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Best Chainsaw Sharpeners in 2018 – Buyer’s Guide

Anyone with experience in using a chainsaw knows that they go blunt fairly quickly, making chainsaw sharpeners essential to accompany the beastly machine. A sharp chainsaw not only allows for better performance and reduced cutting time, but also makes the use of the machine a lot safer.

There are many different types of chainsaw sharpeners available on the market. Nowadays, most professionals opt for at least one fixed electric chainsaw sharpener and one manual sharpener.

Best Chainsaw Sharpeners

We got you covered in both ways with this article, as we go through what we think are the best chainsaw sharpeners on the market right now. To help you with your purchase, we also have a buyer’s guide included at the end along with a FAQs section.

Best Overall

Best Overall

Orgeon 410-120

A Versatile Electric Sharpener

The Oregon 410-120 is a 3500 RPM electric chainsaw sharpener that can sharpen various kinds of chainsaws at incredible speeds and precisions. It is the lighter, less expensive, and more user-friendly version of the heavy duty 520-120.

The Oregon 410-120 tops our list for its incredible performance and versatility. It’s the perfect electric chainsaw at a reasonable price.

Best Value

Best Value

Buffalo Tools ECSS

Affordable and Great

The highly popular Buffalo Tools ECSS is an incredibly affordable electric chainsaw sharpener. It is lightweight due to its plastic design but operates very stably and reliably. Its adjustment system allows users to sharpen different types of chainsaws.

At under $50, the Buffalo Tools ECSS electric chainsaw sharpener is one of the best bargains for anyone looking to buy a reliable product at an great price.

Oregon 410-120

oregon_saw410

The Oregon 410-120 is the younger brother of the heavy-duty, powerful, but expensive 520-120. It compromises on several features, but in doing so becomes more practical for the average user.

It is a customizable, performant, and reliable electric sharpener for chainsaws that brings a balance of convenience and affordability. Like its bigger brother, the Oregon 410-120 has the ability to accommodate just about every chainsaw size on the market. For any user who likes to change the chains or owns multiple chainsaws, the Oregon 410-120 is the perfect choice for this very reason.

Out of the box, this chainsaw sharpener has got a sturdy aluminum frame that gives it great durability. It’s an ergonomically designed unit with safety and ease of handling in mind. The construction allows for great stability even during use, leading to highly sharp chainsaw cutting edges at a speedy rate.

You’ll find the product a little confusing initially due to its complex build design but will soon learn that it’s rather simple to use, especially when compared to the 520-120. The Oregon 410-120 electric chainsaw sharpener has a self-centering chain vise to align the chain perfectly. You also get a light in built into the sharpener to ensure optimum alignment and positioning of the chainsaw.

The motor powering the sharpener itself runs at 3500 RPM, and due to its stability and excellent alignment system can sharpen chainsaws quickly and efficiently.

But the biggest selling feature of the Oregon 410-120 is its incredible versatility. It can sharpen saws of three different sizes: ¼”, 0.235”, or 3/8”. There are fine angle settings available in the saw to work with, which allows for the correct sharpening.

There’s very little negative to point out in this beast of a chainsaw sharpener. In our opinion it’s the best sharpener you can buy if you want reliability and good performance without spending for the heaviest duty equipment.

Pros

  • Extremely versatile
  • Great construction
  • Very stable operation
  • Excellent performance and reliability

Cons

  • Manual is a bit confusing
  • The product is a little bulky for some users

Oregon 520-120

Oregon_saw520

As the bigger brother of our favorite product, the Oregon 520-120 offers everything that the 410-120 does, and then some. This powerful, heavy duty chainsaw sharpener is the ideal tools for professionals and is designed specifically for such consumers.

It’s a sophisticated, bulky tool that packs in a deluge of features, leaving nothing to imagination for the chainsaw user. The Oregon 520-120 comes with even more versatility than the 410-120, allowing you to sharpen nearly any change of any size you might own thanks to a series of adjustment knobs and self-centering chain vise.

You can feed it 1/4″, 3/8″ low profile, 0.325″, full profile 3/8″, and .404″ pitch chains and it will sharpen them with excellent stability once you figure out how to adjust for each different type.

