Best Top Handle Chainsaw – Factors to Consider Before Buying

best top handle chainsaw

Finding the best top handle chainsaw can be quite a task since there are just many brands out there.

It is only natural to want to purchase a chainsaw that is the perfect mix of durability, quality, and affordability.

To help you make the right decision, we have curated a list of our best 10 top handle chainsaws on the market.


Quick Comparison: Best Top Handle Chainsaw

Have you been fascinated by lumberjacks since your childhood? Do you plan on chopping some wood for a toasty bonfire? Are you looking for a tool to help clear out the path to the backyard garden?

Whatever be the reason you are reading this article right now. So it's safe to say that you are on the lookout for a chainsaw. And you have narrowed your search down to a top handle chainsaw.

After all, they are incredibly efficient, light, they are very handy, and are an overall dependable addition to your toolkit.

Now, before we get to our list, let's make some basic considerations.

What is a Top Handle Chainsaw?

The top handle chainsaw is an extremely efficient, practical cutting tool. Unlike most other types of chainsaws, this particular type has the handle placed at the top, making it simple to maneuver.

This is a professional-grade tool designed to be light-weight. The device was created to be used at heights, such as chopping the branch off a tree. Hence, they are the most popular cutting tool amongst arborists.

While traditional, rear-handle chainsaws are not suitable for use at heights, a top-handle chainsaw should only be used in elevated areas.

Benefits of a Top Handle Chainsaw

Well Balanced
Top handle chainsaws generally tend to be more balanced than their traditional counterparts. They are particularly reliable when it comes to climbing trees to cut farther branches.

Highly Maneuverable
While top handle chainsaws offer a lot of flexibility in terms of how they can be used, the product itself is also extremely maneuverable. Its streamlined design makes them ideal to use in spaces or trees that may seem too narrow or cramped. They are perfect for tackling inaccessible areas.

Compact Size
These saws are also more sleek and compact compared to the rear handle variety, and they are streamlined and smaller in size and light-weight. This makes transport and storage a breeze. Due to these traits, top handle chainsaws also require very little muscle power to operate.

10 Best Top Handle Chainsaws - Reviews & Buying Guide

1. Husqvarna T435 12" Top Handle Gas Chainsaw


Husqvarna is a brand known for its superior quality chainsaws.

Husqvarna T435 is a gas-powered top handle chainsaw, lightweight, and very easy to use. It comes with a 12" bar and can be operated from both the ground and climbing tree branches as well.

The saw has a well-balanced body that makes it a dynamic tool, ideal for climbing or carving.


  • X-Torq motor: Powerful torque together with low fuel consumption and lower exhaust emission levels 
  • Adjustable oil pump
  • Quick-release air filter
  • Includes anti-vibration system
  • Comes with Husqvarna new x-cut chain & x-force bBar for a better cutting action and long-lasting durability
  • Chain break window with improved design allows for better visibility of the guide bar tip
  • Anti-Vib system to reduce vibration levels, which reduces user fatigue
  • Sidechain tensioning allows for quick and convenient chain tightening when on the job
  • Rope attachment makes it easy to hoist the saw up into a tree


  • Brand: Husqvarna
  • Model: T435
  • Engine: Gas-powered 35 cc
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 0.55 US pint
  • Oil Tank Capacity: 0.36 US pint
  • Power: 2 HP
  • Idling speed: 2900 RPM
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: 21 x 10.5 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 7.5 lb (excl. cutting equipment)
  • Warranty: 2 years


  • Easy to start
  • Low noise levels
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • Fuel efficient
  • Ergonomic handle
  • Overall construction quality is excellent


  • Not very powerful

Video: Husqvarna T435 Chainsaw Review

2. DEWALT DCCS620P1 XR 12" Battery-Powered Chainsaw


Dewalt DCCS620P1 is a fantastic, reliable battery-powered chainsaw.

It is best suited for light-duty trimming and pruning, making it the ideal chainsaw for arborists

This cordless chainsaw gives operators relief from fumes while working with it. It is also extremely lightweight, making it easy to carry and use on high trees and branches.

