Letting your chainsaw blade become dull doesn’t only reduce its efficiency and cutting power – it can also increase the chance of kickbacks, making your chainsaw dangerous to operate.
You can either replace the blade as required, which is expensive, or you can have it sharpened professionally, which is also not cheap. The third option is to do it yourself, and for this, you need the right tools. To help you choose, here are our top picks for best chainsaw sharpener.
Quick Glance: The Best Chainsaw Sharpener
The Best Chainsaw Sharpener on the Market 2021
1. Oregon 410-120 Bench Or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder (Our Top Recommended)
If you want the convenience and power of a powered saw grinder that is designed for the casual home user, this model from Oregon could be worth a look.
It is a highly versatile machine that can be mounted on a bench or on a wall, according to your preference. It also comes with three different grinding wheels, allowing you to use it with a range of different chains.
It is easy to use and easy to adjust. Once you know how to use it, you can sharpen all the teeth on a chain in as little as 20 minutes or less. It also incorporates a one-way motor for operator safety.
It is designed for occasional home users rather than professional users who need to use it all the time. Since it has been designed with the casual user in mind, it is very easy to operate and is suitable for beginners.
Having said that, complete beginners will need to learn how to use it before they start since if you don’t know what you are doing, it can be quite easy to file through a whole tooth and ruin the chain.
Also, the instruction booklet could be clearer – as it is, rookie users are advised to check online and watch a few videos of how to use it before they start.
However, once you have learned to use it correctly, you will find it a quick, easy and convenient way to sharpen chainsaw blades. For non-professional-level users who are looking for a powered chainsaw blade sharpener, this model should be on your list of possibilities.
- Bench or wall mounted – gives added flexibility of use
- 3 grinding wheels for extra versatility – suitable for various types and sizes of chain
- One-way motor – for added safety
- Easy to use – can finish one chain in under 20 minutes
- Easy to adjust – can be configured for different operations with a minimum of effort
- Booklet could be clearer – diagrams and instructions can be hard to understand
- Need to learn how to use it – not suitable for complete beginners
2. Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit (Budget Pick)
If you are looking for a low-tech kit that will allow you to keep your chainsaw blades sharp and safe when at home or in the field, this set from Katzco could be just what you need.
It is an eight-piece kit that includes files of three different sizes, allowing you to work on almost any kind of chain. Each of the files fits into the wooden handle, making them comfortable and easy to use.
It also includes a depth gauge to check the level of the rakers (the non-cutting teeth) to ensure you can file them down to just the right length.
We like the way this kit is extremely simple yet highly effective. Without needing any other special equipment, you can use it to sharpen all the teeth on a chainsaw blade in well under half an hour.
Furthermore, when compared with many other chainsaw sharpeners, this is a much more affordable option that you won’t need to spend a fortune to buy.
There are a few negatives, however. The included instruction booklet is not very clear and seems to assume previous knowledge of how to use such equipment. If you are a novice when it comes to sharpening chainsaws, you might need to look online for instructional videos.
Also, the file guide sometimes becomes detached during use, although this is more of a minor irritation than a major problem.
All in all, an inexpensive, effective and simple solution to keeping your chainsaw in optimum condition – a highly recommended option.
- Inexpensive – costs much less than mechanical chainsaw sharpeners
- Portable and convenient – can be used anywhere
- 8-piece kit – includes everything you need to maintain your chainsaw blade
- Includes a tool bag – keeps everything together so you don’t lose the pieces
- Quick and easy to use – can sharpen a whole blade in under half an hour
- Instructions not clear – may need to find online videos to learn how to use this
- File guide sometimes comes off – the clips don’t hold it in place firmly enough
3. Stihl 2 in 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener
This model from Stihl is a highly efficient manual chainsaw sharpener that will save you lots of time once you get used to using it. It sharpens the cutting teeth and files the rakers at the same time, reducing the time you need to spend and ensuring the perfect matching height for both.
This is the ideal product for chainsaw sharpening novices. It might take one or two goes to master the technique, but once you know how to do it, you can quickly refresh all the teeth on a chain in a very short time.
Its small, compact size means it is also ideal to carry with you into the field, allowing you to freshen up your blade as you work.
On the downside, the instructions that come with it are not as clear as they could be – as with the sharpener kit above, you may find you need to check out some online videos to learn how to use it properly.
