Best Top Handle Chainsaws in 2021 – (Reviews & Comparison)

Can you even imagine holding and managing a 15lbs monster-chainsaw while you’re on a tree 20-feet above the ground?

Guess what? Nobody can.

Professional arborists, people who climb huge trees to cut branches, cannot operate traditional chainsaws. The weight puts them at a huge disadvantage, and the risks are sky-high! For precision cuts and maximum flexibility, the best top handle chainsaw is the only option.

Even if you’re not into climbing, top handle chainsaws can come in handy for softcore projects. Unlike the regular ones, you can easily maneuver with these chainsaws because of its flexibility.

It is ideal for cutting branches off the top of trees and chopping firewood. Also, you can use them for a lot of DIY projects as well, and feel like a lumberjack while you’re at it. So, what we have in this article is a list of the best top handle chainsaws coupled with useful information that’ll educate you on this product. Let’s have a look.

What is the best arborist chainsaw? Arborists climb to great heights of the tree to work. For this, they need tools that are easy to work with, so the best arborist chainsaw is the one that is compact, flexible, and is well-balanced.

Editor's Choice 2020
Metabo HPT Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire EngineHighlighted Features:
Best Value
Greenworks 40V 12" Cordless Compact Chainsaw (Great For Storm Clean-Up, Pruning, and Camping), 2.0Ah...Highlighted Features:
Premium Choice
Makita XCU02PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® 12" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)Highlighted Features:
11.20 x 15.40 x 11.80 inches
26.40 x 8.10 x 11 inches
12.50 x 24.50 x 12 inches
32.2 CC
G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion
Two 18V LXT batteries (36V)
Gas Powered
Battery Powered
Battery Powered
12" Bar and Chain
12" Bar and Chain
12" Bar and Chain
11.90 lbs
6.00 lbs
12.30 lbs
Editor's Choice 2020
Metabo HPT Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire EngineHighlighted Features:
11.20 x 15.40 x 11.80 inches
32.2 CC
Gas Powered
12" Bar and Chain
11.90 lbs
Best Value
Greenworks 40V 12" Cordless Compact Chainsaw (Great For Storm Clean-Up, Pruning, and Camping), 2.0Ah...Highlighted Features:
26.40 x 8.10 x 11 inches
G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion
Battery Powered
12" Bar and Chain
6.00 lbs
Premium Choice
Makita XCU02PT 36V (18V X2) LXT® 12" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)Highlighted Features:
12.50 x 24.50 x 12 inches
Two 18V LXT batteries (36V)
Battery Powered
12" Bar and Chain
12.30 lbs

Best Top Handle Chainsaw Reviews

After careful research, we present a detailed breakdown of all our top picks.

1. Tanaka TCS33EDTP – Best Gas Top Handle Chainsaw

Tanaka TCS33EDTPNo, gas-powered chainsaws do not have to eat up fuel in the blink of an eye; Tanaka proves it with their TCS33EDTP model. But in this Tanaka Top Handle Chainsaw review, you will find that there is much more to it.

This amazing equipment makes your work a lot more fun and quicker with its powerful 32.2cc Pure Fire engine of commercial-grade, which lets the 2-stroke saw cut smoothly into the wood.

Tanaka TCS33EDTP can hold 9.9 ounces of fuel. It has an automatic gear-driven oiler.

You can easily adjust the chain with its side-access chain tensioning system. The warming up happens easily with its purge primer bulb in the half-throttle choke.

Its rear air-filter can be easily accessed. Also, it emits less without the help of internal moving parts. Its sprocket nose bar comes with Oregon chain with which you can shape and prune away like a pro.

The TCS33EDTP is extremely user-friendly; it comes with a built-in lanyard ring for climbing, and its power to weight ratio helps you work conveniently for a long time. It is also incorporated with an anti-vibration system to reduce discomfort.