When used on trees, it should be remembered that the use of mineral oil is not recommended because it could damage trees. Use only vegetable-based oils.


  • 12-inch Oregon bar and chain with a low kickback
  • Oil level indicator
  • Auto Oiling System keeps the chain lubricated continuously
  • Equipped with a brushless motor with high-efficiency power, which ensures durability and extended run time
  • The chain tensioning and bar tightening system doesn’t require any tool


  • Brand: DEWALT
  • Model: DCCS620P1
  • Battery-powered motor 20V 5Ah
  • Chain Speed: 25.2 feet/second
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: 25 x 9 x 9 inches
  • Weight: 8.8 lb
  • Warranty: Contact the seller


  • One of the best brands on the market
  • Excellent value for money
  • Very efficient brushless motor
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Outstanding making quality


  • Not as powerful as the gas-powered chainsaws
  • The battery charge limits usage

Video: DEWALT XR 12" Cordless Chainsaw

3. GLOGLOW 12" Gas Chainsaw


GloGlow 12’’ gas-operated chainsaw is the perfect budget-friendly option for anyone who is looking to do lighter work, like pruning branches and cutting small trees.

Offered at a very affordable price, it also comes with several other useful features that make it stand out.

The comfortable grip is designed to reduce vibration, thereby preventing fatigue. It is also compact and lightweight, making it suitable for most people to use.

It is equipped with a low kickback chain designed to keep you safe while operating.

It is a low-cost chainsaw, suitable for homeowners for light jobs. Although it is not comparable with the best brands, it is a product that has good customer reviews.

Read the comments of the users who bought it: Customer reviews.


  • Compact, lightweight design
  • Easy to use for all your small limb trimming needs
  • Designed to reduce vibration levels
  • Tool-less chain tensioner
  • Wraparound and soft handle reduce fatigue during cutting operations


  • Brand: GLOGLOW
  • Model: n/a
  • Engine: Gas-powered 25 cc
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: n/a
  • Oil Tank Capacity: 160 ml
  • Power: n/a
  • Idling speed: 3000 RPM
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: n/a
  • Weight: 8.2 lb
  • Warranty: Contact the seller


  • Budget-friendly
  • Comfortable soft-grip handle that reduces vibrations
  • Lightweight and easy to handle
  • It comes with a tool kit with everything needed for the adjustment and maintenance of the chainsaw
  • Low kickback chain designed to keep you safe


  • Not suitable for professionals

Video: Chain Saw Safety in the Tree

4. ECHO CS-2511T 12" Gas-Powered Top Handle Chainsaw


Echo’s 2511T Bar Gas Chainsaw is one of the smallest and lightest gas chainsaw models on the market.

Although so small, this chainsaw is designed very well, and is equipped with a 25.4cc 2-stroke engine capable of doing its job very well, and is compatible with a 14" bar to cut larger branches.

While there is a lot of plastic to keep the weight down, the Echo CS-2511T is very robust and reliable.

It has remarkable features such as the top-mounted bar oiler, to allow easy access and prevent the oil adjustment screw from clogging.

The side access of the chain tensioner allows easy adjustment of the tension.

This chainsaw has improved ergonomics and a secure grip, and the spring-assist system facilitates starting.


  • The handle is ergonomic and contoured
  • Contains a refinery bulb
  • A rear-mounted air filter that is easily accessible
  • 2-stroke professional-grade engine
  • Reduced effort starting system 
  • Includes an automatic oiler that can be adjusted


  • Brand: Echo
  • Model: CS-2511T-12
  • Engine: Gas-powered 25 cc
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 190 ml
  • Oil Tank Capacity: 139 ml
  • Power: 1.45 HP
  • Idling speed: n/a
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: n/a
  • Weight: 5.2 lb
  • Warranty: Contact the seller


  • Compact design
  • Very light and well balanced
  • Easy to start
  • The tool is made from durable plastic materials
  • Very affordable price
  • Great saw also for professional arborists


  • Not suitable for cutting large pieces of wood or logs

Video: ECHO CS-2511T - Everything You Need to Know Before You Buy

5. Makita XCU03PT1 14" Chainsaw with 4 Batteries 18V X 2


If you enjoy the convenience of battery-operated tools but need something a little beefier, this model from Makita is more suited to your requirements.

