Do you own a chainsaw? Do you find that it quickly loses its edge and is rendered ineffective? If so, you need a chainsaw sharpener. Read this article to learn about the 5 best chainsaw sharpeners on the market.
Introduction: For homeowners, woodworkers, and DIY wood carvers, a chainsaw is a pretty essential tool. When it comes to clearing the yard of fallen branches or cutting down large trees, the chainsaw is an unrivaled instrument. However, as powerful as they are, chainsaws are also liable to losing their edge every once in a while. And when that happens, you need to get them sharpened.
That’s where a chainsaw sharpener comes in. Chainsaw sharpeners are tools that can be used to sharpen the blades on our chainsaws and keep them working in sharp condition. Without them, your chainsaw would be rendered ineffective after a few weeks of use.
Just like chainsaws, these chainsaw sharpeners also come in various styles and types. Some of them are electric and some are handheld. The type of chainsaw sharpener you use depends on a lot of factors — most importantly it depends on the type of chainsaw you’re using. Bigger fuel-powered chainsaws have different requirements, and so do smaller electric chainsaws.
Even if you know exactly the type of chainsaw sharpener you need, finding the correct one is still a pain because of all the options available on the market. That’s why we’ve created this list of the 5 best chainsaw sharpeners to help you narrow down your options.
In order to compile this definitive list of the best chainsaws, we’ve consulted with chainsaw experts and personally vetted some of the best chainsaw sharpeners out there. So read on to learn about the best Chainsaw Sharpeners out there.
Best Chainsaw Sharpeners — Our Top Picks 2018
|Best Chainsaw Sharpeners||Check Price|
|Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder|
|Buffalo Tools ECSS|
|Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener|
|STIHL 2-in-1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener|
|Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener|
The Oregon 410-120 is the best electric chainsaw sharpener in the market. It’s not meant for sharpening high-powered chainsaws or for regular sharpening, however, it’s ideal for homeowners and sporadic chainsaw users.
This is an extremely safe and convenient chainsaw sharpener that can be mounted on a bench or wall before use. It runs on a 1.2 Amp engine at 3500 RPM and can sharpen chains to a pitch of .404.
The one-way engine along with the provision of a night light makes it extremely safe. It’s also extremely easy to make adjustments on the chainsaw sharpener so it can sharpen a wide range of chainsaws.
- Electric chainsaw sharpener.
- 1.2 Amp one-way engine.
- 3500 RPM.
- Weighs 17 pounds.
The Buffalo Tools ECSS is the best budget-friendly electric chainsaw sharpener for people who need it for occasional use.
This is an extremely stable chainsaw sharpener that can be mounted on walls and benches, or balanced on vices. As such, it can’t slip off and cause any damage. In terms of power, it has a relatively weak motor with 0.7 Amps, but it makes up for that with a high 4200 RPM count. As such, it can sharpen chainsaws quite fast. In order to use it, you need to plug it into a 120-volt electrical outlet.
This chainsaw sharpener has a 4 ½ x ⅛ inch grinder wheel and a ⅞ inch arbor. As such, it can be adjusted to various heights to sharpen various chainsaws.
- Electric chainsaw sharpener.
- 0.7 Amp engine.
- 4200 RPM.
- Weighs 7 pounds.
The Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is one of the most durable electric chainsaw sharpeners out there. It can sharpen each tooth within just a few seconds, and it always does so at the same uniform angle and length. If you care about uniformity, then this is the ideal choice for you.
Weighing just 2 pounds, this is the most lightweight chainsaw sharpener available. However, just because it’s small, doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. It’s made of a durable machined aluminum and high-grade tungsten carbide. As such, it’s light enough to carry around but still powerful and durable.
It comes with a fixed 30 degree carbide guide, and two additional 25 degree and 35 degree carbide guides as well. It has a 3/16″ grinder wheel and sharpens chains to a pitch of .325”.
- Electric chainsaw sharpener.
- Machined aluminum construction.
- 30 degree carbide guide.
- 3/16" grinder wheel.
- Weighs 2 pounds.
This is the cheapest and most effective handheld file chainsaw sharpener in the market. As the name suggests, it comes with a 2-in-1 offer so you have a replacement file if something happens to the first one.
If you don’t need to sharpen chainsaws regularly, then this is a great option for you. It’s also ideal for those who are always traveling because it would be too inconvenient to carry both a chainsaw and an electric chainsaw sharpener. This STIHL 2-in-1 file sharpener can easily be slipped into a bag or even a pocket as it only weighs 12 ounces and has a dimension of 8.4 x 2 x 0.9 inches.
The best aspect of this chainsaw sharpener is that it can file the saw teeth to a .325” precision and it works on most chainsaws effortlessly. It also comes with two guide bars set along the handle so you can measure the angle correctly and not go wrong.
