The Best Chainsaw Sharpeners to Keep Your Tools in Top Shape

The Oregon Compact Universal Chainsaw Sharpener gets your chain ready for work

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The Spruce / Amelia Manley

Just like any other tool, your chainsaw needs regular maintenance if you want it to perform its best, and that includes sharpening the chain.

We evaluated chainsaw sharpeners based on effectiveness, ease of use, and versatility. We recommend the Oregon Compact Universal Chain Saw Sharpener, which comes with three grinding blades and makes it easy to sharpen just about any chainsaw quickly and easily.

Here are the best chainsaw sharpeners to add to your workshop.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Oregon 410-120 Compact Universal Chainsaw Sharpener

4.9
Oregon 410-120 120V Bench/Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Includes mounting bolts for wall or bench

  • Built-in light

  • Grinding wheel wear indicator

What We Don't Like
  • Somewhat expensive

  • Some complaints about unclear instructions

Who else recommends it? Bob Vila and House&Beyond also picked the Oregon Compact Universal Chainsaw Sharpener.

What do buyers say? 94% of 2,100+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.

For a chainsaw sharpener that will deliver consistent results and keep your tool in top shape, you can’t go wrong with the Oregon Compact Universal Chainsaw Sharpener. While somewhat of an investment, this tool is worth it for anyone who regularly needs to tune up chainsaws, whether you're chopping wood for your own fireplace, clearing brush, or providing professional landscaping services. It can sharpen models from a variety of popular brands and includes everything you need for the best results.

This 120-volt chain grinder can be mounted to a workbench or wall, and it can sharpen 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch low profile, 0.325-inch, full profile 3/8-inch, and .404-inch pitch chains from all manufacturers (including Oregon, Stihl, Husqvarna, and more). The unit comes with a grinder, dressing brick, quick-check grinding template, and three grinding wheels. It has a built-in wheel wear indicator and even a light for better visibility while you work.

While this chainsaw sharpener may be overkill for someone who only cuts wood a few times a year, if you use your tool regularly, the Oregon chain saw sharpener is a worthwhile investment.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: 3,150 rpm | Variable Speed: No | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 17 pounds

Best Electric : Sharp Pebble Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Kit

Electric Chainsaw Sharpening Kit

Sharp Pebble

What We Like
  • Variable speed

  • Relatively easy to use

  • Reasonable price

What We Don't Like
  • Few complaints of wobble in the collet

Electric chainsaw sharpeners make quick work of sharpening your chains, and this model from Sharp Pebble is an unbeatable value. The handheld electric chain sharpener can be used on any standard chain pitch, and it offers variable speeds, ranging from 8,000 to 33,000 revolutions per minute. The soft grip makes it easy to hold the tool comfortably so you can focus on maintaining precision.

This chainsaw sharpener comes with 5/32-, 3/16-, and 7/32-inch sharpening stones that will deliver a smooth and sharp cutting edge, and the tool also includes a chain angle guide for accurate work. Once you get the hang of using this tool, you’ll be able to sharpen your chainsaw in a matter of minutes—without ever needing to remove the chain! The cord is six feet long, so you can work comfortably without feeling too tethered to the outlet.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: 33,000 rpm | Variable Speed: Yes | Pitches Sharpened: All common size | Sharpener Weight: 2 pounds

Best Budget: Dremel Chainsaw Sharpening Kit 1453

Chainsaw Sharpening Kit

Dremel

What We Like
  • Quick and easy to use

  • Includes four grinding stones

What We Don't Like
  • Only works with Dremel Multi-Tools

  • Few complaints about unclear instructions

If you own a Dremel Multi-Tool, which is a rotary tool that can take a wide variety of attachments, then this handy chainsaw sharpening kit is a budget-wise addition to your toolkit. The Dremel Chainsaw Sharpening Kit includes four grinding stones in common sizes to fit various chainsaw blades, a sharpening angle guide attachment, an adjustment gauge, two spacers, a wrench, and full instructions.

Using this attachment is a lot easier than filing the chainsaw blade with a manual file, but not nearly as expensive as owning a single-purpose sharpener that is only designed for this one task. When you use the appropriate grinding stone, you can quickly and easily bring your chain right back to its optimal sharpness, without a lot of fuss and bother, or a steep learning curve. The attachment works with most Dremel Multi-Tools, including the 3000 series, 4000 series, and 8000 series.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: Variable | Variable Speed: Yes | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 3.5 ounces

Best Bench-Mounted: Timber Tuff CS-BWM Benchtop Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Benchtop Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Timber Tuff

What We Like
  • Built-in worklight

  • Includes three grinding stones

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include mounting hardware

  • Somewhat difficult to assemble

If you have a spacious workbench, you may want to have your chainsaw sharpener mounted right onto the surface, and the Timber Tuff Benchtop Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is designed to do just that. This bench-mounted sharpener runs on a small-but-powerful motor, and it can also be mounted to the wall or a vise—just be sure it’s installed properly, otherwise you may run into vibration issues.

