The Ultimate Guide to Hair Clipper Sizes

using hair clipper

Men are very fortunate in that they typically do not have to get their hair cut nearly as often as women. Better yet, they can often cut their hair at home on their own.

In fact, half the time, they don’t even need scissors. A simple pair of clippers will typically do the trick for them.

Of course, before you run out and buy some clippers, you should understand the different hair clipper sizes, tips for using clippers, and general care and upkeep for your clippers, among other things.

If you choose your clippers with care and then use them the right way, you should have no problem maintaining a great looking hairdo from the comfort of your home.

Understanding Hair Clipper Sizes

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When people are new to hair clippers, they often think that they are all the same. However, this is not the case. There are actually many different sizes of hair clippers, and size does matter in this case.

Different sizes are going to produce different looks and styles, so you want to choose your sizing with care. Of course, to do that, you first have to understand the different sizes at your disposal.  

Remember, Sizes Vary by Brand

We don’t want to complicate things right off the bat, but there is something you should know before you dive in and start learning about clipper sizes.

That “something” is the fact that clipper sizes do vary somewhat by brand. While the sizes and numbers are typically going to be the same no matter what type of clippers you are dealing with, the exact cut or look you get with that size can vary from one brand to the next.

Fortunately, if you look online, you can find clipper size charts that are specifically grouped by brand. It’s a good idea to adhere to these charts so that, when shopping within brands, you can always get the size that actually represents the look you want.

Is there Really a “Number 0?”

Many men have heard of the popular number 0 hair cut, but find themselves confused. They end up wondering what is a number 0 clipper, and is it legit? This style, while popular and attractive, often leads to a lot of confusion.

The reason for this is because a number 0 clipper isn’t a true clipper size. Instead, it is the look that is achieved when no guard is attached to the blade. Typically, clippers will have a permanent guard, which is left on for this look, but no additional guard is added.

When you use your clippers in this way, you basically create a “size 0.” What you’ll end up with when you go this route is a very short cut or even a skin fade which exposes some of the scalp but leaves you looking great. It’s a harsh cut and not for everyone, but some men swear by it and find it very attractive.

Moving from Number 1 to Number 8

Aside from the “created” number 1, you will typically deal with razors sizes from 1 to 8. People will often request a specific number razor to be used when they go in for a haircut.

When people do this, it’s because they know what haircut they like and which blade is used to achieve it. It can take you awhile to get to this point, but if you experiment and try different blade sizes, you’ll get there.

Also, whenever you get a haircut you like, be sure to ask your hair stylist which size blade was used. This is a surefire way to find your perfect blade size and to get the haircut that you want every time.

Follow Some Basic Tips

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Now that you understand a bit more about hair clipper sizes, your next step is to start experimenting to find the right size or sizes to achieve the look you want.

Before you go down that path, however, we recommend following a few basic tips. These tips and the knowledge that goes along with them will greatly help you as you explore different hair clippers and experiment with various looks.

Big and Small

To start with, one of the simplest things to remember is the “big and small” rule.

If you want your hair to be short and buzzed close to your head, then you always want to go with a small size clip and a small number blade. For “bigger,” longer hair, go for a big clipper.

That’s pretty easy to remember, right? It may be simple, but if you can keep this simple tip carefully in your mind, you will never end up with a clipper that is all wrong for the look that you are trying to achieve.

A Number One Will Keep Your Hair Short but Not Too Short

We have already discussed how a number 0 is the way to go if you want hair that is super short.

If you’re not quite ready to commit to hair that short, though, don’t worry. A step up that can leave you with short hair that has a bit more length is the number 1 cut.

This haircut will leave you with about an eighth of an inch of hair, so you won’t feel quite so “naked” up top. You can use this guard to get a buzz cut, a taper, or a fade.

Bear in mind, however, that some of your scalp may still be visible with this cut, so if you can’t handle that, you may want to move up in size just a bit.

Go Longer Than You Think You Need

barber using clipper

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All of this talk of short hair brings up a very important tip: when cutting your hair, you should always choose a longer clipper size than you think you will need.

The reason for this is that you can easily fix hair that is too long. You just have to clip a little bit more.

There is nothing you can do for hair that is too short, however. All you can do is wait for it to grow out, which can feel like a long and difficult process when you aren’t happy with how you look.

So, start with longer and then work your way down if you need to. This will keep you from feeling bad and having a hair disaster, especially when you are new and not as experienced as you should be with clippers just yet.

Don’t Want to Show Your Scalp?

Some men are totally into showing their scalps and love the look it gives them. Others, however, do not want any of their scalp to show.

If you are in that second camp, then we recommend going no lower than a 2 haircut, meaning a cut done with a number 2 blade.

This clipper will give you hair that is ¼ of an inch, and your scalp won’t show. Go any lower, however, and you’re going to see scalp for sure!

Choose Clippers with Strong Blades

In addition to getting and using clippers that are the right size, you also want to choose high quality, well-made clippers. Clippers can be a somewhat costly purchase, and you don’t want to throw your money away on a pair that isn’t going to last you for the long haul.

Thus, we recommend doing your research to choose the most well-made clippers possible. That all starts with choosing clippers with strong, sturdy blades.