It is powered by twin 18V batteries, giving the saw a great battery life and considerable amounts of power.

Thanks to the extra batteries, this chainsaw can handle any pruning, limbing, and trimming branches in the 4 to 8-inch range.

The electric motor has power equivalent to a 32cc gas-powered model, with an auto power-off runtime of about an hour. This means you can work up to two hours if you have a set of four batteries.


  • Brushless motor direct-drive system produces high power performance
  • Changeable speed trigger and high chain speed (0-3, 940 FPM)
  • Tool-less chain adjustment
  • Built-in lock-off safety lever prevents the chain from accidentally starting
  • Large oil filling port
  • View window allows the operator to add and check the bar oil level easily
  • Built-in on/off switch with the auto power-off system automatically shuts the saw off during breaks to extend battery life


  • Brand: Makita
  • Model: XCU03PT1
  • Battery-powered brushless motor
  • Battery: 2X 18V Lithium-Ion (2+2)
  • Chain Speed: 3,940 FPM
  • Bar length: 14” (12″/16″ compatible)
  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 22.2 x 10.6 inches
  • Weight: 11.5 lb (with batteries)
  • Warranty: 3 years (battery: 1 year)


  • Low noise level
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent power comparable to gas-powered models
  • Low maintenance electric saw
  • Great safety features
  • Compact size
  • Tool-less chain adjustment


  • On the heavy side

Video: Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) Chainsaw

6. Toro PowerPlex 51880 40V 14" Cordless Chainsaw


Toro PowerPlex 51880 Brushless Cordless Chainsaw is the perfect machine if you are looking for a reliable and high-efficiency cordless chainsaw for less demanding woodcutting.

It provides reliable performance and immense flexibility, giving you endless ease of operations.

It is battery operated and can function for long hours at a stretch.


  • Bar, chain and high-efficiency brushless motor
  • Automatic chain oil with oil level indicator window
  • Quick charger (60-minute charge time) included
  • Designed with a low kickback bar and chain
  • Fully functioning chain break and metal bucking teeth


  • Brand: Toro
  • Model: PowerPlex 51880
  • Battery-powered brushless motor
  • Battery: 40V Lithium-Ion
  • Chain Speed: n/a
  • Bar length: 14”
  • Dimensions: 31 x 20 x 10 inches
  • Weight: 13.7 lb (with battery)
  • Warranty: 3-year saw, 1 year battery


  • Chain break
  • Brushless motor
  • Fast charging time
  • Chain tensioning without tool
  • Alleviates kickback
  • Well balanced


  • Among the heaviest

Video: Toro PowerPlex 51880 40V 14" Cordless Chainsaw

7. Ryobi ONE+ 12" 18V Electric Cordless Chainsaw


This chainsaw is equipped with a 4.0 Ah battery and a brushless motor for superior power and durability, with a light and compact design, which makes the cutting operation comfortable and effortlessly.

The tool is designed to do light work, such as cleaning up trees from unsightly branches in your backyard. It also allows for working fast while providing a firm grip.

The brushless motor ensures that the chainsaw continues to operate in multiple conditions, and with little vibration.

If you are looking for a less powerful alternative than a gas chainsaw, this Ryobi battery-powered will pleasantly surprise you.


  • Brushless motor provides great torque for higher cutting speeds
  • Perfect for cutting thick limbs and tall trees
  • Variable speed throttle
  • Tool-less chain tensioning
  • Automatic oiler


  • Brand: Ryobi
  • Model: ONE+ chainsaw
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Battery: 18V Lithium-Ion
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Oil tank capacity: 18 oz.
  • Dimensions: 25 x 7.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Weight: 15 lb (with battery)
  • Warranty: 3 years limited


  • Quiet and safe to use
  • The handle on the top gives an excellent grip
  • The chainsaw does not produce lots of vibrations


  • Weighs about 15 lb

Video: RYOBI ONE+ 18V 12" Chainsaw Review

8. Tanaka TCS33EDTP-12 32cc Gas 12" Top Handle Gas Chainsaw


This Tanaka gas chainsaw is built of hard plastic and aluminum parts and can handle medium-level tasks of difficulty.

