In this guide we’ll look at the best chainsaw sharpeners.
I’ve compared build quality, performance, ease-of-use and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
In this guide we’ll look at the best chainsaw sharpeners.
What Are The UK's Best Chainsaw Sharpeners?
Read Our Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews
Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Review
If you’re after professional-level chain sharpening at home, the Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is a useful tool that will help you achieve it.
Given the quality results that it provides, it’s surprisingly easy to use and set up. It also offers great value for money by 1) saving buying new chains, and 2) reducing the necessity to take chains to a workshop.
With an 85 W motor that runs at 4800 rpm, this machine is compatible with most chains, and essentially brings chainsaws back to their original sharpness. Even after cutting dense hardwoods like oak and ash, the sharpening process can be completed in approximately 10 minutes.
It can be mounted onto a workbench and comes with one cutting disc included. The disc won’t quickly need replacing, but it’s easy and inexpensive to buy a replacement when necessary.
When it comes to setting up the sharpener, the instructions are simple and easy to understand. Using the machine is relatively intuitive, which naturally makes the process easier.
It’s one of the best chainsaw sharpeners for creating a professional finish in a short time. Given the price of the machine, and the normal cost of taking chains to be sharpened, it will quickly earn its keep for anyone who uses a chainsaw on a semi-regular basis.
Whilst the overall design is good, it’s worth noting that the clamp knobs are made from plastic, not metal. Although not immediately problematic, metal would tend to provide stronger construction.
- Easy to set up thanks to the clear instructions
- Intuitive to use without overly complicated processes for setting the sharpening angle
- Runs very quietly
- Sharpens the chain in approximately ten minutes
- Can be mounted on a workbench for stability
- Bolts on the clamp are made from plastic so not the most durable material
- The on/off switch is located at the back which means you cannot see it while the sharpener is in operation
- Instructions don't list recommendations for grinding angles so if you are new to chainsaw sharpening you will need to research this separately
Portek Maxi Chainmaster Mark II Review
Describing itself as a “semi-professional chainsaw sharpener”, the Portek Maxi Chainmaster Mark II works with the majority of chainsaw sizes and brands.
Along with sharpening the cutting face of the chain, the blade can be lowered to improve the edge of the rakers too. There’s an auto-clamp that will hold to chain in place as the blade is lowered, ensuring precise sharpening.
It comes with a grinding wheel of 3.2 mm which can be replaced when it eventually wears out. Plus, the sharpener can also take blades of 4.5 mm thick, making it versatile and suitable for different types of chain.
Setting up the sharpener is straight forward. The instructions are clear and methodical, and the machine can be mounted on a workbench for security; however, what can take time is mastering how to use it in order to achieve the best results.
Different chains will require different angles and adjustments on the cutting settings.
The 85 W motor produces 4,200 rpm and it’s one of the best chainsaw sharpeners if you’re after value for money. Yes, it has its limitations – some of the components are made from plastic instead of metal – but it’s good for the price and it’s not a professional machine.
It should still save money in the long term by allowing chains to be sharpened at home. Often sharpening within 10 – 30 minutes.
- Sharpens chains in 10 - 30 minutes
- Set up is easy thanks to clear, detailed instructions
- Suitable for lower budgets yet still very effective
- Capable of restoring chains to original sharpness
- Made with some plastic components which allow for movement when the sharpener is in use
- Bolts to mount sharpener to your worktop will need to be purchased separately
- Can take time and research to master the correct filing of different chains
Faithfull Electric Chainsaw Sharpener Review
Getting chains sharpened on a budget isn’t easy when you have to take them to be done professionally. However, the Faithfull Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is an economical way to sharpen them at home.
It does the job quickly and is straight forward to use.
The set-up is simple, and the instructions are sufficiently detailed to get the machine running almost immediately. Once the correct adjustments have been made, it can breathe new life into old chains – even those that are past hand filing.
Running an 85 W motor, chains can be sharpened in as little as 10 minutes which isn’t bad going for 60 links. The angle adjustment is simple to change, and the depth can also be altered to avoid cutting too far down onto the chain.
Although the overall quality is reasonable, the all-plastic frame makes it seem a little more like a machine for hobbyists rather than professionals. Some of the plastic moulding can be a little rough around the edges. But, considering its price, it seems understandable that the finishes might be lacking.
Also worth mentioning – there can be some ‘play’ in the chain stop (which holds the chain still). It needs to be kept an eye on in order to make sure it is sufficiently holding the chain in place.
