greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-opening-pic Pruning & Cutting Tools

Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (20672): Product Review


GPR Recommendation

Easy of Use:
Quality:
Cutting Performance:
Summary

A middle of the road product that generally does what its designed for.

Overall Score 3

Available on Amazon

Buy It

These days, virtually all gasoline-powered hand tools for the yard have an equivalent (or close to it) battery-operated model, including chainsaw pole pruners.

I tested the Greenworks G-MAX40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672).  This tool is intended to replace equivalent corded models and hand operated pruning saws (which have the cutting blade affixed to a wooden or fiberglass pole).

SPECIFICATIONS

Battery Voltage: 40 V (Volts)
Battery Capacity: 2.0Ah (Amp hours)
Battery Type: Lithium Ion (Li-Ion)
Charging Time: 1.0 hours (full charge for 2.0Ah bat.)
Battery Run Time: Up to 50 cuts (on a full charge)*
Bar Chain Length: 8 inches
Cutting Thickness (max): 6.0 inches
Saw Length with/without extension: 8.0 ft to 5.0 ft
Overhead Reach: 15 ft w/ extension
Oil Tank Capacity: 1.69 fl oz
Weight (with 2.0Ah battery and full 8’ extension): 12.75 lbs

Features

  • 70% less noise & vibration than gas models
  • Instant electric start
  • 32% lighter compared to gasoline tools
  • Tool-less chain tensioning (NOTE:The model 20672 I tested was not a “tool-less” chain tensioning system.  It required a Phillips screwdriver for this operation.)
  • Auto oiler
  • *Up to 50 cuts on a single charge (based on a fully charged 40V 2.0Ah battery cutting 4” diameter wood)

PACKAGING

The saw comes in three pieces; the handle, an extension and the cutting head.  Also included in the box are a 2.0Ah battery and battery charger.  All items are packaged with extra interior cardboard to limit any shifting of components during shipping.  The unit I received was delivered unscathed.

Note that the kit does not come with bar and chain oil (you wouldn’t want that to leak while in transit).  It’s easy to buy this at your local hardware store or professional arborist supply store that stocks chainsaws.

Greenworks-40V-Pole-Pruner-Packaging

All the packaged pieces of the 40V Li-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672)

Minimal Assembly Required

You’ll need to assemble the pole parts to reach the 5 foot and 8 foot overall lengths – just insert one section of the pole into another and tighten the threaded coupling.  The coupling not only holds the pole parts together, it also makes sure that the electrical circuitry inside each pole is securely connected so the chainsaw will run when you turn it on.

A nice feature of the Greenworks G-MAX40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672) is that the tubes that fit together are similar to a rounded trapezoid, making it impossible to attach a section of the pole in the wrong direction.

The cutting head comes completely assembled with the bar and chain already attached to the motor drive assembly.

greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-trapezoidal-pole

The pole design makes it impossible to assemble incorrectly

TOOLS ARE REQUIRED FOR ASSEMBLY

I was disappointed that a small Phillips head screwdriver didn’t come with the kit. – you’ll need one to adjust the chain tension on the 8” cutting bar. Many people have Phillips screwdrivers at home but the bar and chain tensioner are quite small and so require a screwdriver that’s smaller than most people will have. Without it, tightening the chain will be impossible.  Screwdrivers are inexpensive and easy to include as part of the saws equipment- frustrated customers are a company’s worst nightmare.

greenworks-bar-and-chain-adjustment-screw

The saw kit doesn’t come with a small-headed Phillips screwdriver. If you don’t have one that’s small enough, you’ll have to buy one.

MARGINAL OPERATING INSTRUCTIONS

The owner’s manual is pretty good in some sections and very confusing in others.  It mentions that the unit arrives fully assembled when shipped – but it doesn’t.  As noted above, the unit comes in three distinct pieces (which, oddly enough, the instruction manual also noted).

The instructions also mention that the pole telescopes to make it longer – but it doesn’t.  Instead of telescoping, you have to add an extra section to the pole to make it longer.

Also, the chain tensioning screw in one of the diagrams is referenced in the wrong place.  There is no decent diagram of where this Phillips screw is located.

On the positive side, the manual gives detailed instructions on how to sharpen a chain.

