Best Arborist Chainsaws – Our Top 6 Picks

Historically, chainsaws cut trees or wooden logs. But similar to other tools and equipment, they have been subjected to modern transformation as well. The same goes for an arborist chainsaw with the additional power of cutting firewood, trimming, and chopping fully grown trees. But if you are taking up challenging tree-cutting jobs, you need the best arborist chainsaw.

You might be surprised to know that the capabilities of chainsaws vary considerably based on their features. From weight, handle position to the overall design, each element plays an important in making a tool what it can do.

These arborist chainsaws come in all shapes and sizes; which one you want depends on your tasks at hand. In such a situation, an in-depth analysis of the ins and outs of the most sought-after chainsaws offers quite a practical start.

In a hurry?

If you don’t have much time to read the complete article, you can pick one from the table below. Rest assured that we only choose the best products.

Best Arborist Chainsaws – Our Top Picks

  • DEWALT 20V MAX XR – Best DEWALT Arborist Chainsaw
  • Makita XCU03PT1 – Best Makita Cordless Top Handle Chainsaw
  • Poulan Pro PR5020 – Best 50cc Chainsaw
  • Poulan Pro PR4218 – Best 42cc Chainsaw
  • Husqvarna 130 – Best Husqvarna 16 Inches Top Handle Chainsaw
  • ECHO CS-271T – Best Top Handle Arborist Chainsaw
Editor’s Choice
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit
DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit
  • Brushless Compact Chainsaw
  • Can Make 90 Cuts Per Charge
  • Lightweight Design
  • Much Quieter Than A Gas Saw
  • Good Quality at A Decent Price
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Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V) Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 (36V)
  • Compact Rear Handle Design
  • Brushless Motor
  • Variable Speed Trigger
  • Tool-Less Chain Adjustment
  • Improved Dust & Water Resistance
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Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc Poulan Pro 20 in. 50cc
  • Easy to handle for a non-pro
  • Pull starting system
  • 20″ chain bar 
  • Powerful engine
  • Filtering system 
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Best Budget
Poulan Pro PR4218 42cc
Poulan Pro PR4218 42cc
  • 2-stroke engine with 18″ Bar
  • Gas powered
  • Automatic oiler
  • Super clean air filter system
  • Effortless pull starting
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Husqvarna 16 Inch 130 Gas Chainsaw Husqvarna 16 Inch 130 Gas Chainsaw
  • 2 cycle engine
  • Automatic chain oiler
  • Great power for a small chainsaw
  • Super easy to pull start
  • Perfect chainsaw for home use
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Editor’s Choice
ECHO CS-271T 12 In chainsaw
ECHO CS-271T 12 In chainsaw
  • Super light to use with one hand
  • Easy to start
  • Best for trimming and tree work
  • Two cycle engine
  • Anti Vibration Handle
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Best DEWALT Top Handle Chainsaw

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw Kit Review


Brushless motors are known for their longevity. This arborist chainsaw also comes with a brushless motor that ensures high-quality cutting and longevity.

The saw comes with a low kickback 12 inch Oregon chain. Being a battery-powered top handle chainsaw, it comes with a 20V lithium-ion battery.

Regardless of being powered by a battery, the chainsaw works like a powerhouse. Based on our experience, the supplied power is sufficient through the toughest of woods and thick branches.

There is an auto oiler to ensure that the 12-inch bar and chain are well-lubricated to avoid any undue friction that may cause fire sparks.

There is no need to open the oil tank to check the oil level. The presence of an oil indicator does that job for you. These arborist chainsaws offer tool-less chain adjustment, whereas the high-quality Oregon chain ensures even the most challenging jobs display quality performance.

As the top handle arborist chainsaws are handheld tools, the 9 pounds weight, including the battery, makes it a high user-friendly chainsaw.

Additionally, the rubber over-molded top handle provides a firm grip for a stable cutting. Besides, if you experience any kickback while working, the pretty responsive chain brake will immediately stop the chain.

The chainsaw can make 90 cuts per charge on 4×4 pressure treated wood with 5-Ah Battery, which is quite notable. These chainsaws also feature a single-speed trigger that produces 25.5 feet/second. You can now imagine why smaller twigs and branches do not stand a chance in front of this top-handle chainsaw.

