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Welcome to the best chainsaw sharpener buying guide and review!
Did you know a dull chainsaw chain can lead to very serious injuries caused by kickbacks and jerky movements as the saw catches in the material? Additionally, worn down chains also lead to higher fuel consumption and excessive wear and stress on the bar, engine, and sprocket, which can easily result in a broken chain. In return, all these things can render your investment futile.
Fortunately, you can avoid this by sharpening your chains regularly. And even for this, you have two choices. One is to take your chainsaw to get it professionally sharpened.
Two is to do this yourself by investing in a great chainsaw sharpener. While the process may seem complicated and intimidating if you are new to chainsaws and sharpeners, with the right training and an appropriate sharpener, you’re good to go!
This is where we come in. We’ve examined all the chainsaw sharpeners out there and compiled this guide for you to make the process of sharpening your chainsaw’s teeth easy and to save you both money and time. Our buyer’s guide gives you even more information to make the right choice and use the sharpener properly.
Table of Contents
- Our Top Choice
- Electric Vs Manual Sharpeners
- How To Sharpen A Chainsaw
- Selecting A Chainsaw Sharpener: What To Consider
- Best Chainsaw Sharpener: Reviews
Our Top Choice
Oregon 410-120 took the win in this review, mostly because it’s feature-rich and capable of achieving the best you would expect out of a chainsaw sharpener. It’s compatible with most chain sizes, safer to use, powerful, and can withstand frequent use, thanks to its strong build quality.
Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Electric Vs Manual Sharpeners
You are going to encounter two kinds of sharpeners: manual and electric. Lots of people seem to prefer the electric kind due to their accuracy and ease of use. The two major varieties under this category include handheld and bench sharpeners.
The later are the simplest to use as all you have to do is set it up on a bench, secure the chainsaw, turn the motor on, and the rest will be handled. In order to do this correctly, follow what’s on the tool’s guide. Handheld sharpeners, on the other hand, will require you to hold the device in your hand then move it along the bar guide on your saw.
There’s also a good number of folks who would rather use a manual sharpener, due to one reason or the other. Handheld files and bar-mounted sharpeners are the two major varieties under this category. For accuracy while using this type of sharpener, there’s a guide (below) to show you the the proper angle to which to file your blades.
In order to use either of these sharpeners correctly, you’ll have to give your undivided attention to the sharpening process and also learn the best practices in using them.
How To Sharpen A Chainsaw
Your first step here should be deciding which sharpener to use between the varieties discussed above.
Next, find out from the chainsaw manufacturer about the recommended guide and file/stone size to use for sharpening your chain. You can obtain it from the manual. Some manufacturers place the information on the package.
If you can’t find it in either of these places, look up the information online or get in touch with the manufacturer. The great thing about an electric chainsaw sharpener is some can be adjusted to fit the required size.
Once you’ve figured that out, note a unique link on the chain or mark a point where you’ll start the sharpening. Maintain a firm and consistent motion, particularly when using the handheld sharpeners. This will help you attain a professional outcome.
Lastly, clean the chain so it can be free of any metal fillings, then inspect to see if the cutters and rakers are sharp enough to take on your next project.
You can learn more about the process by watching the video below:
Selecting A Chainsaw Sharpener: What To Consider
Typical of all purchases, there are a few things you’ll want to take note of before placing your order. They include:
As mentioned earlier, some chainsaw sharpeners, manual ones in particular, can’t be adjusted to fit any chain size. So, you’ll have to take into consideration the angle of your chainsaw’s blade, and the material it is made up of as well, before selecting one.
Should you opt to go for electric chainsaw sharpeners, power is a factor you’ll want to look into. The motor sizes vary from sharpener to sharpener, with the watts ranging from around 75 watts all the way to 300. As you would guess, the bigger the motor, the more powerful the sharpener.
Also, you’ll have to take into consideration the size of your chainsaw blade. If it’s huge, a powerful sharpener will definitely be ideal, especially if you are looking to save time and achieve better efficiency.
Frequency Of Usage
Maybe you are the person who spends the better part of their day cutting things or doing other tasks that require the help of a chainsaw. If that’s the case, that means you’ll be sharpening your chain blades more often. You could use a manual sharpener but that will require a lot of time and effort.
On the contrary, an electric type would save you all that, making your work more bearable. Check out the built-in safety mechanisms for these blade sharpeners as well. That include things like wheel guards, grinder shields, inbuilt overhead lights for illumination, and the like.
Design & Construction
Since you’ll be using this tool more often, sometimes even pressing it firmly on the chain in order to achieve impressive results, it would be better if it’s made of a material that can withstand such extremes. I would suggest you look out for solid machined metals like steel as opposed to hard plastic and the like, when considering the overall construction.
