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 long term. Also known as electric hair trimmers, hair clippers are mostly suitable for use on short to medium length hair. If your hair is any longer, you'll need to first cut it with scissors before taking to the clippers to it.
Versatile clippers with quality attachments
The Wahl Elite Pro hair clipper kit comes with 10 guard combs and a blade guard all housed in a sturdy case. The guard combs give you cutting lengths of 1/16” to 1”, and they’re easy to change. 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.
Heavy-duty, durable clippers
The Remington Virtually Indestructible hair clippers are a good value with a sturdy build, decent features, and several accessories that include a styling comb and a beard brush, and 10 guard combs. The magnetic motor runs low and quiet. When plugged in and running, its non-slip grip makes for a comfortable, lightweight hold.
Barber magic at home
The Panasonic professional hair clipper is for those who have some experience cutting hair. This all-in-one clipper and trimmer can be used with the cord or cordless. It can be used on any length or thickness of hair, and to trim facial hair. The height control dial adjusts cutting lengths from 0.8mm to 2mm. A 45-degree X-Taper blade is included.
For crisp edges and details
This barber-standard hair trimmer is equipped with a stainless steel T-wide blade, which is extra wide so you can cover a larger area faster. The Detailer is great for skin fades and super-crisp edges, but it will also trim your beard or mustache. It comes with three trimmer guides, plus oil, a cleaning brush, and a blade guard to protect your scalp and ears.
Reliable clippers with sturdy blades
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. It works on both wet and dry hair. The Fast Feed has a nonslip grip and comes with four combs, a cleaning brush, and blade oil.
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.”
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.