We are reader-supported. When you purchase through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more›
Different devices can be used to cut trees, and one of them is a top handle chainsaw. Using the best top handle chainsaw, therefore, makes woodcutting more straightforward.
Arborists and woodcutters understand that control is a prerequisite to get efficient cuts. Therefore, having the best arborist chainsaw is critical for cutting the uppermost parts of your tree.
Due to demand, getting the best top handle chainsaw that satisfies all requirements is pretty tricky. This makes many arborists opt for the wrong choice.
Having tested various top handle chainsaws, I found the best top handle arborist chainsaws that would make tree cutting seamless.
Table of Contents
- Quick Picks
- How to Find Top Handle Chainsaw for Arborists?
- Top Handle Chainsaw for Brilliant Tree Cuts
- Final Verdict
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How to Find Top Handle Chainsaw for Arborists?
When buying a top handle chainsaw, there are critical factors an arborist must take into consideration. These factors will determine if such a top handle chainsaw would be most suitable or not according to the buyer’s needs.
This informative guide provides all that you need to avoid making wrong decisions regarding purchasing a top handle chainsaw.
I consider the safety features as crucial as motor efficiency or even the cutting blade. Most woodcutters and arborists’ safety have been jeopardized due to poor safety features embedded in a chainsaw, leading to kickbacks.
Before buying a top handle chainsaw, examine the chain brake’s quality and the throttle lock. If the chain brake’s design is a dual post chain, you should consider purchasing it.
The throttle lock is another safety feature but uncommon in most chainsaws. It’s a separate trigger that locks the saw’s trigger, preventing it from being pulled accidentally. Both throttle lock and chain brake prevent kickbacks.
You must use the best top handle chainsaw that maximizes comfort, mostly if you plan on using the saw for extended hours. An uncomfortable saw will offer you the worst possible experience, which I know you wouldn’t want.
One of the things to ensure that the chainsaw is comfortable is to observe the handle or grip. If the grip has an adjustable palm rest, you will be most comfortable with the chainsaw while using it.
For better cuts, you should avoid top handle chainsaws that are challenging to steer or move. A chainsaw that’s easy to maneuver will result in better control.
In that case, I suggest that you go for a compactedly designed chainsaw, as it would work better in tight spaces, as opposed to a bulky design.
Guide Bar & Chain
Guide bar and chain are two essential features that determine if the chainsaw can take on various jobs. The chain runs on a guide bar and comes in multiple lengths, ranging from 10 – 16 inches. The longer the guide bar, the more jobs the chainsaw would be able to handle.
As I previously stated, the handle’s design is crucial to the user’s comfort. When it comes to chainsaws handles, there are two types – rear handle and top handle. Rear handles are more common but can’t be used at an elevated height, unlike a top handle.
Top handle chainsaws are created for use while in the tree, making woodcutting more convenient.
Power Source (Corded vs. Gas vs. Battery)
Chainsaws can either be powered by a cord, gas, or battery. Gas-powered chainsaws are more powerful than corded or battery-powered chainsaws. However, they tend to be more expensive and have a relatively higher cost of maintenance.
Using a heavy chainsaw will take you more time and energy to lift it for cutting instead of a relatively light one. This will result in a significant issue, as the chainsaw will tire you out quickly and cause muscle fatigue.
If you plan to use a top handle chainsaw for long hours, I suggest you get one that’s light enough to avoid muscle fatigue or get tired easily. A lightweight chainsaw will improve control, which is vital in woodcutting.
Fortunately, all top handle chainsaws in this review are relatively light.
Automatic Chain Oiler
Though not all chainsaws have an automatic chain oiler, purchasing a chainsaw with one is a plus. An automatic chain oiler automatically lubricates the machine without you stopping the machine to oil the chain manually.
When talking about performance, the chainsaw’s cutting ability and the engine should come to mind. The engine motor of a chainsaw determines its cutting speed.
