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10 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners : Top Picks Reviewed (July 2021)

You’ve got yourself a chainsaw and it has been working well. But now that you have had it a little while, it does not seem to be working as well.  Perhaps your machine is inefficient or keeps overheating? I am sure you will agree that the sharpness of the tool is a big indicator of its performance and safety.

You could look to replace the chain or your whole tool, but it is possible to save yourself a buck or two and buy a chainsaw sharpener instead.   You will need to find the best chainsaw sharpener to make sure you sharpen the chain effectively.  Using a sharpener is quick and easy, meaning you will be able to continue working with your chainsaw again ASAP.

There is a massive choice out there for different chainsaw sharpeners.  They can be electric, manual, bench-mounted or portable, as well as designed for different sizes of chains.  To make the whole selecting process easier for you, we researched, tested, and reviewed the top models on the market today. Here comes our findings!

Why You Should Trust Us

Here at Drillly we are a group of woodworking enthusiasts that share our working experience with the whole world. We love what we do and we don’t want other enthusiasts like us make the same mistakes that  we made long ago.

Keeping this factor in mind, we regularly publish how-to blogs sharing different DIY projects and crafting techniques right on this platform. We also review power tools and share our findings with our audience so you don’t end up with the wrong tool and mess up your much-valued project.

Ever since the inception of Drillly, our audience base kept growing every single day and we’re now proud to have members from all over the US. Stay with us and you’ll surely find our content beneficial to take your skill to a whole another level.

How We Picked These Products

You may be wondering how we have made our decisions on the best chainsaw sharpeners.  It certainly was not an easy task! First of all, our web team spent over 20 hours sifting through hundreds of chainsaw teeth sharpener reviews and doing extensive online research. After this, we decided to choose 19 chainsaw sharpeners to try out for ourselves based on the products we found online that we thought would fit our different criteria and had the best user reviews.

With these 19 chainsaw sharpeners, our team of testers (from amateurs to professionals) took them through their paces.  We then collated all of their feedback and combined with user ratings, experiences, their features, and cost, among other things, and selected our top rated chainsaw sharpeners accordingly.  We hope that you will love the products that we have selected for you and can find the best one to suit your needs.

Top 10 Professional Best Chainsaw Sharpener Review

Our Top 10 Product List contains different chainsaw sharpeners for your needs.  Whether you need a manual chainsaw sharpener or want an electric multi-file-size, we have a choice that will suit all needs and budgets. First up, it’s our manual choice.

01 Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener (Top Manual Choice)

Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener

This popular STIHL EasyFile tool is actually a 2-in-1 gadget, doubling up as a depth gauge as well as a manual chainsaw sharpener.  It quickly sharpens the teeth in one single action which reduces the maintenance time significantly.  It has a sturdy frame which permits the smooth filing motion, producing top, accurate results.

The files are also replaceable too and the set includes flat and round file.  This tool is compatible with ¼” P (3.2mm diameter), 3/8” P (4.0mm diameter), 0.325” (4.8mm diameter), 3/8” (5.2mm diameter), and 0.404” (5.5mm diameter) chains.

As mentioned, the STIHL EasyFile 2-in-1 is an extremely popular choice for a manual chainsaw sharpener. It is one of our highest-rated chainsaw sharpeners in this list.  This rating is largely due to the great results it gives in terms of sharpness and cutting edge.

It is also lightweight and portable, which makes it an excellent choice when you are out and about away from the workshop.  Weighing just 12 ounces, it is small and measures 8.4” x 2” x 0.9” in size.   The tool only supports a pitch of 0.325”.

Pros

  • Portable
  • Lightweight
  • Simple to use

Cons

  • A vice is needed to keep your chainsaw steady while sharpening

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a manual chainsaw sharpener, then this is the perfect pick.  Lightweight, portable and easy to use, it has excellent reviews and ratings online.  To use it, you will need to find a vice to keep your chainsaw still and secure as you sharpen it.  It is compatible with many chainsaw types too so if you have more than one chainsaw in your workshop arsenal, then this makes a great choice as a manual chainsaw sharpener.