Inside the package, you will find one 12-inch chainsaw chain, one DCCS620P1 power tool. Besides, a 20V lithium-ion battery and hard bar cover are also part of this chainsaw package.

If you are a lady chainsaw operator, check this article on the top lightweight chainsaws for women.

  • Can cut through 10-inch logs
  • lightweight 
  • Responsive chain brake
  • Firm grip handle
  • tool-less chain adjustment system 
  • battery pack and charger included
  • Easy to use 
  • 20V lithium-ion high-quality battery 
  • Brushless motor
  • It might struggle while extra-thick wood 
  • A relatively small arborist chainsaw

Best Rear Handle Arborist Chainsaw

Makita XCU03PT1 18V X2 Review

Man-Cutting-Tree-With-Makita-XCU03PT1 -8V X2

Makita is a trustworthy name when it comes to buying essential and performing power tools. This battery-powered rear handle arborist chainsaw works with 18V X2 36V, 4 LXT Lithium-Ion batteries.

The convenience of battery-powered chainsaws is more than a gas-powered one. The integrated battery indicator keeps you on your toes all the time, helping you ensure you stop working when the battery is near to dissipation.

The added portability is beneficial for the woodcutter, landscapers, and even foresters. These arborists chainsaws are easy to use and more eco-friendly. Thus, it is becoming more and more relevant these days.

The 14-inch bar and chain can cut through thicker logs than a 12-inch bar and chain. Interestingly, Makita XCU03PT1 can be customized to attach 12, or 16-inch bar and chain adjustments. Thus, you get a wider cutting variety and depths.

Replacing the chain is a lot tiring if it requires fetching several tools. Luckily, in Makita XCU03PT1, accessing and replacing the chain with a tool-less chain adjustment system becomes hassle-free. The brushless motor ensures you get more power, enhanced cutting performance but simultaneously a quieter operation.

With the right bar and chain sharpness, you get a melting cutting performance under the moving chainsaw. To ensure you always receive an above-par performance, keep the chainsaw chain sharp and the saw bar clean. Keeping an eye on the oil level guarantees there is sufficient oil for lubrication.

While working with potentially dangerous tools such as Makita rear handle chainsaws, ensuring a fail-safe and a pro-level safety is necessary. Thus, you get a readily accessible chain brake that stops the chains in split seconds when you find the chainsaw turning or the chain producing kickback.

Finally, as one of the best arborist chainsaws, integrating the Extreme Protection Technology (XPT) feature allows for dust and moisture resistance. Therefore, you can work non-stop, even in the rain.

  • Extremely balanced design 
  • Rear handle arborist chainsaw
  • It comes with 2 free battery packs
  • Brushless motor ensures quiet operation
  • It can be customized to fit 12- and 16-inch bar
  • Lightweight
  • Battery-powered
  • Built-in L. E. D. On/off switch
  • It does not come with an automatic oil indicator

Best 50cc Gas Powered Chainsaw

Poulan Pro 20 in PR5020 Review


There is no doubt that gas-powered chainsaws are more potent than chainsaws. Poulan Pro 20-inch guide bar, rear handle chainsaw is robust, highly affordable, and a value for your money. It is so far the most economical back-handle chainsaw on our list.

This is a 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw that requires the right mixing of oil and gas in a fixed proportion. The manufacturers typically elaborate the ratio on the packaging.

Additionally, the 2-cycle chainsaws typically have less weight than others. The 50cc professional-grade engine is pretty powerful for achieving professional cutting through thick wood and trees. 

Such a powerful engine offers consistently smooth and hassle-free cutting when working with its onboard 20-inch guide bar.

Battery-powered chainsaws are advertised as more environment-friendly options. The Poulans patented OxyPower Engine design lets no stone unturned to offer a competitive gas-powered tool.

The technology ensures efficient fuel consumption with 70% less fuel emissions. During the tests, the product fulfilled its promise of using 20% less fuel than other gas-powered saws of similar caliber.

Many people cringe away from the pull start system if it requires multiple pulls. Not anymore; the pull start system of this back handle chainsaw requires 30% less pull force compared to other chainsaws.