Remember to practice safety measures when engaged in the sharpening process. Wear recommended gloves and eye protection glasses if possible, turn off the chainsaw, mount the chain properly, and so on.
Best Chainsaw Sharpener: Reviews
If you use your chainsaw frequently, then it makes perfect sense to invest in a chainsaw, like the Oregon 410-120, that can endure regular use and not leave your pockets empty,.
Even though it’s not sophisticated enough for pros, it would still be a great fit if you are after a well-rounded sharpener that does its job well.
To ensure your operations are safe, this Oregon sharpener has a safety shield, an inbuilt light,, and a one way motor. It will work well for regular folks like you and me who need to regularly keep our chainsaw sharp when felling those trees on a ranch or farm.
If you are short of space in your garage or workstation, the Oregon is a great space saver as it can be conveniently mounted on a bench or wall.
- Advanced sprocket nose system
- A chain vise to self-center the chain during grinding
- Three grind settings: Depth gauge grinding, pitch chain, and low profile
- Grinding wheel wear indicator
- Can be mounted on a wall or bench
- Safety features
Although the machine may look intimidating, once you have the machine mounted on your preferred surface, the rest of the work will be pretty easy. You can learn how it operates by watching the video below:
A good number of its users attribute the effectiveness of their optimal blade to this sharpener.
- It’s decently priced
- Great for non-pros
- Easy to use and modify
- Adjustable grind setting
- Package includes a dressing brick
- Several safety features
- Electric sharpening – Mount the blade and the machine does the rest
- Not great for commercial use or professional users
Although there are more sophisticated sharpeners out there, the Oregon 410-120 offers great value for money because it gives you great results for less, not to mention it has solid safety features. It truly deserves the 4.6 stars (out of 5).
If you prefer to go old school due to one reason or the other, the STIHL 2 in 1 File Chainsaw Sharpener should be top on your list. It’s extremely portable and you can take it with you pretty much anywhere.
Evidently, the idea of dismounting the chainsaw from its place doesn’t seem to be appealing to some people. If you are one of them, consider this manual filing system.
Its portability and price point are major attractions not just for contractors but also small-scale users who need to keep their chainsaw in an optimal condition.
Incase you are using multiple chainsaws, worry not because the STIHL 2 in 1 is designed to work with all chain styles. It will allow you the flexibility of sharpening 1/4, 3/8, .325, and 404 chain sizes with ease.
- Highly compatible with all chainsaws and styles
- 2-in-1 function makes it suitable for both home users and professionals
- Unique holder and filing guide that enhances accuracy and efficiency
Some users have argued that this manual chain sharpener is more highly prized than others in the same class. However, the fact is that this tool delivers more value in accuracy, durability, and efficiency compared to competition. More proof that it’s one of the best chainsaw chain sharpener is in the video below:
- Very accurate
- Easy to use
- Sharpens the saw teeth and lower depth gauges all at the same time
- No electricity or cabling needed to operate
- Deemed as expensive in comparison to other manual sharpeners in the same category
The beauty of the STIHL 2 in 1 is its portability and ease of use. Being a manual sharpener, it will naturally take longer to sharpen. However, it does so without you having to take off the chain from the machine, which I find convenient.
As for the price, you have to try this piece of equipment to see its worth. Because it ranks among the top rated chainsaw files, it’s justified to rank at 4.4 stars out of 5.
The Granberg Bar Mount chainsaw sharpener does not score highly on aesthetics. However, this manual sharpener is one of the most loved sharpeners by lumberjacks because of its efficiency, portability, and the fact that you do not have to remove the chain from the machine in order to sharpen it.
It comes with a mounting bracket, which clamps to the tip sprocket section of the bar. This sharpener will require you to set the depth gauge and the angle of your cutting.
Although this sharpener is highly efficient and effective, it does take some getting used to before you get to the point of being comfortable and adept at using it.
- Built to last with a body constructed from aluminum and zinc-plated steel for protection against rust
- Customizable cutting depths and angles
- Correction of sharpening angles through calibrated swivel guide markings
Once you wrap you head around the parts to this simple looking contraption and build familiarity, you will probably not ever want another manual sharpener, like most of its users. This is simply because it is efficient and can delivers really great results with a little bit of patience.
