Whether you’re looking to save some cash by cutting your own hair at home, or you’re a professional barber with loyal clients who expect perfection – it all starts with an investment in the right set of hair clippers.
And in this guide, you’re going to learn precisely how to choose – and use – the best hair clippers for home use and pro barbershop cuts.
To get a quality haircut, you need quality clippers, so here’s a review of our top 4 picks for 2020.
1. Wahl Elite Pro Main Hair Clipper Kit (mains)
Did you know that the Wahl brand invented electric hair clippers? That’s right, back in the 1920’s Leo J. Wahl patented the design of the world’s first vibrating mains powered hair clipper and founded the Wahl Clipper Corporation.
With such a long-standing success of bringing men’s clippers to market, it’s little wonder that this brand continues to be the choice of industry professional barbers worldwide.
One of their latest offerings is the Wahl Elite Pro which is suitable for both professional barbers, and amateur DIYers who are looking for something a bit special.
This is our current leading recommended best clipper set, and here are a few reasons why:
Easy Glide Precision Self Sharpening Blades
Built with Wahl’s best “EasyGlide” self-sharpening snag free blades that cut up to 40% faster than previous Wahl precision blades. The teeth do a better job of feeding hair, and always sharp edges means quick, comfortable cutting of all hair types.
What separates these blades from the competition is the material. You might have seen clippers with titanium blades, and if you paid attention in science class, then you’ll know how strong this stuff is.
However, most clippers boasting titanium blades are merely using a thin coating over cheap metal, which can wear off.
Ceramic blades are sharp, but they can chip quite easily, and therefore not ideal for durability.
Stainless steel is the most common material used to create clipper blades, but you need to watch out for low-grade steel.
You see, there are multiple grades of stainless steel – from soft to solid – the lower the grade, the lower the quality. With Wahl having over 90 years of experience in studying metals, they’re way ahead of the competition.
To build their clipper blades, they use a perfected combination of high-grade stainless and high carbon steel, to create long-lasting sharpness.
And, their USA manufacturing process makes their teeth is a cut above the competition. Their competitors stamp the teeth out with a hydraulic press, which requires softer metals. Wahls on the other hand, can use extremely hard metals for their teeth because they sharpen the teeth by grinding them, the way blades should be sharpened.
This gives the clipper super sharp durables blades, with a lifetime warranty.
Extra Strong Guide Combs
The kit includes x10 guide combs with unique metal clip for secure fastening and durability.
You know what’s really annoying about regular clip on / off guard combs? – the plastic can become weak and brittle with age and regular use. This can lead to plastic teeth and fastening clips breaking and snapping off completely, which brings the expense and inconvenience of having to source replacement parts.
However, the guide combs that come with the Wahl Elite Pro use a metal clip to securely fasten them to the blades and are made from premium materials.
The result are guide combs that are secure, and 70% stronger than your run of the mill plastic combs. The plastic teeth are less brittle, and have a firm rubbery feel, which combined with the stainless steel clip, makes them very strong.
Also, most clipper guide length combs have the size embossed into the plastic, which is hard to see without screwing up your eyes.
And again, Wahl eliminates a common problem by fixing large easy to read metallic nameplates onto each comb, so you can quickly and easily change lengths.
This is an evolution from The Wahl Colour Pro Cordless Clipper which has handy colour coded hair combs.
You’re in full control with cutting lengths from 0.8 mm up to 25 mm. And you also get a half guard for blending fades and more control.
Wahl’s Most Powerful Motor
Having sharp premium blades and strong guide combs are all well and good, but they won’t have much clout without the backing of an excellent motor.
That’s why Wahl has gone above and beyond by putting their most powerful coil motor into this clipper, which has a 15% power improvement over the already battle-tested Wahl premium powerdrive motor.
The professional motor is surprisingly quiet and doesn’t emit a lot of harsh vibrations, for being such a powerful clipper.
This is particularly good if you’re using this as a family hair clipper because loud motors can be quite intimidating for kids or those with tonsurephobia (the fear of getting a haircut).
Side Taper Level
Of course, this model comes with an adjustable taper lever to give multiple cutting lengths without changing attachment combs, allowing you to create seamless fades, deeper cuts, and sharp edges.
