December 30, 2022
Cutting hair with trimmers or clippers may look simple from the outside, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye. As well as the skill and experience of the barber, there are also important differences in the equipment used, to ensure the customer gets the style they want every time. But with so many different styles and clippers to choose from, which are the best ones to buy?
In this guide, we’ll highlight what to look out for in the best trimmers for barbers across five common categories of haircut and pick out the top products on the market today.
Skin fades are especially popular at the moment, meaning a good clipper needs to service a wide variety of different types of hair. A powerful motor that can deal with even the thickest and curliest hair is essential, as is a range of hair guard sizes to maximise the versatility of fades that can be offered.
Star product: Wahl 5 Star Cordless Magic Clip
These cordless clippers free up barbers to move around the customer’s head more freely, making it easier than ever for anyone to deliver pro-grade results. As one reviewer put it: “I feel like I’m a professional barber even though I’ve never cut hair before.”
For cutting thick hair, power is just about everything. A lightweight trimmer that doesn’t have a gutsy motor just won’t be able to cut through very far, or for very long. Any trimmer that can combine high output with (if used cordless) strong battery life is ideal for these cuts.
Star product: Panasonic ER-SB40-K Cordless Hair Trimmer
This trimmer is actually designed for all parts of the body, so much so that Men’s Health gave it a Grooming Award for beard trimming. But it’s just as useful for head hair, with a motor capable of 9800 cuts per minute, and an adjustable dial that gives 19 different lengths without having to change the guard.
Tapers are long-standing popular haircuts, but demand precision from the barber and from the equipment. The ability to blend between different lengths is vital, as is versatility in the different lengths and combinations that can be achieved.
Star product: Wahl Super Taper
This taper-specific clipper is designed to deliver easy and precise performance every time, with an electromagnetic motor for extra power and four different attachable guards. Many reviewers praise the longevity of the product, saying that it lasts for several years, with one writing: “They cut cleanly, with no catching or dragging, and feel very solid and robust. Very highly recommended.”
Very short buzz cuts or head-shaving often require a very different type of clipper because of the need to follow the contours of the customer’s head. Bigger blades are helpful in getting the cut done quickly (maximising barber profitability), while curved blades help with the contour issue, too.
Star product: Remington Quick Cut
This clipper may not look like much, but for buzz cuts specifically, it does the job brilliantly. The curved blade is big (but not too big so that accuracy isn’t compromised), and its portability makes it handy for mobile barbers. One review summed it up excellently: “The curved blade and ergonomic shape of this aren’t just gimmicks but actually help a lot to achieve an even result in the least amount of time.”
Cordless clippers were generally sidestepped by professional barbers until recently, because they didn’t want to be compromised by a lack of battery life. But the technology has improved to make some of the leading products viable for commercial use.
Star product: Philips Norelco
We’ve already mentioned a number of top cordless clippers in this guide, but from a battery perspective, the Norelco stands out. Capable of two hours of use after just one hour of charging, its range of 24-length settings makes it a great all-rounder.
Technically speaking, yes you can. But in reality, you really should avoid using clippers on wet hair in the vast majority of cases. For starters, clippers are generally electric and so wet hair brings a high risk of shocking the customer (which could result in injury or a compensation claim). But clippers can easily become clogged up with hair that is wet, greasy, or even just very thick, reducing the performance of the clippers and the consistency of the cut applied.
There are only really a couple of exceptions to this rule: when wet hair has been thoroughly towelled prior to the cut, or when the hair being cut is already short to begin with. In both these cases, the risk of hair clogging up the clippers is minimised.
The lever on most barbers’ clippers allows the length of cut to be lengthened by half a size by adjusting the teeth. For example, if a guard for a size two is in place, the lever can be pushed up to make the size 2.5 instead. The same applies if there is no guard on at all, meaning customers can get a cut of size 0.5 instead of zero.
Whichever types of haircut you specialise in, and whichever of these best trimmers for barbers you use, getting good insurance cover for your business is absolutely essential.
Protectivity provides good-quality, comprehensive cover for barber businesses, incorporating Public Liability in the event of a customer injury, Personal Accident cover, equipment cover, and much more. We can also include up to £1 million of Employers’ Liability insurance so that anyone you employ is protected too.