- September 2, 2021
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Chop your locks with these top-rated tools.
There are a lot of reasons to see a barber: if you’re thinking of changing your hairstyle, if you want a hot towel shave, if you are into especially-complicated haircuts or a simple fade (which is terribly hard if you’re trying to do it yourself). But there are some times when you can take matters into your own hands. Keeping your haircut fresh between barber visits is one of them. Going full G.I. Jane and buzzing off your own hair could be one of those, too. We know it can be hard to justify a visit to a barber when you have the type of haircut you might be able to do in our bathroom. If you’re going to go that route, there are some things you need to know.
1. Decide on what style you want. Buzz cuts are a general style and have a ton of variations, so before firing up the clippers, consider the final outcome you’re hoping for.
2. Buy a hand mirror or create a dual-mirror setup. This is especially important if you’re doing this on your own because you’ll need to be able to see the back of your head.
3. Use your bathroom as a barber shop. Make sure it’s well-lit and you’re comfortable in front of the mirror. Go shirtless (or nude, as MH associate fitness editor Brett Williams endorses). It will make cleanup easier when you’re done.
4. Go slow and start with the longest guard. Gradually work with lower and lower guards till you get the length you want. Don’t rush and look at your head carefully as you go so you don’t miss any spots.
5. If you’re doing this yourself, stand up. You’ll need to be comfortable, but also be able to lean into the mirror to inspect the details. Don’t try to do this while sitting in a chair.
6. If all of this stresses you out, or you get stuck during the process, call up a professional to troubleshoot or watch a tutorial to guide you through the process.
7. Be prepared for upkeep. Just because you’re doing your cut yourself doesn’t mean you get a free pass on maintenance. Be prepared for touch ups at least every two weeks and sometimes more depending on how fast your hair grows.
The second, and more important thing, is you need to use the right pair of tools. That means using actual hair clippers, like the professional kind a barber uses, instead of trying to take your beard trimmer upstairs. Typically, hair clippers are more powerful than beard trimmers and are better for trimming all different kinds of hair types easily (though some trimmers are specifically designed for both). Investing in the best hair clippers if you’re going to do some at-home upkeep is essential if you want a haircut that looks good rather than homespun.
But a word of caution: “professional tools require upkeep and attention and may have a learning curve as you learn to use them,” says hairstylist Vaughn Acord. “They can also cut you or irritate your skin if you’re not familiar with how to sanitize or adjust them.” He recommends being cautious before taking matters into your own hands since barbers and hairstylists are trained in giving you a cut that’s right for your face and head shape. But if you’re going to DIY, or at least keep your cut looking fresh between appointments, we asked barbers and hairstylists which professional hair clippers they use for the freshest fades and tightest lines.
Check out the 13 best hair clippers for men to use for at-home haircuts.
Almost every barber we asked recommended the Wahl Cordless Magic Clip professional hair clippers. “It has a long lasting battery and works just as efficiently when charging [as when it’s not],” says Bellemar. He also notes that it comes with a “crunch blade,” a special fading tool that saves time on blending.
Don’t let the low price fool you—this hair clipper is powerful enough to give you a professional-level cut at home and comes with more guards and attachments than some of the more expensive versions. Plus, you can use it on your beard and body, too, unlike the barber-style clippers.
Wahl is obviously a professional barber go-to brand, but if you don’t have professional-level skills or want something more foolproof, this hair clipper kit is for you. The high quality clippers are the star, of course, but it comes with a variety of guards that ingeniously snap on for extra security, as well as other bonuses like a cape, scissors, and comb, all in one handy carrying case. It’s essentially a haircut in a box and, according to one Men’s Health editor who used it during lockdown, “it’s great.”
“The battery life is amazing—I can legit cut 10 clients on one charge,” says celebrity barber Vernon Scott, which translates to less charging time at home. The hair clipper and blade never gets hot, he says, thanks to the efficient motors that don’t transfer heat and allow this trimmer to cut any hair type. But most important is the “consistent precision cutting of the blades.”
We gave this a Men’s Health Grooming Award for it’s prowess as a beard trimmer, but it brings the same power and ease of use to cutting the hair on top of your head, too. It’s not the kind your barber uses, but if you’re looking for a clipper that can cut literally head to toe, you can’t go wrong with this one. The quick-adjust dial gives you 19 length options without switching guards, and the powerful 9,800 cuts-per-minute motor can chop through even the thickest of hair with ease. You even have the option to use it with the cord or without, depending on our preference.
“Some consider the Andis Master the greatest hair clipper ever,” says Pedro Rosario, Axe Master Barber. “They’re powerful, durable, and with proper maintenance (like cleaning and oiling) can last a lifetime.” Lately he’s cutting the cord and loves the new cordless version of this old faithful.
While this trimmer doesn’t have length attachments, the adjustable dial does allow the blade to cut a few different lengths. This well-designed hair clipper is weighty (in a good way) and is ideal for lineups and edging since it smoothly cuts incredibly close to the skin. The rechargeable cordless battery lasts for 8 hours, which means you have to charge it infrequently if you’re using it at home.
Scott has been using the Wahl Senior clipper for 25 years because “efficiency, accuracy, and weight are major factors when it comes to clippers.” This one checks all the right boxes and the newer cordless hair clipper version is a game changer.
If you’re not sure how committed you are to the home haircut, or don’t want to shell out a lot of dough right away, this professional-quality clipper is a steal. It comes with multiple attachments (plus a barber cape), and has some of the features you’ll usually find in clippers twice as expensive—it’s cordless with a 5-hour run time per charge, an LED screen that tells you how much cutting time you have left, and a rotary motor to minimize pulling and snags while you cut.
The versatility of this cordless hair trimmer makes it a favorite of Acord. “The performance—namely the speed and sharpness—is unparalleled,” he says. Since he moves around a lot, the fact that it’s a cordless hair clipper is a huge plus for him and a bonus for anyone using it at home. “If you’re trimming or cutting at home, it allows you to move without limitation which is imperative for getting an even cut,” he says.
This clipper is the best of both worlds: you get a professional style clipper (you know, like the kind your barber uses), but it also comes with guards that make at-home cutting easier. There aren’t too many bells and whistles to figure out either, so you can basically open the box and get right cutting. And while it’s not cordless, the swivel cord moves with you to avoid awkward tangles. Best of all, it’s priced far lower than other professional-style clippers, making it a great intro.
Maxime Bellemar, barber and founder of KRWN Barbershops in Montreal, Canada, loves this “sharp and easy-to-use” detailer because it has a T-shaped blade that makes hyper-detailed lineups easier. It’s also great at making crisp, clean beard lines. It’s a heavy-duty clipper that Bellemar says is “solid.”
The fact that this classic hair trimmer now comes in a cordless version was enough to sell Saras, but the performance makes it her favorite of the moment. “It gives very sharp lines when I want them, doesn’t catch any hair (painless), and comes with plastic guards if you want to use it at home on your beard,” she says, which is why her husband has his own pair.