The Best Professional Clippers and Shears
People often send me messages through the blog about the best way to cut your own hair at home.
As a barber, what I want to say is “Don’t cut your hair at home! Leave it to a barber!” The thing is, though, there are times when you really do need to give yourself a haircut at home.
As a professional, and as the owner of a grooming advice site for men, my job is to make sure I give you the information to look and feel your best. Since I take that seriously, I will give you some tips on how to give yourself a professional looking haircut in your own home.
In this article I will give you the information that you need to have to be successful with an at home haircut. From the tools you need, to how to prep your hair, all the way to how to actually cut it.
Speaking of tools, no matter how talented you are at cutting hair, you do need the proper tools to be successful. This also goes for professionals.
If you are a new barber just starting out and need some guidance on what the best barbering tools are, then this guide will help you out, too.
Let’s start with a guide on the best tools to give yourself a good haircut at home.
Best Hair Clipper Overall
The reason why I recommend the Wahl Senior as the best all around men’s hair clipper is because when you aren’t a professional and don’t want to have several expensive clippers, then you need one clipper that does it all.
Or, if you are a barber just starting out and don’t have loads of money to drop to get your first set up, then you should go for the Wahl Senior as your go to clipper.
It’s intended for professional use, so it is rugged and durable, yet, price wise is not out of reach for the guy that wants to be cutting his hair at home. It will last years longer than any cheapo clipper that you might be tempted to buy based on price.
It comes with 3 clip on guards to place over the blade to cut at varying lengths. For use in the barbershop, or even to cut your own hair at home, you will need to go for a hair clipper guard set that can cut to different lengths, so, look into getting a pack of 10.
The lever on the side of the clipper opens and closes the blade. This is extremely important when doing fades. To eliminate the possibility of seeing a line or shadow on the head from the hair being different lengths, you need to make slight adjustments to properly blend.
That is more for professionals, however since you probably won’t be giving yourself a fade as it is not easy to do even when doing it on somebody else.
It is an electromagnetic clipper, a type which have the tendency to heat up when using it for a while. Somehow, Wahl has fixed this problem as the Senior doesn’t get too hot.
Best Clippers for Barbers – Professional Grade
This clipper is an absolute beast. It is the Cadillac of men’s hair clippers. Overall, I believe that Oster are the best brand of hair clippers as the quality is exceptional across the board, but the 76 is the cream of the crop.
The model has not changed since my father was using the same way back when. It is durable, in fact I still have one that my father used in his shop and it works great all these years later.
It is quiet since it has a rotary motor that spins rather than oscillates side to side like the electromagnetic ones. It makes a gentle whirring noise rather than clacking.
The rotary motor also means that it doesn’t heat up like other brands. It can be used all day and never got hot. If it does get hot, then it means you need to do some maintenance, like adding some lube to the chamber.
The blades are also excellent, sharp and last a long time. They clip on, so they are much stronger and durable than the attached kind. The blades are what make the 76 the best clipper for thick hair as it cuts through the thickest hair like butter.
There are two downsides to the Oster 76. Because the blades are detachable and fixed, they can’t be adjusted. Meaning, it is not great at giving fades. That’s the reason I gave the nod to the Wahl Senior as being the best all around clipper.
The other problem is cost. These are expensive. And, since the blades need to be bought separately, it can add up fast as some of the blades cost over $20.
That, and the fact that you get years out of them. Replacing your clippers every year will end up costing you more in the long run than if you just spent the money on the 76.
What you need to keep in mind, though, is it is a business expense.
Best Cordless Clipper
Another way that Wahl beats out the Oster is with their cordless line of clippers. You get all of the performance of the Wahl Senior with the added advantage of maneuverability.
What I love about this, and wish their other models had the same, is the motor system is rotary as opposed to oscillating. So, you end up with more power from the rechargeable clipper than you do with the corded one, even though technically the motor isn’t actually as strong.
The battery lasts 90 minutes straight on a charge. You aren’t likely to need 90 minutes of operation at one time before it charges. The other nice thing is it does work with the cord, too so if the battery runs out you’re not out of luck.
It is way more lightweight than the Senior, weighing in at less than one pound. It also has a nice feel in the hands. Like it fits the contours of your palm/ that makes it easy to use all day without feeling fatigue.
If you’re cutting your hair at home, this is a really good option as it can be used anywhere. Cleaning up can be a pain and usually you are finding stray hairs days after your cut, so doing it outside is now an option with this professional cordless clipper making it the best clipper to cut your own hair.
It comes with 8 attachment combs so you have pretty much everything you need to get started. The one downside is that the blade can be quite sharp. Especially if you try to adjust it to make it cut closer. Take your time, don’t rush the cut and you shouldn’t encounter any nicks.
