The Best Hair Clippers You Can Buy in 2021, Tried and Tested by Experts

Charlotte Bitmead. Products tested by the Hearst Institute, Esquire Editors
·12-min read
Photo credit: *
Photo credit: *

From Esquire

Over the last year, every man in Britain who doesn't have a barber for a flatmate has been forced to cut their own hair. At first, those who trusted their head shape took the plunge and plumped for the buzz cut. Those who didn't discovered just how hard it is to do a decent fade when you're working blind, then promptly opted for the buzz cut when someone showed them what the back of their head looked like.

Then, a turning point. The at-home haircuts began to improve. Partners across the land gained confidence and even those of us who had to do the job ourselves were pulling it out of the bag. Two important things made that process a whole lot easier: online guides, and professional quality hair clippers. We've got you covered for both.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

The best hair clippers you can buy in 2021

Best overall hair clippers: Remington T-Series

Best for detail: Philips Series 7000 11-in-1 hair clippers

Best budget hair clippers: Wahl Colour Pro Cordless

Best total-body package: Braun 9-in-1 All-in-One Trimmer

Best wet-and-dry hair clippers: Hatteker Professional Hair Clipper

The professional's choice: Wahl 79600-3116

Best speedy hair clippers: Remington Quick Cut

Best for precision: BabylissMEN Japanese Steel Digital Clipper

Best corded hair clippers: Philips Series 5000 Professional Clipper

Best beginner hair clippers: Philips DIY Hair Clippers

Best home hair styling kit: Wahl Rapid Clip

Best travel hair clippers: Wahl Beard Trimmer Care Kit

Beard trimmers and electric shavers are useful for some things – namely, trimming your beard and shaving your face. But the hair on your head deserves something purpose-built, something a little more precise. A barber would never recommend tidying up your beard, head, chest and, well, wherever else with the same clippers (and nor would any sane microbiologist).

Instead, they recommend something purpose-built, with plenty of oomph. "It's pretty much a case of horsepower," says Denis Robinson, barber at Ruffians. "A good strong motor means your clippers will accept and hold a good charge, with no tailing off in cutting power as the battery fades out." That means you look for high voltage, a pair that'll store plenty of juice and avoid anything that might compromise their longevity. "Don't recharge until the battery is completely flat. This ensures you get maximum battery life. Think back to your old mobile phone, and why it dies after two hours."

Consider blades too, says Robinson. "There are a lot of different types available now – titanium, carbon and the like – but to be honest, you can't beat a good classic set of steel blades. Look for a thin profile – a blade that sits closest to the skin – as this allows for a closer cut and more control."

As with anything in life, you get what you pay for, and if a career change via barbering college isn't on the cards then you probably don't need a set of hair clippers powered by something akin to a lawnmower motor. But cheaping out is a false economy – bad hair clippers mean bad haircuts, always and forever. Yes, BoJo's finally offered a way out of this mess and we're going to be able to get back to our barbers soon. But a pair of high-quality hair clippers in your bathroom cabinet is always handy for everything from between-cut touch-ups to embracing your inner Jason Statham.

With that in mind, we've tried and tested every decent set of hair clippers on the market to find the best option for every need, whether you're on a budget, need a set you can travel with, or want to invest in something that meets professional standards. Because if you are going to cut your own hair, you should have a tool that's going to do the job properly.

Some of these clippers have very limited stock or longer expected delivery times, but we do update this page regularly to find even better deals or websites that can guarantee delivery more quickly, so make sure to check back to make sure you'll find the best clippers for you.

The Esquire pick

Our testers were impressed by how easily this clipper created a fade haircut, thanks to its comfortable, lightweight design. Reaching the back of the head was simple, while the blades cut with precision. The clipper can be used on body hair and your beard too, if you’re looking for a multipurpose tool, as well as corded or cordless. A nice added bonus is the included travel case and clipper’s lock function, making it the ideal travel tool for when we can finally go on holiday again.

  • Battery Life: 300 minutes after four hours charge.