Fortunately, all top handle chainsaws in this review feature powerful motor engines to maximize cutting performance.
To maximize durability, you need to determine if the top handle chainsaw has a protector. A protector ensures that the machine is water-resistant and dust-free, promoting the chainsaw’s use under any weather condition.
Rubber Handle/ Hand Guard
A rubber handle will make the grip softer for more straightforward cutting application. A rubber handle will also withstand pressure better than other handle types, resulting in better cuts.
Top handle chainsaws come in different sizes. Although a chainsaw’s size is not as significant as other features, you should get a chainsaw that’s not extremely large. Relatively, the smaller the saw, the better the movement and control.
A product’s warranty defines how long-lasting the part(s) would be before replacement. Luckily, all top handle chainsaws reviewed here come with different warranties, further maximizing the chainsaws’ durability.
Grip Comfort & Ergonomics
An ergonomic chainsaw will be easier to use and handle, resulting in increased productivity. However, you must ensure that such a chainsaw has a great power to weight ratio and an anti-vibration system.
An anti-vibration system ensures that users are less tired from the vibrations produced due to operating the machine. This feature is essential and a must-have if you want to use a top handle chainsaw conveniently.
Attachment Points for Hoist and Rope or Climbing Belt
When buying a top handle chainsaw, you should also consider the lanyard – a short rope or climbing belt from a chainsaw that’s fastened to the user’s wrist or neck.
The lanyard helps the arborist cut parts of a tree beyond the average saw level by its extension. The lanyard and the attachment point must be strong enough to facilitate tree climbing.
Top handle chainsaws vary in prices. Although being more expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better, the price tag on a chainsaw reflects its qualities and capabilities.
I advise that you get the best professional top handle chainsaw that fits your budget perfectly.
Top Handle Chainsaw for Brilliant Tree Cuts
1. Makita XCU06Z Cordless 10″ Top Handle Chainsaw
- Compact top handle design ideal for pruning, trimming and limbing
- Makita-built Outer Rotor BL Brushless Motor direct-drive system provides power equivalent to a 22cc gas chain saw
- Up to 175 cuts in 2x2 cedar with 18V LXT 5.0Ah battery (battery not included)
- Torque boost mode for cutting dense material
- Captured bar nut and lateral chain tensioning for convenient operation and maintenance
If you’re looking for an innovative top handle chainsaw with optimal speed to cut down trees, I recommend the Makita XCU06Z Lithium-Ion Brushless chainsaw.
This chainsaw occupies the number one position because of its incredible features, durable body design, and excellent cutting speed. This is the best top handle cordless chainsaw I’ve tested, and I will tell you why.
It comes with an 18V LXT battery, providing an excellent double runtime for extended use. For me, this is a fantastic addition, as most cordless chainsaws don’t provide users with ample power for extended use.
Not only does this chainsaw include a strong battery, but they are super fast to charge. This means you will spend less time charging it and more time using it productively.
While the battery seems arguably the most impressive feature, the chainsaw includes another applaudable feature: the powerful motor. This motor has a variable chain speed between 0 – 4,720 FPM cutting speed. With that, you’ll be done with cutting the tree in no time.
It doesn’t stop there! The chainsaw produces one of the lowest noise levels seen in chainsaws. It also has zero carbon emissions for a safer and cleaner environment.
What We Liked
- Environmentally safe
- Water and dust-resistant
- Low noise level
- Outstanding cutting speed
- Long-lasting super fast charge batteries
- A great alternative to a gas-powered chainsaw
- Less maintenance
What We Didn’t Like
- Heavy when the battery is included
- Not suitable for one-handed use
2. Husqvarna 966997203 T435 Top Handle Gas Chainsaw
- Anti-vib system designed to reduce vibration levels to the user, which decreases user fatigue.
- Side chain tensioning allows for quick and convenient chain tightening when on the job.
- Delivers lower fuel consumption and reduced exhaust emission levels in accordance with the world´s most stringent environmental regulations.
