- February 9, 2022
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Ace the DIY hair cut with these hair clipping tools.
Hopefully, after lockdown, you’ve already got the DIY haircut technique down. If not, we’ve already asked a barber to explain how to give yourself the perfect buzzcut. But a good workman is only as good as his tools (that’s how the saying goes, right?), which is why we’ve sought the expertise of Denis Robinson, creative director at Ruffians. With our combined help, you’ll be able to buy the perfect pair of clippers for you and avoid giving yourself a cut that resembles a badly mown lawn.
Hair clippers can either be wired or cordless and usually come with a host of accessories, some of which are more essential than others. Here are some questions you should be asking yourself when buying the perfect set of clippers for you.
In this day and age, cordless clippers are going to be able to serve up just as much power as the wired variety, not to mention the benefits they provide in manoeuvrability and ease of use. If you want to give yourself a professional cut, there is only really one option. “I always go for cordless,” says Robinson. “Working in the shop I find them easier to manoeuvre. But also what I discovered through cutting my own hair during lockdown was that cordless is a total boon when you’re spinning around looking in two mirrors. When cutting your own hair you will be changing hands and angles a lot and leads getting in your face is just a nuisance.”
Choosing a pair of clippers can be confusing at times because there are so many blade types and materials, ranging from different grades of steel, titanium and even ceramic, out there. Like most things though, ultimately you get what you pay for. “Pricier clippers have one main thing above their cheaper relatives and that is a more powerful motor,” says Robinson.
“Companies like Wahl for instance will sell clippers for approx £25 to £35. I would say that they’re like those electric scooters people are now commuting on – they look good and get you where you’re going, but they’re not very fast and not particularly stable. The professional level clippers are like a BMW: good horsepower, safe and strong and will run well for a long time if cared for and serviced well.”
Robinson says that while different brands have different price points, top of the line professional clippers will cost somewhere between £125 and £200.
Spending a lot of money on a set of clippers is one thing, but if you don’t put some time in for maintenance too, it’ll be money wasted. But don’t let that scare you, maintaining your clippers isn’t the same as being asked to open up the bonnet of a BMW and fix what’s going wrong under the hood. Just by doing some basic things you can ensure years of faithful service.
“The main thing that I always say is clean and oil your clippers,” says Robinson. “When you buy a set they have a little dusting brush and oil in the kit. It really helps to get a smooth cut if you dust the hair build up off the blade during the cut. And definitely once you’ve finished dust all the hair detritus off and then use a little oil on the blades. If you leave a number of weeks between uses, I would also suggest applying a little oil before you switch them on. Once you’ve turned them on, use the blade adjustment lever to move the blade up and down to allow the oil to move over the full range of the blade. This ensures a smooth cut and protects the blades.
“I would also recommend taking the base blade and cutting blade off around once every two months and cleaning out the hair that has got trapped inside the clipper. This build up can slow the clippers down and make them snag while using.”
The government has stated the new lockdown should end some time around April, but honestly, who knows at this point. It could be a few weeks or well into the summer, so it’s best to plan ahead and get the cut in yourself as soon as you can.
“Personally the buzzcut is my haircut of choice, and I have mine done weekly. The buzz looks good when its crisp and sharp,” says Robinson. “Hairs don’t all grow at exactly the same rate so when left for longer than a week the hair starts to look fluffy and untidy. I always compare my fresh cut versus when its grown out to a brand new tennis ball at Wimbledon versus one that’s been used in a set between Djokovic and Nadal.”
Of course there are other things to consider when choosing a good pair of clippers. Battery life, clipper lengths and even weight are all important factors. Some things are going to be more important to you than others. Robinson, for example, places great weight on the, ahem, weight of his clippers.
“I always choose clippers in the upper price bracket. I believe its a false economy to purchase cheaper ones as they need replacing more frequently,” says Robinson. “The priority for me is weight. You can purchase good clippers that are lightweight and those that are more solid and weightier. I choose the heavier ones personally as I like the feeling of substance in my hand.”
Any products in our list that have this badge have been put to the test with our panel of 70 men for a three-week period.
They rated how easy the clippers were to use, assessing the quality of the design and the attachments, as well as the final results. We also asked a small panel of barbers and hairdressers to give their opinion, so we could find out what the professionals thought.
Whether you have a limitless budget or a few coins to spare there’s a set of clippers for you below.
Battery Life: 300 mins
Guards: Grades 0.5-8
Accessories: 1 foil shaver attachment, 1 precision stubble comb, 9 hair and beard comb attachments, travel pouch, cleaning brush, oil, styling guide
This multipurpose tool can be used on the body and beard, as well as on your hair. We appreciated how easily it created a fade haircut and its cordless design makes it a doddle to manoeuvre around the head, especially when you’re cutting your own hair. It’s comfortable and lightweight to hold too, and gives a precision cut. We found it quiet in use, easy to clean and there’s a lock function to avoid it accidentally going off in your washbag!
Battery Life: 160 mins
Guards: Grades 1 to 8
Accessories: 8 comb guides, hard storage case, cleaning brush, adaptor, instruction booklet, oil
Made from Japanese steel and a twisty control panel to change the cutting length, rather than multiple attachments, this tool is quick and precise to use. The fancy digital screen also lets you know how much battery is left and what taper setting you’re on for effortless styling. We found it easy to create a fade, thanks to the 45 length options available, and were happy with the final results.
