Chainsaws do need regular maintenance, but when kept well are among the most useful of your power tools. What happens with regular or prolonged use is that they become blunt and need sharpening – the chains themselves are dulled and their effectiveness lessens, meaning you need to sharpen the chain or buy new ones. The latter can be an expensive option, so far better to invest in an affordable chain saw sharpener, such as one of those on the list below.
Most of those on our list operate in the same way you’d expect a knife-sharpener to do its job, by way of a sharpening block or stone, and are safe to use (although are not meant for use by children and novices should always be supervised) and not expensive, so let’s have a look through the best chainsaw sharpeners available now, and see if we can find one that is right for you.
The Top 10
1. Oregon 558488 Sharpening and Maintenance Kit
Although a chainsaw is a relatively simple device to use, it does feature a number of moving parts that need to be kept in good working order if the tool is to perform efficiently. This sharpening and maintenance kit includes a variety of tools – including a file holder and file for chain top maintenance, a bar groove cleaner and a nice pocket folder for it all to go into. It’s a sensible price and would make a decent addition to any toolkit that includes a chainsaw.
This one is from Oregon, a maker of chains, and is designed to suit type 91P, 91PX, 91VXL and M91VXL chains, as well as 25A and 25AP. Note that these are Oregon chain designations, so you will need to find out if yours is equivalent, and which size. Customer testimony is very good indeed where this item is concerned – the only real complaints are actually advice, suggesting care is taken when using it so it won’t break – and it’s been bought by a lot of people, so it must do the job.
2. Wupuer Chainsaw Sharpener
This portable, dedicated chainsaw sharpening tool is a clever device that aims to sharpen chains very quickly, yet we are a little put off by its plastic construction. Also, there are a good number of complaints suggesting that this device will not work with common-sized chains – it is claimed to fit 14-20inch chain bars with twin guide holes- and that it is also disappointing in a number of other ways, so while it is very cheap, we would approach it with caution.
It has claims to being very fast – sharpening a chain in under 5 seconds – and has a rod installation for oiling purposes, plus it is light and compact and is suggested as a gift. In the interest of fairness, those customers who give it favourable reviews say it does the job very well for their saws. We would suggest that if the low price of this one attracts you, you make sure that your particular chain size is catered for or it will end up being returned as many seem to have been.
3. Faithfull Power Plus Chainss Electric
The previous two have been manual-use chainsaw sharpeners, while this one does things in a different way. This is an electric model with a grinding wheel, and is a much more sophisticated device than the ‘pocket’ models reviewed above. It has a powerful electric motor that will give you plenty of sharpening power, and is designed with feet that can be attached to your bench, making this a permanent feature rather than one for occasional use.
Designed for the serious chainsaw user, this one is good for regular use and has a fully adjustable chain guide so will perform on all sizes of chain. It’s durable and quite substantial too, and while more expensive by far than those above, is not out of a sensible price range. It is interesting to note that out of more than 200 customer comments, 80% give it four stars or more. However, we did note some serious concerns about safety – some say it is cheap and flimsy in construction, and in one case the plug had been incorrectly wired – so be aware that it’s not all plain sailing.
4. Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
This is another electric model and, being honest, we believe it may e the very same item as that listed above, but this time branded as Clarke. As with many types of items – power tools included – it is not unusual to find the same item under different brands, and there can be differences in quality, for example. This one has the 85W motor as above, works by way of a circular grinding stone, and is able to be bolted to the bench for greater stability and permanent use.
The 1800rpm speed of the disk is a bonus and this one comes in at a price that is not cheap – it’s a touch under £50 – but that we would not complain if buying a quality device. Notably, 9/10 buyers who commented on this product suggest it is very good indeed, but there are complaints mainly about the design and awkwardness of use by some buyer. We like it, and if you need one to use regularly, this could be it.
5. Mizoova 10 Piece Chainsaw Sharpening Kit
This is a back to basics manual cleaning kit as per the first couple we mentioned on this list, but it is one that comes with quite a comprehensive set of tools. You get a nice plastic pouch that rolls up with everything neatly stored within, it’s compact and easy to carry around, and it’s cheap too. Part of the it is a separate hardwood handle that is designed to attach to a few of the implements in the set and has a quick lock system so that you can easily put it in the handle and take it out.
You get three files, plus a 6-inch flat file, a bar groove cleaner and check gauge, and full instructions as to how to successfully clean your chains. Does it do the job? Interestingly this 10-piece kit gets 90% 4-star and above, but those that do have a criticism say it is very poor quality, it doesn’t do the job, and some of the files will not clip into the handle. Are these quality issues? Probably, but at the price it’s a handy tool to have around if you want to manually clean your chainsaw.
