Having the right pair of hair clippers at your disposal can be the difference between a job well done or a job that’s, well, better left undone. Simply put, the right clippers are essential to proper men’s grooming.
We also understand that choosing the best hair clippers can be a challenge, but we’ve done the research and developed a list of the best clippers for home and professional use. Our top picks? The Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper for home use, and the Oster Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper for professionals.
- The 3 best home hair clippers
- The 3 best professional hair clippers
- Home clippers vs. professional clippers – what to look for and things to consider
- How to maintain your hair clippers so they will last you for decades
The 3 Best Home Hair Clippers
There’s a reason that the Oster Fast Feed is one of the best-selling and most popular hair clippers around. Actually, more than just one reason. And it all starts with the 12-amp pivot motor.
The “Whisper Quiet” pivot motor on this bad boy is twice as powerful as a magnetic motor clipper. As its name indicates, it’s very quiet for the power it packs, but it’s muscled-up enough to cut through wet or dry hair. Thick hair? Not a problem – it shears through even the densest hair with a single pass. It also has a sleek, ergonomic design with a textured, lightweight housing unit that makes it easy to handle and easy to use. It’s also durable, so you can plan on many years of effective use.
Let’s look at some of the other features of the Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper:
- It’s designed with a convenient, adjustable blade lever that allows you to change settings easily. Just choose the length you require – from very close to a medium length trim – and get to work.
- Its adjustable Cryogen-x blade is extremely sharp and, again, is easily adjusted by the unit’s blade lever. It also makes for a nice, even cut every time.
- It comes with four guide combs – blending, 1/4”, 3/8”, and 1/2.”
- Its 8-foot power cord provides easy maneuverability.
- While some people don’t like cutting wet hair, the Oster Fast Feed – as mentioned – gets the job done wet or dry, as well as with all types of hair, whether it’s thick, thin, Afro, or whatever else.
- The package includes a blade guard, lubricating oil, and a cleaning brush. Critics suggest that it should come with more accessories, such as scissors, styling combs, and even a barber’s cape, but you’re also getting one of the strongest motors on the market, as well as a clipper that can deal with whatever kind of hair you put in its path. No wonder it ranks at the top of best hair clippers for men.
- The Oster Fast Feed is considered easy to use, which is obviously helpful for do-it-yourselfers.
- Because it comes with just one adjustable blade, you don’t have to worry about having to change blades on the fly.
Need a closer look? Here’s a video of the Oster Fast Feed and its features:
The bottom line:
- Super quiet motor
- Effective on any hair type and length
- No need to change blades
- Easy to use and control
- No carry case or stand
- Only comes with a one-year warranty
At under $20, the Wahl Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit is considered the best budget home hair clipper on the market. In this case, paying less doesn’t mean you’re going to get less because this package comes loaded with goodies.
There’s a lot to like about the Wahl Color Pro Complete, but let’s start with its color-coded guide system that makes it easy for home users to remember which comb corresponds with what hair length. Each comb has a color-coded key that corresponds with the correct comb for each setting.
Here’s another thing we like: The Wahl Color Pro Complete is suitable for cutting hair all over the body, so whether you want to trim your hair, shave your head, trim your beard, or do some serious manscaping, you can make it happen with this product (although, that said, we suggest taking a serious look at our selection of best body groomers for full-body work).
You’ll get a clean cut with the Wahl Color Pro Complete thanks to self-sharpening high-carbon steel blades that are precision-ground and made to last longer than other blades. Carbon blades are designed to be stronger and more durable than other blades, but we suggest oiling them frequently – if not after every use – to keep them in prime condition (just put a few drops on the blade and you’re good to go). Its motor is also powerful enough to cut through coarse, thick hair.
You have a lot to choose from when it comes to the color-coded combs. Each kit comes with 12 combs of varying lengths, from 1/16” to 1”. Finding the right comb for your job is not hard to do. Moreover, the majority of users give a thumb’s up to the quality of the combs, including their durability and the ease of which they snap on and off of the unit.
The Wahl 79300 does not come with a battery but operates with a power cord which is 6-feet long – generally more than enough for your cutting needs and flexibility of movement. The motor isn’t silent, but it’s not overwhelmingly loud by any means and has a buzzing sound that’s quieter than a lot of other trimmers.
