What is the Best Top Handle Chainsaw For Arborists? (2022)

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Some may think pruning and limbing are simple tasks, but did you know that not all tools are powerful enough for these tasks? Finding the best top handle chainsaws can be difficult because the market is saturated with options that weaken or break after months of use. 

If this is your dilemma, we tested these best climbing saws for complex cutting ventures under different budgets.

Premium Option
Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw
Editor’s Choice
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw
Budget Option
PINKWAY Top Handle Chainsaw
Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw
PINKWAY Top Handle Chainsaw
• Side Access Chain Tensioner
• Anti-vibration Handle
• Bar and Chain: 12 inches
• Inertia-activated Chain Brake
• Quick-release Air Filter
• Lightweight Chainsaw Design
• Highly Efficient Brushless Motor
• Cut Capacity: 90/charge
• Tool-less Chain Tensioning
• 12-inch Bar and Chain
• Anti-Vibration Handles
• Automatic Lubrication System
• Low-kickback Chain
• Ergonomic Chainsaw Design
• Low Fuel Consumption
Premium Option
Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw
Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw
• Side Access Chain Tensioner
• Anti-vibration Handle
• Bar and Chain: 12 inches
• Inertia-activated Chain Brake
• Quick-release Air Filter
Editor’s Choice
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw
• Lightweight Chainsaw Design
• Highly Efficient Brushless Motor
• Cut Capacity: 90/charge
• Tool-less Chain Tensioning
• 12-inch Bar and Chain
Budget Option
PINKWAY Top Handle Chainsaw
PINKWAY Top Handle Chainsaw
• Anti-Vibration Handles
• Automatic Lubrication System
• Low-kickback Chain
• Ergonomic Chainsaw Design
• Low Fuel Consumption

Reviews of the Best Top Handle Saws

1. DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw

Some may think battery-powered tools like this Dewalt DCCS620P1 top-handle chainsaw aren’t powerful enough for tough cutting tasks. However, professional arborists prefer this unit mainly because of its lightweight design, which aids the maneuverability and control needed for the tasks. 

Besides, we can assure you that this model can deliver outstanding cutting performance as it runs with an efficient brushless motor. Thanks to its battery technology, users can expect longer runtime and motor life when using this one-handed chainsaw. 

This unit also has tool-free chain tensioning and tightening knobs that help with the unit’s clamping force. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Looking for a different chainsaw that can handle tough cutting tasks? Check out the chainsaw from the Neo-tec brand

2. Husqvarna T435 Gas Chainsaw

If the price tag is the least of your worries, Husqvarna T435 is the best top handle chainsaw to get. Although it’s a gas-powered cutting machine, it features an anti-vibration system that prevents user fatigue during long usage. 

This professional chainsaw runs with a commercial-grade engine, but it has low fuel consumption and emissions that most environmentalists are worried about. Upon closer inspection, our testers noticed how its chain tension is located on the side. Because of this, we could make quick chain adjustments on this chainsaw. 

Husqvarna T435 is also engineered with a chain break window, giving you better guide bar visibility.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

3. PINKWAY B08K3GHKFQ Top Handle Chainsaw

Although PINKWAY B08K3GHKFQ isn’t from major chainsaw brands, its wear-resistant bar and chain are features that are hard to ignore. This top-handle gas chainsaw also operates with a 3.5 HP motor that runs at a high-chain speed of 8500 RPM. 

Another feature that makes this gas-powered unit efficient is how it maintains engine oil flow during the operation to keep the chain and bar lubricated. Thanks to this, the users won’t have to do multiple pulls to get this chainsaw to start. 

Unlike traditional chainsaws, it’s made with an ergonomic design, making the unit balanced and maneuverable at the same time. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

4. Makita XCU04Z Cordless Chainsaw

When it comes to top-handle chainsaw reviews and recommendations, Makita XCU04Z ultimately wins the game. And we’re not going against that as its reliable brushless motor makes it comparable to professional chainsaws running with a gas-powered 32cc engine. 

