If you want to tidy up your look without a trip to the barbers or hair salon, a great pair of hair clippers is a must. For the past six years, we’ve tested and reviewed dozens of hair clippers, rating them on design and maintenance, features and accessories, and overall user experience.
This time round we’ve spent nearly 100 hours scouring product specifications and customer reviews, and personally examining devices and cutting hair. After rigorous testing of 10 electric hair clipper sets, the best hair clippers you can buy right now is the Wahl Clipper Compact. This high-performing clipper is ergonomically designed and affordably priced, and it comes in a handy 21-piece accessory kit.
Best Hair Clippers Reviews
Wahl Clipper Compact Multi-Purpose Haircut
The Wahl Clipper Compact is our top pick for electric hair clippers because it is comfortable to hold and operates with power and precision. Its accessories are high quality, and it comes in a 21-piece kit with 13 versatile attachments that cut hair smoothly and with no snags.
It has an ergonomic, lightweight design with a soft grip that includes an indented thumb rest. It is powered with a high torque rotary motor, and it has self-sharpening, high-carbon steel blades to help you give crisp, clean cuts. When we tried it out on three men and five boys, not one of them complained of pulling, and they all went home with respectable haircuts.
Its eight-foot cord is industrial strength, and it comes with a soft storage case to keep it all organized. Its accessories include ten guard combs and two taper combs, giving you ten cutting lengths from 1/16 inch to 1 inch and the ability to easily shape around the ears. It also comes with scissors, two styling combs and a beard brush, along with blade oil and a cleaning brush.
Its user guide is printed in both English and Spanish, and it comes with a five-year limited warranty. Its motor is not the quietest we tested, but we were impressed with its functionality. Even as we tested other models, we finished our haircuts with this clipper every time.
- Compact size
- Comfortable, ergonomic grip
- Powerful high-torque motor
- Removable precision blades
- No taper lever or blending comb
- Attachments don’t snap on easily
- Motor is loud
Remington Virtually Indestructible HC5855
When its manufacturer told us the Remington Virtually Indestructible Haircut & Beard Trimmer was nearly unbreakable, we were tempted to take our test clipper to the roof and drop it – just to see what would happen – but we decided to use it for haircuts instead. We chose it as our best value because it is functional and affordable and boasts notable features and high-quality accessories for its price.
As we examined it in our lab and then tried it on eight volunteers, it proved to be a workhorse among home electric hair clippers that is versatile, reliable and tough. Its powerful, magnetic motor runs low and quiet, and it is housed in a polycarbonate casing that is easy to clean.
And it probably would survive impact. In fact, the clipper is guaranteed with a lifetime limited warranty, and it has an 8-foot industrial strength cord. Once it’s plugged in and running, its non-slip grip makes for a comfortable hold that is lightweight but in no way feels cheap.
To sharpen the deal, its blade system is precision ground for twice the cutting performance of similar models, and its blades are removable for easy cleaning. It comes in a 15-piece kit that includes a styling comb and a beard brush, blade oil and 10 guard combs, ranging in size from 1/16 inch to 1 inch).
There’s so much to like about this clipper that we forgave it for coming with a lackluster case that doesn’t match the case pictured on its box.
- Rugged construction
- Comfortable non-slip grip
- Powerful, quiet motor
- Short in length
- Storage case oddly shaped
- No hair removal brush
Remington Cord/Cordless Vacuum Haircut Kit HC6550
The Remington Cord/Cordless Vacuum Haircut Kit looks a little bit out of this world, and the clipper performs like a high-powered robot. A built-in vacuum gives it a space-age feel designed for mess-free haircuts, and its streamlined body includes a XXL hair collection receptacle.
The rechargeable lithium battery gives you up to 60 minutes of cutting time per charge, and the cutter’s sustained and consistent power makes it our top choice among all the cordless units we tested. You can also power it with a 6-foot cord that doubles as a charging station (and it delivers a full charge in three to five hours). The blades are titanium coated, and the clippers come with sturdy attachments to give you 11 cutting lengths from 1/16 inch to 1 inch. The kit also includes left and right taper combs, scissors, two sectioning clips and the best blade oil and cleaning brush of all the models we tested. It comes with a 60-day moneyback guarantee and a two-year limited warranty. Though this oversize clipper looks intimidating at first glance, it is surprisingly easy to handle. It had no problem shearing the thickest hair we cut, and its vacuum exceeded our expectations. In the words of one of five boys on whom it was tested, this innovative clipper is “super cool.”