These adjustments on the 520-120 are a little more complicated than the 410-120 though, but given the advanced features and more versatility, it’s clear that this bad boy was made for chainsaw users with years of experience in handling and maintaining their equipment.

The knobs themselves are easy to turn, and the scale bars on this incredible machine allow the user to mark settings for each chain type. This makes it a lot easier to use the chainsaw after the first set of adjustments

With a powerful 3,400 rpm motor, the Oregon 520 120 comes with a similar grinding wheel to the 410-120. It offers similar performance as well, but is more heavy duty, built for longer chains and extended use.

This also means that it is a larger product than the 410-120; it is primarily designed to be mounted on a workbench, and even then it is bulky enough to be a bit of a problem in a crowded workspace. The sturdier and heavy duty design also means this beast of a machine costs a lot more – nearly double the amount you’d pay for the Oregon 410-120.

Therefore, for most individuals, it would make more sense to go for the 410-120. You’d only want to get the 520-120 if you’re a professional needing even more versatility, handling a lot of chainsaws at one time, and have plenty of space.

Pros

  • The most versatile chainsaw sharpener on the market
  • Incredibly sturdy construction
  • Very stable operation
  • Excellent performance and reliability
  • The ideal product for professionals

Cons

  • Complicated to use
  • Very bulky
  • Extremely expensive

Buffalo Tools ECSS

buffalo_sharpener

No chainsaw sharpener list would be complete without mentioning the Buffalo Tools ECSS. The reason for this is rather simple: it’s an incredible product at a very affordable price.

If you’re new to chainsaw sharpeners or just want a reliable, affordable, and easy to use tool, the Buffalo Tools ECSS is ideal for you. Much of the cost savings comes from heavy use of plastic in the design.

While this may give it a cheap feel to the sharpener, it also makes it very lightweight and portable. It is designed to be mounted on a wall, workbench, or a vise.

The plastic stops and exterior can be a bit of a let of aesthetically, but many users don’t mind it. Most individuals claim that the Buffalo Tools ECSS doesn’t suffer from damage as long as the users are careful in its use. The stops also do not need to be adjusted after initial use unless sharpening different chains.

However, others have reported that the plastic stops are prone to breaking and should ideally be replaced with metal pieces. Given the low price point of the product, we recommend doing that immediately after the product’s 90-day warranty expires.

From a purely functional standpoint, there’s very little to complain about the Buffalo Tools ECSS. It performs its job very well. It does need some time to get used to though, since setting it up initially can be confusing.

Also, the sharpening process itself can be a bit time consuming as there is no auto-advancing feature in the product. This is especially egregious when setting it up with different types of chains. Therefore, many advanced users or ones who possess multiple chainsaws will look to other products.

On the other hand, if you use your chainsaw sparingly and need to sharpen it occasionally, this is the perfect product for you. The 120-volt electric sharpener compensates its lack of auto-advance with a fast 4200 RPM motor that allows for faster sharpening. It can also handle any chain between 0.05” to 0.08”.

Pros

  • Incredibly affordable
  • Lightweight and easy to fix
  • Operates well and sharpens quickly
  • Great for individuals who own just one chainsaw

Cons

  • Users have complained about cheap plastic parts
  • A bit complicated to set up
  • No auto-advance feature

Granberg G-106B (Manual)

BarMount

The Granberg G-106B isn’t technically a sharpener by itself. In fact, this is merely a bar mount product designed to give you better handling and precision with a standard file. Files that are used to sharpen chainsaws can be retrofitted onto this bar mount after which you can sharpen the mount.

Obviously, this makes the Granberg G-106B a manual chainsaw sharpener. Manual sharpeners are easier to utilize due to their portable construction, and the G-106B is no exception. It’s a durable tool that allows for precision sharpening that would be impossible with normal use of a file.

It’s also got a lot more to it than what meets the eye. The sharpener provides various spots on the jig to for ease of adjustment for optimum personalization. You can also fine tune the cutting depth and angle of the filing to get the best results.

The design and material choice give the tool great durability. It is resistant to rust thanks to the zinc-plated steel, and the use of aluminum for the main body gives it a premium quality look that allows makes it lightweight.