Battery Life: 120 mins
Guards: Grades 0.5 to 8
Accessories: 10 comb attachments, right/left ear taper combs, storage pouch, scissors, barber comb, styling comb, blade oil, cleansing brush
Here’s a full hair grooming kit for someone who’s serious about home styling – 80% of the barbers and hairdressers we spoke to would use this kit on clients. Praised for its sharp blades, manoeuvrability and comfort when holding, we loved the results of our finished cut. The wide choice of accessories are easy to attach and use, while the large storage bag keeps them all safe when you’ve finished. We would have appreciated the attachments to be labelled with the hair length grading system, but otherwise there were no complaints.
Battery Life: 60 mins
Guards: Grades 1 to 8
Accessories: 8 colour-coded attachment combs, left/right ear taper combs, blade guard, scissors, barber comb, soft storage case, blade oil, cleaning brush, charger
If you find the number of attachments that come with your clippers overwhelming, this set comes with a handy colour-coded system, so you can easily attach the correct comb for your hair length. The included scissors and barber’s comb are good quality too, so achieving your desired style is simple and quick on both kids’ and adult hair. All our hairdressers and barbers said they would use this kit on clients, too.
Corded/cordless: Corded only (2.8m cord)
Guards: Grades 1-8 but no grade 8
Accessories: 7 hair combs, styling comb, scissors, cleaning brush, oil
We found the steel blades on this clipper precise and sharp, doing the job in just one swipe, and they didn’t go blunt towards the end of the trial. It was quick to style hair thanks to accurate grading lengths and the attachments were easy to swap on and off. The long cord didn’t hamper styling, but it may prove more difficult if you’re cutting your own hair.
Battery life: 120 minutes from 3 hours of charge time
Corded/cordless: Cordless (but come with 3m professional cord)
Guards: Grades 1 to 6
Accessories: 6 comb guard attachments, oil and cleaning brush, charging stand
If you’re going to cut your hair like a pro, then you need a pro pair of clippers. Our choice: the BaByliss pro cordless clippers, which feature a high frequency pivot motor for supreme power and an advanced lithium battery for a power performance. Take a closer look and you’ll see that these clippers also have Japanese steel blades, meaning they look the business too.
Battery life: n/a
Guards: Grades 1-6
Accessories: cleaning brush, scissors, oil, barber’s comb, blade guard
Maybe you’re getting a better deal than us, but coming in at £10.99 these basic Wahl clippers are cheaper than going to your local barber for a haircut. Okay, so these aren’t the clippers to turn to if you have a red carpet engagement to attend, but they are perfect for at-home tidy-ups.
Battery life: 100 minutes after one hour’s charge
Guards: Grades 0 to 7
Accessories: Nose and ear trimmers, detail trimmer, body hair trimmer, soft bag, cleaning brush, Gillette razor
These clippers from Braun are cutting hair anywhere on your body. If you want a one-stop shaving device, these are the clippers to go for.
Battery life: 2.5 hours after 90 minutes of charging
Guards: Grades 0-5
Accessories: Nose and ear trimmers, cleaning brush, storage pouch,
We know a thing or two about clippers, but so do shoppers at Amazon, and these are the site’s best-selling (and best-reviewed) model. Why? Well, they’re an all-in-one, head-to-toe hair solution that can even be used in the shower. While their precision dial and turnable blade mean you can trim to your ideal length without needing anyone else’s help.
Battery life: 90 minutes on one-hour charge
Guards: Grades 1 to10
Accessories: Travel pouch, cleaning brush, barber’s comb
Your lockdown mane got out of control already? These clippers feature a special setting that cuts through thicker hair twice as fast, with a “turbo” mode to chop dense mops in one smooth motion.
Battery life: 60 minutes
Guards: 0.4mm-10mm (20 lock-in settings)
Accessories: Nose trimmer
We get it, you need a set of clippers to keep your hair and beard under control, but no-one should have a beard that begins inside their nose. Phillips beard, hair and stubble trimmer also includes a nose hair trimmer to make sure that never happens.
Battery life: 85 minutes
Corded/cordless: Corded or cordless
Guards: Grades 0 to 8
Accessories: Comb guides, cleaning brush oil
Look at them. Just look at them. These are part clippers, part work of art that have been made with precision engineered, hardened Japanese blades to deliver exceptional cuts each and every time.
Battery life: 60 minutes
Accessories: Trimmer, beard brush, beard oil, moustache comb, oil, cleaning brush, 6 position combs, no 1 – 3 attachment combs
You may not be going anywhere for the minute, but eventually we will be travelling the world again and it’ll be important to keep your trim looking fresh. Wahl’s Beard Care Kit fits inside a stylish carry case, and is ideal for when we’re all back on the go again.
Battery life: 60 minutes on a one-hour charge, plus 10-minute quick charge
Guards: 3mm-15mm (grades 1-5)
We’re not going to lie to you, shaving you hair by yourself can be a bit of a nightmare, but you can make it a whole lot easier with Phillips’s DIY hair clippers. The rotating head on these mean you won’t have to start break dancing to get to hard-to-reach areas.
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