Best Chainsaw Chain Sharpener
Last Updated on September 19, 2020 by ToolBoss
You have the best chainsaw for those important outdoor jobs, but do you have the best sharpener? If you want accurate results that see continuous precision in your chainsaw technique, it’s vital that you keep the blade sharp with a sharpener.
By sharpening your chain, you’ll also extend the lifetime of your chain as it’ll work with optimal performance. You’d be surprised by how many people throw away perfectly serviceable chains and buy new ones. This is an unnecessary cost that investing in a good sharpening device will prevent.
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There’s no denying the compactness and high quality of the Stihl Two-in-One Easy File Chainsaw Sharpener. Slip it into your pocket or toolbelt for optimum efficiency. It sharpens incredibly well, too.
On the other end of the spectrum is the Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder, which is the ultimate bench-mounted sharpener.
Still need more? Here’s our current list of the best chainsaw chain sharpeners:
Best Chainsaw Chain Sharpener Reviews
Stihl Two-in-One Easy File Chainsaw Sharpener – Best Manually Operated
This is a reliable chainsaw sharpener that’s easy to transport due to its lightweight and compact design. The Stihl two-in-one is a great gadget for when you’re on the go.
Deals with depth gauge and teeth in one tool
If you work in the field and don’t always have access to a power source, then you’ll love that this sharpener doesn’t need to be plugged in anywhere as it’s operated manually.
It weighs around 12 ounces, so you’ll barely even notice it in your toolbag. You can even fit it into your pocket thanks to its handy size, and it won’t feel heavy or bulky.
The device is accurate and consistent, and it sharpens chains quickly and effectively due to its materials. You’ll be able to use it anywhere and sharpen your tool at any workplace, which will save you time as you don’t have to check your chainsaw every day before leaving for work.
- Type: Manual
- Item weight: 12.3 ounces.
- Product dimensions: 8.4 x 2 x 0.9 inches.
- Can easily be transported from place to place.
- No electricity required.
- Results are accurate.
- Little difficult to use at first.
- Only compatible with specific file sizes.
Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener—Equal Best Manually Operated
An excellent device that can be bought on a budget, the Granberg Bar-Mount possesses the quality and performance of a top-tier machine.
From the kings of chainsaw accessories
The easy-to-use design lets you sharpen cutters on all regular and standard-sized chain pitches. Along with this versatility, the device will file all cutters down to the same sharpness and angle every time, offering you consistency in your work.
The device is lightweight, weighing less 2 pounds, and can easily be taken with you between locations. It’ll simply fit into your toolbag, ready to be pulled out and used as and when you need it.
It’ll sharpen your chains efficiently, meaning you don’t have to stop for long before your tool is ready to go again, and you’re closer to finishing your day’s work.
- Type: Manual
- Item weight: 1.1 pounds.
- Product dimensions: 12.5 x 7 x 1.5 inches.
- Color: Silver chrome.
- Pattern: Not listed.
- Doesn’t require a power source, making it perfect for workers in the field.
- Produces efficient work quickly.
- 12-month warranty for parts and labor.
- Design is bulky and may take up a bit of space in your toolbag.
- Files not included.
Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder—Best Bench-Mounted Model
One of the top bench-mounted models on the market, the Oregon 520-120 is popular with many. If you work from a shop or a specific workstation, then we recommend this machine as a great investment for a stationary sharpener.
It’s compatible with different chain sizes. Examples of its versatility include its ability to sharpen a 0.25-inch low profile, a 0.325-inch full profile, and a 0.404-inch pitch chain.
It has three grinding wheels for you to choose from, ensuring your cutters return to a perfect working condition.
A customizable chain vice handle, along with a self-centering chain vice, provides you with extra precision and accuracy. Also, a built-in light allows you to see better, focusing on getting those angles cut perfectly every time.
- Type: Bench-mounted.
- Item weight: 19.45 pounds.
- Voltage: 120V.
- Product dimensions: Not stated.
- Amps: 4.3A.
- Rated RPM: 3400.
- Features a dressing brick.
- Versatile, and can sharpen multiple different cutters and blades.
- Easy to set up and use.
- Chain stop pawl has to be adjusted whenever switching from left to right-handed cutters.
- Has to be mounted, so it isn’t ideal for field workers.
Oregon 12-Volt Sure-Sharp Chainsaw Sharpener—Best Battery-Powered Model
Due to its design, the Oregon 12-Volt Sure-Sharp can be used both remotely or at home. It works off a 12-volt battery, but also comes with a handy power converter that allows you to use it from a stationary power supply.