- Rope attachment makes it easy to hoist the saw up into a tree.
- Comes with Husqvarna new x-cut chain & x-force Bar for a superior cutting experience and long lasting durability
Many woodcutters know that Husqvarna is a top brand for manufacturing power tools. The Husqvarna 966997203 T435 top handle chainsaw is no different from their line of excellent craftsmanship.
It includes the trademark powerful X-Torq engine, capable of producing efficient cutting performance. The 35cc X-Torq engine is also the reason for the chainsaw’s low fuel consumption. Therefore, you can use the machine more without refueling it.
Even with the powerful X-Torq engine, the chainsaw produces low carbon exhaust emissions for a safer environment. In terms of safety, this model features inertia activated chain brake to prevent kickbacks that could cause severe injuries.
The chainsaw also comes with an adjustable oil pump, allowing the user to control oil flow while the chainsaw is in use.
I was impressed with the low vibration the saw produced while cutting. Unlike some other chainsaws that caused strains, I could use this for long hours without fatigue.
In addition to that, it is incredibly lightweight, making handling even more convenient. The chainsaw weighs less than 7.5 lbs, which is one of the lightest I’ve tested.
What We Liked
- Produces low carbon emissions
- Low fuel consumption
- Low vibration system
- Convenient to use due to its balanced body
- Maximizes safety
What We Didn’t Like
- Small gas tank
3. Echo CS-2511T 14″ 25.0cc Top-Handle Gas Chainsaw
- 25 cc professional-grade, 2-stroke engine
- G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner for extended filter life
- Clutch-driven adjustable oiler - oiler only runs when chain is moving
- Choke with automatic fast idle for easy starting
- Side-access chain tensioner for easy chain adjustment
Echo is another famous chainsaw brand, notable for designing some of the best chainsaws available.
Echo CS-2511T 14″ is an ideal machine for pruning tree branches. It comes in a simple, sturdy design for easy use and increased resistance. It also includes a 25cc professional-grade engine to improve cutting performance.
Whether you are a hobbyist or a professional, you will find it easy to handle this top handle chainsaw. Thanks to its power to weight ratio.
What’s more? The chainsaw is compact and lightweight, making handling even better.
It is equipped with a 14-inch guide bar and a chain tensioning system that makes adjusting the chain length convenient. However, the chainsaw doesn’t include any tool to adjust the chain tension.
Also, the starting mechanism of the Echo chainsaw is not the easiest I have experienced. It was relatively hard to start at first due to its choke’s small nature.
The chainsaw has an automatic adjustable oiler that runs automatically in lubricating the machine while the chain is moving to prevent knock.
What We Liked
- Easy to maneuver
- Super lightweight and compact
- Well-balanced design
- Simple to adjust the chain and guide bar
- Oiler runs automatically
What We Didn’t Like
- Relatively complicated to start
- No manual and chain adjust tool is included.
4. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Gas Chainsaw
- 12-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine to provide a clean, powerful performance with less fuel consumption
- Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start and warm up. Fuel Capacity (fl oz) : 9.9. Fuel Mix Ratio : 50 : 1
- Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain tensioning providing quick and convenient chain adjustment
- Sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain provides added control for easier cuts
- Comes with a 7-year consumer, 2-year commercial and 1-year rental warranty
Tanaka TCS33EDTP includes the features needed for all kinds of cutting projects, whether metal, concrete, or woodwork.
The chainsaw is designed for commercial-grade applications. Also, this Tanaka model features a 2-stroke 32cc engine, known as Pure Fire Engine. It ensures you have a powerful and clean cutting efficiency.
Not only does this machine provide clean cutting efficiency, but it also produces low carbon emissions. It regulates the amount of harmful substances released into the environment for improved safety. Tanaka’s fuel consumption level is also low, thanks to the gas-powered engine.
Compared to Echo CS-2511T 14″, I found the Tanaka chainsaw easy to start. Thanks to the half throttle choke with the primer bulb.
