Best Chainsaw Sharpener in 2018: Our Top Choices Compared

Anyone who uses a chainsaw regularly doesn’t need to be told that the sharper your chain, the better your chainsaw will cut. If you make your living with a chainsaw, you also know that an automatic chainsaw sharpener is going to be a wise investment that will help you get more for your money out of your chainsaw over the course of its natural lifespan.

Which automatic chainsaw sharpener is the best?

Check out our reviews of the top automatic chainsaw sharpeners, and we’ll give you our professional opinion as to which one is the best for the money.

8 Best Chainsaw Sharpener - Reviews 

1. Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder

Let’s start off with a look at the Oregon 520-120 Bench Saw Chain Grinder. If you have multiple chainsaws and chains to keep in top working condition, this is the machine to help you do it. Designed to be bench mounted on a work table or tool bench, the Oregon 520-120 lets you handle every stage of chain sharpening and maintenance in a single workstation.

It can handle sharpening any chainsaw blade, including ¼-inch, ⅜-inch low profile, and 0.325-inch, full profile ⅜-inch, and .404-inch pitch chain as well. The integrated chain vice is self-centering, allowing you to set your dull chain in place, lock it down, and start putting fresh edges on the teeth in seconds. The 520-120 also has a built in dressing brick for smoothing out minor sharpening jobs and finishing extensive ones, and a quick-check grinding template to help you evaluate how much sharpening is needed for your chain.

You also get three grinding wheels that allow you to sharpen any type of chainsaw blade. Put the right grinder wheel on, dial in the correct settings using the locking top plate and down angle control settings and you’re ready to go. This saw chain grinder is built for high volume sharpening work, and saves you time and money both in the field and around the shop. Tree surgeons, independent timber workers, and major logging operations stand to benefit most from this fast and effective chainsaw sharpener.

What we liked

  • All-in-one chainsaw sharpener that can be used to sharpen almost any kind of chain
  • Locking chain vice holds your chain secure while you sharpen
  • Grinding angle templates make fast, accurate sharpening possible

What we didn't like

  • Not a cost effective option for those who don’t maintain multiple chainsaws
  • Requires 120V AC to run, so it can’t be used in the field unless it is bench mounted on a truck with a power inverter
  • Steep learning curve for those not familiar with how to sharpen chainsaw blades

2. CO-Z Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

Next up we have the CO-Z Electric Chainsaw Sharpener, another bench mount sharpener built to handle high volume chainsaw maintenance. CO-Z built a lot of customization into their sharpener, and it’s among the most versatile chainsaw sharpeners in its class. The grinding angle of the CO-Z ranges from 0-30 degrees with the motor capable of a 0-70 degree angle range. Regardless of what type of chain you need to sharpen, the CO-Z can handle the job.

To sharpen the blades on a saw chain, just lay the chain across the vice with the blades facing up and lock it into place. Turn the guide plate adjustment knob to set up the correct sharpening angle, fire up the machine and start putting a fresh edge on the chain blades. The operation process is simplified enough that anyone can learn to sharpen saw chains quickly and safely with a minimal amount of training and practice.

Additionally, the CO-Z has a built in work light so you can inspect your handiwork during the sharpening process. There is also a grinding wheel enclosure that slides into place as you bring the wheel down to the blade, sheltering the user from flying filings and sparks that are thrown during the sharpening process.

The wheel guard also keeps loose clothing or other objects from becoming caught in the wheel during operation, making this sharpener much safer to operate. There are also two grinding wheels included, and the sharpener can easily be configured to handle just about any blade type on most commercially available and industrial grade chainsaws. The CO-Z Chainsaw Sharpener is perfect for busy timber and trimming operations that need to keep multiple saws sharp on a regular basis, or individuals that want to be able to put a fresh edge on the saw chain teeth with just a few minutes work.

