Overall, the Husqvarna 525DEPS Madsaw is a well-built, versatile pole saw that gives our crew an extra measure of safety when working near electrical conductors.
The really impressive thing about the Madsaw is that it is the only insulated, gas-powered pole saw on the market. (“Mad” is for minimum-approach-distance. The DEPS stands for dielectric pole saw.) It states on the saw’s label that it is individually tested to OSHA standard 1910.269, so it can provide extra protection for working around electrical conductors. Make no mistake, though, you still must adhere to the minimum-approach-distance rules to protect yourself from electrical contact.
This tool is perfect for working from the ground in locations where you can’t get a bucket truck close to the work, such as the corner of a house, where the secondary distribution wire goes into the house. Let’s say there is a 5- or 6-inch broken limb lying on that wire. Even though secondaries usually carry less than 300 volts, it’s still pretty uncomfortable getting in there with a non-rated fiberglass pole saw. Plus, cutting that big limb with a pole saw is slow, tiring work. With the Madsaw, you can work around electrical conductors, get in and make a few cuts and save a lot of time.
The Madsaw has a simple connector system to attach different-length sections for extended reach. With a 12-inch bar and the longer extension, the Madsaw can reach from 9 feet to 12.5 feet. We found that the shorter section worked better while in the bucket, and the 12-foot reach was better for using from the ground. In fact, it seems this pole saw will be spending a lot of its time being used at ground level, which is where many tree workers get into trouble around electrical conductors.
It weighs about 16 pounds and has a harness you can use to help support the weight of the saw. The harness makes using it a little easier, with a little less wear and tear on the body. Using the harness works especially well when working from the ground.
What is nice about using this saw is that the motor is so easy to start. Working near conductors is stressful enough without having to make several attempts to get the motor to turn over. You want to get in and out as soon as possible, so a quick-start saw is very helpful. The Madsaw has a primer bulb to help with cold starts, and the operating controls are simple and responsive. You can focus all your attention on where the wires are and not have to look down at the controls.
We also are impressed with the anti-vibration cushioning of the grip. You could run the saw for quite a long while without getting pins and needles running up your arm. It is very nice anti-vibration shock absorption. And, amazingly, it is pretty quiet for a chain saw. That is really remarkable!
The one suggestion we would make about the Madsaw is that we would like to see an extension length someplace between the 1-foot and 6-foot sections; maybe a 3-foot extension to give a little more rigidity while using the saw in a bucket. The 1-foot section works well in the bucket, but the 6-foot extension while in the bucket is a little cumbersome. The aluminum shaft gets a little wobbly with the cutting head 12 feet away. This is exactly where you want the most control when waving a gas-powered pole saw around nearby wires. A 3-foot section would still provide good reach and control with less flexibility. The 6-foot extension works really well from the ground. Combine that with the support harness, and your work efficiency increases greatly.
Who would benefit from using this saw? Companies or workers who trim trees around wires from the ground. Or companies or workers who don’t want to invest in a hydraulic stick saw that they might use only two or three times a year. We will continue to use this innovative piece of equipment, very likely on a daily basis and especially during storm cleanups.
John Haehnel, II, CTSP, is director of safety and training with Tree Tech, Inc., an accredited, 34-year TCIA member company based in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Chris Vendetto is a crew leader on a utility crew with Tree Tech.
This review reflects the thoughts and opinions of the reviewer as a user and does not constitute or imply an endorsement of the product referenced, and is not an endorsement of any specific company, product or service. Every entity or individual should review and test all products for applicability, safety and efficacy in their particular operation.
At a Glance
9335 Harris Corners Parkway, Ste 500
Charlotte, NC 28269-3830
Founded: In Sweden in 1620 as Jönköping Rifle Factory; in 1757 ,became the private company,
Husqvarna Rifle Factory; began producing other product in 1872; renamed Husqvarna in 1972;
established its U.S. headquarters in Charlotte in 1990
TCIA Corporate Member: Since 1993
Business: Husqvarna Forest and Garden Products is part of Husqvarna Group, a global producer of forest and garden products and services.