Like most chainsaws in this review, this chainsaw includes an automatic oiler and a side-access chain tensioning to make chain adjustments quicker.
The low vibration system included in this chainsaw is a big plus. Woodcutters can use it for an extended period without experiencing hand strain, hence enhancing productivity.
If you’re looking for a product with long years of warranty, you have it in the Tanaka TCS33EDTP. It comes with a 7-year consumer warranty.
What We Liked
- Highly durable
- Easy to use
- Excellent 7-year warranty
- Easy to start
What We Didn’t Like
- Slightly heavy
- Sometimes, the gas and oil caps are somewhat hard to get off.
5. Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw
This is another top-quality top handle chainsaw from Echo with the required features to enhance your wood cutting experience.
What makes Echo CS-355T 16″ a superb tree cutting tool?
First off, the chainsaw comes with a dual-post brake handle with cut-outs to boost user safety and prevent kickbacks. Handling this chainsaw is also quite simple. Thanks to its reasonably light design and ergonomic, contoured handle.
Furthermore, the chainsaw is easy to start due to the integrated choke on/off switch and purge bulb. The machine starts quickly in one kick.
What about the engine?
Echo CS-355T comes equipped with a 32.8cc professional-grade 2-stroke engine, capable of pruning those tree branches and cutting timber instantly. With the adjustable oiler, the machine lubricates automatically, saving you some stress of oiling it manually.
Unsurprisingly, this chainsaw has a low fuel consumption, even with the 32.8cc powerful engine. This chainsaw is economical as you can use it for a more prolonged time with a small quantity of fuel.
The best part is that it comes at a price lower than its competitors, which is fantastic.
What We Liked
- Great for the price
- Powerful 2-stroke engine
- Low fuel consumption
- Excellent for climbing
- Ergonomic handle
- Safe to use
What We Didn’t Like
- Fairly light
- Getting the right bar is somewhat challenging.
If you need a cutting tool to cut tree branches around your surroundings, a top handle chainsaw will be the perfect solution. Interestingly, using the best top handle chainsaw makes it comfortable and efficient.
I consider the Makita XCU06Z LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 10″ Top Handle Saw the best top handle chainsaw in this review. I was satisfied with its features, overall capabilities, and low price tag.
The saw has great cutting power due to its powerful battery-powered engine and variable chain speed.
Additionally, the low vibration system is impressive, as I hardly felt any fatigue or strain all through the period of use.
Would you like to have a fantastic tree cutting experience? Click here to purchase this chainsaw now!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Why Should You Use a Top Handle Chainsaw?
Unlike a rear handle chainsaw, the top handle’s functionalities and controls are grouped and positioned in a single place, directly on the handle. This makes it possible for the user to control the chainsaw better, especially in an elevated position.
Additionally, top handle chainsaws work better in tight places.
Top Handle vs. Rear Handle Chainsaw
Most woodcutters frequently ask whether a top handle chainsaw is better than a rear handle chainsaw. To answer this question, I will compare both types of saw based on features, pros, and cons to see which has the upper hand.
Top Handle Chainsaw
Attachment point for hoist & rope
Can be gas or electric or cord-powered
High-speed motor engine
Easy to start
Can be one-handedly operated
Not suitable for beginner woodworkers
Rear Handle Chainsaw
Vibration reduction system
Chain bar lengths
Easy to use
Easy to start
Suitable for beginners
Offers better control
Requires two hands to operate it.
Can’t be used in an elevated position due to lack of a climbing belt
From the above comparison table, both chainsaw types come with their respective features and have their pros and cons. Using them depends on your experience level and purpose.
If you are an arborist, you should go with a top handle chainsaw as it’s better at cutting trees at elevated positions.
Contrarily, a beginner woodcutter who does a lot of ground cutting will prefer a rear handle chainsaw. Moreover, a rear handle chainsaw is better for a beginner woodcutter because two hands can operate it. That means more control for the user.