It also includes safety features like an auto-power-off function. Thanks to this mechanism, this top-handle chainsaw will shut down if it doesn’t detect any operation. If you ask us, this feature also helps in saving battery power[1]

Considering the electric power source of this top-handle chainsaw, you wouldn’t have to worry about its emissions or excessive engine noise during usage.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

5. Echo CS-271T Top Handle Chainsaw

You may not know, but Echo CS-271T has all the features you can ask for in a climbing chainsaw. From its high-fuel efficiency to its powerful 26.9cc gas motor, we don’t doubt that it can fulfill the needs of any arborist despite its dry weight. 

It may not have many chainsaw reviews, but our tests proved how convenient its rubberized grips are when doing overhead tasks.

If you look closely, you’ll see a lanyard clip on the top-handle chain saw’s sturdy point. It’s meant for secure belt attachment so you can safely climb up and down the tree while handling the unit. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

6. Husqvarna 120i Battery Powered Chainsaw

If a truly modern power tool is what you seek, then we’re sure you’ll find Husqvarna 120i Battery Powered Chainsaw’s intuitive controls quite pleasing. 

Through this option, users can adjust the unit’s runtime and power to match the needs of the job. You also don’t need to worry about safety during the cutting operations because it has a chain brake that automatically works through inertia. 

On top of that, this model features an auto oiler that maintains oil production on the chain to keep the operation smooth and uninterrupted.

What We Like

What We Don't Like

7. Farmertec Holzfforma G111 Gas-Powered Chainsaw

Considering Farmertec Holzfforma G111’s 11,500 RPM operational speed, no one can deny that it’s designed for heavy-duty cutting tasks. 

Although it’s not as popular as other options on this list, this tool can exceed your expectations with its powerful 40mm motor. You can also rely on this unit for prolonged cutting operations as it has a fuel capacity of 22 fl oz.

Despite being a gasoline-powered unit, we can assure you that it’s maneuverable for branch trimming tasks because its power head only weighs around 10 lbs. Upon purchase, you can choose between a 12 and 14-inch guide bar to attach to it. 

What We Like

What We Don't Like

Top Handle Chainsaw Buyer’s Guide

Ergonomic Handle

If you’re pruning above the ground, it’s a no-brainer that you need a chainsaw with an ergonomic design. By this, we mean the ones with anti-vibration and non-slip handles. 

It may sound trivial, but some tasks take time to complete, so units with uncomfy grips may cause accidents or user fatigue. This feature also helps you control the saw better. 

Easy to Maneuver

You may not know, but maneuverability highly depends on the weight of your power tool. And if you’re doing overhead cutting tasks, our experts wouldn’t recommend using heavier chainsaws as it can hinder your flexibility. Although most of these options are easy to use, not all of them offer the same maneuverability levels. 

Guide Bar Length

Regular chainsaws can have up to 36-inch guide bars. But if you look at the market, you’ll notice that these models mostly range up to 16 inches. It’s because these tools are meant to be chainsaws that are compact for overhead or above-the-ground cutting tasks.

Generally, you can achieve pruning with just 12 to 14-inch guide bars. However, you’ll need bigger ones when dealing with thicker branches. 

Hoisting or Lanyard Clips

If you need to climb trees to cut branches, the best top handle chainsaw units have hoisting or lanyard clip attachments. It’s a feature that’ll help you hang your tool nearby or in your belt as you make your way up. 

Safety Features

Chainsaws are still cutting tools, so it’s only natural that manufacturers add features to enhance safety usage on their products. Here are what you should look for if you want a secure chainsaw operation. 

Chain Catcher

If the chain breaks or gets derailed, the unit’s chain catcher prevents it from being thrown in the user’s direction. 

Chain Tensioner

This feature ensures that your cutting tool has the right amount of tension to align with the needs of the task. We suggest getting chainsaws with tool-free chain tensioning to help you make quick adjustments better. 

