10 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners of 2023 (Manual & Electric)
If you’re paying someone else to sharpen your chainsaw blades, you’re missing out on an excellent opportunity to save money and have a razor-sharp chainsaw. Once you learn how to sharpen your blades, you can save a small fortune and might even do a better job than the “professionals.”
Of course, you need a great chainsaw sharpener to do the job properly. When shopping online, it can be hard to tell if you’re getting one that will work with your chainsaw chain and if you’re getting it at a justified price.
Our reviews will show you the best and worst features of several chainsaw sharpeners so that you can find the right one. There’s also a buyer’s guide that covers everything there is to know about chainsaw sharpeners.
A Glance at the Winners of 2023:
|Best Overall||Oregon Manual Chainsaw Sharpener||
|Timberline Manual Chainsaw Sharpener||
|Best Value||STIHL File Chainsaw Grinder||
|Best Electric Chainsaw-Sharpener||Buffalo ECSS||
|Pferd Cs-X ChainSaw Sharpener File||
The 10 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners:
1. Oregon Manual Chainsaw Sharpener – Best Overall
The Oregon 520-120 Manual Chainsaw Grinder is one of the best manual chainsaw sharpeners ever made. Part of its success comes from the wide range of chainsaw sizes it can work with, ranging from ¼” to as much as .404”, and its compatibility with low-profile chains. Since it’s a manual grinder, you can take off as much or as little as you need to rehabilitate your chain, leaving you with the control you need to do a great job.
It has a self-centering chain vise, which saves you time during setup since the chain will always be in the right place. It also has a built-in light, and you can use this grinder anywhere. The only thing we don’t like is the user manual. This sharpener is better for those with some experience.
However, if you want sharp chains without too much hassle, you’ll love this manual chainsaw grinder’s performance. Overall, we think this is the best chainsaw sharpener of the year.
2. Timberline Manual Chainsaw Sharpener
The previous sharpener is too bulky to take into the field, but the void in portability is filled by the Timberline Manual Chainsaw Sharpener. This sharpener weighs just 2 pounds and is small enough to take anywhere. It allows you to sharpen blades without taking them off the chainsaw, which saves time. Plus, it requires less time per tooth than most sharpeners, so you get even more speed from this model.
Severa; users love that this model sharpens evenly from tooth to tooth. This reduces the chance of kicks or pulls that result from uneven sharpening. However, the setup is critical and can be deceptively tricky. If you mess it up, you can damage your chainsaw blades. The Timberline sharpener has a steeper learning curve than most competitors.
While you can achieve very good results, that’s enough of a knock against its value to drop it to second place. Still, once you figure it out, you can sharpen your chainsaw blades quickly and effectively without too much downtime.
3. STIHL File Chainsaw Grinder – Best Value
The STIHL 2 in 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener is a great tool for beginners. If you want to start sharpening your chainsaw chains for the first time, you’ll benefit from a tool that isn’t too complicated but still gets the job done. This model sharpens using the built-in depth gauge, which saves you time and lets you sharpen your entire chain in just one pass. It’s also well-built, so you can expect it to be in good shape for years and possibly decades.
However, the best thing about this model is its low price. You will spend hundreds of dollars on other models on our list. The Stihl sharpener costs just a fraction of that, which makes it the best overall sharpener for the money on our list. However, it can only sharpen a single chain size, so you’ll need to invest in multiple files if you have multiple sizes.
4. Buffalo ECSS – Best Electric Chainsaw-Sharpener
The Buffalo Tools ECSS is the best electric chainsaw sharpener. It’s easy to mount, so if you have a workbench where you can affix this tool, you’re already in good shape. It also uses a standard 4¼-inch grinding wheel size, so you can replace it easily if you wear it out from heavy use. The ECSS model is electric, so you don’t have to provide power with your hands.
This sharpener is also very affordable. If you want a good deal on a chainsaw sharpener but don’t want to break the bank to get it, you’ll really like this model. Given all these upsides, you might wonder why the ECss can’t crack the top three. It comes with lousy instructions, requiring extra research if you’re unfamiliar with sharpening chainsaw blades. Overall, there’s a lot for experienced users to like, but it may not be suitable for amateurs.
5. Pferd Cs-X ChainSaw Sharpener File
The Pferd 17301Pferd Cs-X Chain Sharp Filing Guide is another easy-to-use file type, so it’s a good choice for people just learning how to sharpen chainsaw blades. Most people report that they can sharpen an entire chain in 15 minutes, which is extremely fast for a simple manual sharpener like this. It also sharpens the cutters and depth gauge simultaneously, so you don’t have to make two passes, which is always good.
However, it has some significant shortcomings compared to other manual models on our list. It has incorrect angle marks, so if you trust it to be correct, you will mis-sharpen your blade. You can still use it correctly, even though the markings are wrong. This model also struggles with skip chains, so you’ll want something different if you’re mostly working with those.
Overall, this chain sharpener is available for a good price, but ultimately, the value is just low enough that most people can get a better deal with a different one.
6. Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaws Sharpener
The Granberg Bar-Mount Chain Saw Sharpener is a great multi-size chain sharpener, but you have to provide your own files, which is a downside. The upside is that you can get the files for any chain size and get different files if you use multiple sizes. This sharpener mounts to the chainsaw, so you don’t have to take the chain off to service it.
You could use this model in the field, but it’s not as small as other portable options. However, it has accurate markings that make it easy to get the right angle for your sharpening, regardless of chain type.
This tool isn’t the most expensive one you can find, but you shouldn’t expect it to last for more than a year of regular use. That’s one of the shortest lifespans of any sharpener on our list, and it’s short enough to give you pause. If you’re looking for a tool that will last forever, you won’t like this one.