What we liked

  • Quickly and efficiently sharpens any type of saw chain blades
  • Integrated worklight makes it easier to inspect your work as you go
  • Sliding grinder guard protects user from flying filings and sparks and prevents outside objects from snagging or catching on the grinding wheel during operation

What we didn't like

  • Built to be bench mounted in a workshop rather than used in the field
  • Grinding wheel guard must be cleaned out regularly since it traps a lot of filings
  • No built-in grinding templates, so you must manually configure your grinding angle for the type of chain you are sharpening

3. Timber Tuff CS-BWM Benchtop Sharpener

Easily one of the most popular chainsaw sharpeners on the market, the Timber Tuff CS-BWM can be either bench mounted or wall mounted in your workshop for fast and accurate sharpening jobs. This particular chainsaw sharpener is built for heavy use, and both the frame and all operational components are engineered and built using professional grade materials. Timber Tuff is a well known name among anyone who works in the timber industry, and their reputation for longevity and durability under the most extreme conditions and heavy use is well documented.

The CS-BWM includes three interchangeable grinding wheels, providing you with the versatility sharpen any kind of saw chain that could be brought into your shop at any given time. The integrated chain vice makes it easy to set and lock down any size chain for sharpening, and both the rotating table and and the grinding wheel arm can be angled and locked into place for safe, secure sharpening.

Additionally, the plastic blade grinder guard swings into place to protect the operator from flying sparks and tiny filings ground away from the saw chains teeth. More importantly, it also prevents outside interference from loose clothing or other objects that can become caught in the wheel during operation. Not only is this sharpener and easy dial-in-and-drop machine, but it is also one of the safest chainsaw sharpeners commercially available.

All in all, the best characteristics of the Timber Tuff CS-BWM are its heavy duty construction, versatility in what kinds of saw chains it can sharpen, simplicity of design and durability even with heavy use. Countless veterans of the timber industry swear by Timber Tuff and its power tools, and the CS-BWM is a standout performer when it comes to keeping your chainsaws in top operating condition. 

What we liked

  • Simple design and tough-as-nails materials and construction
  • Includes three grinding wheels for maximum versatility
  • Integrated worklight and automatic safety guard provide the safest possible operating conditions

What we didn't like

  • Unit is not designed to be portable and is heavy due to high end construction materials
  • Functions better when wall mounted as opposed to bench/table mounting
  • No integrated grinding template guides

4. Oregon 30846 12-Volt Chain Saw Sharpener

When you work out in timber country all day, sometimes your saw chain needs sharpening up before you can take it back to the shop or timber camp. For those occasions, Oregon makes the 30846 12-Volt Sure Sharp Chainsaw Sharpener. This compact little chainsaw sharpener can help you put a fresh edge on those saw chain teeth in no time, and it can be run off of a 12-volt car or truck battery with the included terminal clamp kit.

As portable chainsaw sharpeners go, this is definitely one of the best you can buy. It performs well under harsh conditions even after extended use, and it includes two sharpening stones in the box so you can keep your saw teeth sharp with minimal effort and down time. The blade guide is adjustable to accommodate most types of blades, and you can quickly and easily put a fresh edge on your chainsaw blades and get right back to work.

With the 30846, all you need to do is release your chain from your saw, take it over by your vehicle, and clamp the 12-volt terminals correctly. Adjust the blade guide, hit the power switch, and grind away. No fuss, no fidgeting with controls, just a freshly sharpened set of saw teeth with minimal effort.

While this portable sharpener may not have the power or versatility of a bench mounted or wall mounted unit, it does save a tremendous amount of time when you are on the job and your saw starts to perform poorly because the blades are dull. If anything, this sharpener is a must-have for your truck/jobsite toolbox so you can keep working without interruption. 

