As an avid DIYer with lots of projects in the pipeline, your chainsaw is your best friend. It cuts down the time and effort by half and gives the job the professional look you expect and desire. But just like with everything that has a blade, the chainsaw gets dull the more you use it. Instead of going to the hardware store to get it sharpened, you can save time and money with a chainsaw sharpener.
A chainsaw sharpener is just as convenient as the chainsaw itself. As you well know, a dull chainsaw chain is dangerous and doesn’t give you the clean and professional cut the saw was made for. And when you’re out on the road doing a job or helping a friend with their project, you wouldn’t want to waste time looking for a store to get your chainsaw sharp again. You just whip out your trusty chainsaw sharpener and sharpen the chain on the go.
Chainsaw sharpeners come in different types, shapes, and prices. Whether you have a big budget or a limited one, there’s always a chainsaw sharpener to suit your needs and give you the best results. These best chainsaw sharpener reviews come with a buying guide to help you pick the right tool to sharpen your chainsaw.
Best Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews
Whether it’s a portable chainsaw sharpener you’re looking for or a wall-mounted one, the following 8 top chainsaw sharpener reviews give you a comprehensive in-depth analysis of the best tools to keep your chainsaw chain in great shape.
1. Editor’s Choice: Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
Ease of access and versatility are the two main features that make the Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener stand out. You can mount it on a wall, a bench, or a vise. It has a versatile design that allows it to adjust to and sharpen most chainsaw chains designs in the market. The electric sharpener takes the hard work out of sharpening the chain and leaves the finessing to you.
Weighing on 4.1 pounds, the corded electric ECSS doesn’t take up space in your workshop. You can easily mount it on the bench if you have space, or just put it up on the wall for easy access. If neither is available then you can mount it to a vise and keep it handy nearby.
Small and compact, the ECSS packs a punch where it matters. The sharpener has a 4,200 RPM grinding speed which is enough to get the job done in a reasonably short time. You won’t have to worry about mounting the chain, adjusting the teeth, or aligning them to the grinder. The 4-¼-inch x ⅛-inch grinding wheel gives you ample space to find the right angle to get the best sharpening results. And with a ⅞-inch arbor, you won’t waste a lot of time getting the teeth of the chain to fit or stay on the grinding wheel. It produces chips and shavings with impressive finesse.
On the downside, the quality of the material is not as expected. Most of the parts are made of plastic which puts its durability in question. But then again, for such a low price, one wouldn’t expect it to be made from durable materials.
- Electric corded sharpener.
- 4,200 RPM grinding speed.
- Mounts easily on a bench, wall, or vise.
- Sharpens most chain designs in the market.
- Some parts are made of plastic.
2. Budget Value: LEGENDARY-YES Electric Grinder Chainsaw Bench Sharpener
Operating power tools such as a chainsaw means you have to take safety seriously. The same safety first rule also applies to the electric chainsaw sharpener. LEGENDARY-YES Electric Grinder Chainsaw Bench Sharpener makes safety a top priority with a design that incorporates a large safety guard. It keeps you and your tools safe while you grind and sharpen your chainsaw chain.
The electric sharpener from Legendary comes at an affordable price and gives you good value for your money. The 4-¼-inch x ⅛-inch grinding wheel produces 4,200 RPM for fast and efficient sharpening. The 6.12-pound grinder is easy to mount anywhere you like. You can set it up on the bench if you have enough space, or attach it to a visor or mount it on the wall. With so many mounting options, you won’t have trouble fitting it in a convenient and easy to access space in your workshop.
Another feature we liked about this chainsaw sharpener from Legendary is that it uses chain rotation rollers for smooth and seamless link advancement. No more clunky grinding where the chain keeps falling off the grinder and you have to adjust it repeatedly. It also cuts down the setup time by almost half. The sharpener gives you power, fine sharpening quality, and safety as well. And for such an affordable price, the sharpener gives you the best bang for your buck.
