Best Top Handle Chainsaw 2019 Buyer’s Guides

Need to cut wood from an elevated position?

The top handle chainsaw makes an ideal solution if you need to cut branches while on top of the tree.

There are different kinds of equipment in woodcutting and one of them is the top handle chainsaw. A top handle chainsaw is an equipment that has specific uses in cutting branches, firewood, trees and more.

Simply put, top handle chainsaws are designed for people cutting wood in the most awkward positions.

In this article, we will review some of the best top handle chainsaws and, with the buying guide, help you choose among them what fits you the most!

What is a Top Handle Chainsaw?

A top handle chainsaw is a mechanical equipment used to cut different kinds of wood using its rotating set of metal teeth. It differs from a rear handle chainsaw in the places that it is used.

Usually, a top handle chainsaw is used while the user is on an elevated surface of some sort such as a tree or a stepladder. A rear handle chainsaw, on the other hand, is used when cutting wood on the ground.

The reason for this specific use lies in the design of the chainsaw. With the handle being on top, it offers the user more control and more flexible options when dealing with wood situated on different angles and positions.

It is also light which makes it comfortable to use when carrying and offers more safety for the user.

There is a common misconception about the top handle chainsaw that it is meant to be used one-handed.

Top Handle Chainsaw

This is not true, and using the machine two-handed not only gives you more safety, it also gives you more control. Although you can technically use it one-handed, this method of cutting is better left for more experienced woodcutters.

Top 3 Handle Chain Saw 2018 Reviews

1# Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 32.2cc 14-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine

Tanaka is a Japanese company that has been in the industry for a while now. Needless to say, it has amassed a good reputation as a seller of tools especially chainsaws.

The Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 top handle chainsaw is one of their products and you can be assured that the safety measures of the product are not neglected.

The bar and chain length of this chainsaw are not too long, only 14 inches, which is typical for top handle chainsaws. It also means that it is easier to use for people that are still inexperienced. Along with its light 12.4lbs weight, the strength required to use this chainsaw is not harsh.

This chainsaw contains a 32.2cc gasoline-powered engine which is strong enough for most situations where you would want to use a top handle chainsaw. The engine is what they called a pure fire engine which boasts of having a low fuel-to-energy consumption while being clean at the same time.

While this Tanaka is well-built and works with no issue, you might find it a bit heavy to carry and hold. Probably it’s a fact you need to accept when using gas-variants.


  • Easy start; easy warm up
  • Strong, powerful engine
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler
  • check
    Easier cuts; quick chain adjustment
  • check
    Less fuel consumption


  • Might be heavy at 12.4lbs

Overall, the Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 boasts a reasonable power relative to its weight, length, and fuel consumption which makes it a good option to consider.

Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 32.2cc 14-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine
262 Reviews
Tanaka TCS33EDTP/14 32.2cc 14-Inch Top Handle Chain Saw with Pure Fire Engine
  • 14-Inch top handle chain saw with 32.2cc commercial grade...
  • Half throttle choke with purge primer bulb for easy start...
  • Automatic gear-driven oiler and a side access chain...
  • Sprocket nose bar with Oregon chain provides added control...

Last update : 2019-12-06 at 08:29 - Details

2# Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw – Optional 2.0 AH Battery  

Greenworks offers another top handle chainsaw with its 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw product. It is battery-powered and with the 2.0 AH Battery add-on that you can purchase alongside the tool, it gives less hassle to the users.

It only has 40 voltages which are average when compared to its other competitions, but it is enough considering the uses that top handle chainsaws have.

It has a 12-inch bar and chain and has a weight of 6lbs overall. This is perfect if you are new to cutting wood, or if you want the extra flexibility over the excess power. An example situation is if you are cutting branches with difficult angles and far-reaching positions, then this chainsaw will be suited for your circumstances.

The engine, being battery-powered, is quite clean and environmental-friendly compared to its gasoline-powered counterparts. Furthermore, since the power of the engine is not much, its durability is higher with less strain if used properly.

From the name itself, this Greenworks cordless chainsaw offers a greener alternative than gas-powered variants. However, you can’t really expect it to work perfectly for heavy-duty tasks.