Using your thumb, move the lever to make minute adjustments to your desired cutting length or to clear a build-up of excess hairs.
What’s in the Box?
- The Wahl Elite Pro Mains Powered Hair Clipper
- 10 x Length Comb attachments no’s 1-8 and two 1/2 and 1 1/2 attachments
- Premium Stainless Steel scissors with blade cover
- Quality Barber comb
- Wahl Branded Large barbers cape
- A Bottle of Lubricating Blade oil
- Strong and attractive storage / travel case
- Full colour, clear instruction guide
- Dimensions: 25.2 cm x 22.8 cm x 7.62 cm (H x W x D)
It’s weighty – it’s not a light or flimsy thing, it’s a top of the line corded hair clipper set by the worlds leading clipper manufacturer. Backed with thousands of rave reviews, this Wahl clipper set provides everything you need for years of precision hair cutting.
2. Philips Series 9000 Hair Clipper Review (cordless)
Philips, a brand with a broad range of products – from Smart TV’s to electric shavers – it’s a name known for quality. And their growing range of personal grooming products for home-use are some of the best on the market today.
These Philips clippers come with DualCut technology which offers a very fast and easy cut. In fact, Philips state that these will cut twice as fast as their older model. Also, they have an innovative “Auto Turbo” function which boosts cutting power when you need to plough through very thick hair.
The blades are self-sharpening and made from highly durable solid titanium, which is stronger than your typical steel blades found with inferior products.
The length cutting settings are controlled digitally with a “Digital Swipe” feature, from 0.5mm to 42mm which number 400 in total.
You get just 3 length combs, but they are mechanically adjustable in 0.1mm stages for extreme precision. Comb 1 allows you to cut between 1 and 7mm, comb 2 takes you to 7 and 24mm, and the third comb ranges between 24 – 42mm for a combined total of 400 length settings that can be locked-in.
This is a cordless model that will give you around 2 hours of continuous run time after charging for just an hour. You can also use it in mains power mode if the battery runs flat.
Overall, this a great set of hair clippers that’s ideally suited from accurate hair cutting at home.
3. BaByliss for Men Super Clipper XTP Hair Clipper
In 2003, the Babyliss brand – with over 50 years in developing successful beauty and haircare products – launched the “Babyliss For Men” range.
Since then, they’ve introduced us to a range of hair clippers, leading beard trimmers, and shavers, most notably, the Babyliss i Stubble.
It’s no surprise then, that this brand has built an exceptional hair clipper that’s made it onto our list of top 5 hair clippers (recently refined to 4).
You’ll be immediately struck by its deep metallic red colour, and sturdy looks.
It doesn’t just look that part, it has some impressive performance and features that are well worth shouting about, namely:
- High grade, sharp Japanese engineered blades
- Sturdy taper lever for smooth fades and blends
- A built-in battery, that fully charged, can run for 7 weeks of normal use
- Skin kind blades allow accurate, sharp lines cut around the ears and neckline
- Can operate cordless or corded – you decide
- Craft lines and designed into hair with its reliable advanced direct drive motor.
- X10 guide length combs and carry case
- 1 – 8 length combs plus Left and Right head ear taper combs
- This clipper can be a bit on the noisy side, but it makes up for this with performance.
4. Oster 606 Pro Power Adjustable Blade Clipper
Oster is an American brand that was founded in 1924 by Mr John Oster. They originally produced the first women’s hand-held hair clipper. They are a household name in the US, now producing quality kitchen appliances as well as their impressive hair clippers.
Their clippers are harder to come by in the UK, but as their range grows in global popularity, I believe you’ll be seeing more from this brand.
The Oster mXpro Adjustable Magnetic Motor Clipper and the Oster Limited Edition Fast Feed – are some of the best clippers we’ve seen.
Available now in the UK is the Oster 606 Pro Power Adjustable Blade Pivot Motor Clipper, which is a jump in quality from your mainstream clipper set and perfectly capable of wet or dry clipping.
It’s a classic vintage style hair clipper with a heavy-duty yet quiet pivot motor and is pretty good value considering this a professional hair clipper used in salons and barber shops.
Some barbers claim that this is the quietest clipper they’ve ever used, with a low hum, it’s perfect for children.
Home users and professionals will be happy with this main powered hair clippers, because of its solid construction and excellent cutting performance.