Even with these snags in mind, it’s still one of the best chainsaw sharpeners to buy on a budget.
Plus, its inexpensive price tag means that the cost is quickly justified and it’s a worthwhile purchase that won’t break the bank.
- Effectively sharpens most chains in under 10 minutes
- Each individual tooth is sharpened equally, leading to a cleaner and straighter cut
- Although the frame is made from plastic, the overall construction is good quality
- Clear instructions make it easy to get started almost straight away
- Plastic parts produce some movement while the sharpener is in operation
- Chain stop needs keeping an eye on in case the chain starts to move
Neilsen Chain Saw Blade Sharpener 240V 130 WATT Review
Taking roughly five minutes to set up, and five minutes to sharpen a standard chain, this Neilsen Chain Saw Sharpener works quickly and efficiently to revive blunt equipment.
Once sharpened, there’s a noticeable difference in the cutting ability of the chain, and even chains that are relatively new will benefit.
The motor is 130 W and the blade spins at 7500 rpm, so it’s one of the more powerful machines on this list. It will sharpen the majority of chain sizes, but requires a bit of working out before achieving the best results.
Unfortunately, the instructions are poor, so getting the machine to function correctly can require more patience and logic than might be expected. As a result, it may pose more of a problem to those who are not very mechanically-minded.
However, the low cost of the unit helps to compromise on the difficulties involved in learning to use the machine. Once mastered, it can produce a good, sharp edge.
As long as you have the patience to work out how to use this machine effectively, it has the potential to be an inexpensive and effective tool; however, there are other options on the market that are easier to use (but they come at a higher price!).
- Produces good once tool has been mastered - sharpens chains quickly and effectively
- Can be mounted on a bench, vice or wall
- Disc does not wear down quickly
- Due to budget price, after sharpening approximately five chains, the unit has already paid for itself
- Best used in a ventilated area
- Instructions are very unclear which makes set up difficult
- Locator for the chain isn’t particularly effective so you’ll need to be careful to ensure the cutter is in the correct position
MIZOOVA 10 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit Review
There are some instances where manually sharpening a chain will still be the best option. The MIZOOVA 10 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit includes all of the essentials for sharpening a chainsaw blade.
Whether you’re trying to get into the rakers, or don’t like the idea of using an electric grinder, this kit provides a comprehensive, high-quality alternative. It’s also compact enough to carry around with you, which could come in handy.
When used regularly, the files will only take a couple of strokes to produce a sharp edge. They easily shave off steel, meaning minimum effort is required.
Three round files come included, as well as a flat file, hardwood handle, depth gauge and assorted other tools. They are all held securely in a lightweight orange pouch which is easy to spot if you put it down. It keeps all 10 pieces safe and makes them easy to find when required.
The round files are three different sizes: 4 mm, 4.8 mm and 5.5 mm. However, they are unmarked, so it may initially take a bit of thought to work out which one to use. Once selected, the file needs to be inserted into the handle before use.
Only one handle comes provided, which can be a little inconvenient if swapping between files, but it does keep the size of the carry case down.
The portability of this set makes it one of the best chainsaw sharpeners if you’re working on site, or away from a garage. However, it’s also just a good-quality manual sharpening kit in general, and useful to have on hand for jobs when an electric sharpener isn’t required.
- Great value for money with everything you need included
- Comes in a thick cloth bag for neat storage
- Most teeth can be sharpened in just 4 or 5 strokes
- Quieter and easier to set up than electric chainsaw sharpeners
- Portable kit allows sharpening of chainsaw no matter where you are
- File sizes aren't marked so it can take practise to learn which file is which
- Removing the file from the handle can be difficult as it's quite stiff
How to Choose the Best Chainsaw Sharpener
Typically, for general DIYers, when a chainsaw chain goes blunt it signals one of two things: that it’s time to buy a new chain, or that it’s time to take the chain to a professional for sharpening.
Whilst that’s all well and good for very occasional users, as soon as the machine starts getting used more frequently, these costs can start to add up.
Fortunately, chainsaw sharpeners – be they manual or electric – allow chains to be sharpened at home. This generally means that the money spent on purchasing the sharpener is made back in very little time.
Choosing the best chainsaw sharpener will depend on how you prefer to work, and your chainsaw itself. See the information below for more advice:
The Benefits of Using a Chainsaw Sharpener
Primarily, owning a chainsaw sharpener has two main benefits: saving time and money.
A lot of decent electric sharpeners now cost under £100. They’re not professional tools, but they are sufficiently powerful and effective to get old chains performing like new.
