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Properly maintaining your chainsaw in the best cutting shape is important. To do that you can get your hands on a simple, but very effective accessory – a chainsaw sharpener. There are lots of things that need to be done to ensure the smooth functioning of a chainsaw and sharpening should take priority. This is because without the right sharpness of the chain and saw arm, your work productivity can take a severe hit. How do you choose a sharpener for your chainsaw though? If you’re still only getting used to maintaining your chainsaw, it’s recommended to keep in mind some considerations when shopping for a sharpener. You might also be interested in our articles about the best electric knife sharpeners and the best hunting boots.
There are different tools you can use to sharpen your chainsaw. One common method is by using a handheld file, a simple and affordable way to do a solid sharpening job. An important aspect to note here is that you need to use your hands so it takes a bit of skill to ensure you won’t accidentally alter the cutting angle of your tool.
Another type is the electric chainsaw sharpener. This is the recommended option if you’re a professional user as it does a more efficient sharpening work. It’s also more comfortable to use, but you will need proper safety gear during the sharpening operation. Those with limited budgets should probably steer clear of them.
The last type of chainsaw sharpener to consider is a bar mounted guide. It doesn’t rely on electricity, but they’re a bit trickier to use compared to the basic handheld file. Bar mounted guide sharpeners are quite efficient and not as costly compared to electric units. The only thing to consider is that they require a stable platform to work.
2. Frequency of use
For those who regularly need to sharpen their dull saw, perhaps investing a little more in an electric sharpener would be a smarter decision. According to how frequently you need to use the chainsaw, you can take your pick from a diverse market of sharpeners to get the most benefits. Obviously, those who rarely do maintenance work on their chainsaws will probably be better off with a less costly sharpener.
3. Chain size
Before purchasing a chainsaw sharpener make sure it supports the correct chain size. Many models are compatible with more than just one size, but others aren’t as flexible. Some frequently encountered sizes are 1/4-Inch and 3/8-Inch.
These are pretty much the essential features to consider regarding chainsaw sharpeners. With this guide out of the way, it’s now time to look at what the market has to offer. The following list contains the best chainsaw sharpeners in terms of performance, ease-of-use, and cost. Finding the right one for you it’s just a matter of studying some in-depth reviews and finding the ideal match.
Best Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
For those who’ve decided to go for an electric chainsaw sharpener, the first option to consider should be the Buffalo Tools ECSS. This is a very balanced chainsaw sharpener in terms of features per cost. It delivers a 4200 RPM grinding speed and can fit different types of chains with ease.
The unit needs to be mounted to a bench or if you prefer, there’s also the option to place it on a wall. It’s quite flexible, able to suit the amount of space you have in a workshop. This same level of versatility can also be found in other regards. The sharpener deals with more than a single size allowing you to work on more chainsaws with a single tool.
Operating this model can seem a little daunting at first if you’re a beginner. With some careful instructions analyzing you will discover that this sharpener has a relatively easy learning curve enabling you to start working with it in just a few minutes. The 4200 RPM grinding speed means you can get your chainsaw sharp fairly fast. It’s worth mentioning that 0.043 in. chains gauge can’t be sharpened with this model though it will handle any other sizes between 0.05 – 0.08 in.
When it comes to the actual construction of the chainsaw sharpener, there’s not much to see. The low weight of just 7 lbs. could be considered an advantage. When placing the tool in your workshop you need to make sure you have a 120-volt electrical outlet at your disposal for powering the sharpener.
A solid chainsaw sharpener in all aspects, the Buffalo Tools ECSS is our top pick for an electric model. Any homeowner could appreciate the simple and efficient operation of this well-designed unit. It may not be a highly professional sharpener, but at this price, it’s a great bargain.
- 4200 RPM grinding speed
- Adjusts many chain designs
- Needs a 120-volt wall outlet
- Mounts to benches or walls
- Easy to use
Best Manual Chainsaw Sharpener
If you’re going with a manual chainsaw sharpener, the Granberg G-106B might be just what you’re looking for. It’s a bar-mount chainsaw sharpener crafted in the USA for meeting the highest standards for durability and precision sharpening. There are lots of things to be excited about this unit’s construction and performance.
Those familiar with the Granberg brand will certainly know what kind of performance to expect. This sharpener provides various spots on the jig to personalize the whole process. You can adjust things like the cutting depth and angle to get the best results.
In terms of build quality, this sharpener won’t disappoint. It’s resistant to rust thanks to the zinc-plated steel and it gives off a premium feeling thanks to the cast aluminum body. There are no cheap plastic parts used, but it’s recommended to keep the tool in good shape by placing it in a case. It’s essential to ensure that your file rail won’t suffer any damage.
