Power, precision and speed are the most important qualities for a professional-grade hair clipper. Both experts and users say the Best Reviewed Oster Classic 76 (Est. $130) has it all. About.com's Dave Alexander, an experienced stylist, writes that "it is reliable and effective in wet or dry hair."
Another stylist, posting to Amazon.com, says the Classic 76 "mows through the thickest, toughest hair effortlessly." However, she also points out several of this clipper's potential downsides: It's both large and heavy, it's noisier than less-powerful clippers, and all that power can get away from a beginner quickly.
The Oster Classic 76 has detachable blades, which reviewers say make switching from one cut length to another easy -- but it comes with just two blades: No. 000 (near-bald) and No. 1 (3/32-inch). Additional blades are available for $20 and up.
Although some users think the Oster Classic 76 is a poor value because it comes with so few blades, we recommend paying more attention to the clipper itself. With just a little basic maintenance, the Oster Classic 76 will last you for decades. You can always purchase extra blades as needed.
That combination of power, speed and durability is enough to keep the Classic 76 in our top-reviewed spot yet again but, if you'd rather have a lighter-weight model that's less likely to get away from you, the Oster Fast-Feed Clipper (Est. $60) is a worthy alternative.
The Oster Fast-Feed counters almost all the potential downsides of the Oster Classic 76: It's lighter, easier to maneuver and, although its pivot motor is still a step up from cheap magnetic motors and powerful enough to cut through thick hair, it's less likely to get away from you.
Although the Oster Fast-Feed isn't quite as powerful or hefty as the Oster Classic 76, it still has a good reputation for durability. Aside from a plastic blade-adjust lever that feels flimsy, users say it feels well made. "Cuts my hair twice a week going on three years," reads one review at Amazon.com.
The Oster Fast-Feed also draws lots of user praise for its quiet operation. "Quiet, low vibration, and the thing CUTS," writes one happy reviewer at Amazon.com. Its adjustable blades can cut between 1/50-inch and 3/32-inch, and it 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). Neither the Oster Classic 76 nor the Oster Fast-Feed comes with its own carry case.