Top 7 Best Top Handle Chainsaws for Pro Tree Workers

Patrick McMann

Buying Guides, Chainsaw

most reliable top-handle chainsaws testedWhen you need precision and accuracy while working with a chainsaw, you might find traditional chainsaws to be too cumbersome or difficult to handle.

In those situations, a top handle saw can provide you more control and maneuverability, as they are designed to be operated with one hand. It makes them ideal for limbing, pruning, and making cuts in tight spaces.

If you are in the market for such a chainsaw, then you have come to just the right place. After extensive research and rigorous testing, I was able to handpick 7 of the best top-handle chainsaws in 2024.

So, whether you are a professional arborist or a DIY enthusiast, we have got something for everyone.

Get ready and dive into the amazing details and features of the products that we have handpicked just for you.

1. NEO-TEC Top Handle Gas Chainsaw

Type: Gas Chainsaw | Bar Length: 12 inch | Engine: 25.4 cc | Weight: 8.22 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

NEO-TEC Top Handle Gas Chainsaw

As a homeowner and DIY enthusiast, I was on the hunt for a tool that could keep up with my pace and provide me with the perfect accuracy in my tree trimming work.

After extensive research and testing multiple tools, I stumbled on a Neo-Tec top-handle chainsaw, which impressed me beyond my ability to describe.

This amazing tool comes in a lightweight design with a wrap-around handle and comfortable grip. This is perfect for users, much like myself, who have to tackle larger jobs in a single go.

One of the most common problems, rather an annoyance, which users face with conventional gas chainsaws is the starting resistance.

The Neo-Tec NCS2500 comes with a built-in steel bar spring which makes the starting rope flexible and fast-rebounding. Hence, the engine is easy to start even for women and elderly people.

I was surprised to see how easy it was to start this chainsaw. The easy-to-activate launcher and foolproof switch are to thank for this ease.

Adding to this, the tool comes in a lightweight design that just weighs 8 pounds. With the top handle, you can operate it with just one hand, easily getting it into tight spaces.

Moreover, this saw offers a superior power-to-weight ratio for impressive maneuverability and performance for arborists and tree surgeons.

You will get reliable performance along with fuel-efficient operation, which promises reduced emissions to make the tool comparatively safer for the environment.

The high-quality carburetor not only reduces fuel consumption and emission but also protects the engine, ensuring the long service life of the saw.

Overall, the Neo-Tec NCS2500 is an excellent tool that can efficiently handle yard maintenance work. The only downside I came across is that the tool doesn’t come with a carrying case.

So, you will have to purchase one yourself for transporting and traveling with the tool.

What We Like

  • Lightweight and Easy to Use
  • Powerful Performance
  • Easy to Activate Launcher
  • Lower Fuel Consumption
  • Improved Fuel Utilization
  • Soft Wrap-Around Handle
  • Reduced Starting Resistance

What We Don't Like

  • Carrying Case Not Included
  • Not Suitable for Heavy-Duty Cutting Application

Why Consider NEO-TEC Top Handle Gas Chainsaw?

I highly recommend the Neo-Tech NCS2500 to anyone who needs a reliable and easy-to-use chainsaw that can handle various yard maintenance tasks.

2. Echo CS-355T Gas Chainsaw

Type: Gas Chainsaw | Bar Length: 16 inch | Engine: 35.8 cc | Weight: 8 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

Echo CS-355T Gas Chainsaw

While top-handle chainsaws are preferred to be lightweight and small, I wasn’t satisfied that I can’t use them for heavy-duty applications.

So, as an avid explorer of these machines, I was excited to try out the Echo top handle chainsaw and it did not disappoint me at all.

An excellent choice for both professionals and homeowners who are looking for high-power output in an ergonomic top-handle design.

The tool is equipped with a powerful 35.8cc professional-grade engine that ensures outstanding performance and durability. Hence, you can take on some heavy-duty work with ease.

One of the standout features of this chainsaw machine is the heavy-duty air filter that provides superior air filtration and ensures the longer service life of the engine.

