What the best hair clipper has
- A powerful motor. Quality hair clippers should cut through thick hair reliably, while
still running reasonably quiet and cool to the touch. Cordless models should provide
enough run time to get through even the longest grooming session before needing
to be recharged.
- Enough length options to suit your needs. This may take the form of adjustable
blades, guide combs or both. If you're primarily looking for a beard trimmer,
you still want enough length options to achieve a variety of looks. Also, if
you focus on only the accessories you need, you may pay less for your hair
- Durable guide combs that stay put. Fragile guide combs that break or vibrate loudly
are a common weak point for hair clippers. Virtually all guide combs are
plastic, but some seem to last longer than others.
- Easy to switch out accessories. While guide combs need to stay firmly in place, they should also be
simple enough to switch out that you don't have to struggle every time you want
to change to a different length option.
- Sharp blades (that stay that way). The blades on most clippers are self-sharpening --
but watch out for blade rust on some lower-quality models.
- Maintenance materials. Most hair clippers require very little maintenance, but you should at
least receive a cleaning brush and oil for the blades. Rinsing your clipper
after each use will help it last longer.
- A storage system of some sort. Whether it's a bag or a case, any hair clipper with a lot of
accessories should have a storage option included, otherwise it can be hard to
keep track of all the pieces.
- Safety features to prevent nicks and cuts. The top hair clippers have rounded blades
that, while sharp, are designed to cut only hair, not skin. Nose and ear hair
clippers should have safety cones to keep blades away from delicate membranes.
Know before you go
What's your experience level? If you know what you're doing, it's worth paying a little extra for a
high-quality model that will perform better and last longer. If you're a
novice, you'll probably be more comfortable with a mid-range model that's less
expensive. You can always upgrade when you're more comfortable cutting hair
Which accessories do you need? The size of your blades and comb guides is critical to getting your hair
cut to the proper length. You can almost always purchase additional combs or
blades, so focus first on getting quality clippers. If you're choosing between
two similar models, opt for the one that has the length of combs you need.
Who's the clipper for? If you're cutting small children's hair, you may want to opt for a
smaller model. Parents also like the versatility of cordless clippers so they
can take their barbering outside and keep the mess out of the house. If you're
cutting an adult's thick or curly hair, purchase the most powerful clipper you
Will you be cutting your pet's hair? Plenty of people buy hair clippers for the sole
purpose of cutting their pet's hair. If that's the case, focus on clippers that
get the best reviews for being quiet and vibration free, so you don't freak out
Fido or panic the puss.
Who's going to cut your hair? If someone else is cutting your hair, almost any model is fair game. If
you intend to cut it yourself, however, stick to the lighter clippers or one
with a swiveling cutting head, which makes it easier to reach the sides and
back of your own head.
Are your mirrors properly set up for hair cutting? If you're cutting your own hair, a mounted
swing-arm mirror on a wall perpendicular to your stationary mirror will allow
you to see the back and sides of your own head without constantly holding up a
Elsewhere in this report:
Best Hair Clippers | Best Nose and Ear Trimmers | Best Beard Trimmers |Our Sources