Hair clipper purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • The most important facts in brief
  • Hair clippers are battery- or mains-operated electric appliances that can be used to cut short hairstyles at home.
  • The devices save visits to the hairdresser and are easy to operate; even inexperienced users will quickly get used to using them.
  • Hair clippers have either interchangeable attachments or an adjustable shaving head; the material of the blades also differs.
  • The battery life, cutting performance, workmanship and water resistance are decisive for the optimal functionality of the device.
  • Hair clippers should be cleaned regularly with care oil and a cleaning brush so that the devices remain perfectly usable for a long time.

Simply hair precise

Some people are reluctant to go to the hairdresser because they don’t like the feeling of having their head touched by strangers or because a millimetre haircut is not worth the money. There are hair clippers for such cases. With a little practice, using them is easy and safe – of course, you can always get help from your partner or friends who may already have haircutting experience. Hair clippers offer you the opportunity to move regular visits to the hairdresser to your own four walls. Not only do you save time and money, but you can also give your hairstyle a personal touch.

With a hair clipper, you can cut yourself a short hairstyle that suits your ideas. Of course, you can also cut someone else’s hair. Children in particular often don’t like to sit still at the hairdresser’s or are afraid. A haircut at home is the perfect solution.

With some devices you can also trim your beard and bring it into shape; for extravagant beard styles, however, a hair trimmer works too roughly, it is mainly suitable for three- to five-day beards. In any case, you should make sure beforehand that the model is suitable for shaving the beard, as beard hairs are thicker and more robust and place different demands on the appliances. For beard wearers, it therefore usually makes more sense to get a beard trimmer that has narrower and finer blades as well as attachments with shorter teeth. Other body hair should not be trimmed with hair clippers, but you should buy a device specially designed for this purpose. You also cannot shave a bald head with conventional clippers; for this you need suitable wet razors or a razor plane.

What is a hair clipper?

Hair clippers, also called hair shears, hair clippers or hair trimmers, are devices that are mainly suitable for cutting and maintaining short hairstyles. Furthermore, there are hair clippers with a thinning function, also called an effilating function, with which you can keep curls in check or create natural texture effects such as soft transitions and natural gradients of the hair ends.

Who can make use of a hair clipper?

Both women and men who want to cut or trim their own hair can use hair clippers. It doesn’t matter whether you have a lot or little, thin or thick, straight or curly hair; with the right attachment and the desired cut length, hair clippers will tame almost any hair type and hairstyle. Only for particularly long hair are the devices unsuitable. Some models are also suitable for shaving the beard. Companies like Philips and Braun have been producing hair clippers for many years. The prices for the devices vary widely, many are between 30 and 50 euros, but some premium models cost over a hundred euros.

Unsuitable for animals

Hair clippers for humans are not suitable for clipping animals’ hair. The texture of dog or cat fur is different from human hair and would dull the blades more quickly. There are special pet hair clippers and clippers for animals for this purpose.

What are the advantages of clippers?

The most important advantage of hair clippers is, of course, that they save you a trip to the hairdresser, thus saving you money and time in the long run. Most machines are easy to use and allow for even cuts as well as fine contours in the hairstyle. Especially for short hairstyles, hair clippers are a good alternative to a visit to the hairdresser. Quick corrections are also no problem. With good care, hair trimmers usually have a long life. Combination devices also have the advantage that they can be used to trim both beard and head hair. With various accessories, you can adapt the versatile machines to your individual (hair) needs. Some hair clippers are even self-sharpening, which means you don’t have to buy more blades.

Pro points

  • Cheaper in the long term than hairdresser visits
  • Simple operation
  • Wireless operation possible
  • Enable even hair cuts and corrections
  • Also suitable for rough beard shaving


  • Requires a little practice and dexterity
  • Less suitable for long hair

How do hair clippers work?

Hair clippers consist of a handle at the end of which is the shaving head with two blades arranged like a comb. The lower of the two blades is fixed, the other moves with quick left-right movements. It is driven by an electric motor located in the handle of the clipper. This is how the hair is cut. The minimum length of the remaining hair determines the thickness of the lower blade. This also has rounded tine tips so as not to injure the skin. To change the cutting length, you can either change the comb attachments or adjust the head of the clipper.

hair clipper structure
The structure of a hair clipper at a glance.