What we liked

  • Portable chainsaw sharpener that can be run off of a 12-volt car or truck battery
  • Adjustable blade guide for fast, easy sharpening on most saw chain blades
  • Includes extra sharpening stones to get you back on the job faster

What we didn't like

  • Not nearly as powerful or versatile as a AC powered bench/wall mounted unit
  • Blade guide doesn’t work with every type of chainsaw blades
  • Cannot be run on AC current without an inverter

5. STIHL 2 IN 1 EASY FILE CHAIN SHARPENER

Sometimes, the old ways are still the best ways when it comes to maintaining your tools. This sharpener from Stihl requires no power source: pull it out of your tool belt, drop the chain off the saw, and start working the blades with this hand sharpener. 

It is more time consuming than portable electric sharpeners or bench grinders, but it still gets the job done effectively. The tungsten carbide files make quick sharpening rotations easy, and it can be used with any type of chainsaw teeth regardless of angle or depth.

It’s important to manage your expectations when it comes to manual chainsaw sharpening solutions like this one. After all, it doesn’t require electricity or a vehicle adapter, it’s lightweight, and it can easily be carried with you on the job. It’s a great product for what it is, but don’t forget that there are some limitations you are going to have to accept as a trade off for portability

What we liked

  • Requires no power to use
  • Allows complete control over the sharpening angle to work with any type of chainsaw teeth
  • Fits easily into your pocket or toolbelt while you are on the job

What we didn't like

  • Manual sharpening is extremely time consuming
  • Takes a lot of practice to get the angle just right when sharpening blades
  • Hard on your hands and joints if you only sharpen manually

6. Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chain Sharpener

No frills, just functional. That seems to be the ideal behind the design of Buffalo Tools ECSS Electric Chainsaw Sharpener. It has a built in wheel guard to keep clothing and other foreign objects out of the grinding mechanism. Use the rotating table to set your angle, vice clamp the chain in place, and you’re ready to go. No fuss, no muss, just a sharp chainsaw chain ready to get back to work.

Not only is this unit lightweight and easy to use, but it can be mounted to a shop vice clamp, workbench, wall, or table quickly and easily with the included hardware. It also runs off of 120-volt power, so you don’t need to run a special outlet just to operate it. Most popular chain designs work flawlessly, and the grinding wheel can easily be adjusted using the built in presets so you can spend more time sharpening and less time setting up your sharpener.

This sharpener is best for the individual user who doesn’t have a high volume of chain saws to keep sharp, but also doesn’t want to spend time manually sharpening their chainsaw blades or paying someone else to do it for them. It’s compact size and easy to use design definitely lend themselves towards low volume sharpeners who just need to sharpen up a blade occasionally. Provided you set your expectations accordingly, this sharpener is a standout performer that offers an excellent cost to value ratio. 

What we liked

  • Compact, easy-to-use, and effective for low-volume sharpening use
  • Presets make setting up your sharpener as quick and easy as turning a dial
  • Chain vise locks into place to ensure a stable sharpening surface

What we didn't like

  • Looks and feels cheaply made (you do get what you pay for)
  • Lots of plastic in the construction, not nearly enough high-durability metal
  • Only includes one grinding wheel

Also Read: Best Chainsaw Mill

7. Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener

When there’s no power for miles and it’s a long walk a back to your vehicle, sometimes you need a good quality chainsaw sharpener that doesn’t require extensive time spent hand filing each blade individually. For those jobs, Timberline has their latch-on, hand-crank chainsaw sharpener. You don’t even need to drop the chain from the saw: all you have to do is use the three position vice clamp, lock it onto the chainsaw’s main “blade”, let the chain run free, and turn the hand crank to move the teeth through the sharpener.

No additional gear is necessary, just turn the vice grips til the sharpener fits snugly, and the sharpener does the rest of the work. Every tooth on the chain is sharpened to the same exact angle and length, and all with just a few quick turns of the handle. Timberline even includes a sturdy carrying case so you can keep it clean and dry in your toolbag or hang it off your belt when you are out on the job.

