Best Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews: Stay Safe with Smooth Cuts

A chainsaw sharpener of some kind is a necessary tool to have handy for the general maintenance of your chainsaw. Chains wear down easily with use, and with regular attention can ensure you have clean, effortless cuts each and every time you use your saw. This care also helps keep your engine from having to work harder than it should- allowing you to have for years to come.

The chainsaw sharpener reviews below highlight the various options you have, and the reasons why they are worth having handy. If you are in need of a new sharpener or are looking to keep an extra one around, these options are worth considering.

5 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners Comparison

IMAGE MODEL FEATURES
byb2-table__imageKatzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
  • Type: Manual file kit
  • File Sizes: 5/32, 3/16, 7/32
  • Ideal Use: portable kit for on the go use
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byb2-table__imageSTIHL 2 IN 1 EASY FILE CHAINSAW CHAIN SHARPENER
  • Type: Manual guide
  • File Sizes: 5/32
  • Ideal Use: quick, easy, guided use
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byb2-table__imageGranberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener
  • Type: Bar Mounted Guide
  • File Sizes: n/a
  • Ideal Use: Accurate adjustments for low error
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byb2-table__imageTimberline Chainsaw Sharpener
  • Type: Bar Mounted Guide and Filer
  • File Sizes: 3/16 (other sizes available)
  • Ideal Use: Highly accurate for beginners
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byb2-table__imageOregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder
  • Type: Electric
  • File Sizes: All
  • Ideal Use: Highly accurate for regular use
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Chainsaw Maintenance

Old farmer doing maintenance work to his chainsaw

If you own a chainsaw, then you may already know the importance of regular chainsaw maintenance. Although these are simple machines, they do require regular care. Electric saws do not need as much attention overall as a gas saw does, but both need regular bar oiling and chainsaw sharpening and replacement.

Without this attention to detail, your chain runs the risk of hanging up or binding in the cut, creating a dangerous situation that can result in the chain slipping free from the bar. A dull chain also cuts inefficiently and will spin against the wood without making much headway. This can create a situation in which the sap from the tree may clog up the chain as it heats. Your engine also will have to work harder in this event, creating unnecessary wear and tear on the engine. You also will become more quickly fatigue, which increases your chance of injury.

Chainsaw Sharpening Basics

A general rule to follow concerning sharpening your chainsaw is to sharpen every time you fill your tank or every 2 hours of cutting. If you notice your chips becoming smaller and more fine in appearance, this also means that your chain has become dull and requires a sharpening. A good chainsaw sharpening guide can help you determine the best steps to this process, but some quick basics below can provide an idea of what needs to be done.

You should sharpen your right and left cutters at a 30 to 35-degree angle with 2 to 3 strong forward strokes of your file and then check for burrs. Electric sharpeners are usually able to be adjusted to do this without having to put forth any physical effort on your part. You also should check your depth gauge to ensure it is at the proper height. This is easily done with a depth gauge filing guide but does not need to be attended to each time you sharpen the cutters.

Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners

Chainsaw placed with logs and tools

Like most things, there is almost always more than one style of tool to get the same job done. The same goes for chainsaw sharpeners. However, what is unique about sharpeners is that it is perfectly normal to have more than one handy. Sharpening your chain is one of the most important details in keeping your chainsaw running as it should, and keeping various types of sharpeners around for travel and home is worth considering.

Manual File

A manual file is just as it sounds- a round file that you hold and manually push against the cutters to remove burrs and provide a nice cutting surface. These come in various sizes depending on your chain size and does require the knowledge of the task and control.

Manual Cutter

A manual cutter is a tool that you place over the chain which then clamps to the bar. Using a handle that you manually turn, it feeds the chain through and sharpens the cutters as it moves. All this requires is to turn the handle at the pace suggested.

Dremel Attachment

A Dremel is a handy little tool that can be used with various attachments to get a wide variety of jobs done. There also happens to be a specific chainsaw sharpening attachment that you can use for handheld, electric power. This does require knowledge and control over the job.

Bar Mounted Guide

This guide clamps to the bar and has a series of adjustment knobs to provide specific filing measurements to your cutters. You then manually prove the pressure to the handle of the frame to sharpen the chain. All you have to do is file each cutter two or three times as everything else is already in place.

Electric

Electric sharpeners are usually mounted to a surface and make quick work of the chain sharpening process. This is done with the chain removed from the bar, and although you will need to manually feed the chain through the machine and apply the grinder, the tool is set up to make it pretty much impossible to screw up the job.

What to Look for When Buying a Chainsaw Sharpener

Man sawing a log in his back yard with orange saw

Obviously, not all sharpeners are made the same. There are many makes and models of each available and you need to consider the details to decide which ones are the best for yours. Take into account the following:

What size is your chain?

The pitch of the chain is defined as the distance between the drive lengths. You determine this my measuring three consecutive rivets and dividing by two. This measurement is then applied to the size of the sharpener applied to the chain.

Where do you usually use your chainsaw?

If you are always on the go with your chainsaw from job to job, then you need a portable sharpener. But if you never leave your own property, then something more permanent might be the quick answer. Many people keep various sharpeners handy for wherever they are working.

How much knowledge and familiarity do you have with the sharpening process?

