Buyer's Guides Chainsaw Sharpeners

Best Chainsaw Sharpener: Electric and Manual-Huge 2020 Buyer’s Guide and Top Products

best chainsaw sharpener

If you regularly pay a professional to sharpen your chainsaw, then you’re losing money. Using the best chainsaw sharpener can save you a small fortune over time, once you learn how to sharpen the blades properly. With the best chainsaw sharpener, you should have no problem regularly sharpening your saw and get the type of pro results you’re looking for.

There are several different makes and models of sharpeners on the market, not to mention manual and electric-powered options. To make your search a little easier, I’ve reviewed several best-selling models on the market, narrowing it down to the top six choices, each of which has what it takes to deliver pro-quality results. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists important information regarding quality, features, and more.

Chainsaw Sharpener Comparison Chart

Product Extras Beginner-Friendly Type Rating
Oregon Chain Grinder


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Built-in Light No Electric
Granberg Chain Saw Sharpener


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No Yes Bar-Mount
Buffalo Chainsaw Sharpener


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No No Electric
K KERNOWO Chainsaw Sharpener


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Two Whetstones Yes Manual
MaiDa Chainsaw Sharpener Kit


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Kit Yes Electric
Mophorn Chainsaw Sharpener


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Work Light No Electric

Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder


Our Rating: (5/5)

This electric sharpener is compatible with chains that are:

  • 1/4″
  • 3/8” low profile chains
  • 3/8” full profile
  • 404 pitch

This model comes with a quick check grinding template, a dressing brick, and three grinding wheels that you can use to sharpen a variety of chain types. This is not the easiest model to use, so it’s not recommended for beginners. The included top plate is perfect for any down angle settings, while the self-centering chain, and vise, complete with a vise handle that’s very adjustable, will allow you to quickly and efficiently tweak the settings.

Pros

  • Built-in light
  • Self-centering chain vise
  • Pro-quality
  • Versatile

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners

Conclusion

This powerful electric model is designed with the pros in mind, although the experienced chainsaw user will also benefit from using this reliable and efficient sharpener. Versatile, highly adjustable, and built tough, this model is designed for the pros, which means it can easily handle heavy-duty daily use.

Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is an easy to use bar-mount sharpener that can save you plenty of time in your workshop. It’s compatible with any type of chain and any file size, all you need to do is purchase the right type of saw based on teeth height and size. The sharpener is made out of zinc-plated steel and cast aluminum, for ultimate durability.

Pros

  • Beginner-friendly
  • Affordable
  • Quick and easy to use
  • Durable
  • Versatile
  • Calibrated swivel guide markings

Cons

  • Files sold separately

Conclusion

This model is easy to use. The included guide file will allow you to easily and quickly file a chain with precision. The sharpener itself is compatible with all file sizes that are used on standard chains. This is a great buy for the beginner and pro alike, thanks to the low price, easy to use setup, and durable design.

Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is an affordable electric model that’s designed to mount to a vise, wall, or bench. It’s also compatible with most types of standard chains and uses a 4 ¼ inch x 1/8 inch grinding wheel. The motor is surprisingly powerful featuring four thousand, two hundred RPMs for grinding speed, and a total of eighty-five watts. It will work for any standard one hundred and twenty-volt outlet.

Pros

  • Eighty-five watts of power
  • Works for any standard household outlet
  • Compatible with most chains
  • Easy to set up

Cons

  • Not beginner-friendly
  • Grinding wheel wears out quickly

Conclusion

This model is not beginner-friendly, but it does offer a simple setup that most experienced saw sharpener users will be familiar with. It’s compatible with most types of chainsaw chains and features a powerful motor that’s able to withstand daily use.

K KERNOWO Chainsaw Sharpener


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This highly portable, lightweight manual sharper is easy to use and can allow you to sharpen a chain in under five minutes. It also comes with a couple of free whetstones and is compatible with any type of chain. The portable design will allow you to bring it along to any worksite or simply keep it with you in your pocket for fast access.