02 Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener (Top Electric Choice)

Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

If it is an electric chainsaw sharpener that takes your fancy, then the Buffalo Tools ECSS makes a fantastic choice.  It has an excellent grinding speed of 4200 RPM and is a 60Hz 85-watt tool which plugs into a 120-volt standard wall outlet.  The speed will ensure that the teeth get nice and sharp in next to no time.  This sharpener will give you three wheels that vary in thickness and size for different purposes and usages, making it a thoroughly versatile tool.

It can mount to a workbench or be used in a vice for stability and access and adjusts to the most frequently found chain types.  It uses 4 ¼” by 1/8” grinding wheel with a 7/8” arbor.

This electric chainsaw sharpener means that you can save money in the long run by sharpening your own tool.  You don’t need to dash to the hardware shop when the chain on your saw dulls and can fix it right up at home by plugging it in. This doesn’t just save you money but time too.

It is our top choice electric chainsaw sharpener because, as with all Buffalo products, the quality is fantastic, and it is at an excellent price too. It can even be used by beginners as it is one of the easiest to use and offers great versatility for people who have limited space.

Lastly, it measures 13.5” x 9.5” x 6.2”, weighs 4.11 lbs and comes in at under $40.

Pros

  • Quality materials as with all Buffalo products
  • Versatile tool with three wheels
  • Powerful with 4200 RPM
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Does not have some of the higher-end features such as pre-set stops

Final Verdict

For a great price of under $40, this Buffalo tool is a great buy. It is powerful with great output and is versatile thanks to its three different wheels that come with it. It can be plugged straight into a regular 12 volt wall outlet socket and can be mounted in different ways for flexibility such as in a vice or wall-mount.  With this handy tool, your chainsaw chains will be sharpened in next to no time saving you all those trips to the DIY store to have your chains sharpened or in buying a replacement chain.

03 Oregon 541662 PowerSharp (Top Bar-Mount Choice)

Oregon 541662 PowerSharp

For a bar-mounted chainsaw sharpener, the Oregan 541662 PowerSharp is a fantastic choice. It prides itself on being easy, precise, tough and tough too.  It gives you, as a chainsaw user, the ultimate power of sharpening your chain when it is still on your saw.  What is more, the chain can be sharpened in just a few seconds with an attachment that is extremely simple to use. It works in as little as three seconds without any cutting issues.

With the chain moving through the Oregon PowerSharp, the top-sharpening cutters make contact with the stone.  The cutter depth works with the cutter and depth gauge tie strap to give the required stability for the most precise cutting edge. There is a dresser link that is diamond-coated which resurfaces the stone, making sure that there is contact with the flat cutter and stone.

It has a drive link count of 62 with a 3/8” low profile and a gauge of 0.050”.  It is compatible with 42cc chainsaw sizes, working with chainsaw sizes that include 12-15amps or 1300-1800 watts.

Additionally, LubriTech keeps the guide bar and chain lubricated with plenty of oil so there is much less friction.  This also prolongs the life of your too.  It is a low-kickback saw which meets the requirements of the CSA Standard Z62.3 too so you can be sure that it has been tested appropriately.

It measures 26.2” x 5.4” x 1.5” and weighs 2.8lbs. and costs less than $50 (at the time of our research).

Pros

  • LubriTech technology to keep everything oiled
  • Meets industry standards
  • Efficient and fast sharpening

Cons

  • Hard to get the chain untangled

Final Verdict

Overall, this is a great bar-mounted chainsaw sharpener.  It has fantastic features and works extremely quickly, in as little as three seconds.  The chain is kept well-oiled thanks to the LubriTech technology of the sharpener.  It is not the best-rated chainsaw sharpening system though.  This would not be considered a cheap device either.  But we do believe as far as bar-mounted chainsaw sharpeners go, this is one of the best.

04 Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit (Budget Choice)

Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Our budget choice is the Katzco 8-piece chainsaw sharpener.  This one is a manual file kit which contains all the tools and files that you could need to sharpen your chainsaw and get it back in top condition.  The files come in a roll-up pouch making it a really convenient kit to carry and store. You can take it to wherever you need to go with ease.