  • The saw comes with a powerful Pure Fire engine
  • It uses less fuel and causes less emission
  • It utilizes an anti-vibration system which makes cutting simpler
  • It provides an automatic gear-driven oiler
  • The oil tank should be drained before you store the saw
  • Some find it too heavy for their taste

2. Husqvarna T435 – Best Husqvarna Top Handle Chainsaw

Husqvarna T435When it comes to a product’s quality, a thoughtful design goes a long way. If quality is what you are looking for in a top handle chainsaw, Husqvarna’s T435 might be to your taste. Here is a short review to give you a better understanding of the item.

This gas-powered machine is proficient at pruning. It comes with a rope attachment so that you can easily lift it in a tree. So, the trees at your yard and orchard will be well taken care of by the saw.

The product is quite convenient to work with. You get better visibility with its chain break window of the guide bar tip thanks to the upgraded design. The chainsaw decreases fatigue with its anti-vibration system.

Its x-force bar and x-cut chain enable smooth cuts. Also, it features side chain tensioning so that you can easily tighten the chain while working. Husqvarna T435 is built to comply with the strictest environmental rules meant for reducing emissions.

We have all been there- you buy a product, and it gives great service until it wears out too soon, but Husqvarna’s T435 won’t do that. You can rest assured that this product will last you a good long while.

  • You get less exhaust emission
  • It comes with an x-torque engine which reduces fuel consumption
  • It features side chain tensioning
  • Its anti-vibration system and rope attachment makes the job more convenient
  • Be careful to not use it for anything more extensive than what it is intended for
  • One must use Non-ethanol gas in the saw instead of alcohol

3. Makita XCU02PT 12″ – Best Professional Top Handle Chainsaw

Makita XCU02PTIsn’t it irritating when a chainsaw is too high-maintenance? A battery-powered saw such as the XCU02PT by Makita solves the problem and then some. Let us tell you more about this amazing chainsaw in our Makita top handle chainsaw review.

You can get more work done when your tool works fast, and XCU02PT Cordless Chainsaw does just that. It comes with a Makita-made motor, which gives you 1650 FPM chain speed to let you cut quickly.

If you are anything like us, a noisy saw disrupts your concentration. But Makita’s XCU02PT has a low noise level, not more than 87db. It is also environment-friendly as there is no exhaust emission. Plus, its chain adjustment is tool-less.

This is a no-hassle product. Draining fuel before storing, changing the spark plug and engine oil, cleaning air-filter-none of these is required to maintain this chainsaw. Just load its batteries and start trimming.

The saw works with two Lithium-ion LXT 18V 5.0Ah batteries. You get a dual-port charger so that both of these can charge at the same time. The batteries are really fast at charging up, saving you more time for work.

  • This model features a tool-less chain adjustment facility
  • It provides a chain speed of 1650FPM for swift cutting
  • Its batteries charge fast, giving you more time for operating
  • It has a low noise level and zero-emission
  • Not as heavy-duty as a gas saw, but is a damn good trimmer of smaller trees
  • Its oil tank is not perfect

4. ECHO CS-271T 12″ – High Rated Top-Handled Chainsaw

ECHO CS-271TIf you want a powerful yet light-duty chainsaw that delivers brilliant user satisfaction, you would love ECHO CS-271T. This is a well-made and easy to use tool with a functional design built for tree service professionals.

For convenience, a lanyard clip is included with the saw, which can be easily attached to a belt. It is also designed to be used by one hand when you have to grab a branch to cut it. Its lightweight body helps you work more effectively and effortlessly.

Don’t let its light body fool you- it is a perfect tool to cut branches nonetheless. It comes with a 2-stroke 26.9 cc professional-grade engine to give a great performance every time. It also starts easy thanks to the i-30 start-up system.

ECHO CS-271T is not too thirsty for oil; its clutch-driven oiler, included to decrease consumption, makes sure of that. The oiler automatically shuts off before excessive burning can occur. There is also a throttle lock and a purge bulb to supply fresh fuel.

