Top Handle Chainsaw Reviews

Best Top Handle Chainsaw

Last Updated on: 11th June 2023, 03:07 am

Whether you’re an arborist, a professional tree worker, or just someone who loves tending to their own yard, having the best top-handle chainsaw is essential for efficient overhead work.

Designed specifically for tasks like pruning and limbing trees, top-handle chainsaws provide enhanced maneuverability and ease of use. In this blog post, we will dive into the key features to look for in a top-handle chainsaw while also reviewing some of our top picks in various categories, such as overall best, professional-grade, gas-powered, and budget-friendly options.

Key Takeaways


  • Top-handle chainsaws are designed for efficient overhead work such as pruning and limbing trees, with features like ergonomic handles, appropriate guide bar lengths, lightweight design, high-quality engines/motors, and essential safety features like chain brakes and hand guards.
  • The DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw is our pick for the best overall top-handle chainsaw on the market due to its lightweight design and efficient brushless motor that delivers long runtimes. However, it may not be suitable for heavy-duty tasks.
  • For professional arborists who require a powerful tool that lasts longer and works harder than other products available in the market today, Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw is an excellent choice with many advanced features, including automatic chain lubrication system with adjustable variable speed trigger allowing users to set their preferred cutting speed based on their needs. However, this model comes at a higher price point compared to other options on the market.
  • Safety should always come first when using any type of chainsaw. Make sure you wear proper protective gear like steel-toed boots, gloves, or eye protection while operating these machines or climbing up trees alongside following manufacturer instructions carefully to avoid accidents!


What To Look For In A Top Handle Chainsaw

Look for a top-handle chainsaw with an ergonomic handle, appropriate guide bar length, weight, and maneuverability that is suitable for your needs, high-quality engine/motor and starting technology, and essential safety features like a chain brake and hand guard.

Ergonomic Handle

An ergonomic handle is a crucial feature to consider when choosing the best top-handle chainsaw. Designed for comfort and ease of use, these handles minimize user fatigue by incorporating anti-vibration properties and non-slip materials.

For instance, the Echo CS-271T-12 chainsaw features an ergonomically designed handle with reduced vibration levels and a convenient lanyard clip for added safety when climbing trees.

Similarly, the Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw offers an anti-vibration handle that ensures comfortable handling during extended periods of operation.

Makita XCU08Z 36V (18V X2) LXT® Brushless 14" Top Handle Chain Saw, Tool Only

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Guide Bar Length

The guide bar length is a critical aspect to consider when selecting the perfect top-handle chainsaw for various cutting jobs. This measurement directly impacts the chainsaw’s weight and maneuverability, ultimately affecting its suitability for specific tasks.

In contrast, longer guide bars ranging from 14-16 inches provide increased power and capacity for dealing with thicker limbs or logs. However, these extended lengths do make the chainsaw heavier and less nimble, requiring more experience on the user’s part to effectively operate without fatigue.

Weight And Maneuverability

Weight and maneuverability are crucial factors to consider when choosing a top handle chainsaw, especially for arborists who require efficient and easy-to-use tools for climbing, pruning, and limbing trees.

As the user will be working above the ground in often tight spaces, a lightweight chainsaw allows for better control and reduced arm fatigue during prolonged use.

Moreover, it is essential that the chainsaws have ergonomic designs with non-slip handles and anti-vibration systems so users can maintain a comfortable grip while cutting branches overhead without causing strain on their arms or shoulders.

An easily maneuverable chainsaw not only saves time but also helps avoid potential safety hazards by permitting smooth execution of tasks even in precarious positions.

Engine/motor And Starting Technology

The engine/motor and starting technology are important factors to consider when choosing a top handle chainsaw. Gas-powered chainsaws deliver more power on-demand than their electric counterparts, but they tend to be louder and heavier.

Some gas-powered models come with features like quick-start technology that allows for easier ignition, reducing the hassle of pulling cords multiple times before the engine fires up.

For instance, the Makita XCU06Z 16 Volt LXT Chainsaw comes with a brushless motor that delivers fast cutting speed while maintaining low noise levels and minimal vibration during operation.

