Beauty

Everything you need to know before buying hair clippers

Ready to be your own barber? We have some advice.

A man getting a haircut. Credit: Getty Images / supersizer

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Since the outbreak of the pandemic, salon and barber visits drastically reduced or halted altogether. And many people, particularly men, have resorted to cutting their own hair while at home.

Selecting a good hair clipper—the electric-powered buzzer that trims hair to precise lengths—may be a hard task for those just starting as their own stylist. What’s more, there are different types of hair clippers, so you need to know what features to look out for. Here are five things to keep in mind when shopping for a new clipper.

1. Decide on corded or cordless

Haircut
Credit: Getty Images / filmstudio

Think about where you typically cut your hair before you decide on a corded or cordless hair clipper.

Hair clippers are usually of two structures: corded and cordless. A corded clipper, which only functions when plugged into an outlet, is typically more powerful and can be used for a longer period because it doesn’t rely on a battery that drains and dies.

On the contrary, a cordless clipper is rechargeable and more flexible. This type can be used anywhere because it does not keep you tethered to an outlet. This is especially convenient for those who like to cut hair outdoors, where there will be less mess to clean up later. However, you have to stay on top of charging a cordless clipper, otherwise you may not have the juice to get through your entire haircut.

Looking for a great corded clipper? The Wahl Clipper Elite Pro comes with 10 guides, self-sharpening blades, and it claims to be quiet despite its high-powered motor. It's a great option for buzz cuts, crops, fades, shaved heads, or any quick and easy haircut you can master at home.

If you would rather go for a cordless clipper, then check out Andis Master Cordless Clipper, which comes with a Lithium-Ion powered battery, providing you with a long-lasting power.

2. Take note of included accessories

Accessories
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Pay attention to what accessories your hair trimmer includes.

All clippers will come with some guides—those plastic clip-on guards that distance the blades from hair to cut it to a precision length. Some clippers include all the indispensable accessories you might need, such as a comb, a brush, scissors, smaller trimmer attachments, and extra blades. Having all the necessary accessories makes cutting your hair less stressful. You should equally look out for the possibility of getting replacements easily, in case of damage.

This Conair Man 3-in-1 Chrome Haircut Kit is loaded with “everything but the barber.” It is perfect for any haircutting and grooming, with barber scissors, two double-ended combs, 10 different guides, a cape, clips, oil, a blade guard, a storage case, and more included in the kit. Conair also sells replacement parts on its site.

3. Look for the right blade sizes

Sharpen blades
Credit: Getty Images / Todorean Gabriel

Don't forget to sharpen your blades regularly.

Clipper blades come in different sizes, depending on the product. So, when getting a clipper, the blades must not only be sharp but right in size. Most clipper sets come with eight blade guards, labelled with increasing number increments, and each represents the volume of hair that will be left on your head (the smaller the guide number, the shorter your hair will be). For example, the number one guard is the go-to if you want a buzz cut. You can also use the clipper without a guard to remove hair right at the skin.

Sharp blades give you the ultimate precision without compromising comfort while cutting your hair, as dull blades may tug at your strands. You may also want to look for a clipper with self-sharpening blades, such as the Philip Norelco, so you don’t have to spend a lot of effort and money on upkeep.

4. Check which kind of motor it has

Haircut 2
Credit: Getty Images / pro2sound

You'll have your hair clipper for years if you maintain it well.

The motor is the literal powerhouse of the clipper, but it’s one feature most people don’t check out when making a purchase. Like the engine in a vehicle, the motor powers the clipper, propelling the blades in cutting your hair precisely. There are three types of clipper motors: the magnetic motor, the pivot motor, and the rotary motor.

Although less powerful than the other two, the magnetic motor is simple, has high blade speed and high volume cutting, so it’s great for a no-frills cut. Pivot motor-enabled clippers have more power than those with a magnetic motor, but work on a lower blade speed. They possess the ability to cut thick, heavy, or wet hair. The most powerful of the three motors is the rotary motor, which is used in plenty of popular clippers like the Wahl 5-star detailer, Wahl 5-star Hero, Andis Supra Li 5, or Wahl Cordless Magic Clip. If you intend to do some heavy cutting for all types of hair—wet or dry—then a rotary motor-powered clipper is your best bet. It can be found in both corded and cordless clippers.

5. Learn what maintenance is required

Clean
Credit: Getty Images / mixmike

Your clippers will last years if you clean and maintain them.

Another overlooked but necessary part of the buying process is knowing what maintenance a clipper requires. The lifespan, effectiveness, and efficiency of your clipper all depends on how well you maintain it. Always remember to lubricate your device by applying the oil that comes with it. Start by dusting the blades with a brush then turn the clipper on and apply oil droplets on the surface of the blades before use. Avoid over-lubrication and wipe off excess oil from the blades before putting them to your hair. After use, dust off the hair residue from it with the included small brush.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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