What is the lightest top-handled chainsaw and is it any good?

There has been something of a race to produce the lightest chainsaw but, of course, when you are working off the ground you should use the tools that are right for the job and that you are most comfortable using.

In truth, every saw has its place. Always consider the balance and comfort when handling a saw, the power-to-weight ratio, bar lengths, chain speed, the vibration and noise levels and features such as easy starting.

The Stihl 35.2cc MS200T, with 1.7kW output, remains one of the most popular chainsaws among tree surgeons. It’s typically “Stihl” — robust, perfectly balanced and with all the features you need, including an eye of sufficient size to take the strop.

Husqvarna’s 338XPT top-handled saw weighs the same and produces the same power, but from a 39cc engine. This saw is noted for its “teardrop” shape intended to make it easy to handle and to lower down through the branches. Like other saws from the Husky stable, the 338XPT is a high revver with a good chain speed. This is also a versatile saw, with a choice of 30cm or 35cm bar.

Echo offers two top-handled units. The 35.8cc 350TES comes with a 35cm bar and weighs 3.4kg. Less powerful but lighter is the Echo 26.9cc 260TES. This saw weighs just 2.9kg but only comes with a shorter bar — just 25cm.

At 2.8kg, Efco’s 125 is marginally lighter. It is also fitted with a 25cm bar but has a slightly small, 25.4cc, engine. The company also supplies the 135 top-handled saw with 30cc engine and a choice of 30cm or 35cm bar.

Likewise, Makita offers two saws. The DCS3410TH is a 34cc unit supplied with 25cm bar and weighing 35kg, but for lighter pruning work the company boasts the 22.2cc DCS230T. Power output is 0.7kW and, again supplied with 25cm bar, this unit has a trim weight of just 2.5kg.

The lightest saw I know of is the Zenoah G2000T, now distributed in the UK by Briggs & Stratton UK. But this saw, which we hope to test in the future, also has the smallest engine (18.3cc) and shortest bar (20cm). Power output is 0.6kW. Zenoah also makes 25.4cc and 30.1cc top-handled saws.

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