Additionally, its tool-free chain adjustment feature is perfect for those who need frequent adjustments in between cuts.

Safety Features

Safety should always be a top priority when using a chainsaw, and the right safety features can make all the difference. Look for chainsaws with chain catchers to prevent accidental bar contacttool-free chain tensioning for quick and easy adjustmentschain brakes to stop the chain in case of kickback or other accidentshand guards to protect your hands from debris and branches, and throttle locks that will prevent unexpected activation.

Always wear protective gear such as steel-toed boots, gloves, eye protection, hearing protection, and chaps or protective pants.

For added peace of mind while working with a chainsaw overhead or off balance on uneven terrain, like when tree climbing or arborist work is being done, lanyard clips are ubiquitous feature you’ll find in almost all modern professional-grade top handle chainsaws such as Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw or Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw among others.

Best Overall: DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw

DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Chainsaw Kit, 5-Ah Battery, 12-Inch (DCCS620P1)

The DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw is a top-performing model that boasts excellent cutting power and maneuverability, making it an ideal choice for arborists and tree climbers.

Features & Description

The DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw is a top-of-the-line cordless chainsaw that’s an excellent choice for both amateur and professional arborists. Weighing only 9 lbs, this lightweight saw packs a punch with its brushless motor that delivers efficient power to the 12-inch bar.

One of the highlights of this top-handle chainsaw is its long runtime, cutting up to 90 times per charge with its lithium-ion battery pack. This means you can work all day without worrying about running out of juice.

Overall, the DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw offers exceptional value for money in terms of performance, convenience, and reliability – making it our pick for the best overall top handle chainsaw on the market today.

DEWALT 20V MAX* XR Chainsaw Kit, 5-Ah Battery, 12-Inch (DCCS620P1)

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Pros & Cons (DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw)

The DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw has several advantages and disadvantages to consider when deciding if it’s the right tool for your needs.

Lightweight design for easy maneuverabilityNot suitable for heavy-duty cutting tasks
Efficient brushless motor for longer runtime and durabilityBattery life may not last for extended periods of continuous use
Tool-free chain tensioning for easy adjustmentsMay require frequent chain adjustments during use
Battery-powered, offering portability and convenienceBattery and charger can be expensive if not already owned
No emissions or engine noise, making it eco-friendly and neighborhood-friendlyLess power compared to gas-powered chainsaws
Includes essential safety features such as a chain catcher, chain brake, hand guard, and throttle lockRequires regular maintenance to keep it running smoothly

Best Professional Chainsaw: Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw

Makita XCU08Z 36V (18V X2) LXT® Brushless 14

The Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw is the perfect choice for professional arborists, delivering powerful performance with its high-capacity brushless motor and advanced technology – read on to discover why it’s our top pick!

Features & Description

The Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw is the perfect tool for professionals looking for a powerful and efficient chainsaw. With its brushless motor and two 18V LXT batteries, it delivers up to 36V of power, making it one of the most powerful cordless chainsaws on the market.

One of the standout features of this Makita model is its automatic chain lubrication system, which ensures a continuous fuel supply to improve performance while reducing maintenance requirements.

With zero emissions and an automatic power-off function, this environmentally friendly option prioritizes user safety without sacrificing performance. Its lightweight design (only weighing 10.5 pounds) makes it easy to use with reduced operator fatigue during prolonged use in low-noise environments.

Pros & Cons (Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw)

After carefully examining the Makita XCU08Z 36V LXT Chainsaw, we’ve compiled a list of pros and cons to help you make an informed decision.

