Husqvarna T535i XP 36V Top Handle Chainsaw Review

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw
PTR Review
  • Pro Review 9.1

Forget what you know about lithium-ion powered chainsaws. Husqvarna's T535i XP 36V Chainsaw is in another class that no other battery powered chainsaw can touch: the professional landscaper's. With true gas performance and a battery option that offers a full day of run time, landscaping pros finally have a lithium-ion system they can actually work with.

Overall Score 9.1 (out of 10)

Some companies seem to get more out of their batteries than others. That’s exactly what we see in the Husqvarna T535i XP 36V top handle chainsaw. So before we move on, I want you to forget for a moment what you know about the correlation between voltage and performance, because Husqvarna is going to change your perspective.

Husqvarna 36V Battery Platform

The first mental obstacle we need to get past is the idea of a 36V battery platform. Some might think that Husqvarna just decided to try and do more with less and it just happened to work out. This is not the case at all. I think this platform is exactly what product managers needed to get the performance out of the Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw that they required. Two cases in point – Husqvarna’s Electric Corded Chainsaw and their Limbing Gas Chainsaw.

The Husqvarna T535i XP top handle chainsaw turns that 36V battery into power that puts out over 65 feet per second of chain speed. The corded Husqvarna 316EL? Just 45 feet per second. The Husqvarna T435 seems to be the model that the Husqvarna 535i XP top handle chainsaw is designed to replace. The T435 spins at just under 63 feet per second. It’s pretty clear that designers were able to get all the power they needed in a true gas replacement model.

You’ve got options when it comes to batteries on the Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw, although the tool comes without battery or charger. They offer a 2.1 amp hour and 4.2 amp hour battery like most other OPE companies out there. That’s good enough for you as a homeowner. Where Husqvarna sets themselves apart and becomes a true professional landscaper’s friend is in their lithium-ion backpacks.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw with Battery Pack

Backpack Batteries for the Husqvarna T535i Top Handle Chainsaw

The 31.1 Ah BLi950X ($969) battery backpack offers the best bang for your buck in terms of runtime when up in a tree.

While we actually did our testing with the older Husqvarna BLi940X battery backpack, it functions nearly identically to the BLi950X. We loved the fit. They designed it very much like a hiking backpack. Once properly adjusted, you’ll carry the weight on your hips, not your shoulders. This makes the extra 20.7 pounds that much easier to carry.

Husqvarna BLi950X 36V battery backpack

Fit and Ergonomics

The backpack snaps across your midsection and chest will ensure a correct fit along with three adjustable heights for the battery to install in the harness. There are also several points to secure the battery cable to the shoulder or hip straps should you need to keep it out of your way.

You use the same charger on all 4 battery options. I’ve only tested the 26.1 amp hour battery pack so far, and you’re looking at 235 minutes to fully charge it.

Husqvarna designed a battery solution that gives homeowners on larger properties what they need to get the job done. They’ve also given professional landscapers the runtime they need to put in a full day’s work. This helps when you want to truly ditch the gas can on a particular trailer or load-out.

Husqvarna T535i Top Handle Chainsaw Features

Let’s talk more about the Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw now that we’ve shown you that this really is a pro minded battery platform. The T535i XP 12-inch top-handle chainsaw is well suited to limbing and cutting down small diameter trees. It’s lightweight enough to use easily when it comes to trimming duties that require climbing. There’s a rope attachment on the back that’s handy for pulling the saw up to where you are. I actually used a belt eyelet right next to it with a carabiner to attach the saw to my belt loop as a climbed to where I was taking care of some trimming.

Carabiner clip for fall protection

When dealing with less stressful cutting situations, the Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw includes the savE feature. This dials back the power some to maximize the run time. Soft or small diameter woods that don’t need full power to cut can take advantage of this. You’ll find the savE feature on the keypad. Power the Husqvarna T535i XP up and then push the green “e” to set it in savE mode.

