Best chainsaw sharpeners

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Husqvarna 350 on a table bench

Each and every tool you have in your shed requires maintenance. Whether it’s a simple saw or a big power tool, their durability is affected by whether or not you provide the proper care. If you don’t do that, chances are you will have to buy new ones sooner than you think.

Fortunately for all of us, we have tools that can help us maintain other tools. Some of them require a simple wiping or oiling, but some of them require more than that. That is why you need devices to help you. One of these devices is a chainsaw sharpener. You cannot sharpen a chainsaw however you like. You need something that is designed for that purpose.

Chainsaw sharpener buying guide

Now that you know how many types of sharpeners there are and what are their features, you can move on to choosing the best chainsaw sharpener for you. At the end of the day, it’s your decision, but here is what you should consider before making a purchase.

  • Power source – this aspect depends on what you do with the chainsaw. If you go to the woods frequently, then a battery-powered chainsaw sharpener is the best idea. However, if you work around the house, an electric sharpener is better than any other option. Manual sharpeners are best when you have no source of electricity. Few people use files, so I won’t even mention it from now on.
  • Portability – this too depends on what you plan to do with the saw. If you are away most of the time, the battery-powered sharpener will be of help. Portability is important. You should be able to take it with you wherever you want. Think about the weight as well. I assume you don’t want to carry around a sharpener that exerts too much pressure on your back, do you?
  • Durability – not all chainsaw sharpeners are created equal. Some are better than others in more than one way. There may be a difference in the material used for the device’s manufacture, the construction overall can differ, and so on. The higher the quality of a sharpener, the longer you will have it. You don’t have to purchase the top-of-the-line, but keep in mind that the quality of the sharpener is reflected in the price.
  • Ease of use – every sharpener should be easy to use. Of course, you still have to learn how to use it, but you don’t have to struggle. Cutting down trees is hard as it is. Do you really need the sharpening to be hard too? One way to figure out the ease of use is to read chainsaw sharpener reviews. You can find them online, and people almost always share their experiences with a certain item. That way you will know if the product you want is easy to use or not. 
  • Price – it may be the last thing on my list, but setting a budget may be the first thing you need to do. Not everyone can afford to pay hundreds of dollars for chainsaw sharpeners, which is why you need to establish a budget. Don’t worry, you can find good sharpeners in almost all price ranges. All you have to do is look for them.

What are the best chainsaw sharpeners?

The answer depends on which type you are referring to. Almost all files are the same, manual sharpeners are built following the same principle and only the material differs, and the electric ones can differ in features. Only you can decide which one is the best for you. However, if you cannot make up your mind, here are three suggestions that may put an end to your confusion.

Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

Believe it or not, this model was designed more than 35 years ago, and it still stands. That is because the principle is the same on all manual sharpeners. As you can imagine, things were improved over the years, like the quality of the material, but most of the features are pretty much the same. The structure hasn’t gone through too many changes since its release.

The Granberg sharpener is accurate and durable. The precision with which it works is excellent, and it can hold almost all file sizes for standard chain pitches and lowering depth gauges. It is made of cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel that ensure durability. To keep the correct sharpening angle you must use calibrated swivel guide markings, but that is easy to achieve. 

Overall, this chainsaw sharpener is easy to use. If you have trouble using it you can watch this instructional video. You can adjust the file height and tooth length. It can accommodate files of any diameter and will sharpen your chain correctly. It may take a while to get used to it if you have never used a sharpener before, but you will get the hang of it eventually.

Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener

This is also a manual sharpener, only that the structure differs. People tend to go for manual sharpeners because there is no issue in finding a power source. When you go deep into the woods where you don’t have a car battery or an outlet, your only option is a manual sharpener.

The Timberline will sharpen your chain in a matter of seconds. This is one of the easiest-to-use sharpeners I have ever seen. Setting it up is also simple, and you won’t have trouble with angles. It is very precise, so all teeth on the chain will have the same length and angle. It’s almost as if your chain was sharpened by a professional. But in reality, almost everyone can use it.

The sharpener is made of high-quality and durable machined aluminum, which means it has a long lifespan. You won’t have to replace it anytime soon. It weighs only 1.1 pounds and comes with a pouch for safe storage. It’s portable, and you can take it wherever you go. It will fit in a large pocket. The carbide cutter is 3/16ʺ, with means it’s perfect for .325ʺ pitch chains.

Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Since I already described two manual sharpeners, I thought that you may be interested in an electric sharpener as well. It will do most of the work for you and is very easy to use once you get the hang of it. Keep in mind that this is not portable. Once you mount it, you can only move it around, but taking it with you into the woods is not an option.

The Buffalo Tools chainsaw sharpener can be mounted on the wall, bench or vise. As long as it is stable and you have easy access to it, you can put it wherever you want. The manufacturer does not recommend a certain placement, only stability. It cannot sharpen all chains, but it can be adjusted to fit the most common designs.

As for technical details, this chainsaw sharpener has a 4200 RPM grinding speed, can be plugged in into a standard 120-volt outlet, has a power of 85 watts and 60Hz. As for the wheel, you need to use a 4-1/4-inch x 1/8-inch grinding wheel with a 7/8-inch arbor. The teeth of the saw will be perfectly sharpened and all at the same angle and length. Precision also depends on how skilled you are, but that can be learned.

My recommendation

Although I like everything that does the job for me, my number one recommendation will not be the electric chainsaw sharpener. That is because a chainsaw is usually used in the woods, where there is no power. That is why a man-powered sharpener is the best idea. With that in mind, my choice is the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener. It’s compact, does an excellent job, and is completely affordable. The price-quality ratio is as good as it can be, which is why I believe that it is one of the best chainsaw sharpeners on the market.

Types of chainsaw sharpeners

As you may have guessed, there is more than one method to sharpen a chainsaw. You can use one of the four methods available. Choosing one depends mostly on your preferences and your budget, but keep in mind that some are better than others.


Files are the cheapest option you can go for. They can be flat, rounded, or triangular. They are made out of metal and the standard file measures 12 inches in length. As for the thickness, it can differ. The file must fit between the main brace of the chain and the cutting edge of the tooth of the chainsaw. Not all chains are the same, so the diameter of the file is chosen according to that space. They are relatively easy to use, but you need to know what you’re doing.

Manual sharpener

This is just like the previous model, only that the file is held by a metal or plastic framework. The structure holds the file against the teeth of the chain at an exact angle so that the chainsaw is sharpened correctly. To use it, you have to attach the sharpener to the chainsaw’s bar. You use the handle to turn or rotate the sharpener so that it comes in contact with the teeth of the chain.

When you sharpen the chainsaw with a manual sharpener, you don’t have to dislodge the saw. It is relatively small and portable, which allows you to take it along in the woods when you need to cut down some trees.

Electric sharpener

There isn’t a single size when it comes to electric sharpeners. The one that fits almost all chains is bulky, but you can go for a mini chainsaw sharpener that can only sharpen a few chains. The small version is perfect for personal use. As long as the device sharpens your chainsaw, the rest doesn’t matter.

An electric sharpener comes with all kinds of features. Some of them are useful, some are not. The things you should consider are the mounting options (vises, walls, benches,) built-in lights, self-centering vises, etc. These things will actually be of help. Keep in mind that buying an electric sharpener comes after you know the measurements of the chains you use. Otherwise, you may end up with a sharpener that is too small or too big.

Battery-powered sharpeners

The battery-powered model is an electric sharpener, basically. The difference is that it is portable. You take it with you in the woods and use the car’s battery as a power source. However, a battery-powered sharpener will not have a powerful motor like the electric sharpener which is connected to the house’s source of energy. It makes sense if you think about it. This type is easy to use, but it requires some practice. You won’t be able to use it properly on the first try.

Quick tips on how to sharpen a chainsaw

It is not difficult once you get the hang of it, but make sure to follow these four steps.

  1. Check the depth gauge of the chain. Make sure that it is consistent and the height isn’t too much.
  2. Ensure that the teeth have the same length. You can use the first one as the standard for the others. It is recommended that you use a caliper for this step.
  3.  Don’t move to another cutter before sharpening the current cutter. One at a time will ensure a job well done.
  4. You need the vice to be loose when you come back to the cutter you started with. You need to place the guide bar in the opposite direction for this step. 


Maintaining the chain on your saw will not only make you more productive, but it will make the chain durable. That is why everyone who owns a chainsaw should also own a sharpener. Sure, you can take it to a professional, but that costs money. So why not buy a sharpener for yourself? You are perfectly capable of handling it, and in the long run, you save money. The sharpeners I described above are among the best options you have, so don’t even think twice.

Updated on January 9, 2023