Although it has a slightly smaller than average engine, it has enough power to perform pruning and other typical backyard jobs. Also, it can be useful to take on a camping trip to collect firewood. Overall, it is a good tool for hobbyists and casual users.

Safety features comply with standards and efficiency does not consume much fuel. Vibrations are also very low.

Like all gas chainsaws, it produces noise, and for prolonged work, it is always advisable to have appropriate ear protection.


  • Side access chain tensioner
  • Built-in lanyard ring for easy climbing
  • Anti-vibration system
  • Throttle choke and purge primer bulb for quick starting
  • Gear-driven automatic oiling system
  • Includes a sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain, which gives you extra control in cutting trees


  • Brand: Tanaka
  • Model: TCS33EDTP-12
  • Engine: Gas-powered 32.2 cc
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 9.9 oz
  • Oil Tank Capacity: 6.0 oz
  • Power: 1.6 HP
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: 11.2 x 15.4 x 11.8 inches
  • Weight: 8.4 lb (excl. cutting equipment)
  • Warranty: 2-Year Commercial Use, 7-Year Consumer Use, 1-Year Rental Use


  • Top-of-the-line Oregon bar and chain
  • Well balanced
  • Anti-vibration feature
  • Low-kickback
  • Very compact design 


  • Performance on large pieces of wood is not satisfying
  • Sometimes it gets overheated
  • It is not among the cheapest

Video: Tanaka TCS33EDTP/12 32.2cc 12" Top Handle Chainsaw

9. CRAFTSMAN CMCCS620M1 V20 12" Cordless Chainsaw


The Craftsman V20 is a very compact battery-powered chainsaw, ideal for light cutting jobs in the yard, tree pruning, or do-it-yourself projects.

It is a 12" chainsaw even shorter than the others and is therefore extremely easy to handle thanks to the super-compact design.

The low kickback Oregon bar and chain, together with the chain brake, make this Craftsman V20 one of the safest chainsaws.

The battery allocation on the back makes it extremely balanced to manage it comfortably in any position.


  • High capacity 4.0 Ah battery
  • Leveling bubble for precise and leveled cutting
  • Auto oiling system
  • Oregon bar and chain
  • Tool-free chain tensioning 


  • Brand: Craftsman
  • Model: V20
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Battery: 20V 4Ah
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: 26.9 x 9 x 10.9 inches
  • Weight: 9.9 lb (without battery)
  • Warranty: 3 years limited


  • Very compact design
  • Easy to start
  • Very well balanced
  • Good runtime
  • Great price


  • The position of the oil filler cap is uncomfortable (a funnel is required)

Video: CRAFTSMAN V20 Cordless Chainsaw Promo

10. BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 40V MAX 12" Cordless Chainsaw


When listing out the best top handle chainsaws on the market, there is no way to leave out this amazing model by Black and Decker.

It is a cordless cutting tool that is exceptionally efficient and dynamic, perfect for pruning, limbing, trimming, etc.

The Black and Decker LCS1240 is quite light for being a cordless chainsaw. It weighs approximately 8.3 pounds (10.4 pounds with the battery).

The 40V battery should help you do your everyday backyard maintenance work for about one hour before recharging it.

The build quality of this Black and Decker, goes without saying, is excellent and ensures durability.

This chainsaw is equipped with a 12 inch Oregon bar and chain, which means the quality is great.

A special mention for the price: this chainsaw is surprisingly affordable, considering that we are talking about a well-known brand.


  • Automatic oiling system
  • Handgrip cushioned with a soft rubber coating
  • Low-kickback Oregon bar
  • Tool-free chain tensioning
  • Battery indicator


  • Brand: Black+Decker
  • Model: LCS1240
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Battery: 40V 2Ah
  • Bar length: 12”
  • Dimensions: 28.6 x 8.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Weight: 8.3 lb (without battery)
  • Warranty: 2 years limited


  • High-quality chainsaw
  • Reliable and long-lasting
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Low-kickback Oregon bar and chain
  • Battery performance without fading
  • Excellent value for money


  • Tends to leak oil
  • There is no blade brake

Video: Black & Decker 40 Volt 12-Inch Chainsaw Review

Safety Equipment

Working with chainsaws, be it rear or a top handle, can be risky work.