There is a range of files in the kit to meet all the needs of sharpening different chainsaws.  There are premium round and flat files for fine teeth that allow for speedy cutting and filing.  The round files are in the following sizes: 5/32”, 3/16”, and 7/32”.  The kit comes with a hardwood handle that attaches to each of the files as well as the included depth-gauge measure tool.  The depth-gauge tool is able to be used on any chainsaw.

The aforementioned hardwood handle is stained and finished to a high-quality standard, which gives the user a comfortable ergonomic grip.  This means you can keep the chainsaw sharper quicker and get more out of it.

Lastly, the kit has fantastic reviews and an excellent price that suits all budgets: a real cheap chainsaw sharpener find. You can pick up this bargain for around $16 too. Altogether you get a depth gauge, a hardwood handle, a flat file, three round files, a file holder and a storage pouch.  Not at all bad for your money!

Pros

  • Costs $16 or less
  • Good quality materials
  • Suits almost all chainsaws

Cons

  • It is a manual file set so will take longer and require more energy from the user.

Final Verdict

This set of manual files is a really great bargain buy if money is tight.  For around $15 or less you will get a set of four files and a depth gauge that should work on pretty much any chainsaw. They don’t weigh much and come in a handy storage pouch meaning you can take them pretty much anywhere you need to.

The ratings and reviews are great too and the nice hardwood handle is comfortable and ergonomic, which it needs to be given that these are manual tools so you may be using them for a while.  And that’s the downside – you’re going to need a bit of elbow grease with this budget chainsaw sharpener set!

05 Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener (Beginner’s Choice)

For beginner chainsaw users reading these chainsaw sharpening reviews, we recommend the Timberline Chainsaw sharpener.  This is actually a newly patented tool which has accuracy and precision at the forefront of its design.

This is a tool whereby the chain stays on the saw itself and the tool fixes on the bar and sharpens each tooth as it is pulled through the sharpener.  The tool is fitted with a cutter made from the highest-grade tungsten carbide that is turned by hand with the handle.  The chain will last longer with this sharpener as it only removes a little of each tooth to sharpen it.

The guides, which are also made from carbide, are fixed at 30 degrees, the universal angle, whereas guides of 25 and 35 degrees are provided separately.   The tool sharpens each of the chainsaw teeth in seconds and is precise, meaning that each tooth is sharpened to the same angle and length.  It is made from high-quality machined aluminum and is portable enough that you can take it to wherever you will need to use it and at any time.

So, why is this our beginner chainsaw sharpener pick? Simply because it can be used by anyone and gives accurate, precise results every single time. Many say that the sharpening result from this tool resembles that of the professional chainsaw sharpeners.

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Professional quality results
  • Made from high-quality materials.

Cons

  • An entry-level tool only
  • Cutters are reportedly easy to dull

Final Verdict

For a beginner, this is a really good buy.  You can sharpen your own chainsaw chains instead of heading the DIY store and paying someone else to do it for you.  The reviews, although not vast amounts, are generally great too.

However, this really is a beginner tool and if you are looking to sharpen your chains often and do it as a part of your work, then there are much better versions available than this one.  It definitely meets the criteria for our beginner’s choice though and is easy to use for those with less experience in sharpening chains.

06 Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder (Our Advanced Choice)

Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder

Next up is our advanced choice, the Oregon 520-120 bench saw chain grinder.  You will soon see why we have picked it as our advanced choice.  It is of premium quality and is easy to use even if you need to do a high volume of chain sharpening.  It has a new, sharp design which includes a vice that has been newly engineered so that it performs even better.

The set up includes a template for quick grinding, a dressing brick, and three grinding wheels so that you sharpen to different requirements.  This includes ¼”, 3/8” low profile, 0.325”, 3/8” full profile, and 0.404” pitch chain.

There is also a top plate and different settings for the down angles.  The vice is self-centering and has a handle whose position is customizable for ease of use. The in-built light will mean that you can use it even in the most dimly lit of workshops.

It operates with a 120V socket with 60Hz and 4.3amps.  This one is more expensive as a chainsaw sharpening machine. The motor is operated at one-way only for user safety and its wheel size measures 5 ¾”.  It weighs almost 20lbs so is a little heavy but feels comfortable to use for the pro sawyers.   It costs almost $300 (hence one of the reasons it is our advanced choice).

