Trying to cut down a tree is something that you should probably leave to a professional company. This is usually the case when it comes to large hedge trees, rotten trees, trees that are too near a structure, or if you’re not comfortable taking it on yourself. However, if you have a smaller tree and you’re feeling confident, you can take it down if you have the correct tree cutting tools at the ready and a few hours to spare.
Safety is your biggest priority, so it’s very important that you use the correct tree cutting tools for the job and follow any safety recommendations they have. You should also learn about tree-cutting techniques to make the project go smoothly. We’re going to outline the most popular tree cutting tools and some vital safety gear you should have below.
There are several tree cutting tools that you can have in your arsenal to take on your projects, and you’ll need more than one, depending on the size of your trees. Cutting tree branches into tiny bits by Bradley Gordon / CC BY 2.0
1. Bow Saw
First up is the bow saw, and this is a common tree cutting tool. You can put your bow saw on a branch that you want to cut down before rocking it back and forth. The rocking motion will force the blade to cut through the branch, and it’ll slice through the branch very effectively. This is a very popular choice since they’re so easy to use, and you don’t have to be very strong to get them to work effectively on branches of different sizes.
There is an ergonomic handle on this tree cutting tool that gives you a very natural grip when you use it. It works on both small and large branches without a huge amount of effort, and this is a very cost-effective choice to help you remove pest branches and clean up your yard. You can find them both online or in most home improvement stores.
When people think about cutting down trees, a chainsaw is usually the first tree cutting tool that comes to mind. Using a chainsaw is the quickest and most simple way to cut down any tree. These are quite powerful tools that can easily slice through wood in varying thicknesses. The power that these tools possess also mean that you have to be careful when you have them running to help avoid accidents.
If you’re someone who has a tree to fell or you need to cut through logs, owning a chainsaw can make this a quick project. A high-quality chainsaw will be able to cut through wood without running into issues, and you won’t have to worry about straining your body to do so. As long as you’re very careful, it can be one of the more simple ways to take care of your trees. People use chainsaws for a host of purposes, including cutting down larger branches.
Chainsaws come in a range of different styles. The most powerful chainsaws are almost always going to be gas-powered. This chainsaw type is going to be fairly noisy, and they don’t run as cleanly as other options. Electric-powered chainsaws don’t have as much cutting power when you compare them to gas models, but they don’t release any emissions and run quieter.
The type of chainsaw that is going to work best for you depends on your needs. If you have several trees to cut, you may need the increased power of a gas-powered chainsaw. For most jobs around the house, an electric-powered chainsaw is going to be more than enough to tackle your projects. You won’t have to purchase fuel or worry about mixing gas and oil with electric tree cutting tools, and this makes them more convenient to use.
3. Chopping Ax
Another traditional tree cutting tool that you can envision is an ax, especially when it comes to larger trees. A chopping ax is going to help you cut down small and large trees effectively. However, there is quite a bit more manual labor involved with using it than you would have with a chainsaw, but it gives you a more precise level of control that is beneficial in certain situations. When you want to manually cut down a tree, having a durable chopping ax can move the project along.
An incredibly sharp ax will allow it to cut evenly and smoothly through wood. It can make very short work of smaller trees around your yard due to the sharpness. Thicker trees will take slightly more time, but it’ll work for them too. People also use axes to cut down smaller branches, especially in tight areas.
Most axes come in a convenient sheath that you can put it in when it’s not in use. This sheath helps to keep you as safe as possible. Since it’s a very sharp tree cutting tool, you want to be careful when you handle it. Storing your ax properly will keep it working as a reliable tool for years at a time.
A chopping ax usually comes with a longer handle on it to give you more leverage as you swing it to cut your pieces of wood. Hatchet by Richard Cocks / CC BY 2.0
4. Crosscut Saw
Crosscut saws are nice tree cutting tools because they help you cut down redbud trees without too much exertion on your part. You can put this saw up to your tree and slowly move it back and forth. The motion is more about finesse than raw power. This makes this tree cutting tools one of the best manual ones you can consider, and it makes it very convenient to cut down any trees with it.
Many crosscut saws today are made to be extremely durable, even with heavy use. You’ll be able to use it for many years to cut down trees. They typically weigh in at just under five pounds, but they’re very rugged. You’ll be able to use this saw easily, even if you’re a more petite person.
Professionals have these tree cutting tools in their arsenals and use them fairly often to cut down trees. It’s a very nice manual tool to own, so it’s a good idea to consider adding it to your collection. If you buy one of these tree cutting tools, you’ll be able to fell any tree on your property without a huge hassle. They may be more expensive, but the convenience factor is a great selling point.
A hatchet is a tree cutting tool that is a more portable version of the traditional chopping ax we talked about earlier. You can use your hatchet to remove tree limbs, and it can even work to cut down small trees. It won’t be as nice when it comes to cutting down larger trees, but it’s still a nice tool to have. A lot of people bring these tools with them when they go camping to help them chop wood.
