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10 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners – Reviews & Buying Guide

Best Chainsaw Sharpener

A chainsaw sharpener is a handy tool simplifies the process of cutting wood, significantly. However, a dull chainsaw can make the process tiresome while wearing out your machine faster. 

With a blunt chainsaw, you risk overworking your machine and reducing its lifespan. You will also need to exert more pressure to cut the wood it the chain is blunt.

Getting the ideal chainsaw sharpener can eliminate all these troubles. Most sharpeners will accommodate standard sizes of .404 inches, 3/8 inches, .325 inches, and many more.

Read further to discover the ideal chainsaw sharpener for your usage needs and budget, from our top 10 chainsaw sharpener review and buying guide.

You can also read other product reviews of chainsaw chain, chainsaw bar.

1. Stihl 56057504304 – Best Handheld Chainsaw Sharpener

Stihl 56057504304
  • Power source: Handheld
  • Weight: 12 ounces
  • Pitch chain: .325 inches

Stihl 56057504304 is an impressively lightweight chainsaw sharpener that is especially suitable for people who desire to move around with their tools for random chain refreshes.

Don’t let the sharpener throw you off. It is incredibly reliable and will sharpen for many cycles before you even think of replacing it.

What you’ll love about this too is that it sharpens both the chain’s teeth and depth gauge simultaneously. This handy feature ensures your chain produces efficient cuts.

It is worth noting that this sharper accommodates only one pitch chain size of 0.325 inches so its best to confirm with your saw’s chain before purchasing this tool.

The user guide that comes with this tool is not so detailed. In fact, it is in diagram form so first-time users may fumble a bit, but everything becomes easier as you get used to it.

Although you are getting some excellent value in a lightweight tool with the Stihl 56057504304, it is designed for occasional use and may limit heavy-duty users due to the absence of features such as automatic chain mounting.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and portable
  • Reliable for many sharpening cycles
  • Files both teeth and depth gauge simultaneously
  • Accommodates standard 0.325 pitch chain

Cons:

  • Opaque user instructions
  • Not suited for heavy-duty usage
  • Compatible with a single pitch chain

2. Oregon 410-120 – Best Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Oregon 410-120
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Weight: 16.5 pounds
  • Pitch chain: 1/4 inches, 3/8 inches low profile, .325 inches, 3/8 inches, and .404 inches.

Oregon 410-120 is a major upgrade from the basic Stihl 56057504304. This one is an advanced electric chainsaw sharpener that can be mounted on a bench or wall.

It comes with a dressing brick, a quick check grinding template, and three grinding wheels, which will sharpen chains of different sizes and models. You won’t need to keep changing cutter to accommodate different pitches.

The tool is built for safety usage as it can be firmly mounted on a wall or bench. You don’t have to worry about instability and risky movements that can endanger your safety.

An additional safety feature is its one-way electric motor, which enhances operator safety.

Although this is a professional chainsaw sharpener, you will derive the most value if you use it occasionally, and not in a commercial capacity.

Some users do note that the user Handheld included with the Oregon 410-120 is not as useful especially for first-time users. Also, it is pricey so if you’re on a budget, you may want to check for other cheaper alternatives before settling for this one.

Pros:

  • Electric-powered for efficiency
  • Sharpens multiple chain models and sizes
  • A one-way motor operation for user safety
  • Long-lasting service from occasional usage

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • The user guide is not detailed

3. Timberline 793573831248 – Accurate and Precise Chainsaw Sharpener

Timberline 793573831248
  • Power source: Handheld
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • Pitch chain: .325 inches

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is a patented tool built for accuracy and precision during chainsaw sharpening, even though it is manually operated.

It comes with a 3/16″ carbide cutter, which sharpens all your saw’s teeth evenly. This handy tool is suitable for all level of uses, from professionals to novices.

During sharpening, the tool is surprisingly stable because and won’t flex or bend during the exercise.

Weighing only 2 pounds, you will be investing in a relatively lightweight, but sturdy sharpening tool that balances functionality, and agility.

Portability is another reason you should go for this Timberline sharpener. It will not require any mounting, wall or desk space. You can move around with it, and service your chainsaw whenever necessary.

You can sharpen only .325-inch pitch chains with the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener so it will not accommodate other sizes. However, this size is the most standard so it’s likely you already own such a chainsaw.

The user guide is not so intuitive. You may need to supplement it with online videos, especially for first-time users.

Pros:

  • Accurate and precise sharpening
  • Suitable for all levels of users
  • Stable and sturdy during sharpening
  • Lightweight, small and portable

Cons:

  • Only sharpens .325-inch pitch chains
  • Inadequate user guide

4. Buffalo Tools ECSS – Easy-to-Use Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Buffalo Tools ECSS
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Weight: 4.11 pounds
  • Pitch chain: Any size

Buffalo Tools ECSS is famed for its ease of use and ability to adjust to chains of any pitch (size). This is because it comes with a 4.25-inch x 0.125-inch grinding wheel and a 0.875-inch arbor.