The design and balance of the product play an essential part in reducing muscle fatigue and strain. The engineers have delivered a great-looking product.  

The combination of the back handle and the plastic handle ensures maximum stability during cutting. Moreover, the fuel purge primer bulb delivers fuel to the carburetor for a hassle-free start.

The 20-inch guide bar can effortlessly cut through an 18 inches thick log. The 50cc engine enhances this convenience further. Whereas the automatic chain oiler keeps the chain and guide bar lubricated all the time.

We also found that replacing the bar and chain is not only hassle-free but also takes less time. To adequately manage the chain tensioning, a specific combination tool called a scrench comes with the machine. Consequently, you can solve all the adjustment issues on the go.

  • Can cut through thicker woods
  • The engine offers more power
  • lightweight 2-cycle engine
  • less fuel consumption and emission
  • Side chain tensioning system 
  • Reduced vibration handle
  • 3-year extended warranty
  • efficient starting system 
  • Requires accurate mixing of fuel
  • It needs a razor-sharp chain

Best 42cc 2-Cycle Gas Chainsaw

Poulan Pro PR4218 Review


This is another 2-cycle gas-powered chainsaw model, most suitable for woodcutters or landscapers that do not require a tool for thicker woods. This rear handle chainsaw with a guide bar length of 18 inches offers efficiency and accuracy at the same time.

The chain bar makes it the most suitable ergonomic handle chainsaw for medium-duty cuttings of firewood or cleaning the mess after a storm.

This gas-powered chainsaw is reasonably compact and lightweight. Additionally, the chainsaw comes with a case that allows for effortless transportation.

Its high-end features with a very attractive price tag place it in the same league as Husqvarna t435 and the likes.

Whether you are a landowner or a property manager, the Poulan Pro PR4218, with its OxyPower patented technology, reduces cost on fuel consumption. It also gets praise for its 70% less emissions.

The back handle with an anti-vibration system offers seamless cutting through 16-inch-thick lumber. Additionally, with its Effortless Pull Starting system, it requires much less force to start than others.

The SuperClean Air Filter System guarantees steady power without consuming additional fuel and ensures longer air filter life. It also prevents blockages. The automatic gear-driven chain lubrication system keeps the chain bar lubricated all the time.

When the chain is running, it is advised to grip the ergonomic handle for enhanced control of the work. Concerning build quality, it is well-built and designed saw with readily intuitive essential controls.

One of its highlighting features is the half throttle choke with a purge primer bulb that quickly offers fuel for a comfortable warm-up and start.

Furthermore, there is a large handguard that adds to user safety. This back handle arborist chainsaw comes with one carry case, one extra chain, one built-in scrench, and 2-stroke oil.

  • Low kickback chain
  • Chain brake 
  • 42cc 2 cycle engine 
  • Chain catcher for to stop a slipping chain
  • Balanced power to weight ratio
  • 18-inch bar length 
  • Throttle lockout switch to avoid pressing trigger accidentally
  • 70% less emission
  • It requires a tool for chain tensioning

Best Husqvarna Top Handle Chainsaw

Husqvarna 16 Inch 130 Review


If you have large trees around your house that need cutting into firewood, a gas-powered chainsaw with relatively more power will hold up firm against them.

The chainsaw is ideal for people who have medium-thick cutting jobs but requires a lightweight machine. Unlike many other top handle saws, this is a back handle chainsaw that offers maximum comfort and stability during use. Therefore, cutting and pruning trees is a walk in the park for these chainsaws.

This rear handle arborist chainsaw significantly differs from others concerning its 38cc engine, which offers optimal performance for an average user.

As always, the design, build, and weight of this tool all work in tandem to enhance performance during challenging cuttings. The machine weighs slightly more than 4kg, so there is not much fatigue even after prolonged work hours.

To be precise, this chainsaw, with its 16-inch chain bar length, is an entry-level chainsaw; you might not see many bells and frills in it. However, its price corresponds to its minimalistic design and features.

It is not from the pure fire engine series. However, being a Husqvarna boasts its 20% less fuel consumption and emission due to x-torque. Simultaneously, the fuel pump makes starting the machine easier.

The automatic chain oiling system keeps the parts lubricated for frictionless smooth working. The centrifugal air cleaning system keeps the filter safe from reaching larger pieces of dust and wood shards into the filter.

