Canstar Blue’s 2020 review of hair clippers has seen Wahl, Braun, VS Sassoon, Philips, Remington and Kmart compared on their performance and reliability, value for money, ease of use, comfort, weight and size and overall 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 to take grooming into their own hands. 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 again surveyed over 400 Aussies who have recently bought or received a new set of hair clippers. Respondents were asked to rate specific brands on important factors like comfort, ease of use, value for money and so on; so that you can decide which will be the best for your needs, preferences and budget.
This year, six leading brands featured in the ratings after receiving the minimum required survey sample size of 30 responses. But only one was rated best ─ Wahl! It scored five stars overall and across all criteria.
Here are the best brands for hair clippers in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
There was no close shave in this year’s ratings as Wahl regained the title as having the best hair clippers, scoring five stars in all research categories such as performance & reliability, value for money, ease of use, comfort, weight & size and overall satisfaction. Wahl had previously topped our ratings, until last year when it dropped to second place.
Runner-up Braun, which was voted best brand last year, and VS Sassoon also landed on five stars for weight & size and achieved a solid four-star rating everywhere else, although the latter could not be rated on value for money due to insufficient responses. Additionally, Remington earned full marks in both aforementioned categories and four stars for the remaining criteria.
Philips received three stars for value for money and ease of use, but finished on four stars overall and in the remaining categories. Kmart rounded up the results on three stars overall and in most categories, except in terms of weight & size where it managed to score four stars.
The three-time winner of our hair clipper ratings, Wahl has been operating for more than 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.
One of the more affordable ranges on the market, Wahl’s clippers start from under $50, but can cost you close to $300 if you’re interested in one of the top-of-the-line consumer models like the Wahl Lithium Pro 2 Hair Clipper.
Aussies rated Wahl five stars for overall satisfaction and across the board in our 2020 ratings. Some models from the Wahl range include:
One of the most well-known brands in the grooming market, German brand Braun has been operating for nearly a century, and offers plenty to help you look and feel good. Available at most electronics retailers and grooming stores, Braun hair clippers usually come in ‘all-in-one’ styling kits; ideal for anyone looking for multifunctional clippers that can take care of the hair on your head and face.
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 your eyebrows. 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 hair 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.
Braun landed in second place in our 2020 ratings, after earning five stars for weight & size and four stars overall and in the remaining categories. Models from the Braun range include:
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 $29.95 for the ‘Style Cut’ model, all the way up to $149.95 for its ‘Super Clip XTP’ model boasted for its 70 precision settings to cut, blend and trim your hair like a pro. VS Sassoon 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 cordless run time, according to the brand.
VS Sassoon got five stars for weight & size and received four stars in the remaining categories, but did not receive the minimum required survey sample size to be given a rating for value for money. The VS Sassoon range includes:
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 around the $50-$100 price range, with the 7000 Series perhaps being the standout range, with titanium blades, adjustable hair combs and 120 minutes of cordless run time on a one-hour charge. For a budget-oriented brand, Philips offers some impressive hair clippers with functional features for those who take their crew cuts seriously.
Philips achieved four stars for overall satisfaction, performance, comfort and weight and size; but landed on three stars for value for money and ease of use. You’ll find the following models in the Philips line-up:
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 Virtually Indestructible 15-Piece Barbershop Kit, which can help you get professional results at home.
Remington likely has something out there for everyone – including a vacuum model that largely eliminates the need for a cape! Remington earned full marks for weight & size and value for money, but finished on four stars overall and everywhere else. The Remington range includes:
Kmart seems like a one stop shop for absolutely everything these days, from vacuums to strollers and yes, even hair clippers. However, the cult department store only has one standard model- The Cordless Haircut Kit, which comes with a rechargeable lithium battery, plus four trimming combs (3-12mm), stainless steel blades and a 12-month warranty. It retails for $29. This is best for those who want a quick haircut at home and aren’t fussed about achieving anything other than a straight or buzz cut.
Kmart rounded up our ratings on three stars overall and in the majority of categories. It managed to get a solid four stars for weight and size.
There are three main features you should look out for when buying a new set of hair clippers, including:
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:
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 more than $40 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 definitely cost a little more upfront but 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 average amount spent on new hair clippers is around $69, our survey found. Here are some more survey results:
The dominant reason for purchasing hair clippers was to save money on getting haircuts, with 35% saying this was their primary reason for the purchase, and almost a third (28%) 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.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s Home & Lifestyle Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: SupalekaP/Shutterstock.com, Vladimir Sukhachev/Shutterstock.com, Shahjehan/Shutterstock.com, David Herraez Calzada/Shutterstock.com, Parilov/Shutterstock.com.
*Prices taken from respective retailers and current as of May 2020.
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 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 three years – in this case, 449 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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*Prices correct as of publication date.