person will need a longer pole.
Most tree pruners have a rating that describes the maximum branch size that they are designed to cut. Smaller pruners are intended to cut branches less than an inch in diameter, while motorized pruners can remove branches up to 9 inches.
Manual vs. Motorized
There are several different types of tree pruners which we will go into more detail about later, but they can all be divided into two main categories: manual and motorized.
Manual tree pruners require the least about of maintenance but they will give your arms quite a workout if you need to remove large branches or have quite a few trees to prune.
Motorized tree pruners are less labor-intensive but that convenience comes with a price tag. Motorized pruners also require frequent charging and blade oiling, and if you opt for a gas-powered model, it will require additional engine maintenance.
There are three factors in the design of your pruner blade that you need to keep in mind: TPI, Length, and whether or not it is impulse hardened.
Length is pretty basic. The longer the blade, the fewer strokes it will take to remove the branch.
The blades on manual pruners will be marked with the TPI or Teeth Per Inch. This refers to the number of teeth the blade has. To get an idea of what exactly this means, a TPI of 11 or higher is considered a fine blade while anything less than 11 is considered a coarse blade.
You will want a fine blade for sawing hardwood but a coarse blade will work fine on softwood and young trees.
Finally, you will most likely want a blade that has been impulse hardened. These blades can stay sharp up to three times longer than a normal blade. The only downside to this process is that you can’t sharpen the teeth as easily once they dull. Luckily, most brands offer replacement blades that are easy to change out, saving you the time and hassle of sharpening your pruner.
How Much Does It Weigh?
Keep in mind, you will be carrying this thing around, and maneuvering it while reaching higher branches. The overall weight plays a huge part in how well and how long you are able to use your pruner.
Not only does the type of pruner affect the weight, but so does the pole length. Typically, the longer the pole, the more the pruner weighs, and the harder it is to control.
If you opted for a motorized pruner, it may be easier to remove branches, but the battery and engine both add weight as well. A motorized tree pruner may remove branches more quickly, but a manual, lighter-weight version, will allow you to work longer.
A lighter weight model will allow you to maneuver the pruner into tight spaces with ease.
Types Of Tree Pruners
We are going to focus on three main types of tree pruners: the best manual tree pruners, the best electric tree pruners, and the best gas-powered tree pruners.
Manual Tree Pruners
Manual tree pruners include pruning shears, loppers, and a variety of different pole saws. The one thing they all have in common is that they are 100% human-powered. This means they sometimes can take some muscle to use but are easy to maintain, and you will never have to worry about running out of gas, or searching for a power source.
Pruning shears are one of the most commonly used gardening tools. They are small handheld shears similar to giant scissors. Shears are mainly designed for cutting shrubs, flowers, bushes, and small tree branches. They won’t work well on larger branches but will allow you to keep your landscape looking clean and well-manicured.
Loppers are similar to pruning shears but they have much longer handles to give you the extra leverage you need to trim medium-sized branches up to 2 inches in diameter. The longer handles also allow you to reach those hard to get to places.
Loppers and Pruners come in a few different varieties. Bypass pruners use curved blades that pass each other in a way that is similar to scissors. These pruners are very sharp and are perfect for dealing with live branches that could harm the tree if roughly removed.
Anvil pruners have one blade that crushes a branch against a flat piece called an anvil. This type of trimming results in a rough cut, making this type of lopper ideal for quickly shortening or removing dead branches.
Finally, ratcheting and geared loppers use mechanisms to make cutting easier and are perfect for people who struggle to close the jaws of regular loppers.
These are the best manual tree pruners for tackling thick, tough branches and feature saw blades in a variety of sizes, lengths, and TPI. Saw pruners come in both handheld and pole varieties.
Compound Pole Saws
These pruners feature a sawing blade as well as a pruner head (either bypass or anvil). The combination of options allows you to easily switch between sawing on larger branches to snipping higher ones without having to switch tools. The only downside is that sometimes they can be a bit bulky and the side you are not using can get in the way.
Manual Pole Pruners
If you prefer to use a lopper-style pruner but need some extra reach, this is a perfect choice. While loppers only offer a foot or two of extension, pole pruners can add up to 20 extra feet. Some come with squeezable handle controls while others use ropes, but either way, they are great for tall trees with small to medium-size branches.
Benefits Of A Manual Tree Pruner
- Manual pruners are lightweight and easy to handle, making them ideal for pruning smaller or higher branches
- They are readily available in much longer lengths than motorized pruners
- Some trees have dense broth and tangled limbs that can jam up chainsaws
- Offers the ability to work in a quite, and relaxed manner
Electric Tree Pruners
There are two main types of electric tree pruners, those that run off a cord that has to be plugged in and those that are battery operated.