The device will help you to sharpen chain pitches of three different sizes: 7/32, 5/32, and 3/16-inch. It also features a built-in depth gauge that accurately aligns cutters to ensure that the finest cutting results are achieved and that they remain in perfect working condition.
The device is small and compact and can be easily transported being only 12 inches long. It can easily be stored in your toolbag without taking up too much valuable space. However, you must ensure you have a battery pack in the trunk of the car to effectively use it while working in the field.
- Type: Battery.
- Item weight: 14.4 ounces.
- Product dimensions: 6 x 12 x 3 inches.
- Battery included: No.
- Good value for money.
- Can be used both remotely and in stationary work settings.
- Three sharpening stones included.
- Power cord is conveniently large.
- Instructions aren’t good, so you need to know how to use this device beforehand.
- Sharpening stones quickly wear and need replacing.
Blue Max Electric Bench Mount Chainsaw Sharpener—Best Value Bench-Mounted
At only a fraction of the price when compared to other leading bench-mounted sharpeners, the Blue Max doesn’t substitute price for quality. Not only will you save money with this device, but you’ll also save time as its innovative technology sharpens cutters quickly.
The device will ensure your cutters return to a pristine working condition, and it operates universally for all standard chain designs and pitches. You can adjust it up to 35 degrees left or right for perfect precision.
A built-in rebound plate ensures accurate results every time for added consistency in your work. With speeds of up to 4200 RPM, the device is quick without compromising on precision.
It runs off of any electric power source and can be fitted anywhere. It’s a great addition to any workshop, especially if you’re a new business and have a tight budget to adhere to while you expand.
- Type: Bench-mounted.
- Item weight: 5.8 pounds.
- Volt: 120-AC.
- Product dimensions: 9.5 by 14.4 by 6.7 inches.
- Amps: Not specified.
- Rated RPM: 4200.
- Provides quick yet accurate results.
- 120 Volts.
- Excellent value for money.
- Difficult to find parts for the device, should you need to buy them in the future.
- Not ideal for field workers.
Woodsman Tough Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit—Best Value Kit
This eight-piece combo set ensures that you have all the files you need to hand for sharpening a variety of different saws and cutters. The kit includes the following:
- 3 x round files.
- 1 x flat file.
- 1 x depth gauge.
- 1 x filing gauge.
- 1 x hardwood handle.
- 1 x roll-up tool pouch.
The handy kit allows you to file on the go, without needing to find an electric power source. It’s lightweight and compact, meaning you can easily carry it in your pocket or toolbag.
With easy-to-follow instructions, you’ll be sharpening your tools in no time. The files can be tightened by a simple twist of the fingers, and won’t slide around as other similar-style kits do. Your saw teeth will all remain at the same angle and of the same size for perfect consistency, thanks to the included file guide.
The kit is simple to use and excellent value for money.
- Type: Manual
- Item weight: 1.02 pounds.
- Product dimensions: 11.6 by 7.3 by 1.2 inches.
- Number of files included: Four. Three are rounded, and one is flat.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Excellent value for money.
- Compatible with all standard sized chains and pitches.
- Accurate results every time.
- More time-consuming to use than electric devices.
Which Is the Best Chainsaw Sharpener to Buy?
Our research uncovered the following types of chainsaw sharpeners:
The type of sharpener you buy will depend upon your individual needs and what your usage is.
Some can be easily transported and used anywhere, which is ideal for workers on the go who often work remotely. You’ll have to consider a few different factors before deciding which is the best type for you to work with.
For instance, both battery and bench-mounted models can be more dangerous if they aren’t used properly. However, that can be said for all electrical tools.
Manual sharpeners lack the power and automation of bench-mounted and battery-operated devices. They shine in their portability, though, making them perfect for out-of-your-toolbag sharpening. Be sure to make sure you’ve got some elbow grease ready, though!
Handheld devices give you a guide that you can follow to ensure precision and accuracy. However, you’ll get less accuracy than with a bench-mounted one.
Watch out for manual devices that are bulkier, though. While these still have portability, they can’t just be slipped into your pocket.
If you’re looking for the best manually-operated devices, we’d recommend that you choose between the Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File Chainsaw Sharpener and the Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener as they’re equally as good as each other when it comes to quality.