What I liked most about this professional top-handle chainsaw is that even with a 16-inch bar size, the chainsaw is easy to operate and maneuver. The adjustable palm rest ensures better support and leverage, making it easy to carry the tool for extended use.

Adding to this, the unique handle design also provides wrist protection while cutting, along with reduced fatigue and strain.

What sets Echo apart from the rest of the chainsaws is its adjustable clutch-driven oiler that operates only when the chain is moving. This feature considerably reduces oil consumption and ensures proper lubrication.

Moreover, the reduced effort starting system, makes it much easier to start the chainsaw. There is one downside though, this tool is quite expensive compared to other gas chainsaws.

What We Like

  • High Powered Engine
  • Heavy Duty Air Filter
  • Ergonomic Handle Design
  • Adjustable Palm Rest
  • Clutch Driven Oiler
  • Easy Starting System
  • Reduced Oil Usage

What We Don't Like

  • A Bit Expensive Compared to Other Gas Chainsaws
  • Gas chainsaws require more maintenance as compared to electric chainsaws

Why Consider Echo CS-355T Top Handle Chainsaw?

A professional-grade tool for all kinds of users. Echo CS-355T is highly recommended for versatile usage, and for those who need more power in a top-handle chainsaw.

3. Makita XCU06SM1

Type: Cordless/Battery Powered | Bar Length: 10 inch | Battery Voltage: 18V | Weight: 7.2 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

Makita XCU06SM1 Top Handle Chainsaw

While gas chainsaws are definitely powerful, their noise and emissions are always an issue for eco-conscious users. As a professional, I have used my fair share of top-handle chainsaws, and I certainly wasn’t limited to gas options only.

So, for those who are looking for a more eco-friendly option, I can recommend the Makita XCU06SM1. Definitely, one of the standout products that comes in a compact design and is an excellent choice for professionals in the tree-care industry.

First of all, what really sets Makita apart from other electric chainsaws is its outer rotor brushless motor direct drive system. This system provides high power efficiency and delivers improved cutting performance.

Adding to this, the variable speed trigger control allows you to precisely control the chain speed for desired cutting performance. It’s a rare feature, which allowed me to reduce battery consumption when dealing with the light-duty application.

This particular chainsaw model comes with an upgraded battery design that offers 35% more runtime per charge as compared to previous models. The tool comes with a battery and fast charger included and reaches full charge in 40 minutes.

Additionally, the LED battery charge level indicator is also integrated into the battery which allows you to monitor the battery level and tells you when it’s time to recharge.

All in all, a perfect reliable option that comes in a lightweight design, probably one of the lightest chainsaws you can find in the market.

However, the small bar size really limits the application to tree care and gardening work. You won’t be able to take down trees with this tool.

What We Like

  • High Power Efficiency
  • Improved Cutting Performance
  • Variable Speed Control
  • Long Battery Life
  • Lightweight Design
  • Torque Boost Feature

What We Don't Like

  • Smaller Bar Size
  • Limited Cutting Application

Why Consider Makita XCU06SM1?

An ideal choice for those who are looking for a small top-handle chainsaw that would allow them to trim tree branches and make cuts in tight spaces.

4. Makita XCU08PT

Type: Cordless/Battery Powered | Bar Length: 14 inch | Battery Voltage: 36V (18V x 2) | Weight: 10.6 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

Makita XCU08PT Top Handle Chainsaw

You must have heard that bigger means better. Well, that is certainly the case with this Makita tool. If you find the previous mention too limiting for your needs, then this one will definitely be on your level.

The Makita XCU08PT is one of the standout products that I can confidently recommend to those who need a cordless chainsaw with versatile functionality.

It has many notable features that set it apart from the previous products we have discussed, but also, it has got an expensive price tag.

The upgraded brushless motor design provides you with power equivalent to a 30cc gas chainsaw, without any of the noise, fumes, or emissions. So, you can take on some pretty heavy-duty tasks with this tool.