You will get four cutting guards with the Oster to allow different cutting lengths and blending. There is also a taper lever for finer adjustment and a simple on-off switch on this side.
Our Quick Guide to Buying Hair Clippers
The term “hair clipper” can encompass a number of devices – though generally refers to a tool designed for cutting the hair on the head.
Beard trimmers and body hair groomers feature smaller cutting heads and finer-toothed blades – as such, they are better suited to grooming beards, removing body hair and touching up necklines; and electric shavers are intended to remove a beard in its entirety – though some models feature trimmer modes which can cut a beard to a short length, much as a dedicated trimmer does.
Knowing what you’ll be using your hair clippers for is the first step in choosing an appropriate model.
The next thing to consider is the type of hair you’ll be cutting. Is it soft, thin, fine or delicate – or coarse, dense, brittle and tough?
In the case of the former, nearly any clipper will suffice – very fine hair requires little in the way of cutting power.
But coarse, dense hair may be too much for very cheap, underpowered hair clippers to tackle – in which case, look for a model which uses a large capacity rechargeable battery or mains-powered electric motor, to avoid having hair tugged at by the moving blades. In such cases, a variable speed control may also be helpful.
Choosing the Right Hair Clipper Features
For most men, a trip to the barbers can be an enjoyable experience. Often, your barber can become a close friend, as sitting close with someone for 20 minutes chatting is sociable and leads to long-lasting friendships.
However, time is money, and at around £15 a haircut, the costs can mount.
If you’re looking to make the switch home hair clipping, you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of reasonably priced hair clippers that will make your money back very quickly.
The problem is that it can be quite a daunting task to find the best clippers at the right price. In this men’s hair clippers buying guide we will explain in detail what you need to look out for.
If you’re not careful you can spend crazy money on hair clippers. Unless you are thinking about opening your own barber shop there is no need to spend a fortune.
Men’s hair clippers — thought they’re the same for women. Hair is hair, and if you’re using a set of clippers it’s likely you’re after a short hairstyle.
Cordless or Corded Clipper
Start by considering how important portability is to you.
If it is, you’re in luck – the majority of hair clippers are cordless and rechargeable.
Thanks to innovations in lithium-ion battery technology, a lot of long-lasting power can be packed into a small device, and most such clippers provide at around an hour of continuous run-time, and charging quickly when not in use.
In most cases, cordless clippers will suffice for general home use – consider a mains-powered model if you’ll need hours of runtime or maximum power – such as use in a professional salon.
As said, you’ll find that a lot of hair clippers these days are battery powered (cordless). If you are a regular traveller, or want the additional freedom that not having a mains cord brings then the cordless models may appeal to you.
The biggest drawback with battery powered hair clippers is the battery running out of charge at the most awkward time. It can be very annoying if you’re in the middle of a haircut and the battery gives up.
With mains powered models you will not face this problem. They tend to be a little more powerful too. The drawback though, is that mains cords can be pretty restrictive if they are fairly short.
A longer mains cord will provide more distance, but then you’ve got a trip hazard of a trailing cable – something to watch for.
Both options have their pros and cons, it’s really up to you to weigh these up and decide which type of clippers is the best fit for you.
The part of the clipper that cuts the hairs are usually made from stainless steel.
Now, for personal and home use this is more than adequate. But the grade of the steel and how the teeth are formed is important here.
Cheap low-grade steel with teeth pressed out are inferior to high grade steel with ground teeth.
Distinguishing between this range of steel and manufacturing is not easy, as manufacturers don’t always state material quality and build processes.
Always check to see what the brand is saying about the blade material. Ceramic, titanium, and quality stainless steel are all good options.
Guard Length Combs
The “basin” haircut – AKA the “bowl cut” – went out of style a long time ago. This was a simple hair cut that look as though a bowl was placed over the head as a template, and everything below was shaved off.
Though a bowl wasn’t actually used, the cut required just a hair clipper and quick cut.
Today, hairstyles are vast and require different cutting lengths.
Most modern hair clipper models come with cutting guards as standard. They are easy to attach to your clippers so that you can cut hair to different lengths.
The guards have a numbering system (usually from 0 to 8) and these equate to the lengths of cut which normally range from 0.5mm to 25mm.