What should be considered when buying a hair clipper?

There is a wide range of hair clippers on the market. Therefore, it is important for you to know in advance which criteria you place particular value on. If you use the device often, it should have a powerful battery and be very durable. For the most precise haircut possible, we recommend devices with variable cutting length, a blade adjustment lever, a high-quality clipper blade and a good cutting performance. You should also consider other points such as volume, ease of use, water resistance and weight. You usually pay a higher price for good workmanship and sturdy material, but this often means better quality and a longer life. Last but not least, accessories such as a charging station, a transport container and care utensils such as oil and cleaning brushes can also influence the purchase decision.

Cutting length

The cutting lengths offered by the various devices range from 0.5 to 50 millimetres. Most models come with several attachments for different cutting lengths. These, in turn, have different cutting levels to choose from. The number of cutting levels determines how precisely you can adjust the cutting length. Some hair clippers have over 400 different cutting levels. For most short hairstyles, however, 20 adjustable cutting lengths are sufficient.

Battery or mains operation

The advantage of a rechargeable battery is that there is no cable in the way when cutting and you do not have to rely on a mains socket when using it. With particularly high-quality rechargeable batteries, you do not need to take a charging cable with you even on short trips. Most manufacturers use nickel-metal hydride batteries or lithium-ion batteries in their tools. Lithium-ion batteries are generally more powerful, but also more expensive. Rechargeable batteries must be recharged at regular intervals. With hair clippers that are connected to the mains by a cable, on the other hand, you do not have to worry about weak batteries with a short runtime. The cable should only be long enough so that you have enough freedom of movement. If you don’t want to choose between the two, choose a model that works both on mains power and on battery power.

Battery life

The operating time of the battery should not be too short so that you do not have to interrupt your work to charge the device. Run times range from just under 30 minutes to a generous three hours. Powerful batteries do not need to be charged as regularly; this is especially useful when travelling.

Charging time

Charging time also plays an important role in choosing the right hair clipper. If you want the appliance to be ready for use as soon as possible, a short charging time is recommended. Some hair clippers only need one hour. Some devices also have a quick-charge function. If you do not use the appliance that often and other functions are more important to you, you can also go for an appliance with a long charging time. Some of the machines have an indicator light to show that the battery needs charging.

Clipper blade and clipper head width

The clipper blade is the most important part of the hair clipper, so you should pay special attention to the quality here. The blades are made of titanium, stainless steel, ceramic or carbon. Some clipper blades are self-sharpening and therefore more durable. At some point, however, every clipper blade must be replaced, because they inevitably become blunt through use.

The choice of blades

There are considerable differences in quality and price among the blades. The most expensive models are those with titanium blades, but these blades last longer and their cut is sharper and smoother. These devices are preferred in the hairdressing sector. The blades of titanium hair clippers are also often self-sharpening. So if you use the device very often, the investment is well worth it.

Stainless steel blades are cheaper and have the advantage that they are very durable because they do not rust. So it is no problem to clean them with water and use them in the shower without having to dry them meticulously afterwards.

There are also models with ceramic blades. These cut sharper and more precisely than stainless steel blades and achieve a very smooth cut. In terms of price, they are usually between titanium and stainless steel models. Finally, there are carbon blades to choose from. These must be kept dry, as they are not rustproof. These blades also offer a very clean cut, but are similarly expensive to titanium blades.

The width of the head

The width of the shaving head is between 30 and 40 millimetres. Depending on the type of hair and hairstyle you use the device for, a larger or smaller shaving head should be selected. If you need the appliance more for quick and coarse shaves of the head hair, a larger shaving head is recommended. It should be smaller if you want to work very precisely or also shave your beard.

Cutting performance

Apart from the blades, the cutting performance depends mainly on the motor of the clipper. It should be particularly powerful, especially if you are using the appliance for thick hair or beard hair. The motor should not drop immediately when the battery gets weaker. Therefore, devices with a linear motor are highly recommended; the motor provides constant cutting power even when the battery is getting weaker. Especially for users with thick hair, a model with a very good motor power is recommended so that the device does not get caught in the hair. With inexpensive devices, it can be assumed that the power of the motor will be rather low.

