Being blunt never works unless you want to mess things up. It’s even more true when it comes to blunt blades. How many times did you get set back in your working routine because you forgot to sharpen your blade? Too many times.
Now, imagine your chainsaw chain is blunt. You’re only an accident away from either messing up your project or hurting yourself.
There are chainsaw files that could put you at ease. However, with loads of options in your face, how would you pick the best chainsaw file?
Well, you could read what other people are saying about it, especially the experts. In this article, I’ll give my two cents on the available chainsaw files in the market. And I have my favourites which I’ll mention later.
10 Best Chainsaw Files Review
Here are my top 10 products. Who knows! Maybe one of these could be sharpening your blade by this time next week. So, keep notes of the pros & cons.
1. Pferd 17300 Chain Saw Sharpener CS-X
This chainsaw file from Pferd is one of my two favorite saw sharpeners on this list. Not saying that the other ones are bad, but this one and the Stihl sharpener below have an edge or two over them. Okay, so what’s the deal?
Well, ever since people have been filing their saws, whether manual or mechanical, they needed a way to file that didn’t have a learning curve. Maybe I’ve found that one, or did I?
This chainsaw is an all-in-one solution. The package includes 1x chain depth file and 2x chain line file. But that’s common with many brands these days. It’s the application that felt astonishing. Unlike most other sharpeners, you don’t need to change and replace your saws for filing different parts of the chain cutter.
It’s a two-handed design with two handles on each end of it. Using both hands, it felt the saw chain got sharpened much quicker than a one-handed one. I guess that’s logical, no?
Every tool will be in the sharpener, you’ll just take one out and push it in. It’s that simple.
- All-in-one solution
- Includes chain depth file and chain line file
- No need for conversion
- Makes sharpening faster
- No need for expertise
- Costlier than regular files
- Only one sized file
It’s one of the best chainsaw files out there, at least it is for me. The fast sharpening, as well as the ease of use, makes it a no-brainer in my book.
2. Stihl 2 IN 1 EASY FILE CHAINSAW CHAIN SHARPENER
In the 2nd position, we have the famous Stihl brand that made its name in the chainsaw industry. Compared to Pferd, it has a bigger footprint. As far as I know, Stihl was one of the pioneers of this two-handed design. And it’s still one of the best chainsaw files available.
One advantage it has is the handles. The Stihl’s handles, I feel, are better than Pferd. It’s the texture as well as its ergonomic curve.
It was made for the dummies like me. I always felt using those one-handed sharpeners was hard. You only get better with time. You do need to get used to it, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that it doesn’t take much time to get good at it. Just take it out, and file.
This one is a file for a 0.325″ chain which is also denoted by 3/16. So make sure that your chain fits the size.
The included parts are the chain depth file and two of the chain line file. First-time users will appreciate the etched lines on the files. It helps to keep the correct alignment.
It has a a bit high price point, but it is a value product thanks to its efficiency.
- Allows to sharpen both sides of the chain consecutively without conversion
- Includes the depth file
- Good value per dollar
- Sharpening becomes faster
- Easy to use
- Good for those who prefer two-handed files
- Contains only a single size
The two-handed design alone makes it my top pick. Yes, it only has one size round file, which has simple workarounds.
3. Katzco Chainsaw Sharpener Wood Handle File Kit
There are two reasons why someone wouldn’t go for the previous two files. One, they prefer the old design, and two, they need a few more sizes of files in their kit.
Both are valid reasons. Maybe Katzo’s chainsaw file kit is what you’re looking for.
It comes with the ever classic wooden handle equipped with a hole for the sharpener. You take out one and insert the other as much as you need, and the spot doesn’t seem to become loose or whatsoever.
This is for those who want a one-handed design and loves the slow sharpening procedure. And that’s not me. And the learning curve is also there.
However, unlike the Stihl chainsaw file, this one comes with three files of different sizes. This one advantage makes me want to keep one of these with me.
The sizes are 5/32, 3/16, and 7/32 inches. And don’t forget the 6-inch flat file for fixing up the cutter depth.
