When you have a tree branch blocking your driveway after a storm or another job that you want to get through quickly, there’s nothing more frustrating than finding the blade on your chainsaw is too dull to help.
A dull chainsaw blade makes cutting through wood painfully slow, rendering your chainsaw almost useless. Not only is cutting with a dull chainsaw blade frustratingly slow going, but it’s also more dangerous as the dull chainsaw produces finer dust that’s easier to inhale.
A dull chainsaw blade may cause your chainsaw to smoke as you use it. It can also produce very uneven cuts.
For these reasons, PowerOfTool.com recommend you keep a chainsaw sharpener in your toolshed or garage. Keep up the maintenance of your chainsaw by sharpening the blade after a long job. You will be glad you did when you next use your power tool!
- 1 Top 9 Best Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews
- 1.1 1. Buffalo Tools Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
- 1.2 2. Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener
- 1.3 3. Stihl 2 in 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener
- 1.4 4. Oregon Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder
- 1.5 5. Oregon 12-Volt Sure Sharp Chain Saw Sharpener
- 1.6 6. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
- 1.7 7. Timber Tuff Electric Chain Saw Chain Sharpener
- 1.8 8. CO-Z Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Kit
- 1.9 9. Husqvarna SharpForce Chain Sharpener
- 2 What Is a Chainsaw Sharpener?
- 3 Chainsaw Sharpener Buying Guide
- 4 How Do Chainsaw Sharpeners Work?
- 5 Is an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Worth It?
- 6 What Angle to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?
- 7 How Often Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw?
- 8 Conclusion
Top 9 Best Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews
1. Buffalo Tools Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
Part of Buffalo Corporation, Buffalo Tools makes power tools to satisfy every kind of home improvement enthusiast. Their electric chainsaw sharpener will keep your chainsaw blade in peak condition and you’ll love the money you save by performing this maintenance by yourself.
- Easy to mount on your vise, wall or bench for a secure and sturdy hold while you sharpen your chainsaw.
- Grinding speed of 4200 RPM thanks to the 60 Hz, 85-watt power cord.
- 4 ¼ by 1/8 inches grinding wheel adjusts to most popular chain designs.
- 7/8 inch arbor
- Great price
- Must be attached permanently to the surface you choose so this is not a portable unit.
- No LED indicator to show when the unit is on or off.
- Quality of the depth gauge nuts is lacking.
- Might be tricky to use the very first time for beginners as instructions can be confusing.
2. Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener
Granberg International was founded by the man who improved upon the freehand chainsaw’s capabilities by inventing the File-n-Joint back in the 1950s. On top of that, the same man (Elof Granberg) also introduced the first portable 12-volt chainsaw sharpener. So you can see why we trust this brand with our chainsaws!
- Mounts directly to the saw so you can pack this unit and bring it with you if you’re logging in a forest
- Made of zinc-plated steel and cast aluminum
- Can be set at an angle from 0 to 40 degrees
- Helps your chainsaw chain cut sharper and faster, better than taking it to a hardware store
- Reasonably priced
- Made in the U.S.A
- Comes fully assembled and ready to use
- Aggressive filing with this device could result in damaging the filing rod and/or handle.
- Device isn’t 100% precise as reported by some users. This could be due to user error in setup.
3. Stihl 2 in 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener
Stihl founder Andreas Stihl set out to make working in the forest easier in the 1920s when he invented the first two-person electric chainsaw. Since then, Stihl has been manufacturing high-quality tools that make the life of a workman easier and more efficient. Their easy file chain sharpener is a great complement to any workbench.
- Can sharpen chainsaw teeth and depth gauge
- Compact and easy to store or pack
- Once you get the hang of it you can sharpen your chainsaw in less than 10 minutes.
