When it comes to tree care and maintenance, there is a whole bunch of tools on hand to help me keep the job efficient, safe, and effective. I love to use my tree loppers for most of my pruning, but once braches go over 1.5 inches in diameter I go straight for the tree pruning saw. I get a cleaner cut and have better control.
But which type of pruning saw is the best and what’s the difference anyway? Japenese, Curved, Folding, Pole Saw…so let me explain the functional differences between these pruning saws and share my hands-on experience in my finding the best pruning saws for the average gardening enthusiast.
- What Is the Best Saw for Pruning Trees?
- How to Choose a Pruning Saw
- 10 Best Pruning Saws Reviews
- Silky Zubat Aborist Curved Hand Saw 13 Inch With Scabbard
- Samurai Ichiban 13” Curved Pruning Saw with Scabbard
- Silky Katanboy Professional 650mm Folding Saw XL Teeth
- Corona Razor Tooth Heavy Duty Pruning Saw 18 Inch
- SILKY F-180 Professional Folding Saw: 180mm Large Teeth
- Rexbeti Folding Saw, Heavy Duty 11 Inch Pruning Saw
- Corona RS 7120 Razor Tooth Pruning Saw, 13” Curved Blade
- Tarvol Heavy Duty Pruning Saw 14” Japanese Curved Blade
- Corona RS Razor Tooth Folding Pruning Saw, 10-Inch
- Flora Guard Hand Pruning Saws 9 Inch Folding Saw
- Final Thoughts Best Pruning Saws
- Best Pruning Saws FAQ
What Is the Best Saw for Pruning Trees?
Great question…but to answer it we first need to establish the job at hand, the challenges it brings, and the way you like to work. After all, any good-quality blade will cut wood so what features and benefits do the different saw designs offer, then we can select the best quality pruning saw of each type of saw.
If you are in a rush then jump straight to the best pruning saws by clicking on the link below…
Japanese Pruning Saws
This is my favorite type of pruning saw and is favored by professional arborists and tree surgeons. It has a very efficient design ranging in length from 10-14 inches these saws offer a great ergonomic feel with an angled single handle. You can generate a fast sawing speed with a Japanese saw, so when coupled with the aggressive teeth cutting through a branch a few inches thick is no problem at all.
Due to the ultra-sharp cutting blade on these saws, you should lookout for a belt-mounted scabbard allowing you to store the blade safely as you move around the trees pruning.
The folding saw is another small but mighty tool that may look scrappy but proves to be handy in a wide variety of situations. This saw folds up between the handle and the blade, much like a pocket knife. But the aggressive teeth on the large blade make it not only a great survivalist or camping tool but also a very useful and convenient pruning saw for yard work.
I prefer using my pruning saw for trimming overgrown smaller trees. Traditionally, people have used them for clearing out underbrush and marking out new trails. For any job that feels like you have to beat back the forest itself, a folding saw will come in handy.
Especially for jobs where you don’t have much room for leverage, these small saws will do the trick. A folding saw will make the most of the room you have in tight spaces or dense growth patterns. It will even cut through green wood.
The deeply grooved teeth on this saw make its cuts aggressive and amplify your efforts. Just like the Japanese pruning saw, the folding saw cuts on the pull stroke, which also multiplies your elbow grease and keeps you from tiring prematurely.
Long Pole Saws
The antithesis of the folding saw is the long pole saw. I reach for this tool when pruning tall, hard-to-reach, branches that are far overhead. Long pole saws are also available as gas-powered or electric pole saws, making quick work of thick branch and limb pruning. But for general light work, a manual pole saw will do a good job of pruning high branches within 10-12 feet reaching distance.
Long manual pole saws are also, in many cases, height-adjustable or telescopic. They’re the best fit for jobs that might otherwise require a ladder, which often only makes the situation riskier. Still…use them with caution and be aware of falling branches which can prove unpredictable.
Whether you choose a battery-powered pole or a manual pole saw will depend on the size of your job and the thickness of the limbs you are looking to clear. An electric pole saw is ideal for heavy-duty work where you have a lot of clearance to do, whereas a manual pole saw is fine for an hour or so before fatigue sets in.