- Handheld File chainsaw sharpener.
- Weighs 12 ounces.
- Dimension of 8.4 x 2 x 0.9 inches.
- Sharpens to a .325” pitch.
The Granberg G-106B is the best Bar-Mounted chainsaw sharpener in the market. Even though it’s a manual tool, it’s still widely used by professionals. It’s not the ideal instrument to be used by novices, however, it can sharpen chainsaws very well if you know how to use it.
It’s made of a die-cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel body. As such, it’s highly durable and you can expect to have it working smoothly for several years at a stretch. It’s also quite affordable and can be bought by most people without much of an issue.
It can be mounted on any saw and can accommodate all file sizes. As such, you’re not limited in terms of the chainsaws it works with. It’s compatible with all chainsaws. Furthermore, the calibrated swivel markings will make sure that you’re using the correct angle.
- Bar-Mounted chainsaw sharpener.
- Weighs 1.2 pounds.
- Dimension of 12.5 x 7 x 1.5 inches.
- Die cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel construction.
In this part of the article, we’ll give you a comprehensive guide on what chainsaw sharpeners are, how to use them safely, and the factors to consider when buying them. If you have any questions regarding chainsaw sharpeners, they’ll be answered in this section.
Benefits of Chainsaw Sharpeners
The following are some of the main advantages of owning a chainsaw sharpener:
- Without a chainsaw sharpener, your expensive chainsaw will become dysfunctional very soon. Using a dull chain is ineffective, puts greater pressure on the motor, and is also risky.
- You don’t need to keep buying new chains every time your chainsaw gets dull. In the long run, a chainsaw sharpener is a more cost-effective alternative.
- Chainsaw sharpeners are the safest and easiest means of sharpening the chains.
Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners
There are three types of chainsaw sharpeners in the market — Handheld File Chainsaw Sharpeners, Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners, and Bar Mounted Guide Chainsaw Sharpeners.
Handheld File Chainsaw Sharpeners
This is the most affordable, simple, and popular type of chainsaw sharpener. It is basically a rounded file that varies in diameters according to the chain that you want to sharpen. It takes quite a bit of effort, time, and practice. Furthermore, the individual who is handling it needs to be sure not to interfere with the cutting angle of the saw.
In order to sharpen the saw using this method, you have to manually run the file over the chains of the saw. To do so, you need a guide to show the correct angle.
Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners
Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners are used by professionals and they’re extremely easy to handle because of their automated nature. If you’re looking for a time-efficient means of sharpening a chainsaw, or if you need to sharpen chainsaws often, then this is the ideal tool for you. However, these tools are as powerful and risky as chainsaws, so you need proper safety gear to handle them.
Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners are also available in two different styles — Bench Sharpeners, and Handheld Sharpeners. The Bench Electric Chainsaw Sharpener remains stationary and is placed atop a flat surface like a bench. The Handheld Electric Chainsaw Sharpener, in comparison, is held over the chainsaw and moved along its edge to sharpen it. It makes use of a spinning disc to file down the saw. You need to be sure not to file the wrong angle as it would render the chainsaw inefficient.
Bar Mounted Guide Chainsaw Sharpeners
These aren’t automatic chainsaw sharpeners, however, they’re not as simple as a handheld chainsaw sharpener either. They require a stable bench or flat surface to use. The guide in this chainsaw sharpener is attached to the chainsaw and mounted on the bar. Following that, you need to use the control knobs to modify the sharpener’s depth and angle according to the instruction manual provided. Finally, a hand crank is used to sharpen the chain, which leads to metal shavings flying around. As such, it’s important to wear hands and eye safety gear.
Is it Time to Sharpen the Chainsaw?
There are a lot of different factors that may contribute to a chainsaw becoming dull. It can grow dull because of debris and dirt collected over repeated use on trees. It may also lose its edge because of lack of use for an extended period of time. Regardless of why it has lost its edge, you’ll know it’s time to sharpen the chainsaw in the following ways:
- Chainsaws should automatically cut through wood. If you have to apply additional pressure on it, that means it’s losing its sharpness.
- The wood chips that fly off when using a chainsaw are nicely squared. If instead, they’re uneven and dirty, your chainsaw is likely dull.
- If the cutting edge of the chainsaw starts glowing or shining, it’s time to sharpen the chainsaw.
If you notice these signs, you should sharpen the chainsaw immediately as continued usage would further damage the saw and put you at risk.
How to Prepare for Sharpening a Chainsaw?
Before you start sharpening your chainsaw, you need to be in a safe and conducive environment. You can take the following precautions and steps when you’re about to sharpen a chainsaw.
- You need to keep some device to secure the chainsaw when sharpening it. An extra chain would also suffice.