Corded electric pruners are the easiest of the two to use because they offer consistent power, run quietly, and don’t have to be charged. The only downsides to corded pruners are that they will only reach as far as the cord will allow, and the cord can sometimes get tangled in crossed branches.
Battery-operated pruners are considerably more mobile, but your pruning will be limited by how long your battery lasts. If you have not used the pruner recently, you will also need to charge the battery before use. The battery itself can also add a significant amount of weight to the pruner.
Gas Powered Tree Pruners
When we refer to gas-powered tree pruners, we are more specifically talking about pole saws. They are by far the most powerful pruners on the market and the favorite choice of commercial tree trimmers.
These tree pruners are ideal for heavy-duty work and are best suited to yards with multiple, large trees.
The downsides to these powerhouses are that they are loud, heavy, and emit fumes. As with any gas-powered engine, they also require regular maintenance
How To Choose The Best Tree Pruner
Tree pruning in general isn’t the easiest job, and choosing the wrong tool could end in disaster. To avoid any unnecessary issues, keep in mind a few factors when choosing a tree pruner.
The blade is the most important part of your pruner. It should be sharp and made with quality hardened or carbon steel. Choosing a saw with a non-stick coating will also reduce the amount of wood chips that stick to it.
How thick are the branches you need to cut? You don’t want to try to cut a 5-inch branch with a pruner designed for 1-inch branches. However, bigger is not always better. Using a large gas-powered saw pruner to prune your fruit trees can also result in disaster.
What Are You Pruning?
Will you only be pruning trees or will you need a more versatile option that will also allow you to prune shrubs? A compound pruner will provide you with both a saw and scissor tips to better shape small trees and large shrubs.
How Tall Are Your Trees?
Tree pruners can have telescopic handles that can reach up to 32 inches. These are perfect for hard-to-reach branches, but also keep in mind its shortest length. Will you realistically be able to prune large shrubs? Or will you need to prune at odd angles due to the handle length?
How much weight can you realistically hold up for considerable periods of time? That gas-powered chainsaw pruner may look cool but if you have a bad back and can only prune a few branches before taking a break maybe a manual pruner is a better choice.
Construction and Durability
The strength and durability of the pole are crucial when cutting branches. Poles that are too flexible make it feel like you are “fishing” for branches, poorly made telescopic poles can twist while you’re trimming, and under no circumstances do you want the pole to break under a heavy load. Choosing a quality brand will ensure you get a well-made pole with your pruner.
Sometimes it is the better choice to go with a more expensive pruner that requires less maintenance. Continuously having to sharpen or replace a poorly made blade adds up in both time and money.
Gas-powered models are true workhorses, but as with any gas-powered motor, they also require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly.
How To Use A Tree Pruner
- Prune at the best time of year for your trees. Blooming trees should be pruned shortly after blooming and non-blooming trees should be pruned in the winter when they are dormant.
- Make sure the weather is good and it is not too windy. Wind can cause branches to shift during the pruning process, causing damage to the tree, or injury to yourself
- Always use a secure grip with both hands
- Check the ground for branches, tree roots, or any other obstacles that could trip you up. Also look up to note any power lines. If you see power lines, put the pruner down and hire a professional.
- Stand to the side when trimming rather than directly under it
- Make a clean, 45 degree cut just above the collar, near the trunk, or less than an inch above a bud. Not only does this look better, it prevents damage to the tree that can invite disease, or stunt future growth.
- Target dead or damaged branches first to protect the rest of the tree. Then disinfect the pruner before moving on to the health branches to prevent disease.
- Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from falling dust and other debris
- Avoid standing on a stool or ladder to get extra height
- Wear a hard hat or other helmet to protect your head from falling branches
- Use thick, non-slip gloves
- If you are using a gas powered pruner, wear hearing protection headphones
Why is pruning important?
Pruning can prevent falling branches from damaging cars and roofs, as well as keep a tree healthy and promote new growth.
When should you prune your trees?
Blooming trees should be pruned shortly after blooming and non-blooming trees should be pruned in the winter when they are dormant.
Can you kill a tree by pruning it too much?
Yes. While the tree may not die immediately, over-pruning can make the tree susceptible to insects and diseases that can cause permanent damage and kill a tree over time.
We hope that you have a better idea of what you should look for to find the best tree pruner to solve your pruning needs.
While pruning your trees and shrubs can be a daunting task, using the right equipment for the task at hand can make pruning quick and efficient. Even if you don’t really know what you are doing…on second thought, if you still aren’t sure what you’re doing, hire a professional!
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