Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Renaissance Dad Tool Review: Greenworks 60V Brushless 10-Inch Pole Saw

I am a power tool enthusiast. When my wife and I were first married, I used to plan house projects around the new tools that I wanted (sorry, not sorry, sweetie). When I wanted a router, I convinced myself that baseboards and trim would be easier and nicer if I cut them myself with a router and router table. When I wanted to make my own compost, I convinced myself that owning a chipper/shredder would be the best way to go. And on, and on, and on.

But sometimes I see a tool and I wonder if it is really necessary, or I arrogantly think, "Yeah, some people will need to use that, but I can make do with what I have because I've got the mad skills." Some tools seem like superfluous space-wasters. I used to think that way about a jointer, until I got one and realized how much easier it is than trying to use a table saw or planer to do the same job.

That is the question that ran through my head with a pole saw. For those who may be unfamiliar with this tool, it is like a chainsaw at the end of a pole (you may ask yourself why one wouldn't just attach a chainsaw to a pole and call it good. The answer is because that is completely unsafe, but I'm sure there is somebody on YouTube who has done this and posted step-by-step instructions).

So when I recently received the Greenworks 60V Pole Saw, I had some specific jobs in mind where I thought it would be helpful but maybe not completely necessary.

And my opinion quickly changed.

First, a bit about the pole saw. Pole saws typically have a longer reach than chainsaws, with shorter blades. The Greenworks Pole Saw uses the same 60V battery as all of my other Greenworks tools, so I always have a battery or three charged up and ready to go. The saw is nine feet long (more on that in the "what you shouldn't do" section below), with a ten-inch blade. This is great for pruning limbs, trimming palm trees (game changer for me), or getting to those hard to reach places with any type of shrubbery (watch out, oleanders. Your time is up).

The set up was easy, with the pole easily coming apart into three sections. This is really important, because most people can't transport a nine foot long tool in their vehicle. Using the supplied multi-tool, breakdown for transporting and setup for use take about 30 seconds. The multi tool is also used to adjust the chain tension.

After a few minutes of familiarizing myself with the tool, I was ready to go. My first vegetation victim was a queen palm in my backyard. I wanted to see how easily I could reach and trim. I was amazed at what the nine foot reach could do, and in less than two minutes I was done with the tree. I moved on to the next palm, which was a little taller, and I learned a very quick lesson.

What you shouldn't do - I attempted to extend my reach by one foot (the battery compartment is 12-inches long) by holding the trigger with one hand and the battery compartment with the other. I'm sure this is in the "what you should never do unless you want to cut an arm off" section of the manual. In order to secure the tool, I gripped it tightly. Gripping it tightly caused me to release the battery, which landed on my foot, and stopped the tool. Lesson learned. Hold the tool the way it should be held. I popped the battery back in and continued cutting.

A few days later, as I was trimming palm trees, my neighbor popped his head over my wall. He heard me working and thought that perhaps I was cutting down the tree that extends over our wall and over his pool. Since I had a new pole saw that needed testing, I obliged (not with the whole tree yet, but just with the part over his pool). He went inside, I cut down several limbs, and in ten minutes, when he came out to help, the job was done. The look of amazement in his eyes was well worth double the cost of the saw.

Having this saw has also allowed me to help others with their tree-trimming projects. My parents have a really tall date palm, which was looking quite overgrown. The last time I trimmed it for them, about two years ago, I used a hand saw from the top of a ladder. The trimming was inconsistent and jagged, and it took at least an hour. When I trimmed it this year, it took less than 15 minutes, I was able to clean up the jagged cuttings from my last trim job, and I saved them about $50, which is the going rate for a palm tree trimming.

In fact, this saw pays for itself (in savings over hiring a palm tree trimmer) just trimming four or five palm trees (cost of the saw at the time of this post is $234 at Lowe's).

My one complaint, which is minor but is something that I hope is rectified in future product development for this tool, is that there is no place to store the multi tool that is needed to loosen the pole pieces or adjust the chain. I solved this by using a Velcro strap to hold it to the tool, but some sort of on-board storage would be great (or at least a strap that was in a coordinated color).

All in all, this is an amazing tool. While I initially thought it might be superfluous, I am so glad that it is part of my tool family. It is efficient, quiet, and quick. The time saved with both palm tree and hard wood trimming is amazing, and the reach is great for almost every need that I have around my property.

Now I just wish that my trees would grow a little more quickly so I can trim them even more.

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