- Your garage or shop should be well lit so you can see exactly where you’re sharpening.
- Placing a block of wood under the bar will help with sharpening as you can rotate the chainsaw to sharpen it.
- You need to adjust the chain on your chainsaw and make sure that it’s not coming loose. If you don’t the chain could slip off the bar while you’re sharpening it, proving to be dangerous. Simply pull on the chain to see how tight it is. If you can pull up the chain, it’s too loose. And if the chain remains firm on the bar, it’s tightened.
How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Safely?
The exact process of sharpening a chainsaw depends on several factors like the type of sharpener you’re using and the type of chainsaw you have. However, you can follow these steps to guide you through the process.
Choose your Chainsaw Sharpener
Based on the three types of chainsaw sharpeners mentioned above, choose the one that’s most appropriate for you. If you choose the handheld sharpeners, you also need to decide upon the shape and diameter of the file according to your chainsaw.
Select a File Size
All chainsaws come with an instruction manual that specifies the file or stone size you need to sharpen the saw. You need to find this information — either in the instruction manual or online — and buy the corresponding chainsaw sharpener. Most chainsaws require a filing size of 3/16, 5/32 or 7/32 inches. The great thing about using an electric chainsaw sharpener is that it can be customized to any of these file size groups.
You need to sharpen the entire saw only once and avoid over-sharpening. As such, you need to know exactly where you’re starting and ending. Ideally, you should start with the special link in the chainsaw.
A special link is a link in the saw that’s different from the rest. Unlike the other links, it does not have teeth, and sometimes it’s even colored to set it apart. Start sharpening the chain from this link till you find your way back to it.
If you can’t find a special link, simply mark a spot on the saw with a marker.
If you’re using a handheld manual chainsaw sharpener, you need to be sure to use the correct motion. Align the file with the angle of the blade and sharpen at an even pace and pressure. Interfering with the saw angle will lead to the chainsaw losing its efficiency.
Finally, you need to rinse and brush the chainsaw to get rid of the metal shavings. Once done, inspect the chainsaw and sharpen again if it isn’t sharp enough.
Chainsaw sharpeners — especially electric chainsaw sharpeners — can be really dangerous if you don’t use them correctly. The following are some precautions you should take to remain safe:
- The sharpeners must be positioned on a stable surface and ensure that it can’t slip off.
- Sharpening a chainsaw leads to metal shavings flying off. As such, you should be dressed appropriately so they don’t burn or splinter you. Wear gloves, long sleeve shirts, and put on safety goggles.
- Hold the sharpener with both hands as it can get unstable when in use.
- Don’t ever get distracted while using the chainsaw.
- Keep the sharp end of the chainsaw pointed away from you and make sure no one else is in close vicinity of the tool.
- Unplug the electric sharpener after every use. Don’t keep it plugged in, not even if you’re taking a small 1-minute break.
- Keep your chainsaws and chainsaw sharpeners locked in cabinets that can’t be accessed by kids or untrained individuals.
Factors to Consider when Buying a Chainsaw Sharpener
If you’re buying a chainsaw sharpener, you need to take the following factors into close consideration.
As mentioned previously, there are three types of chainsaw sharpeners available — Handheld File Chainsaw Sharpeners, Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners, and Bar Mounted Guide Chainsaw Sharpeners. Be sure to get the one that suits your purpose best.
The higher the power, the better the chainsaw sharpener. Most sharpener motors range in the 75 watts to 300 watts range. In addition to the power, also watch out for the RPM as that will also determine how fast it can sharpen a chainsaw.
Be sure to get a chainsaw sharpener made of heavy-duty metal that can withstand proper use, as opposed to a cheaper product made of plastic.
Different chainsaws require different filing sizes. You should go through your chainsaw’s instruction manual to gauge the type of chainsaw sharper or file size you need.
Finally, get a chainsaw that meets all your aforementioned requirements at the lowest price point possible. If you use chainsaws sporadically, a cheaper one will suffice. However, if you need a chainsaw sharpener for regular professional use, you need to get an expensive one.
Ownership of a chainsaw is a great responsibility. After all, chainsaws are really powerful tools and any misuse can lead to grave injuries. A chainsaw sharpener is one of the most important tools when it comes to sharpening a chainsaw and ensure that’s it’s running in full-efficiency and remains safe.
There are a number of different chainsaw sharpeners on the market, all of them meant for different purposes. In this article, we’ve provided you with a detailed overview of the best of the different types of chainsaw sharpeners. In addition to the reviews, we’ve also provided you with a Buyer’s Guide to show you how to select the right chainsaw and the factors to consider.
If you have any other questions about chainsaw sharpeners, feel free to mention them down in the comments section.