How To Sharpen Clipper Blades: Sharpening Secrets Revealed

You rely on your trusty clippers to keep your hair and beard looking sharp, but when did you last give them some TLC? Dull clipper blades can tug at your hair, leave uneven cuts, and just make the whole experience unpleasant. The good news is, with a few easy steps, you can have your clippers cutting like new again.

Sharpening your clippers at home is a handy skill to have and will save you time and money. In this article, we’ll walk you through how to properly sharpen your clipper blades so you can get back to precision cutting and styling.

A few basic tools, some elbow grease, and these pro tips will have your clippers gliding through your hair once more. So grab your sharpening stone and oil, and let’s get started. Your clippers and your style will thank you.

Why It’s Important to Sharpen Your Clipper Blades

Why It's Important to Sharpen Your Clipper Blades

Keeping your clipper blades sharp is one of the most important things you can do to ensure quality cuts and a good experience for your clients. Dull blades require more passes, tug on the hair, and can irritate the scalp. Why Sharpening Matters

As clipper blades cut hair, the cutting edges naturally become dull over time and with use. Dull blades require more passes to cut the same amount of hair, which means more time and effort for you and an increased chance of irritation for your clients. Sharpening your clipper blades restores the cutting edges to like-new condition so they glide through hair smoothly and efficiently.

How Often Should You Sharpen?

For most stylists, sharpening clipper blades after every 3-5 haircuts is a good rule of thumb. If you notice your clippers tugging on hair or not cutting as close as usual, it’s probably time for a sharpening. It’s best to get into a regular habit and sharpen on a schedule to avoid dull blades sneaking up on you.

Sharpening clipper blades is a quick and inexpensive process that can be done at home with a few tools or by a professional sharpener. Spending just a few minutes to sharpen your tools will make a world of difference in how well they cut, how your clients feel, and your own experience. Keeping your clippers cutting like new is well worth the effort for both you and your clients.

Supplies You’ll Need to Sharpen Clipper Blades

Supplies You'll Need to Sharpen Clipper Blades

To get your clippers cutting like new again, you’ll need a few essential supplies.

  • Sharpening stones. You’ll want a coarse stone (around 220 grit) to reprofile the blades and a fine stone (1000 grit or higher) to hone the edge. Oilstones, Waterstones, and diamond stones will all work.
  • Honing oil or water. Use oil for oilstones and water for Waterstones. This lubricates the stones and helps carry away metal filings.
  • A strop. A strip of leather used to align and polish the cutting edge. Not essential, but it will make your blades razor-sharp.
  • A vise or clamp. Holding the clipper blades steady while you sharpen is crucial. A vise, clamp, or modified pliers will do the trick.
  • Patience. Sharpening clipper blades is a skill that takes practice. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t get a perfect edge right away. With regular sharpening, you’ll get better at the techniques and angles required.

If your blades are really dull, you may also want to invest in a blade grinder to reprofile the edge before sharpening. Follow the instructions for your specific clipper model to ensure you maintain the proper cutting angle. Take your time and check your progress often by carefully running your finger along the cutting edge to feel for any dips or dull spots.

With the right tools and some patience, you’ll have your clippers cutting like new in no time. Staying on a regular sharpening schedule will keep them slicing smoothly for years to come. Now those are some cutting-edge secrets for keeping your clippers, well, cutting edge.

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Step-by-Step Instructions for Manual Sharpening

To keep your clippers cutting cleanly, it’s important to sharpen the blades regularly. Sharpening removes dulled and damaged edges, allowing the blades to slice through hair efficiently. Here’s how to manually sharpen your clipper blades:

Gather Your Supplies

Gather Your Supplies
Source: BLADE Magazine

You’ll need a few basic items:

  • Sharpening stone or whetstone (coarse and fine grit)
  • Honing oil
  • Soft cleaning cloth
  • Screwdrivers to remove blades

Disassemble and Clean the Blades

Disassemble and Clean the Blades

Remove the blades from your clippers according to the product instructions. Wipe away any built-up hair and debris from the blades using the cleaning cloth. Soak the blades in honing oil for 10 to 15 minutes to loosen any grime.

Sharpen the Blades

Sharpen the Blades
  • Place the coarse stone on a flat surface and add a few drops of honing oil.
  • Holding the blade at a 15-degree angle, slide one side of the blade along the stone using even pressure and short strokes. Do 5 to 10 passes.
  • Flip the blade over and repeat on the other side. Check the blade by running your finger along the edge—it should feel sharp.
  • Repeat the process with the fine grit stone using lighter pressure and fewer passes. This polishes the edge.
  • Wipe away filings and honing oil from the blades with the cleaning cloth.