- Old school controlled sharpening
- Three file sizes
- Ergonomic handle
- Includes a flat file
- Reasonably priced
- Slow sharpening
- Requires expertise to file properly
The fact that this pack features all the common tools you need, including a file guide and several files, is noteworthy. For me, that makes it a complete chainsaw file kit and guide solution.
4. Oregon 25896 Chainsaw Chain File Guide with File
If you’re someone who wants the one-handed option but only needs a single file for a specific size, you can take a look at this pack from Oregon. Oregon, as a brand, is right up there with the best, but it’s known for its variety of offerings and affordable price. This pack comes with a file guide as well, which has its benefits.
As far as I could tell, the file’s handle is no different than a handle from Husqvarna or others. It has good ergonomics and should provide you with enough ease as you sharpen — nothing extraordinary to see here.
The pack includes a round file only to sharpen the teeth of the chain cutter. There is no flat file to sharpen the top edge like it comes with Stihl or Pferd. If you have a full-chisel saw chain, you’re going to have to buy a separate flat file for it.
Thanks to the file guide, there is no need for guesswork. It seemed very useful to keep my hand in line, and the etched angled lines also helped.
- Easy on the money
- Comes with a file guide
- You don’t need to do any guesswork
- Ergonomic wood handle
- No flat file
It’s a budget tool for a specific chainsaw chain size. It works well, and you can get it at a low price. All of it makes it a good buy for the right purpose.
5. Backridge Tough Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
You got to love the competition. Katzco’s file saw kit isn’t the only one offering so much in a pack.
And I feel this is a much better option than the previous one from Oregon if you’re willing to pay a bit more. However, this is a perspective of a professional who works with various wood types and different chainsaw chains. This total-solution-pack from Backridge Tough gets full marks from me.
So, what’s in the pack? Get your pen and paper. You want to write this down. The pack includes three different files with sizes of 5/32, 3/16, 7/32 Inches. These are round files to sharpen the teeth of the cutter.
It doesn’t end there. You’ll also be getting a flat chainsaw file to take care of the sharp top edge. Full-chisel cutters do need some attention.
If you’re one of those people who just can’t keep their file at the right angle, they’re providing you with a saw file guide with marking to keep you in line.
- File guide
- Both flat and round files
- Three round files
- Easy to use
- One-handed slow sharpening
What’s to complain about this chainsaw file kit and guide, especially for the price. If you can do with one-handed sharpening, this is one of the best chainsaw files around.
6. MIZOOVA 10 Piece Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
There is no end to it, it seems. With loads of file kits available, making a decision is only going to get tough. Here’s another option from Mizoova. It has a large number of goodies in the pack compared to most competitors. And who doesn’t love extra stuff?
To be frank, there’s not a whole lot of difference in terms of the product’s build quality. They are all made to the standards of the industry. So the part that makes the difference is the number of features each brand is offering and who gets to the heart of the customer.
Mizoova seems to be catching the hints better as they’re providing a depth gauge and a bar groove cleaner. These two tools can make life a whole lot easier.
Then, there are the usual tools such as round files, a flat-file, and a polished wooden handle. There is not one, not two, but three round files with three common sizes; 5/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″. The flat file is 6-inch.
- Value per dollar
- Three different round file sizes
- Flat file
- Includes a depth gauge and a bar groove cleaner
- Hardwood handle
- It’s the slow-sharpening for me(many people love it, though)
If you’re looking for a complete set of tools to cater to your long chainsaw needs, Mizoova’s chainsaw file kit is certainly a good spend.
7. Cataumet Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
Here’s something to turn your head around. If you thought Mizoova’s package was large, this one from Cataumet is even larger. The Cataumet chainsaw sharpener file kit is for everyone from professionals to amateurs.
It has some uncommon tools. You have a Stump Vise, a Felling Wedge, a Wrench in the kit.