Adding to this, this particular machine promises 65% more run time per charge as compared to the previous models. While I can’t attest to the exact percentage, the dual batteries definitely lasted twice as long and provided an impressive runtime.

The chainsaw is also equipped with all the features that we have mentioned in the previous product. The torque boost mode provides you additional power for dealing with thicker and harder branches.

Moreover, Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) provides higher dust and water resistance, which allows for easier chainsaw operation in harsher conditions.

On the downside, the bar size is still not large enough to take down whole trees. So, if you are looking for a tree-felling tool, you should probably consider an option with a larger bar size.

What We Like

  • Extreme Protection Technology
  • Versatile Functionality
  • Longer Run Time
  • Extended Battery Usage
  • Battery Level Indicator
  • Turbo Boost Performance
  • Upgraded Brushless Motor

What We Don't Like

  • Makita Batteries are Quite Expensive
  • Older 18V LXT batteries cannot be used with this tool

Why Consider Makita XCU08PT?

The Makita XCU08PT offers versatile functionality with double battery life and power. Although it’s a bit expensive, it’s definitely a good investment for professionals.

5. Makita XCU09PT

Type: Cordless/Battery Powered | Bar Length: 16 inch | Battery Voltage: 36V (18V x 2) | Weight: 10.8 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: YesMakita XCU09PT Top Handle ChainsawI have always loved Makita products because they are really innovative with their upgrades. So, I decided to test one of their most powerful and expensive products on the list that provides the highest level of performance.

The Makita XCU09PT is one of the best battery top-handle chainsaws on the list that comes with a 16-inch bar size, perfect for tree maintenance and also tree felling.

The high-performance tool is designed to handle tough jobs with ease, and compared to the previous two products, does offer some new and exciting features.

First of all, the tool comes with 4 included batteries. You can mount two of them at one time and keep the other two ready and charged to swap when the first one runs out.

I was beyond impressed with the battery timing of the tool. It only takes 40 minutes to reach the full charge, and you already have additional batteries. So, you don’t have to worry about the charge running out on you.

The included batteries and fast chargers take the price point of this machine to a very high level. Makita batteries are expensive because of their quality, but on the positive side, they can be used with all Makita products.

These batteries are designed with Start Protection Computer Controls technology which prevents overload, overheating, and over-discharge, ensuring better battery life.

Adding to this, the amazing tool is also equipped with Extreme Protection Technology which ensures improved dust and water resistance.

Moreover, the torque boost mode can be switched on by just pressing a button. It gives a boost to the power and performance of the chainsaw, allowing you to take care of heavy-duty tasks with ease.

Learn More: Makita 36v Chainsaw Review

What We Like

  • Enhanced Battery Protection
  • 4 Batteries Included
  • Fast Chargers Included
  • Ideal for Professional Tree Care
  • Brushless Motor Design
  • Improved Cutting Performance

What We Don't Like

  • Heavier as compared to other tools
  • Higher Price Point

Why Consider Makita XCU09PT?

A professional-grade versatile tool designed for tree-care professionals who need large bar sizes for thicker trees and branches. Highly recommended for users who need the best 16-inch top-handle chainsaw.

6. Farmertec G2500

Type: Gas Powered | Bar Length: N/A | Engine: 25.4cc | Weight: 8 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

Farmertec G2500 Powerhead

As a professional, I am always on the lookout for the best tools that can make me more efficient in my work. When I tried the Farmertec G2500, I have to tell you that it worked well beyond my expectations.

Although the product I am mentioning comes as a separate powerhead and you will have to purchase the bar and chain on your own, it is still worth the price.

The JonCutter engine delivers powerful performance and can be compared to some of the top market brands in terms of its capabilities. You can attach 12-inch or 14-inch guide bars with this top handle tool.

Even as a gas-powered machine, the tool comes in a lightweight design that is comfortable to hold and carry for longer intervals.

Also, you can easily get it inside the right place to make a precise cut. A versatile tool with reliable performance, definitely worthy of the title of the best gas top handle chainsaw.

Another thing I really liked was the exceptional customer service that Farmertec offered. They are available 24/7 to assist you with anything you need. The support staff is really friendly.

