Best Top Handle Chainsaws in 2021 – Best Arborist Chainsaw

Top-handle chainsaws are the best choice for professionals and arborists. So that’s why you should choose this type of chainsaw which might be a game-changer for your application. In this article, we will explain every detail.

arborist working in trees with top handle chainsaw

If you are a professional, you must know that top-handled chainsaws are for full-time use. They are used by trained arborists for working in trees.  

One of the main reasons why most arborists buy these chainsaws is because it can be operated with one hand. As the handle is placed on top rather than the rear, it makes it easy to work in the trees or handling low hanging branches.

We have spent 60 hrs reading 100’s of user reviews and testing them to find out the best top handle chainsaw for you in 2021. We are confident that these top handle chainsaw reviews will help you to make the right decision. Our Buying Guide and Top Handle chainsaw benefits will surely help you to choose the right one. 

5 Best Top Handle Chainsaws – Our Reviews

1. Makita XCU02PT Top-Handle Chainsaw – Editors Choice

Makita XCU02PT

Makita XCU02PT top handle battery chainsaw is our best choice why because its top handle design and power it brings makes the cutting very easy with one hand. Its powerful motor with two 18V batteries delivers 1650 FPM single-chain speed to cut through a large 10-inch branch efficiently. Also, you don’t need any tool for chain adjustment. It features a 12-inch guide bar that users say is enough for pruning all of your Landscaping and this chainsaw is good for cutting robust firewood. These impressive features make this the best one handed chainsaw. 

Unlike most of the other chainsaws, this Makita XCU02PT doesn’t leak oil when not in use. You can also replace the brushes of brushless motor which means you don’t need to buy a new one. In the box, you will get four 5 Ah batteries, a dual-port charger, and a saw. 

This Makita top handle chainsaw is packed with features including automatic chain oiler, ergonomic rubberized soft grip handle, electric chain brake & Front handguard which activated chain brake. Overall, you don’t need to do all the hectic work like no engine oil to change, no spark plug to replace, and no air filter to clean which you do in gas models. 

It weighs only 10.1 pounds, and most of the users definitely love this for cutting tree branches while climbing. For being electric there is no noise and zero emissions

2. Husqvarna T435 Top Handle Chainsaw – Runner-Up

Husqvarna T435

As compared to Makita which is the best arborist chainsaw, Husqvarna T435 is our 2nd pick as top handle gas chainsaw. If you are looking for something powerful to work in the forest and cut some 14” inch diameter logs and can handle a lot of use and abuse, this is the chainsaw to go for.

Many users say it is one of the most effective and efficient ground saw. While holding the branches with one hand and cutting it with the other, you can bring the tree down in no time. 

Many users claim this is the 2nd best Husqvarna top handle chainsaw (gas-powered). While talking about its power, this saw has an impressive two-stroke 35.2 cc engine and comes in 3 guide bar lengths variants, 12”, 14” and 16 inches. You can easily see the fuel levels with a transparent fuel indicator. 

This Husqvarna T435 is a low emission model with a low fuel-consumption and its anti-vibration system makes sure to reduce vibration levels while you work. You can easily tighten the chain with side chain tensioning with just a knob. Well if you want to hoist the saw into a tree while working, rope attachment feature is given. 

By and large, users who own this is a pretty lightweight chainsaw and can be easily operated with one hand. Most importantly, they say this is good for small tree and branch removal on the ground except one difficulty in starting it. 

3. DEWALT DCCS620P1 Top-Handled Chain Saw – Best For The Money


If you are looking for a great compact and little chainsaw for occasional work around your home then DEWALT DCCS620P1 is a perfect choice. Well, most of the buyers think that for the price it provides the best value for the money. It has a 20V MAX 5AH battery with 12” Oregon bar and chain which users claim that can cut right through 7″ hardwood limbs with ease. 

This Dewalt top handle chainsaw has a highly efficient brushless motor that can handle tough construction and outdoor jobs. Its lightweight design while weighing around 8 pounds provides user comfort without making you fatigue. Well if you are someone who doesn’t like noise and to mess with fuel this chainsaw provides you that. 

Most Owner says the battery lasts up to 45 minutes with on and off and lasts more than enough to tackle small pruning jobs around your home. You must not expect the battery to last long for a day or so for that you need to buy a 60V battery. 

There is one complaint people have with it is it leaks chain lube leaks out when not in use. Other than that this is a perfect chainsaw for small to medium jobs around residential property.

4. Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 Chainsaw – Best for Climbing Work

Tanaka TCS33EDTP

This saw is beast in a little package for weekend lumberjacks. Balanced, & lightweight Tanaka TCS33EDTP boast of its power with 32.2cc commercial grade pure fire engine and 14-inch bar and chain. The biggest selling point of this chainsaw is 7-year residential warranty.