Pros

  • Professional tool
  • Lots of options for chain sharpening
  • In-built light

Cons

  • An expensive product at almost $300
  • Only 48 ratings (but these are largely good)

Final Verdict

This professional-quality tool is our advanced pick thanks to its power and features, allowing even the most experienced of professionals the quality of sharpening that they will have come to expect.  There are an in-built light and safety features such as the one-way only motor.  This one is more expensive as a chainsaw sharpener option.

Having said that, for the professionals amongst us, this is only to be expected with tools designed for the advanced user.  Of course, more expensive generally means fewer reviews.  But the reviews that it does have are great! So, if you’re looking for a top-quality professional option, then this one would make a good choice for you.

07 Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener G-106B

Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener G-106B

Our 7th Pick is another bar-mount chainsaw sharpener which is made in California in the USA.  This product can sharpen your chain easily and quickly and can mount to any saw no matter the file size.  It is made from zinc-plated steel and cast aluminum for a strong and robust tool.

It is also a budget tool, coming in with an astonishingly cheap cost compared to other sharpeners out there. At the time of our research, this tool cost just $34.49.  But, the Granberg still had all of the productivity and quality from many top-tier tools.

It has an innovative design that lets you sharpen all the cutters on any chain that is a standard size pitch and will allow you to file every cutter down to the same sharpness and at the same angle each and every time.  Indeed, it will be a quick task, taking just a few minutes.

The tool is lightweight too, weighing just 14.4 ounces, and measuring 12.5 x 7 x 1.5 inches.  This all means that it easy to transport from place to place, or job to job!

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easily transportable
  • Quick and efficient sharpener
  • Adjustable to different chain pitch sizes

Cons

  • Some users reported that the depth markers are difficult to read on the tool
  • Not as consistent as some sharpeners

Final Verdict

If you want a good tool despite your limited budget, this one is certainly worth your consideration.  It does not cost the earth but get the job done and quickly. It generally gets good ratings online, but it may not be a contender if you are an advanced chainsaw user or someone who uses a chainsaw sharpener professionally.  As a standalone too for a DIY enthusiast, it certainly ticks a heck of a lot of boxes and for a great price too.  But, if you’re after fine-tuned consistency, perhaps look at a more expensive option in our list.

08 Drixet Chainsaw Sharpening & Filing Kit

Drixet Chainsaw Sharpening & Filing Kit

This is an inexpensive yet cheerful chainsaw sharpening kit from Drixet.  If you want a manual file that is very reasonably priced, this one is a great choice.  It comes with three round files in different sizes: 5/32” – 4.0mm with an LP pitch of 3/8”, a 3/19” -4.8mm file with a 0.325” pitch and a 7/32” – 5.5mm with a pitch of 3/8”.

There is a detachable hardwood handle to fix to the files.  As well as this, there’s a flat file (6”) and a durable storage pouch that measures 10.5” x 7”.  As well as all of this, there’s also a depth gauge and a filing guide thrown in too.

The tools are of a great quality and are made from top-quality steel which gives them longevity and great strength. The file holder itself has the cutting angles on its reverse so that you can see it when filing.  This makes it very simple and easy to use.

The file holder also has two clips which support the file when you are filing with it.  Both this and the depth gauge are engraved to give precise angle numbers.  Overall, it is a good quality set of files that is easy to transport and carry around from job to job thanks to its durable storage pouch.

This is a cheap buy, and, at the time of our research, it cost under $15.  Of course, with it being a budget choice, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but it will get your chainsaw chains sharp again when they have got a little sluggish.   The set also comes with a lifetime warranty, which is excellent news.

Pros

  • Really economical in cost
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Great ratings and reviews
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Requires a lot of effort to use as it’s a manual set
  • Felt a little clumsy when in use

Final Verdict

Firstly, let’s not forget we are talking about a cheap file set here.  And, as with many things, you get what you pay for.  If you are a professional or someone who uses chainsaw sharpeners a lot, then this may not be adequate or well-built enough for your needs and frequent use.

However, for what you pay, this is a really handy toolset and can give you excellent results, as is supported by its great ratings.