- Titanium-coated blades
- Convenient built-in vacuum
- Rechargeable lithium battery
- Blade guard could be better
- Cord is not industrial quality
Wahl Elite Pro High Performance 79602
The Wahl Elite Pro has the most durable attachments of any electric hair clipper we tested. It comes in a 21-piece kit that includes 10 guard combs, a blade guard and a host of accessories housed in a sturdy case.
The kit’s extras include a styling cape, cord wrap, cleaning brush and blade oil. The Elite Pro has self-sharpening, precision-ground blades. Its attachment clips are made of steel. According to Wahl, they are 70% stronger than the company’s standard comb fasteners. The guard combs give you cutting lengths of 1/16 inch to 1 inch, and they are easy to change. The Wahl Elite Pro weighs 19 3/8 ounces and is the heaviest clipper we reviewed. Some of our testers found it too bulky, but professional clippers generally weigh more.
If you prefer cordless hair clippers, you may want to consider another haircutting kit. However, the Elite Pro’s 8-foot cord gives most people plenty of wiggle room during haircuts. Wahl backs this clipper with a limited lifetime warranty.
- Sturdy, high-quality attachments
- Heavy & bulky
Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper 76023-510
The Oster Fast Feed is a powerful, low-maintenance electric hair clipper with sharp, adjustable steel blades. Powered by a strong pivot motor, the blades let you cut hair to just 1/50 of an inch with no guard comb, and you can use them to cut both wet and dry hair.
The Fast Feed handles multiple hair textures and lengths with ease, and it has a textured, nonslip grip. It also has a long 8-foot cord. While some of the home haircutting clippers we tested come with kits numbering 28 pieces, the Oster comes only with four combs, a cleaning brush and blade oil, and it doesn’t have a storage case.
Also, compared with more affordable clippers we reviewed, the Fast Feed’s MSRP of nearly $100 is steep. Its quality, however, is excellent, and its performance is well above average. Unfortunately, its warranty is below average. Oster provides only a year of consumer protection, while the best warranties guarantee your clippers for a lifetime.
- Textured, easy-grip housing
- No storage case for accessories
How We Tested Hair Clippers
During our latest round of testing, we combed through product descriptions, manufacturers’ specifications and consumer reviews of dozens of clippers to narrow the field to our top 10. We then conducted rigorous tests to determine how each model rates in terms of performance, design and maintenance, ease of use and features and accessories.
If you have a large family with multiple children, like many of us do here, you’ll be looking to save money on haircuts. Like most of you, we’re not professional stylists, so we asked experts for insight on what makes a good hair clipper, and how to find real value.
Amy Thurgood, owner of Posh Hair by Amy Jo in Syracuse, Utah, is one of several stylists who gave us insightful tips to help us make qualified product rankings and recommendations.
“This really is a case where you get what you pay for,” she said. “I’ve played with a lot of different kinds just to see what’s out there, and it’s important to find the right clippers for you. If you have a good set, you won’t have to spend so much time fixing and blending. I recommend looking to see if the blades are sharp, how clean they cut and whether the set includes a good brush and quality oil. Also, ease of cleaning is huge.”
Our review considers a lineup of 10 high-quality corded and cordless electric hair clippers designed for home cutting and trimming. In testing these products, we incorporated both research-based evaluation and hands-on testing to provide you with an in-depth perspective.
First, we created a review panel to examine the hair clippers in our lab. We meticulously compared 35 features of each product and ranked the clippers in terms of design and performance. We also noted all the accessories included with each haircutting kit and evaluated manufacturers’ warranties and customer service across the board.
Because a clipper’s length and weight are important to the user experience, we measured and weighed each clipper, too. We also held and maneuvered each clipper for 12 minutes – the average time a men’s haircut takes – to get a feel for how well and how comfortably the products fit in our testers’ hands. This is how we assessed each clipper’s grip, how bulky it felt, how durable it seemed and whether it tired a tester’s hands and wrists during the testing process. We also checked to see how hot each motor got during operation.