Best Clippers for Bald Men and Head Shaving
When you shave your own head it can be awkward to do it with a traditional clipper. That’s why I always recommend this neat clipper for bald men.
It is so perfectly ergonomical, it makes shaving your own head so easy. It fits right in the palm of your hand and features a curved blade that rides the contours on your head. That makes it really hard to miss a spot.
Shaving your head has never been faster, either, thanks to it being so easy to use. You won’t need to go over the same spot three times from three different angles to get right down to the skin.
There are comb attachments included in case you don’t want to go fully bald. If you plan to give yourself a one level buzzcut, it works great for that and makes this the best clippers for short hair.
The battery runs for 40 minutes. More than enough time to shave your own head and maybe even your friend’s too! It can be used with the cord in case you forget to plug it in.
If you find yourself on the road a lot and don’t want to have to go to a barber in unfamiliar territory, the Remington Shortcut Pro makes for a great travel clipper since it takes up so little space and is so lightweight. It also comes with a convenient storage case.
Best part is that it is washable. It comes with a small brush to wipe it clean, but sometimes you need to run it under water to keep it running at 100%. Don’t worry, the water won’t dull the blades. They are self sharpening so they won’t pull your hair after using it for a while.
Best Clippers for Black Hair
You may have noticed a trend by now. I love pivot motor clippers over oscillating.
This feature is very important when it comes to cutting black men’s hair. Even though many keep their hair short or faded it seems like it would be a quick cut or that power wouldn’t be an issue.
That couldn’t be further from the truth.
It actually takes longer to cut black men’s hair and takes more precision. That’s why I like the Oster fast feed. There are better clippers for fades out there, like the Wahl Senior, but for cutting black or wiry hair you need a strong motor.
The Fast Feed is a better clipper for fades and tapers than the Oster 76 and is lighter in weight, too. It has an adjustable attached blade that can cut down to the same length as the 000 fixed blade.
It works great at getting the line out of black hair when tapering and the adjustable lever is nice and smooth so you can really go in small increments.
Thick, wiry hair can dull a lesser quality blade found on other clippers. That’s why I love Oster products. They use high quality steel for the blades that can resist going dull after prolonged use on thick hair.
The blade lasts longer, the motor is strong and it is more durable than most other clippers. These are the main reasons I love using the Fast Feed for black men’s hair.
The only downside is that you can’t get down to the skin for a true bald fade.
Best Hair Clipper and Trimmer Combo
When cutting your own hair at home, you really don’t want to have to buy multiple products to get the job done.
That’s why I highly recommend this combo clipper and trimmer from Philips Norelco.
You can groom yourself from head to toe with just one tool.
It is cordless and lasts up to 5 hours on a full charge. Unless you are a literal gorilla, then that should get you more than a few grooming sessions before you need to recharge.
For cutting hair it features a sharp Chromium self sharpening blade. With the comb attachments it comes with, you can give yourself a nice taper.
Using the blade without the combs gives you a nice tight line around the edge of your hair by using it as a trimmer.
Then, you can swap out the head and use it as a nose trimmer or to get in your ears, or line up your eyebrows with precision.
If you’re artistically inclined, you could even use the narrow precision trimmer to make designs in your beard or even on your head.
A foil shaver attachment will give you almost as close a shave as you can get from a razor, which makes it the best clippers for shaving your face.
If you want to leave some stubble on your face then you can just use the trimmer blade.
You can use the comb attachments to trim your body hair, or go all the way to the skin with the foil attachment. There’s almost nothing this can’t do. The trimmer and all of the attachments are fully washable.
Downsides? One is that you can’t use it in the shower. Seems like a wasted opportunity to makes the parts washable without going the extra mile to make it shower ready. But, when you want the best cheap clippers, that’s a small price to pay.
How to Cut Your Hair With Scissors
Cutting your hair at home with scissors is not an easy task. It will take some practise to get it right and having yourself properly set up before the haircut is essential.
Before I get into the right scissors to cut your own hair, i’ll go through the prep and technique.
The first thing you should do is find a well lit area. It’s logical to do this in your bathroom in front of your mirror, but if you find some other place with better lighting or a better mirror then do it there.
Ideally you want two mirrors. One behind you so it can reflect the back of your head in the mirror you are facing. Even better if that mirror can be also positioned to the side.
Before you get started, evaluate how you want it cut. For the sake of this tutorial I will assume you want a regular men’s taper.
Start by using the clippers on the sides and back. Start at the bottom with the short guards and buzz up about an inch or so. Then switch to ever increasingly longer comb attachments. Do this until you get to about 2 inches below where your head starts to curve. Use the mirror to see the sides and the back of your head as you work.