09 Oregon 30846 Chain Saw Sharpener

Oregon 30846 Chain Saw Sharpener

This Oregon chainsaw sharpener is a 12-Volt electric version, which will maintain your chainsaw so that it is just as good as new.  Being electric, it won’t tire you or take as long to do as when you use a manual file set.  It has a power cord that’s 72” and, as well as that, it can be clamped to a 12-Volt battery.  This means that you can use it at home, in a workshop, or simply out and about in the woods!

It is made from plastic housing that is designed with high impact in mind which will stay cool when it is being used.  However, the plastic is smooth to the touch so you will need to be careful to watch your grip.

There are three sharpening stones with this tool of 3/16”, 5/32”, and 7/32” size. It also has a quick-adjust guide for sharpening. Unfortunately, we found that the instructions were not great, so it is definitely not the best choice if you are a beginner.

Having said that, there are some videos uploaded online which can help. Once you have figured it out, it should be quite quick to sharpen the chain, even as little as a few minutes.  Being an automatic sharpener, it doesn’t take any elbow grease either. As far as its cost goes, it usually costs less than $50.

Pros

  • Quick to sharpen
  • Option of attaching to a 12V battery rather than wall outlet
  • Three sharpening stones

Cons

  • The plastic housing is smooth and not textured so could affect your grip when using
  • The power cord could be longer
  • The instructions were difficult to understand

Final Verdict

This is not the cheapest of chainsaw sharpeners, but it is an electric one.  It also has lots of great features such as the option to use it with a 12-V battery rather than the mains outlet socket, which is handy if you want to use it in the woods while chopping down trees, for example.

Having said that, we found the instructions were a bit of a nightmare! If you’re experienced in sharpening chainsaws, then it may not be too much of a problem.  But, for some of us who were less experienced, it certainly was! All in all, this is a good buy for the money.  You just might need to watch a couple of videos on YouTube and watch your grip, too!

10 Timber Tuff CS-BWM Benchtop Chain Saw Sharpener

Timber Tuff CS-BWM Benchtop Chain Saw Sharpener

Last but not least is our number 10 pick, the Timber Tuff Benchtop chainsaw sharpener.  This one is electric too and has a voltage of 110V/60Hz with a motor input of 230 watts.  As far as its speed goes, it can reach speeds of 3600 RPM, which is not the fastest, but it could be slower!

Timber Tuff is a well-known brand and, as such, you know what you are getting in terms of quality.  It has proven itself as a brand in the logging accessories and equipment field and will make your job easier to do. This sharpener comes in different models depending on the type of chainsaw that you are looking to sharpen.  It will fit securely onto a workbench, making your chainsaw sharpening as safe as possible.

It can sharpen chains that are ¼” to ¾” size and has an adjustment guide that is easy to read for consistent sharpening.  There is also a transparent safety shield as well as a work light (15 watts) to make sure that you have optimum visibility whilst you are sharpening.  As well as this, there is also the in-built thermo-overload safety protection mechanism too.

Having said all that, you are probably wondering why we have listed this in last place in our top 10 chainsaw sharpeners.  This is simply due to two factors: its price and its average rating.  When we did our research, we found that it was not as popular as other electric chainsaw models and also cost a bit more at just under $125.

Pros

  • Comes with in-built light and safety shield
  • Thermo-overload safety protection
  • Timber Tuff brand

Cons

  • A bit more expensive
  • Not as good ratings as other models, mainly due to the quality of the tool itself

Final Verdict

This tool is the last in our list, but it still made the cut thanks to its in-built safety mechanisms, such as the shield and the thermo-overload protection.  However, it does have a few things to consider, namely its cost at over $100.  We also noticed that the safety shield was almost impossible to install correctly (and if it is not installed correctly then it is actually more dangerous to use!).  But we thought it a worthy contender for our top 10 regardless.

Other Notable Brands & Models

Other than these choices, there are actually numerous brands manufacturing quality chainsaw sharpeners and related tools all over the world. Here are some of those to give you some idea –

Husqvarna, Stillone & Ozito (based in Australia), Northern Tool, Ryobi (based in Japan), Echo, Efco, Florabest (based in the UK), Gamn, Craftsman, Granberg, Dremel, TEMCo Industrial, SuperHandy, Cataumet, Nola Brands, Mageshi, Jackyxcm, EIRMEON, HTS, OIIKI, RUZYY Diamond, Picowe, B&Q, Stanley Black & Decker, Nielsen, Laser, Einhell (based in Germany), Power Care, Saber, Windsor, Poulan Pro, Maxx (based in Italy), Foley-Belsaw, Silvey, Clarke, Milwaukee, Stens (known for Franzen), Silvey Pro Sharp, and Granberg (known for Grind-N-Joint & File-N-Joint.

