Four Things to Consider Before You Buy a Chainsaw Sharpener

A quality chainsaw blade sharpener is a must in any woodcutter’s tool kit, but how do you choose the right one? Here’s what to look for.

You can buy the best chainsaw out there, but if the blade isn’t kept shaving sharp, you’re going to waste a lot of time and energy trying to grind your way through logs with a dull saw. Dull chains will also lessen the lifespan of both your chain and saw blade if you don’t keep your chain super sharp. Plus, a dull chain that doesn’t bite into the wood can be dangerous. So, what’s the best chainsaw sharpener to buy?

Sharpeners run the gamut from simple hand tools to electric, bench-mounted versions that deliver ultra-precision cuts. Each has its advantages, but here are four things to consider before you buy your next chainsaw sharpener.

Ease of Use

Stihl chainsaw
Make sure the sharpener you buy matches the size of the chain you’re using.Amazon

Nothing beats a small hand tool that can fit right in your pocket for portability. They're lightweight, require no power source, and are perfect for quick touch-ups in the field or at home. A simple jig ensures your sharpening angle stays on track.

Safety

ADINC chainsaw
This lightweight and easy-to-use sharpener won’t take up much room in your kit. For use with two-hole chainsaw bars only.Amazon

If you're new to using a chainsaw, you may be a little gun shy about getting your fingers nicked while finding the perfect sharpening angle. Sharpeners that close over the tip of the saw blade sharpen your chain in just a few seconds (they have a small grindstone inside that's set at the perfect sharpening angle) while your hands stay safe.

Portability

Granberg chainsaw
This simple and effective sharpener will mount to any size chainsaw and sharpen any size chain.Amazon

More refined hand sharpeners can be used anywhere and they sharpen the pitch on saws from any of the major chainsaw manufacturers with far more precision than smaller hand tools. These tools attach to the guide bar of your saw in seconds and are a great choice if you have several different saws with chains that require different pitch angles to be sharpened.

Efficiency

Oregon chainsaw
Simple portable sharpeners do a good job of touching up your chain, but a bench-mounted model will make sure you get the best possible performance out of your chainsaw.Amazon

When it comes to precision sharpening jobs, bench-mounted chainsaw sharpeners have no rivals. Some come with different size grinding wheels to sharpen various types of chains. And nice little touches, like a built-in light, make it easy to see exactly what you're doing. Bench-mounted models are perfect for contractors working out of a shop or for those who use their chainsaws all the time and demand the very best tools for getting their saws super sharp.