Reciprocating saw vs Chainsaws for tree branches?

Old 09-09-17, 06:16 PM
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Reciprocating saw vs Chainsaws for tree branches?

Which one is better for cutting down branches up to 2 to 3 inches in diameters? What is each type good for?
Old 09-09-17, 11:55 PM
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Both could work but chainsaw is specifically made to cut trees/branches.

Reciprocating/sawzall is usually corded so not as portable!
Old 09-10-17, 02:22 AM
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I'd want a chainsaw to trim branches that size ..... but it can depend somewhat with what you are comfortable with.
Old 09-10-17, 04:32 AM
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I have and use both. There is a reciprocating saw blade designed specially for pruning trees and it cuts through tree limbs quite fast. While I'll get the chain saw out if I'm going out to do a lot of work I'll grab the cordless reciprocating saw if I only have to trim a couple branches.
Old 09-10-17, 04:54 AM
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In my experience the chain saw is easier. With the recip an aggressive (read, low number of teeth) blade will stick in the wood and cause the saw motor to vibrate in your hands rather than the blade move. As long as you can either hold the recip or brace it against the limb it will do okay.
Old 09-10-17, 07:39 AM
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I've done a lot of cutting with a chain saw and have a few scars to show for it, no excuse on my part but never got bit by my reciprocating saw. Like Pilot I have both and my recrip is battery powered which works well because i use those batteries in other tools so always charged. Otherwise a corded could have an advantage. but I never have to refuel, add bar oil, and rarely sharpen my brush blade.

Old 09-10-17, 09:02 AM
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I don't know why because it's the one tool that I have wished I had more often than anything else, but I don't have a cordless reciprocating saw, so my mindset is similar to Marq's in thinking of them mostly as corded, and consequently not as practical for trees. But I do use my corded ones sometimes, and they work fine, but definitely suggest a pruning blade as Pilot Dane mentioned. Regular blades do not have aggressive enough teeth nor enough kerf to deal with tree trimming, so they gum up, heat up, and bind too quickly. To me though, it's similar to choosing the correct saw for any other task. In this case, I would look at it as what I am cutting and why. If I am going to cut a dead or unwanted limb from say an oak tree, I'm going to grab a chainsaw, first off because it's harder cutting, and secondly because the tree doesn't really care what I do. When it's time to trim the apple trees, I make an initial pass with loppers and/or nippers, then will use a hand pruning saw or drag out a cord and use a reciprocating saw with a pruning blade because I figure I might be less likely to knick a nearby limb, which the tree might not respond favorably too. And there are other times, like trimming along side a building, fence, or whatever where a reciprocating saw is more compact and manageable.
Old 09-10-17, 10:02 AM
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I grew up with everything having a cord but these days my cordless tools get 99% of my use. Drills, impact drivers, circular saws, reciprocating saws... Lithium batteries hold a charge a very long time without discharging so when you put a tool away charged it's still ready to go several months later. And, the batteries charge so quickly that with one in the tool and one in the charger you can swap back and forth and almost never run out of juice.
Old 09-10-17, 10:42 AM
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A Sawzall has its place for pruning. The place I have used it most frequently is next to a building or chain link fence, to get those nuisance trees that grow up where they don't belong. (In other words, somewhere a chain saw might be dangerous or be damaged). Or maybe you have cut a small tree down and want to cut out some of the root ball and roots that are still in the soil... also a good use for a Sawzall and pruning blade. I have also used it to prune dogwood bushes that send up about 30 branches... they frequently need to be pruned back to maybe 5-8 strong stalks, and I like a Sawzall better than even a pruning shears for that type of work.

But as far as cutting parts off of a large full grown tree is concerned? That's a job for a chain saw no matter what size of branch you are cutting.
Old 09-10-17, 06:21 PM
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Originally Posted by BurgerKing
Which one is better for cutting down branches up to 2 to 3 inches in diameters?
Neither. For 2-3" branches you should only need a pole saw (pruning blade on a stick).
Make sure you've got a sharp blade, make a rip-stop cut through the bark on the bottom of the branch, then cut from top down.
Old 09-11-17, 06:37 AM
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Everyone is right!

Loppers for low branches under 1".
Cordless recip saw + pruning blade for up to about 3", when you need a little more reach, or working in a tight space (my 1st choice for trimming pine branches when crawling or standing inside the tree).
Chainsaw for thicker branches and fallen trees.

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