Why Do You Need a Chainsaw Sharpener and How Does It Work?

If you are looking at these reviews for the best chainsaw sharpener then the chances are that you already own a chainsaw, correct? And you all know the importance of having one that is sharp enough, especially if you are using it a lot to cut down big trees or when you work with lumber.You need to get your purchase right.  Not only because you don’t want to go over-budget if you cannot afford to, but also because the tool that you need to sharpen your chainsaw might not be the best one for me to sharpen mine.  Let’s have a look at why chainsaw sharpeners are an essential piece of kit in anyone’s workspace.If you’re working with your chainsaw, you will want your work to be quick and accurate every time.  If you fail to sharpen the chain on your chainsaw then this simply won’t happen.  Your work will take longer and will look much shoddier.  The blade will buck and burn through the wood that you’re cutting.  Not only is it a slow cutting process but it is actually dangerous too.  The last thing you want is a messy accident.

However, don’t make the mistake of just throwing the chain away to replace it.  To save money in the long term, you want to be able to maintain the chain for as long as possible.   This is why we are recommending the 10 top chainsaw sharpeners for you today, depending on your own individual needs.

Best Chainsaw Sharpener – Buying Guide

Best Chainsaw Sharpeners

It would be silly to launch into our top 10 list without letting you know what it is that you should be looking for in a chainsaw sharpener in the first place.  So, we are going to have a look at the different types of sharpeners available, their compatibility with different chainsaws, their different cutter types, the quality and build, speed, file size and gauge. Lastly, cost is an important factor for many of us too.

1. Types

There are different kinds of saws out there, each one needs a separate sharpening method and tool set. There are three types of chainsaw sharpener: handheld manual files, a bar-mounted sharpener, and an electric sharpener.

Handheld files require much more manual work than the other two, but as a result, are cheaper to buy and are cordless.  They have the disadvantage, though, of not filing every tooth of the chain to exactly the same degree and sharpness.

A bar mount sharpener fits over the bar of the chainsaw and files around a third of the chainsaw chain at once.  It means that the sharpness is more even across the whole chain and it does not take as long as a manual file.

An electric sharpener requires the least amount of hard work and you won’t need a chainsaw sharpening jig.  If you get an adjustable one, it fits nearly all chains. The sharpening of the chain is as even as possible. You can apply these tools on both electric and battery powered chainsaws. However, these sharpeners are understandably more expensive than the manual or hand crank or bar ones.

2. Compatibility

Chainsaw chains are not one and the same.  They come in many sizes and are made out of different products and materials.  So, not all sharpeners fit every chainsaw and you will even find self sharpening chainsaws for sale.

It is of utmost importance that you are certain that the type of chain sharpener that you buy will be compatible with your chain saw, bot in size and material.  Electric sharpeners are often adjustable and come with an array of different chains.  Manual ones tend to be a bit more specific.  You should check the pitch on the label on the chainsaw bar and make sure that the one you choose will be compatible.

3. Cutter Type

An important factor to consider in your purchase of a chainsaw is the type of cutter.  This is the bit of the chain which makes the cutting action.  Chainsaws come in different types: round, semi-chisel, and chisel teeth.  The shape of the teeth determines what sort of sharpener you need to use.

  • Round Cutter

A round cutter is the simplest to sharpen and the most flexible in terms of what it can cut too.  The round teeth can withstand dust much better than chisel teeth and can be sharpened easily with manual files.

  • Semi-chisel cutter

This cutter is a halfway-house between round and chisel teeth.  It is a little more aggressive compared with a round cutter but is not quite up to the strength and power of the chisel cutters.  The semi-chisel cutter can be filed with a manual sharpener like with a round cutter.  It will tolerate dirt and dust better too, as well as staying sharper for longer.

