6 Best Top Handle Chainsaw in 2021: Best Arborist Chainsaw

Gone are the days when chainsaws were seen as the reserve of lumberjacks. Today, literally anyone can own and even operate a chainsaw. However, just because you can operate a chainsaw doesn’t mean it’s the best for the task at hand.

And when the task at hand involves cutting wood from an elevated position the best top handle chainsaw will be your best option. Sometimes referred to as arborist chainsaws these types of saws are lighter and easier to control.

Also, unlike a traditional chainsaws, top handle chainsaws can be operated by one hand. So, which is the best arborist chainsaw to buy? Well, like any other tool it depends on what you want. Used mainly by arborists, these types of chainsaws come in all shapes and sizes.

In this article, I have compiled a list of the six awesome top handle chainsaws. These six have all the features you would expect from the best top handle arborist chainsaw. That being said, let us take a closer look.

Quick Comparison Of Best Arborist Chainsaws Selection

Product nameImageCheck Latest PricePowerBar lengthWeight (lbs)
Makita XCU06Z Top Handle Chain SawMakita XCU06Z 18 Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless...Check Price On Amazon36 V (Battery)10"7.2
Husqvarna T435 Top Handle SawHusqvarna 966997203 T435 Top Handle Saw, Mid Size,...Check Price On Amazon35.2 cc (Gas)12"7.5
New Echo Top Handle Chain Saw CS-355TNew Echo Top Handle Chain Saw CS-355T 16' Bar Fast...Check Price On Amazon35.8 cc16"8
Tanaka TCS33EDTPTanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle...Check Price On Amazon35.2 cc (Gas)14"12.4
DEWALT DCCS620P1DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit, 5-Ah Battery,...Check Price On Amazon20 V (Battery)12"8.8
Hitachi CS33EDTPHitachi CS33EB16 16-Inch 32.2cc 2-Stroke...Check Price On Amazon32.2 cc (Gas)14"12.4
Echo CS-2511tECHO 12 In. Bar ChainsawCheck Price On Amazon25.2 cc (Gas)12"5.2

6 Best Top Handle Chainsaws Review

Makita XCU06Z 18 Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 10″ Top Handle Chain Saw Reviews

Makita XCU06Z 18 Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless...

There always comes a time when you need prune a few branches in the yard. While a pruning saw can get the job done, you are better off with a chainsaw. And the chainsaw for the job is the Makita XCU06Z LXT cordless chainsaw.

A portable chainsaw

First of all, due to its being cordless it is heavier than most corded chainsaw models. With its two 18V batteries included it weighs 7.2 pounds. However, I highly doubt that you will have problems carrying it around in the yard.

Sufficient cutting capacity

Powered by two 18V batteries, this chainsaw has a pretty decent cutting capacity. It has a 10-inch guide bar, meaning you can comfortably cut branches of up to 10 inches in thickness. Included with the chainsaw is a dual charger for charging both batteries at the same time.

Easy to use

What makes this model easy to use is its automatic oiling system. This keeps the bar and chain well-oiled as you cut branches. Obviously, you must ensure the oil reservoir is filled with oil before you cut anything.


  • Since is cordless you can easily carry it around the yard
  • Given its features and cordless design, it is rather lightweight
  • With the dual charger, you can charge both batteries at the same time
  • You do not require any tools to adjust the chain
  • The dual charger is a fast charger


  • Compared to other models it is quite expensive
  • Finding a replacement chain can be troublesome


  • Two 18V lithium-ion batteries
  • 87-decibel noise level
  • 10-inch guide bar
  • 4720 FPM chain speed
  • Star protection controls


It might not be the most affordable chainsaw on the market, but its rather hefty price tag is more than justified. Especially when you consider all the features you are getting. Its set of features and ease of use earn it the title sd one of the best top handle chainsaws on my list.

Husqvarna T435 12-Inch 35.2 cc X-Torq Gas Powered Top Handle Chain Saw

Husqvarna 966997203 T435 Top Handle Saw, Mid Size,...

While the Makita XCU06Z takes the title of the best arborist chainsaw, the Husqvarna T435 is the best top handle gas chainsaw. It is one of the most lightweight chainsaws out there. And is thus ideal for pruning branches.

Portable and lightweight

One of the main reasons why this model is loved by many is its weight. It weighs 8 pounds and features a 12 to the 14-inch guide bar. This is quite impressive considering the more expensive battery-powered Makita weighs 2 pounds heavier.

Environmentally friendly

One of the unique features of this unit is the x-torq system that reduces gas consumption. This system also reduces exhaust emissions. Thus, if you are keen on keeping our environment pollution free, this model will appeal to you.

Easy to remove air filters

Air filters are important in any gas-operated chainsaws. As such you will need to clean or replace the air filters after some time. Fortunately, this model comes with a quick-release air filter that makes removing the air filters easy.


