8 Best Top Handle Chainsaws [Reviews & Buying Guide 2021]

A standard heavy-backend chainsaw will work fine if most of your property and home management involves cutting small trees right above the ground at a manageable height. However, things can get tricky when you have to climb a ladder to cut higher tree branches and limbs.

If such is your case, getting the best top handle chainsaw is your premier solution. A top handle chainsaw with its handle positioned on the top side offers greater control and enhanced mobility. These two benefits are essential for tackling limbs and branches of trees on a higher position without any risk.

The top handle chainsaw is also known as arborists’ chainsaw since the arborists and homeowners will use this type of chainsaw frequently. Homeowners love to prune tree branches with the top handle chainsaw because of its attached safety rope or strap.

Top handle chainsaws are compact and lightweight. The compactness, along with the handle position, makes it easy to move. You will get these chainsaws mostly in corded, battery or gas-powered units.

Here, we have reviewed some of the top-class and trustworthy top handle chainsaw that will make your pruning and property management a brisk task.

In order to make a well informed purchase, Read our other reviews: Best chainsaw under $300, Best camping chainsaw reviews, Best chainsaw for carving, Best 50cc chainsaw reviews

8 Best Top Handle Chainsaws - Reviews 2021

1. SALEM MASTER Climbing Chainsaw

The chainsaw with a 12” bar and powerful 25.00cc gas-powered engine is the perfect solution for pruning tree branches at a height.  The 12” bar ensures you get easy access without the ladder, and the 1.2HP motor does the cutting job with perfection.

Its 8500RPM speed assures a fast and quick cutting session with greater smoothness and efficiency. So, homeowners will appreciate its power and reaching capacity.

Another praiseworthy feature of the chainsaw is its one-hand operation. It is lightweight and compact and so can be easily moved with one hand. Even, you can move it quickly in the trees.

The bar and chain of the saw are made of premium quality material to ensure a lasting service and safe functioning.

Furthermore, safety has been taken to the next level with the quick stop chain brake and anti-vibe handle. The sharp braking ensures immediate stopping of the chainsaw, and the anti-vibe feature brings stability at work.

Features and Benefits of SALEM MASTER Climbing Chainsaw

Feature

Benefit 

One-hand  operation

At 10.33 pounds weight and compact design, you can use the chainsaw with one hand. It makes the cutting works effortless.

1.20HP engine

The engine is powerful and has a 25.00cc capacity. It is potent enough to accomplish heavy-duty pruning tasks.

8500RPM speed

The blade rotates faster than many regular top-handle chainsaw and cuts with extreme precision. Faster rotation also makes the cutting job quicker.

Continuous lubrication

The oil supply mechanism of the chainsaw is made automatically. So, the lubricant flows continuously and keeps the bar lubricated and cool for an extended period.

Safe use

The chainsaw has been made with safety in mind. Thus, its chain brake with quick stop technology, switch with safety throttle, and front guard all combine for a safer and securer use.

Pros
  • Quick cutting facility
  • Lightweight and portable
  • The anti-vide technology stops vibration
  • Continuous lubrication for quick coolant
Cons
  • Lacks variable speed
  • Not meant for heavy-duty pruning chores

2. ECHO CS-271T 12 In. Chainsaw

The Echo CS-271T chainsaw runs in the gas-powered engine and equips a 12” bar to reach the higher tree limbs at ease. The motor features a 2-stroke oil operation for quick ignition and faster cutting sessions without much effort.

The most significant advantage of using the Echo CS-271T chainsaw is its less maintenance of the air filter. The patented pre-cleaner G-Force Engine doesn’t need much care and cleaning since it prevents debris from going inside.

Also, the air filter is positioned in the rear end for quick access. The oiler has been made automatic with the clutch-driving feature. It reduces oil consumption.

You can quickly adjust the chain, thanks to the sideways accessibility of the chain tensioner. So, it doesn’t need much effort and time.