We tested the battery life and recharging time of each cordless clipper. We compared our results with each manufacturer’s reports and noted any discrepancies. Finally, we subjected all 10 products in our lineup to real-life performance tests. Enlisting the expertise of Rebekah Christensen, a licensed stylist with more than 20 years of hairstyling experience, we invited three men and two children to receive professional haircuts. Because we wanted to balance the expertise of the professionals involved in our testing with the nuances of nonprofessional use, I also recruited three of my own sons to participate in the testing and, with only marginal protest from them, personally cut their hair.
The difference between hair clippers and a hair trimmer?
While very similar, clippers and trimmers serve two different purposes. Clippers are best for long hair and come with attachments to vary the length of the cut. They are good for thinning thick hair or beards. You can also use clippers on pets with long fur if you don’t want to pay for a groomer.
Trimmers are built to cut finer hairs and are typically smaller though some come with larger attachments. These machines can cut hair very close to the skin and are great for attaining a close shave. This is also the route to take if you have sensitive skin, as clippers can be more abrasive.
How to find the best electric hair clippers
Choosing the best electric hair clippers is not a one-size-fits-all process. When you’re looking for clippers, some of the most important factors to consider include the specific features and accessories you want, your own level of haircutting experience and, as expected, quality and price. Rebekah Christensen, who obtained her training from California Beauty College in Modesto, California, also advises consumers to look for solid manufacturing.
“People sometimes think lighter is better,” she said, “but I feel like a clipper needs to have some weight on it. I’d rather have something that has guts. Also, if you want to be able to cut through hair with nice, clean lines, you’ve got to look for power. A lot depends, of course, on the skills of the stylist, but if you’re using something gutless and slow, you’re not going to get good results no matter how much skill or experience you have.”
Here are some other tips to help you choose the electric hair clippers best suited for your needs:
How much do hair clippers cost?
The price of electric hair clippers designed for home use can range from under $10 to several hundred dollars. To put that cost in context, it’s not unusual for professional stylists to pay over $1,000 for their clippers. We tested high-quality home haircutting kits with midrange prices between about $25 and $100.
Is Hair Clipper Cord Length Important?
“Cordless clippers are my favorite,” said stylist Amy Thurgood, “but length is the key if you’re using clippers with a cord.“
Thurgood completed her professional training at the Avalon School of Cosmetology in Layton, Utah, and said she recommends the longer the better in terms of cord length because a longer cord “will give you more movement and free range.”
Which hair clipper accessories should I get?
Both Christensen and Thurgood recommend you choose clippers with durable, high quality attachments that fasten securely and can be easily changed. According to Thurgood, the quality of guard combs is so important that professional stylists will often invest $30 to $40 apiece to upgrade to metal guard combs instead of using the plastic guard combs that come standard with most clippers.
“When you keep in mind that we prefer metal in the salon,” she said, “it’s especially important that the plastic guard combs you use at home are durable. If you have to choose between quantity and quality, I’d choose quality every time.”
This perspective cross-applies to accessories. “Professional scissors can cost up to $5,000 a set,” Thurgood said. “Even though that’s not feasible in the home market, you can still find scissors made of good quality metal, and you can look for styling combs and other accessories that aren’t flimsy.”
Thurgood recommends 5 ½-inch scissors for the most versatility, and she says better attachments almost always make for better haircuts.
When you’re buying electric hair clippers for use at home, you’ll likely be most pleased with your purchase if you have realistic expectations. While each set of clippers we tested can provide satisfactory results, clippers designed for home use have limitations when it comes to fading, blending and achieving custom looks.
“If you’re expecting an off-the-runway look, you’re just not going to get it,” said Thurgood. “But you can find clippers that give you a good result for the price you pay.”
While each of the 10 models we tested has definite pros and cons, keep in mind that several of the units delivered great results, and we achieved acceptable haircuts with them all.
How to use hair clippers
Using clippers takes a little finesse and practice. We recommend trying it out in a small spot before tackling an entire haircut. If you’re new to using clippers, start out with an easy haircut with only one or two varied lengths. Start with the longest blade to cut off any bulky patches of hair. Assuming you’re working on a short hairstyle, you might be able to skip this step.
Cut against the growth of the hair as you go. For instance, the hair at the base of the neck grows downward, so you’ll want to shave upward there. Work in a scooping motion around the head to achieve the desired length using varied blade sizes. Most short haircuts have longer hair at the top of the head that tapers down shorter as it nears the base of the neck. To achieve this, use longer blades up top and short blades near the neck.