This chainsaw sharpener delivers a 3,600 rpm grinding speed. It comes with three grinding wheels sizes 1/8-, 3/16-, and 1/4-inch to sharpen chains from ¼-inch to 3/4-inch pitch. It has an easy-to-read adjustment guide to keep you accurately sharpening, and a see-through safety shield plus built-in worklight to make the task safer and easier. You can angle it to either side for precise work on your chain.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: 3,600 rpm | Variable Speed: No | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 17 pounds

Best Wall-Mounted: Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Buffalo Tools Chainsaw Sharpener

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Versatile mounting system

  • Fairly easy to use once assembled

What We Don't Like
  • Few complaints of difficulty adjusting for smaller chains

  • Handful of complaints about difficulty mounting to wall

Save space in your workshop with a wall-mounted model like the Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. This tool easily adjusts to accommodate most popular chain designs, and you can attach it to a bench, wall, or vise for easy access and unbeatable stability. The Buffalo Tools Chainsaw Sharpener can be used on chains gauge .05 to .08 inches, but it won’t sharpen .043-inch chains. The chain pitch is 3/8 inch, which is the most common size, but can be adjusted for most common pitches.

To use the device, all you have to do is plug it into a 120-volt wall outlet, and it has a 4-1/2 inch grinding wheel with a 1/8-inch thickness that will make quick work of the task thanks to its 4,200 RPM grinding speed. While this tool may take a little while to figure out, once you get the hang of using it, the sharpener will allow you to easily restore chains to their optimal state.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: 4,200 rpm | Variable Speed: No | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 6 pounds

Best Bar-Mounted: Granberg 106B Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Very accurate positioning

  • Easy to use

  • No need to remove chain for sharpening

What We Don't Like
  • Must purchase files separately

The Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener attaches right to the bar of your chainsaw, allowing you to manually sharpen all standard saw chain pitches without needing to remove the chain. The tool attaches to your guide bar in seconds, and it essentially acts as a guide for your chainsaw file, holding the file at the perfect angle and depth for precise results—it even has calibrated swivel guide markings to help you find the right angle.

The unit is crafted in the U.S. from cast aluminum and zinc-plated steel for unmatched durability, but keep in mind that it doesn’t include any files, so you’ll need to purchase them separately. By using the right file size for your particular chainsaw, you'll be able to perfectly match the chain manufacturer's angles.

Type: Bar-mount | Power Source: Manual | Maximum Speed: Not applicable | Variable Speed: Not applicable | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 2 pounds

Best Manual: Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Amazon

What We Like
  • Comprehensive kit

  • Lightweight and very portable

What We Don't Like
  • Steep learning curve


If you like to do things the old-fashioned way—or just want to save some money—the affordable Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit includes everything you need to manually sharpen your chains. The eight-piece kit comes with three round fine-tooth files, a filing guide, depth-gauge tool, 6-inch fine-tooth flat file, and a hardwood handle, as well as a convenient tool pouch where you can store all the items.

This kit can be used on any chainsaw, and it includes files in 5/32-, 3/16-, and 7/32-inch sizes. The files and the depth-gauge tool can be inserted into the included handle for a more comfortable grip, allowing you to work more quickly. Plus, the whole set costs less than $20, making it an ideal option for those who only sharpen their chainsaw a few times a year or need to sharpen chains far away from sources of electricity.

Type: Manual | Power Source: Manual | Maximum Speed: Not applicable | Variable Speed: Not applicable | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 0.5 pounds

Best Portable: Oregon 575214 Sure Sharp 12V Handheld Chainsaw Chain Sharpener

Oregon 575214 Sure Sharp 12V Handheld Chainsaw Chain

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Runs off car battery

  • With experience, gets the job done very quickly

What We Don't Like
  • Doesn't include plug for AC use

The Oregon Sure Sharp Handheld Chainsaw Chain Sharpener is a convenient tool to keep in your truck or bring to job sites, as the portable unit includes both a 12-volt car adapter and battery clips, allowing you to sharpen your chainsaw just about anywhere. This electric unit can be used on 1/4-inch, 3/8-inch low profile, 0.325-inch, 3/8-inch, or 0.404-inch chains, and despite its small size, the sharpener’s motor delivers a 25,000 RPM sharpening speed.

This tool comes with 5/32-inch, 3/16-inch, and 7/32-inch sharpening stones, as well as a collet wrench, and it features a simple sharpening angle adjustment guide for accuracy. The product is lightweight and compact, so it won’t take up much room in your tool kit, but the one downside is that it doesn’t include a standard AC adapter. Its power cord is over 16 feet long, so you have plenty of maneuverability while you work.

