Canstar Blue’s 2019 review of hair clippers has seen Braun, Wahl, Remington, Philips, Kmart and VS Sassoon rated on value for money, comfort performance & reliability, ease of use & overall customer satisfaction.
For some of us, the only time we really take note of a haircut is when it’s a bad one. Men generally have easier-to-manage hair than women, unless you’re a Jared Leto-type with luscious locks that people are envious of. But no matter the hair, there’s still room to mess things up, like when you ask for a trim but end up with a buzz cut.
In turn, many do away with the barber or hairdresser entirely and instead invest in a set of hair clippers for their grooming duties. And for good reason – hair clippers have come a long way since your mother stuck a bowl on your head and clipped around it. Many hair clippers are now great-quality and you can get the look you’re after without setting foot outside of your house.
But where can you find the best hair clippers around? To find out, we’ve surveyed hundreds of everyday Aussies who have recently bought or received a new set of hair clippers. The idea is to give you as much information as possible about the compared brands, so you can decide which will be the best for your needs, preferences and budget.
Six leading brands featured in the results, but only Braun received a five-star rating for overall customer satisfaction. While other brands, namely Wahl, Remington, Philips and Kmart, all earned four stars in at least one area, Braun clearly proved a cut above the rest, scoring five stars on value for money, comfort and performance & reliability, in addition to overall satisfaction.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 hair clippers review saw six brands compared, rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
While Braun took out top spot, Wahl, Remington and Philips all secured four stars for overall satisfaction, while Kmart and VS Sassoon were rated three stars. Notable results include Philips joining Braun with five stars on value for money, while Wahl was joint with Braun for performance & reliability. Remington stood out as the only brand to secure top marks on ease of use.
Read on for an overview of what each brand has to offer.
One of the most well-known brands in the grooming market, German brand Braun has been operating for nearly 100 years, and offers plenty to help you look and feel fresh. Available at most electronics retailers and grooming stores, Braun hair clippers can be purchased individually or as part of a multi-grooming kit for those looking to go the full nine yards. Braun boasts that its hair clippers are fully washable for easier cleaning under running water, with a strong grip to ensure you don’t accidentally shave off more than you need to. With rechargeable and cordless models available, Braun hair clippers are also suitable to take on your travels.
One of the more expensive options on the market, some Braun clippers can set you back a few hundred dollars, depending on which retailer you visit, but based on this year’s results, the price tag may be worth it. Rated five stars for value for money, comfort, performance & reliability, as well as overall satisfaction, Braun also received four stars for ease of use. Braun’s range features:
The two-time previous winner of our hair clipper ratings, Wahl has been operating for close to 100 years, with the American brand providing a variety of clippers, trimmers and razors for all your grooming needs. Featuring both a consumer and a professional range, Wahl seems to cater for those getting their hair cut, as well as those who cut hair as a professional. Consumer products include the Salon series, as well as the cheaper Colour Pro models, with cordless models and rechargeable models also available from retailers.
One of the more affordable ranges on the market, Wahl’s clippers start from less than $50, but can cost you close to $300 if you’re interested in one of the top-of-the-line consumer models. Wahl was rated five stars for performance & reliability, with four stars in all remaining categories, including overall satisfaction. The Wahl range includes:
Born out of the firearms company that we’re all familiar with, Remington has gone on to produce a great array of personal grooming products – hair clippers included. Remington’s hair clippers trend towards the budget end of the price spectrum, with a focus on no-frills cutting, rather than feature-packed technology. As such, you can generally expect a set of its hair clippers to cost you between $50 and $150. One standout model from Remington is its Rapid Cut, which is a great quick-fix option for those after a simple crew cut.