For anyone looking for a top-handle chainsaw that you can use every day for tree pruning work, this is a pro-grade climbing chainsaw. Moreover, it is easy to start, handles well, cuts fast, is economical to run, and the oiler works very well. 

Its 14-inch bar can easily slice through 10 inches dia. If you want it to works for a long time, you need to keep it sharp and remove fuel and oil at the end of the day. With the translucent gas tank, you can have a sneak peek of how much gas is available. 

The only thing we didn’t like is it doesn’t have a tool-less chain tension adjustment system. Another problem users reported the gas and the bar oil cap is difficult to open. This top handle saw doesn’t have a low-kickback bar which makes it more susceptible to kick-back, make sure to hold with both hands while working on the ladder.

5. Hitachi CS33EDTP Chainsaw with a Top-Handle – Easiest to Start

Hitachi CS33EDTP

If you are looking for something as reasonable price top handle gas chainsaw with power too then Hitachi CS33EDTP could be the one for you. Nearly 90% of users who bought his saw, reported that it is one of the easiest to start. It starts on the second pull all the time. With its 14-inch guide bar and 2 cycle engine, it can easily cut 10” dia wood and overhanging tree limbs. 

Well, it’s not much lightweight compared to other top picks. But if you are a strong guy or woman you can handle it easily. We also liked the anti-vibration system helps in reducing fatigue and provides maximum comfort. It is backed by a 7-year consumer warranty, 2-year commercial warranty. 

Now here are some drawbacks that many users reported. The saw leaks bar oil badly and chain brake issues. The chain may also loose after running it for half an hour or so. As this chainsaw doesn’t have a tool-less chain adjustment, so you need to remove the side plate and tighten the bar and chain. 

Other than that we really liked how this chainsaw responds in cutting and provides you perfect balance and power.

Top Handle vs Rear Handle Chainsaw

Top vs Rear Handle

Top-handle benefits: In top handle chainsaws, the handle is on the top of the chainsaw which allows you to control it from the top. They are primarily used by professional Arborists in the trees and for full-time use. One of the main benefits of these top handle chainsaws is that you can use them with one hand when in need as they are well balanced & incredibly light around 3-5kg.

These professional chainsaws only made to use at height hence only capable climbers or Arborists who can climb to the top of the tree use them. Top-handled saws easy to maneuver capability and their lightweight design helps Arborists to reach the difficult areas while working safely with the chainsaw. 

Rear-Handle: They have both front and rear handle hence allows more control but they are not made to use at heights. They must be used only on the ground. 

Top Handle Chainsaw Buying Guide

Here are the features arborists and professional users will find appealing and which you should too look for before buying a chainsaw with top handle. If you are looking to do some work in your yard or garden, please check our guide on choosing the best small chainsaw for your needs.

Comfortable grips in varying sizes, to provide maximum control

The handle should be ergonomic and it should have rubberized soft grip to provide comfort and firm control while operation. The role of comfortable grips helps you in working if the machine vibrates.

Guide bar Length

Most of the chainsaws come with Oregon bar which is a leading bar and chain manufacturer for chainsaws. There is also another company named Techlite bars which are made by Husqvarna. They claim that their bars are 18% lighter than others and provide you easy maneuverability. 

Also while you are selecting the bar length, always look for 1-2 inches longer than what you usually work with.

Strong Safety features

Make sure your chainsaw must have a good number of safety features to save you from risk and injuries in case of a mishap. You should look for 4 important must safety features such as Chain Brake if activated, stops the chain if kickback occurred, Vibration Reduction helps in reducing fatigue hence reduces the chances of an accident, make sure your chain has the right amount of tension to perform the cutting work & your saw must be equipped with low-kickback bars and chain.


First, you must know about what type of work you are going to use the chainsaw. If you are going to use it for trimming trees and branches then chainsaw with 20V battery or 30 cc engine will work for you. For cutting trees and firewood you must go for more professional chainsaws


These are our reviews of the best top handle chainsaws. Makita XCU02PT is the no.1 pick for the best top handle chainsaw of 2021. Because it ticks all the boxes with a lightweight, comfortable grip, good amount of power with two 18 V batteries and safety features. 

But if you are looking for something more in the budget but yet powerful DEWALT DCCS620P1 is our pick for the best value for money chainsaw.


About the Author David Vieria

David has been a woodworker for most of his life — in his dad’s cabinet shop. After using the tools himself, he decided to share it his woodworking and power tools knowledge with DIYers. Read more about him

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