Heading to the barbers or hair salon for a quick trim is off the cards right now, but that doesn’t spell the end of your hair cut – not when you have the best hair clippers on your side. These handheld grooming devices are exactly what you need when cutting your own hair at home and don’t want to end up looking like you’ve gone ten rounds with a disposable razor. Clippers are used for cutting hair of various lengths, while hair trimmers are used to trim fine hair or to tidy up sides and create super-crisp edges.
When it comes to the best hair clippers, there are a few brands that dominate: Wahl, BaByliss and Philips, we’re looking at you. These three also make some of the best hair dryers, and regularly bring out top-notch hair clippers for anyone wanting a professional looking finish when cutting their own hair at home.
Hair clippers range both in terms of price and the amount of accessories they offer, so you can easily pick up some cheap hair clippers for under $50, or invest in your style by choosing a more expensive yet professional level of clippers. If you’re not sure how much to spend, add up the cost of all those trips to the barber or hair salon to get an idea of what you normally spend, and whether that saving in cash is worth the investment of your time spent cutting your own hair.
One major benefit of owning hair clippers is that you can freshen up your haircut whenever you like, ensuring you always look sharp. If you have a particularly fancy hair style, choose an all-in-one hair clipper and trimmer device, such as the Panasonic ER-GP80-K Pro, so that you can achieve those super-crisp edges after cutting. If you’re whipping it all off, you may prefer to use one of the best electric head shavers. Let’s take a look at these best hair clippers now…
1. Philips Series 5000 Trim-n-Flow Pro: best hair clipper overall
For our money, the best hair clippers need to be easy to use, first and foremost. After all, we aren’t professional barbers or hair stylists, so there’s zero point in taking home a clipper or hair trimmer that’s overly complicated. The Philips Series 5000 Trim-n-Flow Pro comes with a series of interchangeable attachments designed to create an array of finishes.
You have the option to play around with 28 different lengths, ensuring you get the cut you want, and as the blades are 4cm wide, you’ll get it done fast too. To select a length – anywhere between 3mm and 28mm – turn the zoom wheel and lock in the hair clippers to cut to that specific length. To trim your beard, opt for the 2mm comb length.
Philips has designed this hair clipper with DualCut technology, which is a fancy way of saying it has a double-sided cutting design to make trimming your hair even faster. ‘Trim-n-Flow Pro technology’ is used to describe how this Philips hair clipper uses a comb design that enables trimmed hair to flow away from the blade to ensure no hair build-up during your haircut. Again, it makes the entire process faster.
While this hair trimmer is a little bulky in the hand compared to some of the more svelte devices in our best hair clippers guide, it’s simple to use, 100% washable (just rinse it to keep it clean), and those self-sharpening blades are built to last.
2. BaByliss PowerLight Pro: best cheap hair clipper
Not everyone needs a fancy hair trimmer, so if you just want something to help keep your hair looking neat until you can get to the barber or salon again, this BaByliss offering is the best hair clipper set for you. It cuts from grade 1 through to grade 8, with a cutting length of 3-25mm.
The clipper itself is lightweight and not as bulky as the Philips Series 500, making it a tad easy to wield when cutting your own hair. It’s made using high-grade stainless steel blades that make quick work of trimming, but we prefer the Trim-n-Flow Pro tech of the Philips hair clipper for preventing build-up of hair in the trimmer during cutting.
Considering this BaByliss PowerLight Pro Hair Clipper Set has a lower price tag than many other hair trimmers, it comes with a decent amount of accessories. These include a barber’s comb and oil, plus a cleaning brush and finishing scissors.
3. Wahl 5-Star Detailer Li: best hair trimmer for a pro finish
In addition to being one of the best hair trimmers for finer or shorter hair, Wahl’s 5-Star Cordless Detailer Li is also one of the most stylish. Before we go any further, we’d like to point out that ‘5-Star’ is part of the product name, and not a review rating. Anyway, the Detailer is made from durable, hard plastic with a chrome trim, and has a distinct vintage vibe even though there’s nothing retro about its pro performance.
Wahl’s barber-standard hair trimmer is equipped with a stainless steel T-wide blade, which is wider than most to enable you to cover larger areas faster. The Detailer is suitable for those of you who want to experiment with skin fades and super-crisp edges, but it will also trim your beard or mustache.
