Sumo Gardener

8 Essential Tools for Cutting Trees

Cutting down a tree should be approached with extreme caution. Because of this, it is typically recommended that you seek the assistance of a qualified expert or tree service to complete the task.

However, you will need to invest in the appropriate tools for cutting trees and supplies for the task at hand if you plan on attempting to complete it on your own. 


Essential Tools for Cutting Trees

With the right equipment, cutting down a tree can be done in a far less dangerous manner, which can help remove some inherent danger from the process. 

Therefore, safety should be your top priority, and you must only use the right tree cutting tools. Hence, if this is your first time, you will find some information about the different kinds of tree cutting tools below that are available on the market.

1. Chainsaw

Chainsaws are the go to tool for cutting trees

A list of tools for cutting trees won't be complete without a chainsaw. It is the go-to device for heavy-duty cutting. You'll need it to cut down larger trees. However, you must exercise caution when using it.

It is essential for you to follow all the appropriate safety standards and to wear chainsaw chaps. Supposedly you don't know how to operate it correctly.

In that case, it poses a considerable threat to the safety of inexperienced people and reduces the amount of material that can be cut successfully. After lightly touching wood with the chainsaw while it is running, gradually increasing the pressure will ensure that the cut is completed successfully. 

Cutting down every kind of tree with a chainsaw will not be the most efficient. When cutting down a smaller tree, you may need an ax, hatchet, or even more specialized tool like a hand saw. 

If you’re thinking of using a chainsaw to cut your tree on your own, make sure that you have watched how-to videos and read the instruction manual.  It would also be best to remind anyone to stay away from the work area to prevent the risk of injury.

Check out our product review and buying guide for the best chainsaws for 2023 

2. Tree Climbing and Protective Gear

Essential Tools for Cutting Trees

Protective gear is essential. Without the necessary protection, tree climbing can be dangerous. Keep in mind that working on the ground carries hazards too.

Below are some of the most useful tree climbing gear and cutting protective essentials:

Ear Protection 

Earplugs or some other hearing protection should be used when cutting down trees. You can attach a headset to your hard hat in the same way that you can attach a face shield to your hard hat.


Always take safety seriously when working with quick, sharp blades. You need to be careful not to injure yourself while cutting. To stay safe, get a good pair of cut-resistant gloves. The gloves will protect your hands from accidental saw cuts.

Protective Pants 

Most saw-related injuries occur to the legs. Chainsaw safety pants or chaps will provide you protection. You must also take note of the right fit of the pants so you can move comfortably. 

This is especially since too tight clothing may render you incapable of moving in specific scenarios.  

Arborist Helmets 

Anyone working, climbing, or cutting trees at heights must wear a climbing helmet. Arborist helmets are designed to provide both protection and comfort to the user.

A quality helmet will protect the user from both sides and top impacts and have a chin strap to ensure that it remains in place. A perfect arborist helmet will not move out of place when you're suddenly in a sloping or overhead position. 

Also, find one with ear and face protection integrated into the shell of the head shield. That way, it doesn’t unnecessarily snag into branches as you climb. 

Eye Protection 

When cutting anything, wear eye protection. It's worth the money and an extra few seconds to wear a visor or eye protection. Remember, wood chips can blind you.


High tree branches require a safety harness. First, get a set of tree spikes. These are steel spikes with padded supports and leather straps for the climber's legs.

Use these spikes to secure your grip on higher tree branches and avoid slipping and falling.

Tree Climbing Harness

A tree climbing harness with a rigid waistbelt and leg hoops can make cutting trees safe and comfortable. It will also have ear loops and attachment rings for your various tools, so it’s easier to access them once you’re up the tree.

3. Pole Saw

A man using a pole saw

Pole saws are useful for pruning big trees without climbing. They have a chainsaw-like attachment and a robust pole. You can use a pole saw to reach taller branches while standing. These instruments are balanced and trustworthy.

4. Hand Saw

Majority of tree cutters work using hand saws

The majority of tree cutters work using hand saws. There are several different hand saws for cutting tree branches. Larger saws will allow you to cut through branches that are greater in diameter.

Pick a saw with a proportionally sized blade for the kind of cutting you intend to accomplish, and ensure that you always follow the safety practices.

Typically, hand saws are compact and lightweight. They lack motors and often have shorter blades. Many smaller hand saws are foldable, protecting the blade and making them portable.

5. Loppers

Bypass loppers are most popular type of loppers

Loppers will be your second-most-used pruning tool. Long handles enable you to reach far and exert tremendous leverage with minimal effort, allowing you to cut anything that fits between the open blades. Loppers have two cutting actions: bypass and an anvil.


The most popular type of loppers, known as bypass loppers, has a single-edged blade that cuts through a thick base as the loppers close.


Anvil loppers' blades are designed to cut all the way through to the center of the thicker lower base, where it is finished by making contact with the base.

These have a lower level of precision and cleanliness of cut, but they apply a larger level of force, and as a result, they are used for cutting thick dead wood or materials that require less accurate cutting.

6. Pruners

Pruners are like scissors for shrubs and young trees

Pruners are like scissors for shrubs and young trees. Choose a design that's easy to hold. Excessive use may damage the device, dull the blade, and make improper cuts on the shrub or tree.

It would be best that before you climb, check the status of your tools to see if they’re sharp or in good condition. It would be a waste of time to find your pruner dull when you’re already up in the tree and ready to cut branches. 

7. Splitting Maul

Majority of tree cutters work using hand saws

A splitting maul has a heavy metal head used to split wood. It's called a wood splitter and sled. The head of the tool is positioned in a direction perpendicular to the long handle that the tool has.

Iron or steel is the typical material used for the head. The head's weight contributes to the ease with which the wood is split.

See our compilation of the best spilitting mauls available online. 

8. Wedge

The direction in which a tree crashes to the ground can be controlled by using a wedge

The direction in which a tree crashes to the ground can be controlled by using a wedge. Additionally, it stops the bar and chain of your chain saw from being pinched in any way.

When working with larger trees, you may need more than one wedge to provide sufficient leverage to move the tree in the desired direction.

Wrapping Up Our Guide on Tools for Cutting Trees

This brings an end to the guide on the most effective tools for cutting trees and branches. It's important to take the necessary precautions and choose the one that will help you the most.

About the Author Pat Moreno

Pat is our gardening tool expert here at Sumo Gardener. Working for many years as a private and commercial landscaper, Pat has used almost every type of gardening tool there is. Along with a vast knowledge for types of plants and putting together an amazing looking and maintainable garden, Pat developed a passion for gardening tools as he found that using the right tools vastly improved the ease and outcome of any landscaping job he undertook. When spending hours, days or years using a particular tool, you want to make sure you’ve got the best one for the job, and Pat is the right guy to guide us to the best gardening tools.

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