If you have a large yard or spend a significant amount of time pruning trees, it’s realistic to have one of each of these types of saws, including a powered pole saw. But for infrequent or small-scale pruning I would recommend a Japanese pruning saw as the single best tool for the job.
Depending on the size, and quality, a Japanese pruning saw will set you back somewhere between $20-$60, whilst powered pole saws will range between $100 up to $400.
While a pole saw is a good investment, especially if you need to reach overhead limbs, a Japanese handsaw is a must-have tool for so many pruning jobs. So let’s check them out in more detail so you know what to look for in finding the best pruning saws on the market.
How to Choose a Pruning Saw
As someone who does this activity a bunch, it won’t surprise you to know I have tools coming out of my ears. Electric pole saw, three Japanese saws, a folding saw…the heck my kids even have a see-saw!
But not everyone has that requirement…a see-saw. So while you’re likely to encounter all sorts of pruning jobs around your property, select the tools you’ll need to deal with the most pressing tasks. I would strongly recommend you own a pair of secateurs, some tree loppers and then a pruning saw.
So let’s knuckle down and get you into a spot where you can decide exactly what pruning saw you need based on your backyard and your physical capabilities.
One essential aspect of the saw you choose will be its blade length. While it might seem that a small blade length is suited to a minor pruning job, that isn’t always the case.
The blade length will determine your sawing leverage. For both Japanese and folding saws mentioned cut on the pull stroke, you want to find a good middle ground between size and utility. The longer the blade, the longer your pull stroke, and the stronger your cutting action will be, accomplishing more work with every stroke than a shorter blade can.
Of course, a hand saw shouldn’t be overly long because that would negate the point of having a small saw that can get into tighter spaces than a longer blade can, plus they can become unwieldy and generate vibration. So you’ll want to consider blade length in conjunction with the following factor when deciding which saw will be most efficient for your particular job. I would recommend somewhere between 12-14 inches as a safe bet.
Blade Quality & Teeth
These factors go hand in hand with blade length because they both work together to produce the maximum possible sawing power the tool has to offer. The number of teeth and their configuration along the blade will dictate whether the cut is smooth or rough and how much material is removed with every stroke.
The more teeth a saw has, the smoother and cleaner the cut will be. The Japanese pruning saw owes its straight and less dusty cuts to a high TPI, or teeth per inch ratio. Fewer teeth per inch yield a rough cut but remove more material per stroke.
Therefore, if you need to make a cleaner, more precise cut, go with a higher TPI. For jobs that don’t need to be as exact but might be a little more heavy-duty, look for a saw with a lower TPI.
Most hand saws will have similar tooth configurations because they get their power from sheer muscle. They have to do some ripping and can’t be completely smooth-cutting. But the offset to that is their pocket-style utility design. But blade quality is also a key component to check for when purchasing a folding saw.
Thick blades that won’t bend when cutting are a must, and it’s also good to look for blades that you can easily resharpen or replace so that your tool is dependable for many years to come. High-carbon steel is usually the best material to look for in a saw blade.
Folding or Fixed Blade
Your choice in this category will be determined, again, by the type of job you want to do. If you want a small, portable blade, then a folding saw will do the trick. Folding blades are usually, overall, smaller than their fixed-blade counterparts.
Both types can be portable, though, as fixed-blade saws sometimes come with sheaths to cover them and make them easier to carry on your toolbelt. Some fixed blades can be more sturdy and resilient than the folding ones, as they don’t have to be thin enough to fold away into the handle.
Folding blades are often shorter than fixed blades, so your decision on blade length will likely impact your decision between a folding or fixed blade.
Straight or Curved Blade
While pole saws are generally curved bladed, when choosing handsaws, you will often have the choice between a straight or curved blade.
Pole saws are usually curved because this blade shape is optimal for making cuts above your head or below your waist. The curved shape helps you get more leverage on every stroke because cuts further away from your core are more challenging to apply your full strength.
Straight blades, though, are best for jobs that are closer to the middle section of your body, between your shoulders and waist where you can generate a straight sawing motion. This way, you can apply the proper pressure to your pull strokes, maximize your own power, and make clean cuts with less effort.
