Anyone that uses a chainsaw can tell you that have a sharp chainsaw will make it easier and faster to get through your workload than using a dull chainsaw. Sadly, it doesn’t take long for a chainsaw to start to get dull, even if you use it infrequently. There are a lot of chainsaw sharpener options on the market, so here are a few tips on what to look for in the best chainsaw sharpener and a few reviews to help you start shopping.
Why do you need a chainsaw sharpener?
- You get a lot of power and use out of a chainsaw, but they also come with a lot of wear and tear, and many issues can be caused by chainsaw blades that get dull quickly.
- Dull blades keep chainsaws from being able to cut through the wood the way they should increase the risk of kickback and the blade binding during the cut.
- Sharp blades will give you faster cuts and increase your productivity, plus it can give you more run time with a sharp blade than a duller one. And, if you are using a gas chainsaw, having a sharp blade means you use less fuel.
- Not regularly sharpening the blade of your chainsaw can actually cause more wear and tear on your blade.
- Dull blades cause you to cut slower meaning more wear on the blade and more time wasted to get the same amount of work accomplished.
Types of Chain Saw Sharpeners
There are a few factors to consider before you decide on which chainsaw sharpener to buy. First off, the three main chainsaw sharpeners types are:
One of the most common chainsaw sharpener types is the handheld file. This is also the simplest consisting of a round file with that has a diameter that varies and correlates with the chain size that you need to sharpen. You use the file by passing it over the tip of the chain.
This is a very simple process, but it does take some practice and needs a little bit of precision to get the best results. With you sharpen by hand, you need to make sure you don’t move angle of the chain that you are cutting at while you work. There are several benefits of using these files including mobility and low price.
Electric Chain Saw Sharpener
Most commonly used by professionals, an electric chainsaw sharpener is a modern form of the chainsaw sharpener. If you want the quickest way to sharpen a chainsaw, an electric saw is what you want. It is also the easiest to use and will benefit those that have chainsaw’s needing frequent sharpening.
However, the products in this category will have a lot of variations. And remember, electric chainsaw sharpeners pretty much will always require you to wear safety gear due to their operation and build.
Bar Mounted Guide
Even though they aren’t electric, bar mounted guide chainsaw sharpeners have more intensive use than a handheld sharpener does. They also need a stable and flat platform to be effective like a table or a bench. This sharpener type requires the guide to be secured and then mounted onto the chainsaw’s bar before being fastened into place.
You can set the saw to the manufacturer’s specification with the control knobs that should include the sharpener’s filing angle and depth. You use the hand crank to pass the chain through the sharpener once you are dialed in, and make sure to wear safety gear as this movement can cause metal shavings to get into your eyes. Less expensive than electric models, bar mounted guides are also quite efficient but do require being attached to another surface.
Considerations In Choosing The Best Chainsaw Sharpener
There are four key factors to consider to make sure you choose the best chainsaw sharpener for your needs.
Type – The different types of chainsaw sharpeners each have their own advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you know the differences and how they may either benefit or adversely affect the type of work you have planned so you can fight the right type of chainsaw sharpener to suit your needs.
Frequency of Use – An electric model may be the best type if you know that you will sharpen your chainsaw on a regular basis. Using a handheld sharpener is ideal for those that need one that is portable or only infrequently sharpens their chains. You get a lot of precision from a mounted guide and they also tend to be the longest lasting, but they do need a surface for them to work effectively.
Chain Size – Make sure the chainsaw sharpener you choose can handle the chain size that you have since some sharpeners are not able to handle certain chain sizes. Although some are limited to one size, there are others that can be used on several sizes including the most common sizes ¼ inch, .325 inch, 3/8 inch, ½ inch, and ¾ inch pitch chains.
Best Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews
Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File
If you are looking for a chainsaw sharpener that is easy to use, the Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File is worth checking out. Not only is one of the best manual chainsaw sharpeners on the market, but it also functions as a depth gauge as well as a sharpener. When this sharpener is used correctly, you will get amazing results in the cutting angle as well as sharpness.
Made by Stihl, this handy sharpener will sharpen the teeth on almost any .325” chain no matter what the brand. It allows you to use each file up to fifteen times before you will need to change them. With two guide bars and angled handles, you can sharpen the teeth on your chain at the correct angle.