  • It is one of the most lightweight chainsaws
  • Offers a good grip and safety features
  • Has low vibration making it ideal for people of different stature
  • Thanks to its 12 to 14-inch guide bar it is fast and efficient at cutting and pruning
  • Comes with an adjustable oil pump


  • It is rather difficult to adjust the chain
  • Some users have found it hard to start and re-start


  • X-torq system for low fuel consumption
  • 12 to 14-inch guide bar
  • Adjustable oil pump
  • Chainsaw tensioning from the side
  • Quick-release air filters


One of the things I didn’t like about it is that it can be difficult to use. However, in the right hands, this is a powerful gas operated tool. It is lightweight and offers sufficient power and cutting capacity. Hence why it is considered by many to be the best top handle gas chainsaw. 

New Echo Top Handle Chain Saw CS-355T 16″ Bar: Best Climbing Chainsaw

New Echo Top Handle Chain Saw CS-355T 16' Bar Fast...

Probably the lightest top handle chainsaw on the market, the Echo CS-25IIt climbing saw was a game-changer when it was released. It weighs only 8 pounds and can be used with one hand. However, there is more to this chainsaw than its lightweight design.

Top-mounted clutch diven Oiling System

The first thing I liked about this chainsaw was the location of the bar oil reservoir. Unlike a traditional chainsaw, the bar oiler is located at the top. This allows for easy access. Also since the oiler only operates when the chainsaw moves, it does not collect under the saw when not in use.

Impressive performance

I was curious to see how this small and lightweight machine would perform. Powering it is a 35.8cc professional grade 2-stroke motor. This motor allows it to cut through limbs of up to 10-12 inches easily. Considering its size this is quite impressive.

Easy to start

Some chainsaws are a nightmare to start, not this little guy though. With Reduced-effort starting system for easy start-ups, you just need to pull starter rope and you are in business.


  • One of the lightest and most compact chainsaws out there
  • It is very easy to start
  • The oiler runs only when the chainsaw moves which saves oil and prevents it from building up when idle
  • Despite its size, it is quite powerful and can cut limbs of up to 10-12 inches
  • It is easy to adjust the chain tension thanks to the side adjustment chain tensioner
  • Handle angle provides a natural wrist position


  • lil bit pricey but worth the every penny.


  • 35.8cc 2-stroke motor
  • Spring-assist starting system
  • 14inch and 16-inch bar and chain sizes
  • Automatic and adjustable oiling system
  • Digital ignition system


It is by far the smallest top handle chainsaws on my list. There is a reason why it is considered one of the best arborist chainsaws. Due to its size and weight, it is ideal for people who have to climb trees to cut dead branches.

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 32.2cc 14-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12-Inch Top Handle...

Power, portability, and ease of use are what you get with the Tanaka TCS33EDTP. Powered by a 32cc pure fire engine, this top handle chainsaw comes with a rather unique design. Also, it is environment-friendly.

Powerful engine

As already stated it is powered by a 32 cc pure fire engine. This 1.6 horsepower engine has low emissions, which is important for the environment. Also, thanks to this engine the saw can be used for pruning, cutting logs and other DIY projects.

14-inch bar and chain

The engine housing is connected to a 14-inch bar and chain. This combination delivers efficiency when cutting. Also, with the 14-inch chain and bar, you can expect close to no kickbacks. This is particularly beneficial if you are new to chainsaws.

A reliable chain

Measuring 14 inches the chain on this machine is another one of its bestselling features. It has a 3/8 inch pitch, 0.05-inch gauge, and 52 drive links. Thus it can cut through wood of varying thicknesses.


  • Weighing about 11 pounds, it is lightweight enough for carrying around
  • It is a cordless chainsaw for improved versatility
  • The chainsaw starts quickly and maintains power all through
  • Comes with a semitransparent gas tank for checking how much gas is left
  • It features a compact design


  • You may experience issues of over oiling
  • The bar oil cap is rather difficult to open


  • Gas powered
  • 32.2cc commercial-grade engine
  • Half throttle choke with purge primer
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler
  • Sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain


This is one of the most powerful top handle chainsaws out there. It is powered by a commercial-grade 1.6 horsepower engine which is powerful enough for most pruning jobs. Also, despite its power, it has zero kickbacks which makes it a safe option for beginners.

DEWALT DCCS620P1 20V MAX Lithium-Ion XR Brushless Compact 12 in. Cordless Chainsaw Kit 

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit, 5-Ah Battery,...

I have always been a fan of DEWALT products especially their chainsaws. And one that really impresses me is the DCCS6200PI 20V Brushless cordless chainsaw. This battery-powered power tool is quite the workhorse.

Standard 12 inch bar and chain

The 12-inch bar and chain you get with this chainsaw is pretty standard. However, it does a great job of cutting through logs of up to 10 inches in diameter. Ideally, this saw works best on logs that are between 6 and 10 inches in diameter.

While it can cut logs of more than 10 inches in diameter it will take more effort. Also, you really need to be good with a chainsaw before trying it.

An easy to use cordless power tool

Cordless chainsaws are always the best for yard work. Powered by a 20V 5.0Ah battery pack and thus does not require a cord. When fitted with the battery pack it weighs about 8.8 pounds which is quite manageable.

Exceptional build quality

One of the reasons why I love DEWALT products is their exceptional built quality. And this cordless chainsaw is no exception. It feels and looks very well made and is well balanced.