Of course, it also comes with the downsides you’d expect from a manual chainsaw sharpener. The process itself will take a lot longer than an electric chainsaw sharpener,and despite its best efforts to streamline the process, the quality of the final finish will depend on the users experience in handling the tool. You will also need to purchase the chainsaw files separately, as the product does not come with any.

Yet its ease of use and operation make this is a great backup choice for any chainsaw user. When you’re in remote areas with no electricity supply, the Granberg G-106B will be infinitely more useful than most heavy duty sharpeners that would require a power socket for operation.

Pros

  • Affordable product
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Very portable
  • Sturdy build and design

Cons

  • The sharpening process is a lot slower than an electric sharpener
  • Files need to be purchased separately

Timberline Chainsaw Grinder (Manual)

TimberlineGrinder

The Granberg G-106B is indeed a very useful manual tool, but if you’re looking to save up on space even further and like to sharpen your chainsaws on the go, the Timberline Chainsaw Grinder is the ideal product for you.

This compact sharpener weighs only 1.2 pounds and comes with a soft-sided travel case. The use of this chainsaw sharpener is both practical and easy to get the hang of after the first couple of tries.

It attaches to any chainsaw bar and can sharpen individual teeth very uniformly and consistently to the required length and (fixed 30-degree) angle. You then need to turn the crank clockwise to sharpen the teeth using the carbide cutter that comes with the sharpener.

This makes it a fast and reliable manual chainsaw sharpener, something that can’t be said for many other competing products. Users also noticed that it chips off only a very small amount of material off each tooth during the sharpening process. This is a huge positive since it prolongs the life of the tool as well as the chain.

The Timberline Chainsaw Grinder is made of machined aluminum, ensuring both light weight for portability and excellent build quality for durability. What’s also amazing about this product is that it comes with a life time warranty.

The biggest (and perhaps only) negative is obviously the price. For a similar amount, you can buy an electric chainsaw sharpener instead. Of course, the main selling point of the Timberline Chainsaw Grinder is its small form factor and incredible performance in the field, and because of that it is highly popular despite its high price point.

Pros

  • Lightweight and portable sharpener
  • Easy to set up and operate
  • Directly mounts on the chainsaw bar
  • Sharpens teeth evenly and with little material wastage
  • Life time warranty

Cons

  • Expensive for a manual sharpener
  • Angle is limited to 30-degree only

Timber Tuff CS-12V

Tuff12V

Most people would have you believe that if you want a portable chainsaw sharpener, you’re only limited to manual types. The Timber Tuff CS-12V kills that dogma and offers a highly portable electric chainsaw sharpener for those who want to sharpen their chainsaws on the go.

This small device is not only capable of being powered by an external source, it is also capable of running on a simple 12 volt battery. This allows for quick and effective sharpening in the field and for those times when you cannot get access to a proper workbench sharpener.

The sharpener can deal with a plethora of different blade types; but it 20, 25, or 30 degree blades, the unit can sharpen all of them without a fuss. The quick rotation of the grinding stones also allows the sharpening work to be completed speedily.

Using the sharpener for the first time might overwhelm you at first because of its form factor, but once you get the hang of it (ideally by watching a few tutorial videos online), you’ll realize that this nifty tool is simple to use.

The grinding stones on the sharpener are small and won’t last for too long, but they can be replaced easily and getting better quality ones will ensure longer operation time. Changing the grinding stones itself is made easy thanks to a spindle lock ability integrated into the tool. We recommend getting diamond stone replacements for the best results and longevity.

This isn’t meant to be your primary go to chainsaw sharpener though. The performance isn’t on par with the heavy duty electric sharpeners, and it isn’t supposed to be. After all, the Timber Tuff CS-12V is for those who wish to keep a backup option available on the field.

Pros

  • Highly portable
  • Economical option
  • Fast sharpening speed
  • Multiple angle guides

Cons

  • A bit confusing to use at first
  • Grinders don’t have a great life

Buyer’s Guide

    There are three major types of chainsaw sharpeners currently available in the market, and each one has its own benefits and drawbacks.