This can only be ideal if you need more than a lopper but don’t want to call your big saw. 


  • Up to 75 cuts on a single charge
  • Good battery life
  • Great gas alternative; greener
  • check
    50 percent less vibration and noise
  • check
    No maintenance needed


  • Minor reports of limited run time
  • Very limited warranty

Overall, the Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw is a small and light chainsaw. Its key feature is its maneuverability due to its short length and light body. You do not need to exert much physical effort and yet it still gets its job done.

Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20262
686 Reviews
Greenworks 12-Inch 40V Cordless Chainsaw, 2.0 AH Battery Included 20262
  • High Performance G-MAX 40V Lithium-Ion Battery delivers...
  • Robust 12-inch steel chain and bar with tool-less chain...
  • 3/8-inch chain pitch delivers the right amount of...
  • Automatic oiler applies oil to bar and chain when needed to...

Last update : 2019-12-06 at 08:06 - Details

3# Makita XCU02PT 18V x2 LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12" Chain Saw (With Kit)

Makita comes with the competitive lineup and their XCU02PT Cordless Chainsaw can easily dominate. The brand is smart enough to design this one with two (2) 18V batteries, giving the user 36V run time and power.

This feature gives the unit the same stamina you can get on gas-powered variants. Now you can handle the same demands without leaving the 18V LXT platform.

Not only can you have a set of batteries that can endure, you also have the fastest charging batteries in their respective category. The result is more productivity with less time charging.

Putting batteries aside, this Makita also makes an impressive approach in terms of the motor. At its core is a Makita-built motor that can deliver 1650FPM high cutting speed. The best part is it can do such with less noise and absolutely zero emissions.

Makita can easily won the competition, as long as it’s limited to its category. However, just like any other electric model, it would be hard to swallow the fact that battery-powered units can’t necessarily compete with gas-powered models.

Makita can easily won the competition, as long as it’s limited to its category. However, just like any other electric model, it would be hard to swallow the fact that battery-powered units can’t necessarily compete with gas-powered models.


  • High speed; fast operation
  • Battery lasts longer than others
  • Lightweight; even with batteries on
  • check
    Improved water and dust resistance
  • check
    Quite safe to use


  • Might be short for some tasks
  • Minor reports of oil-leakage

While the Makita XCU02PT can easily impress you in so many ways, the only downside, however is the fact you need to separately buy the kit. The link above will direct you to the package that includes the kit while the next link will direct you to the package for the bare tool only.

Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12' Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)
277 Reviews
Makita XCU02PT 18V X2 (36V) LXT Lithium-Ion Cordless 12" Chain Saw Kit (5.0Ah)
  • Makita-built motor delivers 1, 650 FPM chain speed for...
  • Two 18V LXT Lithium-Ion batteries (included) deliver power...
  • Low NOISE level at only 87 dba) and zero emissions for...
  • 12" Guide bar for increased capacity

Last update : 2019-12-06 at 08:06 - Details

Top Handle Chainsaw Buying Guide

There are many factors to consider when buying a suitable top handle chainsaw. You might be confused especially if you are previously not well-researched about mechanical tools.

This buying guide will be teaching you the different aspects of the chainsaw that you might want to consider upon buying and the explanations of each one of them. Without further ado, here are they:

Power Source

The first thing you need to determine is the kind of power the top handle chainsaw has. The chainsaws on the list are either gasoline-powered or battery-powered. Both of them have their own pros and cons and it is up to you and your preference as to what to pick.

  • Gasoline: In general, the chainsaws with gasoline-powered engines have more power compared to their battery-powered counterparts.
  • Battery; on the other hand, are generally more flexible and controllable. Battery-powered engines are also cleaner and require less maintenance work.

If you want to pick between engines with the same power source, you can either look at their size or their voltage. For gasoline-powered engines, the larger they are, the higher is their power for most of the time.

For battery-powered engines, their voltage value is what we can look at to assess their power. There are also different kinds of batteries and knowing their advantages may also help.