The soft starting system features an i-30TM mechanism. It lessens the effort during the start of the motor and helps it get a prolonged lifetime.

And finally, with a 26.90cc engine displacement capacity, you get the right power to accomplish the pruning jobs at ease.

       Features and Benefits of ECHO CS-271T 12 In. Chainsaw

Features

Benefits 

I-30 starting system

The patented starting mechanism reduces the motor pull force by 30%. So, it has a soft start. The slow and smooth start makes it easy to kick-off the motor in the tree.

Adjustable oiler

The oiling system runs with the clutch-driven system. It will only run when the chain moves and so reduces unwanted oil consumption.

G-Force air filter

The improved air filter prevents debris from going inside. So, it needs less cleaning and maintenance for prolonged use.

Large capacity

Both of its fuel and oil holding capacity is sufficient to permit the motor run for a longer period with proper lubrication.

Quick adjustments

The chain adjustment is made easy with the sideways access to the chain tensioner. It reduces your effort to adjust the chain.

12” bar

The 12” bar length is enough to cut and prune tree branches from the ground.

Pros
  • Needs less maintenance
  • Effortless chain and bar adjustment
  • Slow-start motor for extended lifespan
  • 26.9cc displacement offers professional service
Cons
  • The braking system isn’t impressive

3. Makita XCU02PT Top-Handle Chainsaw - Top Pick

MAKITA XCU02PT comes with a Li-ion battery to ensure more comfortable, longer operation of your saw. With a full charge, it’s capable of staying on for much longer. And if you think that’s exciting, there’s a whole lot more.

You’ll get a fast charging feature with this chainsaw. It’ll promote better operation of your chainsaw, and you won’t need to wait too long with its 3X power. Many tree climber tend to be weary of a heavy top handle chainsaw. But with this unit, all you need is within your grasp! 

It comes lightweight at a paltry 12.3lbs. Lightweight chainsaws are preferred for arborist operations and tree climbing. You’ll notice no extra weight when you make this chainsaw your climbing choice!

At 87dB, noise control is a major feature you’ll enjoy from this saw. You’ll need lesser ear protection to work with this saw, unlike other saws which produce noises over a 100dB. Hence with so much security for your ears, this saw’s the perfect choice.

For easier control of your chainsaw, there’s more for you to enjoy. It comes with a tool-free adjustment knob for more comfortable tensioning of your bar and chain. Also, it provides the correct amount of support for your engine with a brushless motor added. With the brushless motor, your engine’s operation isn’t going to be tricky at any time.

Features And Benefits of MAKITA XCU02PT Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

12.3lbs weight

Since you’re going to mostly use this saw with your hands up, the lightweight helps you get more precise cuts without any discomfort.

Li–ion battery

The durable, high-quality battery makes the chainsaw easier to operate. It also provides much better overall run time.

1,650 FPM

With such a high speed chain, your cuts will be managed in much shorter time. It’ll also remove much strain from your engine tied to extended operation.

87dB sound emission

For better ear protection, the low-noise engine comes at a max 87dB sound capacity. It means your ears are well-protected from harsh sounds.

Eco-friendly

There’s no gasoline required to power this engine. Hence, this engine supports the fight against carbon emissions.

Tool-free adjustment knob

You don’t need any equipment to tighten your saw’s bar and chain. This eases your engine’s operation and creates more comfort in usage

12” bar

The bar is decent for cutting through a range of materials. It comes with a suitable chain that promotes better cutting power.

Fast Charging

This saw comes with an LXT Rapid Charger for boosting the time for your battery to get a full charge. You’re assured much longer cuts with this feature working for you

Brushless Motor

To ensure a better life span for your engine, the brushless motor increases performance and maximizes cutting speed.

12.5” X 24.5” X 12” (L X W X H)

The dimensions of this saw make it easier to handle regardless of your positioning.

