The motor in your hair clipper is extremely important for the performance, so know what to look out for.
How many rotations per minute does the clipper make? If it’s under 6000 then you should probably look elsewhere. You can find models here with around 10,000 rotations per minute.
Cord or Cordless
So do you stick to your tried and tested clippers, or try out the more recent cordless options? Personally, we think that cordless clippers have progressed enough that the investment is more than worthwhile. Models like the Wahl Pro Lithium Ion 8546 and many other models have too many benefits to ignore, plus being cable free makes maneuvering far lighter work right through the day.
You’re going to go through quite a few of these as a professional, so I guess it’s worth trying them all once, though you’re bound to have a favourite. Stainless steel is consistent, affordable, and fairly easy to maintain. On the other hand, sharper blades are available, and ceramic blades are great for handling all day heat.
All of the pro models we’ve listed have top of the range battery life and charge quickly and efficiently. If you’re looking elsewhere be sure to find a lithium ion battery, they dwarf the life of regular rechargeable models and don’t get weaker as the battery gets lower.
You’re going to be holding your clipper and moving it around in your preferred hand all day long, be sure to get one that’s going to suit your hand size. Some models are almost weightless, but others are quite chunky, and might be quite tiring for some.
As you’ve probably seen some clippers are really stripped back and basic, the accessories filling in the extra tasks. Some models have nifty features, like speed settings, or light indicators, dials to change length and so on, if this is something you’re interested in then make sure you check out all the clippers we feature, there are some great examples.
If you’re unsure or buying a clipper model for the first time, always make sure it comes with a reasonable guarantee time. Professional clippers can be expensive, and you want to be able to return them if you’re not satisfied, or compatible with your chosen model.
Types of Professional Hair Clippers
The type of motor your clipper uses determines which type of clipper it isn’t and which jobs it can, and can’t perform in. Be sure to know what type the model you’re considering is before making any decisions.
Rotary Motor Hair Clipper
Rotary motors offer the best of both worlds, with fast speed, and strong power. This is perhaps the favoured type of motor for professional clippers since it works as easily with thin hair or thick hair.
Pivot Motor Hair Clipper
The pivot motor does cut a little more slowly in terms of rotations per minute when compared to the rotary motor, though it’s very powerful, and it’s slower speed makes it great for all day use since it doesn’t overheat as easily. The Pivot motor has no problem slicing through damp thick hair.
Magnetic Motor Hair Clipper
The magnetic option is more suited for less frequent use. So if you use clippers mainly for tidying up edges, and this type of work then this should be ideal for you. The speed is decent, and the power is strong, though it overheats easily, and so shouldn’t be used as an all day clipper.
Battery or Corded?
Of all the choices that you’ll be faced with when shopping around for hair clippers, the first you’ll have to make your mind up on is whether you should choose a cordless -battery operated- one, or a traditional corded model.
Essentially the choice is yours, but there are some tradeoffs that you should be aware of.
First of all, how much are you willing to spend, and what power or other features do you require? For the same kind of price point you can expect to get a slightly stronger motor if you opt for the corded option.
However it’s no catch 22, and you can get cordless clippers with just as powerful a motor as the corded equivalent. It may just cost a little more.
But what do cordless models offer that their corded counterpart does not?
Well first of all the cordless model is more easily portable, and can be used anywhere since it doesn’t need a plug socket to run. If you like to do your cutting in the garage or garden, or if you might like to in the future, then this is one advantage.
Another advantage of the cordless models is that they don’t risk tangling up, be it in the cupboard, under the bed, or across the floor of a busy hair salon.
If you travel, then again the cordless model stands out as extremely useful as it can be used anywhere as we’ve said.
All of this said though, there is still certainly a market for corded options. If you’re unfamiliar with using laptops, mobile phones and the like then the concept of needing to remember to charge your tool before you use it might be a little alien, and tricky to adapt to.
Further, if you’re a hair professional who works at a very past pace right through the day, it might become tiresome to have your clipper die part way through a cut, and the more consistent corded option might remain your first choice. The way around this might be to purchase extra (spare) batteries, but this can work out expensive.
