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Best hair clippers 2020: Electric hair trimmers for beginners and pros

Best hair clippers 2020: Electric hair trimmers for beginners and pros
(Image credit: Getty)

Picking up a pair of the best hair clippers means you can cut your own hair at home as often as you need, which could save you money in the longterm. Also known as electric hair trimmers, hair clippers are mostly suitable for use on short to medium length hair. If you're hair is any longer, you'll need to first cut it with scissors before taking to the clippers to it. 

The ongoing pandemic has led many people to cut their own hair at home, which has led to a run on the best hair clippers. While some of the most popular models are still low on stock, most are available to buy right now - and some are even on sale. The top hair clippers brands are Remington, Wahl, Philips and BaByliss, some of which also make the best hair dryers. They often run discounts on their electric hair trimmers, so you could pick up a great set of hair clippers for around $50. 

From our experience, the best hair clippers are cordless (or at least give you the option of going cordless) and come with a raft of attachments for different lengths and types of hair cut, including cool fades. Electric hair trimmers also come with accessories like a cleaning brush and blade oil to keep your kit in tip-top condition. 

Protective blade guards are often included too, and can help you avoid looking like you’ve gone ten rounds with an electric razor. If you have decided to shave your hair off completely, choose one of the best electric head shavers instead.

8 best hair clippers for cutting your own hair at home

1. Wahl Elite Pro Kit: Best hair clipper overall

Best hair clippers: Wahl Elite Pro High Performance Haircutting Kit 79602-017X

(Image credit: Wahl)

Wahl Elite Pro Haircutting Kit 79602-017X

A versatile hair clipper with some great attachments

High-quality attachments
Simple to use
Heavy and bulky

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.


2. Oster Fast Feed Hair Clipper: Best hair clipper for fast cuts

Best hair clippers: Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper

(Image credit: Oster)

Oster Fast Feed Hair Clipper

A reliable hair clipper that comes with sturdy blades

Easy-grip housing
Quality blades
No storage case for accessories

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.


3. Wahl 5-Star Detailer Li: Best electric hair trimmer for pros

Best hair clippers and hair trimmers: Wahl Professional 5-Star Series Lithium Ion Cord Cordless Detailer

(Image credit: Wahl)

Wahl 5-Star Cordless Detailer Li Hair Trimmer

The best hair trimmer for creating super-crisp edges and detailing

Crisp, sharp outlining
Relatively lightweight
100-minutes run time per charge
Be careful with that T-blade

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: Best hair clipper for a durable build

Best hair clippers: Remington Virtually Indestructible HC5855

(Image credit: Remington)

Remington Virtually Indestructible HC5855 Hair Clipper

A superb value set of hair clippers with a durable build

Rugged construction
Comfortable non-slip grip
Powerful, quiet motor
No hair removal brush

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. Panasonic ER-GP80 Pro: Best hair clipper for a barber finish

Best hair clippers: Panasonic ER-GP80 K Professional Hair Clipper

(Image credit: Panasonic)

Panasonic ER-GP80-K Pro Clipper and Trimmer

Recreate that barber magic at home with this hair clipper and trimmer

Slim and lightweight
Controlled cutting action
Expensive
Not suitable for beginners

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.


6. Philips Trim-n-Flow Pro: Best hair clipper for clean cuts

Best hair clippers: Philips Series 5000 Trim-n-Flow PRO Technology Hair Clipper

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips Series 5000 Trim-n-Flow Pro Hair Clipper

Cut your own hair with these easy to use Philips hair clippers

28 individual length settings
Can also be used cordless
Fully washable after use
A little bulky

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. 


7. BaByliss PowerLight Pro: Best cheap hair clipper

Best hair clippers and hair trimmers: Babyliss For Men PowerLight Pro Hair Clipper Set

(Image credit: BaByliss)

BaByliss PowerLight Pro Hair Clipper Set

A simple hair clipper set for keeping short hair neat

Easy to use
Cuts at grade 1-8
Barber oil and comb included

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.


8. Philips Series 5000: Best hair clipper for beards too

Best hair clippers: Philips Series 5000 Hair Clipper with DualCut Technology

(Image credit: Philips)

Philips Series 5000 Hair Clipper with Dual Cut Tech

The best hair clipper for beginners

Easy to use
Good cordless performance
Adjustable beard comb

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.

Best hair clippers FAQ

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.