Below is a video of the tool in action:
- You can set file height and tooth length
- Versatile as it mounts any saw irrespective of file size
- Low maintenance
- Jig may require frequent adjustment as it is bound to sag on the bar
- In order to sharpen the entire chain, the tool must be rotated
Although using this manual sharpening device is not rocket science, how to use it is not so obvious. You’ll have to spare some time to build familiarity with how it works. But once you are over that hump, you are likely to appreciate the sharpening results. This products scores a solid 4 stars out of 5 stars.
Oregon 30846 offers the best of both worlds. Like manual chainsaws, it’s incredibly easy to use and you can carry it around as it only weighs 5.82 pounds. However, because it’s powered by a battery, you’ll not have the convenience of using it always or anytime you want (unless it is charged).
Because of its adjustable guide, this Oregon sharpener can sharpen just about any chain pitch, ranging from 1/4, 0.3235, and 0.404 to 3/8 , 1/2, and 3/4 inches.
The sharpener’s 12V battery can deliver up to 40 watts worth of power. It can clock 2000 rpm, which is fast enough to deliver great cutting efficiency. Unfortunately, you don’t have any control over this speed, like you would when using the other bigger and advanced electric sharpeners.
- 12 volt battery
- Quick-adjust sharpening guide
- Three sharpening stones
- Built-in depth gauge
- Power converter that enables it work off a stationery battery when need arises
No talk of safe, easy to use, affordable, best electric chainsaw sharpeners ever ends without the mention of Oregon 30846. Yet those are among the many reasons why it remains a sought-after budget electric sharpener. Here’s a quick overview of how it works:
- It’s portable
- Has a decent rpm speed
- Very affordable
- Easy to use
- Package include sharpening stones
- Relatively long power cord (72 -inches)
- Comes in a plastic housing that most users find slippery
- No control over speed
Overall, the Oregon 30846 is a moderately versatile electric chainsaw sharpener that’s very capable of getting the job done well like its bigger competitors. If you are on a budget and would love an innovative small and compact sharpener, this would be a great tool to go with.
Like most users of this sharpener, I truly appreciate the convenience and portability that comes with this. Having this at home is one of the solutions to ensuring that your chainsaw(s) stays in optimal condition and ready to go when it’s time to get to work.
Using it requires that you unfasten the blade from your chainsaw, mount it on the equipment, then leave the machine to do the rest of the work for you.
What really sets the Timberline Chainsaw sharpener apart is the fact that you do not have to remove the blade from the chainsaw in order to sharpen it. The tool clamps on the bar, allowing the chain to be pulled through while sharpening each tooth for optimal sharpness.
Check out the video below to understand better how to use this sharpener:
- Carbide guides that help with sharpening to the a precise length and angle. This model come with a universal 30 degree carbide guide, but 25 and 35 options can be bought separately
- Blade is sharpened while mounted to the chainsaw
- Tough, effective, and durable sharpening material made of tungsten carbide.
- One sharpener is compatible with all five carbide sizes: .404, 3/8, .325, 3/8P and ¼
A question I see the majority of its users ask is its lifespan. Well, the life span of tungsten carbide is hard to determine as it’s all dependent on the correct usage; but what it does guarantee is at least 40 sharpening sessions that can go to well over 100 before the sharpening file needs replacement.
- Very portable
- Precision sharpening
- Easy to use
- The machine is durable as the outer casing is made of aluminum
- Recommended for entry-level users and not professionals
- The sharpening can be time consuming
- Some users claim the cutter teeth is too brittle and prone to breaking
Even though the Timberline sharpener is an innovative approach, it can be quite time consuming. If you aren’t in a hurry to sharpen your chainsaw blade, then it will work for you. However, if you need snappy sharpening, then this is not for you. The overall rating I give it is 4 stars out of 5 stars.
There is nothing as terrible as cutting through wood with a blunt chainsaw. Not only does it take the joy out of the task but it also means that your chainsaw life will be significantly reduced as the motor is likely to wear out much faster.
The beauty of having your own chainsaw sharpener is the convenience of sharpening your precious cutting tool for optimal performance and being able to enhance your chainsaw’s longevity.
With the right sharpening tool, sharpening will no longer be a tedious task but a catalyst to better productivity. With numerous options and varying styles covering a broad range of budgets and lumbering needs, the chainsaw sharpeners reviewed have everybody covered.
Best Value – Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener wins on this front because it costs relatively less than its counterparts, and despite it being a manual tool, it’s able to deliver exceptional results. Provided you learn how to use it properly, accuracy is guaranteed. It will also able to work with a wide range of chain sizes and can withstand frequent use, thanks to its aluminium and steel build.
Best Overall – Oregon 410-120 still lifts the crown under this category as well. This is because of the decent pricing, versatility in its use, working with different chain sizes, and the ability to provide decent cutting efficiency.