Outdoors

Best Chainsaw Sharpener – Electric & Manual Models

Last updated on September 24th, 2021

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The Best Sharpener For Sharpening Chainsaw Chains & Buyer’s Guide

Have you ever worked with a blunt knife? Is it not one of the most frustrating things ever? When it comes to chainsaws, working with a blunt chain will give you the same level of frustration. The chainsaw will take longer to saw through the wood, if it will even cut through it at all, therefore wasting valuable time. Sharpening your chainsaw is a great way to keep it in tiptop shape and avoid frustrations when you have a lot of work to do.

So how do you start sharpening your chainsaw chain? You find the best saw sharpener for the job. Below you will learn how to identify the chainsaw sharpener that befits your chainsaw. There are also chainsaw sharpener products that can make a good fit for what you are looking for.

You may also be interested in how to maintain and service a chainsaw. Let us proceed.

There are manual chainsaw sharpening sets which are very affordable for taking on the job as well as electric models which are super-efficient and make the job much easier.

Below is a quick summary of what we consider to be the best chainsaw sharpener for both beginners and professionals. This is the Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. After this, you will find our Buyers Guide and detailed reviews of five of our favourite models.

BEST PICK

Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
Quality is crucial to how a product performs and Clarke has produced an excellent piece of kit.  Powered by a strong motor and including a hard-wearing disc, you can be sure that the unit will perform optimally and should easily sharpen 50+ chains. It can be mounted on a workbench but you need a couple of bolts and wing nuts. Features an angle gauge and a chain guide to ensure effect precise sharpening of a chain within a few minutes.

Our top 5 electric and manual chainsaw sharpeners that have been included in our review

  1. Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener – BEST PICK
  2. Faithfull Power Plus Chains 240v Electric Chainsaw Sharpener – BEST BUDGET PICK
  3. Portek Maxi Chainmaster Chain Sharpener Mark II
  4. Stihl Genuine 5605 007 1027 Filing Kit – BEST PORTABLE PICK
  5. Oregon Chainsaw Sharpening Kit and Pouch

Chainsaw Sharpener Buyer’s Guide

Finding the best chainsaw sharpener is pretty straightforward if you understand what to look for but the first job is deciding whether to invest in an electric model or not. We highly recommend it as it makes life much easier and sharpening much quicker. Alternatively, go for a manual file type chainsaw sharpener which is great for taking on the move but take skill and plenty of practice to use. Different chainsaw sharpeners possess different features. You may find that one sharpener does not work so well for one size chain but works wonders on another. That being said, the exception is our ‘Best Pick’ by Clarke where we have not found a chain it would not sharpen.

Handheld, Electric or Bar-mounted?

There are basically three kinds of chainsaw sharpeners on the market. There are the handheld/manual sharpeners, bar-mounted and our favourite, electric chainsaw sharpeners. Each kind has various pros and cons whether financially or the amount of time it takes to complete the job.

Handheld sharpeners are all the rage if you have time on your hands or are always on the move with no access to power to use an electric alternative. They take time and focus to get the work done and plenty of practise. The simple kits usually consist of a filing guide, round files and flat files. These are the files that can be presented in different sizes to cater for different chainsaw blades. These filing sets are not expensive and make a good option to work with when the larger sharpening machines are inaccessible.

Electric sharpener machines take all the pressure off and you will wonder why you didn’t invest in one sooner if you have not already got one. They sharpen the chainsaw blades quickly and precisely, in as little as 2 minutes once you get the hang of it. They have various features such as precise depth stops to prevent the sharpener from going in too deep amongst other features. Electric models are convenient but the price is higher compared to the other kinds of chainsaw sharpeners, however for around £50 you can get a very good model and it will pay for itself quickly if you usually have your chains sharpened by a chainsaw maintenance store.

Bar mounted sharpeners happen to be the hybrid between the handheld units and the electric models.  They feature the complex features of the electric chainsaw sharpeners and manual movements of the handheld sharpeners but are less strenuous. These units can be mounted on a workbench for simplified use.

