Instructions for sharpening your hedge trimmer blades

Cutting blades lose their edge over time. We explain how sharpening your hedge trimmer can be done quickly and easily.

Close-up of hedge trimmer blades and a stem that they have just cut through

How to tell if your hedge trimmer needs sharpening

Is your hedge trimmer no longer as effective as it used to be? This is not uncommon: frequent use blunts the cutter blades, so they need sharpening from time to time. It is possible that there is another reason for issues your trimmer may be having.

Check the following symptoms to quickly deduce the likely cause: 

Branches keep getting jammed in the trimmer

If you are noticing a tendency for branches to get stuck between the teeth during trimming, so they block the tool without being cut. This is a possible indication that the upper and lower blades of the hedge trimmer are no longer meeting, rather than an indication of a need for sharpening. This happens because the spacers between the blades wear out over time. Your dealer can fix this by replacing the spacers for you. 

Branches are not cut cleanly

If your petrol or electric hedge trimmer leaves behind an uneven and frayed edge as it cuts, this indicates that you need to sharpen the hedge trimmer blades. You can go to one of our dealers for hedge trimmer sharpening, or alternatively you can get the tool back into peak condition - with some patience and a little effort, you can do this yourself. 

Person works with gloves on the STIHL HSA 56 cordless hedge trimmer

Instructions: sharpening your hedge trimmer

You will require a Flat file, Whetstone, Soft cloth, Water, STIHL resin solvent, Safety clothing, work gloves,  safety glasses or face protection.

Ideally, sharpening should be done before the blades show visible signs of wear, but when cutting performance and behavior begin to deteriorate, i.e. blades frequently snag on branches. You can also find all the important information you need about sharpening your hedge trimmer in the operating instructions

Look at our video guide for step-by-step instructions:

When should I take my hedge trimmer to a professional?

If after reading this guide you feel unsure or uncomfortable it might be a better idea to take it to your local dealer. If you are uncertain that dull blades are causing the issues your having it might be better to have a professional make an assessment. Our STIHL dealers will be pleased to help, and can professionally sharpen the blades to achieve an optimal result without removing too much material.

Summary: Sharpening Hedge Trimmers

  • Sharpening is part of routine maintenance for your hedge trimmer.
  • You should clean the blades before sharpening and moisten them before using the whetstone.
  • A flat file is a good sharpening tool to use.
  • Burrs should be removed using a whetstone.
  • Apply resin solvent to restore the corrosion protection.
  • If you are uncertain about sharpening a hedge trimmer or need assistance, please contact one of our dealers.