One disadvantage we discovered while operating this electric chainsaw sharpener was that it requires some knowledge and experience with using these machines beforehand. If you don’t know how to adjust your angle before you set the chain on the grinding wheel, you might cause serious damage to the teeth instead of sharpening them. So it’s not exactly for the novice user.
- Affordable price.
- 4,200 RPM.
- Large side safety guard.
- Mounts on the wall, a vise, or the bench.
- Slightly heavier than usual.
- Requires experience and knowledge of the sharpening angles.
3. Premium Pick: Oregon 620-120 Professional Universal Saw Chain Sharpener
If power and professional sharpening are what you’re after then you need to look further than the Oregon 620-120 Professional Universal Saw Chain Sharpener. It takes fast, safe, and clean chain sharpening to the next level with its hydraulic assistance, powerful electric motor, and automatic vice clamping. The Oregon 620-120 is designed for high-volume use and it has all the necessary features and accessories to make sharpening your chainsaw both safe and less time-consuming.
To help you get your angle right, the sharpener produces 3,400 RPM grinding speed and comes with 3 grinding wheels. Each grinding wheel is 5 inches in diameter and ¾-inch in width. The powerful motor has 0.4 horsepower which is enough to run the three wheels at maximum speed without consuming too much energy.
The 620-120 is both a heavy-duty and a compact sharpener. The hydraulic assist is by far the most powerful feature of this professional machine. It makes sharpening the chain teeth a veritable no-brainer. You don’t need to know which angle to set the chain against the grinding wheel or what speed. All of that is taken care of with the easy-to-use adjustments and grinding templates. Add to that the safety of the machine as the motor only rotates in one direction, so less risk of accidents in the workplace even if you get distracted.
But all of these features come at a steep price. The 620-120 comes with a high price tag attached to it. In addition, setting up the machine for the first time isn’t easy or straightforward. We also didn’t like the safety guard covering most of the grinding wheel which makes it difficult to see the chain while sharpening it.
- 3 grinding wheels.
- Hydraulic assistance.
- One-direction motor rotation for safety.
- 3,400 RPM grinding speed.
- Automatic vice clamping.
- High price tag.
- Setting up the machine for the first time is not easy.
- A safety guard covers most of the grinding wheel.
The above three chainsaw sharpeners are all electric and more or less need to be stationary. So what about a portable sharpener that you can take with you anywhere and doesn’t need setting up or much space to store? The Stihl 2 IN 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener is the answer to all of these questions and more.
The Stihl simplifies the process of sharpening your chainsaw chain. No more worrying about setting up the machine, mounting it, plugging it, or worrying about that fast-rotating grinding wheel. The compact sharpener measures only one foot in height, one inch in thickness, and three inches in width. That makes it quite portable and you can easily pack it in your toolkit box.
The American-made Stihl is made from metal that guarantees strength and durability. It comes in one color option, orange but what it lacks in color options it makes up for it with ease of use and simplicity.
As a manual chainsaw sharpener, the Stihl is straightforward enough. It’s true, it requires some previous experience with handling these types of sharpeners, but both the quality of the material and the elegant design make it simple enough.
The sharpener doesn’t require any accessories or attachments. It works out of the box and works anywhere. No need to look for an electric outlet to plug it in either. It’s also considered much safer than its electric counterparts.
On the downside, the manual Stihl means you’ll be doing most of the heavy work yourself. From adjusting the chain, to getting the right angle and doing the filing itself. It requires some experience on your part although the learning curve is not that steep.
- Compact and safe to use.
- Made of steel.
- American manufactured.
- Portable and efficient.
- Requires previous experience handling manual sharpeners.
Another product of the USA that puts quality and convenience front and center. Made from aluminum and zinc-plated steel, the Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener is a tool in your kit that you will be proud of. Even though it’s a manual sharpener, the Granberg makes sharpening your chainsaw a simple process even if you have no prior experience with these manual types.
