A chainsaw is an indispensable home and garden tool. There are quite a few branches, stumps, and other obstructions that a chainsaw can clear better and faster than just about anything else. However, a chainsaw’s spinning teeth are just like any other tool with an edge in that they need occasional sharpening therefore this time we are looking for the best chainsaw sharpener on the market today.
A chainsaw that goes dull will lose effectiveness until it can’t cut through anything anymore or in fact, it can get even dangerous.
You can have the best chainsaw chain you can buy, but even those do not last forever. The more you use your chainsaw, the faster it will lose its edge, especially if you are dealing with hard woods.
Keep a close eye on the tool’s performance to see when it is becoming dull. You don’t want a dull chain to be holding back a great chainsaw.
Once you think that the teeth on the chain could do with some sharpening, you have options. There are a few different methods and approaches.
They fall into two main categories: powered and unpowered.
- Powered approaches use bench tools and power tools like grinders to quickly hone a sharp edge into the teeth.
- Unpowered kits contain a selection of hand tools that you can use to sharpen the teeth yourself.
Neither is superior to the other. They provide different benefits and either could be the best chainsaw sharpener for your particular needs. The hand tools take more time and require some experience, but they allow for the precision of detail work.
A powered sharpener is significantly faster, so you can get your saw back to full capacity more quickly.
Both are effective. They can vary in characteristics like the size of tooth that they can handle, their power and speed, and how portable they are.
In this post, we will run down five of the best chainsaw sharpener products on the market with a diverse selection to provide you with options that will fit your needs, goals, and level of experience.
What is the best chainsaw sharpener in 2018?
Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
The ECSS from Buffalo Tools is a flagship model and one of the most popular sharpeners today. As the name suggests it is a powered tool that you can mount on a bench, a wall, or place into a vise depending on your workspace.
It has a grinding speed of 4200RPM and draws 85 watts of power, and it also uses a regular 120-volt outlet.
The ECSS is small enough to be portable at 7 pounds. It measures 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches by 6.2 inches. Its size and weight, combined with the wattage, means that you can bring a generator out to someplace remote and use the sharpener there as long as you have a bench or other surface to secure it.
In terms of setup, there is little that you need to do. The ECSS does not need any assembly. It needs to be attached securely to a surface of your choice to hold it in place, but it should only take a few minutes from opening up the box before you can start sharpening.
You can adjust the ECSS to accommodate the size of the teeth and chain for your tool and the range of settings is quite large.
This is a versatile model, ideal for anyone from an introductory user up. Portability on a sharpener isn’t as important as with other tools because sharpeners won’t be in use every day, but if you happen to be out on a distant jobsite or anywhere else that is far from home base, the ECSS is easy to bring along.
To conclude our review, the Buffalo Tools ECSS is a rather strong contender for the best chainsaw sharpener title!
Oregon 410-120 Bench or Wall Mounted Saw Chain Grinder
The Oregon 410 is also a powered solution. Compared to the Buffalo ECSS, it is a slightly more advanced model with a few extra features that might put it ahead.
Physically, it is larger and has more metal components, which pushes the weight up to 17 pounds.
This is still manageable but a little harder to carry around. There is a small amount of assembly required to connect the large pieces of the 410 together before you can use it. The included instructions are important not just for assembly, but also for providing guidance on how to set up the 410 so that it can sharpen teeth of varying sizes and profiles.
One of the most valuable features of the Oregon 410 is the LED work light. Even slightly dim or indirect light can make it hard to see your work, and when it comes to power tools you want as much detail as possible. LED bulbs are efficient and long-lasting. Additionally, they create a narrow, focused beam so that you can get the brightest light on the moving parts and the grinding spot.
Other features include a wheel wear indicator, multiple grinding wheels for different-sized teeth, and a dressing brick. It uses a 120 V outlet and draws 140 watts.
Oregon 511AX Saw Chain Bench Grinder/Sharpener
The 511AX is a higher model from Oregon that makes a number of changes. It is larger in size with a more open design that is easier to operate.
It lacks the LED worklight, but in return it gains some features that extend the lifetime of the machine and make it easier to keep using grinding wheels even after they start to wear down.
This last feature is the most important one on the 511AX. There are different grinding wheels that you can swap in to adjust for different chainsaws, but the wheel or wheels that you use most will get worn down eventually.
Rather than having to buy a new wheel right away, the manual provides instructions for how to alter the angle and the settings so that you will experience only a minimal decrease in performance for as long as possible. This matters because you get significantly more value from each wheel.
The adjustments are easy to make after you familiarize yourself with all of the settings and angles.
The 511AX in general is simple to use, although it is a good idea to keep the instructions as a reference for the proper settings under different circumstances.
Katzco 8 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
This kit of hand tools from Katzco has a full set of items to manually sharpen any chainsaw and a pouch to hold them all.
Sharpening by hand is useful if you want precision or if you are in a location that does not have ready access to electricity.
The kit contains the following: a 3/8-inch hardwood handle that mounts the other tools, a 6-inch flat fine-tooth file, a filing guide, the aforementioned pouch, a depth-gauge tool, a 5/32-inch fine round tooth file, a 3/16-inch fine round tooth file, and a 7/32-inch round file.
It takes time to learn how to use a kit like this, but it means you don’t have to deal with power tools and that you always have access to a sharpener no matter where you are.
It might be useful to think of this not as a substitute for a power sharpener, but a backup or travel kit that you keep on you just in case you need it.
Pferd Cs-X Chain Sharp Filing Guide
This product is very unique, it sharpens the tooth and files the depth gauge in one easy operation. The CS-X is probably the simplest chainsaw sharpening solution, a single tool that you can put in your pocket. It’s made in Germany.
The CS-X from Pferd is built for particular size chains:
- Pferd CS-X for 3/8″ and .404 chains
- Pferd CS-X for 3/8″ P and 3/8″ low profile chains
- Pferd CS-X for .325 chains
- look for other sizes here
Guide arrows and rods demonstrate how to use the tool, and it comes with instructions as well. There is no assembly required and it is about the size of a toothbrush.
The more experience you have, the less time it takes to use, and eventually you can sharpen a whole chain in under 15 minutes. You do not need anything else to sharpen, although a vise to hold the chain in place can be a useful accessory.
We believe that the best chainsaw sharpener balances ease of use, quality, and durability.
Each of the products we highlighted here has some unique edge. There are many good choices for sharpeners available. Therefore you have to be in tune with how often you expect to use it, where and when you need it, and what kinds of chains you plan to sharpen.
The answers to those questions will inform your choice.
It’s hard to get a feel for how these tools operate, especially the hand versions. It might be worth talking to a friend or visiting a hardware store to get a demo first. That way you will learn about whether you think the manual models are better for you or if you prefer powered ones.
Usually, it is worthwhile to learn both because they are useful in different situations.
The top priority should be whether a sharpener can actually serve the chains you use. Only after that should you look at extra features like lights, portability, or adjustments. Those extra features are for separating out the final purchase from a shortlist of ones that can actually do the job.
The more you use your tool, the more you will learn about how to get the most out of it. So don’t be discouraged if it takes too long the first time you try it out. It is ultimately you, who decide, what is the best chainsaw sharpener for your needs!