Depending on the size of the branches, you need to pick the best top handle chainsaw. It may be gas-powered or electrical.
Cordless electrical saws are getting more and more powerful day by day. And if you don’t have a really larger tree to cut, an electrical chainsaw should be your go-to climbing saw.
Top Handle Chain Saw Comparison Table
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6 Top Handle Chainsaw Reviews 2020
Out of plenty of trusted brands like Echo, Husqvarna, Stihl, Makita, and from their many models, I just shortlisted the 6 most popular of them.
I ordered them based on their popularity to make your pick easier.
DeWalt 20V Max XR
Just allow this well-balanced saw to do its work and it has all the power for all of your cutting needs. And it’s very convenient to use. You can use just one hand while using the other to hold the foliage out of your way.
Since it’s not gas-powered, so it’s very quiet. You don’t need any earplugs. For your re-modeling and cleaning up fallen trees, it’s highly effective. You will never go for the gas-powered saw again.
The battery is so powerful that runtime will never be an issue at all. With just one battery charge, you can destroy 60 feet tall pitch pine easily. In fact, will forget to add bar oil!
Do not underestimate it just because it’s 20V. It’s a beast! You can re-sharpen the chain quickly as well if you hit an unseen nail or dirty wood.
After trying this on other trees like oak and cedar, many have fallen in love with the extraordinary power of the battery. Get this to clean up your bushes and smaller trees. You won’t be disappointed.
Spend a few (less than $50 to upgrade the bar and chain), it will be as good as battery-powered Husqvarna and Stihl. DEWALT is the favorite choice of professional Arborist. Even the Stihl chainsaw enthusiasts have recommended this.
- A cordless chainsaw that features a 12” Oregon bar & chain which is just perfect for your outdoor cutting needs and construction works.
- It weighs only 8.8 pounds. So, very lightweight for maximum control.
- Yes, the chain is pre-sharped and the speed is 25.2 per second. It can cut 16″+ diameter trees into pieces easily.
- The battery is compatible with other DeWalt tools like a leaf blower.
- It has already become the go-to climbing saw for thousands!
- Wimpy oil fill cap. It leaks some chain and bars oil.
If you are tired of a high-maintenance requiring saw, Makita is a good alternative for your rescue! It’s just an instant chainsaw where you just need to put the charged battery in place and you are good to go!
Many people are familiar with the Makita XCU02Z model. It’s better than that in many ways!
You can cut a 12” log and small trees like butter. Many have confirmed it takes half the time of a gas-powered Echo top handle chainsaw. And Echo is a top-notch brand!
You can totally forget about mixing oil and gas. And no matter how cold it is, it will ALWAYS start immediately.
Unlike the previous one I reviewed above, the oil tank of Makita does not leak when you tighten the cap. It’s not a gas chainsaw. So, it’s very quiet too. Without waking up your neighbors, you can start early in the morning.
It’s powerful enough too. It does not matter whether the tree is 2 or 3 feet wide, it will just cut through them comfortably. Without any issues, so many people have cut dozens of trees, limbed, and then sectioned them.
This incredible saw will exceed all of your expectations. Everything is so convenient! All the replacement parts like the 5ah batteries, chain, etc. are easily available.
It has all the safety features to protect you and the saw itself. Even if you slip off the handle accidentally, the handle guard will lock the chain too. So, yes, the handle guard works as a chain brake too.
In short, it’s just another professional-grade tool from a trusted Makita brand that has some serious recommendations from the professionals.
Key Features of Makita
- Powerful 18v cordless saw that comes with 4 5.0Ah batteries.
- Brushless motor to give you power like 32cc gas-powered chainsaw.
- Adjustable speed trigger for convenient cutting performance.
- No ear protection and no gas required. No more fumes!
- Completely tool-free chain tensioner.
- No need for any tools to remove & replace the chain too.
- Small chain tensioner.
- The anti-kickback is somewhat annoying to some.
If an electronic saw does not work for you, you need this gas-powered badass from the trusted Remington. It’s so rugged and reliable that not just the seasoned woodcutter, even the professional love this a lot.
Apart from being extremely powerful, it’s great on gas and chain oil too. No matter how large trees and limbs you have to cut or remove from your hard ones that have fallen, it will help you clear them conveniently.
When cleaning your woodland or cutting and splitting logs for winter requires something extremely powerful, you need a gas saw. The larger size, engine, and carrying case is all you need to do the same.
Unlike traditional gas saws, it will start the first time you try, ALWAYS. It cuts fast and strong with zero issues. It cuts 8” to 12’ logs like butter!
For smaller trees, the electronic saws will work better. But what about larger trees? No matter how larger the size of your trees is, it will take care of them effortlessly.
But just like the electronic chain saws, you will find it easy to start. It idles well too. Many Husqvarna T435 users have switched to this simply because they find it more powerful and easy to use.
Key Features & Pros
- Powerful 42cc gas-powered engine. It features an automatic oiler with an easy view and an 18” bar. Since it’s a 2-cycle engine, you will feel less vibration. More so, it has a 3-point anti-vibration system.
- Heavy-duty engine but very lightweight. Durable poly chassis engine for prolonged performance.
- Easy pull starts.
- Less annoying low-kickback chain.
- There are 2 holes on the bar so that you can use a chain sharpener.
- Only unleaded gasoline recommended using this. Do not use E-85 gas.
- Like almost all chainsaws, it leaks bar oil.
Husqvarna 450 Rancher II
What are some common problems with your existing chainsaw you face when you have to cut bigger with 18” or more diameter?
When it stops, you will have a hard time restarting it. Sometimes, it does not at all! Sometimes, the chain will fall off in the middle of nowhere! By the way, you can follow this guide on replacing chains on any chainsaw.
The only fix is to spend a little more and get a badass chainsaw.
With a bigger engine and 20 inches’ chain bar, it will cut trees having 18” diameter like butter! And I am not exaggerating even a little bit! The excellent weight and power ratio due to the speed and ease of cut is next level.
The chestnut oak trees are one of the hardest woods out there. You need something powerful with the sharpest chain to cut and make firewood. You must have a gas chainsaw for this.
The 450 Rancher II is just perfect to deal with such hardwoods. Every rancher or homeowner who live on large hardwoods and burn a lot of firewood – need this Husqvarna 450 Rancher II gas saw.
Without fail, it will always start, and throughout the day, it works hard too. The oiling system is amazing and works exactly as advertised.
Bigger trees require a longer bar and this is exactly what you need to cut larger oak & hickory. Undoubtedly, it works better than Echo 18″, Stihl 310, and other popular chainsaws.
And if you are concerned about the carbon emission from the gas burning, let me assure you that Rancher is proven to emit low exhaust emission.
Key Features of Husqvarna 450 Rancher
- Ultra-modern powerful engine in compliance with strict environmental regulations.
- Larger and powerful but still lightweight. Very easy to handle. Perfectly well-balanced too.
- Lower fumes due to the smart air injection.
- Tolerable noise. Still, wear your earplugs!
- You can easily put on 18” bar.
- If your old one hit the bullet, it’s time to get this badass!
- Some ranchers have reported that the chain becomes dull quickly. It’s not so easy to find the replacement chain either.
Echo Chain Saw
How about a super-light workhorse from Japan? If you have to cut branches from the longest trees (let’s say 90 feet+) without any issue, the Echo chainsaw can be a good option for you.
More so, you can use either the left or the right hand to cut branches way above the ground conveniently. It’s smaller in size but a beast! You can put it in constant use days after days without any trouble. It will never give up!
Don’t underestimate it just because it’s smaller in size. It works great on thicker branches too. In the long run, it’s very cost-effective too. It consumes less bar oil and gas.
It’s not designed to cut larger trees with bigger diameter. So, if you mainly get this for minor pruning and for smaller branches, it will serve you well for a longer period of time.
Every time it starts easy and cuts fast and clean. Even the half pull will start it.
Do not worry. It can take down larger limbs from larger trees too if you allow it to do its work. You may have your heavy-duty saw for bigger jobs, but a top handle saw like this is always better for all of your light works.
Yes, it’s small that comes with a smaller gas tank to keep it compact and lightweight. But the fully loaded tank will give it at least 45 minutes of constant work.
Apart from homeowners, many arborists have recommended this too! So, if you want something dependable and not bulky & heavyweight, the Echo chainsaw is an ideal choice for you.
Of course, I don’t recommend it to drop a tree, but other than that, you can use this for every other purpose.
- Compact but powerful 26.9cc engine with vibration-free handle. The power of this little saw will always amaze you.
- Adjustable chain oiler. Use the included wrench to remove the chain from the bar.
- It’s so lightweight that you can use any of your hands and keep the other free to clear the limbs while trimming.
- 12 inches’ bar. It can easily handle 10” to 15” diameter branches easily. But make sure the chain is always sharp.
- Starts easily with each pull.
- Small gas tank.
This is the last top-handle chainsaw review. Since almost every tree care professional loves Husqvarna for their high-end products, I just feel to inform you their another popular saw; the T435!
Sounds like the Terminator and it works like that too! If most of your works involve working on the trees and branches, this smaller chainsaw can be your right solution. It’s easier to use and it cuts right through them!
Assembled in the U.S. and highly effective to extended usage. For your larger tasks, the 455 Rancher is better. But for lighter tasks, T435 is what you need.
