7 Best Top Handle Chainsaws (Reviews of 2019)

Top handled chainsaws are practical and convenient for use when space is limited, and for this reason, they are the go-to tool when working in trees. They are also compact and easy to wield, meaning some people might prefer them for other everyday use too.

If you are interested in buying one of these highly versatile machines but aren’t sure which model to go for, here are our picks for best top handle chainsaw.

Best top handle chainsaw of 2019

1. Tanaka TCS33EDTP Top Handle Chain Saw With Pure Fire Engine (Our Top Recommended)

 

If you are looking for a powerful and reliable top handled chainsaw, this model from Tanaka is one of the best available. It runs off a 32.2cc 2-stroke engine and packs a surprising amount of power for a chainsaw of its size.

It is designed to be as easy to start as possible and incorporates a half throttle choke with a purge primer bulb to help fire it up. It also features a gear-driven auto-oiling mechanism to keep the chain properly lubricated.

It boasts good anti-vibration technology to make it as comfortable as possible to use while helping to prevent fatigue. Despite being a gas-powered chainsaw, the engine is designed to give off minimal emissions.

On the downside, at just under 12lbs, some people might find this unit slightly heavy, especially for use as a climbing saw. It also lacks toolless chain adjustment, meaning you have to carry extra tools to adjust the chain tension in the field.

Despite these minor issues, this is still one of the best top handled chainsaws available, and it comes highly recommended.

Tanaka Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Powerful for its size – 32.cc 2-stroke engine delivers good cutting capacity
  • 7-year consumer warranty – one of the longest warranties available
  • Easy to start – includes a half throttle choke with purge primer bulb
  • Ultra-low emissions – designed to be kind to the environment
  • Anti-vibration technology – comfortable to use and reduces fatigue

What We Don't Like

  • Heavy for a climbing saw – weighs in at 11.9lbs
  • No toolless adjustment – need to carry tools to change chain tension

2. Chain Saw, Gas, 12 In. Bar, 26.9CC

 

This is a reliable top handled saw from Echo, another of the best-known brands for this kind of equipment. There’s lots to like about this chainsaw, and it incorporates plenty of useful features.

It has an effective inertia-activated chain brake mechanism that is designed to keep you as safe as possible in the event of a kickback, an important safety consideration.

It also boasts a clutch-driven oiler that reduces unnecessary oil consumption for lubrication – it is designed to deliver just the amount that is required.

It is built to last, too. It features Echo’s G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner system to keep the inside clean, reduce maintenance requirements and extend the tool’s working life. It comes with a five-year warranty, meaning if anything goes wrong, Echo are ready to help you out.

One negative is the lack of a toolless chain adjustment capability, meaning you need to carry extra tools with you into the field. Also, there is no lanyard clip – so you have to attach one yourself – although this is not a big issue.

All in all, this is a high-quality top handled chainsaw that is ideal for climbing and pruning work. If that’s what you need, then this is a unit that is well worth checking out.

Echo Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Reputable brand – Echo is one of the best-known chainsaw brands
  • Inertia-activated chain brake – an important safety feature
  • Clutch-driven oiling system – helps conserve oil
  • 5-year warranty – gives you good peace of mind
  • G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner – helps keep the air supply clean

What We Don't Like

  • No toolless tensioning – need to carry tools to adjust the chain
  • No lanyard ring – nowhere convenient to attach to a climbing belt

3. New Echo Top Handle Chain Saw CS-355T

 

If you like the sound of the Echo chainsaw above but you feel you need something with a bit more cutting power, this larger model should be of interest.

It runs off a 35.8cc engine and boasts a 16” chain and bar, giving you the ability to deal with bigger, tougher branches. It is also relatively lightweight as well as being well balanced, making it ideal for use when working in the trees.

It features the same G-Force Air Pre-Cleaner as the smaller model, and it incorporates a back-mounted easy-access air filter designed to facilitate maintenance.

It has an ergonomic handle design that makes it comfortable and easy to use, but it lacks a toolless chain adjustment capability, meaning you will have to carry the necessary tools for this with you.

The only other real downside with this model is the higher price tag – although you expect to pay more for a bigger, more powerful tool.

This is a chainsaw that will appeal to someone who needs a machine that is convenient for tree work and that can offer superior cutting capabilities. If that’s what you’re looking for, this unit should be high on your list of possibilities.

New Echo Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Big power in a small package – incorporates a 35.8cc 2-stroke engine
  • Relatively lightweight and well balanced – ideal for tree work
  • Comfortable to hold and operate – features an ergonomic handle design
  • G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner – helps keep the air supply clean
  • Easy-to-access air filter – facilitates regular maintenance

What We Don't Like

  • No toolless adjustment – like the smaller Echo model
  • More expensive chainsaw – although you expect to pay for higher power and quality

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

 

Not all top handled chainsaws are gas-powered, and if you prefer the convenience and practicality of a battery-powered alternative, this DeWalt unit could be worth investigating.

At 8.8lbs, it is far lighter than most gas-powered options, giving you more mobility and maneuverability – especially useful when working in trees.

It features a low kickback chain, has an auto-oiling capability and also includes toolless chain adjustment. Again, this is particularly useful when working in a tree since you won’t need to take unnecessary equipment up there with you.

