Best Chainsaw Sharpening Tools


Best Chainsaw Sharpening Tools


Nobody likes using a dull chainsaw! It just makes life so much more difficult especially when there are several benefits that you experience by having a sharp chainsaw chain. It saves you a whole lot of effort, reduces wear and tear on your machine and above all makes cutting wood safe.

The other thing that the majority of gardeners don’t realize or don’t often take into consideration is that a dull chainsaw cannot cut straight. A dull chainsaw increases the chances of a Chainsaw Kickback where the chain and bar launch upwards after being caught in the wood or after the kickback zone hits an object.

A sharp chainsaw chain also reduces the energy consumption needed to run the machine and makes cutting more effective and faster. If your machine has dull cutting teeth, it is likely to consume more petrol or indeed battery power if you are using a rechargeable chainsaw.

So by simply sharpening the teeth on your chainsaw, this will mean you will spend more time cutting and less time charging or refueling your machine.

In simple terms a dull chainsaw compromises the performance of the machine. The point here is that the machine can only turn its power into cutting capability when the chainsaw chain is sharp. Otherwise as in the case of a dull chain, the cutting force transfers into wasted friction and heat that serves no purpose for the task of cutting wood.

Kickbacks are the most common cause of injuries when using a chainsaw and a dull chain is one of those causes. As a matter of fact, it is imperative to keep your blade sharp at all times.

In this brief, we are going to explain some of the signs of a dull chainsaw, how to select the best sharpener for your chainsaw chain and how to go about selecting the best chainsaw sharpening tools.


Signs of a Dull Chainsaw


What some people may not realize is that even the best chainsaw losses its sharpness with time. It is therefore important to know at what point in time you need to settle down for to sharpen your chainsaw chain. You don’t have to compromise chainsaw cutting ability with a dull saw chain. Just pay attention to the below signs and don’t sharpen your saw chain if you notices any or all of them.

  • The first sign of a dull chain is a chainsaw that doesn’t pull itself into the wood like it used to. You will observe yourself needing to subject more force by applying more downward pressure to the unit. If you have to strain your muscles to make it cut through the wood, it’s time to settle for the task of sharpening the chain.
  • The chain should create coarse strands when you are doing a cross cut. If you notice that it creates a fine sawdust, then it’s time to gather your tools for sharpening.
  • The other thing is that a saw chain that is dull on one side of the chain and sharp on the other will move in one direction causing a crooked cut. It may also be as a result of uneven cutting lengths.
  • There’s a likelihood of kickbacks. If you notice that the chainsaw sound a little rattley and has a tendency to bounce back while cutting, then it is an indication that you need to stop and carry out some checks. For this reason, you will have a hard time achieving a precise positioning.
  • The other indication is that the smoke may appear even when the chain lubrication is topped up. It will also cause the same problem even when the chain tension is correct.


The above are just some of the signs. If you notice the above signs or any other cutting problem that you suspect is as a result of a dull saw chain, then it is time to either replace your chainsaw chain or sharpen it. In case you are wondering we have an article on How to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain which includes a helpful video so you will have a sharp chain in no time again.


How to Choose the Perfect Chainsaw Sharpener?


As we have already established, getting work done perfectly and with ease, requires a sharp chainsaw chain. For this reason, you should keep your saw chain sharp at all times. When buying a chainsaw sharpening tool, you should invest a little time in selecting the tool that will best suit you and your outlook. If you are the type of person who is impatient and needs the job done NOW then perhaps a bench sharpener might suit you best. However if you are the type of person who likes the idea of taking a little more time and manually sharpening the chain then there are some great manual chainsaw chain sharpening tool to choose from just check out the list below for our top picks.

Remember we feel it’s important that you don’t find yourself in a position where you find yourself blaming the manufacturers for owning a tool that doesn’t do the job as you expected because you perhaps misunderstood its function, application or capability. This is never a nice situation to be in and let’s face it we have all made purchases that in hindsight we regretted.

The good news is that a little bit of researching and consulting before buying any tool works wonders. In order to save you some time we have provided a solid list of chainsaw sharpening tools below so you can find the right tool that will best suit your needs.

The good news is there has never been a better time to purchase a chainsaw chain sharpening tool. The range and various types of chainsaw sharpening tools has never been greater. However this can make selecting the right one a little trick with there being more than just hand files on the market now to choose from.

However before considering which tool to select, it may be worth your while to understand the different types of chainsaw chain sharpeners on the market;


The Types of Chainsaw Sharpeners and Their Pros and Cons


In simple terms, there are three types of chainsaw sharpeners that you are likely to find in all markets. It is therefore important to understand how effective they are and how suitable each of them may be to sharpening your chainsaw. So let’s start with the basic and the most common saw sharpening tool out there.


