The main components of an electric hair clipper are the motor and the blades. A piston attached to the motor holds the comb-like blades in place. The blades move rapidly in a horizontal motion, sliding against each other at high speeds, which allows them to cut hair. The chief difference between one hair clipper and another is in the quality of the build and the power of the motor. Other factors such as weight, maneuverability or included attachments and grooming aids can also make one clipper or another a better choice for certain users.
Hair clippers fall into two categories: professional and budget. Professional clippers are made to endure the daily rigors of a salon or barbershop and tend to have stronger, more durable motors with higher-quality components. Budget hair clippers, on the other hand, are made for people who cut their own hair and that of their family. They often include a variety of attachments to make light work of getting a precise cut. Budget hair clippers typically have less powerful motors but are lightweight and easier to maneuver on your own head.
Both corded and cordless hair clippers are available. While the cordless variety is easier to maneuver, typically they don't have as much power, making them more suitable for at-home use than in professional settings.
It's important to note that hair clippers, while similar in nature, are not the same as beard trimmers. Beard trimmers usually have smaller blade assemblies so that they can better maneuver through the nooks and crannies of the face. However, some hair clippers have beard-trimming attachments.
Here are a few things to consider before purchasing hair clippers: