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Top-Handle Chainsaw, 25 Things You Should Know

A top-handle chainsaw is an indispensable tool for any professional arborist or DIY enthusiast looking to tackle tree pruning, limbing, or even felling smaller trees. This lightweight and versatile power tool might just be what you need to make your task much easier.

Top-handle chainsaw:

Top-handle chainsaws, designed for tree care professionals and experienced DIYers, provide high maneuverability, improved safety features, faster cutting, reduced noise and vibration, and fuel options. Professionals should receive proper training from reputable organizations, such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), for safe usage. Choose a chainsaw model based on specific job requirements to enhance productivity and efficiency in the field.

Delving further, we’ll explore the top-handle chainsaw options available in the market, their advantages, and key features, empowering you to choose the perfect tool for your cutting tasks easily and confidently. Read on for an insightful guide!


High-Quality Top-Handle Chainsaw

Top-handle chainsaws are a specialized type of chainsaw designed specifically for tree care professionals, arborists, and experienced do-it-yourselfers.

High Maneuverability for Efficient Tree Cutting and Trimming

A top-handle chainsaw’s main advantage is its ability to be easily maneuvered and controlled when cutting and trimming trees. This design feature allows the operator to work comfortably and efficiently at heights and in confined spaces, such as dense tree canopies.

The compact and lightweight design, combined with a centrally aligned balance point, reduces physical strain when holding and operating the chainsaw. This is particularly important when working on trees for extended periods.

Improved Safety Features for a Secure Working Environment

Top-handle chainsaws come equipped with specialized safety features that you won’t find on your average rear-handle chainsaw. Some of these features include:

  • Ergonomic top-handle design: The top-handle ensures maximum control over the chainsaw while working at height, creating a safer working environment.
  • Chain brake system: This system is triggered either by the front handguard or automatically by a sudden kickback, stopping the chain almost instantaneously.
  • Reduced kickback potential: Top-handle chainsaws are designed with smaller guide bars and low-kickback chains, which minimize the risk of an unexpected reaction while cutting.

It is important to note that while these safety features are designed to create a more secure working environment, nothing can replace proper training and experience when it comes to handling chainsaws.

Additional Benefits of Using a Top-Handle Chainsaw

Aside from improved maneuverability and safety, top-handle chainsaws present several other benefits that make them an excellent choice for tree care professionals:

  • Faster cutting: Top-handle chainsaws are designed with high-performance engines and narrow kerf chains, resulting in faster cuts with reduced effort.
  • Reduced noise and vibration: These chainsaws often utilize technology like anti-vibration systems and quieter engines, making them more comfortable to use for extended periods.
  • Gas-powered and battery-powered options: You can choose between gas-powered and battery-powered top-handle chainsaws depending on the specific job requirements. Battery-powered options are becoming increasingly popular due to their lower noise levels, zero emissions, and reduced maintenance needs.

Top-Handle Chainsaw Recommendations

Based on personal experience, I recommend the following top-handle chainsaws for high-quality performance, reliability, and safety:

  • Husqvarna T540XP: A lightweight, powerful gas-powered chainsaw featuring a magnesium crankcase and the easy-to-use AutoTune engine management system.
  • Stihl MS 193 T: A compact gas-powered chainsaw with a great power-to-weight ratio and Stihl’s innovative M-Tronic engine management system for improved fuel efficiency and faster acceleration.
  • ECHO CS-355T: A gas-powered option that is both lightweight and powerful, with a professional-grade engine and automatic clutch-driven oiler.
  • DeWALT DCCS620P1: A 20V MAX cordless chainsaw that offers the convenience of battery power without sacrificing performance, ideal for smaller trimming jobs and working in residential areas.

Safety Training: A Crucial Component for Top-Handle Chainsaw Operators

Before attempting to operate a top-handle chainsaw, it is highly recommended that you receive proper training and certification from a reputable organization such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

These training programs focus on proper cutting techniques, safety measures, and equipment maintenance.

Equipped with the right knowledge and skills, you can confidently and safely use a top-handle chainsaw to provide professional tree care services.

In Conclusion

Top-handle chainsaws provide a unique solution for arborists and other tree care specialists that require high levels of maneuverability, safety features, and performance.

By choosing a product based on specific needs and job requirements, and with proper safety training, professionals can use top-handle chainsaws to enhance their productivity and efficiency in the field.

What are the advantages of utilizing a top-handle chainsaw?

What Sets Top-Handle Chainsaws Apart

A top-handle chainsaw, as the name suggests, is a chainsaw that features a handle on the top of the machine. This design offers a superior level of control and maneuverability when compared to traditional rear-handle chainsaws.

Top-handle chainsaws are particularly useful for those engaged in professional tree care work, including arborists and tree surgeons.

When selecting a chainsaw, it is important to consider the specific needs and requirements of the task at hand.

A top-handle chainsaw may not be the best choice for every job, but understanding the benefits of this unique design can help users make informed decisions when purchasing their next chainsaw.

Improved Control and Maneuverability

One of the primary benefits of a top-handle chainsaw is its improved control and maneuverability, especially in comparison to rear-handle chainsaws.

The top-handle design allows the user to maintain a better grip on the chainsaw, making it easier to wield and navigate through tight spaces.

This nimble handling is particularly valuable for tree-cutting professionals such as arborists, who often have to manage complex cutting scenarios high up in tree canopies.

The compact size and lightweight nature of many top-handle chainsaws further enhance this advantage, providing added agility and ease of use over the course of a workday.

Enhanced Safety Features

Top-handle chainsaws are designed with safety in mind, often featuring additional safety features not found in conventional rear-handle chainsaws. For example, many top-handle chainsaws include an integrated hand guard, chain brakes, and anti-vibration systems.

The integrated hand guard is designed to protect the user’s hand from the chain in case of potential kickback. Furthermore, chain brakes stop the chain immediately when the chainsaw experiences a sudden movement or impact, greatly reducing the risk of injury.

Lastly, anti-vibration systems installed in top-handle chainsaws minimize the vibrations transferred to the user, reducing fatigue and the risk of long-term damage to muscles and joints.

Enhanced Ergonomics and User Comfort

Top-handle chainsaws are designed with user comfort in mind, featuring ergonomic designs that minimize fatigue during long hours of operation. This is particularly beneficial for professionals who rely on their chainsaws as a primary tool throughout the workday.

The top handle itself is typically designed to provide an optimum grip for both balance and control, while the ergonomic throttle trigger is positioned to allow for comfortable and fatigue-free operation.

Additionally, many top-handle chainsaws offer adjustable handle positions, so users can tailor the chainsaw to their preferred working position.

The Choice of Professionals

As previously mentioned, top-handle chainsaws are popular among professional tree care workers such as arborists and surgeons. Their compact size, lightweight nature, superior control, and additional safety features make them ideal for these demanding and specialized applications.

Investing in a top-handle chainsaw is a wise decision if you are working in the tree care industry or are beginning a career in this field. The right chainsaw can make a significant impact on the quality of your work and the efficiency with which you are able to complete tasks.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Top-Handle Chainsaw

When selecting a top-handle chainsaw, it is crucial to consider the specific needs and requirements of the tasks you will be performing. Some factors to consider include:

  • Engine size and power: Top-handle chainsaws are available in a range of engine sizes and power outputs. Consider the diameter and hardness of the wood you will be cutting, as well as the overall size of the trees you will be working with, when determining the appropriate engine size and power for your needs.
  • Weight: A lighter chainsaw will be easier to maneuver and control, especially in difficult cutting scenarios. However, lighter chainsaws may also have less power, so finding a balance between weight and power that meets your specific requirements is important.
  • Bar length: The length of the chainsaw’s guide bar is another important factor to consider. A longer bar allows for deeper cuts but may be more challenging to control when cutting at awkward angles or in tight spaces.

The International Society of Arboriculture’s (ISA) website offers valuable resources for selecting the right chainsaw and additional information on professional tree care practices and equipment.


A top-handle chainsaw offers a number of significant benefits, particularly for those who work in the tree care industry.

The enhanced control, maneuverability, safety features, and overall ergonomic design make it an invaluable tool for professionals such as arborists and tree surgeons.

By understanding the specific needs and requirements of the tasks, users can select the ideal top-handle chainsaw for their needs and enjoy the advantages this unique design offers.

Improved Maneuverability
Top-handle chainsaws are often preferred by professional arborists and landscapers for their ease of use and versatility in various working situations.
Due to their smaller size, top-handle chainsaws tend to be lighter than rear-handle chainsaws, making them easier to operate for extended periods of time.
One-Handed Operation
The top handle design allows for one-handed operation, making it possible to reach difficult areas while maintaining control of the chainsaw.
Better Balance
The top handle provides better balance, allowing for smoother cuts and reduced fatigue while working.
Professional Use
Top handle chainsaws are often preferred by professional arborists and landscapers for their ease of use and versatility in various working situations.

What are the reasons behind the high cost of top-handle chainsaws?

If you’ve ever tried shopping for a chainsaw, you may have noticed that top-handle chainsaws often come with a heftier price tag compared to rear-handle models. The question is, why?

Premium Materials and Components

The materials and components that make up top-handle chainsaws are a significant contributor to their higher price. These chainsaws require specialized parts to accommodate their design, which calls for premium materials and high-quality components.

Key components such as the engine, bar, and chain require a higher standard compared to the average rear-handle chainsaw.

When creating powerful tools that can withstand regular use by professionals, manufacturers cannot afford to skimp on the quality of materials. This results in higher production costs, which ultimately translates to a higher price tag for top-handle chainsaws.

Advanced Engineering and Design

Top-handle chainsaws are designed for tasks requiring the arborist to work at height or maneuver the saw in tight spaces. The compact design and lightweight construction are essential for user safety and comfort, making these chainsaws more difficult and costly to produce.

Manufacturers must strike a delicate balance between creating a lightweight yet durable power tool, which often involves investing in advanced engineering techniques and sophisticated ergonomics.

The investment in designing and refining these specialized chainsaws plays a considerable role in the overall cost.

Strict Safety Standards and Regulations

Arborists and tree care professionals work in situations where safety is of paramount importance.

Top-handle chainsaws must meet stringent safety standards and regulations set forth by organizations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA).

These safety measures may include added features or technology, such as chain brakes, vibration dampening, and tool-less chain tensioning systems.

As manufacturers invest in research and development to adhere to these safety standards, the costs are passed along to the consumer in the final price.

To ensure that you’re working with tools that meet the required safety standards, you can always refer to resources provided by organizations like the ISA, which publishes chainsaw safety guidelines on its official website.

Limited Market Demand

Besides the engineering challenges and safety considerations, the limited market for top-handle chainsaws also contributes to their high cost. In general, these are specialized tools designed for professional arborists and tree care experts rather than casual or occasional users.

This limited market demand means that manufacturers produce fewer units, which can lead to higher production costs per unit due to a lack of economies of scale. Consequently, a top-handle chainsaw’s price tag is typically steeper than its more widely used rear-handle counterpart.

Why Professionals Still Choose Top-Handle Chainsaws

Despite the high cost, many professional arborists and tree care specialists still choose top-handle chainsaws for their work. In fact, the efficiency, precision, and maneuverability these tools provide far outweigh the cost for many professionals.

When working at height or in tight spaces, the lightweight and compact design of top-handle chainsaws significantly decreases the risk of accidents and strain on the user.

Furthermore, the specialized features, such as advanced safety mechanisms, increase overall productivity by ensuring the job is done effectively and without incident.

Final Thoughts

The high price of top-handle chainsaws can be attributed to several factors, including premium materials, advanced engineering, strict safety standards, and limited market demand.

Although these factors contribute to the steeper price, many professionals still opt for these specialized chainsaws because of the advantages they offer in terms of safety, efficiency, and precision.

Before investing in a top-handle chainsaw, it’s essential to carefully consider whether the benefits it provides align with your specific needs and requirements.

If you’re a professional arborist or tree care specialist, the top-handle chainsaw’s higher cost may be worthwhile for its safety and efficiency.

The design of a top-handle chainsaw requires more elaborate engineering, often resulting in a more expensive product compared to a rear-handle chainsaw.
Because of the specialized nature of top-handle chainsaws, additional safety features are often included, adding to the cost of the product.
Designed primarily for professional arborists and tree care specialists, top handle chainsaws cater to a specialized market, which may contribute to a higher price point.
Safety features
Because of the specialized nature of top handle chainsaws, additional safety features are often included, adding to the cost of the product.
Top-handle chainsaws from reputable brands may also come with a premium due to their reputation for quality and reliability.

What are the Top-Rated Chainsaws on the Market?

As an experienced chainsaw user, I’ve compiled a list of the top best chainsaws available in the market. Let’s dive into the top-notch chainsaw options for you without further ado.

Gas-Powered Chainsaws

Gas-powered chainsaws are ideal for heavy-duty cutting jobs and are the preferred choice for most professionals. Here are the best gas-powered chainsaws that I personally recommend.

– Husqvarna 455 Rancher

The Husqvarna 455 Rancher is a perfect chainsaw for landowners and part-time users requiring a high-powered, heavy-duty, responsive workmate for all cutting conditions. It combines the best characteristics of its predecessor with new, facilitating technology and an ergonomic design.

Key features:

  • 55.5cc engine
  • 20-inch bar length
  • X-Torq engine reduces fuel consumption and emissions
  • Air Injection technology for improved durability
  • Side-mounted chain tensioning

– STIHL MS 271 Farm Boss

The STIHL MS 271 Farm Boss is an excellent choice for anyone with large wooded properties. Its fuel-efficient engine and advanced air filtration system make it a reliable and durable option for landowners.

Key features:

  • 50.2cc engine
  • 18-inch bar length
  • Pre-separation air filtration system to reduce air filter maintenance
  • Reduced-emission engine technology
  • Toolless fuel and oil cap with retainers

– Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf

The Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf is a powerful chainsaw that is easy to start and maintain, making it ideal for heavy-duty use. With a 59.8cc engine and a 20-inch bar length, it has the power to tackle almost any job.

Key features:

  • 59.8cc engine
  • 20-inch bar length
  • Decompression valve for easier starting
  • Digital ignition system
  • G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner for reduced air filter maintenance

Electric Chainsaws

Electric chainsaws are lighter and quieter than their gas-powered counterparts, making them suitable for residential use or landscaping around your property. Here are the top electric chainsaws that I recommend.

– Makita UC4051A

The Makita UC4051A electric chainsaw provides a powerful cutting performance with a 16-inch guide bar. It’s perfect for trimming, cutting small trees, and pruning and limbing.

Key features:

  • 14.5 Amp motor
  • 16-inch bar length
  • Tool-less blade and chain adjustment
  • Large oil reservoir with window to easily check oil level
  • Rubberized grip for added comfort

– Greenworks Pro GCS80420

The Greenworks Pro GCS80420 is a battery-powered chainsaw that offers the power and performance of a gas-powered chainsaw without the hassle of fuel or emissions. It’s ideal for homeowners who want a powerful yet environmentally friendly chainsaw option.

Key features:

  • 80V Li-Ion battery offers up to 150 cuts on a single charge
  • 18-inch bar length
  • Electronic chain brake for added safety
  • Instant electric start
  • Brushless motor for increased efficiency and longer runtime


The DEWALT DCCS620P1 is an excellent choice for those who prefer the convenience of a lightweight, quiet chainsaw for occasional use. This chainsaw is equipped with a 20V max lithium-ion battery and provides power and runtime for various cutting applications.

Key features:

  • 12-inch bar length
  • Tool-free chain tensioning and bar tightening knob
  • Lightweight and compact design for easy maneuverability
  • Up to 90 cuts per charge
  • Low kickback chain for added safety

In conclusion, these top best chainsaws cater to different needs and preferences, whether you require a gas-powered chainsaw for heavy-duty use or an electric chainsaw for residential landscaping.