First off, the Granberg is a bar-mount sharpener. That means you can mount it on any chainsaw or any design, size, or teeth shape. The guide file makes it easy to adjust the sharpener on the chain and achieve the filing depth you desire. It can even fit on chainsaws with quirky chain designs for quick and safe sharpening.
The bar holder is made of aluminum and gives you the precision you need for a professional sharpening of your chainsaw. This precision is easy to achieve thanks to the calibrated swivel guide markings. You won’t have trouble getting the right sharpening angle so no more guessing or relying on trial and error. We also like the durability of this sharpener since neither the aluminum bar holder nor the zinc-plated steel sharpener is prone to rust or erosion.
Although the Granberg is a manual sharpener, it still requires some setup. That can be a little tricky if you have a chainsaw that is out there in terms of design or teeth shape. But once you get the hang of it and get over that initial set up, the rest of the process is quite easy and the results are satisfactory.
- Made from aluminum and zinc-plated steel for durability.
- Calibrated swivel guide markings.
- Works on all chainsaws.
- Portable and easy to pack.
- Initial setup is a little difficult for inexperienced users.
Some people prefer to do things the old-fashioned way. With files of different shapes and sizes, you have more control over the chain sharpening. The Oregon Chainsaw Field Sharpening Kit does exactly that. The kit contains four different files, one for each saw type. And although the sharpening is done manually, the Oregon Kit allows you to finesse your sharpening and keep your chainsaw in good shape.
The Oregon Kit is as low tech as it can be. The whole kit includes one 5/32-inch round saw chain file, one 3/16-inch round saw chain file, one 7/32-inch round saw chain file, one 6-inch flat file, and one universal file handle. These files are suitable for most saw chains in the market. The small-caliber files come in handy when you have a chainsaw with unusual teeth design or intricate links. All the files regardless of their size and shape fit snugly into the universal file handle.
The way the files are designed, they’re easy to plug into and out of the file handle quickly. This is a convenient way to change files on the fly and go on sharpening the chain without many interruptions. The kit also comes with an instruction sheet for quick reference. If you have little to medium experience handling files and sharpening chainsaw chains, the cheat sheet will get you up to speed. It has many useful tips and gives you pointers about how to keep the chainsaw sharp and efficient.
On the downside, this kit is not for those seeking fast results. It takes longer to get the chain of the chainsaw sharpened using small files and doing it manually. You also need to apply the right angles and use the right amount of pressure.
- Four file types.
- A universal file handle.
- A file guide.
- A handy rolled pouch for easy storage.
- Takes longer to get the job done.
- Requires more experience applying the right angle and amount of pressure.
Although manual chainsaw sharpeners have their allure and advantages, they still fall short in comparison to electric chainsaw sharpeners. For all the control and finesse they offer you, they also require more time and effort on your side to get the job done. So we turned our attention to the 85W Mini Bench Mount Electric Chainsaw Grinder Sharpener to see what unique features it has. And we were not disappointed.
The bench-mounted Mini offers a fast, efficient, and stable sharpener for our chainsaw. It has a pivoting head that you can adjust to suit the angle and position of the chain. And to prevent the clunky chain from slipping as often happens when you sharpen it, the Mini has a brake system that keeps the chain in place.
The 85-watt motor gives you a powerful 4,200 RPM grinding speed. That, along with the ability to sharpen chains between ¼-inch and ⅜-inch thick, allows you to sharpen different chainsaw brands and sizes and keep them in top shape.
We also liked the different angles the vice can be adjusted to. You can set it to an angle from zero to 35 to the left and the right. This gives you more control over the chain while grinding or sharpening it.
The only problem we had with the Mini was the teeth of the saw tend to lift up when the chain brakes are applied. This makes it a little too difficult to set the chain to the right angle relative to the grinding wheel.
- 85-watt motor with 4,200 RPM speed.
- Brake system to keep the chain from slipping when sharpening it.
- Different angles for the vice for more control.
- The saw teeth lift slightly when the brakes are applied.