The Wahl Detailer Li comes with three trimmer guides (1/16″, 1/8″ and 1/4″), plus oil, a cleaning brush and a blade guard to protect your scalp and ears. The hair trimmer is powered by a strong rotary motor, which is something usually found in hair clippers, as they need more torque to cut through lots of hair.
4. Remington Virtually Indestructible HC5855: built to last
When we read that the Remington Virtually Indestructible HC5855 was nearly unbreakable, we were tempted to drop it from a great height, just to see what would happen. Instead we decided to use it for cutting hair, but perhaps being a bit rougher than usual when using it and setting it down.
It's a good value hair clipper with decent features and accessories for the price. In terms of performance, it's proven to be a workhorse, and both reliable and tough. The magnetic motor runs low and quiet, and the clipper itself is housed in a polycarbonate casing that's easy to clean.
There's a lifetime limited warranty with this Remington hair clipper, and it has an 8-foot industrial strength cord. Once it’s plugged in and running, its non-slip grip makes for a comfortable hold that is lightweight but in no way feels cheap.
To sharpen the deal, the blade system is precision ground for twice the cutting performance of similar models, and its blades are removable for easy cleaning. It comes in a 15-piece kit that includes a styling comb and a beard brush, blade oil and 10 guard combs, ranging in size from 1/16 inch to 1 inch).
5. Wahl Elite Pro Kit: best hair clipper for attachments
The Wahl Elite Pro hair clipper kit comes with a 21-piece kit of accessories that includes 10 guard combs and a blade guard all housed in a sturdy case. The kit’s extras include a styling cape, cord wrap, cleaning brush and blade oil.
The Elite Pro has self-sharpening, precision-ground blades, with attachment clips made of steel. According to Wahl, these are 70% stronger than the company’s standard comb fasteners. The guard combs give you cutting lengths of 1/16” to 1”, and they’re easy to change.
If you prefer cordless hair clippers, you may want to consider one of the other models featured further up. However, the Elite Pro’s 8-foot cord gives you plenty of wiggle room when cutting your hair.
6. Oster Fast Feed Hair Clipper: cuts hair quickly
The Oster Fast Feed is a powerful, low-maintenance electric hair clipper with sharp, adjustable steel blades. Powered by a strong pivot motor, the blades let you cut hair to just 1/50 of an inch with no guard comb, and you can use them to cut both wet and dry hair.
The Fast Feed handles multiple hair textures and lengths with ease, and it has a textured, nonslip grip. It also has a long 8-foot cord. While some of the home haircutting clippers we tested come with kits numbering 28 pieces, the Oster comes only with four combs, a cleaning brush and blade oil, and it doesn’t have a storage case.
Its quality is excellent, and its performance above average. Unfortunately its warranty is below average – Oster provides only a year of consumer protection, while the best warranties, such as those found with Wahl clippers, guarantee your hair clippers for a lifetime.
7. Panasonic ER-GP80 Pro: best hair clipper for a barber cut
This hair clipper is best-suited to those of you who have some experience of cutting your own hair, or cutting someone else’s, and want an all-in-one clipper and hair trimmer capable of delivering a barber cut at home. So this one comes down to your skill combined with the precision of Panasonic’s pro-level ER-GP80-K hair clipper.
It can be used with the included cord or cordless if you’d prefer a greater range of movement when cutting hair, and dishes out up to 50 minutes of cordless use once fully charged. The Panasonic ER-GP80-K hair clipper can be used on long hair and finer, shorter hair, as well as to trim men’s facial hair.
A 10,000cpm linear motor drive powers the clipper and trimmer, with Panasonic’s Constant Control tech ensuring a smooth and consistent cutting action, regardless of how long or thick your hair. There’s a five-step height control dial, so you can adjust the cutting length from 0.8-2mm in increments of 0.3mm.
There’s a 45-degree X-Taper blade on hand to hold and cut hair cleanly, ensuring no mishaps or damage to the hair, and you can choose from three dual-sided comb attachments to add to the blade before cutting.
