Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
My grandfather used to love this saying: “always keep your wits and your axe sharp,” and I’ve tried my best to always follow this advice. After all, what good is an axe without a sharp edge?
Dull axes simply make the work so much harder.
In this article, I have put together a list of 7 best axe sharpeners for all types of uses. Let’s get sharpening! I have also included a guide at the end to help you choose the best axe sharpener that fits your needs.
- Best Value For The Money – Fiskars XSharp Axe And Knife Sharpener
- Best Rated Axe Sharpener – Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
- Best Puck Axe Sharpener – Lansky Puck Dual Grit Multi-Purpose Sharpener
- Best File Axe Sharpener – Crescent Nicholson Axe File Carded
- Best Compact Whetstone Axe Sharpener – Sharp Pebble Whetstone
- Best Versatile Axe Sharpener – Sharpal 103N All-in-one Multi-sharpener
- Best Axe Sharpener for Professional Use – Work Ken Onion Edition
Whether you are looking for a stone, file, or electric axe sharpener, you are bound to find one from the list below.
Best Value For The Money – Fiskars XSharp Axe And Knife Sharpener
- Blade material: Ceramic
- Type: Handheld
- Grit size: 600/ 1000
The Fiskars XSharp is a compact tool that can be used to sharpen both axes and knives. The ceramic grind stone will keep your axe sharp without shaving off too much metal. The axe sharpener is also very easy to use. You just have to slide your axe back and forth in the groove and the pre-set 30 degree angle will take care of the rest! You can also adjust the slots for optimal sharpening of your axe!
The body of the axe sharpener is made using a fiberglass-reinforced plastic, so it is strong and durable. It is also compact enough to be carried outdoors in a pocket with you. The base has non-slip pads attached, so you won’t have to worry about your axe moving when you sharpen it.
It is generally recommended to avoid sharpening very blunt axes with this tool because the sharpening stone is fine, so you will be at it for ages. However, many people have had great results with blunt axes as well, so don’t hesitate to try it out!
The Fiskars XSharp is designed with a hand guard to keep your fingers away from the blade when in use. This means.. no more accidents! The tool is also easy to disassemble, clean, and assemble again, so it will last you a long time.
- Ceramic blade ensures factory sharpness
- Compact and durable
- Doesn’t shave off the metal from your axe
- Automatic blade guidance
- Easy to use
- Hand guard
- Non-slip pads
- Easy to take it apart and put it back together again
- Can be used only for straight-cut knives and axes
- Ceramic blade is fine, so it will take longer to sharpen blunt axes
- Not suitable for removing chips and dents
My Thoughts: This is one of the best axe sharpeners I have come across. It sharpens your tool pretty quickly and doesn’t shave the metal away, either. However, keep in mind that this is best suitable for honing an axe that is not too blunt.
Best Rated Axe Sharpener – Work Sharp Guided Field Sharpener
- Blade material: Ceramic
- Type: Whetstone
- Grit size: 220/ 600 (diamond plates)
The Work Sharp is designed to be used out in the wild, but works perfectly for home use or shop use. It allows you to easily sharpen a variety of bladed tools. It is durable and compact – you can easily carry it with you when you are out working.
My favorite part of this axe sharpener is that it comes with 5 different sharpening surfaces – a leather strop, two ceramic rods, and two diamond plates. So, not only can you sharpen the blade, you can even polish and reshape it!
Out of the two diamond plates, one of them is fine – for sharpening, and the other is coarse – for sharpening and repairing. The diamond plates can be removed, exposing a broad head wrench, in case you ever want to speed up the sharpening process. You can use the main ceramic rod to sharpen fine blades, and the smaller one for honing serrated blades. Psst.. the main ceramic rod rotates!
The axe sharpener comes with a purpose-built 20 degree angle guide for sharpening with diamond plates as well as a 25 degree angle guide for honing a strong micro-bevel.
Coming to the downsides of this tool, there have been complaints by a few users that your fingers come dangerously close to the blade while sharpening, so make sure to be careful. Moreover, the sharpening strip is only 3 inches long, so it won’t work very well for super long tools. The angle guides also make it harder to sharpen tools at other angles.
- Compact and durable
- Well built
- Five different sharpening surfaces
- Can sharpen, polish, and reshape the blade
- Rotating ceramic rods make the honing process easier
- Purpose-built angle guides
- Lifetime warranty
- Not suitable for very long blades
- Fingers come close to the blade while in use
- Need some skill if you want to sharpen at other angles
- Coarse diamond plate is very rough and leaves scratches on the surface of the blade
My Thoughts: This is a great axe sharpener for carrying around with you when you are working outdoors. It is well built, so it will last you a long time. The different sharpening surfaces offer a quick and easy sharpening solution for you. This would be great for small axes.
Best Puck Axe Sharpener – Lansky Puck Dual Grit Multi-Purpose Sharpener
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- Type: Stone
- Grit size: 120/ 280
The Lansky puck axe sharpener can be used to sharpen all types of axes and blades and is suitable both for shop use and field use. It is pocket-sized and very easy to use. Its size and contoured shape make it very easy to hold it in your hand.