    Chainsaw Files

    Many wouldn’t even consider going beyond a simple chainsaw file to sharpen the blades of the saw because of how cheap and portable it is. However, unless you have decades of sharpening experience and incredibly dexterous hands, it’s likely that you’ll never get an even and uniform finish across all the blades with a file.

    Using a file is also a lot more time consuming than a manual chainsaw sharpener or an electric one. There is also the risk of altering the angle of the saw blades, which can cause irreparable damage and significantly reduced performance of the chainsaw.

    Manual Chainsaw Sharpeners

    Manual chainsaw files are popular because most of them are highly portable. They still need some time to get used to though because there is no auto-advancing feature in most of them, and each tooth needs to be sharpened individually.

    Generally, manual sharpeners (bar mounted or other) file at a faster pace than normal chainsaw files and require less input. The biggest advantage is that they allow for a much more even sharpening across the entire chain.

    Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners

    Electric chainsaw sharpeners require the least amount of labor out of all types. Most of the electric sharpeners are adjustable, meaning they can fit nearly all chain types and angles. The result is a very even finish across the entire chain at a fast speed.

    Most electric chainsaw sharpeners require a power socket to operate, which means taking them out into the field is impractical. There are some battery-powered sharpeners, but they are only used an alternative and not the primary method to sharpen the chainsaw. Electric sharpeners also tend to be pricy compared to manual sharpeners.

    The frequency of use, and the amount (and different types) of chains you might own should also be a deciding factor in your purchase. If you’re not a heavy user and only have one specific kind of chainsaw, then you’ll be best served by a manual sharpener. They are cheaper, precise, and perfect for individuals who use their chainsaws sparingly.

    On the other hand, a professional who uses chainsaws everyday will need a high quality adjustable electric chainsaw sharpener, ideally one that can be fixed to a wall or work table. These sharpeners allow for rapid sharpening and adjustments to accommodate any type of chain.

    Before purchasing a chainsaw sharpener, make sure it supports the correct chain size and angle. Chains coming in various sizes and angles, but not all sharpeners can accommodate all types. Many of the sharpeners are compatible with only one size, but some are flexible.

    Your purchasing decision should be based around the type of chain (or chains) you use and possess. The most common sizes are 1/4-Inch, .325-Inch, 3/8-Inch, 1/2-Inch, and 3/4-Inch. You should check your chainsaw(s) to make you know which size you require before you finalize a product for purchase.

    Why use chainsaw sharpeners at all?
    A chainsaw is an extremely useful tool, but it’s also an extremely dangerous tool. Rather counterintuitively, a chainsaw is safest when it is extremely sharp. This is because you’ll be exerting much less force during the cutting process; the saw will pull itself into the wood and cut with ease.

    If the blades of a chainsaw are blunt, there is risk of the chain breaking if too much force is exerted, which is extremely dangerous because even a dull chainsaw can lead to severe injuries.

    Of course, there’s also the small reason of getting work done as quickly and efficiently as possible. A duller saw will result in unclean cuts in much reduced time.

    How often should I sharpen?
    This will heavily depend on the type and length of work. What you’re cutting through (the type of work) will be the greatest determining factor. Clean wood will be less taxing on the blades of the saw and you can use it without worries for several hours.

    Anything with sand or other particles however will dull the blades rather quickly. You will likely need to sharpen the chainsaw very frequently if you work with such corrosive material.

    What safety tips should I keep in mind?
    Even a dull chainsaw can be extremely dangerous, so you shouldn’t treat it any less carefully than you would if it were razor sharp. Wear heavy work gloves and eye protection when sharpening, particularly when using high-speed grinder type chainsaw sharpeners.

    The most important tip though is to take your time. Do not try to speed up the sharpening process in any way, particularly on electric sharpeners. Make sure the chain is secure from at least one point. If you’re sharpening the chain while its mounted on the chainsaw bar, make sure the saw is held down firmly and away from your body.

    What are the arrangements I should make before buying chainsaw sharpeners?
    Although many chainsaw sharpeners are operational out of the box and come with manuals, most of them are not exactly intuitive to use. For this reason, we highly recommend that you thoroughly research what you’re buying and how to use it.

    This will also give you a good idea of what arrangements you need to make such as space, storage, and any additional equipment you need to buy to accompany the sharpener.

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