Type: Electric | Power Source: Battery | Maximum Speed: 25,000 rpm | Variable Speed: No | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: 1 pound

Best Speed: Garrett Wade Quick-Feed Chain Sharpener

Garrett Wade Quick Feed Chain Sharpener

Courtesy of Garrett Wade

What We Like
  • Once assembled, makes sharpening much faster

What We Don't Like
  • Not for heavy use

Many electric chainsaw sharpeners require you to advance the chain manually, which means you have to stop and move to the next tooth—a somewhat painstaking task. However, the Garrett Wade Quick-Feed Chain Sharpener solves that problem thanks to its system that helps you quickly and precisely advance the chain, allowing you to sharpen a chain for a 20-inch saw in around four minutes.

This chain sharpener is designed to be mounted to a bench, and it comes with a 4.5-millimeter grinding wheel. The company says it typically takes around 5 minutes to complete the initial setup, and after that, you’ll be able to fly through the sharpening process, getting back to work faster. 

Type: Electric | Power Source: Corded | Maximum Speed: Not stated | Variable Speed: Not stated | Pitches Sharpened: All common sizes | Sharpener Weight: Not stated

Final Verdict

For regular chainsaw maintenance, the Oregon Compact Universal Chainsaw Sharpener is our top choice. This tool can sharpen chains of various pitches and from many popular brands, making it a must-have in the workshop. However, if you only need to sharpen chains occasionally, the Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit is a more affordable handheld option that handles any common chainsaw pitch and gauge.

What to Look for in a Chainsaw Sharpener

Type

There are three basic types of chainsaw sharpeners: electric, handheld files, and guides that mount to the chainsaw bar.

Electric chainsaw sharpeners simplify the job by handling the grinding for you. These tools come in a variety of configurations, including sharpeners that mount to a workbench, sharpeners that can mount to a wall, and sharpeners that you hold in your hand similar to a rotary tool. Electric chainsaw sharpeners are fast and convenient, but are more expensive than manual sharpeners and many of them take some practice before you get the hang of using them effectively. This is a good choice if you need to sharpen chainsaws frequently, or are willing to pay more for convenience.

Manual files are the least expensive type of sharpener, and require no electrical outlet or battery to use. Your own muscle power provides the grinding action to the chain, which can be tiring, but also allows you to precisely angle and grind to your chain's configuration. It typically takes longer to sharpen a chain with a manual file than with an electric sharpener. Still, an experienced user can carry the task out quite rapidly. This type of sharpener is a good choice if you only occasionally need to sharpen a chainsaw, or if you want to spend as little as possible on a sharpener.

Bar-mounted sharpeners are basically guides that help position your manual file precisely. They attach directly to the chainsaw bar, but you'll need to lay the chainsaw on a flat, sturdy surface to work. These devices are another good choice for someone who doesn't sharpen chainsaws frequently, but prefers extra guidance when doing so.

Pitch and Gauge

One number you'll want to know when shopping for a chainsaw sharpener is the pitch of your chainsaw's chain. If you aren't sure, it's usually indicated somewhere on the chainsaw itself, often on the bar.

Pitch is a measurement of the space between links. There are five common chainsaw pitches: ¼-inch, .325-inch, full-profile or low-profile 3/8-inch, and heavy-duty .404-inch. The most common is 3/8-inch low profile, however.

Chainsaw sharpeners are designed to work with various chainsaw chain pitches, but most can handle more than one pitch, and some can sharpen all five of the common sizes of pitch.

Chainsaw chain gauge is another number you'll want to know. It's also often indicated on the chainsaw bar. Chain gauge is a measurement of the thickness of the links. The common gauges for chainsaw chains are .043-inch, .050-inch, .058-inch, or .063-inch.

Grinding Wheels

Electric chainsaw sharpeners include grinding wheels, which need to be appropriately sized to match your chain. Typically, these grinding wheels might be 4 or 5 inches in diameter, but it's the thickness of the grinding wheel that's most important, as this is what's going to fit between the teeth of your chain. As a rough guideline, a 1/8-inch grinding wheel is good for sharpening 1/4-inch, .325-inch and 3/8-inch low-profile chains. You'll need a 3/16-inch grinding stone for 3/8-inch and .404-inch chains. Most electric sharpeners include grinding stones in two or three sizes to cover the majority of chainsaw chain pitches.

Speed

Electric chainsaw sharpeners spin the grinding wheels very quickly, typically 2,500 to 3,800 revolutions per minute, although there are some with speeds as high as 10,000 rpm. Don't assume that you need the highest speed, however, as lower speeds allow you to more precisely control the grinder.

