Best Professional Hair Clippers: A Handy Guide
Are you looking for professional-quality hair clippers and trimmers? It can be confusing to sort through all of the available options – not to mention overwhelming! Not all brands of cutting tools are created equal, and there are so many different options, it’s hard to know which is the best to buy. Our handy guide will help you make the best purchasing decision – whether you go with a best-seller or a low-priced option that meets your personal needs.
Best Professional Clippers for Stylists and Barbers
- OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper
- Wahl Professional 8500 Senior Premium Clipper
- Andis Professional Ceramic Hair Clipper with Detachable Blade
1. OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper
For those who miss the classic feel of the old-time barbershops, the Oster Classic 76 is a modern throwback to the days when going to the barber shop was a special occasion. These clippers have a rugged, durable design that’s meant to last for years, with an interchangeable blade design that will suit professionals and beginners alike. (Tip: Plastic blades won’t cut as clean, but they also won’t take off an ear if your hands are a bit unsteady.) These are meant for serious professionals, though, and even with plastic blades, the clippers are difficult to fine-tune for precision results. They are also heavy, due to their solid construction, so be warned that this will weigh on your arms after a long day of cutting. They’re also quite noisy, and you may get looks from other stylists and customers because of this. All in all, though, if you want a solid set of clippers with serviceable parts, this is definitely one of the best-rated electric clippers on the market for those who can handle it.
2. Wahl Professional 8500 Senior Premium Clipper
Another top-of-the-line brand, Wahl offers their 8500 Senior Premium Clipper as a sort of “starter kit”. Unlike some other sets available, this only comes with one attachment, but Wahl has an extensive line of other attachments available for purchase separately. What is included is a large bottle of lubricating oil, a single guide comb, and a small brush to keep your clippers free of stray hairs. This is a relatively quiet clipper, too – just a small hum, without an obtrusive buzzing noise. Don’t let the quiet operation fool you, though – this is a serious piece of equipment, and the average haircut will take less than five minutes. The body is almost entirely metal, which means that these are built to last – customers have reported using the same set for the last 30 years with no problems. There are drawbacks, of courese, mainly that the clippers are not ergonomically designed. T can become cumbersome to hold after a while, particularly with how heavy they are.
3. Andis Professional Ceramic Hair Clipper
For those looking for clippers that can handle the thickest hair without any trouble, the Andis Professional Ceramic Hair Clipper is truly a revolutionary device. These clippers are similar in quality to the Oster 76, above, but significantly quieter. The ceramic-edged blades require no maintenance, and you can even convert your cordless clippers to corded-power with a simple adaptor pack (sold separately). This is great for those who aren’t sure which they’d rather use – simply buy the adaptor pack and you can switch back and forth at will. The case comes pre-loaded with tons of helpful attachments, including 7 guide combs and a storage case that actually stays organized – no more struggling to get it closed once you’ve put your clippers away.
Best Professional-Grade Clippers for Home Use
- Philips Norelco QC5580/40 Do-It-Yourself Hair Clipper Pro
- OSTER Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper 76023-510
- Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Clipper Kit #79300-1001
1. Philips Norelco QC5580/40 Do-It-Yourself Hair Clipper Pro
Philips Norelco is one of the leaders in the home clipper industry, and with the QC5580, it’s not hard to see why. This clipper has a 180-degree rotating head that makes trimming those hard-to-reach spots just a bit easier, while the stainless steel blades are self-sharpening and easy to clean. It is significantly lighter than the clippers mentioned above, while still offering a reasonable amount of power. Be warned, though – this isn’t intended for shaving all the way to the skin, even with the included razor accessory, so those who want a close shave would be better served by a manual razor. For a rechargeable design, this balances charging time with time between charges – one hour plugged in will net you about an hour of use. There’s even a handy battery indicator light that lets you know when it’s starting to lose power!
