5 Best Chainsaw Sharpeners of 2024

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The Best Chainsaw Sharpeners

The Best Chainsaw Sharpeners
  1. Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

  2. Portek Maxi Chainmaster Mark II

  3. Faithfull Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

  4. Neilsen Chain Saw Blade Sharpener 240V 130 WATT

  5. MIZOOVA 10 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit

Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews

Editors Choice
  • 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

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. It’s the best chainsaw sharpener overall.

Given the quality results that this electric chainsaw sharpener 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 chainsaw sharpener is compatible with most chains, and essentially brings chainsaws back to their original sharpness. Even after cutting dense hardwoods like oak and ash, this electric sharpener can sharpen the chain in approximately 10 minutes.

It can be mounted onto a workbench and comes with one grinding wheel included. The grinding wheel won’t quickly need replacing, but it’s easy and inexpensive to buy a replacement when necessary.

When it comes to setting up this chainsaw sharpener, the instructions are simple and easy to understand. Using the electric sharpener is relatively intuitive, which naturally makes the process easier.

It’s one of the best 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 sharpener’s clamp knobs are made from plastic, not metal. Although not immediately problematic, metal would tend to provide stronger construction.

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Runner Up
  • Sharpens chainsaw 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

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 grinding wheel 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.

This chainsaw sharpener comes with a grinding wheel of 3.2 mm which can be replaced when it eventually wears out. Plus, the electric sharpener is also compatible with blades of 4.5 mm thick, making it versatile and suitable for different types of chain.

Setting up the chainsaw 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.

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Also Good
  • 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

Getting chainsaw 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.

This electric sharpener does the job quickly and is straight forward to use. It’s the best chainsaw sharpener to buy if you want a budget-friendly option.

The set-up is simple, and the instructions are sufficiently detailed to get the chain sharpener 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 gauge can also be altered to avoid cutting too far down onto the chain.

Although the overall build quality of this chainsaw sharpener is pretty 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 electric 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.

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  • 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

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.

This chain sharpener has a 130 W  motor 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 this chain sharpener helps to compromise on the difficulties involved in learning to use the machine. Once mastered, it can produce a clean, sharp edge. Plus, there is a reliable depth gauge that can be set by the lower locking wheel. It’s a good value machine and the best chainsaw sharpener if you want something that sharpens chains quickly – you just have to get used to it first.

As long as you have the patience to work out how to use this electric chainsaw sharpener properly, it has the potential to be an inexpensive and effective tool. Yes, there are other options on the market that are easier to use, but they come at a higher price!

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  • Great value for money with everything you need included
  • Comes in a thick cloth bag for neat storage
  • Most chainsaw 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

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 chainsaw sharpener, this manual chainsaw sharpener 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. All of these manual chainsaw sharpeners are 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 the best chainsaw sharpener 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.

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Harry's Smart Buying Tips

  1. If you use your chainsaw frequently, you’ll most likely want an electric chainsaw sharpener. As the name suggests, these require minimal manual effort. They’re also a quick way to sharpen chainsaw chains.
  2. Most electric sharpeners are compatible with all chain sizes because they can be adjusted. However, it’s still worth checking the chain’s specifications to make sure the sharpener is compatible with the chain pitch.
  3. If you want an electric sharpener, you should make sure that it has the option of being mounted to a workbench. Naturally, this provides stability whilst sharpening. Also, it’s a good idea to make sure that there are replacement grinding wheels readily available. Although you won’t need them straight away, it’s frustrating not to be able to find any later down the line.
  4. If you’re not using your chainsaw often, or simply prefer the traditional approach, go for a manual chainsaw sharpener. An added benefit of having a manual chain sharpening kit is that they are portable chainsaw sharpeners: you can use manual files to sharpen the chain out in the field if required.
  5. If you choose a manual kit, look for a set containing a combination of tools. The best manual sharpener sets will include a round file, flat file, file guides, and a depth gauge. These allow you to sharpen a range of chains, giving you the best value for money.
  6. For example, the most common chain pitch is 3/8 inches (9.5 mm). For this, you need a round file with a 5.2 mm diameter. However, a 8 mm and 10 mm chain pitch is also common, in these cases you’ll need a 4.8 mm or 5.5 mm file, respectively. 

For quickly sharpening chains, I’ve chosen the Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener as the best chainsaw sharpener. This machine is compatible with most chains and only takes around 10 minutes to finish the job.

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 chain saw starts getting used more frequently, these costs can start to add up.

Fortunately, a chainsaw sharpener– be it manual or electric – allows the sharpening process to be carried out at home. This generally means that the money spent on purchasing the chain sharpener is made back in very little time.

There are several types of chainsaw sharpeners available. Choosing the best model 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 chainsaw 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 chainsaw chain to a professional to be sharpened can range from approximately £5 – £15, it doesn’t take long for a household chain sharpener to earn its keep – especially given that some chainsaw sharpeners 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 chainsaw 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 Sharpeners

In the past, manual sharpening with files was the only way to go. Even in later years, with the introduction of electric sharpeners, it was uncommon to have a unit in the home.

Now you’ve got the choice of completing the sharpening process either with an electric or manual sharpener, 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.

Electric Sharpeners

Electric chainsaw sharpeners work by holding the chain in a locked position, and moving a fast-spinning chain grinder over the edge of the tooth that needs sharpening. The sharpening angle can be adjusted, and the chainsaw 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 an 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, electric chainsaw sharpeners are generally quite intuitive to use. Although, getting the angle right can take a bit of practise. Information on the filing angle and required file size for your specific chainsaw 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. However, you can also find chainsaw sharpeners that come with several grinding wheels straight off the bat – this is useful if you know that you have several different size chains that you’ll want to sharpen ASAP.

It’s also possible to buy a new grinding wheel to replace an existing one, if necessary. Grinding wheels are easy to find and buy, you will just need to check what size you require and make sure it’s compatible with your chainsaw sharpener.

READ NEXT: The Best Petrol Chainsaws

Manual Chainsaw Sharpeners

Manual sharpeners will generally come as a set. A combination of tools is required to sharpen chainsaw teeth, these include: a round file, flat file, file guides and depth gauge.

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 chainsaw 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 sharpening process.

Firstly, you often get an assortment of file sizes in a manual chainsaw sharpener set. Therefore, you may be able to sharpen more chain sizes than you would with a single grinding wheel. Manual chainsaw sharpeners can also be used whilst away from home, whilst on the job, if necessary. This makes them somewhat more versatile than electric chainsaw sharpeners.

READ NEXT: The Best Cordless Chainsaws

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 chainsaw 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 chainsaw 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

To file your chainsaw manually you will need a filing kit made for chainsaws, protective gloves and eye wear. Always ensure that the chainsaw chain is cool before you attempt to sharpen it.

A manual chainsaw sharpener kit will come with detailed instruction on how to use the files. 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 chainsaw chain or the chainsaw’s user manual) and a file guide. The round file is used for the sides and tops of the chainsaw 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.

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 chainsaw chain as well as what angle to file it at. This information will be detailed on the packaging of the chainsaw chain and also in the manufacturer’s guide for the chainsaw.

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