Between work and family commitments, and now a global pandemic, scheduling an appointment to see your barber or hairdresser isn’t realistic or even possible at the moment. Luckily, (for men mostly) it’s easy to go from drab to fab with a DYI haircut and a good set of hair clippers. But what are the best hair clippers to buy? We give you the lowdown below.
First, how do hair clippers work?
A hair clipper is a great all-rounder grooming tool. It can cut your mop and facial hair just as well by using different guards and functions, without needing to go to the barber. Electric and battery clippers are now the mainstream, since manual hair clippers have gone the way of the dinosaur.
The main component of a hair clipper is the motor design which powers the tool. It basically works to swing the self-sharpening blades horizontally and with a slight vertical axis movement, which is what allows the hair clipper to cut hair evenly and efficiently without pulling entire hair follicles out of the scalp.
What are the best hair clippers to buy?
In most cases, you should compare different hair clippers based on features, performance, reliability and price. A recent Canstar Blue survey found that Aussies spend on average $66 on new hair clippers.
Aside from that, your choice will largely depend on your hair type and how you plan to use your clippers. If you want a simple DIY quick trim at home, then a standard or even low-range electric hair clipper will do the job and come pretty cheap, say under $30. But, if you have hard-to-tame coarse or curly hair for example, then you should look for some high-performance hair clippers, with heads that are easily interchangeable for a smooth cut. And if you travel regularly (when there’s not a global pandemic) or have limited storage space at home, then a multi-function cordless model could be the best way to go.
If you’re still unsure which hair clippers you need, we’ve hand-picked some quality, low-price models from popular brands below for you to consider.
Hair clippers to buy for less than $100
|Philips Hair Clipper HC3520/15||JB Hi-Fi||$39.95|
|Wahl Colour Pro Home Clipper||The Shaver Shop||$39.95|
|Braun MGK3045 Male Grooming Kit||Harvey Norman||$69|
|Remington Barber’s Best Hair Clippers||Harvey Norman||$79.95|
|VS Sassoon X6 PRO||David Jones||$99.95|
*Prices taken from respective retailers and correct as of April 2020.
Philips Hair Clipper HC3520/15
This Philips cordless model features Trim-n-flow Technology to prevent hair from getting stuck in the clipper and DualCut Technology that can apparently power through any hair type with a combination of double-sharpened cutting elements with low-friction engineering. This Philips model comes with a 75-minute battery life and 13 length settings (1-23mm).
Wahl Colour Pro Style Clipper
This Wahl Colour Pro hair clipper is said to be ideal for family haircuts as it comes with colour coded guide combs to help you remember haircut lengths for everyone. It also features precision blades for durability and long-lasting performance, as well as a taper lever to easily blend hair and change between different lengths, and ear guides for a painless cut. The Wahl Colour Pro model comes in an 18-piece kit which includes small scissors and other accessories.
Braun MGK3045 Male Grooming Kit
This Braun grooming kit is perfect for anyone looking to stay sharp with regular maintenance. The hair clippers come with beard styling fixed combs with 13 precision length settings and stainless-steel blades to easily cut through thick hair. This cordless model has a 60-minute run time and fully washable body for convenient clean-ups.
Remington Barber’s Best Hair Clippers
This cordless, lithium powered Remington hair clipper can help you achieve a barber grade haircut at home. It comes in a 20-piece haircut kit equipped with 10 combs, scissors, a hair clipping blade and a trim shaving blade that can cut hair down to 0.2mm. It also comes with a small brush and oil to maintain the blades.
VS Sassoon X6 PRO
This VS Sassoon hair clipper has an innovative curve design to better control comb guides and features a heavy-duty professional DC motor, New Comb Guide Technology for adaptive cutting, and premium Japanese steel blades which allow for 20% faster cutting, according to the brand. This model is backed by a five-year warranty.