  • With its 12 inch chain, it can comfortably cut logs of up to 10 inches in diameter
  • Weighing only 8.8 pounds with the battery pack included it is very lightweight
  • Has a tool-less chain tensioning system
  • Comes with the battery pack and charger included
  • It is relatively easy to use


  • It is not all that powerful and will struggle when cutting thicker wood
  • Twisting off the chain oil cap can be bothersome as there is a lot of flex


  • 12 inch Oregon bar and chain
  • Brushless motor
  • Tool-free chain tensioning
  • 20 V 5.0 Ah battery pack
  • 8.8 pounds weight with battery included


For light to medium cutting tasks, this is the chainsaw for you. It can be considered the best top handle arborist chainsaw due to its ease of use. Furthermore, it is very uncomplicated and thus can be a suitable option for beginners. It is also ideal for light yard work.

Hitachi CS33EDTP 2-Stroke Gas Powered Top Handle Chain Saw with PureFire Engine, 14-Inch

Hitachi CS33EB16 16-Inch 32.2cc 2-Stroke...

The first thing to note about this Hitachi CS33EDTP 2-stroke gas-powered chain saw is that it’s quite heavy. However, what it lacks in compactness it more than makes up for in cutting capacity. Used mainly by arborists it can also be used for more heavy-duty cutting.

A powerful engine

Part of the reason why it can be used for heavy-duty cutting is its 32.22cc pure fire engine. This is an engine designed to reduce emissions and it does a good job of it. Being a commercial grade engine it can handle most cutting tasks.

Comfortable and easy to use

While it is more on the heavier side of chain saws, it is designed to be comfortable and easy to use. The inclusion of an anti-vibration handle system helps reduce fatigue when in use. This is important for people who need to use the saw for long periods of time.

Easy chain tensioning

Chain tensioning may be necessary from time to time. This chainsaw is equipped with an easy to access chain tensioning system. This tensioner does not require any tools and makes the whole chain tensioning process easy. 


  • Comes with a great anti-vibration system to reduce arm fatigue
  • It is easy to use and maintain
  • Can be used for more heavy-duty cutting
  • It is easy to adjust the chain tensioning system
  • Has a decent weigh-to power ratio


  • It is relatively heavier than other similar products
  • Tends to consume a lot of oil


  • Two-stroke 32.22cc pure fire engine
  • 14-inch sprocket nose Oregon bar and chain
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Half throttle choke and purge primer


This chain is quite heavy, which is something you need to take into consideration. Nevertheless, it’s a power horse that can be used to cut woods of varying thickness. Moreover, it is relatively easy to use. In terms of quality, it can be considered one of if not the best top handle gas powered chainsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why need top handle chainsaw?

Unlike traditional chainsaws that have their handles positioned at the rear, the handle of a top handle chainsaw is positioned at the top. This means they are more maneuverable and the good thing is they are also knowns as the one-handed chainsaw due to most of them being lightweight.

Which is better a top handle or a rear handle chainsaw?

One of the debates that always comes up is that of top handle chainsaw vs rear, which is better. Each type of saw is suited to a different task. Top handle chainsaws are suited to above-ground cutting such as cutting dead branches on trees. The rear handle chainsaw, on the other hand, is suited to cutting down trees and cutting firewood. Rear handle chainsaws tend to be more powerful and hence suited to cutting tasks that require more power.

Which is better a Husqvarna or Stihl trimmer

The Husqvarna vs Stihl trimmer might not have a clear winner due to both brands producing high-quality trimmers. However, the Husqvarna 128LD trimmer has a detachable trimmer which can be swapped out with another tool. Thus, the Husqvarna trimmer slightly edges out its Stihl counterpart in regards to versatility. However, you cannot go wrong with either of the two.

Which is better Husqvarna vs Stihl top handle chainsaw

When it comes to Husqvarna vs Stihl top handle chainsaw everyone has their preferences. While Husqvarna chainsaws tend to appeal more to professionals, Stihl is a brand loved by homeowners. Husqvarna chainsaws have a reputation for cutting faster and feature the x-torq system that makes them fuel-efficient. Stihl chainsaws, on the other hand, are cheaper and lighter due to them having a smaller fuel tank. In regards to maintenance sthil chainsaws are known to require less regular maintenance. However, both chainsaw brands offer exceptional quality.

Which is better the Tanaka or echo top handle chainsaw

Another common debate is the Tanaka vs echo top handle chainsaw debate. While both companies offer quality top handle chainsaws, echo seems to be popular of the two. Reason being echo chainsaws tend to be more durable. However, the biggest reason is the availability of replacement parts. Finding replacement parts for Tanaka chainsaw can be difficult in some areas.

echo top handle chainsaw vs stihl, which is better?

Stihl is obviously the more famous of the two brands and for good reasons. In regards to quality, both brands have some fantastic top handle chainsaws. However, echo chainsaws may appeal more due to them being more affordable.


Top handle chainsaws are built for arborists. They are lightweight and easy to maneuver. Thus, while they may not be as powerful as some of their rear handle machines, they are worth it.

Last update on 2021-02-26 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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