The clamping mechanism is very well designed as it doesn’t bend even if you try to apply some pressure. Nice enhancements have also been made to the rail guides which seem sturdy enough to resist breaking in case of intense usage.
Using this chainsaw sharpener is a pleasure for anyone who likes the satisfaction of doing manual work. There’s hardly any fuss when it comes to setting it up to work. It’s easy to mount and operate. Clearly, the manufacturer paid attention to details like for example the solid grip on the file handle or the way the filing process guarantees no finger involvement anywhere near a dangerous zone.
All in all, the Granberg G-106B is an excellent tool to have for keeping your chainsaws from getting dull. You will need to purchase the chainsaw files separately so it’s important not to forget that. The cost is decent even if there are some more affordable manual sharpeners. If you want that extra quality, this bar-mount model is worth it.
- Cast aluminum construction
- Accommodates to any saw size
- Simple operation
- Calibrated swivel guide markings
- Made in the USA
Best Chainsaw Sharpener For The Money
The Oregon 410-120 is one of the best chainsaw sharpeners you can get on the market and the reasons for that are quite simple to understand. It’s highly customizable, performant, and very easy to use by homeowners and more professional users alike. Three grinding wheels come in the package to help you start sharpening.
When you receive this unit you can immediately notice how nicely built it feels. The sturdy aluminum build contributes a lot to the overall durability and the geometric design of the tool integrates many elements that enhance the ergonomics for a comfortable use. Thanks to the high-quality construction, the sharpener maintains great stability even under heavy use.
Even beginners shouldn’t have too many issues with figuring out how to use this sharpener. There’s a precise self-centering chain vise that can be of major help during the teeth aligning process. Just let the advanced mechanism of the sharpener do its precise job. A light comes built-in to make sure you’re not getting the wrong position of the chainsaw.
Performance-wise, the unit seems quite impressive with its strong 3500 RPM engine. It’s not required to keep sharpening for too long before you’ll get a razor-sharp saw fitting to tackle any woodworking projects. The way this model works evenly is also quite interesting as it takes each teeth’s sharpening very seriously.
As it covers almost any chainsaw size out there, this sharpening tool is incredibly versatile. Whether you need to sharpen a 1/4-inch, 0.235-inch or a high/low profile 3/8-inch, this model will effortlessly handle it. There are fine angle settings available to work with, so you can be sure the chainsaw gets the correct sharpening.
Considering the features and accessory bundle provided, the Oregon 410-120 represents a very cost-effective way to sharpen your chainsaws. Beginners or experienced users can both benefit from the solid features such as the 3500 RPM performance, self-centering chain vise, built-in light, and comprehensive angle settings. Highly recommended.
- Bench or wall mountable
- .404″ pitch chain maximum sharpening
- Simple to use adjustments
- Three grinding wheels included
- Advanced sprocket nose system
One very appreciated option for a chainsaw sharpener is the Timber Tuff CS-12V. It could be the right tool for the job considering the simple 12V battery operation that allows you for quick and efficient sharpening even when you’re in the field. For those times when you can’t make it to the shop in a reasonable amount of time, this sharpener could be ideal.
The performance on this portable unit is not exactly the main highlight, but it can still manage a decent sharpening. The fact that it runs on any 12V battery is a huge advantage for chainsaw users looking for a portable option. You can simply use the connection from your car without too much fuss.
Lots of types of blades can be dealt with by this electric sharpener. Whether it’s a 20-, 25-, or a 30-degree blade, the unit can work nicely with it. Extra angle guides won’t be required for conventional saws. With the help of the quick rotation of the grinding stones, the tool can make any sharpening task go by in a timely manner.
When you’re first using this sharpener you might get a little overwhelmed, particularly if you’re not familiar with portable electric units. Once you get used to it, you might start to appreciate its great functionality. The stones won’t be able to last for too long, but if you buy some diamond replacements you can keep working for an extended time.
Changing grinding stones is done quite easily thanks to a spindle lock ability integrated into this chainsaw sharpener. The construction has been reinforced with a special polypropylene cover designed to protect the tool from aging and impacts, great for tougher environments.
Taking into account everything, it’s safe to say that Timber Tuff did an excellent job with its CS-12V model. For what’s been designed to do it works very well. Don’t expect a really professional level of sharpening like you’d have in the workshop, but still, for certain situations it can be a lifesaver. Getting stranded with a dull chainsaw in the field can really ruin your day so that’s why it’s critical to be properly equipped.
- Electric chainsaw sharpener
- Three grinding stones included
- High-speed motor
- 2.2 pounds weight
- Spindle lock
Oregon is a very reputable manufacturer of chainsaw sharpeners and one of their most professional-level models is the 511AX. It’s created for ensuring extremely accurate grinds and high-performance sharpening. Any workshop can benefit a lot from having such a capable tool.
Virtually any size can be handled by this durable sharpener thanks to its complex adjustability features and the different grinding wheels included. Due to its multiple thicknesses available, the sharpener will be able to deal with .325-Inch and 1/2-inch chains besides the usual 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch types. It works without problems for 3/4-Inch pitch chains too.
The main source of power comes from a 3-amp motor which can move at 3400 RPM thanks to its 285W power rating. Sharpening chainsaws can become a breeze if you have this level of performance at your disposal. To keep it safe and stable, it’s essential to mount the tool to a workbench. It doesn’t allow for other ways to operate it, so this isn’t a portable machine.
The heavy-duty steel design is quite adequate for the cost. This sharpener is built to last for a long time and resist constant wear and tear. If you value sturdiness above all else, this can really exceed your expectations.
Learning to operate this grinder can take a while, but certain features will be very helpful to better understand. They will allow you to figure out how to properly adjust the machine for your chain. A wheel-dressing brick is provided and templates are available for the contour of the wheel and depth-gauge framework.
While the Oregon 511AX is not exactly an affordable chainsaw sharpener, it does the job much more efficiently than the vast majority of its less expensive competitors. If it suits your particular budget and you feel like it’s time to make a greater investment, this unit should definitely be strongly considered.
- Bench grinder/sharpener
- Three wheels of variable thickness included
- Wheel-dressing brick provided
- 3400 RPM direct-drive
- 285W motor
The XtremepowerUS 85W is a very interesting mini electric chainsaw sharpener which packs a lot of power for its relatively affordable cost. It can be an excellent addition to a workshop and can be put to good use by both beginners and more professional chainsaw owners.
Performance-wise, this grinder is capable of delivering 85W of power which translates to 4200 RPM for doing a serious sharpening job. It needs to be mounted on a stable base to work correctly. The bench in your workshop should do the trick.
Some great elements that help with the overall operation process are the pivoting head and the vise angles. In terms of adjustability, there’s some good flexibility here. Anywhere up to 35-degree left or right is manageable and to keep the chain firmly in place, there’s also a brake feature.
The low weight of just 5 pounds together with the reduced dimensions make this a very mini-sized chainsaw sharpener. It works well through small to medium sharpening jobs. Its capacity is .80″ to .50″. The install process can be simplified by the compactness of the tool, but putting and taking chains in this machine can take some time.
A drawback to keep in mind regarding this chainsaw sharpener is the fact that it’s not always easy to maintain the correct sharpening angles. This might be affected by how you’re using the tool, but those who experience distorted angles will definitely have some extra work to do for ensuring the right precision.
All in all, the XtremepowerUS 85W is not a bad electric chainsaw sharpener by all means. There are some things which need some improvement, but the tool works well resulting in razor-sharp cuts. For this cost, you can’t have very high expectations, but the tool is more than capable of proper sharpening.
- 85 Watt motor
- 4200 RPM maximum speed
- 35-degree right or left table angle
- Brake handle
- .80″ to .50″ capacity
The last model to take a look at is the Oregon 30846, a solid little electric chainsaw sharpener that’s perfect for in-the-field work. It gets its power from any 12V battery and features a convenient sharpening guide to be sure you’re getting accurate and even results.
One of the main abilities of this unit which deserves the most attention is the portability. It can be a handy solution when you’re far away from your workshop and struggle with a dull chainsaw. On-the-go sharpening is achieved by connecting to any car battery.
The high-impact engine of this sharpener is housed in a durable construction, so it can handle any environment you find yourself in. There are two sharpening stones included in the package which is a nice touch. Depending on your chainsaw usage, you should probably pack some spares with you just in case. The stones can wear out relatively fast, particularly if they’re of poorer quality.
Although the manufacturer clearly tried to be helpful with the included instructions, they’re not that great. In fact, you might be better off not trying to do everything as described. The visual pitch guides are for reference only and won’t really get you to the desired levels of sharpness.
A recommended method to try is to get the correct stone set up and place the height adjustment in a balanced position. After that, you can figure out by looking at the chain during the sharpening which will indicate which are the extra adjustments to make.
For a portable chainsaw sharpener, the Oregon 30846 works like a charm. It’s a solid piece of gear especially when you take into account the reasonable price. The instructions aren’t very good and the cord length also leaves things to be desired. Still, for its purpose, this chainsaw sharpener is a practical tool to have in your truck’s glovebox.
- Quick-adjust sharpening guide
- Requires a 12V battery
- Simple to use
- 2 sharpening stones included
- Built-in depth gauge