This puck axe sharpener comes with a dual-grit design with one side having coarse grit and another having medium grit. The coarse side helps you with sharpening your blades while the medium side can be used for polishing. This way, you will get a top-performing axe in no time.
All you have to do is hold the puck in the palm of your hand and move it in circles over the blade. You get a sharp axe as well as the satisfaction of having done it the old school way.
- Easy to use
- Comfortable to hold
- Dual-grit design for sharpening and polishing
- 1 year warranty
- Coarse edge doesn’t remove chips from the axe edge
- Doesn’t come with a protective case or lubricant
My Thoughts: If you want an old school axe sharpener with a dual-grit design, this will do the job. But do keep in mind that it does take a while if you want a very sharp edge. To keep it from being chipped, place it in a protective case.
Best File Axe Sharpener – Crescent Nicholson Axe File Carded
- Blade material: Steel
- Type: File
The Nicholson is an American pattern axe sharpening file and can be used to sharpen axes as well as other garden tools. It features a double-cut on one side for rough filing and faster material removal and a single-cut on the other side for putting a fine touch on your axe by finishing.
This file axe sharpener is rectangular in shape, which means a larger surface area for sharpening your tools. This also makes it easier for you to file down any troublesome burrs on your axe blade. It features 2 safe edges, which lets you work in confined areas without suffering damage to your blade.
The blade of the Nicholson is pretty sharp and will even bring back your rusty axes to life! However, be careful of applying too much pressure on it, as this can cause the teeth to break. Moreover, the handle tends to bite into your hands, so wrap something around it for more comfort.
- Sharpens very well
- Features a double cut and a single cut
- Lightweight and compact
- 2 safe edges
- Lifetime warranty
- Grip is not very comfortable
- Complaints of teeth falling off when too much pressure is applied
My Thoughts: The Nicholson is super sharp and will eat through the metal of your axe (in a good way) to give you a sharp finish. It is also very affordable, so I definitely recommend it.
Best Compact Whetstone Axe Sharpener – Sharp Pebble Whetstone
- Material: Corundum (aluminum oxide)
- Type: Whetstone
- Grit size: 1000/ 6000
The Sharp Pebble whetstone axe sharpener provides superior performance and will have your axes looking razor sharp in no time. This tool comes with a double-sided sharpener (one for sharpening the blade, and the other for honing the blade), an angle guide to help you maintain the sharpening angle, and a bamboo base with a non-slip mat for holding the stone in place while you sharpen. There is even a rubber base for holding the stone inside the bamboo case.
This is a multi-purpose sharpener that can be used to sharpen various bladed tools. It is well-built, meaning it is durable. It is easy to assemble and uses water to sharpen! This means you no longer have to buy expensive oils! Cool, right? You can easily clean it with water, too. The downside is that it is a bit expensive.
- Superior sharpening performance
- Comes with an angle guide, bamboo base, and non-slip mats
- Uses water to sharpen
- Easy to assemble and clean
- A bit expensive
- Rubber base tends to slip when wet
- Grinding stone will wear down with use
- Doesn’t come with a carrying case
My Thoughts: This is a well-made axe sharpener that will definitely give you razor-sharp edges. It is safe to use and the entire kit is pretty neat, if you ask me. This would be great for sharpening axes occasionally.
Best Versatile Axe Sharpener – Sharpal 103N All-in-one Multi-sharpener
- Blade material: Ceramic, tungsten carbide
- Type: Handheld
The Sharpal 103N is the most versatile axe sharpener on the market. You can use it to sharpen all types of bladed tools. With 3 sharpening slots, it offers a truly superior sharpening performance. Each of the slots has a preset optimal sharpening angle. One of them is a specifically designed tungsten carbide bar while another is a ceramic bar. This will help you take care of both your single and double beveled blades.
This tool is super durable and will last you a very long time. It has been tested more than 10,000 times, so you know you are in good hands! After you are done sharpening your axe, simply turn the tool to the other to eliminate burrs, hone, and polish your axe. It will become good as new!
The handle is oversized to allow you to use it with gloves for extra safety. There is also a large hand guard to protect your hand from any accidents. As an addition, the handle is over-molded with rubber. The base also provides a secure as well as comfortable grip. You can place it on the table while sharpening and it won’t move!
The Sharpal 103N is portable, which means that, unfortunately, the sharpening plate is a bit small. But you can overcome this by holding the tool steady. The instructions are also very unclear, so if you haven’t used an axe sharpener before, make sure to watch some videos.
- Sharpens very well
- 3 sharpening slots with preset optimal sharpening angle
- Can eliminate burrs and polish your axe after sharpening as well
- Safety features
- Very comfortable to hold
- Non-slip rubber coated base
- Built-in lanyard hole
- 3 year warranty
- Can cause accidents if you are not careful
- Small sharpening plate
- Instructions are very hard to understand
- Not all blades fit in the intended slots
My Thoughts: The Sharpal 103N is a superior axe sharpener and one of my favorites. It is well-built, durable, and very easy to use. With this tool, your blunt axes will be sharp in no time!