It is also a little expensive for what it is, essentially just a few metal files in a plastic case – but it is extremely well made and offers superior performance.
Note that this item is available in several sizes, so you should make sure you buy the size that is compatible with the blade you need to sharpen.
This is an ideal product for novices and pros alike that will save you money that you would otherwise need to spend on new chains or professional sharpeners. Well worth checking out.
- Simple and effective manual solution – anybody can use it
- Quick method for sharpening – can finish the whole job in next to no time
- Ideal for novices – once you know how to use it, you can’t go wrong
- Compact and portable – can be taken into the field for use on the job
- Files rakers and cutting teeth simultaneously – gives you perfect height for both
- Unclear instructions – doesn’t have explanations, just images
- A little expensive for what it is – although a highly effective tool
4. Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
This electric chainsaw sharpener from Buffalo Tools is one of the best value sharpeners you will find. If you are interested in a tool that gives you the best bang for your buck, this model should be high on your list of possibilities.
It can be mounted on a bench, on a wall or in a vise, making it easy to use and very stable – although one installed, it is not designed to be moved around too often.
It can be adjusted to sharpen most regular types of chainsaw chains, making it a highly versatile tool. At 4,500 RPM, it also has all the power you need to help keep your blades in optimum condition.
It also runs off regular mains power, making it a highly practical tool for regular home use.
On the downside, the manual is poorly written and if you are unfamiliar with saw sharpeners, you will need to do some online research for clearer instructions.
In fact, this seems to be a common problem with many chainsaw sharpeners, but there are plenty of good videos online, so it’s not a huge issue.
Also, and this is only a minor gripe, we found that the on/off switch is located in a slightly awkward place and could have been better positioned.
This is a great option for anyone looking for a powered sharpener that won’t break the bank. If you want a versatile and affordable sharpener, this is a product that should be on your radar.
- Great bang for your buck – hard to beat for value
- Can be mounted on a bench, on a wall or in a vise – good flexibility
- Can sharpen most types of chain – a versatile tool
- 4,200 RPM – will power through your chainsaw sharpening tasks
- Runs off standard mains power – simply plug into a regular power outlet
- Poor manual – will need to look online for clearer instructions
- On/off switch could be better located – although only a minor issue
5. Oregon 25894 5/32-Inch Chainsaw File Guide With File
If you prefer to keep things as simple and uncomplicated as possible, this chainsaw filing kit could be the ideal option. It includes a file for the teeth, a flat file for the rakers, a guide for accuracy and a wooden handle for comfort and ease of use.
Although this is made by Oregon, one of the best-known names in the world of chainsaw blades, this is also one of the most inexpensive sharpeners you can find. This means you know you will be getting a highly functional item at a very low price.
This set couldn’t be easier to use. It comes with a special frame with lines to guide your filing, helping you sharpen at exactly the right angle.
It is also small and compact, making it the ideal item to throw into your tool bag for running repairs while out in the field.
There aren’t many negatives with this sharpener. One minor issue is the fact that these files don’t come with a pouch, so you need to be careful to keep everything together. Also, the files are slightly flimsy and can bend – but if you take good care of them, they will last a long time.
We love this product for its simplicity and super-low price. If you want something that is easy to use, practical to carry and that sits right at the bottom end of the price scale, there are few options that can beat this.
- Lowest price – most inexpensive way to sharpen a chainsaw
- Reputable brand – made by Oregon, one of the best-known names in the field
- Easy to align correctly – lines on the frame help you file accurately
- Includes wooden handle – comfortable and easy to use
- Small, lightweight and portable – ideal for touch-ups in the field
- Slightly flimsy file – can bend if you aren’t careful
- Doesn’t include pouch – need to be careful not to lose anything
6. VEVOR Saw Chain Grinder, Chainsaw Sharpener
This chainsaw sharpener from Vevor is another affordable and effective solution for keeping your chainsaw blades in good condition.
It is well-constructed and is made of cast aluminum with reinforced hinges to ensure it lasts as long as possible. It can be mounted on a wall or on a bench according to your preference, giving you maximum flexibility over how you install and use it.
We like the way that the settings are generally very simple to adjust – it can be configured to sharpen a range of chain types quickly and easily.
It incorporates a number of safety features, including a safety guard to protect the operator. We also like the working light that helps you see exactly what you are doing.
There’s little about this chainsaw sharpener not to like. One issue is that some people might find it a little complicated to set up, although most people will be able to manage.