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: Grade 0.5-8

  • Accessories: 1 foil shaver attachment, 1 precision stubble comb, 9 hair and beard comb attachments, travel pouch, cleaning brush, oil, styling guide

  • Worldwide Voltage: Yes

Best for detail

You shouldn't be using a beard trimmer on your head – but you can use a set of clippers on your beard, if you get the right ones. Most are too bulky for edging or details, but Philips' smart 7000 series comes with stubble and beard hair attachments, which we found perfect for achieving a nice edge on your cheekbones, moustache and neckline.

It's no slouch higher up, either, thanks to self-sharpening blades and Philips' DualCut tech, which blasts through hair twice as fast as its competitors. You even get nose and ear hair attachments.

  • Battery life: 100 minutes after one hour's charge

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 1mm-16mm (grades 0-5)

  • Accessories: Nose and ear trimmers, cleaning brush, storage pouch

  • Worldwide voltage: Yes

Best budget hair clippers

For less than the price of a haircut, you can get yourself a set of budget hair clippers and do the job yourself. If Wahl's more expensive clippers are the professional barber's choice, the brand's entry-level trimmer is perfect for at-home tidy-ups, as it packs a lot of what makes them great into a keenly-priced package. Coming with a clever colour-coded system on the attachments, this clipper makes it easy to find the correct comb for your hair length. The kit also comes with good quality scissors and a barber’s comb, so you can make those final tweaks to your new style with confidence. Testers found the clipper easy to control – ideal for first-timers – and all our barber and hairdresser testers said they would be happy to use this kit on clients.

  • Battery Life: 60 minutes after 12 hours charge.

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: Grades 1 to 8

  • Accessories: 8 colour-coded attachment combs, left/right ear taper combs, blade guard, scissors, barber comb, soft storage case, blade oil, cleaning brush, charger

  • Worldwide Voltage: Yes

Best total-body package

Designed to get rid of hair anywhere – seriously, anywhere – Braun's 9-in-1 hair trimmers will have your as hairless as a triathlete, should that be the look you're after, courtesy of its lifetime-sharp blades and attachments that deal with body hair, beard hair and head hair. But it's not a blunt tool (arf arf) – with 13 length settings available, you'll be able to execute detailed haircuts, or just a lockdown buzzcut.

If you do fancy the cueball look, it comes with a Gillette Fusion5 ProGlide razor, to get a properly close shave. We'll let you decide where you use that one. But please do be careful.

  • Battery life: 100 minutes after one hour's charge

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 0.5mm-21mm (grades 0-7)

  • Accessories: Nose and ear trimmers, detail trimmer, body hair trimmer, soft bag, cleaning brush, Gillette razor

  • Worldwide voltage: Yes

Best wet-and-dry hair clippers

Amazon's best-selling clippers (and best-reviewed) are an all-in-one, head-to-toe hair solution that you can even use in the shower. The precision dial and turnable blade mean you can trim to your desired length without any bathroom yoga – handy if you don't have a willing accomplice to do the wispy bits on your neck – and the two-and-a-half-hour battery life means they're perfect for travelling. One day...

  • Battery life: 2.5 hours after 90 minutes of charging

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 1mm-16mm (grades 0-5)

  • Accessories: Nose and ear trimmers, cleaning brush, storage pouch,

  • Worldwide voltage: Yes

The professional's choice

When you're barber's busy at the back of your head tidying up all the baby hairs, odds are he's got a Wahl in his hand. The pro's choice, Wahl's clippers are bombproof and full of smart features like self-sharpening blades, extra-strong combs and an electric motor so powerful you'll swear you've got a Tesla roadster in your hand.

Do you need all that if you're just going to be shaving your head once a week? Possibly not. But you can guarantee that these hair clippers won't pack up mid-cut and leave you with half a shaved head.

  • Battery life: 120 minutes (or 12 minutes on 15-minute quick charge)

  • Corded/cordless: Corded

  • Guards: 1.5mm-25mm (grades 0.5-8), plus continuous adjustment lever

  • Accessories: Storage bag, cleaning brush, scissors, oil, barber’s comb, styling comb, blade guard

  • Worldwide voltage: No

The best speedy hair clippers

What Remington's quick-cut clipper lacks in versatility it makes up for in ease of use. It has a half-moon-shaped blade edge that scoops up the hair and pushes the follicles in the same direction, which makes the process of cutting your hair much smoother. The curved shape also makes light work of any odd lumps and bumps by following the contours of your skull and neck. It’s lightweight and comfortable to hold, and the shape means you won't need to find a friend to do the back of your head. You can choose the length of the cut across nine different combs, from 1.5mm to 15mm, and it charges faster than some other option on the list, taking four hours to get 40 minutes use. Or you can give it a quick 10-minute blast on the cord to get a quick trim in.