The sharpener is also electric and will plug into the standard 120-volts power outlet. With a 4000 RPM grinding speed, it can sharpen faster and more efficiently than if you’re doing it manually.

Buffalo Tools ECSS is best for occasional uses as you must mount it on a bench. Once you set it up, it is easy to use. It is worth noting that because of its fixed mounting, it is not a portable sharpener. 

However, since it is very efficient in sharpening a chainsaw, you probably won’t need to do it every day. And for all that value, you pay a very reasonable price.

Another possible drawback is the fact that some of its components are made of plastic, which can be flimsy especially with repeated usage. Although that doesn’t degrade the quality of the tool, you can get metallic equivalents at the local store.

Pros:

  • Adjustable to accommodate pitch chain of any size
  • Electric powered for fast and efficient sharpening
  • Easy to use after mounting
  • Reasonably priced

Cons:

  • Plastic materials may feel flimsy
  • Suited for occasional use

5. Husqvarna Sharpforce – Best Budget Chainsaw Sharpener

Husqvarna Sharpforce
  • Power source: Handheld
  • Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Pitch chain: N/A

Husqvarna Sharpforce is the best-priced chainsaw sharpener on our list. It is also the top-rated chainsaw sharpener, so it's easy to see just how much value is packed in this basic, handheld tool.

It comes equipped with a 7/32-inch cutter. One thing you’ll love about this tool is that it is lightweight at only 11.2 ounces, making it ultra-portable.

The sharpener can file both the cutter and depth gauge simultaneously for optimal chainsaw performance.

One area the sharpener struggles in is reversing the tool, say from left to right, and vice versa.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Lightweight and portable for outdoor use
  • Comes with a 7/32-inch cutter
  • Files both the cutter and depth gauge simultaneously

Cons:

  • Reversing the tool can be problematic

6. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener – With 7/32-Inch Carbide Cutter

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
  • Power source: Handheld
  • Weight: 0.8 lbs
  • Pitch chain: 3/8 inches, and .404 inches

Timberline Chainsaw is another sharpener that combines accuracy, precision, and portability with its 7/32-inch carbide cutter. Weighing only 0.8 pounds, you can carry this sharpener with you for outdoor wood cutting.

You get some degree of flexibility with this sharpener as it adjusts to both 3/8-inch, and .404- inch pitch chains. A high-grade tungsten carbide cutter promises exceptional results.

It has a unique design, which ensures that the chain remains on the saw as the sharpener clamps on the bar, allowing the chain to be pulled through as each tooth undergoes sharpening, simultaneously.

This sharpener will prolong the life of your chain because, for each sharpening cycle, only a small amount of material is shed from each tooth.

The tool is durable from is high-quality aluminum construction. You don’t have to worry about it falling apart.

Although the Timberline Chainsaw is built for portability, precision, and accuracy, its price is rather steep compared to alternative and advanced ones such as the Buffalo Tools ECSS electric sharpener.

Pros:

  • Accurate, precise and portable
  • Accommodates two chain sizes
  • Sharpens teeth evenly and simultaneously
  • Prolongs chain’s life

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to alternative sharpeners

7. Granberg G-106B – Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

Granberg G-106B
  • Power source: Handheld
  • Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Pitch chain: Any

Granberg G-106B is one of the best bar-mount chainsaw sharpeners, which also come at a reasonable price. One superior feature that this model boasts of, which is not available in many others is its capacity to mount to any saw and file size.

Since you must mount it to the saw, it was designed to be lightweight, at only 14.4 ounces. You won’t tire while moving it around, especially if you have multiple chains to sharpen.

Durability one of this chain’s guarantees. It is made of cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel. This construction makes it versatile and able to adapt to even the toughest sharpening tasks.

It has integrated features, which allow you to set both the file height, and tooth length so that you can achieve an even and consistent sharpening.

Although Granberg G-106B is one of the best bar-mount chainsaw sharpeners and mounts to any saw with any file size, the files for this tool are not included with the purchase. Hence you will have to incur additional costs to purchase the desired files. 

Pros:

  • Mounts to any saw and file size
  • Lightweight and easy to use
  • Heavy-duty construction for durability
  • Allows setting of both file height and tooth length

Cons:

  • Files are not included with the sharpener

8. XtremepowerUS X6031 – Powerful and Stable Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

XtremepowerUS X6031
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Weight: 5 pounds
  • Pitch chain: 0.5 inches – 0.8 inches

The electric-powered XtremepowerUS X6031 is powerful and stable for efficient sharpening. It is powered by an 85-watt motor, which has a maximum speed of 4200 RPM.