Pros

  • Low price
  • Beginner-friendly
  • Compatible with most chain types
  • Two free whetstones

Cons

  • Can make the chain wear out faster is used incorrectly

Conclusion

This easy to use highly portable sharpener will come in handy when you’re away from your workshop and features a simple design that makes it more beginner-friendly, allowing for faster setup and sharpening time. This is a great buy for users of all skill levels and it’s available at a price that won’t break the bank.

MaiDa Electric Chainsaw Sharpener


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

Highly portable and compact, you can take this model with you anywhere. You can use this model to sharpen a chain, without taking the chain off the saw. This alone with save you a lot of time in your workshop. The powerful motor operates at three thousand RPMS which is pretty impressive. This device is made out of high-quality materials including a pure copper core. This model is highly adjustable and will allow you to easily change up the angles you use to re-sharpen the chain. This type of adjustability ensures precise sharpening and a faster process. The kit includes three different grinding bit sizes, three diamond bits, and three grinding stones.

Pros

  • Includes several extras
  • Highly adjustable
  • Portable
  • Motor operates at three thousand RPMs

Cons

  • Cannot withstand heavy-duty use

Conclusion

One of the most beginner-friendly electric sharpeners you’ll come across on the market and in this price bracket, this is a must-have tool for both beginners and pros alike. When used correctly, this model will offer a faster, more efficient, and precise sharpening session, so you can get more life out of any chainsaw chain.

Mophorn Chainsaw Sharpener


Our Rating: (4/5)

This is another leading electric sharpener and one that’s made with reinforced hinges and sturdy cast aluminum, both of which will improve the sharpener’s performance and durability. Safety guards and a work light are also included and can help provide improved protection and sharpening accuracy. The tilting vise design will work with chisel style and semi-chisel style cutters. This tool operates at three thousand RPMs and is compatible with all chain sizes and types. It can also be mounted on a wall or workbench for improved stability during use.

Pros

  • Powerful motor
  • Includes work light
  • Comes with free disks
  • Durable

Cons

  • Vague user’s manual
  • Difficult set up and installation

Conclusion

The tool’s large handle allows for easy operation, so you can quickly adjust the sharpening angle. It comes with a powerful one hundred and ten-volt motor, disk guards, a couple of grinding disks, and a work light. Setting up this model can be challenging for beginners, as can adjusting the angle of the sharpener. The included user’s manual is vague at best and does a poor job of walking users through set up and installation. If you have experience sharpening chains with an electric model, then using this model will seem pretty straightforward, but beginners will feel lost attempting to adjust the sharpener correctly.

Chainsaw Sharpener Buyer’s Guide

If you’re paying big to have someone else sharpen your blades, then now is the time to take action and find a model that will work for your skill level and saw type. Sharpening a saw can be difficult for the beginner, but learning how will come in handy, whether you need to sharpen your personal tools or work tools. Keeping your saw’s blades sharp at all times is essential in order to get the most out of your saw and it’s cutting performance. Remember, a dull saw blade can have a huge negative impact on the quality of a cut.

Benefits of Chainsaw Sharpeners

  • If you’re someone who constantly worries about cutting with a sharp saw and keeping their tools in great cutting condition, then buying a chainsaw sharpener should be your next move. These tools will come in handy and you’ll find yourself using them often since a saw doesn’t stay sharp for long, especially if you use it daily or several times a week. If you use a chainsaw at work and have to pay out of pocket to have the chain resharpened, then learning how to sharpen a chain can save you plenty of cash each year
  • Learning how to sharpen chainsaw saws can also make you more of an asset in the workplace.
  • You’ll never cut with a dull chain ever again
  • Chains that are sharp offer a cleaner, more precise cut

Other Features to Look for

However, before you run out and buy one or order the first model online that goes on sale, there are some factors that you’ll want to consider.

Before you buy one, it’s important to look at the different options available ranging from affordable handheld models to powerful electric sharpeners. Using a top of the line model will make the sharpening process easier, faster, and more efficient.

Different Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners

When you’re shopping online, the first thing you’ll notice when you’re comparing models is that each type will require plenty of care during use in order to sharpen a saw correctly. Your first choice will be between manual and electric models.