One other advantage with this machine is the price – even when bought with the battery, it is still less expensive than many other top handled chainsaws.

On the downside, the way the handle is configured makes it more of an uncomfortable choice for left-handers. Also, it tends to work through lubrication oil quickly, so you will need to make sure you take some spare oil with you when you head out to work.

This chainsaw is a viable alternative to gas-powered versions, and if you appreciate the advantages of battery power, it is a tool worthy of serious consideration.

Dewalt Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Light and easy to maneuver – at only 8.8lbs, less cumbersome than gas models
  • Brushless motor – designed for efficiency and longer life
  • Affordable option – costs less than many similar chainsaws
  • Toolless chain adjustment – don’t need extra tools to change the tension
  • Low kickback blade – designed to keep you safer

What We Don't Like

  • Not designed for left-handers – will be less comfortable to use in your left hand
  • Uses up chain oil quickly – need to make sure it stays topped up

5. Makita XCU02PTX1 Lithium-Ion Cordless Chain Saw Kit

 

If you like the convenience of battery-powered tools but need something a bit beefier than the DeWalt machine above, this model from Makita might be more suited to your requirements.

It runs off twin 18V batteries, giving good battery life and very respectable amounts of power. As a battery-powered tool, it runs far more quietly than any gas chainsaws – although, at 89dB, you will still need to wear ear protection.

We like the fact that it features tool-less chain tensioning – this will save you having to carry extra tools to make sure the chain stays tight.

One negative is that this chainsaw is heavier than you might hope, weighing a similar amount to some comparable gas-powered models.

The self-lubricating feature, although welcome, is also not always as effective as it should be, and you will regularly need to check that it is working.

Other than these minor issues, we approve of this chainsaw. It is compact but packs a punch and is another great option if you are looking for a solid top handled machine.

Makita Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Quiet operation – at 89dB, much less noisy than a gas-powered chainsaw
  • Good battery life – runs on two 18V batteries for high performance levels
  • Excellent power levels – may surprise you for a smaller chainsaw
  • Compact size – makes for good maneuverability
  • Toolless chain adjustment – allows you to make adjustments quickly in the field

What We Don't Like

  • On the heavy side – comparable to many gas-powered chainsaws
  • Self-oiling feature not perfect – need to make sure it self-lubricates

6. Makita Tool Only LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless Top Handle Chain Saw

 

This is another top tool from Makita, this time in a smaller and more compact package but still a chainsaw that can deliver very respectable power and cutting capacity.

We like the variable speed control as well as the torque boost that can be engaged when dealing with the toughest cutting jobs.

It also includes good safety features, including a chain brake mechanism to protect you in the event of a kickback and a lock-off lever to prevent accidental starts.

One of the best things about this chainsaw is its weight – at only 7.9lbs, it is ideal for any small-scale cutting jobs and is especially useful for working in trees. It also has a handy clip for attaching it to your climbing harness.

There are only a couple of minor negatives to mention. It doesn’t have a toolless chain adjustment capability, which means you need to remember to carry the required equipment.

Also, batteries need to be recharged and won’t let you work as long as a gas-powered machine – although if you buy a second battery, you can double the time you can work.

Overall, this is another solid top handled chainsaw from Makita that gets a big thumbs-up from us.

Makita LXT Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Lightweight and compact – at only 7.9lbs, easy for anyone to use
  • Good safety features – includes lock off lever and chain brake
  • Variable speed control – and includes torque boost for the toughest jobs
  • Adjustable automatic chain oiling – with large reservoir for less frequent filling
  • Attachment to clip it to climbing harness – practical for use in trees

What We Don't Like

  • No toolless chain adjustment – need to carry the necessary equipment
  • Not suitable for extended use – unless you buy a spare battery

7. GLOGLOW 12" Cordless Gas Chainsaw

 

If you are on the lookout for a budget-friendly top handled chainsaw for lighter work, this unit from GloGlow might be worth considering.

Its main advantage is the low price, but it also has several other useful features that make it stand out.

It has a comfortable soft grip that is designed to reduce vibration, helping to prevent fatigue. It is also compact and lightweight, making it suitable for most people to use.

It incorporates a low kickback chain that is designed to keep you safe while you work.

On the negative side, there is no toolless chain adjustment – although the necessary tools for this operation are included.

It is only designed for light work – so if you need something for more heavy-duty or commercial grade work, this chainsaw is probably not the best option.

Overall, a decent pick if you just need something for casual, occasional work and you don’t want to spend too much money to get your hands on it.

Gloglow Top Handle Chainsaw

What We Like

  • Budget option – at the lower end of the price scale
  • Comfortable soft grip – reduces vibration to help prevent fatigue
  • Lightweight and easy to handle – light enough for most people to use
  • Comes with tool kit – everything necessary for adjusting and maintaining the saw
  • Low kickback chain – designed to keep you safe

What We Don't Like

  • No toolless adjustment – but includes the tools necessary to do it
  • Designed for light-duty work – won’t be able to handle bigger jobs

Several good options to pick from

There might not be quite as many top handled chainsaws on the market as there are regular versions, but there are still a few worthy options to pick from. If you are looking to narrow your range of choices, the chainsaws in this review would be a great place to start looking.