For basic tools, it’s the same compared to other products of the same category. It’s the usual round files of three sizes, a flat file,
The 3 round files are; 5/32″, 3/16″, 7/32″. You’ll have three filing guides to use with those. Because of that, I didn’t have to replace my round files for sharpening different chains. That’s a unique one.
There’s a depth gauge as well to keep check of cutter depth. A bit too deep or too shallow will be bad for business. And then the carrying bag. It was big enough to carry a lot of my small, one-handed tools.
- A large bag
- Both round and flat file
- Not expensive
- Includes a stump vise and a wrench
- Overkill and unnecessary for most people
You could argue that it includes some unnecessary tools for most people barring the professionals. And I agree. But, those who want it can have it at a good price.
8. Husqvarna 531300081 3/8-Inch Saw Chain Filing Kit
Husqvarna makes good quality chainsaws and related tools. There’s no argument about it. Even though I’m not a fan of the value-per-dollar on this filing kit, it had to be mentioned on this list. The package is simple, yet it has the tools you would normally need for small-scale tasks.
The Husqvarna chainsaw file kit includes two round files of the same size (7/32″). This chainsaw file is suited to a chain cutter with ⅜” pitch. It’s a file for a specific size. So, do your homework before.
It has an ergonomic handle that seems to be made of plastic. Although it’s durable, I expected Husqvarna to deliver at least a wooden handle like the other guys are doing.
There’s always a learning curve with one-handed chainsaw files. But surprisingly, this one’s much better at it.
Then, a combination filing gauge also works as a guide to the correct filing angle. It takes out the guesswork.
- Top-notch build quality
- Two same-sized round files
- Combination filing gauge and guide
- Ergonomic handle
- Ease of use
- Comparatively pricey
- Plastic handle
Husqvarna is right up there in terms of quality manufacturing and design, no doubt about it. However, sometimes even the brand value doesn’t justify the price as it’s in this case if you bring other packages into the equation.
9. JINFENG Chainsaw Sharpener File Kit
Here’s another bang for the buck. Unlike the Cataumet, this one is all about basic tools. But there’s lots of it in this kit from JINFENG. They did cut some corners with some of the features to achieve a low price point.
In the package, there are three round files similar to the ones you’ve seen above. Those are 5/32″,3/16″,7/32″. Then you have a flat file for cleaning out the depth and the top edge of the cutter.
They cut costs on the handle by using plastic instead of hardwood. Was that a wise decision? I reckon it won’t hurt since it’s a well-made, durable, and ergonomic handle nonetheless.
Furthermore, you’re getting a bar groove cleaner and a depth gauge. These will help to get a perfect depth.
I think the file guide in this kit is better due to its detailed angles and directions. Anyone can file with it from the get-go.
- Includes three round file sizes
- Flat file
- Depth gauge and cleaner
- Better detailed file guide
- Reasonably priced
- Plastic handle will become worse day by day
Verdict: I don’t recommend it only because of the plastic handle. It’s just not enough for something that’ll be used frequently. Otherwise, it’s a good option.
10. MTP Tm Pack of 5 5/32″ Diamond Chainsaw Sharpener Burr Stone File
I’m ending with a completely different set of chainsaw sharpeners. It’s a unique one on this list. You might be hearing about this pack for the first time. So, think about it before diving into a decision.
It’s different from all angles. I’ve used diamond cutters for other tasks but never on a chainsaw chain. The Diamond Burr stone is a much quicker method to achieve a perfectly sharpened chain.
These stone files are for 5/32″ chains, and they leave a rounded edge. And these can cut very slowly if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Don’t forget to use coolant such as water or something else when filing. It’ll keep both the chain and file long-lasting. It has a grit level of 120-150.
Without proper use, you might be seeing a blunt diamond burr stone with zero grit only after two sharpening sessions. If that happens, well, you aren’t also spending a lot.
Unlike the one-handed or two-handed files, you can attach these burr stones on a DREMEL tool and sharpen chains faster.