- Includes two round files and one flat file
- Symbols embedded in the plastic of the sharpener correspond to directions to help guide you
- Frame is plastic so it might not withstand the test of time
- Instructions come with pictures only so you may have to find instructions online for your first use
4. Oregon Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder
Oregon also started out as a saw chain manufacturing company. The first chainsaw they invented and manufactured was called the Cox Chipper. Its teeth replicated the teeth of a larva that the founder once noticed easily ate through wood against the grain. The design of the Cox Chipper is still being replicated today. Oregon’s saw chain grinder is heavy duty and powerful so you can get back to work faster.
- Sharpens chain pitch up to .404 inches
- Mountable to a workbench or wall
- Includes a built-in light for safer and easier sharpening
- One-way motor rotation
- Comes with 3 grinding wheels, 1/4″, 3/8″ Low Profile, .325”, 3/8″, .404″, 3/4″ pitch chain and depth gauge grinding, a dressing brick and a quick template
- Sprocket nose system is durable and long-lasting
- Included instructions are easy to follow
- Difficult to get a precise angle on the vise
- Depth stop could be made of a more durable material
5. Oregon 12-Volt Sure Sharp Chain Saw Sharpener
We’re so impressed by Oregon’s chainsaw offerings we’ve included another on in our reviews. This one is less expensive but it’s much more compact so you can use it in the field rather than having to mount it.
- Functions from a 12-volt car battery so you can use it on site without carrying around extra cords and equipment.
- Comes with two sharpening stones
- Has a quick-adjust sharpening guide so you’ll get a uniform ground cut
- Great price at under $50
- 3/16″, 5/32″ and 7/32″ stone sizes
- Sharpens in under 5 minutes once you get the hang of it
- Shank size is 1/8 inch
- The included instructions are very difficult to follow. We recommend looking up user instructions online.
- Cord length is too short
- Be sure to keep the sharpener perpendicular to the bar and at the correct angle for your specific chain
6. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
Timberline tools designs and manufactures products using high-quality materials and superior manufacturing techniques. They supply the military and firefighters, so we definitely trust them with our chainsaws! This carbide cutter is powerful and it even comes with its own handy carrying case.
- Made for .324 inch pitch chains
- Made in the U.S.A
- Weighs under a pound so it’s easily transportable between your shop and the job site
- Includes all sharpening accessories
- Quick and easy to use while still getting a well-balanced cut on the teeth
- Timberline has great customer service and answers all your chainsaw related questions
- More expensive than comparable chainsaw sharpeners
- You should read the user’s manual and instructions to prevent misuse
7. Timber Tuff Electric Chain Saw Chain Sharpener
Timber Tuff tools are a part of BAC Industries which is a global manufacturer of hardware tools. Their chainsaw sharpeners are one of their most popular products and for good reason. This electric chain sharpener is powerful and versatile.
- Runs on 110 volts/60 Hz for a maximum speed of 3600 RPM
- Comes with a built-in light for safety
- Includes 3/16-Inch, 1/8-Inch, and 1/4-Inch grinding blades
- Mounts on a wall or your workbench
- Sharpens chains from ¼ to ¾ inch
- Included safety feature is the thermo-overload protection
- Low noise level
- Although you are supposed to be able to adjust the angle, we found that the adjustment screws were too long and prevented the angle adjustment from working.
- Must be assembled
- Included grinding blades aren’t of great quality
- This is a very heavy piece of equipment so if it’s not shipped properly, you may discover some parts have been damaged.
8. CO-Z Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Kit
The CO-Z brand has a variety of home improvement products from drills to shelves, basically everything you need to DIY around your house. Their chainsaw sharpener kit is useful and inexpensive.
