What Size Chainsaw Sharpener Do I Need?

The Common Misconception About Chainsaws (and Chainsaw Sharpeners)

There is a common misconception among novice loggers that all chainsaws are made the same way. Of course, different chainsaw brands will produce different designs. However, several people still believe that all these brands have all their chains produced in the same size. This is where a lot of folks get it wrong. Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes. So, it is only logical for chainsaw sharpeners to come in different sizes.

Buying a replacement chain for your chainsaw or buying a chainsaw sharpener, only to find out that you got the wrong size can be very frustrating. The great thing is that you don’t have to make this mistake. All you have to do is first figure out the size of your chainsaw.

How To Figure Out The Size Of My Chainsaw

One way to figure out the size of your chainsaw is to check the box that came with it when you purchased it. The box will always tell you the size of the chainsaw. Here is a video that can be very helpful in this respect.

The size of the chainsaw can be found on the body of the chain. First, you have to ensure that the chainsaw is turned off and the chain brake is turned on. Next, look carefully at the side of your chainsaw. Look closely at the chain. You should see a couple of numbers engraved into the side of the chain.

The number you find is the pitch of your chainsaw. Be sure that you have the correct number before you proceed. Getting the wrong means that you will get the wrong size chainsaw sharpener that you should use.

How to Figure Out What Size Chainsaw Sharpener You Need

Once you have identified the pitch of your chain, look at the manufacturer’s website or instruction manual to figure out what size chainsaw sharpener you need. This is the most effective way to be sure that you will buy the right sized sharpener for your chainsaw.

If you are unable to gain access to this information for one reason or the other, you can still get an idea of what you need to do. For instance, if your chain pitch is sized 3.2, you will probably need a sharpener sized at about 4.88mm. A 3.8 sized chain pitch will require a file of about 5.5 mm. While a ¼ chain pitch size will require a sharpener size of 4.0 mm.

This chart should give a better picture of what I am trying to say:

Remember that these numbers are rough estimates. The best way to figure out the size chainsaw sharpener that you need is to check them against the manufacturer’s instructions. However, if you will be using estimates, first check to see how the sharpener measures up against your chain. Make sure that you can work effectively with it.

How To Use A Chainsaw Sharpener

  • Wear Protective Gloves
  • Turn on the chain brakes
  • Clamp the guide bar in a vice
  • Place the file guide between the rivets on the chain so that that arrows are pointing to the front of the chain
  • File the cutter using steady strokes
  • After filing some cutters, release the brake and move the chain along so that you can file more cutters

This video gives a visual explanation of the process.


Chainsaws come in different sizes. As a result, chainsaw sharpeners also come in different sizes. I hope this article has been useful in helping you answer these inquiries, ‘What Size Chainsaw Sharpener Do I Need?