I thought it would be useful for visitors to this website to have a useful and helpful buying guide. As there are so many makes, models and slightly different types of hair clippers available, it can at times get confusing.
Hopefully this guide will help cut through all of the jargon and keep things that little bit simpler. I have also included a Top 10 list of hair clippers based on the best ratings and you can find that just below
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Brands Who Make Hair Clippers
There are quite a few brands and I have listed them below and it shows the most popular makes first.
Every now and then you may see another brand enter the market but the top 6 on this list would dominate the market and Wahl are especially well known when it comes to hair clippers and hair trimmers.
There is quite a bit of price variation but an average price would be around £35 for a good quality hair clipper.
You can pick them up for as little as £10, and for the professional type you could pay in and around £80-100 for salon or barber quality and professional clippers.
Most people who will want to cut their hair at home just do not need the expensive professional ones and if you have a budget of around the £35-40 mark, then you will be able to pick from a nice range of high quality products.
Hair Clippers vs Hair Trimmers
These are easy to confuse but they are not the same thing so just be aware of the name that is used. The clipper actually can cut and help style hair. This is what most people will want to buy when cutting their hair at home. A hair trimmer is used by people who like finely detailed lines along the back of their neck, around their ears and many men use these to create fine lines around their beards.
Hair clippers should come with a set of guide combs (explained below) whereas hair clippers usually have a couple of built-in settings.
Key Features of Hair Clippers
The majority of people who purchase hair trimmers simply want to be able to cut their hair in the comfort of their own home. They may want to cut their own hair, and they may also want to cut their kid’s hair. That will help with expensive runs to the barber or local hairdresser.
Generally speaking these will be used to cut hair maybe once a month and to keep it looking neat and tidy. They are not designed for the total removal of hair, though they can be set to get close to that look if you want to. So if you are considering buying a set of clippers, then what should you look out for in terms of the important features.
Some people simply like to go with a well known brand name and in terms of reviews that I have read, and the ratings given to them by actual buyers, Wahl, and Philips are the best. You may find the odd Remington and BaByliss in the top 10 ratings from time to time, but in the main, Wahl are probably the best when all things have been considered.
If you have a look in a barbers you will find that around 95% of them also use Wahl.
The Body and Weight
It is easy to overlook this when you are making your decision but it is very important. Some clippers are very heavy and they feel awkward in the hand. You want to avoid any that look or feel like this. The better manufacturers put a lot of effort in to making a really nice grip.
I have completed a Top 10 table below so as you can quickly see which ones feel good in the hand.
It is all about balance and ease of use when it comes to this feature. Some are really well designed and some are just downright awful. The ones on my table below tick the right boxes.
Most hair clipper blades are made from stainless steel, but there are still a few made from ordinary steel. A lot of the manufacturers have now started to use carbon steel blades as they are harder and as such will last longer. Some clippers will use ceramic blades and some professionals prefer that type as they last longer simply because they don’t heat up as much as steel will with regular and continued use.
It is the quality of the steel that is important when it comes to cutting and the sharpness of course. Some manufacturers have even started to use titanium blades.
How the blades are fitted and move is also very important. Most blades are now self-sharpening because of the design used. From time to time though they will need special thin oil, simply known as clipper oil, to help lubricate the blades. Using the oil also extends the life of the clippers.
The Guide Combs
All hair clipping sets will come with a set of combs known as guides and will have a number on each one. That number represents a measurement of how much hair will be left on the head, after the comb has passed over the head in what is called a pass.
The bigger the number the more hair will remain. For example a No.8 comb will leave 25 mm of hair whereas a No.2 comb will leave only 6 mm of hair. If in doubt always start with the higher number and then slowly work your way down. If you ever hear someone saying, “I got a No.2 all over,” this is what they are referring to. The table below shows the standard lengths.
Barbers and hairdressers will always refer to the number rather than the measurement in millimetres.
Cutting lengths can range anything between 0.8 mm up to 25 mm
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Some but not all clippers have a taper lever. By moving this lever up and down will give you different cutting lengths without having to change combs all the time.
Length of the Main’s Lead
In my opinion there is nothing more irritating that a lead that is too short to reach where you want to work. Most hair clippers are powered up by plugging the lead into the mains, and then into the base of the clippers. Almost always these are curly leads which are designed to allow soft movements so as you do not have to suddenly jerk the lead.
Unfortunately that can also mean that they can get tangled and that happens a lot with cheap clippers. They have to save money somewhere to be able to sell the products cheaply, and this is on area where they do that. Good quality curly leads are worth their weight in gold.
Just make sure when you are buying your product that the lead is long enough, otherwise you are into extension leads which are just a real pain.
There are some that are also cordless so as you can use them without having to worry about a lead. These can also be useful if you travel a lot or for extended periods of time. In almost all cases the clippers will use batteries that can be recharged. The quality of the battery, the speed of charge, and how long the charge lasts are all important considerations.
When you turn on any clippers you will hear, or should hear a buzzing noise. The better quality clippers will have a low quiet hum, whereas the really cheap ones will just sound like a lawnmower.
The better products will almost always come with a number of accessories. You will always get a set of clippers and a set of combs. Some of the better sets may also include, various other combs like left and right ear, barber comb, pocket comb and a flat top comb.
You may also get a cape, a neck duster, a cleaning brush and some oil. Not often, but every now and then you will also get scissors that are decent quality. If you don’t use them for anything else they will stay sharp and you need that for cutting hair.
The better quality clippers will come with a good guide and clear instructions. Some of them will also include a DVD that shows you how to use them. That I think is always a really nice touch especially for the beginner.