This sharpener is far from an ideal solution as far as keeping multiple saws in shape, but if you are looking for a professional grade sharpener that is field portable and as easy to carry as a file, this is the chainsaw sharpener for you. No other portable solution solution works as well as this unit does with only manual operation.

Instruction about Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener by -TimberlineSharpener

Sure, it can be a little tiring to turn the crank, but it beats trying to cut with a dull chainsaw or waiting until you can trek back to camp or your shop to sharpen up your blade. Definitely consider the Timberline Chainsaw Sharpener for your on the job toolkit or tool belt, as it is a major time saver that can keep you hard at work longer with fewer maintenance interruptions.

What we liked

  • Requires no electricity or mobile power source of any kind
  • Does not require you to remove the chain from your saw for sharpening
  • Hand cranked operation ensures even, professional sharpening on every saw tooth

What we didn't like

  • Turning the crank enough to sharpen all of the blades is not for the weak
  • Not intended for high volume use, just field use when you don’t have access to an electric sharpener
  • Takes some time to set up correctly for smooth operation

8. Oregon 511AX Saw Bench Grinder/Sharpener

If you are running a timber cutting or logging operation, this is the chainsaw sharpener you need in the shop or at the camp running on a generator. With its 285-watt motor and 3400 RPM direct drive motor, this baby can take on some serious extended sharpening sessions without so much as batting an eye. No matter what type of chain you need sharpened, this is the grinder to do it.

Drop your chain into the vice, lock it in the with the comfortable extra large vice control, and dial in the appropriate angle on the controls. Once you have your numbers locked in, just drop the grinder arm and start putting fresh edges on all the saw teeth. The sliding wheel guard keeps foreign objects and debris out, and protects you from sparks and filings that tend to go flying as you sharpen up the saw blades. You also get three grinding wheels of varying widths (¼-inch, ⅛-inch, 3/16-inch) that can be swapped out to work with different angle and pitch sawteeth for industrial grade chainsaw chains.

All in all, if you need a chain saw sharpener that can handle the workload of an industrial timber operation, the Oregon 511AX is going to be the best grinder for your outfit. It has the power, precision, and versatility to make every sharpening job fast and easy, and you can keep worker downtime to a minimum while maintaining your chainsaws in optimal condition, too. This isn’t the best choice for anyone looking for a starter chainsaw sharpener, but it definitely performs more than adequately in a professional setting. Anything else, this baby is going to be overkill.

What we liked

  • Precise easy-to-use controls for sharpening any type of chainsaw chain
  • Enhanced safety features for use in a professional workshop setting
  • Built to handle high volumes of sharpening in an industrial environment where many chains require frequent sharpening

What we didn't like

  • Bench or table mount only, as this unit is too heavy to be hauled out into the field and run on a power inverter or small portable generator
  • Definitely for advanced users who are familiar with using grinder wheel chainsaw sharpeners
  • Vice and grinding guide do not have angle templates (a feature useful for beginners unfamiliar with chainsaw sharpeners)

Final Verdict

When you go to buy a chainsaw sharpener for your workshop or garage, you probably want to start by checking out the Timber Tuff CS-BWM. From our individual research, no other chainsaw sharpener offers as much for your money as the Timber Tuff. It can handle just about any kind of chainsaw chain, it can be mounted to a bench or a wall and it is extremely easy to use even for beginners.

Furthermore, since it is backed by Timber Tuff (one of the biggest names in the timber and logging industry), you know that it is built to last for years to come. Best of all, the CS-BWM also offers an excellent balance between features, ease of use, and durability. Anyone can easily sharpen their own chainsaws with minimal effort, and get consistent results every time. Get yourself or your work crew a Timber Tuff CS-BWM, and make dull, malfunctioning chainsaws a thing of the past.

Recommended Resources

Sean J. Stone
 

Sean has been a woodworking enthusiast for 8 years, and in that time has written huge resources on woodworking and tools.

>