Pros
  • Low sound emission potential
  • Powerful lithium ion batteries
  • Fast charge for longer operation
  • Brushless motor included
  • Tool-free adjustment knob for bar tightening/chain tensioning
Cons
  • Expensive

4. DEWALT DCCS620B Top Handle Chainsaw (Best For The Money)

DEWALT DCCS620B comes with a high-speed 25 feet per second chain run time. This makes sure your cutting operations are over much earlier than expected. And there’s more this top handle saw provides for the perfect operating power. To make sure you cut through a range of stuff with ease, safety is a must.

Lightweight chainsaws are much easier when you’re working from a height. In this saw, you’ll get a lightweight 8.8lbs for ensuring you work at heights for much longer. There’s more power assured for a chainsaw with a low anti-vibration build. And that’s exactly what you’ll get in this chainsaw.

Low anti-vibration tech makes handling this saw easier. It also ensures there’s a faster operation of your saw regardless of the height you choose to use this saw. For a smooth, better cutting experience, this chainsaw comes with a 12” bar. The bar assures you get more length on your cuts. And as if that’s not all, there’s more this chainsaw offers.

Low kickback potential keeps you safe when operating a chainsaw and this unit features a low kickback chain. For smoother operation of your saw, it comes with an auto-oiling feature. This feature makes sure your bar and chain gets the correct amount of lubrication while cutting through stuff. You won’t experience any friction or kickback incident with proper oiling of your saw.

You’ll also be impressed with the easy-to-use tensioning system of this saw. Making your bar and chain fit right is surely easier to manage with this feature. And what’s most fascinating about this chainsaw is that all these features are accompanied with an unbelievably affordable price!

Features And Benefits of DEWALT DCCS620B Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

25.2fps

At this speed, your cuts will be faster and neater than you’ve ever expected.

Easy chain tensioner

The tensioner makes it more comfortable to match the chain on your bar. Also, bar tightening is more comfortable with this chainsaw due to this feature.

20V battery

More power is assured from this highly-durable battery. You’ll be able to cut for much longer with the energy from your battery.

8.8lbs

With this saw’s lightweight, it becomes easier to use this chainsaw with lesser pressure.

0.043 chain gauge

With this tight chain gauge, your cuts will be much smoother and faster.

25” X 9” X 9”

This beautiful slim design gives you more comfort in operating the chainsaw. You’ll find it easier to maneuver when above ground.

Anti-vibration tech

Lesser vibrating potential promotes better cutting power and speed. Also, it limits the chances of injuries.

Low kickback chain

You’re provided a high level of protection from kickback. The chain keeps you guarded from a nasty cut with its high response rate to sudden movements.

Auto-oiling feature

Auto-oiler makes lubing of your bar and saw easier to handle. You don’t have to worry about mishaps from an under-lubed bar and chain.

12” bar

The bar is perfect for cutting small branches and other hard stuff. Ideal for arborists’ operations.

Pros
  • Anti-kickback design
  • Low vibration potential
  • Faster run time
  • Sleek design
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Small in size

5. Husqvarna T435 Top Handle Chainsaw (Runner Up)

For raw cutting power, its better you make a Husky your choice. And to provide for your top handle needs, this unit is the perfect choice for you! Let’s see why this saw is ideal for your tree climbing needs with correct info to back it up.

For maximum cutting power, Husqvarna T435 comes with the latest, state-of-the-art, X-force technology. The X-force bar provides a greater level of durability providing greater power for cutting through lots of hard stuff.

For sharper and more consistent cuts, this saw comes with the X-cut chain. The chain comes with a build that prevents premature bluntness. You’ll notice it cuts through almost anything with little effort for longer periods. And to boost the quality of this chainsaw, there’s much more! It comes with an anti-vibration tech ensuring your hands remain steady through the operation of your saw.

For increased safety, you’re also provided with a chain brake system and anti-kickback functions. For longer and more comfortable operation, this saw comes with a rope for easy stringing for climbing operations.

Also, you’ll not need to get much reserve fuel with this engine’s low fuel intake. At a paltry 7.5lbs, you won’t feel much weight cutting through just about anything with this saw. There’re also other features like an easy start design and 12” bar. All these rank this saw as a candidate for the best top handle chainsaw in stores right now!

