What is a Top Handle Chainsaw? The Basics Explained in 2024

Patrick McMann

Knowledge Based

top handle chainsaw explained in detailA top-handle chainsaw, as the name suggests, has the major attribute of having a handle on the top of the main power unit.

It is differentiated from other types of saws based on its handle placement.  Both of the types such as the top handle and rear handle have their unique advantages.

In this article, I will tell you about the uses and advantages of a top-handle chainsaw.

Also, I will highlight the difference between the two types. In short, let us explore the answer to ‘what is a top handle chainsaw?’ in detail:

What is a Top Handle Chainsaw?

A top-handle chainsaw is a type of chainsaw whose handle can be moved backward. As a result, the two handles come close together and the saw can be operated with one hand. Along with this feature, it is a lightweight chainsaw.

Mostly, a top-handle chainsaw is preferred by professionals. It is not a good option for new chainsaw users. However, it is admired by professionals due to its ability to reach out to difficult points and its user-friendly feature.

Within a top-handle chainsaw, you will get different options. I will tell you about those types and uses of top-handle chainsaws. So, be with me and learn the details of the topic.

Top Handle Chainsaw Uses

A top-handle chainsaw is best for arborists as they perform heavy duty tasks. For longer usage, the top handle saw is preferred because it is light in weight. Also, it can get access to places that are otherwise difficult to be reached.

Though, it is user friendly but not for new users. Along with being so useful, it is more dangerous than other saws. You need to have top handle chainsaw license to buy it. From this requirement, you can understand how dangerous it could be.

Moreover, a top-handle chainsaw is not designed to be used on the ground.  This type of chainsaw is meant for chopping limbs from trees.  Also, there is a general rule for chainsaws that they should be operated at a distance of at least 1.5m from other people. Operating a chainsaw on the ground can violate this rule.

Top Handle Chainsaw Types

As I told you earlier, there are different types of chainsaws based on different factors. Among those factors, one is the mode of operation of chainsaws. There are gas-powered chainsaws and electric chainsaws. Within electric chainsaws, you can have corded and battery operated.

Within Top handle chainsaws, you will find all these types. It means you can get a top handle battery-powered, gas operated, and corded chainsaw. Let me tell you some of the hot selling top handle chainsaws.

1. ECHO CS-355T

It is one of the top-selling chainsaws. ECHO CS 355T is a gas-powered, 14” bar length, top handle chainsaw. As I mentioned earlier, top handle chainsaws are designed for professional users so they are expensive as well. You will get this saw for $370 to $400.

2. Husqvarna T435

Husqvarna is a well-known chainsaw brand. The T435 model is a top handle chainsaw that is quite popular in the market. It has a 12” bar size and a 35cc engine. The gauge size is 0.050” and has a 3/8” pitch. This chainsaw is expensive too as the price is around $400.

3. Makita XCU06SM1

Makita XCU06SM1 is also a good option among top handle chainsaws. It is battery-operated (cordless chainsaw). It has a 10” bar size and comes with a 4.0Ah charger. The battery is 18 volts and you can get it for $300 to $320.

Related: How and Why Were Chainsaws Invented?

Top Handle vs Rear Handle Chainsaw

Let’s compare the top handle and rear handle chainsaw types. They both are designed differently so the purpose is also different. We cannot which type is better, because it totally depends upon the user and the task that needs to be done.

1. Weight and convenience

If we consider the two types from the perspective of weight, then top handle chainsaws are well known for their lightweight. Therefore, it is more convenient for the user than a rear handle saw.

2. Reach and Limitedness

From this aspect, again top handle chainsaw has got better reach. Rear-handle chainsaws are only meant to be operated on the ground. While top handle chainsaws can reach heights and difficult-to-reach points as well.

3. User Friendly

A top handle chainsaw is user-friendly because of its lightweight and because it can be operated by one hand. While a rear handle saw does not offer these perks. Yet a top handle chainsaw is not to be used by a new user and it requires a trained user. However, in the case of rear handle saws, there is no such restriction.

4. Price

As top handle chainsaws are professional saws, they are quite expensive. On the other hand, rear-handle chainsaws would not cost much as compared to top handle saws.

Why Choose a Top Handle Chainsaw?

Though I have told you many features and aspects of a top handle chainsaw yet you should have a strong reason for buying one. Therefore, let me tell you why you should buy a top handle saw apart from its maneuverability and lightweight.

Top-handle chainsaws offer a good grip and have advanced safety features. Their emission is also reduced and improves fuel economy. They have an auto-tuning engine that regulates everything from air filtration to oil mixing and provides the best performance.

The vibrations are also minimized as top handle chainsaws have 2 mass principles. They have techlite bars that are 18% lighter than normal bars.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What is the difference between a top handle and a normal chainsaw?

The major difference between a top handle chainsaw and a normal saw is the movement of the handle. In a top handle chainsaw, the handle can be moved to the top of the chainsaw. Doing so makes the chainsaw able to be operated by one hand.

However, we do not have this feature in normal saws and they need to be operated by both hands. Thus, it is convenient to be used for a longer duration because of its lightweight and one-hand operational system.

2. Are the top handle and rear handle chainsaws the same?

Though there are not many differences between top and rear handle chainsaws they are not the same. There is a big difference between the two which differentiates them in different categories. The difference is in the position of the handle. A top handle chainsaw’s handle can be brought closer to the side handle in a way that it can be operated with one hand. While rear-handle chainsaws lack this feature.

3. What can we expect from a top handle chainsaw?

The biggest expectation you can have from a top handle chainsaw is its user-friendly feature. The lightweight and one-hand operational system allows the user to reach places that are considered hard to reach otherwise. This is the reason that it is highly appreciated by arborists for longer work time usage.

4. Why do arborists prefer using top handle chainsaws?

Arborists prefer a top handle saw because it is light in weight and can be operated with one hand. They can use this saw for a long time without getting tired. Comparatively, a normal saw is heavier and thus it is tiring if one needs to work for a long time. Additionally, a top handle saw can reach out to difficult places. All these features make it suitable for arborists since they are professionals and need to work for a long time.

5. Can we call a mini chainsaw as a top handle chainsaw?

No, we cannot call top handle chainsaws mini saws. Yes, you can have a top handle saw of a smaller size but it does not mean that top handle saws are mini chainsaws. There is a lot of variety of sizes available among top handle saws. You can have a 14” bar, 12” and 10” for top handle chainsaws.

Last Words

This was a detailed guide about what is a top handle chainsaw. I hope I have explained it to you clearly and you have understood it. These chainsaws are no doubt very useful and great of the chainsaw types, yet they are task-specific.

If you want to buy a top handle saw, then you must have the proper training for using it. otherwise, it can cause serious problems for you. Also, you need to have a permit for buying a top handle saw because they are not ordinary saws.

For your understanding, I have also answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the topic.

Patrick McMann