Power Range

In the case that you are looking into an electric chainsaw sharpener, you need to know its power range. Electric chainsaw sharpeners house motors of various sizes and strengths. Many of the models range from 70-300w+ range. The bigger the motor, the more power you have available to sharpen your chainsaw in a short amount of time. The motor affects the speed of the unit. The higher the speed (rotations per minute), in general, the better for you.

BEST BUDGET PICK

Faithfull Power Plus Electric Chainsaw Sharpener
Even on a budget, you can still access good quality tools if you choose right. This product gives you good features at a reasonable price. It is made from mostly plastic but has all the features such as an angle gauge to make sure that adequate sharpening is accomplished. Perfect for most chains and comes with a 5-year warranty. Not quite as good as the Clark model but still gets the job done and for a cheaper price.

Chain and sharpener compatibility

The same way chainsaws come in different sizes, the same is applicable to chainsaw sharpeners as they can only handle certain chain sizes. It is important to read the product description to determine whether the chain size can be catered to by the sharpener. Alternatively, you can purchase adjustable sharpeners that are able to handle varied sizes of chains. Most electric models will sharpen nearly all chains but manual models are usually for specifically sized chains so be sure you check before buying, especially if choosing a manual model.

Chainsaw sharpener construction and durability

Chainsaw sharpeners just happen to be the kind of tools you want to own for a long time. They are extremely useful in some situations like worksites. Lasting a long time means durable materials need to be used in the construction of the sharpener. In many cases, models are made of steel or cast aluminium. The metals have to be heavy-duty and in some cases, contain other metals like zinc to strengthen the core metal. Some cheaper models are made from plastic and are better suited for domestic home use.

BEST PORTABLE PICK

Stihl Filing Kit for 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Picco Chain
This handheld model proves to be much stronger in handling rigorous work. The kit is light and, therefore, appropriate for sharpening on the go. The price you pay for this kit is worth every penny and it happens to be quite straightforward to use. Instructions could be better but a quick search on Youtube and you will find a good video by Stihl on how to use it properly.

Price and Warranty

It all boils down to how much you want to spend and how patient you are. If you want a simple chainsaw sharpener then the chances are it won’t be that expensive. Models of higher quality tend to cost more and offer better features. Regarding price, a good manual model from the best brands will set you back around £13-14 while a good electric model will be around £50 so there is a big price difference.

Chainsaw sharpeners often have warranties. The longer the warranty the better. If anything proves amiss with the sharpener, you can contact the service centre for possible solutions. Warranties are important but they should not deter you from purchasing the chainsaw sharpener you want.


Top 5 Chainsaw Sharpener Reviews

What is the point of talking about chainsaw sharpeners if we don’t show some capable examples? Scan through these chainsaw sharpener reviews, you never know which one will appeal to you. After looking through these you will have a better picture of what you want. We start with our ‘Best Pick’ which is the model we would choose ourselves followed by some great alternatives.

1. Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

BEST PICK

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Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

The Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is a reliable model that is able to cater to different chain sizes and types, we have yet to find a chain it can not sharpen. This model features a powerful 85w motor to power the rotating disc, which should easily sharpen 50+ chains. The power availed by this machine supports a speed of 4800 rotations per minute and this means it can sharpen a chain in around 2 minutes once you had some practise. The disc installed has a 108mm diameter and can be tilted to different angles to cater to the type of chain being sharpened.

This unit can be mounted onto your workbench to make the job easier. The bolts and nuts required will have to be purchased independently as they are not included which is a shame.  

It weighs 2.9kgs which is light enough to move from one place to another but heavy enough to be a substantial and well-built piece of kit, especially compared to the cheaper Faithful model we review next. The unit also features a safety guard and angle gauge for accurate sharpening and added safety, still, we recommend wearing eye protection.

Pros

  • Provides accurate sharpening of chainsaw chains quickly.
  • Lightweight and easy to transport when needed, top tip, use wing nuts and a foldable table to take on the move, obviously you will still need access to electric.
  • The sharpener can be mounted on a workbench permanently.
  • Easy to set up and use.