Features And Benefits of Husqvarna T435 Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

Anti-vibration tech

This technology makes your saw easier to handle at any height. It promotes better handling and more cutting speed.

X – force bar

The bar remains resistant to stress even after long term operation. It also comes with a low kickback tip for low kickback possibility.

X – cut chain

This chain reduces the chances of bluntness over time. It also assures much faster cutting.

Chain brake

Chain brake system assures you’re protected from any kickback incident. Will automatically reduce the chain’s speed if swift movements are detected from the saw.

Rope attachment

With this feature, you can get the saw up a tree with greater ease. Assures ease of usage when you’re above ground level.

Low fuel consumption

Your engine needs low fuel to function. Hence, it’s perfect for use for longer periods.

Low exhaust fumes

The exhaust fumes from this engine add to its eco-friendliness.

7.5lbs

At such a lightweight, you’ll find it easy to use this chainsaw for much longer periods.

Easy start tech

This tech ensures your engine gets started with a few pulls.

Ergonomic design

The design provides ease of transportation and storage.

Pros
  • Easy to handle
  • Ergonomic design
  • Lightweight
  • Decent 12” bar length
  • Easy start tech
  • Low fuel consumption
  • Low gas emissions
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Could come with the wrong bar (subject to seller)

6. Hitachi CS33EDTP Top Handle Chain saw

For a lot of chainsaw operators, gas power is the way to go. Hitachi CS33EDTP comes with a 32.2cc gas-powered engine for maximizing the cutting power you get. Also it comes with a 1.6HP, Pure-Fire engine for maintaining a powerful supply of speed to your bar.

For the perfect kind of lubrication, there’s a need for a large oil tank, and that’s what this saw’s got. A 6oz oil tank is included in this saw to ensure maximal lubing at all times of operation.

Also, the 9.9oz fuel tank gives an opportunity to manage using your chainsaw for longer.It’s no secret that your chain and bar need the right amount of lubrication for seamless operation. That’s why this saw’s got a gear-driven oiler to ensure there’s a perfect supply of oil to your bar at all times.

A long 14” bar comes with this chainsaw to ensure perfect cuts are achieved with less hassles. All these features come with a durable Oregon chain and a 7yr warranty. Isn’t that fascinating?

Features And Benefits of Hitachi CS33EDTP Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

12.4lbs

Not too weighty chainsaw for more comfortable operation. Will give you more comfort in using your chainsaw.

32.2cc gas power

High gas power from your saw ensures you’re able to cut through a range of stuff with ease.

1.6HP

With such horsepower from your saw, it drives the bar into any hard object effortlessly.

Pure Fire Engine

The Pure Fire engine assures users more power over a short time. With this, it becomes more comfortable to cut through just about anything.

9.9oz fuel tank

A large fuel tank makes it possible for operating your saw for as long as you want.

6oz oil tank

Your oil tank ensures proper lubrication of your engine for smooth operation.

Gear-driven oiler

The oiler for your bar and chain has an automatic system ensuring oils gets to your bar with every gear change.

14” bar

A long bar is perfect for cutting through large stuff with more comfort.

Oregon chain

This sturdy chain has all the elements for stronger, more comfortable cutting

7 – year warranty

The long warranty period comes with adequate protection for your engine.

Pros
  • Long warranty period
  • Lightweight
  • Oregon chain
  • Long bar
  • Large fuel tank
Cons
  • Possible for some parts to come damaged after shipping
  • Expensive
  • Difficult return policy

7. Makita XCU06Z -Top Handle Chainsaw

Makita XCU06Z comes with brisk bar speeds of 4,720 feet per minute speeds. It’s enough to cut through virtually anything quicker than expected. Also, your chainsaw comes with a torque boost for firing up your saw’s engine power.

