If, like me, you think that chainsaws and step ladders are a bad idea, then a pole saw might just be the answer. The Remington RM1025SPS Ranger Chainsaw/Pole saw combo, formerly known as the Branch Wizard, is an upgrade to the earlier RM1025P model. The new Ranger comes with a different style pole and improvements have been made to the old oiling system.
If you’ve got some light trimming and pruning to do around your lot and were thinking of hiring somebody to do the work, read this review first. It might very well save you a few hundred dollars.
Read on to discover more.
Performance and Handling
The RM1025SPS Ranger can be used as both a pole saw and separately as a chainsaw. When it comes to pruning overhead branches, the pole saw’s reach makes it a convenient, safe and handy tool. Then, when you need to do some felling or bucking, simply remove the saw from the pole and use it as you would a normal chainsaw.
So, what can this saw do? Let’s start by considering its use as a pole saw. Depending on how tall you are, the extendable 10-feet aluminum pole will enable you to trim trees up to 15 feet high. The saw is powerful enough to safely cut through limbs around 8 inches in diameter, making it useful for taking down small and medium sized branches. You will find it will breeze through limbs around 5” to 6” in diameter. For the larger 8 inch branches (some users have used it for slightly larger branches), you may need to work at it from both sides to cut it safely.
As a chainsaw, the Ranger will handle most light duties around your lot, including taking down, de-limbing and bucking small trees. This isn’t a heavy duty saw and as such is designed for occasional, light cutting. If you bear this in mind and don’t over tax the saw, it will perform well.
Users have used this machine on all sorts of trees and a fair number of people mentioned that it is particularly useful when it comes to trimming palm trees, saving them a great deal of time and effort. Other buyers also bought the product having received large quotes to have light work done around their home.
During my research, I noticed that one question a lot of people ask is: can it trim hedges?
The simple answer in no, it cannot be used as a hedge trimmer. One of the reasons for this links in to an issue with the saw itself. Many consumers point out that leaves and small branches tend to get caught inside the saw. Wood chips can also accumulate in the vents which means that it needs to be cleaned after each use. Cutting hedges would no doubt result in a lot of ‘debris’ getting caught inside the saw very quickly. If you need to cut your hedges you should therefore invest in a hedge trimmer.
Starting the machine is a relatively straightforward procedure. On both the chainsaw and also the pole handle there are trigger and lock-out switches. To start the machine, you need to depress the lockout switch and then activate the throttle trigger. When the machine starts, the lockout switch can then be released.
When it comes to handling, if used as a chainsaw it is extremely light and maneuverable and suitable for most people. As a pole saw, however, it’s a different story. Firstly, you will need to master the technique, which involves holding the pole handle at waist level with your right hand and the pole’s grip area with the left hand. As with normal saws, you should not swap hands to do this and a few left handed users have found this to be quite awkward. Some users have also mentioned the fact that the motor on the saw protrudes from the side, making cutting a little tricky. However, once you master the cutting technique, this shouldn’t cause too much of a problem.
The major issue though is the weight. The more the pole is extended, the heavier it is which in turn makes it more difficult to control. If you lack upper body strength or struggle with weights you will find this a difficult saw to handle. Even if you have good upper body strength, you need consider the likelihood of fatigue which will reduce the cutting time, especially if using the saw on a fully extended pole to get at higher branches. Unfortunately the Ranger doesn’t come with a harness which a number of users suggested would help with balance and better control.
One final note on handling, it should perhaps go without saying but extra care needs to be taken with pole saws to ensure that there are no overhead cables, power and telephone lines which may inadvertently get cut. You may suddenly become very unpopular with other family members and neighbors. You should also use common sense and consider where the branches are likely to drop. Check out the video below to see the Ranger (formerly called the Branch Wizard Pro) in action.
The RM1025SPS is equipped with a 10 inch guide bar and chain. The chain itself complies with the performance requirements of ANSI B175.1 2012, meaning that it is designated as low kickback. It has a 3/8” pitch and 0.05” gauge. You can read more about this type of chain in our article here, suffice to say that this is a popular sized chain, offering a good compromise between weight and performance.
As with all chainsaws, you should inspect the chain tension both before and during operation. Whenever the drive links on the chain pull away from the bar groove the chain will need to be tightened. If you’ve used chainsaws before you will know that chains tend to stretch more when they are new, which makes regular inspection even more important. Initially, you should check the chain after every five cuts although as it gets worn in, the interval between adjustments will lengthen.
The procedure for adjusting tension is quite straightforward. You will need a 7/16 inch (11 mm) wrench to loosen the bar retaining nuts and then a flat head screwdriver to turn the tensioning screw (clockwise to tighten, counter clockwise to loosen).
Instructions are provided about the correct tension depending on the cutting conditions. If you are cutting in hotter weather, the chain needs to sag a little as it expands during operation, whereas in cold weather cutting the chain should fit snuggly.
Regular sharpening of the chain is required to keep it in top condition. This can either be done professionally for a few dollars. If you are happy doing this yourself, a 5/32” round head file and file holder will be required.
If a replacement chain is required, the Oregon 91PX040G Low profile chain is a suitable low kickback replacement.
Design and Construction
In terms of design, there are effectively two parts to this product.
Firstly, the pole, which is shown in the diagram below.
As you can see, this has an easy grip handle with a throttle control and lockout switches. There is a short power cord which you will need to attach to a suitable extension cord to operate the machine. There is a clamping lever which, when locked, holds the inner pole in place and a coupler which attaches the pole’s two parts together. Note, once you have attached both parts of the pole, this is permanent and they cannot be separated. The upper and lower aluminum poles are adjustable and designed for strength and there is a non-slip grip for better handling. The pole itself will adjust from 7.4 feet to 10 feet in length.
