Glossary of Terms


Below you’ll find a list of common terms you’ll see as they relate to pole saws and their components.

Air Filter – Prevents particles from entering a gas engine through the air intake. This is necessary to prevent damage to engine components.

Air Purge – A bulb which can be pressed to remove air from the carburetor and fuel system to aid starting.

Amps – A unit of electric current used the rate the power of an electric motor.

Bar – A metal plate used to guide the chain on a saw. This also determines the cutting length of a saw.

Bar Groove – The channel which the chain runs along.

Bar Nut – Used to lock the bar in place.

Bar oil – Lubricant needed to prevent the bar from damage due to overheating or getting stuck while cutting.

Battery Pack – Used to store energy to completely power a cordless pole saw.

Burr – A rough piece of protruding metal which may be found on the chain and is caused by wear. Burrs should be filed away.

Carburetor – Controls the air and fuel mixture along with the engine speed.

Chain – A series of metal links which rotate around the bar. The chain contains teeth on each link which provide the cutting ability.

Chain Brake – Used to immediately stop movement of the cutting chain by pressing a brake band against the clutch drum. This can be activated on some saws to prevent injury to the operator if the saw suddenly moves unexpectedly.

Chain Oil – Lubricant used to prevent damage to the chain.

Chain Pitch – The spacing in between links of the chain. This spacing must match up with that of the drive sprocket and bar chain sprocket.

Chain Tensioner – Used to set proper tightness of the chain around the bar and sprockets.

Choke – A plate which obstructs the flow of air, which must be engaged to start some gas engines.

Clutch – Disengages the chain from a gas engine so the saw can idle without the chain advancing.

Corded – A pole saw which requires a 110V power source and an extension cable in order to run.

Cordless – Pole saws which operate on battery power and do not require fuel or a power cord.

Cutting Head – The assembly which contains the bar, chain, and sprockets and attaches to the pole.

Drive Link – An individual link within the chain.

File – A hardened metal tool used to shape the teeth on a chain or remove burrs.

File Gauge – Used to align a file in the proper position when sharpening cutting teeth.

Gas – Gasoline or petrol, used to power saws with internal combustion engines. A mix of gasoline and oil may be needed depending on the model.

Guard (Bar Guard) – A cover used to protect the bar and chain when the pole saw is not in use.

Harness – A device fitted over the operator’s shoulder(s) to take some of the weight of the pole saw off the arms and reduce fatigue.

Idle – A state where a gas engine is operating near the minimum speed required to stay running.

Kickback – An abrupt and unpredictable movement of the saw when the tip of the bar strikes an object. This can be largely avoided by taking care not to let the bar tip come into contact with any objects when the saw is running.

Lithium-Ion (Li-Ion) – A battery technology with fast charging, low memory, and light weight.

Maximum Extension – The length of the pole saw from the end of the handle to the tip of the bar and chain when the shaft is fully extended.

Maximum Reach (Pole Reach) – The distance the tip of the pole saw can reach when held out in the operator’s arms.

Muffler – Minimizes the noise level of a gas saw and directs the exhaust away from the operator.

Nickel-Cadmium (NiCad) – An older battery technology which is affordable, but which is susceptible to a “memory” effect if not fully charged.

Oil Filter – Used to separate impurities from the oil in a gas engine.

Pole – Extends the reach of the saw. Also referred to as the shaft.

Primer – Bulb which can be pressed to fill the carburetor with fuel to allow a gas engine to be started.

Raker Clearance – The cutting depth of an individual tooth on the chain.

Raker Gauge – Used to check the clearance and bevel on the raker lip.

Reservoir – Stores oil for the automatic or manual oiler.

Scabbard – A cover which can protect the chain and bar when not in use.

Shaft – The pole used to extend the length the saw can reach.

Spark Plug – Creates an electrical spark to ignite fuel and create combustion in a gas engine.

Sprocket – A gear used to drive or align the chain. Two types are found on a pole saw: the drive sprocket moves the chain; the bar tip sprocket keeps the chain in place at the tip of the bar.

Starter – Used to manually rotate a gas engine when the operator pulls on a cord in order to make the engine begin running.

Starter Cord – A retractable cable which uncoils and turns the engine when pulled.

Starter Handle – A t-shaped grab bar used to tug the starter cord.

Stop Switch – A switch or button used to cut power to the engine or motor.

Tank – Refers to either the fuel tank on a gas saw or the tank of the oiler.

Teeth – Metal protrusions on the chain which cut through wood.

Throttle – The button or trigger used to engage the engine or motor and provide varying cutting power.

Throttle Lock – Used to hold the throttle in the “off” position to prevent accidental advancing of the chain.