Seeing as the cost of taking a chain to a professional to be sharpened can range from approximately £5 – £15, it doesn’t take long for a household chainsaw sharpener to earn its keep – especially given that some machines actually cost only two or three times the cost of professional sharpening.
Additional savings are also made through not having to spend petrol on taking the chains to a workshop, or having to pay postage on new chains.
Finally, if you have a manual sharpener (further information in the next section), you can sharpen your chainsaw whilst away from the garage. This can be useful for DIYers and professionals alike.
Manual vs. Electric Chainsaw Sharpeners
In the past, manual sharpening with files was the only way to go. Even in later years, with the introduction of electric sharpeners, you wouldn’t have had a unit it the home.
Now you’ve got the choice, and there are pros and cons to each style. Ultimately, your decision may come down to personal preference, but here’s more information about each type of sharpener.
These work by holding the chain in a locked position, and moving a fast-spinning grinder over the edge of the tooth that needs sharpening. The sharpening angle can be adjusted, and the chain needs to be manually moved along in order to work on the next tooth.
It’s good practise to mark the first tooth that you work on, with some form of indelible pen, so that you know when you have done a full circuit and all of the links have been sharpened. You’ll then need to sharpen the second side of the tooth, which uses an opposite angle.
Whilst this might sound a little complicated, these machines are generally quite intuitive to use. Getting the angle right can take a bit of practise – information on the filing angle and required file size for your specific chain can generally be found 1) on the chain’s packaging, 2) in your chainsaw’s user manual, 3) on the internet.
Different size grinding wheels are available for different size chains. Electric sharpeners often come with one grinder, for standard chain sizes. It is possible to buy a new grinding wheel and replace the existing one, if necessary. You will need to check what size grinding wheel is required for your specific chain.
Manual sharpening tools will generally come as a set. A combination of tools is required to sharpen chain teeth, these include: round files, flat files, file guides and depth gauges.
The packaging of the chain, or the user’s manual, will have information on what size file to use. It’s good practise to start by sharpening the bluntest tooth first. This way, you can count how many strokes it takes to sharpen, and use this as a guide for the rest of the teeth.
Use a pushing motion, moving the file away from you as opposed to pulling it over the teeth.
Generally, the file guide will do most of the hard work for you. As long as the file has been set up properly, and you are holding it level, it will produce the correct angle.
Using a manual sharpener may take longer than an electric machine, but there are also a couple of benefits to this process.
Firstly, you often get an assortment of file sizes in a manual sharpener set. Therefore, you may be able to sharpen more chain sizes than you would with a single grinding wheel. Manual tools can also be used whilst away from home, whilst on the job, if necessary.
When to Sharpen a Chainsaw Chain
Whilst some people choose to regularly sharpen their chains as a form of general maintenance, there are some signs to look out for to let you know that it’s really time to give that chain some attention:
- If the chainsaw is creating fine dust when cutting, as opposed to uniformly-sized wood chips, this is a sign that the teeth are blunt.
- If the chain is getting stuck and snagging on the chainsaw, it needs sharpening. It should always move smoothly around the chainsaw.
- If you hit a nail or the ground, there is a high chance that one or more of the teeth will be blunted.
Chainsaw Sharpener FAQs
How do I sharpen a chainsaw manually?
To file your chainsaw manually you will need a filing kit made for chainsaws, protective gloves and eye wear. Always ensure that the chain is cool before you attempt to sharpen it.
Chainsaw sharpening kits come with detailed instruction on how to use them. You should follow these instructions carefully for the best results and to ensure safe use. You will need to use a round file of the correct size (check with the packaging of the chain or the chainsaw’s user manual) and a file guide. The round file is used for the sides and tops of the cutting teeth. You will also need to use a depth gauge, and a flat file. A flat file is used to file the raker height of each tooth. A good tip is to use a dab of Tippex, or an indelible marker. to mark the point where you start sharpening so you can see when you have gone all the way around the chain.
How do I sharpen a chainsaw with an electric sharpener?
Electric chainsaw sharpeners come with detailed instructions on how to use them. You should follow the procedure carefully for the best results. It is particularly important to follow the safety guidelines to avoid any accidents. You should ensure that the electric sharpener is securely attached to a bench or vice before use to prevent slipping and accidents.
You will need to know what size grinder to use to sharpen your chain as well as what angle to file it at. This information will be detailed on the packaging of the chain and also in the manufacturer’s guide for the chainsaw.