Steel blades are often best. Whatever type of blades you buy, make sure you know what material they are crafted from and if they have any kind of warranty. The better the blades and the longer the warranty, the better the clippers and their performance.

Go for a Strong Motor

Blades aren’t the only thing that needs to be strong when it comes to your clippers. You also want a super strong motor. Clippers with a weak motor will struggle to get through hair, especially if it’s thick, and can be a real pain to use.

A good, strong motor, however, will allow your clippers to breeze through any hair length and style. They will also work without sputtering or making a lot of noise.

Basically, if you want perfect work and perfect hair, you need a great motor. A good motor can be found on both corded and cordless models, so choose whichever one you want, but definitely research the motors before buying.

Be Careful Not to Buy Hair Trimmers

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A mistake that people sometimes make when they buy clippers or try to buy clippers is that they end up buying hair trimmers instead.

Hair trimmers sometimes look like clippers, but they are actually very different. They differ in terms of the guide, the length, and the blade size.

In addition to being different in all of these important ways, trimmers also do not typically come with accessories and their blades are often thinner and less effective. They are usually used for “cleaning up” a hairstyle rather than executing an entire style.

Thus, be careful when you shop. Make sure you are actually buying clippers and not trimmers. If you aren’t cautious, you could end up with the wrong thing entirely.

Make Sure You Get a Variety of Pieces

While you could go out and buy just a simple pair of clippers, more often than not, you are going to want to buy clippers that come with a variety of different pieces. Having different pieces and accessories will allow you to achieve different looks and styles and is overall just more helpful.

The key is to get all of the “extras” that you need, and that means researching to find out what you need. Some men just need a few different blades and maybe a guide comb or two. Others, however, might prefer several different blades, nose hair trimmers, and a lot of other “fancy” accessories.

Both choices are totally fine, but you need to make sure you choose what is going to work for you. Just bear in mind that more accessories may mean spending more money, but if you get clippers that will take care of all of your needs, isn’t it worth the extra cost?

Save Money with a Manual

Of course, not everyone agrees with buying fancy clippers with a lot of extra parts and pieces. Instead, some people actually prefer to keep it super simple and go with clippers that don’t have a motor at all and that are handled and controlled only by your hand.

While these options are very cheap and can be tempting for people who want to save money, we do have to say that these are not super easy to use and can definitely take some getting used to.

Thus, before you run out and buy them because of the low price tag, make sure that you are actually going to be able to use them.

Also, this is an item that is best shopped for in person. The main reason for this is that you are going to be holding those clippers for a long time, so they need to be comfortable and easy to grip.

We recommend holding different clippers in your hand before settling on one. You can always check them out in the store and then buy them online if you prefer. You just need to make sure, in person, that the clippers are actually going to work for you.

Otherwise, you’ll just be wasting money.

Get a Sturdy Guide Comb

comb and scissor

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For those who are buying electric clippers, which is most men, you will want to make sure that, at the very least, your clippers come with a good, strong guide comb.

So many clippers, especially the cheaper ones, have flimsy guide combs that often break off, vibrate, or run into other issues. They often do this in the middle of working too, which mean that you seriously mangle your haircut.

To keep that from happening, we recommend looking for “enhanced” or “strengthened” guide comb. Not only will your guide comb last longer that way, but a quality guide comb is often a sign of a quality clipper overall.

Spring for Professional Grade Clippers If You Can

We know that clippers can be expensive and that everyone doesn’t have money to throw around.

However, if you can afford it, we strongly recommend getting professional grade clippers. These are the ones that barbers and professional hairstylists use. And, yes, they can cost a pretty penny, but they are so worth it.

Most professional clippers will last for years and years and often come with a warranty to prove it.

They also work amazingly well and very rarely run into any problems. If you can spring for the cost or at least find a good deal, you will be very pleased with professional grade clippers, guaranteed.

Shop Around

As mentioned, clippers can be very expensive, especially professional ones. However, if you are careful, you can sometimes find a steal of a deal on your clippers.

Our suggestion is to shop around. Go to different stores that sell clippers and compare prices. Also, look online. Try to shop near the holidays or when other sales are going on if you can.

If you make an effort to scope out prices, sooner or later, you are bound to find an awesome deal on clippers. This can enable you to get truly awesome clippers – maybe even those professional ones – without breaking the bank, so it is definitely worth the effort.

Look for Ease of Use

As you are doing all of that shopping around we’ve recommended, make sure you’re looking not just for a low price tag but also for clippers that are easy to use.

You want them, as mentioned, to be easy to hold and to guide across your hair. Also, if there are accessories, they should be easy to switch out and should not break easily.

While fancy looking clippers or clippers from a big brand name are great, they’re not really going to do you any good if you can’t use them without it being a giant hassle.

Thus, we suggest making ease of use one of your top priorities as you shop for clippers.

It’s Not All About the Brand

One final thing to remember is that brand is not the most important thing when it comes to buying the right clippers.

While some brands are certainly more popular than others, a big brand name doesn’t necessarily mean a superior product. Thus, instead of paying attention to brand, you’ll want to pay attention to overall quality of the product.

Start Shopping Today

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Now that you are armed with all of this knowledge on hair clipper sizes and on hair clippers in general, you are ready to start your shopping!

Just keep these tips in mind as you shop. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions, to read online reviews, and to do thorough research.

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