The best cutting guards come with securing clips so that they do not come away from the clippers. The last thing you want is a guard that slips off all the time.
For the pros, half guard sizes are available for even more control over length.
Knowing what you expect your hair clippers to do will help guide your decision.
Versatility is great – but if you don’t need a clipper to perform every grooming task under the sun, it’s best to opt for something that simply does one thing well.
For example, if you intend only to cut hair, you may wish to choose a model solely designed for that – not one which also trims beards, removes body hair and shapes sideburns.
For maximum control a taper level allows you to cut really close and to change the length slightly without a guard or blade change over.
Pulling the taper lever up brings the top teeth closer, resulting in a closer cut. Pulling the lever back gives a slightly longer cut. And the lever is handy for clearing clumps of jammed hairs from the teeth.
Overall, a taper lever is a handy feature to have.
Look for hair clippers which come with useful accessories.
For the aspiring home barber, a taper lever and wide range of switchable combs makes it easy to cut hair to different lengths, while brushes and scissors help you shape any hairstyle.
Some clippers come with a hard or soft-shell storage case which holds accessories and allows for easy travel.
Such clippers often include a simple power adapter which recharges the battery – while other models may feature a charging base which doubles as a storage space.
Hair and dead skin can accumulate on the blades.
In order to avoid a buildup of detritus, choose hair clippers which come with a small cleaning brush, as well as blade oil to keep the cutting teeth well lubricated and moving smoothly.
Most models feature removable blades, allowing you to send a dull one out for sharpening and put a fresh blade in its place.
Power and Motors
Get something you need at a great price is great, but choosing a set of low quality cheap hair clippers from an unknown brand could cause you real problems.
Some of the very cheap models are fitted with low power motors that will struggle to cut through densely packed patches of hair. Furthermore, these cheap, low powered motors won’t last long before burning out.
You need a good motor in your hair clippers as this machine must cut through thousands of hairs – thick and thin – regularly.
There are three main types of internal motor used inside of hair clippers.
The Rotary Motor
Generally, you’ll find rotary motors in cheaper hair clipper models. This is because these DC / AC motors are mass produced, efficient, and cost less.
If you’re hair clippers have a magnetic motor, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it does the job. The Tesla Model 3 uses an electromagnetic rotary motor – they work.
If you plan to use your hair clippers very often or professionally, then we would recommend that you avoid models with a basic magnetic motor.
There are not many moving parts in a magnetic motor. It is basically just an electromagnet and a spring.
The motor spins very fast, moving a cam from side to side which moves the cutting teeth – simple and effective.
The Magnetic Motor
A magnetic coil motor provides the most power and speed, and as you might expect it is the most expensive. They have a lot of torque and are able to cut really thick hair, and lots of it.
Many professionals use hair clippers with rotary motors, including animal groomers, who need to plough through thick hair and fur, without motor strain and power loss.
The speed of a rotary motor is well balanced, and it can tackle any haircutting task. It is also very quiet when it is running.
It is the best quality motor you can buy in a clipper, is “whisper” quiet, and has the longest lifespan.
The Pivot Motor
This is a magnetic motor too, but it has two electromagnets instead of one and no spring. You will get more cutting power with a pivot motor but there is a reduction in cutting speed.
Pivot motors tend to weigh less than magnetic motors so your clippers will be lighter.
Q. How Much Should I Spend?
You can pick up a high performance set for well under £50. Always buy from a reputable manufacturer such as Panasonic, Philips, BaByliss or Wahl.
Check customers reviews for the product you’re interested in buying to make sure there are plenty of people using the product without any problems.
Hair clippers can start from as low as £10, but don’t expect much at these lower prices. Power, performance, and reliability are going to be seriously lacking.
In our opinion £40 – £80 is the sweet spot. In this price range, you’re looking at a quality branded clipper with plenty of accessories.
If you’re a professional barber, or you just want to splash out on the best, then expect to pay £100 or more.
Q. Who are the best hair clipper brands?
The leading brand in electric powered hair clippers is Wahl. This is an American company from Illinois that has been making clippers for over a century.
Wahl holds the patent for the first electromagnetic motor and it was also the first company to bring battery powered clippers to the market.
A lot of professionals use hair clippers by Wahl, which says it all really.