Cons

  • No problems found.

Our recommedation

The Clarke ECSS2 Electric Chainsaw Sharpener provides quality, effectiveness and is probably the easiest to use out of all the models. You can sharpen a number of common chains with this model, in fact, we couldn’t find a chain size it couldn’t sharpen, unlike manual models where you have to be specific with the sharpener you choose. 

It is light in weight due to the construction materials used, but it does seem like it has been built to last. Overall, this is an excellent sharpener, probably one of the best ones we have seen, the instructions are also good, unlike some models. All things considered, if we have to only recommend one model or invest in one ourselves, this would be the one we would choose and that is why we name this model our ‘Best Pick’. Clarke really has created an excellent tool.

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2. Faithfull Power Plus Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

BEST BUDGET PICK

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Faithfull Power Plus CHAINSS 230V Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

The Faithfull Power Plus Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is the one you need if you are shopping on a budget but you still need a reliable model, which of course, is a must, no matter how cheap it is. It comes with an 85-watt motor that supports the revolving 4-1/4” diameter grinding disk. The grinding disc is 1/8″ thick and works well with 3/8 pitch chains which are most chains you will probably use, that is both low profile and regular. 

For mounting purposes, you will find bolt holes so that you can mount the unit onto a workbench. The chainsaw sharpener is not heavy and thus can be mounted without strain. It comes with an angle gauge and chain guide to ensure that the chains are sharpened with precision. It is straightforward to assemble and it is built strong enough to last for many years but it does seem to be manufactured from mostly plastic, however for the price it is probably expected. It features a 5-year guarantee which is nice to have, much longer than most other models.

Pros

  • Caters comfortably to most chain sizes.
  • The unit can be mounted for easy use.
  • Features an angle gauge and chain guide for precision sharpening.
  • It can be set up real quick.
  • The product is supplied with a 5-year warranty.

Cons

  • The instruction manual is a bit confusing and it does feel a little cheap.

Our recommendation

The Faithfull Power Plus Electric Chainsaw Sharpener can be depended on to sharpen most chain sizes and is very easy to use.

The price is good if you are on a budget and it is easy to work out. The instructions need some details like sharpening angles but other than that it is a dependable product. It comes with a 5-year warranty which is a plus in our books. Overall if you are on a budget and looking for a model for domestic use then this model is ideal, however, we would recommend paying a little more for the Clarke model if you can. If you can’t, then this sharpener will get the job done.

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3. Portek Maxi Chainmaster Chain Sharpener Mark II

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Portek Maxi Chainmaster Chain Sharpener Mark II

The Portek Maxi Chainmaster Chain Sharpener Mark II is designed to last and is perfect for users who utilise chain sharpeners often, professionals or those simply looking for a high-quality model. This model features an 85-watt motor that is strong enough to support a top speed of 4200 rotations per minute. Even at that speed, the motor runs quietly which is good, especially when compared to the cheaper models, but for the price, it should stand out for its performance. The grinding wheels are replaceable and should be 4.5mm / 3.2mm thick which it comes with.

The unit is able to service a number of different types and sizes of chains as do most models. It provides a cutting angle between 0-30° and a functional depth stop. Setting it up is easy and so is using it once you used it a few times. The instructions provided are very clear making assembly a breeze, but the instructions on how it should be used could be clearer.

Pros

  • Perfect for professional chainsaw users.
  • Features a strong durable body and motor.
  • Offers good value for money.
  • It can be mounted on a workbench.
  • It is able to cater to varied sizes of chains.

Cons

  • Instruction manual needs a cutting angles guide.

Our recommendation

The Portek Maxi Chainmaster Chain Sharpener Mark II performs well and has most of the functions that you might expect for its price, although it is not the cheapest.

It can cater to a wide range of chain sizes comfortably, with tools like the angle gauge and depth stop. It is easy to assemble and just takes a bit of time to adjust to it if you happen to be a beginner.

We would recommend this unit for professional use or those who use a chainsaw regularly and need a reliable model for daily use.

