How Often Should I Sharpen My Chainsaw

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A chainsaw chain getting blunt after a few uses is inevitable. Even the costliest and most premium chainsaws end up losing their sharpness at some point, which eventually leads to a loss in performance. It brings up the question, how often should I sharpen my chainsaw? Carry on reading, and you’ll get the answer that’ll help you get your chainsaw working properly again, while also saving you money in the process. 

When do you know that you have to sharpen your chainsaw chain?

There isn’t a fixed time interval or time limit in which you need to sharpen your chainsaw chain. Deciding the time in which you sharpen your chainsaw chain will depend on the quality of the chain and how often you’re using it.

Another deciding factor would be the type of wood you’re cutting. Once you notice that the chainsaw doesn’t cut as well as it used to, or you need to put extra force to cut something, it is the hint needed for sharpening the chainsaw chain. Each time you use the chainsaw, remember to check the condition of your chainsaw. Notice if it is blunt or if the teeth are missing from the blade.

Look at your chainsaw’s life expectancy

It is essential to keep checking the life expectancy of your chainsaw, as it’ll determine how often you’ll need to sharpen your chainsaw. Pay close attention to how often you’re cutting or pruning and how well your chainsaw operates each time you use it. 

In a lot of cases, the chainsaw manufacturers will provide you with the guidelines and the number of times you’ll be able to sharpen your chainsaw. However, the sharpening rate is dependent on two main factors – how your chainsaw wears/tears and the amount of metal you have to remove each time after sharpening.

How often do you need to sharpen the chainsaw?

A general rule of thumb here is that it would be smart to sharpen the chainsaw once you notice that it isn’t cutting as well as it used to. Another way would be to look at the sawdust and notice if there are any small chunks lying around, as it would be the biggest hint that the chain is getting blunt. Large chunks will indicate a sharp chain. For extending the life of the chain, you’ll need to try and avoid actions that make your chainsaw blunt or even damage it.

Here are some of the potential reasons your chainsaw needs to be sharpened again –

In case you hit something

When cutting trees or logs, you might hit a hard object like a rock or a metal, and they can damage your chainsaw and reduce its sharpness. Further, the tree could have nails embedded in the wood, and it might damage your chainsaw. If you find yourself hitting any of these objects when cutting trees or branches, you must sharpen the chainsaw immediately.

Poor storage

Poor storage of the chainsaw, especially in wet or moist conditions, will affect the sharpness of your chainsaw and its performance. This is the case as the chainsaw gradually rusts, making it hard for the chainsaw to cut anything. For avoiding such problems, you can lubricate and oil the chainsaw frequently and store it in a dry place.

If the chainsaw is dull

If you’re using the chainsaw and realizing that it isn’t operating as you expect it to, and you need to apply extra force when cutting a tree or log, then it is probably time to sharpen it.  Applying additional force or difficulty in cutting will be a sign that the chainsaw needs sharpening or replacing. You can sharpen it by using the methods mentioned later in the guide.

man putting chainsaw chain in bar

How many times can you sharpen the chainsaw?

While many people wonder how often should I sharpen my chainsaw chain, another common question that accompanies it is how many times can I sharpen the chainsaw? 

The simple answer to that is – you can sharpen your chainsaw around 5-10 times, in some cases more, before you have to replace the entire chain. It is dependent on two things – the amount of wear and tear on the chainsaw and the amount of metal removed after sharpening it. Moreover, different materials will have a different level of impact on the chainsaw chain. The number of times you’ll be able to sharpen the chainsaw will depend on how you use it. 

For instance, if you hit a rock or your chain snaps or breaks, you may not be able to fix it by sharpening it. Moreover, if you’re sharpening the chainsaw chain and end up removing 60% of the metal, it means you’ll only be able to sharpen the remaining 40% of the metal before you have to get a new chain.

It isn’t a specific number, although your manufacturer will have a recommended number on how many times you can sharpen your chainsaw. Of course, once you’ve exhausted the maximum number of times you can sharpen it and replace the chain, there will always be the fun adventure of exploring the market to buy a new chainsaw.

How to sharpen your chainsaw?

There are many methods that you can use to sharpen your chainsaw. It would be smart to find out about the different options and then decide which option will help you sharpen the chainsaw quickly. Before you settle for a sharpening tool, you should find out how complicated it’ll be to use and if you can operate the tool without having to contact a professional.

In case the tool is easy to operate, it’ll give you the confidence you need, especially if this is your first time sharpening the chainsaw. Also, make sure that you’re wearing the necessary safety equipment before sharpening the chainsaw.

Now back to the different ways to sharpen your chainsaw. Some of the most common methods include –

Using a file

Using this small yet handy tool will allow you to sharpen the chainsaw easily while helping you ensure that your chainsaw is capable and sharp enough to cut or prune like it used to.

Before you use the file, mount it on the sharpening guide, as it’ll help you get accurate and consistent results. This is the case because the sharpening guide will offer a flat surface where you can rest the file and control how deep your file can go when sharpening the chainsaw. You should go for a file whose diameter matches perfectly your chainsaw’s teeth for the file to sharpen your chainsaw properly.

professional logger sharpening chainsaw

Electric sharpeners

These nifty gadgets are powered by electricity, and you’ll need to keep them plugged into a power source or use batteries. Although you can have the sharpeners attached to the wall or a table, there are some models that are portable. If you’re looking for something that will help you remain in total control while helping you with the sharpening, then a handheld electric sharpener will be the perfect option for you.

The right way of using a chainsaw sharpener is if it is mounted on the bench or a wall. In case you have a working bench, you can simply find a sharpener that you can mount for making the work easy.


Using a grinder might work like a charm, but it is far more complicated to use than a file guide. While a grinder can remove the metal, if you’re not careful, you might overdo it and end up having to replace the chainsaw. The grinder will reduce the longevity of the chainsaw, as it’ll take off more metal as compared to a file. It would be best to go for this option after using the file guide for several sharpening sessions to the point a file doesn’t help.

Professionals often use grinders for removing the imperfections from the chainsaw, so you should try to make sure that the grinder isn’t used regularly to sharpen the chainsaw.

Chainsaw Tips & Tricks - When Is It Time To Sharpen The Chain?


A proper, well-maintained chainsaw will easily last for more than five years, or as long as you’re learning the right ways to take care of it. How often you need to sharpen your chainsaw will depend on the way you use your chainsaw and how you maintain it. Regardless of the tools you have in your toolkit for your cutting and pruning needs, keeping a chainsaw chain functioning properly is necessary.

With enough know-how of using a chainsaw, you’ll be able to estimate the number of times you can sharpen it. However, there is also the issue of sharpening without removing too much metal from your chainsaw, as this is something that can happen when you try to sharpen too much and end up removing excess metal.

You should look at the material you’re cutting and how fast your chainsaw chain ends up becoming blunt. The first time your chainsaw becomes dull will be a good enough timeframe to know how frequently you’ll need to sharpen your chainsaw. If your chainsaw is in excellent condition, and you maintain it well, you’ll be able to sharpen your chainsaw for many years before having to replace the chainsaw.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.