High-end, professional-grade quality, perfect for arborists and tree climbersHigher price point compared to other top handle chainsaws on the market
Cordless design with two 18V batteries for longer runtime and faster cutting speedRelatively short battery life, may require extra batteries for extended use
14/16-inch bar length ideal for pruning, limbing, and cutting thick wood
Lightweight, compact design with a rubberized grip handle for added comfort
Brushless motor provides increased efficiency and less maintenance
Automatic shut-off function for added safety in case of kickback or other issues
Low noise and emissions, making it environmentally friendly and suitable for urban areas
Tool-less chain adjustment feature for easy, quick adjustments during work

Best Gas-Powered Chainsaw: Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw

Husqvarna 966997203 T435 Top Handle Saw, Mid Size, Orange

The Husqvarna T435 gas chainsaw is a top-performing model with a 35.2cc X-Torq engine, making it highly fuel-efficient and reducing emissions by up to 60%.

Features & Description

The Husqvarna T435 gas chainsaw is a professional-grade saw with top-notch features for outstanding performance. It comes with a 35.2cc gas engine and a bar length of 14 inches, making it perfect for light-duty to moderately heavy cutting jobs.

One of the highlights of the Husqvarna T435 is its excellent maneuverability and control, thanks to its top handle design that allows easy handling even when working on off-the-ground cutting tasks like tree climbing or pruning.

Furthermore, the Husqvarna T435 gas chainsaw has several safety features designed to prevent accidents during operation, including hand guard, throttle lockout switch, inertia-activated chain brake, and lanyard clip.

Pros & Cons (Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw)

When considering the Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw, it’s essential to weigh its pros and cons to make an informed decision. The following table highlights the advantages and drawbacks of this powerful, gas-powered top handle chainsaw.

Professional-grade machineProduces emissions and noise
Anti-vibration technologyHeavier than electric models
Low fuel consumptionHigher initial cost
Low emissionsRequires fuel and regular maintenance
Slim design
X-Torq engine for increased power and efficiency
Side-mounted chain tensioner for easy adjustments
Chain brake system for added safety

While the Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw has numerous benefits, such as its professional-grade quality and anti-vibration technology, it also comes with some downsides, like producing emissions and noise. Ultimately, whether this gas-powered top handle chainsaw is the best choice for you depends on your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Best For Durability: Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw

Echo CS-355T-14 Chain Saw, Gas, 14 in. Bar, 35.8CC

The Echo CS-355T top handle chainsaw is a highly durable option, featuring a powerful 35.8 cc engine and an anti-vibration system that reduces operator fatigue and extends the tool’s lifespan.

Features & Description

The Echo CS-355T top handle chainsaw is an ideal piece of equipment for arborists and tree climbers due to its lightweight design and impressive durability.

This saw features a powerful 35.8cc two-stroke engine, along with a 16-inch bar length, making it incredibly effective when handling larger branches and logs.

One standout feature of the Echo CS-355T top handle chainsaw is its anti-vibration mechanism that greatly reduces user fatigue during operation while also minimizing stress on the engine.

The automatic oiler continuously lubricates the bar and chain, extending the lifespan of these components by reducing unnecessary wear and tear.

Overall, with its excellent balance between power output, maneuverability, ease-of-use features, compact size, sturdy build quality, ergonomic design to reduce fatigue, plus comfortable accessibility – all backed up by a generous warranty – the Echo CS-355T top handle chainsaw is one of the best products on the market today for professionals who need reliable cutting power in challenging environments like trees or other odd angles.

Echo CS-355T-14 Chain Saw, Gas, 14 in. Bar, 35.8CC

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Pros & Cons (Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw)

Considering the Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw, it’s essential to weigh its advantages and disadvantages to make an informed decision. The following table breaks down the significant pros and cons of this chainsaw.

Powerful 35.8cc engine for professional useRelatively expensive compared to other options
16-inch bar length suitable for tree workRequires gas-oil mixture, which can be messy and complicated
Lightweight and compact design for easy maneuverabilityChain tensioning system requires a tool for adjustments
Anti-vibration handle and rubberized grips for comfort and control
Top-mounted ignition switch and choke control for easy starting
Automatic oiler for chain lubrication during operation

Top Handle Chainsaw Uses And Applications

A top handle chainsaw is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of tasks including pruning, limbing, and tree cutting. It is especially useful for arborists who work above the ground because it allows them to easily maneuver in tight spaces and awkward angles.