 Additionally, the presence of an anti-vibration system reduces vibration. Thus, you never lose focus while working on tough gear. The inertia-activated chain brake reduces the risks of accidents by lowering kickback.

With this Husqvarna chainsaw in hand, you will feel like cutting through butter. That’s the power and capability of this machine.

  • Powerful easy to handle
  • Suitable for cutting, pruning, trimming firewood
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Affordable
  • Patented Air® Injection technology
  • X-Torq® engine for low fuel consumption and emission
  • LowVib®
  • It is not ideal for thicker and heavy-duty jobs

Best Echo Top Handle Chainsaw

ECHO CS-271T 12 In. Review


The next is one of the best arborist chainsaws currently present in the market. These chainsaws give touch competitions to brands like Husqvarna.

ECHO CS-271T are the best arborists chainsaws for people looking for a machine for light pruning and cutting of not-so-thick firewood and branches.

The 12-inch chain bar in these chainsaws is well-suited for light jobs around your personal property. Interestingly, this top handle chainsaw can also work with a 14-inch chain bar system.

The G-Force Engine Air Pre-cleaner system of these top handle chainsaws ensures the longevity of the air filter. This engine system in the chainsaw also gives competition to a pure fire engine as both tend to emit cleaner air.

Additionally, this top-handle arborist chainsaw comes with a side access chain tensioning system that ensures easy adjustment of the chain. Just like a sprocket nose bar system, these chainsaws with a 12-inch chain bar work smoothly on relatively tough wood.

Mimicking the high-end chainsaws, the i-30 startup ensures an easy start in this 29.9cc engine. The clutch controls the oiler, and automatic shut-off prevents overuse of oil.

One of the highlighting features that might be lacking in many other chainsaws is the top handle design. This design makes it the Best Echo top handle chainsaw by enhancing user safety, control, and stability in a chainsaw for elevated cuttings.

Additionally, the less weight of the chainsaw also allows for single-hand operations. However, require experience is a must as a chainsaw is a potentially dangerous tool.

The automatic oiling system ensures the long life of the chain bar. Thus, you can expect low maintenance costs associated with this chainsaw.

  • Perfect arborist chainsaw for light tasks
  • Clutch driven oiler
  • i-30 quick start system
  • G-force engine for emitting cleaner air
  • 5-year consumer and commercial warranty
  • Lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Purge primer bulb for fast fuel to the carburetor
  • Throttle chock
  • Top handle chainsaw
  • one-hand operation
  • Only suitable for light-duty tasks 
  • A little above average price for high quality

Note: If you need to climb a tree and use the chainsaw, we recommend reading this guideline for tree climber arborists.


What brand of chainsaw do professional loggers use?

Professional loggers prefer more than one brand when buying the most suitable machine to fulfill their professional cutting jobs. Some of them are Husqvarna, Poulan Pro, and ECHO.

What is the most reliable chainsaw?

Husqvarna makes one of the most reliable chainsaws present in the market. For light jobs, you can go for Husqvarna 966997203 T435 with a top handle. For more challenging tasks of cutting thicker wood, Husqvarna 20 Inch 450 Rancher II might be a more reliable choice.

What’s the best all-around chainsaw?

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Chainsaw might be considered the best all-around chainsaw with durable design, a decent bar, and chain size, no emission, potability with top handle design.

What is the best chainsaw for a homeowner?

The ECHO CS-271T can be considered the Best Echo top handle chainsaw for homeowners. The chainsaw comes with a 12-inch bar, but you can adjust a 14-inch bar as well. Additionally, it offers a quick start, fuel conservation, low emission, and ample power for light jobs in the house.

Best Arborist Chainsaws – Final Call

Buying the best arborist chainsaw becomes a lot easier if you systematically look for one with a guide in hand. With a guide about the rear and top handle chainsaw reviews in hand, finding the most tool according to needs becomes less daunting.

If you are looking for a top handle chainsaw for elevated cutting, you have ECHO CS-271T; a combination of ample power and features for light jobs.

Simultaneously, Dewalt fans may be more tilted towards DEWALT 20V MAX XR, a battery-powered design with enhanced freedom of movement.

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