But overall the operating instructions need a major overhaul.

BATTERY LIFE AND PLACEMENT

Before operating the pole saw, you’ll have to charge the 40V 2.0 Ah Li-Ion battery to full capacity.  It comes from the factory with a partial charge and takes about an hour to top off the battery before use.  Don’t forget to do this!

When the battery is charged, just insert it into the battery compartment at the rear of the unit.

greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-battery-inserted-into-handle

Battery inserted into battery compartment at back end of the saw behind the grip handle

>> For complete details about Li-Ion batteries used in cordless tools, see our Li-Ion Battery FAQ’s.

The battery snaps into place at the back of the saw behind the handle bar and is held in by a plastic retention clip that’s an integral part of the battery.  The clip also helps in removing the battery – just pull up on the retention clip and the battery (supposedly) slides out.

However, I found that the battery was difficult to pull out – even with the retention clip in a fully retracted position.  For someone with less finger or grip strength, it may be a struggle to dislodge the battery from the compartment.

The battery also has a great LED fuel gauge to let you know how much power is left.  With the push of a button you can easily read the four LED lights and the corresponding power level.

greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-battery-pack

The lights on the battery make it easy to read how much power is left

UNEVEN WEIGHT DISTRIBUTION

The saw is pretty heavily weighted toward the cutting head, even when the battery is installed at the back end of the pole.  When the pole chainsaw is extended to its full length (8.5 ft) the weight and balance distribution becomes even more front heavy.

NO SHOULDER STRAP

There is no shoulder strap included or designed for the Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672), making it difficult to hold for long periods of time while pruning and cutting limbs.  Without a shoulder strap, there’s no way to adjust the weight distribution to relieve some of the weight from the cutting head. A shoulder strap would also cut down on the fatigue from carrying 11.75 lbs. of saw for long periods of time.

greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-cutting

I wish the saw came with a shoulder strap to help distribute the weight.

Greenworks includes a comfortable pad on the shaft, just forward of the rear handle.  This helps minimize vibration and jarring as the saw cuts through material.  However, it’s only helpful when cutting with the pole at the shorter, 5’ length.  When cutting with the 8’ pole length, you end up holding the pole higher up the shaft toward the drive motor where there’s no padding on the shaft.

ADJUSTABLE POLE LENGTH – BUT NO TELESCOPING

The owner’s manual says that the poles telescope.  This may have been true on older models, but not on the model 20672.  The saw I tested has a 3-foot extension pole that you have to insert between the handle pole and the power head pole to make the saw longer – it most definitely does not telescope.

I also found some wobble in the pole pieces even when the connecting couplers were fully tightened. The wobble wasn’t extreme and didn’t affect cutting performance but given the design of the connecting couplers, I wouldn’t have expected any wobble at all.

LIMITED CUTTING PERFORMANCE

In my tests, the Greenworks pole chainsaw made very good cuts on branches smaller than 4” in diameter.

However, when making cuts to its maximum cutting diameter (6”), the saw had trouble keeping up and tended to stop about 2” into the cut.

As with most cordless yard tools, the Greenworks battery has an internal circuit breaker that stops the saw when the battery overheats.  The only thing you can do at that point is let it cool down and reset itself before you can continue cutting.

I found that the Greenworks battery constantly overheated, shutting down the saw. I was sometimes able to restart the saw after a brief rest (maybe 10 seconds or so) but it would quickly overheat again. It generally took me about three tries to get through a 6” piece of dead Mesquite wood, making cutting with the Greenworks saw a very frustrating experience.

I appreciate the engineering that goes into protecting the battery and circuitry of the saw.  I only wish that the saw had more oomph so that it did not stop as frequently.  There is only one pole chainsaw that I’ve tested to date that has the power to cut through nearly a 7” piece deadwood without stopping due to battery restriction temperatures (see our review of the SunJoe iON8PS2).

FIXED CUTTING HEAD ANGLE

The cutting head is positioned at approximately 200.  This gives it the advantage of hooking over branches and staying put when cutting.  It also helps with some undercutting of branches to make a proper pruning cut.

Angled heads do have their advantages for these types of cutting procedures but they are limited when they are fixed at that angle.