Handheld Round Files


This sharpening tool has and will continue to be the most popular and useful sharpening tool on the market. It has been in use for the longest period of time, essentially since powered chainsaws became popular back in the forties and fifties. The files come in different diameters that match with the different diameters of the chain. It is also very simple to use these types of file, you just have to roll it over the cutters and the teeth from left to right. However, it is a manual sharpening tool and so you have to do all the sharpening manually.

The reason why the majority of gardeners love this type of tool is because it is the cheapest in town and gets the work done perfectly. It also utilizes a very simple sharpening process that every gardener whether a beginner or a pro can easily understand. There is no complicated setup or calibration needed. It is good for occasional wood cutters and seasonal gardeners.

On the other hand, there are several disadvantages of using this type of tool. One of the disadvantages is that it is difficult to ensure the degree of control and accuracy of this tool. Consequently, it is difficult to keep the cutting angle set while working. There can be discrepancies from not keeping your hand and arm straight while sharpening. The process of sharpening a machine with a handheld round file is also time consuming and needs a little bit more patients on behalf of the person sharpening.


Bar Mounted Sharpeners


This is one of the best and the most convenient saw chain sharpening tools. It has a guide that is secured to the bar of the machine itself. When sharpening, you can mount it at the top of a stable platform such as a table or a workbench. The tool, also has a knob that enables you to set the depth and the filling angle before you start sharpening.

NB: the file shavings can fly off the blade and so it is recommended you wear protective gear when using a Bar Mounted Sharpener. It is one of the best tools for precision and controlled sharpening. It is also quicker than a handheld round file. It is a good companion when trying to maintain the angle of the cutters and the teeth when sharpening for predictable sharpening. There are now two types of bar mounted sharpeners available both manual and indeed automatic. Again this gives you a whole lot more choice than what existed in the past where it was just a manual solution that existed.


Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners


This is the fastest and the most convenient of all sharpening tools for many people. It has gained its popularity among professionals and amateurs alike because it gets the job done quickly and effectively. You are only required to clamp your saw chain between a guide bar to secure it in place and ensure a correct sharpening angle is set. The wheel of the sharpener turns at a reasonable speed to enable accurate and hassle free results in seconds.

On the other hand, this is the most expensive of the three sharpening tools and it also involves a little more time at the start for the set-up procedure. However this is made up for by the speed of sharpening the teeth compared to manual options.

It is difficult to straight up say one of the tools above is better than the other. As we have already established, each tool has its own pros and cons. What this means is that the choice of a sharpening tool is going to be determined by lots of different factors. . Believe it or not every chainsaw chain wasn’t actually created equally, they vary in terms of their length, pitch, gauge, material as well as branding.

Some of these additional factors include;

  1. The Pitch Measurements – It’s important to get the pitch measurement of the chainsaw before rushing into buying a chainsaw sharpening tool. You can find it in the user manual, another reason why it’s important to hold onto the manual. If you want you can get it manually by dividing the distance between 3 links by 2. To ensure you get the correct results here, you can take the sample to the shop for professional measurements.
  2. The Gauge Measurements – You should also note the gauge of the chain by either looking at the tool, searching in the user manual or by measuring the thickness of the chain’s drive links with an accurate calipers.
  3. Counts – The other thing is to count the number of individual drive links on the chainsaw chain. If you have the pitch measurement, the gauge measurement and the links number, the rest is made easy and can be finalized in a flash. You can then use the above mentioned measurements and counts to search for a file that will match your machine needs specifically.
  4. Cost – As explained above. There are three broad types of saw chain sharpeners. They all come in different prices. What this means is that your willingness and ability to pay should play a vital role here. If you are willing and able to pay some additional dollars for an electric chainsaw sharpener, well and good it will serve you well and make your life easier in the long run. If you cannot afford that, then there are several other alternatives, the cheapest of which will be the manual hand files, with the bar sharpeners somewhere in between.
  5. Chainsaw Uses-If you are a professional gardener or indeed someone who enjoys spending lots of time in the garden then you may want to get a tool that will get the job done faster and more effectively. However, if you are an occasional gardener, then getting a handheld round file is not a bad idea, as the payback on this type of tool will be almost instant compared to a more expensive offering however you will need to set aside a little more time, and put in a little more work when using a manual file.

So now lets move onto our top picks when it comes to chainsaw sharpening tools. Below we will outline some of the best products available in order to ensure your chainsaw will always remain sharp and ready to handle any wood cutting challenge.