Such power makes the sharpening process fast and efficient.

This is a unique sharpener because it has the capacity to accommodate chains of different models, sizes, and brands. It can adjust to accommodate 0.5-inch to 0.8-inch chains.

You can easily mount it on a vice or bench because it has a wide base to make it stable. It allows for a table/vise mounting angle of 35 degrees left or right.

A dual-handle construction provides maximum control when handling the tool. It also helps to reduce risky vibrations.

The sharpener has a brake handle, which is specifically designed to hold the chain firmly in place as you sharpen it.

Although the XtremepowerUS X6031 is a powerful and stable electric sharpener, the required mounting bolts are not included with the product. You will have to buy those separately.

Pros:

  • Powerful electric motor for fast sharpening
  • Has a table/vise mounting angle of 35 degrees left or right
  • Accommodated many chain models and sizes
  • A dual-handle for maximum control

Cons:

  • Mounting bolts not included
  • Can overheat on heavy usage

9. Oregon 520-120 – Professional Chainsaw Sharpener

Oregon 520-120
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Weight: 19.45 pounds
  • Pitch chain: 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch low profile, 0.325-inch, full profile 3/8 inch, and .404 inch

Oregon 520-120 is the most powerful and advanced electric chainsaw sharpener on our list. It is designed for professional and regular usage. It has an enormous 300-watt motor with a maximum speed of 3,400 RPM and 0.4 horsepower.

It will accommodate chains of multiple sizes, including 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch low profile, 0.325-inch, full profile 3/8 inch, and .404 inches. Such robustness enables you to use the tool for high-volume sharpening.

The sharpener has a dressing Brick, a quick check grinding template, and three grinding wheels for sharpening the different pitch chains.

For operator safety, the motor rotates only one way.

Although Oregon 520-120 is the most advanced electric sharpener for professional use, it is very costly. In fact, it is the most expensive on our list. While the price may lock many people out, it is justified by the many advanced features packed in this tool.

The user guide is rather opaque and will not help much, especially for first-time users.

Pros:

  • Powerful electric motor for professional use
  • Accommodates multiple pitch chains
  • Suitable for high-volume sharpening
  • One-way motor rotation for safety

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to assemble for first use
  • Expensive compared to rival products

10. Blue Max 5655 – Universal Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Blue Max 5655
  • Power source: Corded electric
  • Weight: 5.8 pounds
  • Pitch chain: Any

The electric-powered Blue Max 5655 will sharpen chains of any size. It will sharpen dull chains efficiently especially because it comes equipped with a precision angle adjustment of 35 degrees right or left on a vise/table.

It combines advanced technology and exceptional build quality to rejuvenate the cutting edge of your dull chains while reducing the time and effort you need to execute the sharpening.

This tool grants you the freedom to mount on a wall or bench vise based on your needs.

Powered by an 85-watt 120-volt motor with a maximum speed of 4,200 RPM, the tool guarantees speed and efficiency when sharpening your chains. The fact that it works with chains of any size makes it a top choice for many users.

Blue Max 5655 may be the best universal electric chainsaw sharpener you can find, but when it is time for its maintenance, replacement parts can prove difficult to find. Overheating may also occur especially with continuous usage.

Pros:

  • Sharpens chains of any size
  • Electric-powered for speed and efficiency
  • Can be mounted on wall or bench vise
  • Exceptional build quality for durability

Cons:

  • The motor may overheat with continuous usage
  • Replacement parts are difficult to find

How to Buy the Best Chainsaw Sharpener

How to Buy the Best Chainsaw Sharpener

1. Types of Chainsaw Sharpener

One of the main distinguishing factors of chainsaws is whether they are handheld or electric. This difference tends to be linked to the frequency of the tool’s use.

Electric

Electric sharpeners require mounting on a wall or bench. They are suitable for frequent users, and often, for heavy-duty chainsaw sharpening. Most are built to plug into a 120-volt power socket.

Since the process of sharpening can be tedious especially if you must do it daily, the electric sharpener eliminates this burden by automating the process to make it faster and more efficient.

The only setback with electric sharpeners is that they are not suited for portability due to their fixed positioning.

If you are kind that prefers to move around with a sharpener for outdoor activity, and desire to sharpen your tools whenever necessary, a handheld one may be a more practical option.

Handheld

You will appreciate the handheld sharpener because of its simplicity and portability. It gives you the freedom and flexibility to sharpen your chainsaw on demand, especially if you’re outdoors.

A handheld sharpener often features rounded files, which can be operated by hand for thorough sharpening. Since the operation of this tool is mainly by hand, a certain degree of skill and control is essential for optimal sharpening outcomes.

They are not as versatile as electric ones because each file in the handheld version caters for a specific chain blade size. However, they tend to be the cheapest chainsaw sharpener and will favor users on a budget.