  • Chisel cutter

The chisel cutter is the daddy of chainsaws and is very aggressive.  As such, an inexperienced chainsaw user should not use one. They are more often used industrially, and the chains need a certain type of sharpener.  The teeth are much more susceptible to dust and dirt and the chain needs constant maintenance and frequent sharpening.

4. Build Quality

You need a chainsaw sharpener that will have a long life as well as being one that is easy to use.  Chainsaw sharpeners could be a big toolbox investment, so you want to get it right. The most durable ones are mostly made from machined metal. Given that sharpening means metal-on-metal, materials that are less solid can be easily worn down.  You should also look for a sharpener that is not difficult to use and has a safety mechanism built-in, which is particularly important if you will use your sharpener frequently.  If you choose a sharpener that has a manufacturer’s warranty this will give you reassurance too.

5. Chainsaw File Size

You must consider the file size of the chainsaw blade sharpener that you are looking to buy.  Usually, the file size is labeled in inches or millimeters and it is part of what determines whether the sharpener will be compatible with your chainsaw.  There are many different file sizes of chainsaws but the most frequently-found ones are:

  • 5mm (0.404 inches)
  • 2mm (3/8 inch)
  • 8mm (0.325 inch)
  • 4mm (1/4 inch)

The size in millimeters is related to the diameter of the round file, with the inches representing the chain pitch’s size.  Some types of sharpener can be altered to make them compatible with all of the sizes above, but some can only be used with one size or pitch.  There are some specialty sharpeners that are only able to be used with a single size and these are intended for personal use only.  Commercial or industrial users who work with many different chainsaws would find better use from a sharpener that is adjustable so that it can work with all of the chainsaws they may need to use.

6. Chainsaw Gauge

The gauge of a chainsaw is also important when buying your sharpener.  The gauge checks the length of the cutter.  There are four types of chainsaw gauge:

  • 0.063 inch
  • 0.058 inch
  • 0.050 inch
  • 0.43 inch

It is not recommended to sharpen below a depth of 0.025 inches.  But the gauge’s depth is crucial as it determines how much the chainsaw cuts.  You should not file along the length of the gauge as its lifespan is then shortened.  When filing the gauge, you need to sharpen it all equally or the chain will cut roughly due to vibrations.

7. Speed

The speed of the chainsaw sharpener is only relevant to electrically powered sharpeners as with manual ones the speed is down to the user! Sharpener speed is measured in revolutions per minute (RPM) and some chainsaw sharpeners have speeds of up to 4200 RPM.

8. Cost

If you’re a heavy chainsaw user or your chainsaw is likely to fill with dirt or dust, you are going to invest in a sharpener that is easy to use and quick too as you will be using it often.  However, if you will only be sharpening your saw once a month or less, you may want to spend less and get a manual one too.

Safety Tips

Of course, it should go without saying that when you are sharpening a chainsaw, or even getting chainsaw sharpening service, or indeed anywhere near a power tool, there are certain precautions that you should take.  Firstly, you need to inspect the sharpener before you use it every time.  If you notice that any parts of the tool are damaged or worn, you should have these bits replaced or repaired before you start to sharpen your chainsaw.  You also need to check that the alignment of any moving parts is where it should be and that the toggle on/off switch works properly.

First, Tighten the Chain

After you have checked your tool, you need to tighten the chain before you start to sharpen it.  This will make it safer.  If it moves as you file it, you could cut yourself quite easily. Of course, make sure that the chainsaw is unplugged from the socket before you tighten your chain.

Fix the Sharpener onto a Worktable

If possible, you need to fix your sharpener to a workbench.  This means that you will be able to sharpen it safely and efficiently, preventing any accidents or slips.  One that is not secured could fall and injure your feet.  It could also damage the tools in the process.

Electric Shock Prevention

You must not use the sharpener where it is wet or damp, for example outside when it is raining. If you do, you run the risk of having an electric shock.  Also, you must be careful not to use the tool near items such as pipes or fridge hoses, or anywhere where there are flammable materials nearby.

Good Lighting

You should sharpen your chainsaws where there is plenty of light to make sure you are doing it safely and accurately. This will help prevent accidents too.