Remington likely has something out there for everyone – including a vacuum model that largely eliminates the need for a cape! Remington was a solid performer in our latest research, earning four stars for overall customer satisfaction and every other research category, with the exception of five stars on ease of use. The Remington range features the following models:
Dutch electronics giant Philips has, among its TVs and headphones, a great range of hair clippers. Although not as varied in price as other brands, Philips likely offers something for everyone. Its hair clippers are set at about the $100-$200 price range, with the 7000 Series perhaps being the standout range, with titanium blades, adjustable hair combs and 120 minutes of run-time on a one-hour charge. Although you wouldn’t call it a budget-oriented brand, Philips features some impressive hair clippers and features for those who take their crew cuts seriously.
Philips achieved four stars across multiple categories, including comfort, performance & reliability, as well as overall satisfaction, with a three-star rating for ease of use. However, it scored a creditable five stars in regards to value for money. You’ll find the following models in the Philips line-up:
Kmart seems like a one-stop-shop for absolutely everything these days, from vacuums to strollers and yes, even hair clippers. If you want to try out a set of clippers while on a budget, Kmart might be a worthwhile choice. In Kmart’s hair clippers range, you’ll find a couple of models, including its cordless hair cut kit with a number of accessories for just under $30.
Another option from Kmart is a 20-piece behemoth for only around the $20 mark. Within the kit you’ll get seven trimming combs (3mm – 25mm), ear guides, taper control lever and a barber’s cape. So, you’re not just buying clippers – you’re buying a whole barbershop experience. Still, customers didn’t equate a nice price to a nice purchase, with Kmart rating just three stars in most research categories, including overall satisfaction. However, Kmart earned four stars on value for money, which perhaps doesn’t surprise given the low costs. Kmart’s range features the following models:
VS Sassoon is another giant of the haircare industry and its range of hair clippers is pretty comprehensive. It offers a range to suit most budgets – from around $20 for the ‘Smart Cut’ model, all the way up to $150 for its ‘Super Clip XTP’ hair clippers boasted for their 70 settings to cut, blend and trim your hair like a pro. VS Sassoon’s clippers are also frequently made in a striking finish, with the emphasis on hardy blades and quality chrome parts. The Super Clip XTP is perhaps the standout model, with its high-performance motor that provides up to 75 minutes of cutting time, according to the brand.
VS Sassoon got three stars for overall satisfaction this year, as well as for all other rated variables including value for money, comfort, performance & reliability and ease of use. The VS Sassoon range includes:
There are three main features you should look out for when buying a new set of hair clippers. They are:
These features vary from brand to brand, and obviously from price range to price range. Let’s dive into more detail.
From a comfort perspective, the quality of the hair clippers’ blades should be the first thing you look at. Carbon steel and chrome-plated blades are commonly found on the more expensive models, and really, it’s a no brainer to choose something with quality blades. Nothing feels worse than a dull blade hacking at your hair – it’s like using a kitchen knife to cut down bamboo. Many quality blades also self-sharpen, but keep an eye out for rusty blades on budget-oriented models – no one wants that running through their hair!
Beyond the blades themselves, the adjustability of the blade guards is also an important feature. There’s no use only being able to do a buzz cut when you want a groovy flat top haircut. Any hair clippers worth their salt should have multiple adjustable guards to help keep hair length consistent. This is the same as when you go to the barbershop and request: “Short back and sides with a blade three, thanks mate!”
Some brands run their guards in 1/8” (3.18mm) increments – blade 1 equals a 3.18mm cut and so on – but this is not always the case. It could pay to check if the hair clippers you want use this metric. When shopping around, blade and guard quality should be your first port of call.
Similar to the kitchen knife/bamboo metaphor mentioned earlier, hair clipper motors should stack up well with thicker hair. Your hair shouldn’t feel like it’s being hacked, or tugged on. By the same token, however, the motor should run reasonably quietly and should be cool to the touch after some use.
What’s a good motor without a good power source? Many clippers these days run off of a lithium-ion battery that can charge relatively quickly and deliver a decent run time. You should be able to expect about a 100-minute run time from an hour’s charge. For those still running the corded variety, it goes without saying that having a long enough power cable to tackle your whole melon head.
Lastly, like many people, if you are using your hair clippers for pets, then a quiet motor goes a long way in easing Skip’s anxiety.