The product comes with a 12inch bar and chain, but you can use a 14inch bar on it too when needed. Its inertia-type chain brake contributes to its safety features. Anti-vibration handle and side-access chain tensioning will help you give a better cutting experience.

  • It utilizes the i-30 start-up system
  • It fits a 14inch bar too
  • It comes with a clutch-driven oiler to decrease oil consumption
  • It features an inertia-type chain brake
  • Do not go using it for heavy-duty jobs
  • It isn’t cheap, but for all the pluses, very much worth it

5. Echo CS-355T 16″ Bar – Best Top Handle Arborist Chainsaw

Echo CS-355TEase of use is great for a top handle chainsaw. Though many gas-powered chainsaws have it, they often lack some other quality that would come in handy. But not the CS-355T about which you can learn in our Echo top handle chainsaw review.

The Echo CS-355T gives easy access to the rear-mounted air filter. It also comes with a dual-post brake handle, including cut-outs, which makes the product durable. Its purge bulb delivers fresh fuel to the carburetor.

The 35.8cc professional-grade engine is ideal for use by arborists. Furthermore, the oiler is clutch-driven, automatic/adjustable, meaning it is made to cope with any cutting situation. It is hard to find a better contender at this price.

The saw features a digital ignition system. Its starter makes sure that much effort is not required to start the engine; a standard starter needs 30% more exertion compared to the CS-355T.

The product has impressive ergonomics to fit your hand just right. There is a past rest for leverage should you need it and a contoured handle for a better grip. Its handle is angled in a way to ensure a natural wrist position.

  • It comes with a 35.8cc 2-stroke engine
  • Incredibly cost-efficient product
  • It is ergonomically designed to let you prune comfortably
  • It takes a lot less effort to start than standard starters
  • Some find the chainsaw to be a bit heavy
  • Beginners will find this product hard to use

6. Makita XCU02Z 18V LXT – Best Top-Handled Cordless Chainsaw

Makita XCU02ZLooking for a cordless chainsaw with innovative design to make trimming easier? Look no further than Makita XCU02Z LXT Cordless 12″ Chainsaw. The product is low-maintenance and more than capable of light-duty works.

The package only comes with the saw, so that if you own other required parts such as batteries and charger from a previous purchase, you can save some money. It has a 12″ guide bar to boost its competence.

As you know, continuously being in too much noise can permanently mess up your ears. So, if you have to work quite some time, Makita’s XCUO2Z would be great as it only has an 89db noise level. It is uncomfortable to operate a noisy saw anyway.

The product is made to last. The XPT or Makita Extreme Protection Technology gives the saw increased durability with protective layers inside the machine. These help channel water and debris away from its core components.

XCUO2Z is easy to operate and take care of. Its chain can be easily adjusted without any tool. The exhaust emission level is practically zero and thus, makes for a less hassle sawing experience. Its motor is pretty fast with a speed of 1650FPM.

  • It is cordless and easy to work with
  • Built with Makita XPT for durability
  • It has a tool-less chain adjusting system
  • It only has a noise level of 89dB
  • It is a bare tool, and it doesn’t come with batteries
  • You may find the oil tank filler neck to be a bit lacking

7. Greenworks 20262 – Best Top Handle Chainsaw for the Money

Greenworks 20262Let’s admit it- top handle cordless chainsaws aren’t cheap. Ever wonder what is the one sawing machine that could get you the most out of an amount that won’t tear your wallet is? We bet that would most likely be Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless model.

It cuts with a 12-inch bar and chain where you have a 3/8-inch pitch. The battery provides commanding power to cut smoothly. You will get 75 cuts on 4×4 lumber each time it is charged.

The saw is powered by a G-Max 40V Lithium-ion battery that it comes with. These provide fade-free operation, and after charging, you won’t find any memory loss. It comes with an on-board battery life pointer, so you know when to charge.