For easier control, this saw comes with an easy-to-handle bar tightening feature. It also comes with a chain tensioner for easy setting up for cutting. And to ensure your engine’s bar performs as expected, it comes with an auto-oiler for constant lubing.

For those who enjoy a saw with variable speeds, this product is for you. With ranging variable speed power (0 – 4), this saw packs many exciting features that’ll keep your engine working at your desired speed.

It’s also very lightweight at 7.2lbs, and comes with a 10” bar for standard cutting. All these are crowned off with an eco-friendly build and some of the finest ergonomics you can find in a chainsaw.  

Features And Benefits of Makita XCU06Z Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

4,720fpm

Faster chain speed promotes better cutting. It also boosts the right power for getting through a lot of hard stuff with relative ease.

Torque boost

Proper, high-powered boost for your chainsaw engine assures more power and speed through any operation.

Brushless motor

Smoother engine operation for seamless performance is what you’ll get.

Bar tightening/chain tensioner

Easy-to-use tensioner makes it easy to handle tweaking your engine with greater ease.

Auto chain lubing

With automatic chain lubrication added, all you need to do is get the bar oil tank gauged and start cutting through anything.

Large oil reservoir

The large tank ensures your engine remains lubricated throughout any operation.

Variable speed saw

With speeds ranging from 0 – 4, you’ll be able to manage cutting at different bar and chain swiftness. Perfect for arborists and tree pruning operations.

7.2lbs in weight

Lightweight design ensures you can handle the chainsaw for much longer without stress.

10” bar

The bar is perfect for cutting through small-sized trees, and is also ideal for arborists.

Eco-friendly

Green-focused design limits the emitting of carbon into the atmosphere

Pros
  •  Fast cutting
  •  Easy chain tensioner
  •  Low vibration technology
  • Variable speed
  • No gas emissions
Cons
  • Perfect for only small-time cutting operations

8. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 Top Handle Chainsaw

Tanaka TCS33EDTP comes with a 12” bar for cutting through branches and other tough objects at any height. Also, it comes with a powerful 32.2cc gas engine to back this up.

You’ll also get an Oregon chain for cutting with greater ease. With all these registered, there’s still more this chainsaw provides!

It packs a Pure-Fire engine to ensure you get the most from your cutting without stress. The half throttle choke boosts the ease of operation you get in this saw. For maximal cutting power, this chainsaw comes with an easy chain adjuster, purge primer bulb and a sprocket-tipped bar.

All these contribute to the ease in getting through a lot of hard stuff. And if you’re not impressed with these features, the seven year warranty is sure to pick your interest!

Features And Benefits of Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 Top Handle Chainsaw

Features

Benefits

12” bar

High-quality bar for cutting through a range of hard stuff with great ease.

32.2cc

High-powered gas engine promotes smoother cuts with its better cutting power

Gear-driven oiler

The oiler ensures correct lubing of your bar and chain.

Oregon chain

With this chain, users can cut through a lot of stuff for longer with increased sharpness

7 –year consumer warranty

Two year commercial and one year rental warranty

Half throttle choke system

For better starting and engine regulation, this feature provides the correct balance for smooth cutting power.

Sprocket-tipped bar

Your bar’s design limits the chances of kickback taking place. Also, it promotes easier cutting through a range of hard objects.

Pure fire engine

The engine props up the power of your bar. With it, you’ll cut more comfortably without any hassles.

Easy chain adjustment

Tool-free chain adjuster makes sure operators find the saw easy to handle.

Purge primer bulb

For better performance from your carb. This feature will keep fuel supply to your engine at its most efficient consistency.

Pros

  • Decent 12” bar
  • High-powered gas engine
  • Long warranty cover
  • Anti-kickback design
  • Tool-free chain adjustment
  • Strong Oregon chain

Cons

  • Lanyard loop is close to air filter
  • Plastic caps could stick after heating up the chainsaw

What to Consider Before Choosing a Top Handle Chainsaw

It’s sure you’ve got a choice to make already. But don’t let it come as a surprise to you that there’s more you need for the perfect buy. Due to the numerous choices for top handle chainsaws in stores, it’s so essential you get the perfect pick for optimum performance. Let’s see more stuff you need to consider before placing an order for a top handle saw;

Reliability

A top handle saw has to be ready to work whenever you need it. If you’re keen to get the most from your cutting operations, make a proven, reliable saw your choice. With such a choice, there’ll be no disappointments from using a top handle saw, and you’ll be better off for it.