2. OSTER Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper 76023-510
Right out of the box, Oster Fast Feed Clippers look very similar to the Classic 76 that we detailed above, but with a few sacrifices to place it at a lower price point. The sharp precision blades will cut through human hair with no problem, although if you’ll be using them on your pets, it’s best to invest in a different set. Using Phillips screws instead of less-common Hex and Torx screws means that you won’t need to dig around for the specific tools that came with your device – most likely, you’ll have the necessary tools at your disposal. We do wish these came with a hard plastic case instead of a molded Styrofoam packaging, but for most people this is a minor consideration, and these clippers perform well for home use. Just don’t expect to be able to do the whole family in one sitting – that’s not what they’re designed for!
3. Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Clipper Kit #79300-1001
For those looking to put a little pop of color into their hair cutting, the Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Clipper Kit is designed with beginners in mind. These are the least expensive clippers on our list, and while that does imply its own set of problems, home barbers on a budget will appreciate the availability of the Wahl name on an attractive product for such a low price. Color-coded adaptors mean you aren’t stuck with the same black attachments that all the other clippers have – these really stand out! There’s even a guide on the clippers themselves that tell you the lengths of each color. The clippers will need to have the hair cleaned out more frequently than some of the others on our list, as they have a tendency to tug at the hair when they’re clogged, and the cord means you’ll need to stay near an outlet, but it also guarantees consistent power flow. All in all, if price is your biggest concern, these are a sharp upgrade from similarly-priced Conair clippers.
- Things to Consider
While it might seem like all blades are basically the same, this isn’t the case. Professional clippers tend to have more durable blades, as they’re designed for cutting hair several times per day, as opposed to a couple times per month. High-carbon steel blades are considered “maintenance-free” because they will sharpen themselves. Titanium or zirconium oxide blades are designed for heat distribution and strength. All blades will have their own pros and cons, and there’s no single type that works best for everyone. Choose a clipper with detachable blades so that you can replace them if they dull or break.
Clippers meant for personal use might not need a tremendous amount of power, but there are a few different types of motors which offer their own benefits and drawbacks. Generally, higher powered motors (such as magnetic motors) will be louder, so be sure that you find a set of clippers that balances the good (in this case, power) with the bad (such as noise output).
You should check that the set you’re looking for comes with all the attachments you’ll need. Most clippers will have combs or guards, which are usually metal or plastic. (Metal guards are more durable, but may hold onto more heat.) Some have a single, adjustable guide comb instead, which means you’ll never have to worry about losing your attachments.
Size and Weight:
Largely a matter of personal preference, the size of the clippers you use can affect how easy they are to use and maintain. Small clippers are easier to maneuver, but may be more difficult to care for if anything goes wrong. Larger clippers will be heavier and might require you to take more frequent breaks with your cutting.
Corded or Cordless:
Corded clippers keep more consistent cutting power, but cordless clippers can be used away from an outlet. If you choose a cordless model, make sure you get one with a rechargeable lithium ion battery – otherwise you’re likely to have to replace the batteries after every use. (Aside from that, clippers which use “standard” batteries are generally lower quality materials all around.)
While this isn’t usually the most important consideration for your online clipper purchase, you shouldn’t spend more than you can afford – especially since you won’t be able to try the product before you pay for it.
One of the most important things to think about is how happy current users of the product are. While manufacturers aren’t supposed to make false claims about their products, sometimes they do – but the customer reviews will usually point out any discrepancies between the product description and the actual specifications.
Our Pick for Best Overall: Andis Professional Ceramic Hair Clipper
When in doubt, professional clippers are almost always going to be better, and the Andis Professional Ceramic Hair Clipper is one of the easiest-to-use products that we’ve ever had the joy of trying. Not only does it offer a wide variety of tools in an easy-to-carry, easy-to-close case, but we loved that you could switch between corded power and cordless rechargeable if you wanted. We do wish this adaptor kit was included with the original purchase price, but the clippers come with a reasonable price tag that allows you to upgrade it how you like without breaking the bank.