Oct 18, 2021
It’s common to want to take matters into your own hands when it’s time for a haircut. If you’re skilled enough to give yourself a buzz or haven’t yet reincorporated visits to a barber back into your routine, you can always improve your technique with some solid hair clippers. By doing so you’re already halfway to an even cut, says Julien Howard, a New York-based barber known as the Velo Barber.
Whether your goal is to achieve a simple fade, switch up your hairstyle or try a layered, more complex look, there are a few factors to consider before getting started. According to Howard, it’s important to think about your hair thickness and density. Guys with coarse, unruly or curly hair require more power and force from the clippers, compared to men with straight or thin hair. Second, more weight often means more power. So while some guys might prefer a lightweight option for the ease of mobility, heft is considered a sign of high-quality engineering and can even give you a steadier hand during the haircut. Plus, clipping the hairs on your head requires more precision and force than those on your face, so don’t skimp on engineering.
Raquel Fajardo, a Regional Barber Manager at Fellow Barber in L.A., suggests first identifying your goal. “There are so many different types of clippers, so figure out what your desired result is,” she says. Though you shouldn’t use beard trimmers on your head, it is typically fine to use hair clippers as a beard and body trimmer, given their added power and speed.
According to Fajaro, the best clippers use a lever with detachable clips and guards of various lengths—instrumental tools for guys looking to get a fade. In fact, experimenting with adjustable clippers and finding the blade that consistently delivers the same results is the key to achieving a sleek, professional look at home. Fajardo recommends cordless clippers, which are more user-friendly and universal. And if you’re new to at-home grooming, there are a whole slew of expert how-to tutorials on YouTube. A bonus tip? “Less is more,” Fajardo says. “The less grooming, the better. Start slow, and lean on a clipper that’s first going to keep most of your hair on.”
We asked Howard and Fajardo for their thoughts on the best hair clippers for various scenarios. We added a couple extra to the list, too (two customer favorites that efficiently and smartly manage the DIY buzz).