Buying the first chainsaw sharpener you lay your eyes on is a risky business….
It may not be the right size to fit your chainsaw, that is why you first need to check features & type of your chainsaw, or it might be a poor brand that’ll either provide lackluster results or perhaps straight up break during use!
Luckily for you, we’ve curated a list of the best chainsaw sharpeners that you can count on which you can see below.
We’ve also included a buying guide – So this article has everything you need to make the perfect choice.
The 3 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
Why you need a chainsaw sharpener
Chainsaws are terrifically powerful and useful tools, but with all that usefulness comes a lot of wear and tear…
Chainsaw blades tend to dull fairly quickly, which can cause several issues.
Firstly, a dull blade means the chainsaw won’t be as capable of cutting through wood as it should be – and this can increase the risk of the blade binding during a cut and causing a kickback.
Secondly, a nice sharp blade will make your cuts faster and improve your productivity. This faster cutting speed comes with other benefits too – If you’re using a battery chainsaw for example, you’ll get more runtime with a sharp blade than a dull one.
Or with a gas chainsaw, you’ll use less fuel with a nice sharp blade.
The final reason to regularly sharpen your chainsaw blade is that not doing so will actually cause the rate of blade wearage to increase.
With a dull blade your cuts are slower, which means more cutting to get the same amount of work done, which means more wear on your blade (and on your saw motor).
The more dull your blade gets, the longer your cuts will take, and it’ll just keep getting more and more dull.
Keeping your blade nice and sharp is right up there with keeping the oil reservoir topped up!
Type of sharpener
3 different types are available:
- Handheld files
- Bar mounted sharpeners
- Electric sharpeners
As the name suggests, these are the simplest of all 3 options – Just little files that you use by hand to sharpen each tooth of your chain one by one.
There’s really no reason to choose one of these nowadays, unless you enjoy working with your hands and don’t mind a little elbow grease to keep your chainsaw sharp of course!
But you’ll want to be aware of a few issues with these handheld files…
Firstly, different blades require different sizes of file. The file set from Katzco that we recommend includes 3 different file sizes, but you’ll still want to double check to make sure they’re suitable for your chainsaw before you go ahead and purchase.
The second issue is that when using a handheld file, it can be difficult to get a uniform sharpening across the entire blade.
These issues aren’t present with other types of sharpeners, although handhelds are definitely the cheapest option.
Bar mounted sharpeners
These are a nice middle ground choice – more functional than handheld sharpeners, but not as effective or easy to use as the electric options.
These devices fit onto the bar of your chainsaw, and you can run the blade through to sharpen it.
Not only is this less labour intensive than using a handheld file, but it’s also much easier to get a nice uniform sharpening on all of the blade teeth.
Electric chainsaw sharpeners
If you want the quickest and easiest sharpening option, an electric sharpener is the right choice!
These clever devices will fit essentially every chain out of the box, which is a big bonus compared to a handheld or bar mounted option which can both take some tinkering to get the right fit.
You basically put your chain in the device, make any necessary adjustments, and then you can start sharpening – do the first tooth, then use the device to move the chain along and do the next tooth, and so on until done.
There’s still some manual labour involved, but this is by far the quickest option.
It’s also very easy to get a perfectly uniform sharpness every time.
This downside of course is that electronic devices tend to be pricier than the other options – However, you’ll be glad to see that our top pick in this category (the Buffalo Tools ECSS) is actually very affordable… It’s even cheaper than some bar mounted options!
Alright, let’s get to our top recommendations…
Chainsaw sharpener reviews
To keep this simple there’s just a single top pick for each type of chainsaw sharpener, but you might spot a few runner-ups in there too.
Best electric chainsaw sharpener
Our top pick here is the Buffalo Tools ECSS, and if there was one singular winner for the best overall sharpener, this would be it too.
Not only is this a very quick, effective, and easy way to sharpen your chainsaw blades regularly, but it’s also quite affordable!
It’ll fit most chainsaw blade sizes right out of the box, which is super.
You might also be happy to hear that it can be mounted to a bench, wall, or a vise. That’s a big plus for stability and ease of use, if you’re putting a lot of blades through this thing.
The best thing about an electric sharpener like this is you’ll be quite likely to use it regularly, since it’s so easy. This’ll mean your blades are always sharp, and keep your chainsaw running at maximum efficiency!
Best bar mounted chainsaw sharpener
The winner in this category is the MOIGIN chainsaw sharpener. Although, to be honest with you…
It’s pricey. It’s very pricey indeed.
In fact, it’s even more expensive than the electric option we recommended above… And as we’ve covered, electric versions offer the best ease of use. So with this bar mounted option in particular, you’re actually paying more for less functionality.
With that said, it’s our top pick in this category for a reason – And that’s because it’s excellent.
It’s very precise and quick, and for a bar mounted sharpener it’s actually pretty ease to use too.
The MOIGIN will deliver professional results every time.
There’s some upsides to this versus an electric option too – You don’t need electricity to run it of course, so that’s a point for the bar mounted version right there.
On top of that, you need to remove the chain from the bar to use an electric sharpener… But that’s not the case with the MOIGIN, as it mounts simply onto the bar of the chainsaw while the chain is still attached.
Although it’s pretty pricey, it would be a great investment that’ll deliver professional results for years (or decades) to come.
If the price is a real deal breaker but you’re set on a bar mounted sharpener, you might want to consider a cheaper option such as our runner up from Granberg.
Best handheld chainsaw sharpener
A neat little 8 piece set which includes 3 file sizes from Katzco is our number one pick in this category.
There’s really not a whole lot to say about it – The file sizes cover most of the common chain and blade sizes out there so it should be compatible with whatever you’re running.
It’s also a well made product that’ll deliver quality results – Although these results also depend on the skills and attention to detail of the user, as we’ve discussed earlier in this article.
A great benefit is that this handheld file set won’t break the bank… It’s the cheapest of all our options. So if price is a concern for you or if you don’t need a sharpener very often, then these could be a great choice for you.
And that’s that!
Chainsaw sharpeners are an easy thing to overlook, but if you’re using a chainsaw frequently you’ll quickly learn that they’re an essential tool.
This guide should have all you need to be satisfied when you choose the best chainsaw sharpener for you – Good luck!