We wrap up our review of the best chainsaws with a versatile and efficient chain sharpener from Timber Tuff. The Timber Tuff CS-BWM Electric Chainsaw Chain Sharpener has a 230-watt motor that produces 5,800 RPM maximum grinding speed. It can be mounted on the wall, the bench, or to a vise for convenience.
We liked the fact that the Timber Tuff could sharpen different chainsaws with the same efficiency. We tried ¼-inch chains and got the same satisfying results from it as the thicker ¾-inch chains. This vast grinding range makes the Timber Tuff an ideal tool for both the professional as well as the home user.
The adjustment guides are easy to read and set. Once you have sharpened the chain on it a few times, you won’t even need to look at the guides. You’ll set it automatically to the desired angle.
We also liked the transparent side guard. Some electric chainsaw sharpeners on this list had an opaque side guard that minimized the visibility of the grinding wheel and the chain while sharpening. But this see-through guard gives you a clear view of the chain so you can track the progress and move the links steadily without interruptions.
The sharpener has three wheels for maximum efficiency and comes with a thermal-overload protection system that prevents the machine from overheating. However, the vise which balances on a tilt base can be awkward to keep in place. The base uses ball bearings that tend to fall if you’re not careful.
- 230-watt motor with 5,800 RPM maximum speed.
- See-through side guard for better visibility.
- Three grinding wheels.
- Thermal-overload protection.
- Vise tilt base rests on ball bearings which fall off sometimes.
- High price tag.
Chainsaw Sharpener Buying Guide
We start our guide by covering the advantages of using a chainsaw sharpener, then detail the different types you can get and the top consideration to look for when buying this indispensable tool.
Benefits of the Chainsaw Sharpener
Chainsaws don’t come cheap. Without proper maintenance, you could shave a few years of service off the chainsaw’s life. A chainsaw sharpener is part of that care and maintenance. Here are a few benefits you will get from the time-saving tool.
- It saves you money in the long run.
- You can sharpen your chainsaw chain anytime and anywhere.
- A portable chainsaw sharpener fits in your toolkit box and you can take it with you everywhere.
- It keeps the chainsaw chain sharp for safer cutting.
- No need to use oil or make a mess when sharpening the saw chain.
Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners
Besides their convenience and time-saving qualities, chainsaw sharpeners come in many types. If you are on the move a lot, then a portable sharpener will come in handy. And if you’re a professional who uses the chainsaw almost every day in your workshop, then an electric sharpener is the right one for you.
- Manual Filing: A cost-effective sharpener that gives you more control over the sharpening process. It’s a simple tool that clamps to the sides of the chain where you can apply as much or little pressure as necessary. This allows you to fill the teeth and get the chain sharp again with minimum hassle and adjustment. This tool requires both skill and knowledge so it’s not ideal for beginners.
- Bar-mounted: Another manual tool that requires you to do most of the hard work yourself. The Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener is a good example of this type. But unlike the other manual filing tools, this one has knobs and levers to give you more accurate positioning of the saw chain. It’s suitable for both beginners and experts.
- Electric: The most versatile and convenient sharpener for your money. It works mounted to a wall, a vise, or even on the workbench. Electric sharpeners, such as the Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener, are easy to use and the grinding stone does all of the hard work. You just position the teeth of the chain on the grinder at the right angle and file away. However, they’re not portable and usually cost more than the other types.
- Manual Sharpening: Works in a similar way to manual filing tools, except that here you need to turn a handle to sharpen the teeth of the chain. Positioning the chainsaw and filing the teeth is considerably easier with these types. So there’s less risk of damaging the chain if you have never used them before.
- Dremel: A portable and easy-to-use tool kit. You can carry it around wherever you go and use the small attachment to sharpen any chain large or small. The filing is manual so the onus of applying the right amount of pressure and adjusting the angle of filing all lie on your shoulder. Skill and experience are required.
Key Features to Look for
Admittedly there are too many types to choose from. To complicate things further, different chainsaw sharpeners have plenty of features. Some of those features will make your life easier, while others are less essential.