You get plenty of accessories with the Wahl 7900, including a small bottle of blade oil, a barber comb, a styling comb and a pair of scissors.
The bottom line:
- Color coding simplifies the process
- Powerful enough to cut most hair
- Comes with a variety of useful attachments
- Not ideal for beards
- Occasional issues with over-heating
When it comes to cordless home hair clippers, the Wahl Lithium Ion Clipper is hard to beat. Why? Because it’s advanced technology lithium-ion power gives you up to two hours run time, while it’s robust motor provides twice the power as standard Wahl motors. It also has a 15-minute quick charge feature that gives you enough charge for one complete cut. That’s an important feature when you consider the potential disaster of your clippers going dead in the middle of a job, and then having to wait a couple of hours for it to charge back up.
And what’s not to like about cordless convenience? It allows you to use it anywhere at any time without the hassle of a cord, and it’s easy to take with you and use while you’re traveling (note: it’s made for U.S. electrical outlets only). It also has a LED light that lets you know when it’s time to charge it up.
There are plenty of other reasons to like the Wahl Lithium Ion Clipper. It works well with shorter hair that is regularly cut, but also with longer hairstyles, and its powerful motor helps prevent uneven cutting, snagging, and pulling. We also like its versatility because it’s suitable for beard, eyebrow and ear trimming.
The Lithium Ion Clipper not only comes with Wahl’s most powerful motor but also its finest blades. The precision-ground, self-sharpening blades help you cut through all hair types while staying sharper than many other blades.
The Wahl Lithium Ion Clipper kit includes a soft case that looks great and can be used to store everything that comes with it – trimmer, guides, a cleaning brush, blade oil, blade guard, barber’s scissors, two styling combs, a barber’s cape, and hair clips. It also has a separate detail trimmer, and left and right ear tapers. Here’s a good overall look at the Ion Clipper kit:
The bottom line:
- Lithium-ion power gives you twice the run power
- Convenient quick-charge feature
- Harder to clean than some other clippers
- Design feels a bit flimsy
The 3 best professional hair clippers
“Classic” is an appropriate part of the name for this clipper, because it’s a long-standing barber shop favorite that has stood the test of time. The Oster Classic 76 is built for all-day use and has a motor that allows you to cut through wet, thick hair as easily as through the thinnest hair. It’s also very durable and made to withstand the inevitable drops and other banging around that can happen during a busy day at the shop.
Here are some of the other reasons why the Oster Classic 76 annually ranks among the best hair clippers for barbers:
The blades – The detachable blades are made for barbers and are antimicrobial to ensure the highest level of hygiene, which is particularly important when you’re using the same blade on several people a day. Moreover, the blade is easy to remove, which is handy for quick cleaning and maintenance – always a good thing for busy barbers. And last but not least, they’re sharp.
The motor – The Oster Classic’s powerful motor enables you to cut through thick hair with ease, but also all kinds of hair, all day long. The motor is not only powerful, but it’s also quiet compared to other models.
The power cord – Maneuverability is enhanced by the Oster Classic’s 9-foot power cord.
Great for rookies – Just getting started in the hair cutting biz? Many would argue that the Oster Classic 76 is the best clipper around if you’re learning the craft. It will enable you to do a nice, neat job right from the start, and won’t be nearly as tough to work with as cheap, easy-to-break clippers.
Classic design – There aren’t a lot of frills when it comes to the Oster Classic 76. You won’t find the many buttons, dials and other gizmos of other models, but if simple and classic is what you prefer, this clipper definitely fits the bill.
The accessories – The Oster Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper kit includes detachable blades, blade guard, lubricating oil, clipper grease, and a cleaning brush.
The bottom line:
- Break-resistant, ultra-durable housing
- Ease of use
- It’s a workhorse
- Is heavier than some models
- Fewer bells and whistles than other models
If there’s one thing you can say about Wahl, it’s that they’ve been a major player in the clipper game a long time. In 1911, Sterling High School (Ill.) junior Leo J. Wahl experimented with a vibrating electromagnetic motor that eventually led to his interest in improving barber tools – which then led to the first hand-held electromagnetic hair clipper. The rest is history, and today the Wahl Clipper Corporation has over 3,300 employees worldwide.
