There are a lot of different tasks you need to do to properly maintain your yard, but tree trimming can be one of the most intimidating. It's much more difficult to saw through the green wood of a thick branch than it is to trim bushes or cut grass, and doing it wrong can be dangerous. To properly trim your trees, you need to make sure you have the right tool for the job. You have to choose something powerful, safe, and efficient. Hand tools may have worked for your grandparents, but now better options are available. Nothing hacks through unwieldy limbs and branches like a good power tool.
Ryobi is widely regarded as one of the best power tool manufacturers on the market. Its tools aren't typically known to be as powerful as many of those made by contractor-grade manufacturers. However, the Home Depot exclusive brand regularly receives excellent reviews from consumers who are pleased with the performance they get for the significantly lower price. Ryobi has been around for a while, however, and the company has produced a lot of different power tools for tree trimming, making it difficult to choose the right one for your needs. I've used several Ryobi tools in my time, and one of the best ways I've found to determine which ones are the best is to look at the ratings offered by credible reviewers and previous customers. Here are the five top-rated Ryobi power tools for trimming trees.
18V One+ 8-inch Pole Saw Kit
One of the best ways to stay safe while trimming trees is to keep your feet planted firmly on the ground. Leaning off the edge of a precariously placed ladder is never a great idea, and it can be particularly dangerous while operating power tools. A pole saw is a great power tool to invest in for cutting through moderately thick branches without having to climb anything.
Ryobi makes a cordless 18V One+ 8-inch Pole Saw Kit with everything you need to cut high limbs from the ground floor. It is essentially an 8-inch chainsaw attached to the end of an extendable pole that can reach up to 9.5 feet. According to Ryobi, the chainsaw has an 8-inch bar and chain that can cut through branches up to 6 inches in diameter. This makes it great for cutting small and medium-sized limbs. The company also claims that the saw gets up to 16 cuts per charge, has an inline motor, oil-free design, tooled chain tensioning, and comes with an 8-inch replacement chain, a battery, and a charger.
This tool has a 4.7 out of five on Ryobi's website, and Robert Johnson of Sawinery rated it the best Ryobi cordless pole saw overall. He said that due to its smaller size, he "wouldn't recommend it for heavy-duty yard work, but it is more than enough for tree pruning." He said that it wasn't suitable for thick branches but emphasized that it is lightweight and has good reach, making it easy to work with.
18V One+ Lopper Kit
Those only dealing with thinner branches probably don't need the mess and hassle of a chainsaw. In those instances, you might be better off with a shear-like tool, though you'll still need a bit of power to cut through fibrous wood, and you'll want to make sure you can reach the branches that need pruning. In those cases, an extended lopper tool is probably your best bet.
Ryobi's 18V One+ Lopper Kit is a cordless power lopper attached to a 2.5-foot extension. The company claims it allows users to cut through branches up to 1-1/4-inch thick and make 101 cuts on a single charge of the included 18V 2Ah battery. Ryobi also makes a version with a telescoping pole that can reach up to 9 feet, though it is more expensive and not as highly rated.
The tool has earned a 4.8 out of five on Ryobi's website. It also has an 8.7 out of 10 on Buyer's Guide, where it was chosen as the 'Premium Pick' on their list of best power loppers for its lightweight, ease of use, and maneuverability. Some reviews have mentioned that it struggles to cut larger limbs fully, though.
40V HP Brushless 14-inch Chainsaw
Pruning tools are great for narrow branches, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned chainsaw when it comes to cutting down heavy limbs or even felling entire trees. Gas-powered saws tend to be heavy, noisy, and produce a lot of noxious fumes, though. Luckily, Ryobi makes a huge line-up of battery-powered chainsaws.
One of the highest-rated tools in Ryobi's lineup is the 40V HP Brushless 14-inch Chainsaw. According to the product description, the 40V battery allows this chainsaw to cut with more power than a 37cc gas chainsaw. This larger battery also allows it to make up to 128 cuts on a single charge. Ryobi also states that this tool has a brushless motor and adjustable automatic oiler to keep the chain lubricated and to help prevent rusting. The saw comes with a battery, charger, scabbard, and a combination wrench for making adjustments.
It has a 4.8 on Ryobi's website and was well received by Reagan Key of Forestry.com in his review. Kay stated that Ryobi's 14-inch chainsaw was "a blend of power, efficiency, and thoughtful features, all wrapped up in a package that's designed with the user in mind." He cited its performance, ease of use, durability, and safety among its greatest features while arguing that its heavier weight, noise level, and battery life were its biggest weaknesses.
18V One+ 8 Pruning Chainsaw
If you want to get something between a Lopper and a full-sized chainsaw, you might want to consider getting a pruning chainsaw. This gives you all the advantages of motorized power while being cheaper and much easier to maneuver in awkward spaces. You probably won't cut down any large trees with a pruning saw anytime soon, but they're great for cutting through a wide range of small and medium-sized limbs.
One of Ryobi's most popular mini chainsaws is the 18V One+ 8-inch Pruning Chainsaw. This tool has an 8-inch bar designed to deal with branches up to 6 inches in diameter. Ryobi states that it gets up to 23 cuts per charge and that it has an oil-free design which allows it to run smoother with less risk of rust. It's also the cheapest and perhaps most versatile tool on this list, making it an excellent option for those looking to save some cash.
This is another chainsaw that received a 4.8 on Ryobi's website. Many of the reviewers stated that it was lightweight and easy to use. Some claimed that the cut took longer and wasn't as smooth as other chainsaws, but its small size and relative power made it very convenient.
18V One+ HP Brushless Whisper Series 12 Chainsaw
One of the biggest drawbacks to chainsaws is how loud they are. That might not seem like it should be a deciding factor to some people, but your eardrums (and neighbors) will thank you for choosing a quieter model. Any battery-powered chainsaw is definitely going to produce fewer decibels than a gas-powered one, but some are quieter than others.
The highest-rated tree-trimming tool from Ryobi is the 18V One+ HP Brushless Whisper Series 12-inch Chainsaw. It's about the same price as the 14-inch chainsaw, and the bar is a little bit shorter, but it has a few extra features that make it a very attractive option. First, it's part of Ryobi's Whisper Series, which is specially engineered to be just as powerful as other electric tools while producing significantly less noise. The second is that it comes with a 6Ah High-Performance battery. This gives it high power output without throwing off the smaller chainsaw's balance with a massive 40V battery. Ryobi also claims it can make 112 cuts on a single charge, cut logs up to 10 inches in diameter, and include an automatic oiler and tooled chain tensioning.
This is the only tree-pruning tool on Ryobi's website to receive a nearly perfect 4.9 out of five. Pro Tool Reviews pointed out that it "delivers chain speeds up to 12.5 MPS, which is a step up from the brand's previous 12-inch chainsaw model that saw a max chain speed of 9 MPS." Some users have reported power issues, but it's unclear if they were using the 6Ah battery.