It would be nice if the cutting head angle was adjustable, as sometimes a straight cutting angle is preferred (for example, when cutting the last piece off a branch for a proper pruning cut).  A straight cutting angle often provides better line of sight for precise cutting and also makes it possible to more easily cut a branch on an angle, making the branch fall away from you when the cut is finished.

Despite its large cutting head, the saw is able to get into pretty tight places (but not as tight as a straight cutting head).

greenworks-chainsaw-pole-pruner-20-degree-head-angle

The approximately 20 degree cutting head helps make cuts on top of branches and some undercuts

BAR AND CHAIN OILER

The bar and chain are lubricated automatically by a pump connected to the bar/chain oil reservoir.  The oil needs to be checked regularly since the saw’s battery will typically outlast the oil (you need oil in the reservoir at all times while cutting).

I found the automatic oiler worked as designed. However, the bar and chain oiler cap leaked when the saw head was tipped upside down.  This wasn’t due to a loose or defective cap; rather, it seemed to be caused by a small pinhole in the top of the cap to let air enter the oil reservoir.  Without letting the oil reservoir “breath”, a vacuum would be created and oil wouldn’t flow onto the bar and chain.

A well-oiled chain is necessary for making proper cuts and lubricating the moving parts so that they don’t overheat or wear out prematurely.  As long as you’re aware of this potential leaking problem, then you’ll know to face the oil cap up for storage or drain all the oil from the reservoir before putting the saw away.  This leak was very small, but left unattended for hours there is the potential for all the oil to drain from the reservoir, making for a potentially large mess to clean up.

greenworks-bar-and-chain-oiler-cap

Oil reservoir cap with breather hole. The breather hole can leak oil if tipped upside down.

SAFETY FIRST

The Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672) has a switch lock safety feature built into the rear handle to prevent accidental starting.  It has to be depressed first before the throttle can be activated.

As with all chain saw pole pruners, it’s critical that the chain be running at full speed and that the tip of the bar doesn’t hit the branch being cut before the chain makes contact with the wood.  This is to prevent “kick back” (when the saw jumps backwards toward the operator).

The opposite of a “kick back” can happen if you start the motor with the chain resting against the wood – the force as the chain “grabs” the branch can pull you off balance, resulting in a fall or other possible problem.

When operating any chainsaw, I recommend a certified “hard hat” helmet, hearing protection, gloves, pants, protective chaps (a chap that goes over your pants that prevents chainsaw cuts), long sleeve shirt, boots and safety glasses.

SPARE PARTS AVAILABLE ONLINE

Greenworks offers the following spare parts on their website:

  • 2.0Ah battery
  • 8” bar
  • Battery Charger

WARRANTY

The Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672) is warranted to the original purchaser (with proof of purpose) for 4 years against defects in materials, parts or workmanship.

The batteries are covered for 2 years under the same provisions.

RECOMMENDATION

The Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672) is a generally well made product that makes clean cuts through smaller material (under 4” in diameter) but has problems with larger branches. When cutting thicker branches, the battery constantly overheats, shutting down the saw.  I would have thought that the battery high temperature cut-off would have been higher, thereby reducing the number of times the saw shut off.

There’s no shoulder strap included in the saw package, which is a definite miss.  Without it, the saw is harder to maneuver and requires more strength to handle over longer periods of time (leading to more fatigue).

The owner’s manual really needs some revisions.  It’s very clear in some areas and very confusing in others. A small Phillips screwdriver for tightening the bar/chain needs to be included. And finally the battery compartment tolerances need to be relaxed so that the battery is easier to extract.

Overall the Greenworks pole chainsaw is a respectable mid-grade 40V saw but wouldn’t be a good replacement for a gas-powered pole chainsaw.

WHERE TO BUY

The Greenworks G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Cordless 8” Pole Saw (model 20672) is available at Greenworkstools.com, Lowe’s, Target, Walmart, CPO and through Amazon.  You can buy it on Amazon for $151.99 (free shipping with a Prime membership).

For replacement parts, you’ll have to go through the Greenworks website. They offer replacement 2.0Ah batteries for $99.99, an 8” replacement bar for $15.00, and a spare charger for $39.99.

And now over to you – Have you used a cordless pole chainsaw? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Greenworks for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

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