Power

Most top handle chainsaws come with much shorter bars, making the presence of power a must. For the right balance of power and speed when you’re cutting stuff, go for a chainsaw with a performance track record. In many strong engines, a brushless motor is what you should expect. This addition to your chainsaw maximizes the power of any saw, and increases its durability and performance.

Read Our Other Reviews

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Cutting strength

The power of cutting through hard stuff has many parameters. But the mostly used feature for measuring cutting strength is the chain’s feet per second (FPS) rate. With a higher FPS rate, it’s more likely for stuff to get cut easier. So go for a saw with a higher FPS rate for maximum cutting power.

Portability

Top handle saws are used for a range of stuff. And most times, a portable saw is preferred over weighty, bulky saws. If you’re an arborist or wish to cut trees at an above-ground level, you need a lighter chainsaw. It’ll ensure you’re able to work for much longer, and also limits the possibility of injury from tired hands.

Longer Warranty Cover

If your chainsaw comes with a long warranty cover period, it’s an indication that you’ve got a high-quality buy. For a most satisfying and assuring chainsaw, get a choice with a long warranty cover.

Price

Money plays a huge role in a lot of decisions. It’s also a very central point when making a choice for a top handle saw. There’re some saws with a very decent, budget price. And you could also get some chainsaws that are obviously pricey. Make a choice for your perfect chainsaw based on your budget to avoid exceeding your financial limits.

FAQ

Why Choose Top Handle Chainsaw?

These saws are required for cutting stuff above ground. It’s regarded as the best chainsaw for arborist, and also helps in cutting branches at a massive distance above ground.

What Are the Advantages of a Top Handle Chainsaw?

Top handle chainsaws are designed to be flexible for various cutting tasks. They’re also built to have a manageable size for longer handling. And most essentially, they’re made to possess a dependable design.

Are Top Handle Chainsaws Dangerous?

Top handle chainsaws could be dangerous, that’s why it’s perfect to put on protective gears while operating them. 

Can You Use a Top Handle Chainsaw on the Ground?

You could use a top-handle chainsaw on ground with no issues. But based on their relatively shorter bar length, they’re perfect for small-scale tasks.

Can I Use Top Handle Chainsaw in One Hand?

It’s not dangerous to use top handle chainsaws with one hand. But you’ve got to be watchful if a kickback incident takes place.

Why Arborist Choose Top Handle Chainsaw?

Arborists choose chainsaws with top handles as it provides them better control. Also, it assures more comfortable operation based on its lighter weight.  

Rear Handle or Top Handle, Which is best for Tree Climbing?

The best tree climbing chainsaw is a top handle chainsaw. Based on its handling ease, it can be used with not much balance required. Rear handle saws need more balance and two hands to operate properly; hence it’s not ideal for tree climbing operations.

Conclusion

The Makita XCU02PT topped our review list for the best top handle chainsaw with a battery-powered motor. The chainsaw was built for those who wanted longer working hours to manage a larger property with smoothness. The tool-free adjustment and 3X power of the chainsaw make it a favorite for most homeowners too.

In the second spot, we placed the DEWALT DCCS620B thanks to its 25FPS running speed with a merely 8.8 pounds weight. While the fast-moving blade offers quick cutting chores with incredible precision, the lightweight design improves mobility. Beginners will love working with the chainsaw.

Last in our recommendation list comes the Husqvarna T435. Its ergonomic handle and lightweight design suits climbing higher tree branches. Also, for safety purposes, the chainsaw equips with an X-chain bar and Anti-vibe technology.