As far as 40V outdoor power equipment reviews go, chainsaws are always my favorite. As such, it was a good day when the GreenWorks Cordless Pole Saw arrived. This is a 40V model in their G-Max line of cordless yard tools. We’ve already reviewed both their 40V cordless lawn mower and their 40V cordless trimmer (which was awesome). But there’s nothing like a chainsaw to make you grunt like a brown bear while you attack a series of tree limbs doing your best professional lumberjack impression. OK, so it may be apparent that I don’t do chainsaws for a living… I like it that way, however, as it makes these reviews more of an “event”. I also have lots of trees to trim, so I wasted no time acclimating myself to the tool—and I won’t waste your time either.
Editor’s Note: Check out our best pole saws article to see our top picks.
GreenWorks Cordless Pole Saw Features
This is one of the few tools GreenWorks doesn’t offer with a brushless motor—at least not yet. The G-Max 40V 8-inch Cordless Pole Saw has a bar that measures—you guessed it—8 inches. That’s a fairly standard bar and chain size that can be purchased from various outlets as needed, though you’ll likely get two sharpenings or more out of the one included. It has a couple of really easy-to-use features that make it perfect for anybody from the weekend warrior to the self-described amateur.
The chain is self-oiling. All you need to do is make sure you keep some chain oil in the translucent reservoir. There’s a handy window (GreenWorks calls it the “quick view oil indicator” because, apparently, everything has to have a pithy label) to see how much oil is remaining. The tank of the GreenWorks cordless pole saw holds 50 mL, so there’s a good amount, and it would take an uncommonly long day of trimming to use it all up. In either case, it seemed to go out at about the pace I’m used to with gas-powered pole saws.
Adjusting the Chain Tension
Adjusting the tension isn’t terribly difficult, though it’s not as easy as it may appear at first glance. The visible black knob (or lock bolt) on the outside of the tool isn’t the actual chain tension adjustment. Like the secretary in an office, it’s the tool-less gatekeeper to let you remove the drivecase cover and access the chain tensioning screw. Our chain slipped only a small bit after using it for an extensive tree trimming session on multiple trees (water oaks, avocado, and orange among them). New chains can expect some adjustment, and this was no exception.
- Model: 20302
- Battery: G-Max 40V 2Ah 29462 or 4Ah 29472 (not included)
- Charger: 29482 2-hour charger
- Max Pole Saw length: 8 feet
- Minimum Pole Saw length: 5 feet
- Bar length: 8 inches
- Chain Pitch: 3/8″ (9.5mm)
- Easy-adjust chain tensioning
- Automatic chain and bar oiler
- Oil Tank Volume: > 50 mL
- Translucent Oil Tank
- Weight: 8 lbs (tool only), 9.8 lbs (with 2 Ah battery)
- Warranty: 4-year limited
Testing and Using the GreenWorks Cordless Pole Saw
The first tree I used the GreenWorks cordless pole saw on was an avocado tree that just wouldn’t quit. It’s not that anyone wants it to quit, but at one point this tree had been cut down and what stands now is a Frankenstein regrowth of four 6-7″ diameter shoots emerging from around the original trunk. This tree towers into the sky and has been trimmed back slightly to encourage additional growth and also to keep it away from power lines. Our trimming was lower down on the tree to keep it from encroaching upon a children’s swing set and a newly-roofed shed.
Assembling the Pole Saw
After charging the battery, I set to work assembling the pole saw by screwing the pieces together. This took very little time, and I like the design and the way the large threaded collars hold the extension rods together, forcing a secure connection between the contacts located within the pole. With this system, the motor exists at the saw-end of the tool, making the pole a singular conduit for the battery power and activation electronics to be transmitted from the handle to the saw motor.
Assembly completed, I commenced filling the 40V pole saw with chain oil, verified proper chain tension (it was perfect out of the box), and went to work. The first thing I noticed was that the saw is super-lightweight. At 9.8 pounds (including the 2 Ah battery), it’s about half as heavy as comparable gas-powered pole saws and about equal to most electric models I’ve used. In fact, Wen makes a 9′ electric pole saw that weighs 15 pounds.
In addition to being light, the GreenWorks cordless pole saw is very maneuverable. I found it easy to go from limb to limb and get the saw to position itself exactly where I wanted it for top and bottom cuts. Going back and doing my cleanup cuts was also easily accomplished and the saw was very precise due to its low weight. The 8-foot reach of the G-Max 40V pole saw was also really well-balanced and the split-weight design (battery and controls on one end, motor, and blade on the other) did a lot to keep the pole saw nimble while working that avocado tree into shape.
Using the Tool
To use the GreenWorks G-MAX 40V 8-inch cordless pole saw you just pull back on the switch lock and then pull the switch trigger. Once activated, you can let go of the switch lock (it’s just for safety to keep you from starting the saw accidentally). The length of the pole saw can be adjusted from 8 feet to 5 feet by simply rotating the collars counterclockwise to loosen them and then removing the center intermediate pole piece (the user manual indicates that the poles extend and retract, but that is incorrect).
I next took it to work on some branches that were giving me grief from an older water oak that overhangs both a driveway and roof. This oak passed its prime about 10 years ago and is long overdue for being cut down. In the meantime, the owner is keeping it trimmed up and attempting to remove any dead branches (which are becoming more and more frequent as the summer months wax on). This is where I got to experiment with some larger branches around 4 to 4-1/2″ in diameter. Using a bottom-then-top-cutting method, I was able to very quickly (and safely) take out three large branches that simply had to go. After the branches were felled I came back in, and, with a precision that seemed almost too easy, trimmed up the stubs closer to the main trunk.
Cordless string trimmers and cordless hedge trimmers make a whole lot of sense. While expensive, cordless mowers are really picking up steam as well. When you get to chainsaws, however, you’re looking at an area that needs a significant amount of power and attention. Greenworks is definitely moving in the right direction. Their 40V brushless chainsaw was nothing short of outstanding, and this smaller pole saw is headed in the right direction as well.
No professional is going to hang up his or her gas pole saw just yet, but the homeowner who does the occasional trimming will find this $89 add-on tool irresistible if they are already bought into the GreenWorks platform. If not, then paying the additional $70 for a battery and charger isn’t asking all that much either. This is a great tool that can only get better (I’m guessing a brushless model is already on the horizon).