One of the most common uses for a hatchet as a tree cutting tool is to split wood. If you like to make logs for your fireplace, owning a hatchet makes sense.It can also be nice to have a hatchet around when you want to take on smaller cutting projects. For larger ones, this won’t be as suitable as the chopping as is.
6. Long Reach Tree Pruner
If you don’t have a ladder or you’re leery of climbing up on one with your tree cutting tools, these are a good option. If you have a tree that has problem branches that are far off of the ground, you’ll want a reliable tree cutting tool on hand to keep them tidy, especially if you’re not willing to climb a ladder. The long reach tree pruner is a great solution for trimming tall branches while keeping your feet firmly on the ground.
The overall reach of these cutting tools is quite impressive, and they can reach up to seven feet in the air without a problem. This makes taking care of bothersome branches a safer and faster task. Shorter people really enjoy having this tool around because it extends their reach and allows them to stay on the ground while trimming and cutting branches. The convenience factor is why many people choose it.
Another important quality in this tree cutting tool is that it’s very lightweight. You also typically get a very ergonomic grip that allows you to use it for longer periods without issues. You won’t feel like it’s cumbersome to hold during your cutting or trimming job. It’s a solid tool that will work well when you need it.
7. Pole Chainsaw
Pole chainsaws are excellent tree cutting tools that make slicing through branches a much easier process. If you have taller trees that you want to trim, you’ll want to consider getting this tool. No one wants to climb a ladder and use a chainsaw if they can help it due to the increased danger factor. So, when you need to trim or cut branches that are high in the air and out of your reach, a pole chainsaw is going to allow you to have a much easier job than you normally would.
These tree cutting tools come in different styles, just like the chainsaw we touched on earlier. You can easily buy a gas-powered model or an electric-powered one. Just like you’d expect, the gas-powered models will be more powerful, but the electric-powered ones run cleaner. Either choice would work for your intended use, so you should pick the option that makes the most sense to you.
Most pole chainsaws have a significant reach to them. Exactly how long the blade extends on the pole will depend on the model. Some will allow you to reach up to 15 feet at full extension, and this makes cutting higher branches very quick and easy. You won’t have to feel like you’re risking yourself to complete this project.
This is a more powerful tool that allows you to trim thicker branches, including branches that are roughly eight-inches in diameter. If you want to make cutting and trimming your tree branches easier, buying this tool is going to be very appealing. You’ll have a very easy time using it, and you won’t have to worry about lugging a heavy chainsaw up a ladder.
8. Pruning Saw
The pruning saw is going to be an extremely useful tree cutting tool to own if you want to avoid using power tools. When you buy a high-quality pruning saw of this type, you can cut thin or thick branches without an issue. A lot of people use these saws for general pruning tasks, but you can use them to slice through larger problem branches too. The blade’s teeth will make the job fairly easy overall, so you’ll be able to use the tool to complete your project.
A lot of pruning saws have an ergonomic D grip on them. There may even be a soft spot in the grip that makes it easier to hold, and this gives you a smooth experience from start to finish. You’ll have an easy time getting it into the correct position to cut the branch and supporting it while it’s in use.
A pruning saw is a smaller model that allows you to work in smaller spaces without worrying about accidentally hitting anything. Chain Saw Required by John Loo / CC BY 2.0
9. Pruning Shears
Pruning shears are some of the most common tree cutting tools people use every day for a range of projects. A solid set of pruning shears will make trimming smaller branches a quick and easy process. You can use them to trim trees and keep them looking as nice and neat as possible. You won’t be able to take on very thick branches with these shears because they’re generally meant for smaller limbs.
People who put a big emphasis on maintaining their property as much as they can will want to own this tree cutting tool. They’re very convenient to have on-hand when you’re trying to make a tree look more aesthetically appealing by shaping it. You’ll be able to operate these manual tools much easier, and it’s not difficult to use them when you’re up on a ladder either. They’re also very useful if you have a lot of trees on your property.
Also, a lot of people use these shears for things other than trees. You’ll see people using them to trim stray branches off of their hedges to keep them uniform and neat, and they work on bushes. Since you can trim a range of plant life very precisely, you’ll want to keep them on hand and ready to go. It’s also a nice purchase because you can count on this tool to last you a long time.
10. Tree Loppers
You can think of this tree cutting tool as a step up from pruning shears. Tree loppers are powerful enough to cut branches that pruning shears aren’t capable of handling, including thicker branches on your willow trees. You can slip the branch that you want to cut in between the powerful blades of this tool and use your own power to cut them by pushing the handles together and slicing through the branch before moving to the next one.