Some people like to go for curved blades for any heavy-duty job since the blade shape amplifies your power on each stroke. I personally find that it’s a good idea to have one of each, as each one is suited to a different cutting angle and job intensity. But if I was pushed to choose one or the other, I would go for curved over straight.
Another factor that comes into play with folding saws, in particular, is the blade lock. Because folding saws work like pocket knives in that they open and close, a blade lock is necessary because, when engaged, it prevents the blade from accidentally closing.
Blade locks will keep your folding saw in place while working, not only making them safer but helping to maintain the proper tension needed to complete your pruning job most efficiently.
You’ll also want to choose a durable saw that will serve you reliably through many pruning projects. Several factors contribute to a blade’s durability. Thickness is one of them; the thicker a blade is, the less likely it is to bend or snap in any way.
The material of the blade also plays a role in its durability. As mentioned before, high-carbon steel is a very durable material for a saw blade. Even better than high-carbon steel is high-speed steel, which has been tempered to be heat resistant. This feature is excellent for a tool that sees a lot of friction and works primarily on wood.
The most significant durability factor, though, lies in routine blade maintenance. As such, this factor rests entirely on your shoulders. Regularly maintaining your blade reduces the chance of rust and breaking. It also ensures that your blade is clean from any sap and wood residue that could harden over time and reduce the efficiency of your saw’s cutting power.
Handle Grip Comfort
While efficiency and power are crucial things to consider when choosing a saw, ergonomics and comfort should also come into play. Especially for a manual saw, making sure you choose a handle that feels good in your hand while working is vital.
For jobs where you’re applying force vertically, such as removing limbs above your head or below your waist, straight handle grips are more ergonomic and will relieve pressure on your wrist.
But for jobs where you’re applying force in the same direction as the tool and your extended arm, a curved handle will best absorb the force and pressure to save your wrist from excess tension.
Choosing a handle with a soft grip and finger impressions can also make a difference. Any aspect of a handle that can help lessen the chance of blisters or joint soreness is just as important as the quality of the blade.
When assessing handle grip comfort, don’t forget to factor in the effect of work gloves. Ideally, all yard work should be done while wearing them, both for safety and comfort.
10 Best Pruning Saws Reviews
Now that you hopefully have a clear roadmap for how to choose the best pruning saw to fit your most demanding and most frequent outdoor jobs, I’m going to get you started with the ten top contenders for best pruning saws.
There’s a little of something for everyone on this list: pole saws, Japanese pruning saws, and folding saws of all lengths and shapes so that you can complete any job that arises with ease and confidence.
Best Overall Pruning Saw
This is a pruning saw that I own myself and it’s easy to say Silky makes the best premium pruning saw that I have used in a long time. This Japanese-style pruning saw is curved for maximizing your stroke efforts, with an ergonomically curved handle and a handy scabbard for storage. The blade is 13 inches long, sturdy, and rust-resistant. What’s more, it’s resistant to sap and resin as well.
Its aggressive teeth configuration and beautifully curved blade and angled handle make it a very smooth and fast saw to work with. It has a TPI ratio is 6:1, making the cut extraordinarily smooth and precise. It also comes in four different lengths for a more customizable fit for you and your pruning jobs. It’s not the cheapest, but Silky Zubat is the ultimate precision pruning saw and I would strongly recommend you check it out, it will pay for itself several times over its lifetime.
- The absolute best pruning saw I have ever used. Ultra-smooth with a fast cutting action.
- Scabbard with belt holder and soft ergonomic grip make this Japanese pruning safe to use.
- Durable blade that comes in various lengths and a high TPI is suitable for both small and large limbs.
Another very good Japanese pruning saw. The Samurai Ichiban is a13 inch saw supplied with a belt-wear-enabled hard plastic scabbard. Unlike the Silky Zubat, this hand saw is designed for less precise and more aggressive cutting. Out of the box, it is super-sharp and a great handsaw but it’s just not quite got as much life as the Zubat, but saying that the Samurai Ichiban is about $20 cheaper.
This saw features a high-carbon blade, an ergonomic rubber cushion handle that is very comfortable, and a low-profile scabbard that sits nice and flush when mounted to your waist belt.
