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Bow Saw vs Pruning Saw (Key Differences)

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Trimming is one of the best gardening practices. The reasons are apparent, to ensure a good looking and healthy landscape plants and to prevent broken branches from drooping around your garden.

Unfortunately, when it is time to carry out this task, most gardeners are left in a state of confusion of which to use between bow saw vs pruning saw, while other gardeners switch their roles in carrying out different trimming tasks.

Save yourself the hard work – and avoid damaging your plants – by matching the right tool to the right trimming task for maximum efficiency.

In this article, you will learn about their characteristics and distinguishing factors to better save your time for trimming tasks ahead.

Bow Saw vs Pruning Saw | An Overview

Trees are one of the best decorative features you can add to your garden or landscape. However, the problem is that they don’t know when to stop growing, especially when healthy.

It is in your best interest to learn the best way to keep these beautiful friends under control. To keep you safe from home accidents, for example resulting from severe sturdy weather that causes tree branches to break and dangle away from its trunk.

Branches from trees near houses can also hang over rooftops and create a passage for different kinds of animals.

Usually, you will need gardening tools for trimming plants; choosing the best gardening trimming tool tailored for a particular task will keep you safe and save your efforts and time.

All cutting saws have one similarity; they all have a metal blade with cutting teeth in built-in them. They all serve a similar purpose – cutting through wood, cutting or thinning trees and shrubs, clearing fallen branches, reshape trees or shrubs, removed diseased or dead wood, etc.

Beyond this similarity, they come in different sizes and shapes. Concisely, the bow saw has a straight flattened shape blade enclosed in a sturdy aluminium frame. The bow saw is light in weight and quite easy to grip, but the aluminium frame can be hard to tackle.

The pruning saw, on the other hand, has a thicker curved blade firmly fixed in a handle. Some varieties of pruning saws have compartments in their handle that allows the attachments of extended handles. This feature enables you to cut high branches without mounting on a ladder.

Although they are used to carry out similar trimming task Gardeners often confuse bow saws vs pruning saw and often switch their roles not minding the unique feature that separates each of them.

In a nutshell, bow saw and a pruning saw are great add-ons to your overall trimming tools, but bow saws are a necessary addition to your yard and garden toolkit only if you have dead, dried trees or larger shrubs on your property that you wish to chop.

They are usually used for “bucking-up” (cutting firewood), cutting down trees or larger branches, Bow saws are perfect for family camping trips in cold or winter weathers.

Alternatively, pruning saws are of different types, each intended for a specific kind of branch or stem. They come in different shapes and sizes and are designed for related tasks. They are mostly used for cutting live wet and garden trees and limbs.

Either way, having these two tools at your disposal makes it the more easily to carry out any cutting task efficiently, especially now that you are learning more about their distinctive features.

Using a garden tool that matches a particular trimming task at hand makes it easier to do a clean job.

Read Also: Garden Scissors vs Garden Shears

Having talked about some of the major similarities and differences between bow saw and pruning saw, let’s now look at what each of them is specifically designed for.

What is a Bow Saw?

What is a Bow Saw

The bow saw is a metal-framed garden tool imitating the shape of a bow that possesses a long coarse blade with many cross-cut teeth.

It is an uneven tool that is the best fit for rough cutting or cross-cutting materials like firewoods or logs, trimming and pruning trees while pushing and pulling. They are best fit for cutting logs up to six inches (150 mm) in diameter.

As traditional as a bow saw is, it can fall a large number of trees than many power saws. The technology is so simple you don’t have to attach cables or search for gas, almost any rugged bow saw will do routine cutting tasks for you.

What is a bow saw used for?

The following are uses of a bow saw;

Felling Trees

Your bow saw comes in handy when felling trees. Felling is known as the process of cutting upright trees down to be recycled for different purposes later.

Bow saw can cut through a tree; however, it is still a manual tool that depends 100% on your efforts to function. It requires a massive effort from you. That is why, when used through more giant trees, it barely gives the most exquisite finish.

So, when you are planning to cut down a tree with the bow saw, it is essential to examine and then determine if the bow saw can pass through the tree to avoid rough finishing.

Bow Saw Use in Pruning

Gardeners also use the bow saw in pruning green wood, such as shrubs and branches. No fuel, and no need for any power, it is a good option for cutting away those overgrown branches from your favorite trees.

Just ensure you leave sufficient room around the branch you intend to cut, to allow for the bow’s frame to pass through without destroying the plant.

To make Logs from Fallen Trees

You can use your bow saw blade for sizing up logs from fallen trees. The cross teeth of the blade are perfect for making logs. But, have it in mind that because of the design of the edge of this saw, the cuts will not have a neat finish.

If you are often involved in carrying out cutting projects with minimal time, then the bow saw is for you; without considering a smooth finish, they are fast tools.

What is a Pruning Saw?

What is a Pruning Saw

A pruning saw is a garden tool with the same sharp teeth as bow saws used for cutting trees and limbs. Both are used for pruning, but one crucial difference is that pruning saws are intended for trimming live trees and shrubs. Just like a bow saw, a pruning saw is characterised by a long blade, usually with a curved handle.

The blades of pruning saw displays a somewhat different design with that of a bow saw, their blades have mostly tampered, but some are straight as seen in bow saws while others are curved. On most types of pruning saw the edges are not designed to be detachable from the handles.

Pruning saws come in various types, each one specially created to cut a particular type of stem or branch. Despite the different types available, all pruning saws should possess hard-pointed teeth.

What Are Pruning Saws Used For?

Pruning saws are made of designs intended for cutting small to medium-sized branches (usually up to 6cm thick), or for cutting down pieces that a bow saw cannot fit.

They are intended to help you trim larger shrubs and smaller tree branches. If in doubt when to use pruning shears follow this general rule that says,” If the limb or trunk you wish to trim is less than 1.5 inches (3.81 cm.) in measurement, consider a hand pruner. If the wood is thicker, it is advisable to use a pruning saw.

One feature what considering when comparing bow saw vs pruning saw is the size of what you intend to trim, always perform an examination, the size will guide you on which to use.

The ‘open pistol’ grip handle of the pruning saw is an added advantage pruning saw has over bow saws, this feature is mostly found in smaller saw types.

What is known as an ‘open pistol grip handle’ is a type of handle often found on smaller saws that are designed for working in enclosed spaces.

The curved handle makes cutting more accessible in areas above your head to cut precisely, and it is suitable for people who gave weak hands such as those with arthritis because its light weighted and puts less strain on the wrist.

One common distinctive feature between a bow saw and a pruning saw is that their blades readily gums with saps when used on live trees; that is why they are best suitable for dead trees, whereas pruning saw do not readily gum up with fluid.


Gardeners are always on the lookout for the right trimming tools to carefully prune their garden plants and take off dead or diseased limbs for the continuous production of healthier and fuller shades.

And to better protect themselves from issues caused by overgrown branches, such as fallen leaves from dangling branches blocking drainage systems.

However, determining the right trimming tool between bow saw vs pruning saw may seem overwhelming, but with the proper comparison guide, you will purchase the best tool tailored for the trimming needs of your trees and shrubs.

Also, the right trimming saw makes clean, precision cuts and makes your job easier and your plants healthier and happier.