The saw’s automatic oiler keeps the bar lubricated for cutting as well as keeping the chain durable. It produces less noise to let you work comfortably. You can see the oil level because the oil tank is translucent.

The side chain tensioning feature rids the need to use any tool for adjustment. You can wrap around the handle for various cutting positions. Being a lightweight and cordless chainsaw, it is great for travel.

  • Comes with an automatic oiler and a 40V lithium-ion battery offering 75 cuts per charge
  • It lets you easily adjust the chain with side tensioning
  • You get a translucent air tank showing the oil level
  • It is very cost-efficient
  • Its chain becomes loose quickly, so you need to tighten them a few times
  • This is not for cutting large trees

8. Makita XCU06Z LXT – Best Cordless Top Handle Chainsaw

Makita XCU06Z LXTMakita has manufactured some great outdoor power tools, XCU06Z LXT Chainsaw is no exception. This is an innovative piece of technology designed with care, including a ton of exclusive features.

You need a lithium-ion battery that is protected from overload and over-discharge with the tool’s power management system. It offers protection against overheat by monitoring battery temperature and stopping the saw before damage is caused to the battery.

XCU06Z has a 10″ bar and chain. The saw’s protection is boosted by Makita’s XPT technology that keeps rubble and water away from internal key parts. There is a built-in lock-off lever to keep the blade from engaging accidentally.

There is no emission and no hassle. You get bumper spikes that reduce the possibility of pull-in. The chain tensioning can be done through the captured nut. It comes with a front hand-guard that, when engaged, activates chain brake.

Being a brushless saw, it features torque boost mode to cut dense stuff. There is a large oil tank with an adjustable chain lubrication system, and the chain speed is controlled by a trigger; it ranges from 0 to 4720FPM.

  • Cut dense logs with its torque boost mode
  • It has a variable speed trigger
  • There are bumper spikes to avoid pull-in
  • It includes a lock-off lever to keep the blade from accidentally operating
  • It can be too pricey for some
  • This does not come with a battery

9. BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 – Best Battery Powered Top Handle Chainsaw

BLACK+DECKER LCS1240There are a lot of top handle chainsaws which are powered battery available right now. But BLACK+DECKER 40V Max Cordless Chainsaw kit LCS1240 is one of the few that checks the most boxes for being a great cordless chainsaw.

When it comes to comfort in sawing, it demands different orientations to do it precisely, and the LCS1240 has you covered for that. It features a full wrap-around handle that helps keep balance and cut with ease.

This LCS1240 is ideal for clearing up fallen limbs and pruning. It works with a 40V 2.0Ah MAX lithium-ion battery. When fully charged, ideally, you can slice through 60 4X4 pine lumber. A fully depleted battery requires 4 to 5 hours on the charger.

The tool has a 12-inch premium Oregon low-kickback bar and chain that is great at cutting fast. There is a dial to unlock the bar and another dial to adjust chain tension. So, the chain adjustment is tool-less, which will save you some time.

The automatic oiler keeps the bar and chain lubricated. It has a light body of just 8.3lbs, making it effortless to maneuver. All in all, it is simply hard to beat this product in terms of convenience and fast cutting.

  • The saws 12-inch premium bar and chain is excellent at cutting fast
  • It can slice through 60 4X4 pine lumber when fully charged
  • It has a wrap-around handle to allow different orientations for cutting
  • It only weighs 8.3lbs
  • Some customers find the battery’s runtime to be short
  • You have to make sure to drain the oil tank after use

10. Hitachi CS33EDTP 2-Stroke Chainsaw Handle on Top

Hitachi CS33EDTPIt can be daunting to trim limbs with a huge chainsaw. Among the small chainsaws, CS33EDTP Top Handle Chainsaw surprisingly has the power it takes in this regard. Learn more about this 2-stroke tool in our review.