The diagram below illustrates the saw itself.
The on right side of the saw you will find the rear hand guard, bar cover and retaining nuts. The combined front handle and hand guard sits on top of the saw, just in front of the oil reservoir cap and oiling bulb. There is also a short power cord which will either be attached to the pole’s power receptacle or to an extension cord.
On the left side of the Ranger (not shown), is the motor and the throttle lockout switch. On the front of the power head unit, you will also find some bumper spikes which provide safer, stable cutting and a chain catcher.
Having considered the design, what about the quality? The thing to bear in mind is that this is a low cost, light duty saw and not a $1,000 Stihl. It has a plastic construction which will stand up to the light duty demands placed on it. Feedback suggests that the aluminum pole is sturdy and holds the saw well but that the locking levers are a little flimsy. Indeed a number of users mentioned that these broke so care is obviously recommended when handling.
Several users raised quality issues, especially with the plastic sprocket and in a few cases this stripped during operation. It should be pointed out that this is a small number in context of the overall number of users and to help protect against this happening you should always ensure that the sprocket area is cleaned and free of debris.
When it comes to putting the saw together, you will need to attach the poles and then the saw to the pole. Most users found this to be straightforward, though a handful did struggle. If you struggle with things like this, it may be worth getting a friend to give you a hand.
The Ranger is powered by an 8 amp motor which generates around 960 watts and 1.3 hp. In terms of power, this is at the lower end for a chainsaw but what you would expect for a machine needed for light cutting duties.
You will need a suitable extension cord. This should be an outdoor cord and be the correct gauge for the amperage. In this case if you have a 50 foot extension, you will need a 14 gauge cord and for a 100 foot you will need at least a 12 gauge cord. A higher gauge cord, such as a 10 gauge, can also be used.
Chain Oil System
Unlike the majority of saws on today’s market, the Ranger is equipped with a manual (as opposed to an automatic) oiling system.
This means that you have to press the primer bulb a few times to release the oil before cutting. The manufacturer recommends that you press the chain oil bulb at least once before each cut. This is more involved than having an automatic oiler which would take care of this for you, although one of the positives is that you can control the amount of oil being released. One major criticism of many automatic fixed flow oiling systems is that they either release too much or insufficient oil to the blade.
You will need to ensure that the oil reservoir is kept topped up with chain oil. Oil is added through the oil cap on the top of the saw and the level can be regularly check through the reservoir window, although you may need a flashlight to help in this regard. It is recommended that the oil level should fill the window at least half way. The oil reservoir capacity is 1.5 oz. (44ml), which isn’t particularly big so you may need to top up on a regular basis.
As far as what type of oil you should use, a good quality bar and chain oil is recommended. Furthermore, if you are pruning, a vegetable based oil will prevent any harm to your trees.
A couple of users mentioned that oil leaks when the product is being stored. This is pretty par for the course and in many cases unavoidable. You should, therefore, give some thought about how you store your machine (perhaps put it on some rags) or alternatively empty the reservoir after use.
One final note, chain oil is NOT supplied with this purchase. Although frustrating, this is a pretty standard arrangement when it comes to buying chainsaws.
The safety features on the RM1025SPS include:
- Low kickback chain to reduce the likelihood and effects of kickback.
- Lockout button for safe starting to ensure that the saw is not accidentally switched on.
- Bumper spikes on the front of the saw to help pivot the saw and provide cutting stability.
- Front hand guard to provide protection should the front hand slip off the handle during operation.
- Rear hand guard to provide protection should the chain snap or disengage from the guide bar.
- Chain catcher designed to provide protection against a whipping chain.
The unit weighs around 10lbs. Ordinarily this would be very light for a standard chainsaw, but when handling on an extended pole will seem much heavier.
As mentioned above the telescopic pole extends from 7.4 feet to 10 feet in length.
Apart from an operator’s manual, the Ranger doesn’t come with any accessories. Unusually it doesn’t come with a bar scabbard so you may need to spend an extra $10 on a cover if you require one. A variety of ‘universal’ scabbards are available on line – just ensure that the measurements will fit this guide bar.
- Versatile saw, excellent for pruning and light cutting
- Low price
- Lightweight if used as a traditional chainsaw
- Tool-less attachment of saw to the pole.
- Heavy when operating on the pole.
- Some quality issues reported.
Remington RM1025SPS Ranger Consumer Ratings
There are almost two thousand on-line reviews for this saw, attesting to its huge popularity. Around 84% of buyers rated their purchase as either good or excellent, which given the number of reviews is a very positive rating.
Buyers were happy with saw’s cutting performance, price and flexibility. Many were able to make significant savings by getting this saw and doing the job themselves rather than paying to have the work done. In many cases the saw covered its own costs after just one use.
The main complaint from buyers was that the saw is very heavy when used on the end of the extended pole. Some quality issues were reported, especially around the bar locking levers which snapped in some cases. There were also a handful of cases where the motor had burned out. This is covered by the warranty, though you should note that the saw would need to be returned in a long box as the two pole sections can’t be uncoupled once attached.
You should buy this saw if:
- You are looking for a flexible chain/pole saw combination.
- You have a lot of light cutting tasks around your property.
- You don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars getting a gardener to do the job.
- You want a low cost machine.
You should not buy this saw if:
- You have difficulty with heavy weights.
- You want a high quality product and have a larger budget.
Price of the Remington RM1025SPS Ranger
This saw is currently available under $100. In our view, this represents excellent value.