- Comes with two grinding wheels (sizes are 1/8 inch and 3/16 inch)
- Accepts chain angle adjustments from 0 to 30 degrees
- Motor is adjustable from 0 to 70 degrees
- Has a built-in work light to increase your safety and improve your accuracy
- The aluminum casings and thick chain cutter prevent iron filings from splashing
- Made of cast aluminum so it’s durable and long-lasting
- Maximum speed of 3000 RPM
- Does not come assembled
- The clamp that’s meant to hold the chain in place can open unexpectedly
- The grinding wheel may vibrate too strongly for your settings to stay in place
9. Husqvarna SharpForce Chain Sharpener
This Swedish manufacturing company has been around since the 1600s and is known for their outdoor power products. They’ve been around the block so we trust them to make and sell high-quality products. The SharpForce sharpener is a great little tool at a great price.
- Files the cutter and the depth gauge at the same time cutting your sharpening time in half
- Great price at under $30
- Quick and accurate sharpening.
- Saw files are included
- Can get chips out of the blade
- Compatible with all brands of chainsaws
- Portable and packable because it’s lightweight and made of durable material
- No fixed angle so you’ll have to guide by sight which can be difficult for some users
- Included instructions are difficult to understand so you’ll need to look up a tutorial to get set up
- The file loading system takes some getting used to
What Is a Chainsaw Sharpener?
A chainsaw sharpener is a tool that comes in a variety of styles and sizes (which we’ll discuss later) that can be used to sharpen the chain of your chainsaw. You need one so you can keep your chainsaw cutting smooth and sharp from one job to the next. We mentioned earlier how a dull chainsaw can be not only slow and frustrating to use, it can also be dangerous. So we recommend using a chainsaw sharpener.
We’ll take a look at all the various features of a chainsaw sharpener so you can get a better idea of why you need one and which type will work best for your needs.
Chainsaw Sharpener Buying Guide
Use our handy buying guide to learn more about the different kinds of chainsaws. We’re here to help you choose the best type of chainsaw sharpener to suit your personal needs.
There are several different types of chainsaw sharpener, each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Read about the different types and consider the kind of chainsaw you have in your toolshed to decide which type is right for you and your chainsaw.
An electric chainsaw sharpener is the most efficient way to sharpen your chainsaw because, you guessed it, they run off of electricity so they sharpen with more power than you can put into a handheld file.
You’ll most likely need to mount your electric chainsaw sharpener to something sturdy, like your workbench or a wall. The wall or bench mounted electric chainsaw sharpener usually has a staging area or a rail where you place your chain and a grinding wheel which you can control.
The electric sharpener can also be adjusted depending on the angle of the blades on your chainsaw. This is really handy as it means you don’t have to sharpen the angles by sight.
So how do you know if you need an electric versus a handheld sharpener? If you use your chainsaw often, you’ll need to sharpen often. So the quick sharpening of the electric sharpener is going to come in handy and save you time so you can get back to work. Another good rule of thumb is that if you would have to pass three or more strokes per chainsaw tooth to get it sharp enough, you are probably better off with an electric as it will be faster and more efficient.
Electric chainsaw sharpeners often come with extra accessories like built-in lights and blades to accommodate different types of chainsaws.
An electric chainsaw sharpener will have more moving pieces so it will require more maintenance, more setup time and there will be a learning curve to using it, like with many electric power tools. They are also usually bulky, so it’s more difficult to get an electric chainsaw sharpener that you can pack up and bring with you on the job (we did find a couple that we like and we reviewed them above).
A handheld file is just that, a sharpener that is handheld. They are also referred to as manual sharpeners. These are usually lighter weight and more compact so you can toss one in your truck and bring it with you when your logging in a forest and likely to need on the job sharpening without having to race back to your workshop.
Before you purchase and use a handheld file, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the file size you’ll need (which depends on the chainsaw) and the angle of the teeth. You can find this information in the owner’s manual for your saw or on the packaging of your chain (if you see have it).
Some manual sharpeners clamp directly to your chain saw, while others you must hold and file yourself.
Many professionals like the handheld sharpener because it gives them more control over the sharpness of the teeth. On the downside, it does take longer to sharpen with a handheld because you’re limited by your own strength.