6. Katsu 100097 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
This nicely presented little tool is another bench-top electric model, but is definitely a different design to those we have seen so far. It’s a circular wheel machine again, one that is said to be suitable for ¼ and 3/8th chains, and is able to be bolted to the bench for greater stability and as a permanent fixture. It is mains operated and adjustable, and is designed specifically for purpose, and at the price is surprisingly good value for money, but is it any good?
Here lies the problem: if something appears too good to be true in terms of price, it usually is. This chainsaw sharpener looks good, but fewer than 4/10 buyers who commented on it gave it full marks, and many complain about design faults that make it difficult to use, that render it ‘useless’ in one case, and poor overall quality. Our initial hopes were dashed by the poor customer responses so we believe this is one to steer away from.
7. Cataumet Chainsaw Sharpener Kit
This is another kit – what that really means is a set if files with which you sharpen your chain, which is quite a job to do unless you are adept – that comes with a nice pouch that is designed to be waterproof. You get a full set of files – these have plastic grips for non-slip action – plus a chainsaw wrench, which is a nice addition, and also a depth gauge. The file set is as you would expect for a kit such as this, and is perfectly decent at first glance. Is it good?
There are not a great number of customer comments to go on, but it is notable that even with this few there are some that are not favourable; one refers to the set as ‘cheap’ which is something we’ve seen before with these file sets. Poor quality metal is a problem, and the price – while not expensive – is not representative of the apparent quality. Of the manual kits, this is not the one we would choose.
8. ALM Chainsaw Sharpener
Among this company, this is a curious device. It’s a single item that claims to sharpen chainsaws – notably, the makers do say it is for small electric and petrol models – using a chain itself, and all you get is the single tool. It appears to be quite a clever idea, however, as many customers who have bought it give it excellent reviews. A few, notably, comment that it is not quite as good as they had expected, but then what did they expect for a few pennies more than a fiver?
The idea is that you use this chain device to clean and sharpen your chain – one customer says it did the job in 20 minutes, which we are quite impressed by – and it’s compact, light, sits easily among your tools without taking up any space, and at the price it’s hard to fault. The only complaints are that it was not vert effective for a few customers, and that it arrived in damaged packaging.
9. Portek Maxi Chainmaster
We are back to the electric models with this one from Portek – or, at least that is the brand on the body as we think it may be the same as one of the others – and it is the usual design with a wheel and a bolt-to-the-bench body. This model claims to be able to deal with chainsaws of ‘all makes and sizes’, has a fully adjustable angle for sharpening, and is described as ‘professional’ and ‘robust’. It is mains powered and has an 85W motor which seems to be standard with these.
The grinding wheel on this model is replaceable – a neat touch we haven’t seen mentioned with others – and it is around the price we would expect at a little less than £50 at the time of writing. This one comes with more than 8/10 people having rated it 4-stars and above, so it must be doing something right, and in fact the only actual complaint we uncovered was that the instructions are difficult to use. If you want electric, it’s one for the shortlist.
10. Neilsen Chainsaw Sharpener 130W
The first thing to say about this electric bench-top model is that it immediately looks more robust and substantial than some of the others; whether it is or not is something we will come to in a moment. This one is its own design, and has a 130W motor which is powerful enough, and comes with a replaceable wheel (and apparently a spare supplied) all of which is interesting when considering the suspiciously low price you can buy it for.
Customer comments are also surprisingly good, with 75% of comments being very favourable. However, we do come across the usual complaints that the instructions are difficult to read – we can only suspect they have been translated badly from, most likely, Chinese. Another warning we found was that while it looks rugged, it’s actually quite fragile, which was qualified by quoting the low price and adding that if you treat it carefully, it does the job.
That’s our list of chainsaw sharpeners for you, so is there one that suits your requirements and budget? Before we get to that, here’s a short reminder of what you need to look for.
Important Features to Consider
There is really one deciding factor to consider when you are looking to buy a chainsaw sharpener: do you want to do it manually with a file kit, or more easily with an electric model that will do the job far more quickly? For us, the answer is simple: pay the extra money and buy the best of the electric models here, as it really will be far easier than fiddling about with files! So, that being said, let’s wrap things up.
Each of the electric models on our list comes with a least a couple of quibbles from customers, usually regards poor instructions and some difficulty in using the item (the two may well be connected) but of these, all but one gets generally very good customer reviews. The one we like best is the Neilsen Chainsaw Sharpener 130W, mainly because it is not a copy of another and it comes with a powerful motor, plus it does the job at a very sensible price.
So there you have it! We hope we’ve helped you find the right chainsaw sharpener for you, so you can keep sawing those logs easily every time!