It is a gas-powered chainsaw. Powered by the PureFire engine, the saw is suitable for shaping, pruning as well as DIY projects. This 2-stroke 32.2cc engine works with 1.6-horsepower.

The CARB compliant product has a low rate of exhaust emission. It has a 14″ guide bar with sprocket-nose and Oregon chain along with a side-access chain adjustment feature. It helps fix the chain’s tension easily and ensures its maximum efficacy.

It’s difficult to work with a vibrating tool. Even if one is strong enough, it is at least annoying, right? But this Hitachi top handle chainsaw has a stable anti-vibration system that can solve this problem by reducing discomfort.

Its power to weight ratio also assists in decreasing fatigue of the operator. The saw has a half-throttle choke with a purge primer bulb that helps start the machine easily. There is also a lanyard ring with which you can conveniently hoist it up a tree.

  • The saw’s anti-vibration system keeps the tool from shaking
  • You can use it for pruning and hobby projects
  • Its 32.2cc engine works with 1.6-horsepower
  • It has a half-throttle choke and a purge bulb to start the machine easily
  • You may find some issue with oil leakage
  • It can be somewhat noisy

Buying Guide

Before you buy a product, several key points need to be under your radar before you make your final choice. Doing this helps you in choosing the right model that goes perfect with you.

So, while selecting a top handle chainsaw, you should be aware of a few aspects and details before you purchase it.


Checking the performance ratio of the chainsaw should be the first thing you take into account.

The performing capabilities of a gadget usually depend on a number of factors, such as the chain speed and the power of the device. Apart from this, the type of fuel it uses, such as electric or gas, also affects its performance.

So, you are in the market for one; select a chainsaw whose performance ratio meets the demand of the type of work that you need it for.


It’s quite obvious that while buying a product, you would want your money’s worth out of it. You wouldn’t want to go for a gadget that is overly complicated or requires constant maintenance.


Some of the cheaper models of sawing machine do not have any engine protector. The role of the protector is to keep any debris or wooden chips from entering the engine.

Without this, the engine will quickly wear out and will mandate a replacement.


Chainsaws need to be oiled on a regular basis. Oiling the engine and chain keeps it running properly for a long time. However, the process of disassembling and then reassembling the gadget can be very tedious.

Therefore, you can save yourself a great deal of time if you buy a sawing machine that has the option of auto-oiling. With this feature, you can easily lubricate the gadget without taking it apart every single time for maintenance.


Most of the chainsaws are bulky and heavy to lift. This not only makes them tough to work with but also wears you down over a period of time.

Therefore, weight is one of the important criteria to consider. You can find lightweight models using which you can trim your yard for hours without feeling the fatigue.

Also, using top handle chainsaws with shorter bar lengths can reduce the weight considerably.

Comfortable Use

There are three factors that determine the level of comfort in a chainsaw- the dimensions, the weight, and the grip model.

  • Weight

The weight of the chainsaw should be centered, and the geometry of the device should be designed in such a manner that it doesn’t cause you any sort of additional problems.

  • Grip

A chainsaw is powerful heavy-duty machinery. If the device does not have proper rubber grip-hold, then this can increase the chances of it slipping while working thereby, causing you severe injuries.

  • Other Aspects

Also, it would be convenient if the device has an additional feature such as “anti-vibration.” This prevents it from shaking and allows you to smoothly cut through any type of tree irrespective of their width.

Your budget

Your entire shopping experience depends on the amount you are willing to spend on a chainsaw. If you are a fledgling or your work doesn’t require cutting down wood in tricky, complicated positions, then you can choose a cheaper model.

However, if you are a professional logger or you want your gadgets to last for a very long time, then you can opt for the ones that are slightly more costly and have better features.

Luckily, in this article, we have enlisted products that are of great quality and are economical for a broad range of customers.

Gas vs. Battery

The power and the performance of the machine depend on the type of engine that it has. There are two types of engines available- the battery-powered and gas-powered one.