Manual Chainsaw Sharpeners

man fixing a chainsaw

Manual sharpeners are more beginner-friendly since they’re much easier to control. However, using this type will make for a lengthy sharpening process. Since these sharpeners work so slowly, it can help to reduce the chances of sharpening the blade incorrectly, which is another reason why they’re a much better option for the beginner.

When most people think of a manual sharpener, the first thing that usually comes to mind is a file. This is the most basic manual style sharpener and it’s basically just a file that’s available in a variety of sizes and diameters that are designed for different chain sizes. These files are easy to use, especially compared to an electric sharpener, since all you have to do is run it over the top of the chain. Yet it does require plenty of practice, precision, and muscle power, to use it correctly. You’ll also need to take some extra precautions to avoid damaging the cutting angle, which means that the sharpening process is often very time-consuming and slow going.

Bar mounted is the other type of manual sharpening option. While these are not electric, they do tend to offer a more intensive process compared to files. To use this type, you’ll need a stable, flat platform, such as a table or workbench. The most common feature you’ll find is the knobs that you’ll need to use to adjust the angle, based on the chain’s tooth depth. This manual option works via a hand crank that moves over the chain once it has been placed in the sharpener. While a bar-mounted model offers a more precise sharpening process, without the fear of losing control, you’ll need to remove the chain in order to sharpen it, so it’s still more time-consuming, compared to using an electric model.

Electric

This type is much faster and able to save you plenty of time in your workshop, allowing you to quickly sharpen multiple saws per session. However, they can also require modifications to your saw. Because they can sharpen a blade in a matter of seconds, it can also be very easy to make a serious mistake, which can result in replacing the chain. These sharpeners are not recommended for the beginner, however, the professional, experienced woodworker, or DIYer will love how fast and efficient they are.

When you use an electric model, the chain will be clamped between a guide bar, which will keep the chain securely in place, making it easier to use the right angle. Once you’ve begun using the sharpener, the wheel starts to move at a consistent speed, sharpening the chain with consistent length and angles. However, this option is often much more expensive than manual sharpeners and the setup can be confusing for beginners.

The type of sharpener you choose will be a matter of personal preference, your budget, and your skill level.

Height and Angle

If you’ve never sharpened your chainsaw before, then you should know the height and angle measurements of your blade. Each tooth on a saw’s blade will have a height that must be filed to a certain size in order to sharpen the teeth correctly. Different heights will require using different types of files.

Teeth should also be sharpened at a certain angle for ultimate sharpness. You can find out the angle of the saw’s blade directly on the blade or saw’s packaging. Aside from using the right size of file, you will also need to ensure that you sharpen at the correct tooth angle. Every sharpener will come with angle markings that are designed to help with file alignment, however, not every model will be able to handle a wide variety of tooth angles and heights.

Electric models that are disk-based can be tricky to use when it comes to choosing the right angle. These sharpeners are able to handle every tooth height, but since they move so quickly, it’s very easy to accidentally remove too much material from the teeth, which can significantly minimize the life of the chain if you happen to choose the wrong angle.

Portable

If you need a sharpener that you can take with you to work, then you’ll be better off choosing a manual model since they don’t require electricity and tend to be lighter and smaller.

Yet, you can come across electric-powered models that are highly portable. Some models are able to run off a car’s cigarette lighter port, while others are battery-powered.

Power

If you’re purchasing an electric model, then you’ll need to pay attention to wattage. Obviously, the more powerful the sharpener, the better. Different models of electric sharpeners will come with different motor sizes, which can range from as low as fifty watts all the way up to three or four hundred watts. Keep in mind that with most models, a higher-powered motor will equal a higher price. You should also pay close attention to the RPM that that motor generates since the higher it is, the faster the sharpener will work.

Durability

A good sharpener should be able to withstand heavy-duty use and last year after year. You don’t want to invest in an expensive electric model only to have it quit on you in a matter of months. If you’re searching for a model that you can use daily at work, then avoid sharpeners that feature a cheap plastic body.