Next, you want to wet your hair slightly. Don’t soak it though. You just want it wet enough so you can manage the hair enough to cut it.
Here is something very important to consider, when your hair is wet it expands up to 30%. If you cut an inch off while it’s wet, then that is really cutting 1.5 inches off. That’s the biggest reason why your hair might look great as soon as it is cut at the salon, but the next day seems way shorter.
You should use professional scissors and not the same ones your kids use to cut paper.
You’ll also need a fine tooth comb.
At this point, comb your hair over as if you are giving yourself a comb over. The to right if you are a righty and left if you are a lefty.
Using your comb, lightly grab the about an inch worth of hair from where you began the comb over. Lift it up with the comb and then use your index and middle finger to hold the hair up tightly. At this point use the scissors to GENTLY cut across the ends of the hair being careful to not clip the tops of your knuckles.
I recommend taking off a half inch to start and then evaluating at the end of the cut if you need to trim more.
Now, pick up the next section going towards the direction you combed it. If you had started where you combed it over then you probably cut a strip of about 3 inches so proceed to the next three inch section. Using the hair that has already been cut as a guide, you will give yourself a nice even cut by only cutting the same amount as before. You can easily see how much was cut when you also have some of the uncut section between your fingers.
Once you do this all the way to where the hair ends then go back to the beginning and take an inch section from behind where you made the first cut. Continue working methodically across your head until you get all the way to the back of your head.
Now you need to blend the top into the sides, so with the comb perpendicular to the ground, but parallel to the side of your head. Grab an inch long section again but this time top to bottom. You will see the difference from where the clippers finished to where you cut the hair on top. Snip the longer ends to the same length as the side.
At this point you are basically done. While your hair is wet it is difficult to see any mistakes or long spots that still need to be cut, so make sure you blow dry your hair before you walk out the door. Style it with the hair dryer the way you plan to wear it and really give yourself a good look.
Pick up some spots with your fingers and check that they are even. If everything looks good, you’re done and it's time to put something that smells nice in there.
If you see some long ends, you should be able to take care of them without wetting your hair and going through the whole process again. This is also a good time to reflect on the length. If it looks like you want it shorter, then you will need to wet it again and start over.
The Best Professional Hair Cutting Shears ComparedTable could not be displayed.
When buying professional grade scissors, or shears as we call them in the trade, there is a short rule of thumb to buy the best. Stick with either Japanese or German made brands and you can’t really go wrong.
Starting out, you are likely on a budget, so I recommend these Japanese shears by Hitachi. Though, you could spend thousands on a pair, I think these are priced right to give you the quality you need and still last a while to get your money’s worth out of them.
They come in two sizes and which length is a matter of personal preference. I like longer shears to get through a haircut faster without giving up any quality work. But, some people like to work in smaller sections, in which case you may want the short ones. The price is the same either way, so it is your call.
What I like about these is how lightweight they are while still being incredibly strong and how long they keep their fine edge. Because they cut so cleanly and there is no resistance when you open and close them, they are easy on your hands.
Hand fatigue is a factor when you’re cutting all day so it’s important to get the right shears for you.
Best Scissors for Cutting Hair
These budget scissors for cutting hair are good for home hair cutting as well as in the shop.
And, for the price you can’t really beat them. They are made in China, but from a Japanese company, so they give you the same qualities a more expensive shear would have. This makes them ideal for the home barber that doesn’t want to spend a fortune to cut hair at home on occasion.
They are lightweight and have a hollowed out blade to prevent the hair from bending when it is cut.
The blade length is a good 5.5 inches so they are long enough to give you a quick haircut without being too long so you could still trim your beard with them.
The biggest downside, however are the rubber inserts. I like having them to keep your fingers from sliding around in them, but after a while they may get loose on you. When you’re dealing with budget tools, there has to be some sacrifice.
Best Hair Cutting Scissors for Home
These German shears are great for home use when you want to have a quality tool that you would expect in a salon or barbershop.
It starts with quality German steel and that German engineering that everybody raves about.
They look simple, but the small details are what count.
First of all the steel is of an excellent quality so the scissors are able to keep their edge for a long time. Cutting your hair at home means you aren’t using them much, so expect them to stay razor sharp for a lifetime. With proper care of course!
They are lightweight so if you are using them for a while, it won’t cause hand fatigue. One thing that is annoying with cheap home hair scissors is that they tend to bend the hair while cutting. There is too much space between the blades.
These have a nice adjustable wheel to get them tight if the joint starts getting loose.
A rubber stopper keeps them from making too much noise as you cut. There is nothing more annoying than the sound of the clack clack clacking of shears. That’s a nice little touch that you don’t usually see with shears for home use. The rubber finger washers are even good quality so they don’t fall out after just a few uses.