What We Like

  • High Power Output
  • Reliable Performance
  • Adjustable Chain Speed
  • Lightweight Design
  • Ergonomic Handling
  • Versatile Functionality
  • Best Value for Money

What We Don't Like

  • Bar and Chain Not Included
  • No Pole Attachment

Why Consider Farmertec G2500 Powerhead?

A great investment for professionals and homeowners who are looking for a high-performance top-handle gas chainsaw.

7. Makita XCU10Z

Type: Cordless/Battery Powered | Bar Length: 12 inch | Battery Voltage: 18V | Weight: 6.8 Pounds | Automatic Chain Oiler: Yes

Makita XCU10Z Top Handle Chainsaw

Let’s take a look at another Makita chainsaw that I personally found quite impressive. The XCU10Z top-handle chainsaw is one of the best Makita has to offer.

A compact and lightweight small-sized tool designed for pruning, trimming, and limbing work. Perfect for yard maintenance.

The Makita XCU10Z comes with a 12-inch bar size, which makes it perfect for getting into tight places without worrying about maneuverability or the weight of the tool.

You will be able to make precise cuts even in the tightest of places. The powerful Brushless motor ensures higher performance and cutting speed compared to a gas chainsaw.

In terms of battery, a single charge would last for 150 cuts on pressure-treated wood. While working with the tool, I was able to even get 160 cuts in yard maintenance.

Moreover, the tool has a simple side-mounted chain tensioning system which allows for easier maintenance.

Being an electric tool, it doesn’t require much maintenance at all. So, it is easier to use and maintain. With easy maintenance, it definitely makes the list as the best top-handle chainsaw for the money.

The XCU10Z is also part of Makita’s expanding 18V LXT System, which is the world’s largest cordless tool system powered by 18V lithium-ion slide-style batteries.

This means that if you already have other Makita cordless tools, you can use the same batteries to power this chainsaw, which is tremendously convenient.

Related: How to Start a Makita Chainsaw?

What We Like

  • Compact and Lightweight
  • Capable of Getting into Tight Places
  • Long Lasting Battery
  • Part of Makita LXT Battery System
  • Zero Emissions
  • Easy Maintenance

What We Don't Like

  • Battery Not Included
  • Fast Charger Not Included

Why Consider Makita XCU10Z?

An eco-friendly and convenient tool that provides you power and efficiency to take care of trees in the most perfect way possible.

Choosing a Reliable Top-Handle Chainsaw: What to Consider?

With so many brands, models, and features to consider, I can understand that choosing the right top-handle chainsaw can be overwhelming.

So, to help you out, I will be sharing some tips on how you can select the best top-handle chainsaw in 2024.

I will discuss some of the most important aspects that are decisive in the choice of the right chainsaw with top handle design.

Here we go:

Gas or Electric

The very first thing you have to decide is which type of top-handle chainsaw you want to purchase. You have two options. You can either choose to go with a gas chainsaw or an electric one.

Gas-powered tools offer more power, making them more suitable for heavy-duty and professional use. They are heavy, and noisy and may require more maintenance than their electric counterparts.

On the other hand, electric saws are quieter, lightweight, and more compact. They are easier to maintain and do not produce any emissions or fumes. They are eco-friendly and safer to use in sensitive areas.

However, they cannot match the power of gas chainsaws. Also, in battery-powered options, you have to keep track of battery use. You can refuel a gas chainsaw while working in a forest, but cannot hope to charge a battery if you run out of charge.

So, make your choice carefully.

Bar Size

Bar size is another important aspect of these tools that mainly depends on your application of the chainsaw. If you simply need a tool for yard maintenance that requires only trimming and pruning work then a small chainsaw is suitable for you.

The small bar size can range from 10 to 12 inches. However, if your work involved cutting thicker branches and limbing then a 14 to 16-inch option would be more suitable.

Since the very purpose of a top handle chainsaw is to maneuver it with one hand, you will rarely find a tool that supports a bar size larger than 16 inches.