  • Battery life: 40 minutes from a 4-hour charge

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 3mm-15mm (grades 1-5)

  • Accessories: Travel pouch, cleaning brush

  • Worldwide voltage: No

Best for precision

This hair clipper features an adjustment dial so you can switch cutting lengths without having to change attachment heads, which means you might actually be able nail that fade. Finally. There are an impressive 45 length options to pick from too, while the cutting angle of the blades makes any haircut fairly straightforward to achieve. Testers also appreciated how quick it was to cut to their desired style and said the sleek design and digital display made it look and feel like a premium tool.

  • Battery Life: 160 minutes after three hours charge.

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: Grades 1 to 8

  • Accessories: 8 comb guides, hard storage case, cleaning brush, adaptor, instruction booklet, oil

  • Worldwide Voltage: Yes

Best corded hair clippers

This model has all the features you’d expect –multiple clipper lengths, a precision set of scissors and a comb– but it also has a few bonus ones that you never knew you needed.

Number one is a special setting that cuts through thicker hair twice as fast, with a “turbo” mode to make light work of dense mops. It’s power efficient even in this lawnmower-alike mode, so you’re not blasting through the battery. Testers agreed, with the majority saying it cut hair in just one swipe. They were happy with the time it took to achieve their desired style, with the comfortable grip and accurate grade lengths making it quick and easy to manoeuvre.

  • Battery life: N/A

  • Corded/cordless: Corded only (2.8m cord)

  • Guards: Grades 1-8 but no grade 8

  • Accessories: 7 hair combs, styling comb, scissors, cleaning brush, oil

  • Worldwide Voltage: Yes

The best beginner hair clippers

If you've ever shaved your head before, you'll know how difficult it is to get every last bit of hair. There's always one spot you miss and which you notice the second you leave your house (and then can't stop playing with all day).

Phillips's DIY hair clippers make getting to every inch of your head simple, thanks to a rotating head – no more dislocating your shoulder trying to reach your neck hairs – and a zoom wheel that locks in the perfect length, so you can even try fades without having to switch guards. Its stainless steel blades are also rounded, as are the combs, which is kinder to skin than traditional clippers.

  • Battery life: 60 minutes on a one-hour charge, plus 10-minute quick charge

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 3mm-15mm (grades 1-5)

  • Accessories: Oil

  • Worldwide voltage: Yes

Best home hair styling kit

This is a full DIY at-home kit for those wanting to perfect their barber skills. In fact, 80 per pent of the barbers and hairdressers on our panel said they would use this kit on a client. Testers loved the clipper’s sharp blades and premium, robust feel, and the overall tool was comfortable to hold for longer periods of time. They found the 12 included comb attachments easy to clip on and use, however some wished they were labelled with the hair length to make it quicker to find the right one for the job.

  • Battery Life: 120 minutes after three hours charge.

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: Grades 0.5 to 8

  • Accessories: 10 comb attachments, right/left ear taper combs, storage pouch, scissors, barber comb, styling comb, blade oil, cleansing brush

  • Worldwide Voltage: Yes

Best travel hair clippers

An on-the-go shaving kit might not be your priority right now, but this is the perfect option for any man who wants to keep up their grooming routine while travelling. Oh, what's that? You don't have a grooming routine? There's no shame in that, just step this way.

Inside the Wahl-branded carry case you'll find a quality no-frills cordless trimmer, an assortment of cutting lengths and combs, a bottle of moisturising beard oil and a wood-handled brush with soft nylon/boar bristles to help groom your facial hair into place. Sorted.

  • Battery life: 60 minutes

  • Corded/cordless: Both

  • Guards: 0.5mm-13mm

  • Accessories: Trimmer, beard brush, beard oil, moustache comb, oil, cleaning brush, 6 position combs, no 1 - 3 attachment combs

  • Worldwide voltage: No

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