Like many similar tools, it is also not completely intuitive to use, but once you learn how to use it, you will find it simple to operate and effective at sharpening your blades.
A recommended option for anyone looking for a powered chain sharpener for home use who doesn’t want to spend too much money.
- Highly effective tool – allows you to return blades to optimum cutting condition
- Well-built – made of cast aluminum with reinforced hinges
- Can be wall- or bench-mounted – gives extra flexibility
- Easy to adjust settings – can be used with different types of blade
- Includes work light – makes it easy to see what you’re working on
- A little complicated to set up – although works well when ready
- Need to learn how to use it – not completely intuitive
7. Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener, Model# G-106B (Original Version)
If the old adage that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” rings true for you, you might appreciate this tried and tested chainsaw sharpening device. Granberg has been around over 35 years, and some would say it still beats all the modern attempts to improve on its design.
It is built of tough and durable materials, including cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel, and unlike so many products nowadays, is American-made at a facility in California.
It is highly adaptable and can be used to sharpen just about any type of chainsaw blade, and it’s easy to use, meaning just about anybody can sharpen their chains with it. Some even claim it can give you sharper blades than when the chain was new.
One of the few downsides is that it doesn’t come with the files, and you need to buy them separately – although this is not a big deal. You will probably be using it for years to come and will have to buy plenty of replacement files to use with it anyway.
Also, it is a little slower than some other methods. However, some people might even enjoy the time spent lovingly restoring their chains to optimum condition.
We love the old-fashioned design of this tool and the fact that even after 35 years, it continues to stand the test of time. For those who like to do things the way they have always been done, this sharpener will certainly appeal.
- Made in the USA – American made in California
- Can be used with just about any chain – highly versatile sharpener
- Built of durable materials – made of cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel
- Extremely effective – can sharpen blades better than when new
- Tried and tested method – has been around for over 35 years
- Doesn’t include the files – need to be bought separately
- Takes time to use – although some people may enjoy the activity
There are two major factors to consider when choosing a chainsaw sharpener, the type and the compatibility. Let’s have a look at these now.
Types of chainsaw sharpener
There are basically three types of sharpeners for chainsaws – handheld files, electric handheld sharpeners and electric mounted sharpeners. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, and each type is suited to different situations.
a). Handheld files
These are the most basic tools for sharpening a chainsaw – and also the least expensive. They essentially consist of a file you use to sharpen the cutting teeth of the chainsaw manually.
When sharpening a chainsaw, you need to sharpen all the teeth as uniformly as possible and you need to file them at exactly the same angle. With the most basic files, you need to judge this yourself – although some include guides to help.
The big advantage is that they are lightweight and can be taken anywhere. They are ideal for running repairs when you are in the field but can also be used back at home. However, they require practice to use well.
When you file the cutting teeth, you will also need to file down the “rakers”. If the rakers don’t match the cutting teeth, the chainsaw will either not cut effectively (if the rakers are too long) or will become much more likely to kick back (if the rakers are too short).
For this reason, many handheld files come in a kit that also includes a flat file to file down the rakers accordingly.
These types of sharpeners are ideal if you need to freshen up your chains when you are outside. They’re perhaps not the best choice if you need to sharpen chains more often and can do so when back at home.
b). Electric mounted
Electric mounted sharpeners are fixed sharpeners that can be either wall-mounted or mounted on a bench. They allow you to work faster and with more precision but obviously can’t be taken into the field.
These are better for more frequent, more intensive sharpening that can be done in a workshop before you head out to cut wood.
c). Handheld electric sharpeners
These sharpeners work in a similar way to fixed sharpeners except that they are more mobile.
You place it on the blade and it sharpens the blade for you rather than relying on you doing the filing manually.
The other major point to consider is compatibility with your chainsaw chain.
Chainsaw chains vary in size and require different sizes of file to match. They also need to be filed at different angles. For this reason, make sure any sharpener you are interested in is compatible with the size of chain you want to sharpen.
Sometimes, the same sharpener is available in different versions for different chain sizes. If this is the case, make sure you choose the one that matches your chainsaw.
Keep your chainsaw in good order and save money
By using the best chainsaw sharpener, you can ensure your tool stays in optimum condition, helping it to cut more efficiently as well as safely. There are many options to choose from, but if you don’t know which to go for, any of the chainsaw sharpeners in our review would be a great place to start looking.