Top Handle Chainsaw – 3 Things to Consider

ECHO CS-360TES top handle chainsaw in use

Top handle chainsaw (or arborist saw) are petrol chainsaws designed specifically for professional arborists, foresters and tree surgeons.

Why use a top handle chainsaw?

Unlike a conventional rear handle petrol chainsaw, which requires two hands to operate, a top handle chainsaw has grouped controls mounted in one location on the top handlebar. This means it is possible (although not best practice) to use the top handle chainsaw with one hand or to use it in tight spaces.

Of course, to do so requires specialised skill and training. For this reason, top handle chainsaws can only be sold to trained tree operators with appropriate certification. They should not be operated by members of the public or even untrained professionals.

Choosing the right arborist saw

Just like the purchase of any petrol chainsaw, understanding the right questions to ask when choosing a top handle saw is crucial. The following points should be considered. Remember, always seek out professional advice from your nearest ECHO dealer before making your final purchasing decision.

1. Arborist saw safety

Without question, the first consideration is safety. Every modern petrol chainsaw will feature a chain brake, but take a good look at the quality of the mechanism. The CS-2511TES features a dual post chain brake design – this adds a lot of strength… just where you need it.

Look for extra strength in the lanyard. As a climbing saw, your top handle chainsaw will be fastened to your harness. Should the line snag on a branch, you need to be sure that fixing won’t break – this is a safety risk for the ground crew working near the base of the tree.

2. Arborist saw comfort

After safety comes comfort. As a professional arborist, you will be using the saw every day for hours at a time. A top handle chainsaw that is uncomfortable to use is actually an unsafe chainsaw. Having a secure and comfortable grip provides control of the saw that is critical for safe operation.

Look for features like that of the CS-360TES for example. This chainsaw has an adjustable palm rest to fit the contours of your hand. This feature helps with the positioning of the saw in your hand.

Weight is another critical factor. Imagine using a saw with your arms out stretched. Muscle fatigue can be a real issue. The CS-2511TES is one of the lightest chainsaws in the world and can used comfortably for longer periods.

3. Arborist saw manoeuvrability

By definition, a top handle chainsaw must be easy to maneuver. It is used in areas where space is at a premium and a variety of complicated and precise cuts are required in a potentially hazardous environment. A compact design, such as that found on the CS-2511TES and the CS-280TES is more than just desirable – it is essential. A bulky design can inhibit your ability to use the chainsaw. Be sure to spend a lot of time weighing up the requirement for bar length versus compact design. You know best the way you work and the type of arborist saw that will best meet your needs.