Keeping your chainsaw sharp is a little maintenance task but also an essential one. Sharp blades can improve the performance of your chainsaw thereby making your work more efficient, and reduces the risk of injury.
There are some who prefer to get their chainsaw sharpened in a hardware store while there are others who just buy a new chain every time. However, the most practical solution is having your own chainsaw sharpener.
In line with that, we have reviewed here the top five best chainsaw sharpeners you will find in the market today. The list started off with our top pick: the Granberg Bar-Mount G-106B.
The Top 5 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
1. Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener
The Granberg G-106B, on the other hand, is an excellent choice if you are looking for a professional one. Yet, you must know that it is manually operated.
This sturdy-looking chainsaw sharpener is made with die cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel so you can be assured that it can by a work buddy for years.
It is designed to mount on any saw and to hold any file size to work on standard chain pitches and lowering depth gauges. It also has calibrated swivel markings to help ensure that it sets and holds the correct sharpening angle. There are also integrated features on this Granberg G-106B that will allow you to adjust the tool length and file height for precise sharpening
Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IULqxi3u6k&t=2s
- Relatively affordable
- Can do quick and easy sharpening
- Durable cast aluminum construction
- Handy calibrated swivel guide markings
- Does not come with the files.
2. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener with 3/16″ Carbide Cutter
The Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is a great choice when your primary consideration is portability. It works best if you’re the one who would most likely use your chainsaw outside your garage – say in the woods or on a job site.
It practically weighs just about 1.2 pounds; extremely easy to carry and even comes with a soft-sided travel case to make it more convenient for you.
With regards to use, if you’re an experienced user, you will find it relatively fast and easy to use considering that it fits over your chainsaw bar even with the chain still on.
However, those who are more familiar with filing teeth by hand may take some time getting used to this equipment. But there are Youtube tutorials that may be helpful. Also, once you got the technique, you would most probably love this tool just like everyone else because it’s superbly easy to file all the teeth evenly.
Additionally, users found that the carbide sharpening cutter takes only a tiny bit of material off each tooth during the sharpening. This capability prolongs the life of the chain and the life of the carbide cutter itself.
The sharpener is made of machined aluminum that promises durability. To make it even more reliable, the tool comes with a lifetime warranty.
These are all great qualities which means that this tool come at a high price point. Such is its major downside – expensive.
Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nt2zWdzw8N8
- Portable and durable
- Can sharpen teeth evenly
- Covered with lifetime warranty
3. Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
This chainsaw sharpener from Buffalo Tools promises fast chain sharpening and minimal downtimes with its grinding speed of 4,200 RPM.
It is also a versatile one since it can adjust to the design of almost any chain type. You will find it very useful if you need to sharpen various types of chainsaw. Another interesting feature is that you can actually mount it on walls if you find it more convenient that way. Although, you can also mount it on a workbench as most users usually do.
It’s an 85-watt chainsaw sharpener that you can easily plug-in to any standard 120-Volt power outlet, a feature you would surely appreciate if you’re used to having equipment that needs special power connections.
This Buffalo Tools chainsaw sharpener uses a 4-1/4 x 1/8 inches grinding wheel and with a 7/8-inch arbor to deliver the versatile performance that you expect.
A bit of a drawback, however, is that you might take a learning curve to master it. But, after you do so, it can deliver a relatively simpler and more efficient operation within a short time.
Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rykEMzBZqU
- Very affordable
- Versatile, can work with most chain designs
- May be mounted on a bench or on the wall
- High grinding speed
- Not really user-friendly at the start
- Not applicable for 0.043-inch chain gauges
4. Stihl 2 IN 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chan Sharpener
Stihl’s 2-in-1 chainsaw sharpener is one of the great choices particularly for beginners. Even those who don’t have much experience can use this one with ease. It is a 2-in-1 because it is designed to sharpen the tooth and the depth gauge at the same time.
With a tough, sturdy and well-designed construction, it is also said to be one of the best manual chainsaw sharpener that you can find. Additionally, despite such characteristics, this can surprise you with its very light weight (just about 12 ounces), making it highly portable.
The files on the sharpener are available In different sizes to work with a variety of chainsaw types and brands. To make it even better, they are also removable so cleaning them also won’t pose any problem.
Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2txewgs6sEk
- Useful with almost all chain brands
- Can sharpen both tooth and depth gauge
- Easy and straightforward to use
- Study and well-designed
- Removable files for easy cleaning
- Instructions may be confusing for some beginners
5. Pferd 17300 CS-X Chain Sharp Filing Guide
This manual chainsaw sharpener from Pferd is another affordable option on this list. Despite such, it can still do its task well.
This tool can do two steps at once. It resets the depth gauge of the tooth while you file the cutter radius. To do this, the Pferd chainsaw sharpener is strategically designed with a round file and a flat file. The round file is intended to cut the inside radius of the tooth while the flat file adjusts the depth gauge. Such feature allows you to do your job faster without compromising your safety.