What to look for in hair clippers
The heart of a good set of hair clippers is the mechanical motor that drives the blade. Clippers usually come in one of three motor types: magnetic, rotary and pivot; which will typically be housed inside a plastic case in the handle. Here’s a quick summary of each type.
- Magnetic motor: This motor is found in most budget clippers because of its simple design with few moving parts. It creates a current to vibrate the blade back and forth, with a spring and electromagnet. Clippers with this motor are the least powerful, so tend to be suitable for occasional use.
- Pivot motor: This motor works similarly to the magnetic motor, but uses two electromagnets and no spring. Pivot motor clippers are said to produce at least twice the cutting power of magnetic motor clippers, but with reduced blade speed.
- Rotary motor: This motor is usually powers heavy-duty clippers, and comes in AC and DC powered units. Many DC powered units are cordless and powered by batteries, but AC units are more powerful. Rotary motor clippers are often used in barber shops and for pet grooming.
Most standard clippers come with stainless steel, self-sharpening blades that are rust-resistant. This is the gold standard, but check the product information on each product anyway. There are also electric clippers made with ceramic blades, but these tend to break more easily because ceramic is not a good heat conductor and can be more expensive to replace than stainless steel blades.
Another thing to look for is the number of comb guides included with any clippers, unless the only look you fancy is the buzz cut. These are attached on top of the blades to achieve different desired cutting lengths, so the more you have the better. A standard model can have up to four or six comb attachments while high-end models can have up to ten or more. You may also want a model with a taper control lever to blend hair lengths and layers with ease.
Most clippers will usually require lubricating oil (a small vial will come with each tool) for the blades to keep them from tugging at your hair and to keep your tool in prime condition. As a general rule, clippers should be oiled with each use. Now, there are some models available that supposedly allow you to skip this step, but do take these claims with a grain of salt.
Cheap hair clippers to buy
Kmart hair clippers
If you’re looking for stylish, budget hair clippers, Kmart offers two low-range cordless haircut kits for under $30, that come with all the basic functions you need for a quick trim. Both Kmart models come with stainless steel blades, various trimming combs, accessories and a 12-month warranty.
Here is our top pick for Kmart hair clippers:
22 Piece Hair Cut Kit ─ RRP $19*
- Seven trimming combs and taper control lever
- Scissors, cleaning brush, lubricating oil and cleaning solution included
- Comes with a barber cape and storage bag
Big W hair clippers
Big W stocks a limited, albeit low-price range of hair clippers and electric shavers from brands such as Philips, VS for Men and Braun. The cheapest model from the range (at the time of writing) is the Remington Personal Haircut Kit HC70A, which costs a measly $17 and comes with everything you need. This includes five comb and trimming guides (for facial hair), washable attachments, a taper control lever to blend layers more easily, and more. Prices for hair clippers from Big W typically range between $39 and $99.
Here is our top pick for Big W hair clippers:
Remington Titanium All In One Rechargeable Grooming System ─ RRP $29*
- Cordless (rechargeable) operation with up to 30 minutes cordless usage time
- Titanium coated trimmer blades
- Ergonomic design and comes with a storage stand
Target hair clippers
Of all the discount department stores, Target offers the widest range of grooming and haircut kits at a cut price. There are only two brands to choose from, Remington and VS Sassoon but price points start from as little as $20 for the Remington Cut Above Haircut Kit HC2001AU and go up to $99 for the Remington Rapid Cut Turbo which comes with 12 comb guides, a 70mm curved blade for precision, turbo speed function and fits in the palm of your hand.
Here is our top pick for Target hair clippers:
VS Sassoon The Maverick All-In-One Groomer VSM7426A- RRP $49*
- Multi-purpose face, body and head trimmer for total grooming control
- Diamond sharpened stainless steel blades
- Rechargeable 70-minute cordless run time with quick charge option
- Taper control for blending layers and a precise close trim
Picture credits: Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com, Parilov / Shutterstock.com, Emanuele Ravecca / Shutterstock.com.