Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener Review


The Harbor Freight Chicago Electric Power Tools Electric Chain Saw Sharpener is a robust and versatile tool designed to keep your chainsaw cutting sharply and efficiently. After several years of use and having settled into a new home with a wood stove, I’ve had ample opportunity to put this sharpener through its paces, providing a detailed look at its performance, ease of use, and overall value.

Specifications of Harbor Freight Sharpener

  • Brand: Chicago Electric Power Tools
  • AC Volts: 120
  • Amperage: 8.5
  • Arbor Size: 7/8 in.
  • Certification: ETL, TUV
  • Max Speed: 5000 RPM
  • Product Size: 10″ L x 9″ W x 12-1/8″ H
  • Product Weight: 5.46 lbs
  • Shipping Weight: 6.50 lbs
  • Power Cord Length: 6 ft
  • CA Residents: Warning – Prop 65 Info

Versatile Mounting and Setup

Person introducing the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

This sharpener is highly flexible in terms of mounting options. It can be clamped to workbenches using C-clamps or mounted more permanently in a specific area of your workspace. I’ve installed mine in a dedicated ‘chainsaw area’, optimizing the space for regular use. This sharpener handles all chain designs and pitches with its adjustable chain vise, ensuring it can adapt to various types of chainsaws.

Ease of Use

Person trying the 35 degrees adjust of the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

The device features a table vise angle that can be adjusted 35 degrees to the right or left, accommodating different sharpening angles. The angle adjustment is straightforward—simply turn a knob under the device to set your preferred angle, typically around 30 degrees for standard chains, and tighten to secure.


Person trying the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener Brake

Equipped with a 4-1/4 inch by 1/8 inch grinding wheel that runs at a speedy 5000 RPM, this sharpener makes quick work of blunting chains. The built-in chain rotation rollers advance the links automatically, saving time and effort by moving the chain smoothly through the sharpener.

Practical Tips for Optimal Use

Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener on action sharpening chainsaw chain

It’s important to adjust the grinder carefully to avoid removing too much material from the chainsaw teeth. Mark the start of your sharpening with a sharpie or tape on the chain to keep track of your progress and ensure even sharpening. Make sure there’s enough room around the sharpener to allow for free movement—initially, I found that having it too close to the bench edge hindered the operation.

Safety and Maintenance

Safety is paramount, and wearing safety glasses is recommended to protect against flying metal filings. Regular maintenance of the sharpener and chainsaw blade, including adjusting the depth gauges (rakers) every two to three sharpenings, ensures long-lasting performance and safety.

Things I Like About the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

  • At $29.99, this sharpener is exceptionally priced, making it accessible for casual users and budget-conscious buyers.
  • The tool is straightforward to set up and operate. Adjustments for different angles and chain sizes are simple, making it user-friendly even for those not technically inclined.
  • The ability to mount it to a bench, wall, or vise offers flexibility depending on your workspace requirements.
  • With a speed of 5000 RPM and automatic chain feed rollers, it sharpens chains quickly, saving time and effort.
  • Its size and weight make it easy to store and handle, ideal for small workshops or garages.

Things I Don’t Like About the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

  • Users must be cautious with the grinder adjustment to avoid taking off too much material from the chainsaw teeth, which could lead to faster wear and tear of the chain.
  • While the mounting is versatile, ensuring adequate space around the sharpener for optimal operation can be challenging in cramped conditions.
  • Although it’s built to be sturdy, the longevity of the sharpener under heavy use isn’t clear, as it might not withstand the same level of abuse as more expensive professional models.
  • Professional users might miss advanced features that more costly units offer, such as finer controls for angle precision and depth.
  • The need to manually file the rakers every few sharpenings might be inconvenient for those looking for a more automated experience.

How to Use Harbor Freight’s Chicago Electric Chainsaw Sharpener

The Harbor Freight Chicago Electric Chainsaw Sharpener is an accessible tool for anyone looking to maintain their chainsaw’s effectiveness through regular sharpening. Here’s a detailed guide on how to set up and use this sharpener, along with some personal insights and final thoughts on its performance.