Of the two types, most of the consumers find the battery-powered one more convenient than the one that is powered by gas. This is because you don’t have to spend extra money on buying fuel for your gadget.

For the battery-powered model, lithium-ion batteries are the most compatible. You don’t have to wait for long while charging it, and the battery has a longer life than any other batteries.

But there is a slight drawback to using this type as opposed to using the gas-powered one. Chainsaws that consume gas are more powerful in their performance; however, you would have to spend more money.

Safety Features

Whether you are using a regular chainsaw or a top handle one, the safety features of the gadget should always be among the list of things that you need to consider before buying it.

Rubber handle / Hand Guard

Having the handle rubberized and the handguard decreases the chances of the chainsaw slipping from your hands, thereby, reducing your chances of getting hurt.

You have a better and firmer grip on the device when you are working on it. Also, another advantage of having a rubber handle is that it reduces the kickback of the machine while working.

Chain and Bar Length

The chain and the bar length depending on the type of work that you need the chainsaw for.

  • Bar Length

There are different bar lengths available. Usually, you can find them within the range of 10 inches to 24 inches. These sizes depend on the thickness of the wood that you are chopping.

So, if you are cutting down a tree that is 8 inches thick in diameter, then you can go for the one with a small bar length. Normally, most of the professional tree loggers prefer the medium-range bars, which are about 13 to 19 inches.

However, if you are aiming for a bigger tree, then you should go for the one with a longer bar. These would likely be between 20 to 2 inches.

The key point that you should bear in mind is that the longer the bar, the easier it is to slice through thick trees and branches.

Check Also: If you want to know more about chainsaw chain comparison, Click here.

Types of Top Handle/Arborist Chainsaws

Gas Powered

In comparison to other types of chainsaws, the gas-powered chainsaw is the most powerful. However, once the fuel has run out, then you would have to refuel the device in order to continue working with it.


The cordless chainsaws are ideal for arborists and for those who have to climb trees for cutting.


  • Why top handle chainsaw?

With the stated product, you can cut different types of wood with the help of its metallic rotating teeth. This type of chainsaw is mostly used for chopping wood at an elevated angle.

The location of the handle allows its users to have a firm grip on the equipment. It also gives you better control and flexibility in moving the device around.

  • Top Handle vs. Rear Handle Chainsaws: What’s the Difference?

The difference between top and rear handle chainsaw is very little. Both of them are suitable for cutting wood.

The difference lies in the position in which you are cutting them. The top handle is used for cutting at higher and tricky positions, for example, on top of trees.

While top handle gives you more maneuverability due to its compact size, it compromises power.

  • What is an Arborist Chainsaw?

An arborist chainsaw is very much similar to that of a top-handle chainsaw. They are very lightweight and compact professional chainsaws.

  • Can I use top handle chainsaws for ground operations?

Yes, you can use it for ground operations. However, it is perfect for cutting wood at an angular and higher position than doing it in a leaning position. Cutting wood on a ground position with a top handle can wear you down quickly.

  • Why should I have extra batteries?

If you are using a cordless chainsaw, it is better to have an extra set of fully charged batteries to help reduce downtime.

Final Verdict

In the end, all we have to say is- compact size, flexibility, and the ability to make precise cuts are possible with the perfectly designed top handle chainsaw.

Although these features are only essential for arborists, hobbyists with a softcore project on their hand can also benefit immensely.

Therefore, to help you navigate through an obscure and vast chainsaw-marketplace, we have mentioned some of the best top handle chainsaws.

Our list is a perfect combination of premium and budget-friendly products. You can find what you need after quickly scanning through our article.

After coming all through the way, If you are still facing difficulties to choose perfect products, then we will suggest Greenworks 20262. As it comes with 40V Lithium-Ion Battery, 12-inch Bar and Chain, One push start.

We wish you happy shopping!

Recommended Resources:

Last update on 2024-06-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About The Author

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top