Buying a Chainsaw Sharpener – a Guide

If you use your chainsaw a lot, buying a chainsaw sharpener might be worth considering. You can do a better job of sharpening with a chain sharpener – good enough to stop paying a shop to do it.

You’ll still want to develop the skill of sharpening your saw chain with a hand file, particularly if you do a lot of cutting out in the field. But if you do a lot of cutting, why pay a shop to sharpen your blades when you can do it yourself?

Are chainsaw sharpeners expensive?

Well, like most things, you can pay a lot. But there are some very reasonably priced sharpeners available that will do a quality job for you.

Here are some of the most popular sharpeners on, ordered from the lowest-priced to the most expensive:

Granberg Bar-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

granberg-bar-mount-chainsaw-sharpenerThis little sharpener is sort of a hybrid. It’s not a power sharpener, but it’s certainly a big step above just using a hand file. It clamps directly to the bar of your chainsaw, and provides precision guidance as you use a hand file to sharpen the cutters and adjust the depth gauge heights.

It can be used for all common chain saw pitches, but you must determine the proper size file (files must be purchased separately).

Although this tool is elbow grease powered, it actually offers a couple of advantages over power sharpeners. It’s portable, so you can take it wherever your chainsaw goes and do a quality job of sharpening in the field. And yes, the Granberg is slower than using a power sharpener, but you’ll have precise control over how much metal you’re removing at each sharpening. You’ll be less likely to remove excess metal than with a power sharpener, which could translate into a longer service life for your saw chains. (There’s also a battery powered version of the Granberg sharpener.)

At a price of only about $30 (click here to see current price), this is a great tool for anyone who owns a chainsaw. Its portability makes it worth having even if you also have a more expensive power sharpener.

CMT Industrial Bench-Mount Chainsaw Sharpener

cmt-industrial-bench-moun-sharpenerThis easy-to-operate power sharpener might just be a perfect compromise between price, performance and durability for a homeowner or weekender. It’s a bench-mounted sharpener that uses a 4500 RPM motor spinning an aluminum oxide wheel to make quick work of sharpening a chainsaw.

The CMT sharpener can be rotated up to a 35-degree angle left or right to accommodate the pitch of any chainsaw cutter. It’s priced at about $54.

Northern Industrial Chainsaw Sharpener

A versatile, durable chainsaw sharpener that you can mount on a bench or on the wall. It’s tough enough to stand up to years of hard use, but still priced low enough to be worth considering for just occasional use.

It can be adjusted to accommodate a chain pitch of from 1/4 inch to 3/4 inch. It comes with 3 grinding discs, sizes 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch and 1/4 inch. Also comes with an integrated lamp. Note: the chain must be removed from the saw.

This Northern Industrial sharpener is priced at about $130.

Oregon Bench-Mounted Hydraulically-Assisted Chainsaw Sharpener

Want to go whole hog? Then this might be the sharpener for you. This sharpener comes with 3 grinding discs, sizes 1/8 inch, 3/16 inch and 1/4 inch. It also includes a template for setting the cutter pitch and depth gauge height.

But what really sets this sharpener apart is the hydraulic assist that saves you from having to manually lock and unlock the vise every time you need to move to the next cutter. The chain vise locks automatically each time you lower the motor and grinding wheel, and automatically unlocks each time you raise them. Note: the chain must be removed from the saw.

You’ll be able to do a perfect job of sharpening your chain with amazing ease and speed. You’ll pay for the convenience, though. This Oregon sharpener is priced at about $415.