Oregon PS250 8″ Cordless Pole Saw Raises the Bar for 40V Performance
When presented with the opportunity to review the Oregon Pole Saw, Model PS250, the first question I wanted to answer for you is, “Who’s Oregon”? If you’re a consumer who tends to shop only at home improvement warehouses or online, you may have never heard of Oregon which means you would have never seen their name, nor ever seen any ads on TV or while browsing the Internet. A quick visit to their online site reveals their authorized dealers, both online and smaller brick and mortar establishments. From my location in central Florida, there are at least two dealers within 50 miles and online options include several notable sites.
If you’ve never heard of Oregon, you might be unsure of what they could deliver. What better way to alleviate consumer skepticism than to put Oregon to the test!
Oregon PS250 First Impressions
When the Oregon PS250 Pole Saw arrived, it was in a long, simple, cardboard box, humbly presenting its contents with no glossy, mega-colored, over the top packaging. You might be initially put off by this, but upon opening the package, your attitude will quickly change… This pole saw arrives efficiently packaged and, with some minor assembly, will quickly be ready to get to work.
This pole saw is a machine. In fact, it’s a beast of a machine and not in a bad way. I was impressed immediately, due to its solid construction, matte finishes and no-nonsense design. The Lithium-ion 40 volt battery is about the size of a driveway paver. While this bulky battery may put off some readers, it impressed me. I’ve had experience with many smaller batteries—and with batteries, size matters. I’ll gladly accept a larger size battery if it means I won’t run out of power mid-project—or worse, close to completion. In the case of the Oregon system, the 40 volt PowerNow battery line will work with all of its 40 volt cordless power tools, which includes a string trimmer/edger, chainsaw, hedge trimmer, and, of course, this pole saw. I like having one battery with several tool options. The battery in this review is a 4.0 Ah model that is the largest in the PowerNow line, although the 2.4 and 1.25 versions will work within the 40-volt family, but produce less run-time and require more frequent recharging.
A unique material selection I quickly noticed was the extension shaft casing, which on the PS250 is made of a fiberglass composite. This provides lightweight strength, especially with its oval shape. Inside, the drive shaft itself appears to be a very solid and precise metal core that was well lubricated and fit snugly together upon assembly to the drive unit.
Fully assembled, the pole saw balances quite well. Along with the included shoulder strap, the saw is relatively easy to handle and manipulate. At 13.5 lbs. with the battery on-board, this saw is lighter than most gas-powered pole saws I’ve used. Like any pole saw, it is long, requires handling attention, and some upper body strength. I was anxious to find out how the weight would affect both the performance and ergonomics of the tool.
Oregon PS250 Performance
Using the saw is easy. After filling the auto-oiler for the chain (oil is included in the box), I was ready to begin. There’s a trigger lock that keeps you from accidentally activating the trigger until you’re ready. One hand easily accomplishes the whole starting procedure, and I was off and running. It was very nice not having to pre-mix fuels and fuss with priming and pull starting, all of which just takes more time and energy with zero productivity. If you’re a homeowner that doesn’t use equipment like this that often, you just want it to work…and it’s great when a cordless tool starts immediately when you need it. If you’re a pro or commercial property maintainer, you need it to work every day without a second thought. While it’s debatable whether cordless tools will be able to make it into the pro market, I do feel there are jobs that could benefit from the convenience.
The tree of choice was an oak whose canopy is about 50 feet wide with lower limbs well within the maximum 10-foot length of the saw plus any height I add as the operator. Starting with the end of the limb, as I directed the saw towards the first cut, I triggered the saw and placed it into position. The saw engaged and began to cut with ease. I was surprised at just how well the blade set into the limb and virtually took over. I expected to have to apply more pressure, but the opposite was true. Once it started, it just kept on going. It was then I realized this is a true chainsaw on a pole—Oregon didn’t skimp on the design of the saw. Given the quick work the chain made of the limb, I was excited to keep using it.
The range of diameter cuts I made varied from 1 inch up to 5 inches towards the trunk of the tree. In all cases, the saw worked faster and cleaner than me—I couldn’t keep up without taking a break or two. I was the limitation, not the Oregon PS250.
In my case, all of the limbs I had to tackle required full extension of the pole, which was easily accomplished. A simple twist of the collar and a pull on the shaft completed the exercise. My only wish is that it was even longer for more reach. I suppose that’s where the ladder comes in.
Overall, I am very impressed with the Oregon PS250. While it is not as readily available as other brands and is at a relatively high price point, this saw needs to be seriously considered. Homeowners who appreciate quality and power and are willing to make an investment in a tool will appreciate this model. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to search a little more for this dealer-only brand. Pros and commercial uses will find that the construction of the PS250 is also directed at them. If they’re willing to part with their gas and oil cocktail on at least some jobs, they’ll find a 40V option that exceeds much of what I’ve seen in most big box stores.
I’ve spent more money on cheaper tools only to realize I could have paid less in the long run had I invested properly up front. I have always had hassles with fuel issues on all of my lawn equipment. I don’t have a lot of spare time to mess with carburetors and remembering to add fuel treatments and so on. I am encouraged by the Oregon PS250 as an alternative that avoids that hassle without sacrificing quality, power, and reliability.