Keep a Safe Distance

When you are using the tool, do not reach in front or across it.  You also need to have good balance while you are using it.  You need to have a good footing for your own safety.

Use Protective Gear

When using any power tool, it is prudent to wear safety gear such as a mask and goggles to protect your eyes and face from dust and fine particles.  With this tool in particular, we recommend that you wear some heavy-duty gloves to prevent cuts.  Also, you should have ear muffles for when you use your chainsaw and so you should wear these when you are sharpening it too.  Never use the tool when you are wearing hanging garments such as scarves and jewelry, and long hair must be tied back.

Following the above safety tips will allow you to operate your chainsaw sharpener at the safest level.

When & How Often to Sharpen?

It will depend on how often you use your chainsaw as to how often you will need to sharpen it.   It will also depend on the types of materials you use your chainsaw to cut through.  With clean wood, you should expect to sharpen the tool after a few hours of continued use.  But, if you come across dirt or sand, you will probably have to sharpen it straight away.  If the chain doesn’t pull itself well into the material, this is usually a sign that it needs sharpening as it has become dull.

Another way of knowing when to sharpen your chainsaw chain is to examine the material that comes out of your saw cuts. If it’s very dusty, it means you need to sharpen it.  If it is more chips of wood, then the cutters are usually pretty sharp.

If your chain is sharp you will not have to use much force but a chain that is dull is more likely to sit in a cut but not deepen it much. If you have to exert more force than this, the chain needs to be sharpened.   If your saw is dull it is much more dangerous.

The cutters on your chain will have cutting edges that are semi-circular shaped in your specific diameter.  To sharpen these, you will need to use a round file that is the same diameter as your saw’s chain.  Before each cutter there is a depth gauge, which is like a fin from a shark. This should be a little bit shorter than your cutters’ tips as it controls how deep it bites.  You can lower these if you need to after you have sharpened the cutters.

It should be a relatively simple job if the cutters are just dulled down from using it normally. However, if there are nicks in the cutters you might need to invest in a professional sharpening job or buy a new chain.

Wrapping It Up

There we have it, a list of the best sharpeners for chainsaw for your perusal in a handy guide to assist you in your search for these fantastic tools.  You may not have yet decided which to go for, but the most important part of your search is that you identify exactly what you are looking for and what you need in a chainsaw sharpener.

Are you just looking for one to sharpen your saw after infrequent DIY jobs? Or do you need one as a part of your work and day-to-day activities? Are you ok with a bit more manual labor, or would you prefer an electric model to do the hard work for you?

Whatever your answers to these questions, you need to first make sure that your chainsaw is compatible with any sharpener that you go on to choose.  If you still can’t make up your mind then one of our picks will be a good bet, whether the Editor’s Pick, the beginner’s, advanced, or budget choice.  They are our picks for very good reasons!

We’ve also reviewed other saws and safety tools for your convenience. Check the following pages for more reviews.

  1. Concrete Saws
  2. Band Saws
  3. Chainsaw Chaps

FAQs

Q: How often does a chainsaw need sharpening?

Ans: That totally depends on how often you have to use the chainsaw. We recommend you to get your saw sharpened as soon as you find them gone blunt. Use the tip of your fingers to feel the dullness and watch carefully.

Q: Why does my chainsaw chain get dull so fast?

Ans: Fast decaying of sharpened edges might be a result of running the cutters on steep of an angle. Also if the rankers are set far down, you might lose the sharpness of your chainsaw. Dirty wood cutting and carelessly touching the ground soil by your chainsaw tip might result in fast decaying of sharpness.

Q: How often should you replace your chainsaw chain?

Ans: By the time you reach the 5th sharpening of your chainsaw, it might be the time you should change it.

About the author

Willie Osgood

An Avid Metalworker

Willie doesn’t really consider himself an artist, rather a craftsman involved in practical trades. Yet, most of his projects require him to make interesting and fine objects. Being the eldest son of a carpenter, his background is 100 percent rooted in crafting. He found the art of blacksmithing quite appealing since his teenage years… that fire, the sound of swinging hammers, and those long and shiny blades that came out as a finished product. Soon he literally became obsessed with metal – the way it moved, worked, and changed when heated or cooled.

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