The Stihl is a completely handheld device, whereas the Granberg does mount to the chainsaw’s bar, so this may alter your decision when making a choice.
Both of them are lightweight and can be easily carried with you and transported from job to job. The Stihl is slightly smaller—by 4 inches—and can fit into your pocket, whereas the Granberg is bulkier and will need to be put in your toolbag.
Consider battery-operated chainsaw sharpeners as a happy medium between manual and bench-mounted versions. They have greater portability than bench sharpeners and require less effort on your part than the manual versions.
Keep an eye out as to whether the batteries are rechargeable and for the corded models. Some can also be used as a cordless sharpener yet be plugged in to an electricity source when needed.
If you’re looking for the best battery-powered sharpener, check out the Oregon 12-Volt Sure-Sharp Chainsaw Sharpener. Not only can it be used with a 12-volt battery, but it comes with a power converter that allows you to plug it into any power source should you find one close by.
These hefty devices are the ultimate in power for chainsaw sharpening needs. They remain a permanent fixture, so are ideally suited for home garage use or as a fixed installation on a long-term worksite.
Naturally, due to their size and power, they come as more of an investment than their manual and battery-operated cousins, so be sure you’re going to need one of these for a long time.
They also provide better control because they’re stationary, and give you the freedom of using two hands to properly grip your chain.
If you’re looking for something bench mounted and are happy to make a small investment in a top-quality device, then we recommend the Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder. It’s one of the best in the industry and will make a great addition to any business. It’s versatile and has three grinders to work with.
The Blue Max Electric Bench Mount Chainsaw Sharpener is a great alternative if you want a bench mount device but have a limited budget to play with. Maybe you’re just starting your business or new to using a bench mount; this one is a great start-up machine at excellent value.
When Is It Time to Sharpen a Chainsaw?
When the chain is sharp, it’ll easily cut through wood and won’t require much force. You’ll need to direct the saw, but the cutters should push through — like a knife cutting into a block of butter.
If the chain is dull and in need of sharpening, you’ll notice that it rides in the cut without particularly deepening it. You’ll have to use a lot more manpower to push the saw through.
Another simple way of telling when the chain needs sharpening is by looking at the waste chips that it produces. If you’re getting full wood chips as waste, then your cutters are still sharp. However, if the waste is mostly dust-like and thin, then that means the cutters are worn and dull and need replacing.
It’s critical that you don’t continue using a chainsaw that has dull cutters. Not only will it be more exhausting work for you, but it’s dangerous, too. The machine is more likely to kick back when the chain is dull, which has the potential to cause a lot of harm if you accidentally let go when it does this.
How Do You Sharpen a Chainsaw?
Chainsaws are one of the most intimidating machines that we work with — and we’re sure it has something to do with all those chainsaw-related horror movies that are out there!
People tend to have concerns around cleaning, repairing, and maintaining chains. This particularly includes sharpening the chains, which we all know is vital to ensure accuracy and precision. A chainsaw sharpener is an extremely useful tool to have for this.
So many people buy new blades when they become dull and ineffective, but this isn’t necessary. Having a chainsaw sharpener is much more cost-effective and a simple procedure from home without visiting a hardware store and buying a new set of blades.
Steps to Sharpening Your Tool
Step 1: Safety
Before you do anything, make sure you have a pair of thick and durable gloves to protect your hands — safety first!
Step 2: Apply the Brake
The second thing you must do is engage the brake on the chain. This will stop it from moving while you work and will securely clamp the blade so you can use both hands safely to work.
Step 3: Sharpen One Side
The next step depends on your sharpener, and what type of kit you have.
Manual kits require you to place the included guide onto the chain rivets, with the guide arrows facing downwards. Use the file, following the angle of the arrows. After a few strokes, you’ll notice the metal shimmering indicates its time to move onto the next cutter.
Handheld electric sharpeners require you to use the including guide to ensure you achieve the correct angle on the cutters.
Bench sharpeners require you to place the chainsaw underneath the machine, then simply turn it on.
You’ll have to turn the machine off each time you need to adjust the chain to file the individual cutters.
Step 4: Sharpen the Other Side
Once you’ve completed one side of the chainsaw, flip it over to file the other side using the same procedure.
Step 5: Check the Depth
Once the sharpening is complete, you’ll need to use a depth gauge to ensure each cutter is the same height. If any of them are too high above the gauge, the chainsaw won’t cut properly as they won’t be able to reach the wood effectively.
