How to Oil the Pole Saw Chain

The pole saw is a great tool for pruning trees in the garden. But only if you take good care of it.

Part of this maintenance is to oil the bar and chain when using it. This helps you get the best cutting performance. And extends the life of the pole saw.

Let’s take a look at what it means to oil the pole saw and the best way you can do this.

How does oiling work in a pole saw?

The important components of a pole saw are the bar and chain. The chain sits into the groove that is present in the bar.

The chain then travels around the bar when the pole saw motor is started. This causes friction due to the movement.

The oil you provide helps keep the bar and chain lubricated. This is done with the oiler system present in the pole saw.

This oiler provides a steady flow of oil to the bar. It feeds oil into the groove around the bar.

This groove can get clogged so you need to remove the sprocket cover and clean the bar and chain.

Sometimes the oiling system might break down and you may need to get it fixed or replaced. The oiling system also might not work if the bar is not installed correctly.

What are the benefits of oiling a pole saw?

It helps reduce friction

The bar and chain endure a lot of friction when the pole saw is working. This causes a lot of wear and tear that reduces the life of the chainsaw.

Oiling the chainsaw helps reduce such friction and improves performance as well as the durability of the pole saw.

It helps prevent clogging

The pole saw trims tree branches that can result in debris and sap sticking to the bar and chain. This reduces efficiency while cutting.

The oil helps prevent this problem by removing such debris away from the pole saw.

It keeps you safe

The chainsaw can get damaged when there’s a lot of friction. The saw can get stuck into the wood while cutting. This increases the chances of kickback.

And such kickback is a common cause of injuries when using a chainsaw. A well-oiled bar and chain reduces such problems and helps improve safety when using the pole saw.

Improves the life of the pole saw

Lower friction means the chain will last longer. It reduces the stress that may be placed on the motor of the pole saw.

So a well-oiled bar and chain help improve the life of the pole saw.

What kind of oil should you use?

It’s recommended to use bar and chain oil that is suitable for your pole saw. Try to get the oil from the brand your chainsaw belongs to.

The oil that you get should be based on the weather to get the most benefit from it.

Summer oil

Summer oil is made to be thicker. That’s because the summer heat can thin the oil.

The thicker summer oil helps it stick to the bar and chain in warm weather. This helps you get the most benefit from it while pruning tree branches.

Winter oil

Winter oil is thinner than summer oil. That’s because the cold thickens the oil.

The thin oil makes it pour easily and stick to the bar and chain in cold weather. And makes it suitable for pruning tree branches in winter.


The traditional bar and chain oil that you find is petroleum-based. This works fine but it’s not the best when it comes to being environment-friendly.

You can try to find bio-oils that are made using vegetables and cold pressing to extract oils. They are environment-friendly and biodegradable.

Such oils are gently on the trees and won’t harm them. They are also gentle on your skin and won’t irritate your lungs if you inhale the vapors.

How to use oil in a pole saw?

  • Make sure the pole saw is turned off and cooled down before you put the oil. Place the pole saw on a flat surface like the ground or your workbench.
  • Make sure the chainsaw is clean and so is the oil filler cap. This helps prevent dust and debris from falling into the reservoir while filling oil. Such debris can clog up the oiling system.
  • Unscrew the oil filler cap and use a funnel to fill oil into the reservoir. It’s best to use a funnel because the opening tends to be small. This leads to spilling oil on the pole saw.
  • Put the cap back on after filling the oil to the marked levels. And wipe off any excess oil that may have splashed on the pole saw.

How to know if the oiling system is working?

  • There are a couple of easy ways to find out if the oil is moving around as expected to the bar and chain.
  • The first way is to start the pole pruner and hold it a few inches away from a tree. There should be a fine line of oil falling on to the tree.
  • Another way is to run the pole saw for a little while. Then stop it and keep it aside. Touch the chain and check if there’s oil on it. You can lift the chain and check for oil on the drive links as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of oil goes in a pole saw?

Petroleum-based bar and chain oil is the best to use for a pole saw.

Can I use motor oil for bar and chain?

You should not use motor oil for the bar and chain. The motor oil is too thin and does not stick well for lubrication.

Can you use vegetable oil in a pole saw?

It’s not recommended to use vegetable oil. It’s better to use a good bar and chain oil that is a bio-oil.