Why the history lesson? Well, it helps explain the innovative quality of Wahl’s commercial grade of products, not the least of which is the Wahl Professional Essentials Combo #8329. Intended for professional use, this clipper combines the Taper 2000 Clipper and AC Trimmer in one package. Powered by the now-legendary Wahl electromagnetic motor, both the 2000 Clipper and AC Trimmer are lightweight and ergonomically designed, which makes them capable of handling all kinds of barbering chores – from edging, blending, fading (they’re easily among the best hair clippers for fades) and more. Whether you’re just starting out, or a stylist/artist, the Essentials Combo will help you get the job done right.
There is a lot to like about the Wahl Essential Combo kit, including its high-precision cutting blades. The Taper 2000 comes with a thumb lever that changes the taper, texture, and cut without having to change blades, as well as with clipper cutting guides that maintain precision lengths.
The AC Trimmer has 1” blades and a nylon guide that provides smooth, cleaning trimming action at all times. Here’s something else to like – you can get the combo, with clipper and trimmer, and a bunch of other stuff for around $60. That’s what makes it the best budget professional clipper.
Each Wahl Professional Essentials Combo kit comes with four attachment combs for the Taper 2000 Clipper, oil, a cleaning brush, easy-to-follow instructions, and blade guards for the clipper and AC Trimmer. Both the clipper and the trimmer come with an 8-foot professional grade (and chemically-resistant) power cord. It also comes with a 5-year limited warranty. This video can help give you an overview:
The bottom line:
- Time-tested electromagnetic motor
- Quieter than many other models
- Two tools in one package
- Some reviewers feel the blades aren’t as sharp as other models
Good things often come in small packages, which is a fitting description for the Panasonic Professional Hair Clipper.
Smaller than many other professional clippers, the Panasonic ER1512 has every feature a pro needs, as well as everything a do-it-yourselfer could want. It has a sleek, lightweight design that fits comfortably into your hand, and its cordless design makes it convenient to use.
Widely used by professional hair designers, the ER1512 comes with a plastic attachment comb for taller hair lengths, and the various cutting lengths range from 0.8 to 2.0mm without the attachment, and 3 to 15mm with it.
The folks at Panasonic say the ER1512 has the “world’s fastest blade speed” – we’ll leave that up to you to decide – while its 10,000 RPM linear motor provides a smooth, precise cut with every use. The motor is powerful but quiet.
You also get many other features with your Panasonic ER1512, including:
- A charging stand. Note: One hour of charging provides 70 minutes of runtime.
- Six combs
- An electric power cord for when you want uninterrupted use
- Blade oil
- A cleaning brush
Another thing we like about the ER1512 is that its blades are easy to clean.
- Slim, comfortable design
- Convenient cordless option
- Blades are easy to clean
- Some users wish it had a longer battery life
Home Clippers vs. Professional Clippers – What to Look For and Things to Consider
At this point, you may be asking yourself about the difference between clippers for home use and clippers the pros use, as well as what you should be looking for when buying them.
First, the differences:
Price – For starters, professional clippers cost more than home clippers. Like anything, you get what you pay for, but professional clippers are typically top-quality and will last for a long time.
Ease of use – There is plenty of skill involved when it comes to cutting hair. Generally speaking, professional clippers require a greater degree of skill to be used properly, and it’s to your every advantage to call on seasoned pros for help and advice. Home equipment typically won’t require the same level of skill but acquiring a solid foundation of basic knowledge about how to use them never hurts. It’s your haircut, after all.
Styling – Pro clippers are designed to produce an artistic touch and overall finish. They’re great for a variety of often complex hairstyles. Home clippers, on the other hand, tend to be a bit more rigid and without the versatility. The best tools enable you to get the best look.
Next, let’s take look at some of the things you should be looking for when buying home and professional clippers:
Price – Cutting your own hair at home is an obvious way to save money. The good news is, clippers for home use are inexpensive.
Weight – The last thing you need when cutting your own hair is a pair of clippers that feel like you’re holding a small boulder. Chances are, it’s going to take you longer to cut your hair at home than it would by a pro in a barber shop and you don’t want your hand and wrist to grow weary. Lightweight also means easier maneuverability, which is particularly handy when you’re trimming those hard-to-reach areas.