But really you need to consider when and where you’ll most be using your clippers. If the space you work in makes using cables a pain, then clearly the cordless options could be life changing.
Everyone will have their own personal taste though, and this might be more of a decisive factor than some of the above in the end. Do be sure to ask yourself these questions before making up your mind though, in either case.
Next, you should consider the blade type that you want to use. Most models come with a blade, though many are suitable for a variety of different blade types. Below is some info on the most common blade types.
This is the most common blade type used. Sharp, easy to clean and maintain, and cheap to make and buy. In addition, they’re very durable and resistant to damage or rusting.
Even many of the finest professional clippers use stainless steel blades, and they’re more than up to the task of heavy duty cutting.
The stainless steel may also come coated in a harder wearing material such as carbon or titanium. This adds to the sharpness, though also the cost.
If you cut hair all day, you may find that coated blades get the job done a little faster than stainless steel models, and it might perform better on the most extreme thick hair.
Being a very poor conductor of heat, ceramic blades are perfect for all day use. They can keep up their max power all day without overheating, protecting the clipper from long-term damage.
Do be careful, though, as well as being more expensive, the ceramic blades are also more fragile than the alternatives.
Usually, you’ll need to re-sharpen your clipper regularly, depending how frequently you use them will determine how often they’ll need to be sharpened. The process involves removing the blade, holding it with a magnet and manually using a water stone up and down the blade edge. An easy solution to this is by taking a model with self-sharpening blades. The blade angle is more tilted so that it actually sharpens while you use it.
The blade type you prefer has its pros and cons, though as mentioned many clippers are suitable for a variety of types, so make sure your clipper is compatible with your preferred blade choice first of all.
Leo J. Wahl invented the first ever electric hair clipper in 1919, and so began the legacy of Wahl. Only one brand can boast being the brand that invented the product, and this brand was formed in Chicago Illinois. Since then Wahl has enjoyed almost a century of success and innovation, more recently Wahl pioneered the lithium ion battery that has revolutionized the industry by making cordless clippers so practical.
Wahl clippers can be found in over 165 countries across the world, and in many countries is a household name.
Conair is another U.S based firm and was founded in 1959 and has since rapidly expanded to 10 different subdivisions with revenue of over $2bn a year.
Conair produces a range of products but specialize in producing clippers with the best technology, for a really affordable price.
Panasonic is a Japanese corporation founded in 1918, one year earlier than Wahl, though hair clippers are a relatively recent addition to their product lines. Their hair clippers offer a lot, enough to rival any of the more long-standing champions of professional haircare, and in far smaller, sleeker, lighter designs. They offer models starting fairly low for the price, going up to about the middle of the price range, but all are a range of their class in terms of value for money, some of their models even feature 10,000rpm motors.
The Andis brand has stayed at the forefront of innovative clipper technology since the company was born in 1920. Matthew Andis and John Oster went into business together to dominate the clipper market, but they split ways and Mathew Andis formed the Andis Clipper Company. Since the invention of the electrical hair clipper, Andis have offered the some of the most premium, high-performance clippers available for professionals, with smoother, smaller and lighter designs than the competition.
Philips is a Dutch corporation founded in 1891 and with a rich history, the hair clipper side of the business doesn’t
quite have the same history as some of the others on this list however. They offer a really decent product for a mind blowing price. They also keep innovation key to their products, and many have interesting features like the rotating head.
Like Conair (as BaByliss is a subsidiary of Conair), BaByliss offers premium, and heavy duty clippers made to last. The build quality is great, and you’ll see a range of products to suit different needs. You might be surprised to see that state of the art products are offered at bottom dollar prices, and other models are right at the top of the price range, and ahead of the competition.
As we’ve said, John Oster set up the Oster Clipper Company after parting ways with Mathew Andis. Since then the Oster clipper has become an all American favourite. Known for years as the Cadillac of hair clippers, the Oster range is known for it’s power, durability, and practicality. The Oster range is true barber shop classics.