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Shopping Guide for Best Hair Clippers

When it comes to DIY grooming, good hair clippers are an essential tool. Hair clippers let you cut your hair (and your family’s) at home, instead of visiting a barber. Not only convenient, they also save you dollars.

The best clippers depend on a range of factors. Do you want a basic buzz cut or an intricate fade? How frequently will you use them? How much do you want to spend? It can be overwhelming trying to find the perfect clippers for you.

At BestReviews, we’re here to help. We test items in our labs, comb through all the data, gather opinions from existing customers, and consult experts. What we don’t do is accept products or perks from manufacturers. Our goal: to bring you the most thorough, fair, and unbiased reviews around.

If you’re ready to buy, check out our five favorite hair clippers in the matrix above. But if you want to know more about what to look for before adding to your cart, read on.

Hair clippers will eventually pay for themselves. Just factor in what you would have paid for all those trips to the barbershop or hair salon.

Types of Hair Clippers

Hair clipper types

Rotary Motor Hair Clippers

Rotary motor hair clippers are light, powerful, durable, and quiet. While on the pricey side, they are favored by professionals for their versatility and because they can be used all day without overheating.

Rotary motor hair clippers work well on both thick and fine hair types. They are the only hair clippers that can be set to different speeds.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper

Performance

The Oster Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper is considered the “gold standard” of affordable professional-grade hair clippers. This is partly due to its construction. The clippers’ housing is made of thick, durable plastic that is nearly the equivalent of vintage Bakelite. The one-speed electric motor is exceptionally powerful but can generate significant noise at times. The housing’s grooved design is ergonomic, but users with smaller hands may find these clippers a bit challenging during multiple haircuts.

Hair clipper types

Magnetic Motor Hair Clippers

Magnetic motor hair clippers are a solid choice — the majority of home hair clippers are this type.

You get an extremely smooth cut on fine and lightly textured hair with magnetic motor hair clippers, but they can struggle with thick and coarse hair. They require little to no maintenance.

With their extremely fast-moving blades, they have a tendency to run hot.

Magnetic motor hair clippers are a versatile, low-maintenance, and popular choice.

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BestReviews
Hair clipper types

Pivot Motor Hair Clippers

Pivot motor hair clippers have a high cutting speed but a low blade speed.

The blades move in both directions, meaning you get double the amount of blade strokes compared to other kinds of clippers. They are also up to four times faster than magnetic motor varieties.

If you have thick hair or like to clip your hair when it’s wet, pivot motor hair clippers are an excellent option.

EXPERT TIP

Since they stay cool over long periods of use, pivot motor and rotary motor hair clippers are favored over magnetic motor clippers by professional barbers and hair stylists.


Staff  | BestReviews

What’s Your Number?

If you’ve ever been to a barbershop, you probably know that standard clipper haircuts are often referred to by numbers. This is because most clippers come with eight numbered guide combs, which adjust the length of the cut. However, some modern hair clippers have a built-in guide, which you adjust via a numbered slide or dial on the outside of the unit.

Since you’re going to be cutting hair yourself, it’s important you know what these numbers mean so you don't end up going too long or — worse — too short.

  • Number 1 — ⅛ inch

  • Number 2 — ¼ inch

  • Number 3 — ⅜ inch

  • Number 4 — ½ inch

  • Number 5 — ⅝ inch

  • Number 6 — ¾ inch

  • Number 7 — ⅞ inch

  • Number 8 — 1 inch

You can also use your hair clippers without a guide comb at all, to get an extremely close-cropped result — this is known as a “number 0” or simply a “0.”

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Wahl 79300-400T Color Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit

Design

Every design element of the lightweight Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit is intended to take the fear out of hair styling. Its streamlined plastic housing is contoured for maximum comfort in the user’s hand. Its comb attachments are color-coded with a corresponding size chart printed directly on the housing. A brush and lubricating oil are included in a convenient storage bag. The cutting blades are made of high-carbon steel and are designed to be self-sharpening. Even when working without guards or combs, users can adjust the trim length with a simple switch.

What to Look For When Buying Hair Clippers

Features

Blade Material

Most basic models have blades that are stainless steel, which is a good material for hair clippers as it’s rust-resistant and holds a sharp edge.