Controls and savE feature

Inertial Chain Brake

The chain brake is inertia or user activated. When climbing or walking with the saw, it’s a good idea to keep the brake engaged. Simply pulling back on the mechanism at the front of the saw will reset the brake and have you ready to work. A blinking indicator on the keypad will let you know if the brake in engaged (or if there are other maintenance issues to check).

chainsaw brake

The Husqvarna T535i 36V Chainsaw features a simple chain tension adjustment. It uses a flathead screw on the outside of the housing. Climb with the chainsaw tool, and you’ll have everything you need to make adjustments on the fly. This is a good thing as you’ll need to tighten any new chain that you install after just a short period of use as it stretches out.

manual chain tensioning adjustment

In the event that you do need to access the bar or replace a chain on the fly, Husqvarna uses a retained nut that won’t fall off. It’s going to stay in place when it’s loosened completely, so there’s no more climbing down and hoping that you can find the nut.

The oil cap is a flip up design. When you need to refill the oil (approximately every 3 battery charges according to the instructions), you just flip the lid up to unscrew the cap. The cap is kept from being lost with an interior string assembly like you find on many oil and gas tank caps.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Flip Cap

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Specs

  • Model: Husqvarna T535i XP
  • Power Source: 36V Battery Pack (not included)
  • Lubrication: Automatic Oil Pump (6.7 ounce capacity)
  • Noise Level: 93 db(A) at operator’s ear
  • Chain Pitch: 3/8″
  • Bar Length: 10 – 14″ (12″ included)
  • Max Chain Speed: 65.62 feet per second
  • Weight: 5.29 pounds (without battery and cutting equipment)
  • Price: $469.95

Using the Husqvarna T535i XP Top Handle Chainsaw

I needed to trim back an oak tree for my parents. It had grown too close to some power lines. Rather than waiting for the power company to hack away at it we wanted a chance to shape it properly. As I secured myself to the tree, I realized that the diameter of the limbs we wanted to trim back were larger than I had anticipated. Having used other 40V chainsaws, I wondered if the 36V Husqvarna T535i top handle chainsaw was up to the task.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Conclusion

As I began to cut, I realized this saw had more cutting power than others I had used. It was clear immediately that it was in another class completely. The high-speed chain quickly cut through the hardwood. Waiting only to ensure safety for both myself, my spotter, and the cars on the nearby road, the main branch came down with surprising efficiency. I experienced the same efficiency on smaller diameter branches—only moreso.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw In Use

Once on the ground, I began limbing, cutting the major branches into sizes we could carry to the road. I certainly put the saw through a lot of work, but I’d hesitate to say that I actually stressed it.

Metal Bucking Spikes and Ergonomics

It was during this time that I really began to appreciate the metal bucking spikes that meant business. These aren’t just some throw-it-on-there-because-you-have-to-have-them spikes. They match the ones found on Husqvarna gas chainsaws.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Bucking Spikes

Ergonomically, there was really only one thing that I didn’t care for. I was constantly wishing that I had a greater distance between my hands. The trigger hand and support handle come together to form a 90-degree angle. That meant your hands stay really close to each other during cutting. I feel like that kept me from getting the leverage that I normally prefer.

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Grip

From start to finish, it was about a 2-1/2 hour job. The amazing thing was that I drained the BLi940X Battery Pack all the way down… to 74%. I could have worked a 10-hour day with the Husqvarna T535i XP and not recharged the backpack. That’s run time that a landscaping professional can raise his eyebrows at.

Conclusions and Final Thoughts

Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw Bar and Chain

There’s going to be one obstacle that will get in the way of some people pulling the trigger on this system: cost. It’s a larger upfront investment than going with Husqvarna gas-powered options. What you’ll have to weigh is that there’s no gas and oil to buy and mix. You also get to skip winterizing.

I learned a lot about battery systems with the Husqvarna T535i XP. It’s not just about the voltage and amp hours. Husqvarna simply gets better performance out of their system than I’ve experienced with anyone else. If there’s one thing that surprised me more than anything else, it was the cutting speed that I got out of the Husqvarna 36V Chainsaw. I almost hate including “36V” in the name because it cuts like a saw with a bigger number on the package.

Husqvarna got it right with the chainsaw and this system. There’s run time that is available for the pro landscaper to work a full day. The light weight and performance of this saw will leave limbing and small tree cutting jobs with nothing wanting. If I had any lingering doubts as to whether the Husqvarna Battery Series was truly a professional line of tools, this experience has quelled it with enthusiastic finality.

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