11 Essential Tools And Equipment For An Entry-Level Arborist

This article lists some essential tools and equipment needed for entry-level arborists.
This article lists some essential tools and equipment needed for entry-level arborists.

An entry-level arborist requires several tools and pieces of equipment in his arsenal. Without them, you will not be able to do the job safely or efficiently.

The importance of these tools is often underestimated. Most think they should only slip on a pair of tree climbing spikes and they’re ready for action, which is far from the case. 

This article lists some essential tools and equipment needed for entry-level arborists:

1. Chainsaw

A chainsaw is a tool you cannot live without as an arborist. It’s used for everything, from cutting down trees to cutting up fallen trees, to heavy pruning and removing dead branches off of trees. It’s going to be tough for you to get through your first few weeks on the job if you don’t have a chainsaw.

It might seem like a simple tool at first glance, but a few types of chainsaws can come in handy depending on the work you’ll be doing. For example, if you’re working in an urban area and need to cut up some small branches quickly, it might make sense to use an electric saw (which will be quieter). However, if the branch is larger than three inches thick and needs extra power behind it due to its location near electrical lines or other instances, go for gas-powered bladed models.

If your budget allows, we strongly suggest you own two chainsaws. One, ideally battery-powered, will be light enough to use for trimming and pruning and will have a bar length of about 12 inches (30cm).

The second chainsaw is going to be your ‘go-to’ for the bigger jobs. Consider a bar length of at least 20 inches (50cm) and a gas-powered engine to match.

Your boots serve as your protection when you’re out in the field.
Your boots serve as your protection when you’re out in the field.

2. Boots

Your boots serve as your protection when you’re out in the field. They must stand up to various conditions, from rocky terrain to mud and dirt. They should also withstand heat and cold temperatures and sharp objects (like sticks or rocks) that might poke through the bottom of your shoe. 

3. Rope

A rope is used as a lifeline for each arborist when climbing a tree (or out of it). This ensures that someone doesn’t fall if their equipment fails or they slip off something while working at height. It’s also an emergency tool for rescuing victims trapped in trees, even if those victims are other workers.

A rope also moves logs from the ground up through the canopy of a tree, from one side to another, or from the tree to a truck.

4. Helmet

A helmet is a must-have for any arborist as it protects your head from falling objects like branches and other debris.  

It also protects you from falling off ladders or scaffolding, which can cause severe injuries if not protected with a hard hat or safety harness.

5. Gloves

Gloves are the first thing people think of when they hear ‘arborist,’ and rightly so. As an arborist, you’ll do plenty of tree climbing, pruning, and planting. All activities involve handling branches and leaves that can inflict scratches, cuts, and abrasions if you aren’t careful.

The right pair of gloves will protect your hands from cuts, splinters, and thorny bushes while providing a comfortable grip on your tools. Hence, look for a pair that fits well (not too tight or loose) and ensure they’re comfortable enough that they won’t fall off while climbing trees or underbrush. 

Choose a pair that will last longer than just one season. Go for ones made of durable materials, such as leather or canvas, such that they won’t rip open at the seams after some time spent outdoors working with greenery.

Additionally, ensure your gloves are fire-resistant for added protection against burns (whether from firewood or electrical wires). This is especially important if you live in areas where wildfires often occur during different seasons throughout the year.

6. Loppers

Loppers are the ideal tool for cutting branches and dead wood. You can also use them on live wood, but this isn’t ideal because you risk damaging the tree. 

Loppers work best when they have a ratchet action that allows them to make fast and clean cuts through small limbs and large ones. You should always wear gloves when using loppers or other pruning tools to protect your hands from blisters, splinters, and injury.

Pulley systems allow for a controlled release of tension and create force.
Pulley systems allow for a controlled release of tension and create force.

7. Pulleys

Pulley systems allow for a controlled release of tension and create force. The advantage of using pulleys is that it allows for greater control over what you are doing than simply letting gravity do its work by itself.

The disadvantage of using pulleys is that they can be challenging to navigate when working on steep terrain or with long distances between anchor points.

8. Chipper

A chipper is a piece of equipment that you will find in every arborist’s toolbox. It chips branches, twigs, and other debris into smaller pieces or chips. Chippers can also make mulch from larger branches. Chippers range in size from small electric models to huge truck-towed monsters. Try to find a good gas-powered 5 – 8hp model which should be able to mulch 3” diameter branches.

9. Hand Saws

Hand saws are crucial to your arborist toolkit because of their many uses. They are used for pruning and cutting branches, logs, and firewood. They are also handy for trimming small trees when necessary. 

Hand saws come in many shapes and sizes, depending on the job you’re tackling at hand. You can even find specialized hand saws for specific situations like cross-cutting or ripping wood with ease.

10. Ladder

Seasoned arborists will usually have a bucket truck to help them get to the high spots of the tree and work safely. However, you may not always bring it with you, or it might not be the right choice for the job. Sometimes the angle isn’t appropriate for tree climbing spikes either, so this is where ladders come in.

You will need different ladders for the variety of trees you will work with at whichever location you may be. When choosing a ladder, one of the most crucial things to check is its stability, so ensure you do just that.

11. Safety Glasses

When working with equipment like chainsaws and wood chippers, it’s critical to protect your eyes with safety glasses. It’s normal for arborists to suffer from eye injuries if they are not careful enough during their projects.

In addition, because wood chips are light, they can travel far and harm you quickly. So, have your eyes protected at all times.


If you have a passion for trees and decide to be an arborist, these tools are staples for your job. Consider purchasing the sturdiest you can find, if possible, so they can be worthwhile investments that last long as you pursue being an arborist.



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