Our Top Chainsaw Sharpening Tool Recommendations


After a comprehensive and a deep research of the market, we have established some of the best chainsaw sharpening tools you can purchase right now. Below is a list of six of the best chainsaw chain sharpening tools. We have hand-picked these chainsaw sharpening tools to suit every need and level of competency.

While there are a whole host of other offerings available on the market right now, it might be a good idea to start by checking out these products first, because in our opinion, they appear to offer the best in terms of value, functionality, quality and ease of use. They also have received many positive reviews and a lot of good feedback from other people just like you, who have used the tools firsthand to sharpen their chainsaw chains. We have listed these tools in no particular order because what may be number one for a professional may not be a perfect fit for a novice and vice versa.

Ok so first up is a great option for those of you looking for ease of use and hassle free chainsaw sharpening from a trusted brand it’s an Oregon bench mounted chainsaw sharpener.


Oregon 520-120 Chain Bench Sharpener


This is a professional chainsaw sharpening tool which is both versatile and powerful. The tool rotates a sharpening disc at 3400RPM which will sharpen any chain link in the blink of an eye. It also comes with three gridding wheels of varying sizes. Each of them is ¼’’ 1/8’’ and 3/16’’. The three wheels are there to provide the needed versatility when sharpening saw of all variations.

The tool also includes a wheel-dressing brick and also a template for the depth-gauge setting. It also has a wheel shaped contour. The other useful feature of this tool is the self-centering vise which automatically aligns to the tooth angle to provide even sharpening across every tooth. The tool costs a little more when compared to the other tools outline however it more than pays for itself in ease of use and reliability.


Oregon 30846 Sure sharp


This is a novel portable tool again from the well-respected chainsaw brand Oregon. It runs on a 12 volt battery supply to ensure you have full access to the tools chain sharpening capabilities while situated away from mains electricity. It also includes two sharpening stones for extended life of the tool. This tool is easy to use very portable and provides a nice trade off combining the portability of a manual chain sharpener with the functionality of an electric chain sharpener. The tool is very well priced and will give great results without the tedious hand filing. It is well worth considering.


Buffalo Tools ECSS Chainsaw Sharpener


This tool is one of the best and the easiest to use electric sharpeners right now. You are only required to mount it on a bench or a sturdy table to facilitate its operation. You can power on the machine after you have mounted it on the table and indeed leave it mounted for fast operation the next time you need it. The device has a very high sharpening speed similar to the Oregon bench sharpener. It also has several discs of varying length to ensure that it is perfect for sharpening different chainsaws. It is one of the most affordable chainsaw sharpeners out there and it also works with any chain design.


Stihl 2-in-1 Easy File


This is one of the best manual saw chain sharpeners out there. As the name suggests, it can function as an actual sharpener and at the same time as a depth gauge. If you use this tool correctly, you are going to get superb results. It gives the needed sharpness and maintains a good cutting angle. It is also long lasting and made from one of the most trusted brand names in the industry Stihl. On the other hand, the file can only be used on .325 chains. You can also get a Forester Filling stump vise which will help add versatility to the operation of filing a chain, without having the need for access to a bench or table ideal for on the go chain sharpening.


Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener


This tool provides a great addition to any sharpeners setup. It is a bar mount by itself and it doesn’t come with a sharpening file. What this means is that you need to fit an external file to make it operational. The good thing with this tool is that the bar is compatible with almost every chainsaw on the market. It also offers a firm and a solid base for using a file on the blade. The results will also be a lot more accurate than using a simple hand file on its own.


CO-Z Electric Chainsaw Sharpener


This tool is very affordable and at the same time very functional. It is made out of heavy duty cast aluminum. It can withstand common wear and tear associated with sharpening a chain. The other thing is that the machine contains a motor which supplies up to 230 watts of power. Its gridding speed can rotate at a speed of up to 3,000 rotations per minute on a par with the Oregon solution however it costs a fraction of the price. It is very powerful and gets its work done within a short period of time.


To Wrap Up


So in conclusion which chainsaw sharpener should you choose? Well if you pick any of the ones listed above you will get fantastic results with very little effort again and again. The one you pick will depend on how much time and effort you want to invest in sharpening your chain each time it becomes dull. If you can we recommend using the power assisted chain sharpeners for their ease of use and consistent results.

Either way we feel you won’t go wrong by selecting any of the above tools in order to ensure your chain remains sharp when you need it most. Either way you are the only person who knows what chain sharpener is right for you! So have a look at the options and above all else pick the tool that will best serve your needs best going forward.

We hope you found this article useful and hopefully you will be a little bit closer to understanding what to look out for when selecting a chainsaw chain sharpener. Check out our Rechargeable Chainsaw Blog and indeed our other articles which we feel you may find also find interesting too.

Thanks Folks and Happy Cutting!