Even if you don’t have heavy-duty saws to cut larger trees and trim larger branches, it can still get the job done.
Most of the time it’s not convenient to use the bigger 16″ and 18″ chainsaw; especially you don’t need them for the grounded trees. So, Husqvarna brought this little workhorse to perform almost 90% of your task comfortably.
It features the X-Torq engine for better fuel efficiency and huge power. In fact, many have confirmed the power is better than the 36cc motor. Though it’s only a 35cc motor! They call it the slick ripper!
Being lightweight (weighs only 7.5 lbs.), you can carry it comfortably and easily. This is particularly helpful if you have some bigger areas to clean up. Trimming branches and cutting grounded tress is so much comfortable now!
You will find it convenient enough to work on trees and t trim your overhead too. Very popular to trim trees at residential properties, orchards, vineyards, parks, etc.
Key Features & Pros
- It features side chain tensioning to tighten the chain while in action.
- Less user fatigue. Thanks to its anti-vibration system!
- Well-balanced designed.
- 14-inch bar length.
- Fuel efficient engine.
- Smaller in size but an unbeatable beast for longer hours of work.
- Smaller gas tank.
How To Select The Right Top Handle Chainsaw?
If you already know what you are doing, you don’t need my guideline.
However, if you are thinking about making a switch from gas-powered to electrical or just want to try a new brand, you may find the following factors useful to consider:
- Gas-powered Vs. Electrical
If you want to get rid of regular high maintenance and terrible fumes, the electrical chainsaw will be a good option. But they are not heavy-duty and not perfect to cut larger trees.
If woodworking or cutting woods is your profession, you should the gas-powered saw. Only they have tremendous power and suitable for heavy works.
If you don’t have to use the saw for more than an hour, a heavy-weight chainsaw would be a good choice. They have some advantages of their own.
But cutting woods or trees hours after hours will be draining with a heavy-weight saw. In such cases, a lightweight chainsaw will be better for you.
- Right Size
The size of a top handle chainsaw is directly linked with the weight previously discussed. Heavy-weight also means larger in sizes that are ideal to cut larger trees.
You can pick the compact and smaller size chainsaw if you are mainly dealing with smaller to medium-sized trees, pick the compact size!
- Maximum Safety
Out of so many types of saw, people pick the top handle saw for better safety and convenience. But the top handle alone is not enough to ensure your safety.
You need to think about the anti-kickback chain, chain brake, handle guard, and a lot of other factors to ensure your safety. Later in this article, I will talk more about chainsaw safety more elaborately.
- Easy Use
Such chainsaws are so popular simply because they are very easy to use. But not just for the top handle, you need to think about other ease of use features.
If it’s easy to start and it’s easy to remove & replace the chain from the chainsaw – it will ensure your highest convenience. Things will get even sweet if it has a chain oiler, battery indicator, tool-free chain adjustment, and so on.
For electrical chainsaws, you don’t need to be worried. But all the gas-powered chainsaws vibrate like hell!
If it has anti-vibration features and a rubberized handle, you will feel less fatigue. This is important if you have to work longer hours.
- Warranty Information
All such chainsaws are costly! You want to get the most out of it and the only way to ensure that is to check how many years it takes to finally give up.
Read the warranty information carefully and preserve your warranty information someplace safe.
Safety Tips To Work With A Chainsaw
An amateur should never work with a chainsaw. Even a little accident can cause serious physical damage. So, it’s important to follow the following safety tips of chainsaw shared by professional homeowners and arborists:
- Snug-fitting Dress
Not just snug-fitting clothes, you must wear sturdy working boots too. Your leg is the most vulnerable part of your body. So, the boots should be steel-toed and your legs should be covered with cut-resistant chaps.
Wear protective gloves too to protect the back of your hands as well. Wearing a helmet with a face-shield is always recommended. If it makes a terrible noise, wear an earplug as well.
When you trim and cut above your head, wear a hard hat too.
- Extra Safety With Gas-powered Saw
You must always grip the saw firmly; especially if it is gas-powered. Always keep the saw on the ground while you start it by pulling. Never saw when you are on a ladder. Be extra careful when you have to saw above your shoulder height.
- Regular Maintenance
A loose chain can slip off the bar and cause severe danger. So, regular maintenance of your saw is a vital safety protocol even if it is just electrical.
To prevent the kickback and cut faster, keep the chain sharpened, oiled, and tensioned.
- Beware of Fumes
Never run your gas-powered saw indoor or in an enclosed place. The potentially fatal fume is enriched with carbon monoxide which can cause breathing problems.
As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose your best top handle chainsaw. But if you ask me, I would get the DeWalt Max XR for light-duty work. But if you primarily need it to cut larger trees and branches, go for the Remington!