Best Axe Sharpener for Professional Use – Work Ken Onion Edition
- Material: Aluminum oxide
- Type: Electric
- Grit size: 6000
This Ken Onion edition Work Sharp axe sharpener is an amazing tool that can sharpen just about every type of tool you own. It is a machine-run axe sharpener, which means less work for you! It features an adjustable sharpening guide. You can adjust the angle guide and sharpen any edge from 15 to 30 degrees!
It is powered by a powerful 1.5 Amp variable speed motor. This gives you greater control over the sharpening speed and a continuous run time of 1 hour. The motor’s adjustable speed also gives you the freedom to choose whether you want to grind or hone your axe.
It is fitted with a 6000 grit belt that will allow you to sharpen even serrated and curved edges – something that you can’t do with many other tool sharpeners. The tool comes with 4 other flexible abrasive belts as well. You can use these to put a fine edge and refine your sharpened axe. Perfect for sharpening several tools!
Now, for some tips to get the most out of this tool. Wear eye protection and tape up the sides of the blades to prevent scratches. The Work Sharp does tend to leave a mess behind – pieces of shavings and whatnot – so be mindful of that. Most importantly, do NOT use this tool without reading the instructions properly.
- Machine-operated, so it takes less effort from you
- Great for heavy-duty use
- Multi-purpose tool
- Sharpens very well
- Adjustable sharpening guide
- Powerful motor with variable speed
- Allows you to choose between high speed grinding and low speed honing
- Sharpens even serrated edges
- Flexible belts
- Tape up the sides of the blades to prevent scratches.
- Power cord is not very long.
- A bit expensive.
- The angle guide shifts positions sometimes while in use.
My Thoughts: If you own several bladed tools that need sharpening, then this machine-run axe sharpener might be a great fit for you. It has the ability to run continuously for 1 hour, so you can take care of the blunt edges of all your tools!
Now that we have looked at 7 of the best axe sharpeners, let’s look at how to choose the best axe sharpener for you.
How To Choose The Best Axe Sharpener For You
Axe sharpeners come in four primary types: stone, file, handheld, and electric. Let us look at the differences between all the types so that you can choose the best one for your needs.
Stone Axe Sharpeners
Also known as whetstones or puck axe sharpeners, these are basically stones that you rub around your axe to sharpen it. However, they are specially designed to sharpen your tools.
Stone axe sharpeners can be used to sharpen any type of metal blade since they are just stones. They come in various sizes and grit types. Based on whether your blade is already sharp-ish or very blunt, you can choose the grit value. The lower the grit value, the coarser the stone.
Here is a general guide to choosing the grit value:
- > 1000 grit: these stones tend to be very coarse and are best used to sharpen rusty and chipped blades.
- 1000 – 3000 grit: these are medium coarse and can be used to sharpen your dull axes.
- 4000 – 6000 grit: these are fine stones that are more suitable for honing and polishing the edges of your axes.
Most stone axe sharpeners come with a dual-grit design these days with one coarse side for sharpening and the opposite fine side for honing. These will help you give your axe that fine finish.
Stone sharpeners are best suitable for people who like working with their hands. These types of sharpeners do tend to need a little bit more work from your side. Another important thing to note is that these do not come with any safety features, so you should be careful of your hands.
Do keep in mind that you need to use honing oils or water while sharpening your axes with whetstones.
File Axe Sharpeners
File axe sharpeners have more or less the same design as kitchen knives. They are long and thin with a handle on one end and abrasive strips with “teeth” on the other end. These teeth sharpen your axe and are very useful when it comes to rusty and blunt blades.
Have you heard of the time “filing your nails”? These work pretty much the same way. You sharpen your axe by moving the file in a direction away from you. Just like the stone axe sharpeners, these come with two levels of abrasiveness, too – coarse and fine.
Handheld Axe Sharpeners
These axe sharpeners come with different slots for different blades to fit into. You move the blade back and forth to sharpen it. They are usually affordable and very easy to use – like the Fiskars XSharp.
They are also well-built and durable and are equipped with several safety features (such as a hand guard) to prevent any accidents while sharpening. Even though they are called handheld sharpeners, many have non-slip materials at the base so that you can place them on a table and use them.
The downside is that the sharpening angle is preset, so you will have no control over the shape of the edge. Some of them also tend to shave off a lot of metal from your axe, so be mindful of that.
Electric Axe Sharpeners
Electric axe sharpeners are machines that sharpen your axes, which means you don’t need to do a lot of work. You just have to plug it in and run it! They are usually very fast at sharpening your axes, but the downside is that they tend to shave off a lot more metal compared to the other sharpeners.
Many of these machines allow you to adjust the angle between 15 to 30 degrees, giving you more control over the sharpening angle of your blade. Some even come with a variable speed motor which you can adjust depending on whether you want to grind or hone.
Electric axe sharpeners have belts of different grits, just like the stone axe sharpeners. If you want to sharpen a ton of tools while putting in the least amount of effort, electric ones might be your best choice!
I hope you enjoyed this guide. Have you used any of these axe sharpeners before? Let me know your experience in the comments below! And don’t forget to always keep your wits and your axes sharp. 😉