7. Drixet Chainsaw Sharpening & Filing Kit
The Drixet Chainsaw Sharpening & Filing Kit is designed with beginners in mind, but it has several problems that render it unsuitable for that purpose. The good news is that this kit comes with 5/32”, 3/16”, and 7/32” round files, plus a flat file. You’ll be able to work with most chains with the tools included in this kit. It has a depth gauge, filing guide, instructions, and a pouch, so you can do good work and keep your pieces together without much trouble. It also costs very little compared to most tools on our list, so there are many reasons beginners would like it.
However, we’re not sure this is a good kit for beginners. The tool’s overall quality is unimpressive. That could lead beginners to believe they’ll never figure out how to sharpen a chainsaw chain, even when it’s the tool’s fault and not theirs. Because of the low quality, you can’t expect expert-level sharpening from this kit. Consequently, this kit isn’t suitable for most people.
8. Oregon PowerSharp Chainsaw-Sharpener Kit
The Oregon 541662 PowerSharp Chainsaw Chain Sharpening Kit is an excellent chain sharpener if you commit to a proprietary system. It comes with a sharpener, a low-friction bar for your chainsaw, and a chain. After installing the bar and chain, you can sharpen the chain in as little as 3 to 5 seconds using the sharpener. Just mount it on the end of the bar and run the chainsaw for a few seconds, and the chain cuts like new. As a bonus, the bar comes with LubriTec technology, which retains oil longer and reduces how often you have to perform necessary maintenance.
However, since this kit requires you to replace the bar and the chain on your chainsaw, you’re locking yourself into a proprietary system run by Oregon. If you like using specialized chains for different tasks, you won’t be able to use this system to sharpen them. In fact, if you want to use them at all, you’ll need to replace the bar, which is a hassle. Overall, this is a good design for people who like the chain and need quick sharpenings while they work, but others won’t be fond of the proprietary parts.
9. Timber Tuff Portable Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners
The Timber Tuff CS-12V 12-Volt Portable Electric Chain Saw Chain Sharpener is one of the more portable electric chainsaw sharpeners available. It uses a 12-volt system that will remind many people of jumper cables. As you may have guessed, you need a 12-volt battery, like in your vehicle, to power this model. That means this tool is only as convenient as the nearest vehicle when sharpening your chain.
This sharpener has a solid angle guide, but it’s a little bulky, and some people remove it in favor of spotting the angle by eye. It also includes three grinding stones to work with 3/16”, 5/32″, or 7/32″ chains. However, the lack of quality displays itself most prominently in the grinding stones, which sometimes only last for a few sharpenings.
That’s a design defect in an important part of the sharpener, and it suggests that other areas may not be up to par. This is a very portable electric model, but it has some problems that will frustrate many users.
10. Chicago Electric Sharpener for Chainsaws
The Chicago Electric Chain Saw Sharpener works with all chains, which is not something that all manual or electric models can do. It also has chain rotation rollers, which reduce the time between sharpening each link so that you can do the job faster. Plus, this model is easy to mount to a tool bench or wall or on a vise.
The Chicago sharpener lacks a light and struggles to hold chains perfectly still, which means you can make imprecise cuts even when using the tool correctly. The best tools help minimize mistakes due to user error, but this one will likely multiply any mistakes you make and ruin blades.
Buyer’s Guide: Finding the Best Chainsaw Sharpener
Electric vs manual chainsaw sharpeners
The first thing to consider when comparing electric and manual chainsaws is that both require care to sharpen your chainsaw correctly. Manual sharpeners are easier to control, but their big downside is that they’re slow relative to electric models and require you to provide the force to sharpen the blade. However, they work slowly, which reduces the chance of an accident with an inexperienced user.
Electric models are much faster, and you can cut a lot of time down per blade with one. More invasive electric models can do the task in seconds but require modifications to your chainsaw.
Ultimately, this choice is a matter of preference, as you can get low-priced and expensive manual and electric models. If you want more control, go with a manual model. If you prefer speed, an electric model is probably the one you’ll enjoy.
Angle and height
If you’re new to chainsaw sharpening, you should know what the angle and height measurements describe. Every tooth on a chainsaw has a height, and you need a file of a particular size to correctly sharpen teeth of a certain height. Different tooth heights require different files.
Teeth must also be sharpened at a particular angle to achieve maximum sharpness. You can find this angle on the chain’s original packaging. Not only do you have to use a file that’s the right size, but you also have to carve the new blade at the correct angle on the tooth. All sharpeners have angle markings to help you align the file, but not all models can handle all tooth heights or angles.
With disk-based electric models, be doubly careful with the angle. These models can handle all tooth heights, but they can rapidly remove too much material, which can significantly reduce a chain’s life if you use the wrong angle.
If you need a sharpener away from your shop, you’ll be better off with manual models in most situations. They tend to be smaller and lighter and don’t require electricity.
However, some electric models are designed with portability in mind. Some can run off cigarette lighters or 12-volt batteries. Others require you to replace your bar and chain but provide extremely fast sharpening. If you’re willing to switch to a proprietary system like that, or you’ll have access to a vehicle while working, you’ll get the benefits of electric sharpening while on the go.
The Oregon 520-120 Manual Chainsaw Grinder is our choice as the best overall manual chainsaw sharpener because of its compatibility with many chain types, its self-centering chain vise, and its built-in light. Second place is taken by the Timberline Manual Chainsaw Sharpener, which provides fast, even sharpening and great portability, though its careful setup requirements knock it from the top spot. The STIHL 2 in 1 Easy File Chainsaw Chain Sharpener has two-in-one functionality and is excellent for beginners. Its low price makes it the best overall value for the money on our list.
We hope our buyer’s guide has given you the information you need, and ee genuinely hope our reviews help you find the best chainsaw sharpener for your needs. Good luck!