They tend to be very reliable and have a very good reputation. You won’t go far wrong if you buy a hair clipper from Wahl’s.
BaByliss are a French company that has been manufacturing hair clippers since the early 1960’s. Sometimes they are a little cheaper than Wahl’s clippers but that does not mean that you will receive less.
One of the best things about a lot of the BaByliss models is that you can use them cordless or with mains power. A number will have tapering levers and cutting guards as well. Their hair clippers are usually reliable and will last you a long time with normal use.
More people use Philips hair clippers for home use than any other brand. This Dutch company has a great reputation in grooming and beauty around the world.
Another leading brand in the hair clippers market worthy of a mention is Panasonic. This is a huge Japanese electronics company which manufactures several different products similar to Philips. Panasonic hair clippers usually have good features and are very good quality.
Q. How often do clipper blades need oiled?
Wahl recommend oiling after every use, or every other use. Always clean the blades first, preferably with some hygienic spray. Then apply 2 – 3 beads of quality oil (don’t over-do it) to dry blades whilst the clipper is running. This will ensure the oil works it’s way through the teeth, maximizing lubrication which in turn increases performance and the lifespan of your hair clippers.
How to Cut Your Own Hair at Home Like a Pro
Have you had a bad day at work? Feeling frumpy? Just don’t like what you see looking back at yourself in the mirror?
Treating yourself to a haircut is one of the best ways to remedy these minor maladies – when you look better, you feel better.
Really, there are only two downsides to getting a haircut – you have to make an appointment and go somewhere to have it done – and the cost of a proper barbershop cut has skyrocketed – it’s simply not the easiest or most affordable option for everyone.
Fortunately, for the price of just a few haircuts at the local barbers, you can purchase a great set of electric hair clippers and create your own style, at home.
Your small initial investment will pay for itself many times over.
So, you’ve chosen the perfect pair of clippers and you want to cut your hair– or perhaps create a new look for a friend or family member – but don’t know how to get started. Fear not!
- Choose a space to work in. Make sure the floor is free of other objects and can be easily swept clean of fallen hair. If a smooth floor isn’t available, lay down a sheet which can be shaken out afterward.
- Have at least one mirror on hand – and if cutting your own hair, two are even better, with one placed in a fixed position in front of you, and the other mounted to the side (such as on a cupboard door), or a handheld mirror. This will allow you to see the sides and back of your head – crucial for even cutting.
- Next, decide how long or short you wish the hair you’ll be cutting to be. If your clipper includes combs – sometimes called “guards” – the length to which they cut hair is usually printed on them.
- When in doubt, start with a longer guard – what sounds like a reasonable length can be surprisingly short, and can vary in appearance from one person to the next, dependent on hair colour, density and facial shape.
- Make sure the hair you’ll be cutting is dry. Avoid cutting wet hair – it may catch in the clipper blade or make it difficult to gauge how much has been cut, as well as cause rust to form on the blade.
- Place the clippers with the blade facing down, turn them on and work against the direction of hair growth – this allows more hair to be caught and cut.
- Move the clippers slowly and methodically. Rushing or pressing too hard may cause hair to catch or allow the blade to get too close to skin. The goal is cut all the hair in one pass, but sometimes more will be required.
- When you’ve achieved your desired look, remove the comb from the clippers, exposing the teeth of the blade.
- If the clippers use a taper lever, adjust it so the space between the moving and fixed part of the blade is as small as possible.
- Turn the clippers over and carefully trim a clean, even line around the ears and back of the neck.
If cutting the sideburns, compare sides to make sure they’re of even length. If you or the person whose hair is being cut has facial hair, put a comb back on the clippers or adjust the taper lever so a smooth transition between the beard and sideburns can be made.
Clean your clippers – unless specified as a “wet-dry” model by the manufacturer, never hold any part of hair clippers under running water.
Always use a small brush, and if a bottle of blade oil was included, apply a drop or two to the moving blades or as per the instructions.
Using hair clippers on yourself or another person requires essentially the same process – but in the case of the former, note that what you see in the mirror is a reverse image, and move your hand accordingly.
If you are uncertain, make a practice pass with the clippers turned off first!
Of course, if you’re a professional barber then you don’t need this guide, but our list of best hair clippers will definitely be of use.
Last updated: 03/04/2020