Chain Brake

If you’re using a chainsaw, kickback is a very likely scenario. Lucky for you, most options have automatic brakes that stop the chain from spinning when this incident happens.

Hand Guard

Handguards are the feature that protects your hand from the unit’s chain and bar. Before installing this attachment, the engine must be cool, and the spark plug must be disconnected. 

Throttle Lock

You must press this lock to make the chain move. It’s a safety feature that prevents accidental throttle engagements. 

Performance

Ultimately, the performance of your tool depends on how well-suited it is to the tasks you’re doing. If you’re doing overhead tasks, it makes sense that the chainsaw with more balanced power and weight will do better during the usage. However, it’s important to note that heavy-duty tasks demand more power. 

Starting Technology

Electric chainsaws are easier to start up than gas models. However, options like PINKWAY B08K3GHKFQ don’t require multiple pulls to get the gas-powered saw to start working.

Uses of a Top Handle Chainsaw

As you already know, most top-handle power saws are lightweight. Because of this, these options are preferred for off-the-ground and overhead cutting jobs. 

Other industry experts refer to this power tool as climbing or tree saws due to its design. True to its name, you can rely on them for pruning, limbing, and chopping small trees down. 

Top Handle vs. Rear Handle Chainsaw

The main difference between the top and rear handle options is where they’re used. Because top handles weigh around 3 to 5 kilograms, they’re easier to use with one hand. 

Hence, they’re favored by arborists for tasks that involve climbing trees. On the other hand, rear-handle options may offer better control, but they’re not suited for heights. 

Gas vs. Electric Climbing Chainsaws

If we’re talking about cutting power capacity, gas chainsaws are undoubtedly the main options to consider. Although more expensive than other alternatives, there are cutting tasks that only gas options can handle. 

Pros

Cons

While some may say electric models don’t offer much power, did you know that some options can compete with gas chainsaws? Besides, electric power saws are easier to start and deliver quieter cutting operations than alternatives. 

Pros

Cons

What Can You Use Instead of a Top Handle Chainsaw?

We understand that not everyone has top handles at their disposal. So if you really need an alternative for above-the-ground cutting operations, here are the safest options you can consider.

Cordless Chainsaws

It’s not a secret that cordless chainsaws are lightweight tools. Because they carry no heavy motor, these models are easier to maneuver and carry around than most chainsaws on the market. They also start easily, so you’ll encounter less hassle. 

Pole Saws

Pole saws are also known as hedge trimmers, making them a suitable candidate for an alternative, You may not know, but their design is mainly intended for cutting hard-to-reach areas. However, it’s important to note that these tools are small and cannot handle bigger materials. 

How to Use Top Handle Chainsaws Safety

Even if you’re a professional arborist, doing overhead and above-the-ground cutting jobs can expose you to several dangers. Here are some tips you must adhere to for safe usage:

  1. Check working conditions before proceeding.
  2. Never do the hold and cut technique.
  3. Don’t try to catch falling branches.
  4. If you can, grip the handle with two hands.
  5. Keep a stable working position.

FAQ

What is the advantage of a top handle chainsaw?

The advantage of a top-handle chainsaw is its maneuverability. These power tools are often compact, making them easier to work with and carry around. Additionally, they’re suitable for above-the-ground jobs like pruning and limbing trees. 

How do you use the arborist chainsaw?

You can use the arborist chainsaw by grabbing the top handle as you climb the tree. Using both hands when doing off-the-ground cutting will be difficult, so these tools provide hoisting and lanyard clips for attachment.

Should you use a top handle chainsaw with one hand only?

While it’s possible to use top-handle chainsaws through one-handed operation, professional users still recommend using both hands if possible for safety.

Our Top Pick For a Top Handle Chainsaw:
DEWALT DCCS620P1 Chainsaw

After evaluating the popular options in the market, our team hailed DEWALT DCCS620P1 as the best top handle chainsaw among the products we listed. Given its maneuverability and efficient brushless motor engine, we don’t doubt that it will suit overhead tasks and fulfill your everyday cutting needs. 

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson

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