Adding to the overall functionality of the sharpener, the depth gauge is a great bonus to this durable and accurate product. Made by Stihl, you are guaranteed a long-lasting sharpener from a name you know you can trust. This is a lightweight and easy to move chainsaw sharpener, so you can easily take it with you to the worksite or pull it out whenever your chain teeth get dull.
Highly accurate and durable
Great overall functionality
Affordable and a good value
Intermediate sharpening skills are required to operate
Works on .325 chains only
Timber Tuff Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
The battery-operated Timber Tuff Chainsaw Sharpener uses a 12V battery operated making it very portable so you can use it anywhere it is needed. It may not be as powerful as other chainsaw sharpeners on the market, but it is lightweight and works well as long as you know how to operate it.
With the ability to sharpen chains anywhere, the Timber Tuff basically works off of a car battery connection and weighs only 2.2 pounds. Featuring Anti-Impact and Anti-Aging construction, this chainsaw sharpener is able to stay cool while it is used. It also includes a spindle lock that makes it easy to change out the grinding stones.
The Timber Tuff has the ability to operate 30, 25, and 20-degree blades, so you don’t have to worry about having additional angle guides if you use a conventional saw. The job goes by quickly from the surprisingly fast rotation of the grinding stones. This sharpener does have a bit of a learning curve, so you will have to get used to it at first. Keep in mind that the stones will only last between three and four sharpenings, but you can use a diamond stone replacement if you need a longer sharpening stone life.
Affordable, great for those on a budget
Lightweight and portable
Features several angle guides
Has a learning curve
Stone life tends to be short
Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener
Taking accuracy and precision to a new level, the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener has a high-grade carbide cutter made of tungsten that you can hand turn with a handle. The tool is clamped onto the bar while the chain stays on the saw and is pulled through sharpening each tooth. Just a small amount of the material is removed from each of the teeth helping to extend the chain life.
The Timberline has a fixed universal angle of 30 degrees for the carbide guides with 35 and 25-degree guides offered separately. This sharpener can attach to any chainsaw bar allowing each of the individual teeth to be sharpened at the same angle and length. This is an easy to use sharpener that is durable and small enough to be portable.
You can easily cut down the chain by cranking it through the stones at a 30-degree angle. This is a faster and longer-lasting sharpener than other comparable models on the market. The Timberline is also made in other sizes, but the 7/32” tend to be the one used the most often.
Fast and easy to use
Extremely accurate and long lasting
Durable and portable enough to carry around with your
Only has a 30-degree option
A little on the expensive side
Buffalo ECSS Electric
One of the easiest to use electric chainsaw sharpeners on the market, the Buffalo ECSS Chainsaw Sharpener has a grinding speed of 4200 RPMs and can plug into a standard wall outlet. It works by clamping it to your work table, wall, vise, or a stable flat surface, and then after it is powered on, it can be used to sharpen each individual blade.
The 85-watt, 60 Hz sharpener works with any chain blade type using a grinding wheel measuring 4 ¼ by 1/8 inch grinding wheel with an arbor that is 7/8 inch long. Remember that the ⅛ inch disk width does not have a custom fit that can be used for chain with different sized blades. It is very accurate and very effective when you master operating it.
Affordable and budget friendly
You can use it with any chain design
Easy to use and accurate
Not the fastest sharpener on the market
Can’t be used with chain blades of different sizes
If you are looking for a professional grade chainsaw sharpener, the Oregon 511AX is versatile as well as powerful. It has a 3400 RPM grind disk rotation and will work with ¾ inch, ½ inch, 3/8 inch, and ¼ inch, and .325-Inch pitch chains. This is one of the most versatile grinders on the market that is capable of sharpening pitches between ¼ inch to ¾ inch right out of the box.
With a powerful motor, great safety features, easy to use controls, and a built-in light, this durable machine has the features and the quality you want for frequent chain sharpening. Featuring a self-centering vise, it also lets you make equal grind angles without making adjustments, although it does have the capabilities for adjustments as the wheel wears to make sure you get accurate grinds.
Available with three different grinding wheels of ¼ inch, 1/8 inch, and 3/16inch, the Oregon 511AX gives you the most versatility if you need to sharpen different size blades. Plus, it features a wheel contour, a depth-gauge setting template, and a wheel-dressing brick. This is definitely a fast sharpener that is incredibly precise and able to handle of several chains in a row.
Powerful and versatile
Can handle multiple chain sizes
A little on the expensive side