Size Compatibility

Not every sharpener will be as versatile as you need it to be. Some are able to sharpen different sizes of chains, while others will be limited. Before you buy a new model, make sure you know what size of teeth the sharpener is able to handle and know the height and angle of the teeth on the chain that your saw uses. This will ensure that you purchase a model that’s compatible with your chainsaw or saws. Most electric models can easily be adjusted to accommodate different sizes of chains, which is why they’re often the best choice for the professional.

Usage

How often do you plan to use the sharpener? Frequency of use can have a big impact on the type of sharpener you purchase. If you need one you can use several times a week, then I recommend going with an electric model. While the price is higher, you’ll save plenty of time in your workshop since using a manual model is so time-consuming. If you only use your saw once a month or less, then you don’t need to spend a lot on a sharpener. A bar-mounted model or a file should be sufficient.

Sharpening a Saw

technician

For amateurs, once their saws become dull, they’ll immediately run out and purchase a new chain, instead of taking the time to sharpen the old chain. While sharpening a chain can feel like a daunting task, once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize that you’ve been throwing your money away on replacement chains all these years.

Aside from deciding on whether to go with a manual or electric model, you’ll need to determine the shape of the file needed. You will also need to buy the right file guide to go with the sharpener.

Most manufacturers will provide information regarding the right stone size, file, or guide to use to sharpen the chain. This information can be found on the package or saw’s user manual, depending on the manufacturer. If you can’t locate this information in the guide, try searching online  or contact the manufacturer directly.

If you’re using an electric model, you can set it to a variety of different sizes, so you won’t have to worry about purchasing the wrong one.

Getting Started

When you’re finally ready to sit down and get started, make sure you’ve identified where to begin sharpening and where to finish since you don’t want to end up sharpening the same spots over and over again. An over-sharpened chain must be tossed out. In order to avoid this, start off by sharpening the special link. This will be the link that’s different from the other links in the chain. In some cases, this link will be a different color from the rest, or it won’t have teeth. Continue to advance forward sharpening the chain until you find yourself back at the special link. If your chain doesn’t have a unique link then you can make your own starting point and identify it using a marker.

File

When you sharpen a chain using a file, you’ll want to use a firm motion. Begin by aligning the file to the same angle as the teeth and ensure that you use an even amount of pressure as you run the file back and forth. You’ll want to keep your hand firm and be sure you use uniform pressure for pro results. After you’ve finished the entire chain, now it’s time to rinse the chain in order to remove any remaining metal fillings. Once this is done, give the chain a once over to determine whether or not it’s sharp enough. If not, you’ll need to repeat the process.

Frequently Asked Questions on Best Chainsaw Sharpener

Why Does My Chainsaw Sharpener Dull So Quickly?

A chain can become dull too quickly if you’re using an angle that’s too steep. Additionally, the rakers may be too far down, which can also cause a chain to become dull faster. If you’re dealing with dirty lumber or regular wood, this can also contribute to the need to re-sharpen your chain more often. Last of all, if you’re touching the ground with the tip of the bar, even slightly, this can lead to a dull chain.

What is the Best Angle to Sharpen a Chain?

Most pros recommend sharpening a standard chain at twenty-five to thirty-five degrees. If you’re ripping with the grain, then use a ten-degree angle.

How Many Times Can You Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain?

This is a common question that many newbies have, and it’s an important one. However, the answer to this question will depend on the type of chain and its overall quality. In most cases, you’ll find that you can only re-sharpen a chain three to five times before it must be replaced.

Final Thoughts on Selecting Best Chainsaw Sharpener

When you own a saw, you can expect some maintenance will be involved. Using the best chainsaw sharpener once you notice a dip in your saw’s performance will be important. While there are many ways you can sharpen a chain, the method you choose will also involve using a tough, reliable sharpener. Make sure you choose one that works with your budget, how much time you have for routine maintenance, and your skill level. This guide and the product recommendations are designed to help you choose the perfect model for you, a sharpener that’s built tough, compatible with your saws, and one that you can rely on often for an efficient and fast re-sharpening process.