Even a 16-inch size would be rare because it makes a chainsaw heavy-duty product and it will be a bit difficult to maneuver with one hand.

10 to 14-inch bar size is ideal to go with for these wood-cutting applications.


Just like size, the weight of the chainsaw holds crucial importance. A top-handle chainsaw is controlled with one hand, so you will need to make sure the tool is lightweight enough so you can maneuver it with one hand.

Generally, a 6 to 8 pounds chainsaw is good enough for one-handed handling. The top handle allows you to use the tool as an extension of your own arm. This allows you to reach the tough-to-reach spots in the trees.

However, when you are looking for heavy-duty applications, you will need a heavy tool that weighs more. But such tools are not recommended for women or elderly people because they won’t be able to handle it with one hand.

Learn More: Husqvarna 120 Mark II vs Stihl MS 170

Ease of Use

Ease of use mainly depends on the starting process and handles of the tool. Electric chainsaws are much easier to start as you only need to press a button.

Make sure the chainsaw comes with ergonomic handles and grip, so you can easily handle and maneuver it.

In the case of gas saws, make sure they come with effortless starting technology which makes the starting process easier.


Electric tools are easier to maintain as compared to gas ones. All you have to worry about is the lubrication and chain tensioning.

However, in the case of gas tools, you have to consider the spark plug, air filter, choke, and many other things which can become quite hectic.

But, the performance offered by the gas tool makes it worth the effort.


Last but not the least, you have to keep in mind the budget. While battery-powered Makita top-handle chainsaws might appear attractive and tempting, they are quite expensive.

So, you should consider your budget before going after those chainsaws. Compared to them, the gas top handle options are quite reasonable.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who makes the best top-handle saw?

Makita has secured the most spots in our top 8 list, so they can consider the best brand to manufacture top-handle chainsaws. You will rarely find another brand that makes such innovative and efficient top-handle tools.

What is the most powerful electric top-handle chainsaw?

Makita XCU09PT is the most powerful electric top-handle chainsaw. The tool comes with 4 batteries and can be mounted with 2 batteries at the same time. Also, you can turn on the torque boost mode for a significant boost in power and performance.

What is the benefit of a top-handle chainsaw?

The top-handle chainsaws are easier to handle with one hand and offer you high maneuverability. You will be able to reach the top spots in a tree, with full extension of your hand. They act like your arm extensions.

Are top-handle chainsaws safe?

All chainsaws are safe as long as you are careful in their use. You must wear protective equipment such as gloves, chaps, helmet, shoes, ear protection, and not use a chainsaw in a careless manner, and there won’t be any risks. Top-handle tools are lightweight and can be managed with one hand.

What chainsaw do tree surgeons use?

Tree surgeons and arborists generally prefer small or top-handle chainsaws. These chainsaws are lightweight and portable and also can easily get into tight spaces. You can extend them with one hand to make cuts in tough-to-reach spots.

Do you need a license for a top-handle chainsaw?

No, you don’t. A chainsaw is not a weapon. Anyone can buy it, even for their backyard work. So, no license is required. However, if you are a professional, then you might need some paperwork before you can use it in commercial areas.

Final Takeaways: What is the Best Top Handle Chainsaw in 2024?

Selecting the best top-handle chainsaw requires careful consideration of your needs and budget. After a thorough evaluation, I was able to handpick 8 of the best products from the market and share them with you.

If I were to pick one, I would definitely recommend you to go with Neo-Tec top-handle chainsaw which is the best choice on the list. It offers amazing features for a reasonable price.

For those who are looking for premium-grade performance for heavy-duty applications, Echo top handle chainsaw is more suitable. It offers high power output for heavy-duty use.

The Makita options on the list are ideal in terms of design and performance, but they are premium products that are considered expensive top-handle chainsaws.

So, if you are running low on budget, the QZTODO top handle tool is a more suitable choice for you.

Investing in a high-quality top-handle tool can make a significant difference in your yard maintenance. With the right tool, every task will become a breeze and your work will be a lot more enjoyable.

Patrick McMann