As explained above, each type of sharpener requires varying degrees of knowledge of the job. If you are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the angle and pitch, then a sharpener that adjusts to all the measurements is probably a better option until you learn more.

Top 5 Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews

The following top picks help highlight the various models you can choose from and also are considered some of the most popular with chainsaw owners. They were highly reviewed based on value, quality, and ease of use.

Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
  • Type: Manual file kit
  • File Sizes: 5/32, 3/16, 7/32
  • Mounted: no
  • Ideal Use: portable kit for on the go use
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This basic manual file kit has everything you need to file just about any size chainsaw you own, or my own, one day. Contained within a convenient, and durable roll-up pouch, these 8 tools include 3 round files of various sizes, a file holder to help control depth and angle of the file, a flat file, a hardwood handle to make your job more comfortable, and a depth gauge filing guide for measuring the gauge depth.

Pros

  • Quality tools
  • Excellent value
  • Great portability and secure tool hold

Cons

  • Requires knowledge of filing
  • Attachments aren’t of the same quality of the files

Who Should Purchase This
This is a compact kit that rolls tightly to fit into any chainsaw tool bag. It is highly portable and is of excellent value to keep handy for quick sharpening access. If you know what you are doing, this is the perfect kit.

STIHL 2 IN 1 EASY FILE CHAINSAW CHAIN SHARPENER

STIHL 2 IN 1 EASY FILE CHAINSAW CHAIN SHARPENER
  • Type: Manual guide
  • File Sizes: 5/32
  • Mounted: no
  • Ideal Use: quick, easy, guided use
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This 2 in 1 easy file is designed by one of the most well-recognized brand names in the chainsaw industry. This tool design is made to ride on top of your chain with 2 round files and 1 flat file set within the guide. While the round files are held to the proper depth by the guide, your filing motions help clean up the cutters without cutting too deep. The flat file will then file off and adjust the guide if needed at the same time.

Pros

  • Takes care of both cutters and guide if needed
  • Easy to replace files when they dull
  • The guide is accurate and easy to use

Cons

  • Only available for 5/23”

Who Should Purchase This
If you have some basic knowledge of the angle you need to work at and control over your filing strokes, this is an excellent tool to consider. The guide keeps you from working too deep and allows for excellent user control.

Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener
  • Type: Bar Mounted Guide
  • File Sizes: n/a
  • Mounted: yes
  • Ideal Use: Accurate adjustments for low error
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Although this bar mount does require you provide your own file, this also makes it extremely useful for universal chainsaw use. Designed to provide minute adjustments to your chain sharpening experience, the Granberg sharpener offers a solid foundation and attaches directly to the bar to provide depth and angle control. It works to sharpen cutters as well as provide depth gauge measurements.

Pros

  • Perfect for sharpening beginners
  • Very accurate and detailed adjustments
  • Easy to use and portable

Cons

  • Must supply your own files
  • One screw clamp sometimes loosens during use

Who Should Purchase This
Anyone new to sharpening can follow the instructions to easily see how to adjust for their particular saw. This is a tool that is designed to avoid accidents with chain maintenance and is considered highly accurate for fast, portable use.

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
  • Type: Bar Mounted Guide and Filer
  • File Sizes: 3/16 (other sizes available)
  • Mounted: yes
  • Ideal Use: Highly accurate for beginners
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The Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener is a unique tool that clamps to your bar to help feed the chain through the machine while filing the cutters sharp. Within this compact tool are carbide cutters that accurately sharpen each cutter to the same specs. While the user turns the handle, the chains both feeds and undergoes the sharpening process simultaneously. This is done quickly and with very little effort, making it a great choice for those who are new to the process.

Pros

  • Seriously easy to use
  • Quick, accurate jobs
  • Nice for field jobs and beginners

Cons

  • 30-degree angle only

Who Should Purchase This
This truly is a great choice for chainsaw owners who are new to the process of keeping their chain sharp. It leaves very little room for error and is also highly portable for quick, accurate sharpening jobs.

Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder

Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder
  • Type: Electric
  • File Sizes: All
  • Mounted: yes, but to a permanent surface
  • Ideal Use: Highly accurate for regular use
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This highly versatile and powerful grinder can take on any size chain with accuracy. Oregon is an industry leader of chainsaw equipment and parts, and their bench mount cutter is no exception to the quality they provide. Designed with multiple adjustments to ensure accurate sharpening and depth gauge measurements, this electric tool only needs a steady hand to use. It mounts to a flat surface and provides a self-centering vise for alignment and universal, precise sharpening.

Pros
Highly accurate
Easy to adjust and use
Leaves behind an excellent cutting surface

Cons

  • Permanently mounted
  • Requires you to remove the chain

Who Should Purchase This
This tool is perfect for accurate, multiple chain sharpening. If you cut regularly and need a little more than what you can get done manually, this is a perfect alternative. It only requires a soft touch with the grinder as everything else can be preset based on the chain you are using.

Conclusion

Regular chainsaw maintenance requires you to pay close attention to the sharpness of your chain for both efficiencies as well as safety. A sharp chain cuts quickly and smoothly and keeps you from becoming too quickly fatigued. The above-reviewed sharpening tools highlight the many options you have based on your needs, knowledge of the task, as well as personal preference. Stop paying top dollar to have somebody else take care of your saw; learn how to easily and effectively keep your own chain in tip-top shape with one of the above choices.

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