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4. Stihl Genuine 5605 007 1027 Filing Kit

BEST PORTABLE PICK

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Stihl Genuine 5605 007 1027 Stihl Filing Kit for 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Picco Chain

This Stihl Filing Kit is for 1/4-inch and 3/8-inch Picco Chains and is a simple sharpening kit. This sharpening kit comes with its own pouch that you can walk around with and store all the files together. If you are looking for a manual model then you don’t get much better than this. The tools are made of good material and thus you are guaranteed they will last longer, which is to be expected from a Stihl product.

They are adaptable to dealing with 3/8-inch and 1/4-inch chains. The kit comes with a 4mm round file, a file gauge and a flat-file. It weighs 286 grams indicating how easy it is to keep around your toolbox. Perfect for sharpening chains on the go.

Pros

  • Lightweight, making it easy to carry and perfect for on the go.
  • Made of quality material, thus durable.
  • Simple and easy to use.
  • It comes at a decent price.

Cons

  • The instructions provided prove inadequate but Stihl have a good guide on Youtube you can view by clicking here.

Our recommendation

The Stihl Manual Chainsaw Sharpener is attainable when you need a sharpener that can be used on the go. The handheld kit can only manage to serve a limited number of chains so be sure to check your chain size first to ensure you buy the right set.

It comes with the features that you need to sharpen chains easily, the instructions need improving but the quality of the files is much better than most other cheaper alternatives we have seen. Another great set from Stihl.

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5. Oregon Chainsaw Sharpening Kit and Pouch

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OREGON 4.0mm (5/32-Inch) Chain Sharpening and Bar Maintenance Kit for 1/4-Inch, 3/8-Inch Low Profile Chainsaw Chain (558488)

The Oregon 5/32″ 4.0mm Chainsaw Sharpening Kit and Pouch is designed to cater to all chains that fall under the .325 type. This kit has been created using durable materials to ensure that they last longer and it includes everything you need for bar and chain maintenance while out in the field. The tools are encased in a red pouch that is hard to miss, especially if you are outdoors using your chainsaw. You can even attach it to your belt if you need it close by for work. The kit comes with a 4mm round file, wooden handle, flat file, a bar groove cleaner and a depth gauge. As stated the sharpener is appropriate for 1/4″ and 3/8″ pitch chains.

Pros

  • Perfect for chains and bar maintenance in the field.
  • Light and easy to move around.
  • Comes with a belt attachment for faster access.
  • Supplied with a groove cleaner.
  • Well designed, durable and very affordable.

Cons

  • Lacks a guide control to get the best angle.

Our recommendation

You get what you pay for with the Oregon Chainsaw Sharpening Kit. It is cost-effective and is great for using on the move. The kit will help you service specific types of chains making it limited in some instances. It is also good for bar maintenance as well as the chain itself.

We would recommend this to those who require a maintenance set to use on the move and out in the field, you have everything you need in one little pouch. Overall, we think the best option is to invest in an electric model and use this as a second sharpener to take out on the job.

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Final Conclusion

You have options as to the method to use when sharpening your chainsaw chains. If you have the funds and you need fast sharpening, electric models work wonders and are very easy to use and much faster than using a manual sharpener. If you have light work to attend to, the handheld models will also be helpful. Either way, just ensure that the quality of the product is not compromised.

Reading user reviews is a good way of gaining insight into the product you are about to purchase. Know what kind of chain the chainsaw model you have uses to make it easier in acquiring the right one. We hope you have identified the kind of chainsaw sharpener you want. 

BEST PICK


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Last update on 2021-09-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Welcome to my site, my name is John and I have been lucky enough to work in horticultural nurseries for over 15 years in the UK. As the founder and editor as well as researcher, I have a City & Guilds Horticultural Qualifications which I proudly display on our About us page. I now work full time on this website where I review the very best gardening products and tools and write reliable gardening guides. Behind this site is an actual real person who has worked and has experience with the types of products we review as well as years of knowledge on the topics we cover from actual experience. You can reach out to me at john@pyracantha.co.uk

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