The 10 Best Professional Barber Clippers
This wiki has been updated 27 times since it was first published in December of 2016. Whether you're a professional barber or an amateur who won't settle for anything less than what the experts use, you'll want to check out these high-quality clippers. They can cut through thick, unruly hair without snagging, and many come with accessories that make it easy to achieve precise details for customers with specific style requirements. Just make sure to trim carefully. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
September 01, 2020:
Concerns about quality led to the removal of the Oster Outlaw, Perfetto Stylist and Oster Salon. We also pointed out that the blade of the Andis UltraEdge tends to get hot quickly, though it does offer considerable power. Speaking of power, we recommend against writing off a set of clippers just because it’s cordless, since many such models on this list pack a surprisingly strong punch.
Three new items have been added to the list. The Andis Slimline Pro is designed for precision trimming (such as outlining around ears and facial hair), making it a nice complement to standard hair clippers. The Remington Ultimate, on the other hand, can just about do it all. It comes with 11 guide combs, and users are consistently impressed with its ease of use and longevity.
In the Special Honors section, we’ve included an old-school barber cape that will add some flair to a commercial shop. We’ve also added a mobile app that will help stylists manage appointments, client interactions, and payments.
June 25, 2019:
We trimmed (get it?) the Andis 63100, Kebor Cordless and BSW-Paladou Trimmer from the list due to availability issues. In their stead, we added three new models, all of which bring a level of versatility to the table, as they can each be operated with or without a cord.
The Wahl Limited and its retro style will pique the interest of the barber who runs an authentic, traditional shop. It’s quite heavy-duty, with a powerful motor for driving blade speeds that exceed those of less formidable options. Users appreciate the long battery life and several have reported receiving compliments from satisfied clients. Also added the Panasonic ER1511, which can smoothly handle any type of hair without creating a noisy racket or vibrating incessantly like some other high-powered clippers tend to do.
We decided to give the Sminiker Haircut Kit a slight boost in the rankings, primarily because of the great value it offers at its low cost. Its power equals many of the more expensive options, with intuitive controls and sturdy guards that easily slide into place. Users love that it comes with an extra battery, too.
Barber Jungle Cape Grooming tools may be the most essential element of a traditional barbershop, but some would argue that a classic cape is of equal importance for setting the mood. Its red, white and blue stripes give this one a retro appearance, and falling hair simply bounces off its static-proof exterior. barberjungle.com
theCut A mobile app with both free and paid versions, theCut helps barbers manage appointments, set reminders, handle payments, and maintain client notes. It also allows customers to find talented hair stylists just about anywhere. You can get started with a 30-day free trial of the Pro subscription. thecut.com
Professional Clippers: Do You Have A Type?
They come in three primary styles: detachable blade, adjustable blade, and T-blade.
In the same way an artist is lost without a proper paintbrush and a plumber can’t work without some quality wrenches, a professional barber — no matter how talented — will only go as far as his clippers and shears take him.
You can’t use your scissors to execute the precise finishing touches on a dapper new haircut until you’ve laid a solid foundation — and it all begins with the clippers. You won’t find these in a discount chain haircut shop; professional barbers know that a superior cut requires a delicate blend of art and science, and his tools should reflect that.
Professional barber clippers are an absolute necessity for removing large amounts of thick hair, delivering exceptional short haircuts, and achieving a perfect fade. They come in three primary styles: detachable blade, adjustable blade, and T-blade. The length and thickness of the hair and the amount of meticulousness the cut entails will determine which type is most suitable.
Ideal for chopping off substantial amounts of thick or wet hair, the detachable blade clipper is the most powerful and wide-ranging option. The lack of a plastic guard around the teeth helps it slice through hair effortlessly, whether you’re removing a heavy mop or using a clipper-over-comb approach. Thanks to a vast array of blade sizes, this clipper style is useful in a bevy of situations: cutting children’s hair, tapered haircuts, buzz cuts, and even beard trimming.
The adjustable clipper features a side lever that allows you to modify the length of the blade, eliminating the need to switch blades multiple times during a complex haircut. By using extra attachments, you can achieve even more lengths, making this type comparable to the detachable blade clipper in terms of versatility.
The last option is the T-blade, which you’ll use almost exclusively for the finish and only with the blade-on-skin technique. This includes trimming the outline around the ears, facial hair, the back of the neck, and edge ups. This model poses the highest risk of inflicting razor burn, so make sure you focus on being especially careful when wielding one of these.
It’s All In The Details
If you work in a full-service barbershop, odds are you’ll have to be prepared to accommodate virtually any haircut request under the sun — and if you’ve spent any time walking around out in the real world lately, you’ve probably noticed that people can get quite creative with those requests.
Regardless of style, a high-quality clipper should have a powerful motor. That’s not to say it should emulate a lawn mower; a little finesse is necessary, as well, as it should cut reliably, stay cool to the touch, and perform in a reasonably quiet fashion.
For preparation’s sake, make sure you’re equipped with a nice variety of guides so you can handle all kinds of hair lengths and thicknesses.
Naturally, the clipper blades need to be sharp — self-sharpening models are a convenient option in this regard, as they’ll save you time and effort over the long run. At the same time, sharpness goes hand-in-hand with safety; the best models are built with rounded blades designed to cut only hair, not skin. For fine trimming, you can apply safety cones to keep sharp blades away from delicate areas near the nose and ears.
The guide combs, which are the attachments responsible for ensuring a straight cut, need to be stable and durable. Fragile guides break easily, and unsteady ones will vibrate erratically and make noise, significantly devaluing the barbershop experience. For preparation’s sake, make sure you’re equipped with a nice variety of guides so you can handle all kinds of hair lengths and thicknesses.
You may already work in a shop with a highly organized station for storing and accessing all of your supplies, but say you’re just beginning to set up shop out of your home — have you given any thought to how you’ll arrange your materials? You may want to consider clippers that come with a storage bag or carrying case, which will help you stay organized as you continue to perfect your craft.
Once you make a selection, educate yourself on the type of maintenance your clippers require. In any case, you should clean, disinfect, and lubricate them after every cut. When you’re done cutting for the day, apply blade wash solution to every blade you used. By taking care of your clippers, you will increase your efficiency and maintain a high level of professionalism.
A Brief History Of The Barbershop
While it’s certainly possible to find a first-class, old-fashioned barbershop today, these manly hangouts enjoyed their gilded age during the latter part of the 19th century into the early part of the 20th century. Back then, men didn’t visit the shop once a month for a cut and a shave; they dropped in far more often — weekly or sometimes even daily — simply to hang out and shoot the breeze with the other guys.
Once this caught on, guys started to handle their own shaving needs, and many re-classified the trip to the barber as a special occasion.
This was no mistake; old-school barbershops were luxurious, comfortable, and inviting. Trim made of fine wood and elegant leather furniture combined to form a refined atmosphere, and a rich smell of pipe tobacco, hair tonics, and neck powders frequently hung in the air. For some men, it was their home away from home.
Barbershops took their first major hit in the early 1900s when the initial safety razor landed on the mass market. Once this caught on, guys started to handle their own shaving needs, and many re-classified the trip to the barber as a special occasion.
After World War I, things became more dire. When American disposable income all but vanished during the Great Depression, people simply eschewed luxuries like professional haircuts. During the 1960s, hippie culture and long hair became fashionable, rendering the barber obsolete for even more people.
Indeed, short hair and a clean-shaven look returned to vogue during the 1980s, but by that time, the barbershop’s kryptonite had already emerged: the unisex salon. National chains that catered to the whole family — men, women, and children — scooped up much of what was left of the classic barbershop’s customer base.