- Unique design
- Doesn’t cost a lot
- Can be used both manually or with a DREMEL tool
- 5 burr stone files
- 3x longer lifespan than normal stones
- Loses grit quickly
- Takes a long time to get things done
It’s not pricey, and it can work well for the right person. So, it doesn’t seem logical to recommend it to everyone. Only buy this if you understand the implications otherwise get the regular style.
Things to Check Before Getting One
Chainsaw files are more precious than you think. People seem to be very lax about choosing this tool, and I’ve seen how it can be a cause of regret.
A few things need to match up between the chainsaw, chainsaw file, and the user, i.e., you! Someone’s best option might be another’s worst. It’s all about suitability.
Let’s understand how it works and what you need to look for.
Your Chainsaw’s Cutter Type
Chainsaw’s cutter refers to the teeth of your chainsaw chain. It’s the part responsible for cutting wood.
The type and size of your chainsaw file largely depend on your cutter type.
What Are the Cutter Types and How to Recognize Them?
Here’s a brief discussion on cutter types:
- Round cutter
This one is the easiest to file and sharpen amongst the three.
The main feature of a round cutter is its versatility in woodworking. I could cut and design every type of wood in my collection without causing much distress to the chainsaw and its chain.
It handles roughness and dust better due to the rounded top-side and a round grind. The fact that it doesn’t lose the sharp edge as easily makes it a good choice.
However, it’s the slowest cutter of the three. So take from it what you will.
- Semi-Chisel Cutter
It’s the one between a round cutter and a full-chisel cutter. While harder to file than round cutters, it’s easier to file than full-chisel ones. It also falls in the middle regarding the cutting rate.
The semi-chisel cutter has a sharp and flat top-side with a round grind. This design gives it a share of the round cutter’s durability and versatility.
- Full-Chisel Cutter
This is the most aggressive type and also the hardest one to sharpen. Sharpening it requires meticulousness in choosing the file and filing with it.
Having a flat top-side and a sharp grind makes it the most aggressive and vulnerable one to lose the sharpness.
Size of Chainsaw files
An unsuitable size can damage your file! Here are the common chainsaw file sizes;
- 1/4-inch (4 mm)
- 325-inch (4.8 mm)
- 3/8-inch (5.2 mm)
- 404-inch (5.5 mm)
If you look at these sizes, you’ll realize the inches’ measurements don’t match the ones in millimeters.
That’s because they are for completely different parts. The measurement in inches indicates the diameter of the round file, and the millimeter measurements indicate the chain pitch.
There are adjustable sharpeners that can be used to file all sizes of chains. And specialty sharpeners that work specifically for a single chain pitch.
Another characteristic to remember is the chainsaw gauge. It’s to know the chainsaw’s length. Here are the common sizes;
Note: No matter the size, never file it under 0.25 inches.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Are Stihl Chainsaw files good?
There’s rarely a better option than Stihl when it comes to your chainsaw needs. However, it has competitors such as Husqvarna.
- What kind of file do you use to sharpen a chainsaw?
We use both round and flat files to sharpen our chainsaws. The round file is specifically well-suited to sharpen the top edge and the side. And the flat file will be used to sharpen and clear up the depth gauge as much as you need.
- What size file do I need for my chainsaw chain?
You can get help from the sizing chart mentioned in the buying guide above.
- What is the most common chainsaw file?
In terms of measurement, the most common chainsaw file is the one with a 0.50″ gauge. As for the brand, Stihl and Husqvarna take the cake.
- How many times can you grind a chainsaw chain?
There is no fixed number of times you can sharpen your chainsaw chain. It mostly depends on your usage rate and chain material quality. If you want me to put a number on it, then I’d say you can sharpen your chainsaw chain up to 10 times before it becomes completely unusable.
Remember, the performance will degrade as the chain loses material and becomes thinner.
That’s it. You have everything you need to understand chainsaw files and their varieties. Never go for the popular one thinking it’ll work best for you.
The best chainsaw file is the one that suits your chainsaw’s chain. If there is more than one type of chain, you’re going to need more than one type of chainsaw file as well.