Chain cutters have specific diameters that are semicircular shaped. In front of them are pieces of metal that resemble a shark’s fin and are known as a depth gauge.
The cutters and depth gauges are similar in height; however, the depth gauge is slightly shorter. It controls how deep the bite of the cutters go, which is why it’s equally important that they’re sharpened, too.
After repeated sharpening of the blades, the cutters’ height becomes level with the depth gauges. This stops the cutters from working effectively, as there’s no longer an allowance between the two. The depth gauges can be filed down in height to ensure they sit lower than the cutters, but this must be done using a guide for accurate precision.
Eventually, when there’s no longer room to maintain the space between the two, you’ll have to replace the blades altogether.
If you damage the saw’s cutters, they may not work effectively. This can easily be done through accidental contact with hard objects embedded in trees or dirt build-up.
You may have to consider taking the chainsaw to be professionally sharpened, or you may have to buy a new chain altogether, depending on the level of damage that’s been done.
Variations in Grind Angles
There’s a variety of sharpening angles that you can consider, depending on the particular chainsaw you have. Most crosscut saws are sharpened at 30 degrees, which can be estimated with a file if your chain doesn’t have a witness mark.
On jigsaws, you’ll usually find angle markings etched into the metal, which ensures that filing angles are more accurate and precise.
Rip chains usually come sharpened at an angle of 10 degrees.
Generally speaking, the shallower the angle, the smoother the cut will be. Some workers, particularly when slabbing, will work at a zero-degree angle. This will significantly reduce the speed of the cut, but it will achieve the smoothest cut possible with a chainsaw.
Handy Tips for Ultimate Chainsaw Maintenance
To ensure that your chainsaw lasts, it must be well-maintained. We’ve comprised a list of handy tips to help you along the way:
Look Out For Warning Signs
If your saw doesn’t sit straight and pulls towards one side while cutting, this is an indication that the cutters on one side are sharper than the cutters on the other. Always keep a mental note when sharpening your saw to ensure that the cutters on each side have received the same amount of strokes from the file and with the same amount of pressure.
Sharpen and Re-Sharpen Again
Cutters are fine to be sharpened at least 10 times before the chain needs replacing altogether. You’ll surely save yourself time and money by investing in a reliable chainsaw sharpener.
Remember: Don’t automatically go out and buy new blades unless you’re made of money. While chainsaw sharpeners might take more effort, they’ll save you a heap of money in the long-run.
Ask a Professional
Unevenly worn cutters can be sharpened by a professional to save buying replacements. Ask them for tips if you’re having consistent trouble with accurate sharpening. They’ll also do the sharpening for you, if you’re really stuck, but expect to pay for their services.
Buy More Than One Chain
If you buy a new chain after using the same one for several years, it won’t fit together smoothly with the bar and sprocket. It’ll cause faster wear and tear on the saw and rougher cutting.
What you can do is grab a couple of extra chains and swap between all three. Doing this will align the fit of the chains with the sprockets and bar for longer, extending your saw use.
Use File Guides
They take longer to use, but they help to ensure that you’re filing at the same angle for every cutter. You’re less likely to go wrong and are, therefore, less-likely to need help from a professional sharpener.
While there are a lot of chainsaw sharpeners available, they vary in size, portability, and function.
If you own your business and work out of a shop, then you’ll surely want a bench-mounted device. It’ll provide you with ultimate precision and accuracy to ensure your cutters are perfectly sharp every time, and will be a worthwhile investment.
However, if you’re often working remotely and have limited access to a reliable power source, then opt for a handy manual sharpener. These can fit into your back pocket, ready to be pulled out and used anytime your saw cutters aren’t performing at their best.
If you want to head down the middle, with a blend of portability but more power, go for a battery-operated sharpener, but don’t forget to charge the batteries!
We hope our handy guide has provided you with lots of useful information and will help you in finding the perfect sharpener for your chainsaw. Continuous buying of brand new blades will be a thing of the past once you have one.
Remember, our top three choices are:
- Practical tool for quickly sharpening the teeth and depth gauge in a single step.
- Ideal for occasional users.
- Proudly made in California, USA
- Quickly and easily sharpen any chain
- Universal sharpener: Sharpens up to .404" pitch chain. Sharpen almost any chain from manufacturers such as Oregon, Stihl, Husqvarna, and others
- Durable sharpener: Built with the quality and features needed for frequent, high volume chain sharpening. Ideal for professional users such as loggers and arborists
Last update on 2021-01-16 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API