Power, precision and speed are the most important qualities for a professional-grade hair clipper -- and for years, both experts and users have been saying that the Best Reviewed Oster 76 (Est. $130) has it all, including the holy grail of being able to cut through thick hair quickly and cleanly, even when it's wet.
In the words of a stylist posting to Amazon.com, the 76 "mows through the thickest, toughest hair effortlessly." However, she does point out a couple of potential downsides: All that power has the potential to get away from a beginner, it's on the noisy side, and it's relatively large and heavy.
Even taking those downsides into account, the Oster 76's combination of power, speed and durability -- with some men saying theirs are still going strong after decades of use -- keep it solidly in our top spot. You just can't go wrong with the 76.
That said, if you'd rather have a lighter-weight model that's easier to handle but still boasts the trademark Oster quality, the Oster Fast Feed clipper (Est. $65) is a worthy alternative. It's smaller and lighter, which makes it easier to maneuver; and although its pivot motor can still cut through thick (dry) hair, it's not as likely to get away from you as the 76's universal motor.
Aside from a plastic blade-adjust lever that feels flimsy, users say the Oster Fast Feed feels well made. "Cuts my hair twice a week going on three years," reads one review at Amazon.com. The Fast Feed also draws lots of user praise for its quiet operation. "Quiet, low vibration, and the thing CUTS," writes another happy Amazon.com reviewer.
The Fast Feed's blades adjust between 1/50 inch and 3/32 inch; it also comes with four guide combs: No. 1 to No. 4, or 1/8 inch to 1/2 inch. Additional guide combs are available for purchase separately (Est. $29 for 10).
The Oster 76 has detachable blades, which reviewers say make switching from one cut length to another easy -- but it comes with just two of them: No. 000 (near-bald) and No. 1 (3/32 inch). Additional blades are available for $20 and up. Some think that makes the 76 a poor value, but we recommend paying more attention to the clipper itself. With just a little basic maintenance, the Oster 76 will last you for decades.