Blade adjustment lever

Some hair clippers have a blade adjustment lever or a small wheel with which you can change the position of the blade. This allows you to push it to just before the end of the tips of the teeth of the clipper blade and shorten the cutting length. Not every machine has this option; hair clippers without a blade adjustment lever can work just as precisely and with different cutting lengths thanks to different attachments. Higher-priced modern hair clippers sometimes have a touch display that you can use to conveniently set the desired cutting length. Practical: Some models save the setting for the next time you use them.


It is a good idea to use the clipper in the shower, as this makes it easy to collect the cut hairs in the drain strainer and keeps the bathroom floor clean. The water also softens the hair and makes shaving easier. Waterproof hair clippers are also easier to clean. However, not every hair clipper is waterproof. Therefore, when buying, you should pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications in this regard.

Material and workmanship

Make sure that the hair trimmer is sturdy and well made. It can happen that it slips out of your hand and falls off. Since hair shaving is usually done in the bathroom, it should not be immediately defective after hitting the tile floor. The material, including the blades, should be of high quality and the housing should be sturdy. Wobbly or loose parts are a disadvantage and indicate poor workmanship. With a stable and robust hair clipper, you know that you can rely on the appliance for a long time.


You logically use your hair clipper close to your ears, so it is important that the device works as quietly as possible and without vibrations. Especially if you use the machine frequently, the operating volume should not be unpleasant. Hair clippers usually reach a volume of 70 decibels and are comparable to the noise level of hair dryers. This volume is generally not dangerous; the risk of hearing damage only increases with permanent exposure to sound.


Hair clippers should not be too heavy and should fit comfortably in your hand so that your arms do not become heavy during use and you do not have to put them down in between. However, most modern devices are designed as lightweights whose weight does not cause any problems during haircutting. As a rule, hair clippers weigh only a few hundred grams, usually between 100 and 300 grams.


The standard scope of delivery for most hair clippers includes a protective cap, the corresponding power supply unit or battery and charging cable, an instruction manual and several comb attachments. In addition, manufacturers offer a variety of accessories for their clippers that may be useful.

Care oil and cleaning brush

To increase the longevity of the hair clipper, you need to care for it regularly. Therefore, it makes sense to resort to care oil and a cleaning brush; many manufacturers already include these with their products. The oil is there to keep the blades in good condition. You can use the small brush to remove individual hairs that have become caught in the shaving head.

Charging station

A charging station is quite practical if you always want to place your hair clipper within reach, for example next to the washbasin. It has the advantage that the appliance is always charged when it has its fixed place. If you put it in a drawer, you may forget to charge the clipper and have to use the charging cable next time or wait.


If you are going on a trip, it is an advantage to have a case or bag for the hair clipper. This accessory is already included with some models. The case protects the blades from dulling and the housing from other damage. In addition, the hair clipper stays clean during travel.

Tips for use and care

Even though the use of a hair clipper is mostly self-explanatory, you should pay attention to a few aspects so that the desired hairstyle succeeds. Regular care of the appliance also requires practised hands.

How do I use a hair clipper correctly?

To prevent injuries, you should proceed slowly and carefully, especially if you are inexperienced. Always shave and trim against the direction of hair growth. Longer hairs usually straighten the comb attachments well, if necessary you can also bring them into position with a comb. Use the appropriate attachment for the desired hair length and adjust the blades accordingly. Always start the cut at the bottom of the hairline and work your way vertically to the top of the head. If you are not cutting your hair in the shower, it is a good idea to have a hoover handy to quickly and conveniently clear the bathroom of hair afterwards. If you have help cutting the hair, the hoover can of course be used while you are still working. Some machines also have a practical suction function.

The right care

It is important to clean the shaving head after use. First tap it to get rid of loose hairs and then remove any hairs that are still stuck. You can use the cleaning brush, which is usually supplied, for this. Whether you can also use water for cleaning depends on whether the blades are stainless and the device is waterproof – of course you still have to dry it.

After cleaning, you should regularly apply a care oil. This is sometimes included in the delivery. Put a few drops of it into the small holes on the top through which the oil reaches the blades. The oil ensures that the blades do not rub against the shaving foil and stay sharp longer. Of course, you should also be careful with your hair clipper in other ways, avoid dropping it if possible and store it safely and cleanly. Most models do not require any maintenance.