This is a very simple concept that works very well overall. Using this tree cutting tool is very effective and simple. When you need to cut down slightly thicker branches on your tree, this is one of the first manual tools you’ll turn to. As long as the branch isn’t huge, you should be able to cut through it. Thicker branches will require the use of a pole saw or chainsaw to cut through them easily.
Also, you can get tree loppers that have extendable handles on them. This can be very useful for reaching branches that are slightly higher. This way, you can avoid climbing up on the ladder with sharper tools. Since many people get nervous at this suggestion, this is a welcome tree cutting tool.
Most tree loppers are also very comfortable to hold and grip. The grips ensure that you can stay relaxed when you’re working for hours at a time. It’s also very ergonomic and conforms to your hand. When you combine this with the overall durable build this tool offers, it’s easy to see why most people have a set or two in their garden sheds.
11. Two-Man Crosscut Saw
The final tree cutting tool on the list is a two-man crosscut saw. You’ve most likely seen cartoons or movies where two people are working in tandem to saw down a tree. The saw that you see featured here is the two-man crosscut saw. As the name suggests, two people use it to cut down a tree very quickly.
Two people, one on each end, rock back and forth until the tree is completely felled. You may be pleasantly surprised at how quickly this process can go. Two people who know what they’re doing with this tree cutting tool can use it very effectively. It’s also not overly difficult to get the rocking motion you need to use it either.
It’s very similar to the more standard crosscut saw we touched on earlier, and it can cost a decent amount to purchase. If you want to get tree cutting tools that are more inexpensive, you may want to go with a manual saw. If you have someone on hand to help you with the cutting process, this option could be viable. You’ll be able to get the job done more quickly than doing it on your own.
Protective Gear to go With Your Tree Cutting Tools
Along with the actual tree cutting tools, you’ll want some protective gear to ensure that you can safely and effectively cut your fig trees and prune them to keep them neat. We’re going to list out the three biggest pieces of protective gear you should consider investing in below.
The first thing on the list is chainsaw chaps, and you should buy them if you plan to use a chainsaw for any cutting projects. The goal is to help ensure your overall safety while you use these powerful tools. They may not be strictly necessary if you’re using a manual tree cutting tool or just doing some light trimming. However, if you’re using a chainsaw to fell trees, having these chaps is very important.
These chaps are made out of layers of protective materials that can work to prevent you from accidentally cutting yourself if you lose your grip on the chainsaw. The chaps will protect your legs if you have an accident while the chainsaw is running. Even if the chainsaw makes brief contact with your leg, it could nick an artery, and this could be fatal if you couldn’t get to help right away.
Overall, buying chainsaw chaps won’t be a hugely expensive venture. If you’re going to use your chainsaw on a regular basis, it makes sense to buy this protective gear to keep you safe. They can help you feel more comfortable when you wear them around these powerful tools.
Protective gear is one area where you don’t want to skimp out when it comes to your own safety around power tools. Chainsaw chaps are practical, and they can help save you from a tragic accident. Safety Gear for Chainsaw by Living Off Grid / CC BY 2.0
It’s also highly recommended to own a chainsaw helmet if you plan to regularly cut down your cedar trees. Cutting down heavy branches and trees will always carry certain risks with it, and being able to protect your head from falling objects is very important. A good helmet is capable of withstanding this impact.
Many of these helmets also come outfitted with protective earmuffs that can keep your hearing safe from the chainsaw’s loud noises. This is especially important with the louder gas-powered models. The built-in hearing protection can stop you from experiencing that unpleasant ringing in your ears when you finish your project for the day. They won’t get in your way, and they should be comfortable enough that you forget you have them on.
There should be a protective visor on your helmet tool. The visors will help protect your face and keep debris away as you work. Chainsaws tend to kick up a lot of debris and dust when you cut wood, and you don’t want this sawdust to get in your eyes. So, having a visor is a very good idea if you can find a helmet with it.
When you’re working with fast-moving and sharp blades, it’s always a good idea to take your safety levels seriously. You don’t want to hurt yourself from an accident. In order to keep yourself as safe as you can, it’s highly recommended that you take the time to buy a high-quality pair of cut-resistant gloves. The gloves will help shield your hands from accidental cuts when you’re working with saws and other tree cutting tools.
Most of these gloves are also very easy to work in, and they shouldn’t feel like they’re restricting your movement or limiting your dexterity in your hands because they get especially designed for ease of use. You can work effectively and stay safe, and this is a great way to prevent careless accidents.
The grip that you get with these gloves is also very nice, and you’ll never feel like you have a compromised grip when you wear these gloves. You can also still use your device’s touchscreen with them on. They’re a nice option to choose if you’re looking for a durable pair of protective gloves.
We’ve outlined 11 popular tree cutting tools and three essential pieces of protective gear to consider buying. Doing so will ensure that you have everything you need on hand to safely and effectively tackle any projects you have lined up over a weekend to clean up your yard and keep your trees, bushes, and shrubs healthy.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.