Higher-end clippers have blades coated with titanium or carbon, which can improve longevity and performance.

And some high-end models have ceramic blades, which are extremely sharp and don’t dull easily but can be fragile.

DID YOU KNOW?

Ceramic blades are sharp and hold their edge indefinitely, but they tend to be found only on high-end hair clippers.

Features

Corded vs. Cordless

There is not much difference in performance between cordless and corded hair clippers.

However, cordless models will only run as long as the battery holds out, whereas corded models will run as long as you need them to.

Decide whether you prefer the convenience of going cordless or the ability to keep on clipping until you’re done.

EXPERT TIP

If you’ll be cutting your whole family’s hair in one sitting, or you’re rocking an intricate hairdo that takes a while to style, cordless hair clippers could run out of juice before you’re done.


Staff  | BestReviews
Features

Length Adjustability

All clippers should give you the ability to trim hair to a variety of lengths: a close buzz cut, a longer crop, or short back and sides with a longer trim on the top.

Some hair clippers have adjustable settings on the side of the unit, while others use guide combs, which you slip over the blades to adjust the trim length.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper

Performance

A powerhouse hair clipper, the Oster Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper is ideal for military-style haircuts. These cuts are often performed one after another in professional barbershops. The Classic 76 includes two blades — size 000 and size 1 — that easily achieve both buzz cuts and “high and tight” regulation cuts. Those who prefer even shorter cuts will require a 0000 or 00000 blade, which are not included.

Features

Storage

Look for hair clippers that come with storage, such as a bag or a case, so you can keep the clippers together with their blades and guide combs.

That way, you won’t have to go searching your house for the right blades and accessories before each haircut.

Some hair clippers come with a case or pouch, so you don’t lose track of the various blades, guide combs, and other accessories that come with them.

Staff
BestReviews

How Much Do Hair Clippers Cost?

  • Inexpensive

Basic hair clippers cost about $10 to $30. At the high end of this range, you can find a handful of gems, which are great for occasional use or shaping up a professional haircut. The cheapest models may perform fairly poorly, though.

  • Mid-Range

Models in the $30 to $60 price range are good for regular home use. However, they may not perform quite as well as high-end types or come with as many accessories.

  • Expensive

Expect to pay $70 to $150 for high-end home hair clippers and $70+ for professional-grade models. These clippers are fast, durable, and lightweight, plus they perform exceptionally well. They come with a wide range of blades and other accessories.

Product in Depth

Product in Depth

Wahl 79300-400T Color Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit

Features

The Wahl Color Pro Complete Hair Cutting Kit contains just about every attachment a beginning hairstylist could want, including left and right fading combs, which are correctly angled for working around the ears. The blade itself is adjustable, so those who want a military buzz cut or a completely bald head can get the same results they would from a 0 blade.

Tips

  • It’s useful to know what “number” cut you like. Use the guide combs or settings on the side of your hair clippers to find the number for your perfect length.

  • After using your hair clippers, brush your hair in the opposite direction to reveal any odd hairs you might have missed.

  • If you want to cut your own hair, make sure your hair clippers have a swiveling cutting head, and always use mirrors to check the back of your head.

If you’re not sure of the right hair length for you, it’s best to start longer and then go shorter if necessary. If you go too short, your only option will be to wait for your hair to grow.

FAQ

Q. Which types of hair clippers are best for cutting my own hair?

A. If you aim to use your clippers on yourself, look for a model with a swiveling cutting head, which will make it easier to get to those hard-to-reach areas. Select a lightweight model to avoid arm fatigue from bending into awkward positions to reach the back of your head.

Q. Can I use hair clippers to cut pet hair?

A. You can clip your pet with regular hair clippers, but we don’t recommend it unless you know what you’re doing. However, if you’re confident in your pet-grooming abilities, human hair clippers will do the job just fine, but be sure to opt for quiet clippers with a low vibration.

Q. What accessories do I need with my hair clippers?

A. That depends on a number of factors, including the styles you’re going for and what make and model of hair clipper you have. Popular accessories include combs, cleaning brushes, scissors, and blade oil. Some clippers come with a range of accessories, but with other clippers you have to purchase accessories separately.

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