Setting Up the Sharpener

1. Mounting the Sharpener

  • Choose a stable surface like a workbench for mounting the sharpener. You can use C-clamps to secure it temporarily or mount it permanently if you have a dedicated area for chainsaw maintenance.
  • Ensure there is sufficient space around the sharpener to allow for easy handling of the chainsaw chain.
Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener clamp in the wooden table

2. Adjusting the Grinding Angle

  • Locate the adjustment knob beneath the sharpener to set the grinding angle. Most chainsaw chains will sharpen well at a 30-degree angle. Adjust this knob to position the sharpener at the required angle for each side of the chain.
  • Tighten the knob to secure the angle.
Person adjusting the knob below of the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

Sharpening the Chain

1. Positioning the Chain

  • Place the chainsaw chain within the sharpener’s clamp, ensuring that the teeth face away from the machine to match the direction of the sharpening disc.
  • Adjust the chain so that the grinding wheel lightly touches the tooth you are sharpening—this is crucial to avoid removing too much material and damaging the chain.
Chainsaw chain laying on the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

2. Locking the Chain

  • Use the bike-style pull handle at the top of the sharpener to lock the chain in place during sharpening. This ensures stability and precision.
Person trying the bike style chain lock

3. Activating the Sharpener

  • Power on the sharpener and gently press the grinding disc against the tooth of the chain. Do not apply excessive force; let the machine do the work.
  • After sharpening one tooth, skip one and move to the next to maintain the correct sharpening sequence. This ensures all teeth are sharpened evenly.
Chainsaw Chain sharepened using Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener

4. Monitoring and Adjusting During Sharpening

  • Occasionally check the sharpness of the teeth and the removal of material. Adjust the proximity of the grinding wheel to the chain as needed to avoid excessive wear.
  • Use markings, such as a sharpie mark on the starting tooth or a small piece of tape, to keep track of your starting point and avoid over-sharpening any teeth.
Chainsaw chain laying in the  Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener


Priced at just $29.99, the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener is a standout choice for both casual and regular users. It combines a robust design with versatile mounting options and efficient operation, making it an excellent value for its price point. While it lacks the advanced features of more expensive professional equipment, it competently meets the needs of most users. This sharpener is highly recommended for anyone seeking a reliable, budget-friendly option for maintaining their chainsaw blades with ease and efficiency. Whether you’re trimming branches at home or preparing firewood, this tool will help keep your chainsaw in top cutting form.


  1. What types of chains can the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener handle?
    The Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener can adjust to all chain designs and pitches, making it versatile enough for a wide variety of chainsaw chains.
  2. How do I set the correct angle on the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener?
    The sharpener features an adjustable angle setting that ranges from 35° left to 35° right. For most standard chainsaw chains, setting the angle to 30 degrees on each side is recommended for optimal sharpening.
  3. Can the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener be mounted on any surface?
    Yes, this chainsaw sharpener is designed with flexible mounting options. It can be securely mounted to a bench, wall, or vise, depending on your workspace requirements and preferences.
  4. What safety precautions should I take when using the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener?
    Always wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from metal filings. Ensure the sharpener is securely mounted and the chain is firmly locked in place before starting the machine. Keep your hands clear of the grinding wheel while the sharpener is in operation.
  5. How often should I file the rakers when using the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener?
    It is recommended to file the rakers—the depth gauges on your chainsaw chain—every two to three sharpening sessions. This helps maintain the chain’s cutting efficiency and safety.
  6. What maintenance does the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener require?
    Regular maintenance includes checking the tightness of all fittings and mounts, ensuring the grinding wheel is free from damage, and cleaning the machine of metal filings and debris after each use.
  7. What is the maximum speed of the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener’s grinding wheel?
    The grinding wheel operates at a maximum speed of 5000 RPM, providing efficient and rapid sharpening of chainsaw teeth.
  8. How do I know when the chainsaw chain is sharp enough?
    The chain is sharp enough when the teeth are uniform and you can feel sharp edges along the top and sides of each tooth. Avoid over-sharpening, which can reduce the lifespan of your chain.
  9. Can I sharpen a damaged chainsaw chain with the Harbor Freight Sharpener?
    Yes, minor damages and dull teeth can be effectively sharpened with this tool. However, if the chain is severely damaged or has broken links, it is safer to replace the chain entirely.
  10. Where can I purchase replacement grinding wheels for the Harbor Freight Chainsaw Sharpener?
    Replacement grinding wheels can be purchased at Harbor Freight stores or through their official website. Ensure you choose the correct size and type of grinding wheel for your sharpener.

Have you used this chainsaw sharpener or a similar one? I’d love to hear about your experiences, any challenges you faced, or tips you might have for optimizing the use of this tool. Feel free to share your thoughts and join the conversation below. Let’s learn from each other and keep our tools in top shape!

David Murray
David Murray
Forestry Author

I'm David Murry, a forestry equipment specialist with a focus on chainsaw operation. With over 13 years of experience, I've honed my skills in operating and maintaining a wide range of machinery, from chainsaws to log splitters. My passion for the outdoors and commitment to sustainable forestry drive my work, which emphasizes safety, efficiency, and staying updated with industry advancements. Additionally, I'm dedicated to sharing my expertise and promoting environmental awareness within the forestry community.


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