Safety Measures

Chainsaws are dangerous tools to use, and there are already many reported incidents of injuries from these machines. First and foremost, you should spend the time to learn how to use top handle chainsaws properly to avoid these injuries.

However, these chainsaws also have built-in safety measures, and picking the safest ones can be crucial especially if you are inexperienced.

Rubber handle / Hand Guard

Having a rubberized handle is wise because it increases the friction of your fingers which allows you to hold the chainsaw much firmer. One more important feature of top handle chainsaws is their mechanisms in reducing the kickback from cutting. Another measure is the handguard used to prevent hand injuries.

Lightweight; the lighter the better

The weight of the chainsaw can also directly impact the safety of your cutting activity. If the chainsaw is lighter, it is easier to control and less dangerous.

Relative to that, you might also consider your own physical fitness when picking a suitable chainsaw. If you lack the muscles needed to use heavier tools, it might be better to use the lighter top handle chainsaws available.

Chain and Bar Length

The chain and bar length might actually be the most important point to consider in picking the best chainsaw. However, for top handle chainsaws, in particular, most of them are needed to be short and are indeed short, so there is not much variety.

However, this still needs to be mentioned because the bar and chain length ties into many other factors.


First, you need to choose the length appropriate relative to the material you want to cut. This makes it quite important to not only know the optimal length of your chainsaw but also to know what you are going to do with the tool in the first place.

The general rule is that the thicker the things you want to cut are, the longer you want your chainsaw to be.


The chain and bar length is also connected to weight. As mentioned earlier, weight is an important factor to consider when picking chainsaws. And since the weight directly correlates to the length, if you want a lighter top handle chainsaw, you might want to consider the shorter ones.

Safety Tips

Assess your work

The safest thing to do first is to evaluate the nature and scope of the work you intend to do. You might have a too powerful unit for a simple task or you might have not enough power to cut that wood down.

Also you need to ask the following questions and answer them yourself:

  • Do I have an emergency contingency plan if things go awry; or at least a simple backup plan in place in case things don’t go my way?
  • IMPORTANT: Do I have the right skills to do the job? Note that you may have the top handle chainsaw but it doesn’t mean you’ll already be fit for the job.
  • Do I have a supporting team? It’s best not to handle things alone, especially heavy-duty tasks.
  • Do I need to work from a platform; or do I need to climb the tree?

Evaluating your safety by asking yourself these questions will effectively lessen the risks associated with what you’re trying to do.

Know the Risks

Since we’re talking about risks, a lot of people tend to unconsciously ignore the simple fact of climbing – the risk does not only apply to the climber but it rather extends to the workers below. Here are some other important risk guidelines:

  • You can start by making sure you’re able to fasten the top handle chainsaw to the harness.
  • Ensure safe transport of the top handle chainsaw; don’t rush things.
  • Make sure that not a single person is within the drop zone in case the chainsaw falls accidentally.
  • Make sure you have a stable and secure working position before starting to operate.
  • Always leave the chain brake on and away from hindrances.
  • As said a while ago, always remember that top handle chainsaws are not designed for one-hand use

Know your wood

Enough of the chainsaw. It’s equally important to get to know the wood you intend to cut too. Evaluate the nature of the wood and carefully identify the hazards that come with it:

  • Scrutinize whether the wood is dry or brittle.
  • Assess whether it’s hard or soft
  • IMPORTANT: Inspect for wires and nails to steer clear of
  • Be vigilant enough to spot trees prone to tearing

When using the chainsaw

  • Always use TWO hands when holding the unit
  • Always be aware of your cutting position
  • Never cut with the tip of the bar (kickback danger zone)
  • Do not put yourself in a vulnerable position
  • Make sure the branch or tree won’t fall towards your direction
  • Top handle MUST always be below shoulder height; NEVER above


The top handle chainsaw is a very effective tool or machine to use in woodcutting. However, knowing what kind of chainsaw to use in certain circumstances can be a struggle.

Hence, it is important to be more aware of what these chainsaws can and cannot offer and act in accordance with this information.

Hopefully, you were able to be more knowledgeable about the matter, and you can now pick the top handle chainsaw just for you.