Bar Mounted Guide
A Bar mounted sharpening guide is usually something purchased separately from a sharpener (but may be included depending on the kit you choose). They look like coping saws in shape and they help keep your sharpening consistent and accurate which is especially important when using a handheld since your hand can become fatigued after a while and your accuracy might suffer if you don’t have a guide.
Another benefit of using a bar-mounted guide with your manual file is that it locks in the file angles and depth, this can be tricky to do by sight alone.
Regardless of what type of chainsaw sharpener you use, you need to make sure you use the right size file. Usually, a ¼ or 3/8 pitch low-profile chain needs a 5/32 inch file, .325 inch pitch chains need a 3/16 inch file and a 3/8 inch and .404 inch pitch chains need a 7/32 inch file.
Be sure to check your owner’s manual to determine the correct file size.
Frequency of Use
Just like how the more you use your chainsaw, the more you’ll need to sharpen it, the more you sharpen your chainsaw, the more likely you are to wear down your filing blades.
Chainsaw sharpeners have blades or files that need to be replaced every so often (usually the sharpener you choose will give you an estimate of how many uses you’ll get out of each file/blade).
We’ll discuss how often you need to use a sharpener below.
Chances are, you’re more likely to buy power tools from a brand you already trust. That’s why we’ve reviewed nine trusted brands above.
You might be wondering “don’t I need to buy a sharpener from the same brand as my chainsaw?” The answer is no! Chainsaw sharpeners are manufactured by many of the same brands as popular chainsaws, but you can choose the brand that has the features you like best. Sharpeners are usually compatible with different types of chainsaws.
How Do Chainsaw Sharpeners Work?
An electric chainsaw sharpener works by holding your chain in place at the correct angle while you guide the rotating blade onto the tooth. You should use a marker to indicate where you start so you know when you’ve gotten all the way around the chain.
As we mentioned before, with an electric sharpener you set the angle and depth gauge and the sharpener locks it in.
With a manual sharpener, you can use the guide that’s provided to see the angle you need to use.
Is an Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Worth It?
We think so, otherwise, we wouldn’t be writing about them! With an electric chainsaw sharpener, you’re saving a lot of money.
You can usually get your chain sharpened at your local hardware store but it may cost up to $20, depending on the chain. If you use your chainsaw frequently, the cost of a professional sharpening can really add up. Not to mention, if you’re logging in a remote area this is often a very inconvenient option.
Another alternative to sharpening is buying a new chain, but this will set you back even more, often up to $30 per chain.
Buying a sharpener is much more cost-effective. You’ll invest a bit of time getting the hang of your sharpener but you’ll get so much use out of, it will pay for itself in no time.
What Angle to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?
The angle at which you sharpen your chainsaw chain depends on the type of chain you have. Different chains have different angle specifications. You can find out what the angle specification for your chain is by looking at its packaging or reading the owner’s manual. If you no longer have either of those, you can look for the chain identification code, usually that’s located on the chain driving link.
Most standard chains are sharpened at an angle between 25 and 35 degrees.
How Often Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw?
This depends on how often you use your chainsaw and what kind of wood you’re cutting. Here are some signs that it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw:
- You have to apply too much pressure on the saw rather than feeling the saw pull itself through the wood.
- Your chainsaw is making crooked cuts
- It takes much longer pass through the wood than usual
- The saw rattles or bounces instead of running smoothly.
- You notice fine dust rather than course strands are produced while using your chainsaw
- Your chainsaw smokes despite being properly lubricated
You should sharpen your chainsaw as soon as you notice any of these signs. A dull chainsaw is not just inefficient, it is unsafe.
There’s nothing worse than getting yourself set up on the job, whether you’re in the forest or in your backyard, and find you have a dull chainsaw blade. Not only will your job be messier and take longer to complete, but your dull chain could also actually be putting yourself and those around you in danger.
Take our advice and choose one of these highly recommended chainsaw sharpeners so you’ll get a smooth cut every time!