(Troy-Bilt provided this product as part of my membership in the Saturday6 program, but they do not control the contents and opinions of this review)
As part of my work with Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6, I am able to review a wide variety of their products. When I visited the Troy-Bilt headquarters earlier this year, we had a wonderful (if rainy) afternoon of hands-on product testing. One product that stuck in my mind was the TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw. I immediately saw how I could put this tool to use in my garden, which is surrounded with mature trees of all sorts. In most cases, these trees are far to large for me to prune myself, but they often need a bit of neatening between their larger, professionally done prunings. This tool is excellent for just that purpose. I can imagine, too, that it would be greatly useful if you were maintaining a small orchard lot of smaller fruit trees. It could reduce the time needed for annual pruning dramatically.
You might think that a battery-powered chain saw wouldn’t be all the special. I know my own past experience with battery-powered tools has always found them to be a bit lacking in both power and run time. I was quite amazed at how much of a “beast” this pole trimmer is. It is, at its heart, a chainsaw, as much as any smaller, gasoline-powered chain saw. When you first use it it is a bit of a surprise. I didn’t really expect that much power to be contained in such a small package. In my initial tests in the garden, it easily powered through anything I could throw at it. If anything, the power might convince you tackle limbs that are really too big for you to be operating on, so remember, safety first, as when using any power tool.
Unpacking and assembly of the pole trimmer was quick and simple. I will admit one mistake I made, though. After unpacking it, I looked in the manual to see that there was supposed to be a small bottle of chainsaw chain oil in the package. I didn’t find this when I first opened it and I think I probably threw it away with some of the packaging. This oil is a critical part of using the pole trimmer, so that was very silly on my part. That said, a quick trip to the hardware store obtained the oil I needed and allowed me to get back to work.
When you are first assembling the pole trimmer, it can be a bit unwieldy, as the design is intended to balance the trimmer when the somewhat heavy Lithium-Ion battery is installed at the opposite end of the chain saw. Once that is installed, though, the tool balances well and and doesn’t feel heavy considering the type of tool it is. This trimmer uses the same battery as all of Troy-Bilt’s battery operated tools including the TBHT57 Electric Hedge Trimmer I reviewed earlier. They even have a handheld chainsaw that uses the same power pack. Be aware, when purchasing your first Troy-Bilt Lithium Ion powered tool, the battery and charger are a separately purchased item. They are not included with the tool itself.
As mentioned earlier, this pole trimmer easily managed anything I could throw at it here in my garden. This included everything from small twigs to large limbs up to 4 inches in diameter. I imagine it would handle anything as large as the 8″ saw could tackle. As with any chain saw, you want to familiarize yourself with proper cutting style including the use of release cuts so that the saw does not bind and you get the cleanest cut possible. The included manual gives you advice on how to do this if you are not familiar with using a chain saw. Although the pole trimmer is heavy, it is not exceedingly so. I was able to work for quite a long time without feeling much fatigue in my arms or back. The long pole and good balance allow you to easily use the weight of the tool to your advantage and easily move it into position. Everyone I have shown the tool to is intrigued about how it works and several expressed wishes to get one themselves. Once you see it in action, it is immediately clear to them how they might use it in their garden.
Like with most power tools, the manual included with the pole trimmer focuses on safety when using this tool. There are a lot of ways you could injure yourself with it if you use it improperly or without proper attention. I want to reiterate these safety notices. This is a chainsaw and all chainsaws are dangerous if used improperly. You are well advised to not underestimate this chainsaw based on its rather diminutive size. It will hurt you if you come in contact with the chain and it can hurt you if you use it improperly by getting it bound up in a limb. This is a very powerful tool and that can lead you astray sometimes. Make sure you are not working on a limb that is too large for you to handle. It is sometimes difficult to estimate the weight of limb that extends high into the tree. You don’t want it to come crashing down on your head. Cut it into smaller sections first and know where it is going to fall. Don’t overreach with the pole trimmer, either. You want to be on a stable footing when using it and not directly beneath the limb you are cutting. Again, be safe and this tool will work very well for you.
Overall, I am loving this tool and expect to be using it in my garden for years to come.