8. Philips Series 5000 Hair Clipper: trims your hair and beard
If you liked our top choice in this best hair clippers guide but your budget doesn’t stretch that far, or you can’t find that particular Philips hair clipper in stock, this is a decent alternative. It’s especially good for beginners who are new to cutting their own hair and want a bit of hand-holding, as well as a device that can trim beards.
The Philips Series 5000 Hair Clipper boasts a zoom wheel that you turn to select the cutting length you want. The clipper then automatically locks to that length so you don’t have any mishaps during cutting. There are 23 cutting lengths available, from 1-23mm, with 1mm between each. For an extra close 0.5mm trim of your beard, remove the adjustable comb.
While this Philips hair clipper doesn’t have the Trim-n-Flow technology of our top pick for the best hair clippers, it does have the same self-sharpening blades with double-sided cutting action. This ensures your hair doesn’t catch or pull between the blades, and that you achieve a neater cut from the get-go.
The best hair clippers vs hair trimmers
While very similar, hair clippers and hair trimmers serve two different purposes. Clippers are best for long hair and come with attachments to vary the length of the cut. They are also good for thinning thick beards. You can also use hair clippers on pets with long fur if you don't want to pay for a groomer.
Hair trimmers are built to cut finer hair and are typically smaller, though some come with larger attachments. These trimmers can cut hair very close to the skin and are great for attaining a close shave or to get crisp edging. This is also the route to take if you have sensitive skin, as even the best hair clippers can be more abrasive to your skin.
Choosing the best hair clippers for you
Choosing the best hair clippers is not a one-size-fits-all process. When you’re looking for clippers, some of the most important factors to consider include the specific features and accessories you want, your own level of haircutting experience and, as expected, quality and price.
Rebekah Christensen, who obtained her training from California Beauty College in Modesto, California, also advises consumers to look for solid manufacturing. “People sometimes think lighter is better,” she said, “but I feel like a clipper needs to have some weight on it. I’d rather have something that has guts.
"Also, if you want to be able to cut through hair with nice, clean lines, you’ve got to look for power," says Christensen. "A lot depends, of course, on the skills of the stylist, but if you’re using something gutless and slow, you’re not going to get good results no matter how much skill or experience you have.”
Here are some other tips to help you choose the best hair clippers for your needs...
Is the hair clipper cord length important?
“Cordless hair clippers are my favorite,” says stylist Amy Thurgood, “but length is the key if you’re using clippers with a cord.“ Thurgood completed her professional training at the Avalon School of Cosmetology in Layton, Utah, and, in terms of cord length, recommends the longer the better because a longer cord “will give you more movement and free range.”
How much do the best hair clippers cost?
The price of hair clippers designed for home use ranges from under $50 to far more. To put that cost in context, it’s not unusual for professional stylists to pay over $1,000 for their hair clippers. We tested high-quality home hair clippers with midrange prices between $25 and $100.
When you’re buying hair clippers to cut your own hair at home, you’ll likely be most pleased with your purchase if you have realistic expectations. While each set of clippers we tested can provide satisfactory results, clippers designed for home use have limitations when it comes to fading, blending and achieving custom looks.
“If you’re expecting an off-the-runway look, you’re just not going to get it,” said Thurgood. “But you can find clippers that give you a good result for the price you pay.”
Which hair clipper accessories do I need?
Choose clippers with durable, high quality attachments that fasten securely and can be easily changed. The quality of guard combs is so important that professional stylists will often invest $30 to $40 apiece to upgrade to metal guard combs instead of using the plastic guard combs that come as standard with most hair clippers.
How to use hair clippers
Using clippers takes a little finesse and practice. We recommend trying it out in a small spot before tackling an entire haircut. If you’re new to using clippers, start out with an easy haircut with only one or two varied lengths. Start with the longest blade to cut off any bulky patches of hair. Assuming you're working on a short hairstyle, you might be able to skip this step.
Cut against the growth of the hair as you go. For instance, the hair at the base of the neck grows downward, so you'll want to shave upward there. Work in a scooping motion around the head to achieve the desired length using varied blade sizes. Most short haircuts have longer hair at the top of the head that tapers down shorter as it nears the base of the neck. To achieve this, use longer blades up top and short blades near the neck.