Last but not least of the key features, your clippers ideally shouldn’t be a chore to use. Beyond blade and motor quality, hair clippers should be comfortable and easy to use. Accessories should be easy to remove and switch around; guards should also stay firmly in place. However, a quick release mechanism can also be a godsend. Quality clippers should also have safety features in place to prevent nicks and cuts; blades should cut hair, not skin!
Additionally, hair clipper kits should also come with a range of accessories. Blades and guards should be varied. Battery-powered models should also come with a recharging station and all models should come with some sort of protective carry case or pouch. Some kits also come with quality combs, and barber-style capes! It pays to look at what accessories your hair clippers come with, and it’s quite often a case of ‘you get what you pay for’.
If you want your hair clippers to last longer, you can’t go past regular maintenance. Maintenance kits include things like blade oil and clipper spray. There are three main steps to proper maintenance. They are:
These steps may seem excessive if you’re just giving yourself a quick crew cut, but they will ensure your clippers perform better for longer.
The maintenance kit will likely come with instructions, but oiling the clippers is probably the easiest and most important thing to do to maintain your clippers. Applying a few drops on the middle of the blade into the teeth, and a couple on the sides will lube up the blades nicely. Turning the blade on will then let the oil set in. It’s also a balancing act – too much oil will result in sticky residue, and too little will dry out the blade and can eventually cause it to be near useless for cutting hair. Oiling requires a little effort, but goes a long way in extending the life of your clippers.
Before you cut your hair, cleaning the blade area is a good step to ensure hygiene – especially if you’ve been cutting Skip’s hair! Most kits come with a brush and cleaning kit, but using your own methods such as an old toothbrush can also prove sufficient. A little bottle of air to blow into the blades can also help. Brushing hair and other bits from the blades can allow the blades to operate more smoothly, which can then extend the life of them.
Although not as essential as if you were working in a barbershop, clipper spray can again go a long way in extending the life of your clippers. Clipper spray keeps the blades from overheating, which is great if your mop is giving the clippers a good workout. Its usefulness doesn’t stop there though; the spray also disinfects the blades, which is useful if the clippers are servicing the whole family or household. For less than $20, the spray should last you a good while and will go miles in ensuring your blades stay healthy.
Not all of us have the time, money or desire to sit in a hairdresser’s chair every so often to listen to pointless small talk while paying over $20 for a simple cut. As such, hair clippers have come a long way to provide a pleasant haircut experience at home – when you’re ‘in the cut’. Hair clippers – even when they can be expensive – provide great value-for-money in the long run. But to get the most out of them, it’s worth picking a quality model with a hardy motor and blades – and maintaining the parts regularly. There’s likely a model out there for all budgets and requirements, and using our customer satisfaction ratings to nail down a brand is a good starting point.
A set of clippers is a great addition to any personal grooming arsenal, and while it’s tempting to just go out and buy a cheap set, it’s not always a cheap price that drives customer satisfaction. After all, paying $30 for a crew cut at the hairdressers can add up, so it may pay in the long run to invest in a set of quality clippers.
The dominant reason for purchasing hair clippers was to save money on getting haircuts, with 39% saying this was their primary reason for their purchase, and almost a third (29%) said that hair clippers are more convenient than going to a barber. No matter your reason for your hair clipper purchase, it’s important to invest in the right set and go for a brand that has exactly what you’re after.
While each brand may claim to give you a close shave and help you get the hairstyle you want, which hair clipper you pick off the shelf will depend on a number of factors, including price, and how often you plan on using them. Looking into all of your options is a sure-fire way to ensure the one you take home makes the cut, as hiding a horrible haircut is more painful than shelling out a bit of extra cash on a model better suited to your hair.
Photo credits: And-One/shutterstock.com, Supaleka_P/shutterstock.com, Vladimir Sukhachev/shutterstock.com, Shahjehan/shutterstock.com, David Herraez Calzada/shutterstock.com, Parilov/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased or been given new hair clippers in the last 3 years – in this case, 521 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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