For overhead cutting tasks, such as trimming limbs or branches at height, the lightweight design of a top handle chainsaw helps reduce fatigue and enhance precision.

Top handle chainsaws come with different bar lengths ranging from 10-14 inches depending on specific models. To select which blade length to go for when looking around it would be recommended that you choose one two-inches longer than the wood thickness being cut.

Whether you’re an arborist or homeowner looking to tackle basic yard work, there’s sure to be a top-handle chainsaw model best suited for your needs among those discussed within this article [IMPORTANT FACTS].

Top Handle Vs Rear Handle Chainsaw

When it comes to chainsaws, there are two main types: top handle and rear handle. Top handle chainsaws are designed for use in tight spaces, like climbing trees or trimming hedges, while rear handle chainsaws are more commonly used for larger cutting tasks like felling trees.

One of the biggest differences between these two types of chainsaws is where the engine is located. In a top handle chainsaw, the engine sits on top of the saw’s body, making it easier to hold onto when working at an angle or in a cramped space.

While both types have their benefits depending on your needs as an arborist or landscaper, some models can cross over from one category into another due to hybrid designs that blend features from both categories.

Gas Vs Electric Top Handle Chainsaw

Gas-powered top handle chainsaws are ideal for heavy-duty cutting tasks and provide consistent power on demand. However, they tend to be heavier, louder, and emit exhaust gases that may not be suitable for certain environments.

In contrast, electric top handle chainsaws operate quietly and emit no emissions while providing more maneuverability.

One example of a gas-powered top handle chainsaw is the Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw with its efficient X-Torq engine system that reduces fuel consumption and emissions.

When choosing between gas vs. electric top handle chainsaws depends on your intended use case, such as how much cutting you’ll do in one session or where you’ll work.

Chainsaw Safety Tips

Operating a chainsaw can be dangerous, and safety should always come first. Here are some essential tips to keep in mind:


  • Wear proper protective gear such as goggles, gloves, ear protection, sturdy work boots, and a hard hat.
  • Make sure the chainsaw is maintained and in good working condition before starting it.
  • Always have a clear plan of action for your cutting task, including identifying potential hazards and escape routes.
  • Never operate a chainsaw with one hand or above shoulder height.
  • Keep both feet firmly planted on the ground while using the saw.
  • Do not cut material that is higher than your shoulders without proper support and a stable stance.
  • Always turn off the saw before carrying it from one location to another.
  • Avoid smoking or using any open flames near fuel or oil containers.
  • Do not operate the saw in congested areas or around other people without proper safety measures in place, such as barricades or warning signs.
  • Keep children and pets away from the area where you’ll be using the saw.
  • Follow all manufacturer instructions regarding maintenance, use, storage, and disposal of your chainsaw.


Remember to prioritize safety when operating a top handle chainsaw. Proper protective gear, clear planning, caution during use, and adherence to manufacturer instructions can all help prevent accidents.


When you’re on the market looking for a new chainsaw, specifically trying to find the best top-handle chainsaw, then it is important that you take a step back and learn a bit about the different features that are available

. The top handle chainsaws that I included in this guide have been thoroughly researched and will do a great job. The one you choose is fully up to you, and if you don’t go for one on this list, just make sure you do your research on the one you do choose before you purchase it.


What is a top handle chainsaw, and what are its benefits?

A top handle chainsaw is a type of chainsaw that features a small, lightweight design with the engine located above the handle. This makes it easier to maneuver in tight spaces or when working up high and reduces fatigue for extended use.

What are some key factors to consider when choosing the best top handle chainsaw for my needs?

When selecting a top handle chainsaw, important factors to consider include power output, size and weight, chain length and tensioning system, reliability and durability, safety features such as anti-vibration technology and kickback protection measures.

Can I use a top handle chainsaw for heavy-duty tasks like felling large trees?

While top-handle saws offer excellent maneuverability in tight spaces they generally have less power than traditional rear-handled saws so they might not be suitable for heavy-duty tree felling applications unless specifically designed & marketed towards larger logs/trees.