Power – Don’t skimp on power when buying a pair of home clippers. Power means less cutting strokes, fewer snags, and more hair cut in one pass.
When it comes to buying professional hair clippers, your shopping checklist should include:
Power – Pros need powerful clippers for a variety of reasons, including that they’ll save time when the shop is full of customers. Plus, they’ll provide a cleaner cut.
Reliability/Durability – If hair-cutting is your profession, the last thing you need are clippers that are going to break down consistently and require constant maintenance. You want clippers that are going to last for a long time and can withstand the rigors of cutting hair all day, every day.
Performance – Cutting hair professional requires skill and experience. Having a high-performance pair of clippers doesn’t hurt either.
How to Maintain Your Hair Clippers so They Will Last You for Decades
We’ve talked about the many advantages to owning a quality pair of hair clippers, either for home or professional use. While you may pay a bit more than you would for a cheaper pair, the best clippers – such as the ones we’ve listed above – should last you for many years.
That is if you properly care for them.
Even just some basic care and maintenance on a fairly consistent basis will keep your clippers working their best for a long time to come.
Let’s take a look at some maintenance tips that will enable you to get the most out of your clippers:
Clean the blades
This tip cannot be emphasized enough. At the least, you sure make sure the blade area is clean before you begin to cut your hair or anyone else’s. The good news is that many hair clipper kits come with their own clipper brush and cleaning kit; if not, you can buy them relatively inexpensively, or even use an old-fashioned hard toothbrush to get into all the nooks and crannies (of course, that’s all you’re going to use that particular toothbrush for, right?).
Be sure to brush away all the loose hairs and debris from the blade area. They can have the same affect as grit or sand if they get lodged between the blades. Over time, they can eventually damage the blades or dull them.
Even taking a deep breath and blowing into the blade area is helpful. Pretend you’re blowing out a birthday candle.
Wash the adjusters
The adjusters are the snap-on clips that allow you to adjust the length of the hair that you’re cutting. They can become grimy from repeated use, and you should take care to wash them thoroughly from time to time. Remove them from the clippers and then submerge them in hot, soapy water. Use a cloth to scrub them, and then lay them out on a towel to dry.
Align the blade
This is an important step for professionals who are intending to cut other people’s hair or are using them in a barber shop/hair salon. To check the alignment, hold the clipper sideways and look down its length. The blade should be perfectly straight, and there shouldn’t be any teeth protruding. A crooked blade, or loose tooth, can easily produce nicks and cuts. In some cases, you may need to loosen the blade screws with a small screwdriver. You won’t need to remove the blade but just loosen it enough that you can wiggle it back into place.
Oil is the preventive medicine that keeps your clipper running smoothly for many years. If your clipper breaks down, the cause can often be traced to a lack of oil. Here’s the rule: apply some oil to your clipper every time you use it. It’s simple enough, and by adhering to it, you’ll make it a habit. And it only takes a few drops of oil on each corner of the moving blade, in the middle, and on the blade teeth. Then turn your clipper on and let it run for a few seconds to allow the oil to spread evenly. Wipe off any excess oil, and you’ll be ready to get back to work. The process takes less than a minute, but it’s an investment of time that will pay huge dividends.
Most clippers come with oil.
Changing the blade
This won’t happen often, especially if you’ve properly maintained your blade. But there may come a time when you need a new blade; like when you accidentally drop it and damage or chip the blade’s teeth. Changing the blade isn’t complicated, however, and your best bet is to have a spare blade on hand, so you don’t interrupt your workflow.
If you’re a professional barber, you’re legally required to have clipper spray in the shop. Spray keeps the blades cool (protecting the client from potential burns) while also disinfecting it. Additionally, spray reduces wear and tear on the blade and protects against rust.
Investing in high-quality hair clippers – whether they’re for home or professional use – will help you get the job done right and provide years of use. Don’t settle for less than the best when it comes to something as important are caring for your hair. Like anything else, it comes down to having the right tools for the job.
Having questions or comments about hair clippers or any of our posts? We encourage your correspondence.