Test and Reassemble

Test and Reassemble

Carefully run a fingernail along each blade edge—it should catch slightly. Reassemble your clipper blades according to the product instructions. Run a test on scrap hair clippings to ensure even cutting before using on a client.

With regular sharpening, your clippers will cut like new and make quick work of any clipping job. Be very careful when handling sharpened blades to avoid injury. Sharpening clipper blades is an important part of proper clipper maintenance and care.

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Using a Blade Sharpener Attachment

Using a Blade Sharpener Attachment

Once your clipper blades start pulling hair or not cutting as well, it’s time for a sharpening. While professional sharpening services are available, you can easily sharpen your own clipper blades at home using an attachment blade sharpener.

Using a Blade Sharpener Attachment

A blade sharpener attachment, like the Andis Cool Care Plus, gently grinds your blades to restore their edge. It’s very easy to use and helps extend the life of your blades, saving you money.

To sharpen your clipper blades:

  • Remove the blades from your clipper following the instructions in your owner’s manual. Make sure the blades are clean and dry before sharpening.
  • Attach the blade to the sharpener attachment. The cutting edges should face outward. Secure the blade in place so it remains steady during sharpening.
  • Turn on the sharpener and hold the blade guides at a 90-degree angle against the sharpening disk. Gently move the blade back and forth in smooth strokes along the disk. Apply light pressure and take your time.
  • Check your progress frequently by running your finger along the cutting edge to feel for sharpness and smoothness. Rotate or flip the blade and repeat the same process on the other side.
  • Once sharp, remove the blade and reinstall your clipper. Test the cutting performance to ensure sharpness before using it on a client.
  • For heavy-duty blades, you may need to repeat the process a few times to fully restore the edge. Be very careful not to over-sharpen the blades.

With regular at-home sharpening using an attachment sharpener, you can increase the performance and longevity of your clipper blades. Your blades and your clients will thank you for it! Keeping clipper care costs low means you’ll have more to invest in other areas of your business.

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Maintaining Your Clippers for Optimal Performance

To keep your clippers cutting well, you’ll need to properly maintain them. Performing regular maintenance and care will extend the life of your clippers and ensure clean, accurate cuts every time you use them.

Sharpening the Blades

Sharpening the Blades

The cutting blades are the heart of your clippers. Over time and use, the blades will dull, requiring sharpening to restore their edge. You’ll know it’s time to sharpen when cuts seem jagged, the clippers tug at the hair, or they just don’t seem as sharp as before.

To sharpen the blades, you have a few options:

  • Use an electric blade sharpener. These devices use abrasive wheels to grind the blades to a sharp edge. Sharpen according to the directions for best results.
  • Have the blades professionally sharpened. Many clipper brands offer blade sharpening services for a fee. They have industrial sharpeners that can restore the blades to like-new condition.
  • Sharpen blades manually using a whetstone. This takes patience but can be very effective. Lubricate the stone with honing oil and slide the blades along the stone using even pressure, and passes on both sides until sharp.

Oiling and Cleaning

Oiling and Cleaning

In addition to sharpening, you should oil and clean your clippers regularly after every use. Wipe down the blades and clipper housing to remove built-up hair clippings and debris. Then, apply a few drops of clipper oil to the blades and turn the clippers on to distribute the oil. Oiling will reduce friction, prevent corrosion, and keep the moving parts in good working order.

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Replacing Parts

Replacing Parts

Some clipper parts like blades, guards, and combs will eventually need replacement from normal wear and tear. Replace these parts when they become dull, damaged, or no longer cut accurately. Most clipper brands sell replacement parts that are easy to switch out to restore your clippers to like-new performance.

With proper maintenance like sharpening, oiling, cleaning, and replacing worn parts as needed, you can keep your clippers cutting like new for years to come. Treat your clippers right, and they’ll give you a lifetime of accurate, high-quality cuts.


So now you have all the inside scoop on how to keep your clippers in tip-top cutting shape. Sharpening your blades regularly will make a world of difference in how well they work and how long they last. Keep those blades oiled, hone them with a sharpening stone, and get professional sharpening once a year or so. Your clippers will reward you with smooth cuts, less pulling, and longer life.

You might even find clipping your dog or cat to be less of a chore and more of an enjoyable bonding experience. Sharp clippers are happy clippers, and happy clippers make for happy owners and happy pets. Keep your clippers cutting like new with a little TLC and these sharpening secrets. Your clippers and furry friends will thank you.

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