I would have no hesitation in recommended this fantastic Japanese pruning saw, but it remains a close second to the Silky Zubat. You can find the Samurai Ichiban here on Amazon.com.
- This saw is easy to transport and use, with a textured rubber-grip handle and sheath.
- The teeth are impulse hardened, which helps them to stay sharp longer without as much maintenance.
- The blade is chrome plated for rust resistance.
- With a 4-mm tooth pitch, this saw is thicker at the teeth than along the blade; toward the top, it tapers by about .4 mm, making it feel less sturdy. With a TPI of 5.62:1, this saw gives a slightly rougher cut that the Silky Zubat.
Best Two-Handed Pruning Saw
This Silky Katanboy Professional folding saw is a little bit like the best of both worlds: it has Japanese metal technology but folds. It’s for two-handed use and, despite its slim appearance, is capable of some brute force at a TPI of 4:1.
Available in 500mm (19.7″) and 650mm (25.6″) blades, this really is a giant tool that requires a little bit of practice to get the best out of it. Long rhythmical cutting strokes can bring down large branches and even small to medium-size trees (up to 12″ in diameter) in no time at all. It’s more of a man-powered chainsaw built with the exceptional quality I come to expect from Silky.
The blade locking mechanism is very robust allowing you to attack the branches aggressively with both hands knowing the blade is firmly fixed in place. The long two-handed rubber cushion handle is non-slip and I was happily using it until my arms gave in with fatigue!
Check the latest price of the Silky Katanby online
- Cuts branches and tree trunks up to 12″ in diameter
- Blade length of 25.6 inches makes this one of the biggest folding saws out there, great for tackling heavy-duty jobs and just as good for portability.
- Exceptional build quality from the Silky team…us I would expect as a aborist professional tool.
- Designed for use with two hands, this might fit only heavier-duty jobs and not so much the small jobs a folding saw is usually utilized for.
Corona RS 7510D Razor Tooth saw has a fixed saw blade and a traditional, old-school saw handle for good support with mid-height pruning jobs. With an 18″ inch saw blade featuring triple-ground teeth, there is an increased cutting surface per inch, yielding a smoother cut that’s really efficient for big jobs.
The position and style of this saw handle mean it is best used at waist height as a traditional carpenter saw and in this mode, it’s very comfortable allowing you to drive through the cut motion. It has a Japanese SK5 steel blade that provides great durability and feel.
I really like this saw, as it’s slightly unconventional for a pruning saw and I think it will appeal to a lot of you guys as it will be a more familiar shape and feel. Okay, Corona does not make the same quality of tool as Silky or Samurai but at this price (around $35) it represents great value for money.
I’m keeping the test sample I purchased as it offers something slightly different from my other pruning saws. Check out the latest price for the Corona 18″ Handsaw here at Amazon
- The sturdy blade and increased tooth surface area paired with the non-slip grip make this saw really versatile.
- Use it with two hands or one, for high or low jobs.
- At 18 inches long, it’s a good, mid-range size that’s still useful for small jobs, too.
- Some might not like the combination of this handle style with the curved blade, as it can make some jobs awkward.
- It also doesn’t come with a sheath.
- The tooth configuration, while it makes easy work of large limbs, can still require a lot of manual effort.
This is the final Silky pruning saw on my list, at just 6.75 inches, this small folding saw is a great and versatile pruning tool to have around. It has a curved blade, a TPI of 7:1, and a sturdy blade lock. In all, this folding saw is perfect for tight areas and maintenance pruning.
I have said it before but you will not find a better quality pruning saw than a Silky saw and this is no exception, excellent versatility, and cuts through branches up to 3″ with ease.
Check the latest price of the Silky 180mm Folding Saw on Amazon.com
- The blade is chrome-coated for rust and resin resistance.
- It comes with a belt clip and carrying case for easy portability.
- It’s a great intersection of power cutting and clean cutting.
- Obvious limitations due to the short blade length
With a curved handle and a straight, 11-inch blade, this folding saw is the perfect length for mid-range pruning jobs that need a smooth cut. The 7:1 TPI yields nice, precision cuts from a conveniently small saw.
- The handle grip is textured and coated to help make use even in wet conditions safe and easy.