Its files can also be easily replaced by simply opening the end of the tool handle. The flat files, in particular, are special but they are still available as replacement parts. Although, you will find that you don’t really have to replace them too often.
This one comes in 5/32 but there are other versions as well – 3/16, 13/64, and 7/32. These versions are a little more chain pitch specific than the standard tool.
Youtube Review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12hEoNk_5xg
- Relatively affordable
- Can sharpen both tooth and depth gauge
- Easy to use
- The instructions pose a problem for some
Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners
To better help you decide which chainsaw sharpener to buy, here are the three types of chainsaw sharpeners you can choose from as presented in doityourself.com.
Handheld Round File
This first type is also the most commonly used one. As indicated in the name, this type of chainsaw sharpeners has a round file. Its diameter may vary depending on the size of the chainsaw.
To use this type, you just need to run the handheld file over the tip of the chain when it’s losing its sharp edge. This may sound simple but it is critical that you are precise in what you’re doing. Meaning, since the sharpening process is manual, then you need to ensure a degree of control so as not to disturb the cutting angle of the chain.
Bar Mounted Guide
This next type of chainsaw sharpener will require you to first position your chainsaw on a flat, stable platform such as a bench or a table. Then, you can secure the guide to the chainsaw, mount it on the bar and fasten it in place. Next, you need to set the machine using its knobs to meet the saw specifications. The things you need to make sure are the sharpener’s depth and the filing angle. Once you’ve got these right, then you just need to apply the file to the chainsaw.
As you use sharpeners of this type, remember to mind the file shavings that fly off the blade. These may hurt you so it’s better to have a safety gear and a first aid kit.
Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
Lastly is the electric type. This one is the most common among professionals and since it is electric, it is also the fastest way to sharpen a dull saw.
There are also different kinds of electric chainsaw sharpeners. They vary in sizes and prices so you can surely find one that will match your budget.
Although it can speed up the process of sharpening your saw, it is still important that you wear safety gear while using any sharpener of this type. Get your gloves, protective eyewear and working overalls on.
Features to Consider
In addition to the type, here are other features of the chainsaw sharpener that you might want to consider (based on thesawguy.com).
Admit it, perhaps this is also your primary concern in choosing your tool. As such, you don’t really have to worry. There are affordable chainsaw sharpeners that will do help you do the job with ease and convenience. You don’t really have to break the bank to buy the right, durable tool.
However, for the professionals, you might want to consider the more expensive models since those can do particular jobs that other sharpeners may not be able to do so.
The angle is one of the key factors in cutting through the chain quickly and efficiently. To determine the right angle, you must also consider a number of factors such as drive link thickness, teeth design, and the space between rivets.
A great tool is also one that comes with a complete kit already. A complete kit means that it already contains all accessories that you would require, i.e. detachable handles, depth gauge tools, dressing brick, and spare wheels.
Chainsaw Sharpening Guide
All those great options of chainsaw sharpeners and buying guides will be futile if you do not know when and how to do the sharpening properly. So we want to help you in that aspect as well.
How to know when it’s time to sharpen your chainsaw?
The simplest answer to this is: when the chainsaw is already dull. But how would you know if it is? A blog post from Stihl enumerated the signs that your chainsaw is already screaming for a sharpener.
- The chainsaw chain does not pull itself into the wood. If you have to apply pressure to the saw to force it through the wood, the chain is almost certainly not sharp enough.
- When cross cutting (against the grain of the wood) a dull chainsaw chain creates fine sawdust instead of coarse strands.
- The saw is producing smoke even when your chain is oiled and the chain tension is correct.
- The chainsaw produces an uneven cut. This could mean that your chain has dull cutting teeth on one side. Alternatively, your cutting teeth could be uneven in length.
How often does my chainsaw chain need sharpening?
This is another related question that you might ask. To which, you are most likely to get different answers. Popular Mechanics, however, explained that the basic rule of the thumb and the number one indicator is: when you already have to apply pressure.
Essentially, the chainsaw should do all the work for you and you just have to guide it as to where to cut. However, when you find yourself also exerting some amount of pressure to somehow “help” your chainsaw, then you need to bring out that sharpener already.
How to sharpen your chainsaw?
Much has already been said about sharpening your chainsaw. But how do you really do it, you might ask. Here are the simple steps to help you out:
- Pick your file preference.
- Use the right file size.
- Start at the unique link.
- File at an angle.
- Apply even pressure.
- Sharpen regularly.
If you want to know more, read this article for the details about those steps.
All five tools we have presented here are great products but we hope that you find the sharpener that is perfect for your chainsaw.
Just remember to always be mindful as you sharpen your saw. Wear safety gear as necessary and get your first aid kit within your reach just in case. Also remember to keep all those tools away from the reach of your kids. You can never be too safe when it comes to kids.
Table of Contents
- The Top 5 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
- Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners
- Features to Consider
- Closing Words