Bar Mounted

This type of sharpener is a special variant, which is mounted on a table, and are designed to secure your chain for easy sharpening. Many people view these sharpeners are improvements to handheld ones.

To maximize the utility of this sharpener, simply position it on the chain’s bar and then run the blade over it for optimal sharpening.

Bar mounts eliminate the burden or precision handling because they are equipped with a guide bar, which helps keep the chain online.

Workshops and sheds are the most ideal settings to install such sharpeners because of their mounting demands. Bar mounted sharpeners are ideal alternatives to the more expensive electric ones.

2. Chain compatibility

Your chainsaw’s make and model determines the size of the chain used. When choosing a chainsaw sharpener, pay attention to compatibility so that you get the ideal match.

For example, some sharpeners are designed for use on .325-inch pitch chains only, which are the most common. Thus, compatibility is a key consideration.

Chains will mostly be in the range of 1/4 inch, 0.325 inches, 0.404 inches, 3/8-inch, 1/2 inch, and 3/4-inch pitch sizes.

There are sharpeners that are built to adjust to many chain sizes so that you never have to worry about compatibility and the risk of buying incompatible tools.

3. Construction

Build quality is an important consideration because. All-metallic sharpeners are sturdy, versatile, and durable. Metallic components take longer to wear out compared to others such as plastic.

Plastic may not be ideal for uses such as chainsaw sharpening, but models such as Buffalo Tools ECSS have made a decent effort in making high-quality sharpeners containing plastic components.

Also, get a sharpener with the least vibration during the sharpening process, in case of electric ones. Excess vibration can degrade the quality of sharpening while compromising on your safety.

4. Frequency of use

How frequently you need to sharpen your chainsaw has a significant impact on the sharpener you purchase.

As noted earlier, if you need to sharpen your chain’s cutter regularly, such as every day, an electric wall or bench-mounted sharpener would be ideal.

Because it is electric-powered, you won’t get exhausted sharpening your chain especially after a long day of woodcutting.

For occasional uses, a handheld or bar-mounted sharpener will satisfy most of your sharpening needs. The handheld ones are portable and easy to use. 

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

How to Sharpen a Chainsaw

First, the process of sharpening a chainsaw isn’t as intimidating as many assume. You can setup be done with the whole process in a few minutes.

So, you’ve acquired your desired handheld sharpener and want to start working on that dull chain, but how exactly do you go about sharpening it?

Choose the file type: At this point, you are choosing between a handheld, bar-mounted, or electric sharpener. This decision may depend on many factors although most people tend to go for electric ones.

Select file size: The unit you use will probably be adapted to certain file sizes, but most tend to work with 3/16, 5/32, or 7/32-inch cutters.

Identify the connection: Typically, this is the point on your chain that has no teeth. It marks the chain’s beginning. It’s a good starting point, but you are free to start anywhere if it becomes hard to identify.

Confirm filing angle: Ensure you align the file with the chain’s angle for optimal sharpening. The most common angle is 30 and 35 degrees to the bar. Then move the chain firmly while stroking it away from your body.

Tip: To sharpen all teeth evenly, count the number of initial strokes, and use the same across all cutters.

Utilize the file guide: The file guide is useful for lining up the cutter (chain) with the file. To know that you’re doing it right, you will feel the file nest perfectly into the chain.

An important thing to note is that you are dealing with a lot of sharp edges, especially from the cutters (chain teeth). Therefore, sharpening is a task best done in heavy-duty gloves to prevent your hands.

When you’re done sharpening the first 5 – 6 cutters, pull the chain along the bar (for bar mounts), to expose the next batch of cutters and then continue.

When done sharpening, rinse your tools, and then repeat the above procedure as much as necessary. 

When to Sharpen Chainsaw

How often should you sharpen your chainsaw? This is a common query on online communities of chainsaw buyers and users.

The surest indicator that it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw if when you must exert pressure before the machine can be cutting through the wood. The chainsaw is supposed to cut through the wood in a near-effortless rhythm.

There are other compounding factors, which determine how often you should sharpen your chainsaw. For example, the type of wood, and cuts you make on it. The tree size you frequently cut is another such factor.

If, for example, you use your chainsaw continuously for several hours, then its best to sharpen it after every use.

Conclusion

Depending on the frequency of chainsaw usage, and the magnitude of work you subject it to, you may require to sharpen your saw frequently, or occasionally.

We have distilled for you the most important factors to consider when buying a chainsaw sharpener. You can get an electric, a handheld, or a bar-mounted one.

Ensure chain compatibility, and refer to our sharpening guide to get the best out of your sharpener.

Our top 10 chainsaw sharpener review and buying guide makes it easier to choose and buy the ideal sharpener, which meets all your needs, and budget. 

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