Remember to follow proper safety measures and maintenance procedures to ensure your chosen chainsaw’s longevity and optimal performance.

For more information on chainsaw safety and maintenance, visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.

Which Chainsaw Models are Utilized by Professional Loggers?


Chainsaws are essential for professional loggers and arborists working in the forestry industry. They require a chainsaw that offers reliable performance, safety features, and ease of use to maximize productivity and reduce the risk of accidents.

Having worked in the forestry industry for years and spoken with countless fellow professionals, I have compiled a list of the most popular chainsaws used by professional loggers today.

Husqvarna Chainsaws

One of the most popular chainsaw brands among professional loggers is Husqvarna. They offer a variety of high-quality chainsaws, each designed with specific features that cater to different types of logging jobs.

Some of the top Husqvarna chainsaw models recommended by professional loggers include:

– Husqvarna 372 XP

The Husqvarna 372 XP is a powerful chainsaw designed for professional use, with a 50:1 fuel-oil ratio and a chain brake that is inertia-activated for added safety.

Its X-Torq engine saves fuel and reduces exhaust emissions, while the LowVib anti-vibration system reduces fatigue and wear on the user.

– Husqvarna 555

The Husqvarna 555 is another professional chainsaw favored by experienced loggers. It features the same X-Torq engine as the 372 XP and an AutoTune system that ensures optimal engine performance regardless of fuel quality, altitude, or temperature.

The 555 also has a three-piece crankshaft and magnesium crankcase for increased durability and easy handling.

Stihl Chainsaws

Stihl is another top-choice brand for professional loggers, known for its ruggedness and high-performance capabilities. The following Stihl chainsaw models come highly recommended by logging professionals:

– Stihl MS 661 C-M

The Stihl MS 661 C-M is a powerful, fuel-efficient chainsaw designed for professional use. Its M-Tronic electronic engine management system ensures optimal performance while reducing emissions, while the ElastoStart technology reduces the shock caused by the compression of the engine during startup.

The MS 661 C-M also has an efficient air filtration system to prolong the life of the machine.

– Stihl MS 362 C-M

The Stihl MS 362 C-M is another highly recommended professional chainsaw. It features the same M-Tronic system as the MS 661 C-M and an anti-vibration system for comfortable use during long workdays.

The MS 362 C-M also has a side-mounted chain tensioner for easy adjustment and a toolless fuel and oil cap for convenient refilling.

Echo Chainsaws

Echo is a respected name in the forestry industry, known for manufacturing reliable, high-quality chainsaws. A few of their top models for professional loggers include:

– Echo CS-620P

The Echo CS-620P is a powerful, lightweight chainsaw designed for professional use. Its 59.8cc engine provides impressive cutting performance, while its G-Force Engine Air Pre-Cleaner system extends the air filter’s life.

The CS-620P also has a digital ignition system that adjusts engine timing for optimal performance and easy starting.

– Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf

The Echo CS-590 Timber Wolf is popular among professional loggers due to its power, durability, and performance. Its 59.8cc engine delivers impressive torque, while the heavy-duty, easy-access air filter provides exceptional filtration.

The CS-590 Timber Wolf also features a decompression valve for easier starting and a side-access chain tensioner for quick adjustments.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing the best chainsaw for professional logging, there are several key factors to consider, such as power, fuel efficiency, durability, and user-friendly features.

Husqvarna, Stihl, and Echo are some of the top brands that consistently produce high-quality chainsaws designed for professional use, each offering unique features and benefits.

Ultimately, the best chainsaw for professional loggers will depend on individual preferences and the specific logging tasks at hand.

I recommend visiting Oregon State University’s Forestry Extension website for additional helpful resources and information on choosing the ideal chainsaw for your needs.

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  1. Jeanette Curtis says:

    As a beginner, I appreciate the detailed information on top-handle chainsaws. The benefits and safety features highlighted make it easier for me to consider purchasing the right tool. Thank you!

    • Allard Vdhooft says:

      Dear Jeanette, I’m glad you found the information on top-handle chainsaws helpful. Remember safety first and happy cutting! Best regards.