Some chainsaw sharpeners have variable speed controls, which give you much more finesse in choosing the right speed for your needs.

Fixed or Portable

If you have the room for it, and expect to do a lot of chain sharpening, a bench-top sharpener, which is generally the most heavy-duty type, is a good option. But if you don't have a workbench with enough room, a wall-mounted sharpener is another fixed-in-place option that can tackle regular use. These are generally corded electric devices.

If you prefer something portable that can be toted with you to a worksite, then look for portable sharpeners that are either battery-powered or manual. You'll also want to consider weight and ease of handling when choosing a portable chainsaw sharpener.

FAQ
  • How do you use a chainsaw sharpener?

    As there are many different models of chainsaw sharpeners, and they all work slightly different, follow the directions in the chainsaw sharpener user manual. The individual steps of examining the chain, determining the angle, filling the chainsaw teeth, and filing the depth gauges are described here.

    If you are using a manual kit with a file to sharpen your chainsaw chain, the following guidelines give you an idea of the process.

    1. Remove the battery. Engage the chain brake.
    2. Clamp the bar of the chainsaw in a workbench vise. 
    3. If necessary, tighten the chain by turning the tension-adjusting screw. This prevents the chain from turning while you work. 
    4. Wipe away grit and dirt with a wire brush.
    5. Marking one of the chain’s teeth with a marker or crayon helps you keep track of your full rotation around the chain. 
    6. Set the file in the notch directly behind the marked tooth. The file should be at a slight angle, pointing away from the chainsaw’s motor.
    7. Stroke the file through the notch several times until the metal is silvery and appears sharp. Don’t saw the file back and forth; stroke in one direction only.
    8. Skip the next tooth and insert your file into the second notch; sharpen every other tooth this go-around. 
    9. Hold your file at the same angle and make the same number of strokes as you did on the first tooth. 
    10. Continue around the chain in this manner until you return to your starting point. 
    11. Flip the chainsaw over, and re-clamp it to your workbench vise. 
    12. Using the same technique, sharpen the remaining teeth, moving to every other tooth until you return to your starting point. 
    13. Next, check the depth-gauge rakers (the small, slightly rounded points located before each tooth on the chain). Place the depth gauge tool that came with your sharpening kit over each raker in turn. If the raker sticks up above the depth gauge tool, use the flat file included with your sharpening kit to file the raker level with the depth gauge tool. 
    14. Work your way around the chain, filing any too-tall rakers. 
    15. Brush away any metal dust or scrapings. 
    16. Unclamp your chainsaw and reset the chain tension to your usual tightness.


  • How do you know when a chain needs sharpening?

    There are signs that a chain is due for sharpening. Pay attention to these signs, because a dull blade is unsafe. Generally, the following signs mean the chain is getting dull:

    • It's harder to cut through wood, and you notice more sawdust being produced
    • The chainsaw pulls or is harder to control
    • Cuts are uneven or crooked
    • The chainsaw smokes
    • You notice worn or damaged teeth on the chain
  • How long should a chainsaw stay sharp?

    It depends on what you are cutting. Hardwoods wear a chain out much more quickly than softwoods like conifers. Also, large-diameter trees dull a chain more quickly than small diameter. If you are cutting large hardwoods for a full day, you might need to put on a freshly sharpened chain during the day. Generally, chains stay sharp for 4 to 6 hours of cutting. If you hit a rock or metal, the chain is often damaged beyond sharpening and must be discarded and replaced.

  • How often can chains be sharpened?

    Because a little more metal is worn away every time you sharpen the chainsaw blade, there are only so many times you can sharpen before the chain is too worn for further use. As a general rule, however, you can sharpen the chain up to five times, although chains that only see very light use might be able to be sharpened a few more times than that.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, whose partner is a carpenter and contractor for luxury homes. He provided product recommendations and expert insights for this list. Additional reporting was done by Nadia Hassani, a master gardener with over 20 years of gardening experience.

Michelle Ullman is the home improvement/tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs around the house and yard.

Updated by
Nadia Hassani
Nadia Hassani
Nadia Hassani is a gardening expert with nearly 20 years of experience in landscaping, garden design, and vegetable and fruit gardening. She became a Penn State Master Gardener in 2006 and is a regular contributor to Penn State Master Gardener publications. She gives gardening talks about growing specialty produce for ethnic cuisines, authors two gardening and growing blogs, and created the taxonomy for the plant encyclopedia for Better Homes & Gardens.
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  1. The Best Chainsaw Sharpeners of 2022. Bob Vila. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/best-chainsaw-sharpener/

  2. 5 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners of 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide. House&Beyond. https://houseandbeyond.org/best-chainsaw-sharpener

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