- The blade is heavy-duty, made from hardened steel for extra durability.
- It’s also offered at a price point that’s likely to be comfortable for just about anyone.
- For a folding saw, it can be a bit heavier than some might like for cutting mid-sized, 6–7 inch branches.
- Because the staggered tooth design can cut on both push and pull, it can sometimes get stuck easily in green wood.
Best Budget Pruning Saw
This Japanese-style pruning saw is a great alternative for anyone who wants to try number four on our list but isn’t sure about the D-shaped handle style. This curved saw features an ergonomic handle curved along with the shape of the blade for comfort and efficiency.
Check out Corona RS 7120 on Amazon.com
- At 13 inches, this saw will cut branches up to 7 inches in diameter.
- A high-carbon steel blade and triple-ground, impulse-hardened teeth maximize your cutting effort on both stokes for an aggressive and powerful cut.
- It’s also a great value and ranks on the lower end of the pricing spectrum.
- Although it’s rated for mid-sized branches, it works best on large ones because of its rough tooth pattern.
- Finer jobs will call for a higher TBI and smoother tooth configuration.
- It also does not come with a sheath.
As another excellent value Japanese-style pruning saw for the price, this 14-inch curved blade saw is ideal for jobs with limbs up to 8 inches in diameter. The handle is pistol style and comfortable to use, while the tooth configuration offers a smooth and clean cut.
- With a high TBI and neat tooth configuration, this is a foundational saw for any job that isn’t intensely heavy duty.
- The curved blade is sturdy and yields a very smooth cut that takes the pressure off your wrist and requires less effort.
- While it does come with a sheath, it’s poorly made and not very sturdy.
- The blade often gets stuck inside the sheath, and getting it out can be a bit precarious.
- Compared to the number 7 pick, this saw is very similar but slightly less comfortable to hold.
For the size, this folding saw comes at a great value. While some folding saws on this list may prove too large for some people, this one feels just right. It’s long enough to do heavier-duty jobs while still holding up and folding away well.
- The teeth are razored, meaning triple-sided, with a TPI of 6:1.
- It’s a great middle-ground of sheer power and smooth cutting for limbs up to 6 inches in diameter.
- Not heat-tempered, the blade can get a little flimsy with too much friction.
- When folded shut, portions of the sharp teeth are still exposed, which can prove dangerous or destructive if stored around easily damaged items.
This sturdy, anti-corrosion saw comes with a safety lock and a uniquely shaped handle perfect for minor jobs. It is made of high-carbon steel and has a comfortable fit.
- This little folding saw is lightweight and at a great price point.
- The handle is designed for safety-locking and comfort. Plus, it’s easy to use.
- For the size, the blade is solid, durable, and holds up well.
- The triple-sided and rough tooth configuration are more suited to aggressive cutting than smooth cuts, making this saw more likely to get stuck in green wood.
- The handle and casing are a little less sturdy than the blade itself.
Final Thoughts Best Pruning Saws
When you’re selecting the perfect pruning saw to get started with your outdoor jobs, remember to keep in mind all of your unique specifications. Where you’re working, the size of the limbs, the amount of space around you, and your comfort are all critical factors to keep in mind. No doubt if you have read all of the reviews above you will see that Silky takes the top picks for all three categories. This is purely down to the fact that their saws are of exceptional quality and the eprofessionals choice.
If you’re looking for one pruning saw that will outlast and outperform all others then go for the Silky Zubat Aborist Curved Hand Saw 13 Inch. No doubt about it. For a folding saw the small and handy SILKY F-180 Professional Saw is a pocket-sized beast that’s great for those jobs that are just a bit too much for tree loppers.
Talking of beasts if you need a super-saw capable of felling trees up to 12″ in diameter then there is only one saw worth considering, the Silky Katanboy Professional 650mm Folding Saw XL Teeth.
If the price of these tools is a little bit more than you wanted to spend then my best budget pick is the Corona RS 7120 Razor Tooth Pruning Saw, 13”, a very good saw that won’t disappoint the everyday gardener doing the odd annual pruning job.
Best Pruning Saws FAQ
If you still have some doubts, let me help clear those up for you by answering the most common questions I hear.