- Mounting Options: Depending on the setup in your workshop, you would want to consider how the sharpener is mounted. A large workbench gives you room to mount the sharpener. But if you have a smaller workspace, then a wall-mounted tool will be more convenient. Electric sharpeners such as Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener give you many mounting options for convenience.
- Maximum Speed: Whether it’s an electric or manual sharpener, the rotation speed of the grinding stone makes all the difference. Usually, you’d want a tool with high rotations per second (RPM) for fast and efficient sharpening. The sharpeners we reviewed here have varying speeds between 3,000 RPM and 4,200 RPM. Unless you’re a contractor or a professional, then a sharpener that averages 3,400 RPM is ideal for you. The Timber Tuff CS-BWM Electric Chainsaw Chain Sharpener has a maximum speed of 5,800 RPM but you will hardly need so much power for your daily use.
- Safety: As with all power tools, you need to have safety front and center. This is more pertinent to electric sharpeners than manual ones. This is why you should look for a chainsaw sharpener that has a side guard. This will protect you from accidents where the chain might slip or fall off the grinding wheel. Some tools such as the Timber Tuff CS-BWM Electric Chainsaw Chain Sharpener has a see-through side guard for better visibility.
- Grinding Wheel: The grinding wheel is where the real work takes place. So the size and thickness of the wheel give you an idea of what type of chainsaws you can sharpen on it. Some electric sharpeners such as the Oregon 620-120 Professional Universal Saw Chain Sharpener come with 3 grinding wheels to sharpen chains of different sizes.
Safety with the Chainsaw Sharpener
Here are a few tips to keep yourself and your tools safe while operating the chainsaw sharpener.
- Always wear protective gear such as gloves and goggles while sharpening your chainsaw chains. This will protect you against flying sparks and debris.
- Make sure the sharpener is well balanced and mounted on a solid base. A shaky or unbalanced sharpener can cause an accident.
- Use the angle guides on the sharpener correctly to avoid damaging the teeth of the chain.
- Don’t leave until all the teeth have been sharpened. A blunt chain is a hazard.
Chainsaw Sharpener FAQs
Why does my chainsaw chain get dull so quickly?
The material you cut can make your chainsaw get dull quickly. For example, dirty or wet wood is more abrasive than dry wood. So if you tend to cut trees in a swamp or dead trees that are soaked with water, that would put more strain on the chain.
What are the signs of a worn-out chainsaw chain?
Much like any other tool with a blade, the chainsaw chain goes through a lot of wear and tear. If the chain doesn’t cut as quickly and efficiently as it used to, that’s a sign the teeth are worn-out. A sharp chainsaw is easy to position on the wood unlike a blunt one. Also if you notice smoke while cutting through wood even though the chainsaw is well lubricated, that would be a sign the chain is not as sharp as it should be. Finally, if the teeth on the chain are nothing but stubs, that’s a good indication you might need a new chain.
What angle is best for sharpening my chainsaw?
For most general-purpose chainsaws, you can set the angle between 20 and 25 degrees. This will give you the right sharpness to cut through most types of wood. However, if you need an extra-sharp chainsaw that cuts through tough wood, then set the angle to 10 degrees. However, keep in mind that such a narrow-angle would wear out the teeth quickly. So it’s better to consult the manual that comes with the chainsaw.
The Last Word
Our editor’s choice for the best chainsaw sharpener is the Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. It is easy to mount on a wall, a bench, or a vise for convenience. And with its powerful motor and 4,200 RPM grinding speed, you can sharpen any popular chainsaw design fast and efficiently.
As for the LEGENDARY-YES Electric Grinder Chainsaw Bench Sharpener, it won our best budget pick because it comes at an affordable price while still offering you a reliable and sturdy electric sharpener for your home use.
We couldn’t ignore the excellent qualities of the Oregon 620-120 Professional Universal Saw Chain Sharpener and it’s our premium pick. It offers hydraulic assistance, 3 grinding wheels, and automatic vice clamping among other features.