You are essentially dealing with an incredibly powerful, strong cutting tool. That is why operators must be well trained to handle it.

With an understanding of how to manage the full force of a chainsaw, one can significantly reduce the chance of any accidents.

That being said, just this mere precaution is not enough.

Not to worry, though, because there is a range of gear that is specifically designed to make the operation of chainsaws safer for users.

Here is a list of 10 essential safety equipment that operators must have to protect themselves from accidents while working.

  1. Boots. They are made with thick layers of unique materials that provide a line of defense against splinters, sticks, and potential cuts. They also offer a firm grip.
  2. Pants. Sewn with exclusive fabrics to provide protection, they consist of a durable outer layer and a loose kevlar inner layer, making them highly functional while being comfortable.
  3. Gloves that are designed out of special cut-proof fabrics, much like that of the chainsaw trousers.
  4. Jacket made of padded, cut-retardant materials.
  5. Shirt made from similar materials as the other safety gear apparel.
  6. Helmets are an essential part of safety gear in any construction-related field of work. They become especially important when it comes to top handle chainsaws since they are usually used in areas that are high above the ground. Helmets help guard against any fall-related damage. Also, helmets with in-built communication services are an added bonus.
  7. Goggles/Vizor made from a thick, cut-proof material to protect your eyes from splinters.
  8. Head Torch to aid visibility and enhance safety, especially in dingy spots or at night.
  9. First Aid Kits are a fundamental part of chainsaw safety. Operators must always have one on hand in order to take care of unforeseen accidents.
  10. Whistles are also a valuable tool to signal for help in the case of an accident.

Who Should Buy a Top Handle Chainsaw

Top handle chainsaws are ideal for homeowners and professional chainsaw users, especially arborists. So if you are pruning and maintaining trees, or you are you doing another activity that involves climbing high, a top handle chainsaw could be just the thing for you.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Chainsaw

When purchasing a chainsaw, the first and foremost thing you must consider is the purpose

What do you intend to use the chainsaw for?

Once you have answered this question, you have a clear direction to start eliminating options.

To make an informed decision about what chainsaw to purchase, you must keep specific parameters in mind:

  • Gas or battery-powered
  • Power
  • Guide bar size
  • Portability
  • Safety features
  • Price
  • Brand and quality
  • Customer reviews
  • Warranty


What is a top handle chainsaw?

Top handle chainsaws are the perfect choice for homeowners and professional users, such as arborists, for climbing work. The difference with the other chainsaws, apart from the handle, is the weight and the reduced dimensions, which allows better handling.

Are top handle chainsaws more dangerous?

No, top handle chainsaws are no more dangerous the others. Perhaps, due to their small and compact size, they are used less carefully, and this does not have to be done.

Can you use a top handle chainsaw on the ground?

No, saws with a rear handle must be used when working on the ground. However, operators can use the top handle chainsaw when is considered safer than using a rear handle saw.

How do I choose the type of chainsaw I need?

One of the factors to consider is the diameter of the wood that you will need to cut more often. In general, the guideline to follow is to choose a chainsaw with a bar two inches longer than the diameter of the wood to be cut.

Conclusion and Best Offer

hopefully this guide will help you make a decision on the top handle chainsaw that best suits your needs.

The highlight offer of the lot is definitely the Husqvarna T435 Top Handle Saw because it is an unmatched combination of quality, cost, and performance.

The Alternative

As an alternative, but not as a second choice, the Black and Decker LCS1240 should be taken in consideration. Based on ratings alone, this chainsaw definitely deserves your attention. The high torque of the electric motor can facilitate the cutting of medium-sized branches, and vibrations are limited thanks to the quality of construction.

BLACK+DECKER LCS1240 40V MAX 12" Cordless Chainsaw

Despite being a Black and Decker, it is one of the least expensive cordless chainsaws. If you don’t need a powerful gas chainsaw for some all-day work, then this model is one of the best recommended.