Winter isn’t necessarily the time of year when you think about pruning your trees — at least not where I live. However, having a pole saw is really handy when heavy snow, wind or an ice storm results in broken branches. Black + Decker sent me their PP610, 10-inch Corded Pole Saw to try out and it beats the heck out of the manual power-lever style tree trimmer I’ve been using.
The pole saw requires some assembly before you can get to the good stuff, the toughest part being installing and adjusting the chain. This was a bit fussy, but after 10 minutes or so, I had it on, rotating in the right direction (that’s important) and properly tightened.
In action, the corded pole saw was like night and day compared to the manual trimmer I’ve been using. Instead of having to position the blades around a branch and pull a rope (which is forever getting tangled) to cut, it’s like a chainsaw — position the blade, pull the trigger and slice through the wood.
With a 10-inch blade, 6.5 Amps of power and a solid grip, the PP610 cut through anything I tried, even a chunk of 6-inch maple. The blade is a low kickback one and I never ran into any issues with kickback or bucking. Once the branch is down, the pole saw makes short work of cutting it into manageable chunks, a task I also used to do manually with a hand saw.
I couldn’t reach quite as high as I could with my manual tree trimmer, but that’s probably a good thing considering full extension means having an eight pound, live chainsaw at the end of a nearly ten-foot-long pole. For jobs when I have to reach really high and a ladder isn’t an option, I’m fine with going back to the manual option.
For everything else, the ease of use, speed and power of the PP610 turns what is often a lengthy yard clean-up project into a quick chore.
Before doing any cutting, you’ll need a heavy duty extension cord and chainsaw oil — I’d suggest a vegetable oil-based product to cut down on the potentially toxic effects of spattering petroleum-based oil around the yard.
The only downsides I could see with the pole saw versus the manual pole trimmer are the increased risk of personal injury (which you can manage through safe operation) and the requirement for electricity. Ice storms and heavy winds have been known to knock out power, in which case this power tool would be useless. However, Black + Decker does sell cordless battery versions if lack of power is a concern.
Buy it for $99.99 on Amazon.
Disclosure: Black + Decker provided a PP610 for review purposes.