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There are a lot of reasons to see a barber: if you’re thinking of changing your hairstyle, if you want a hot towel shave, if you are into especially-complicated haircuts or a simple fade (which is terribly hard if you’re trying to do it yourself). But there are some times when you can take matters into your own hands. Keeping your haircut fresh between barber visits is one of them. Going full GI Jane and buzzing off your own hair could be one of those, too. We know it can be hard to justify a visit to a barber when you have the type of haircut you might be able to do in our bathroom. If you want to cut your own hair at home, there are some things you need to know.
1. Decide on what style you want. Buzz cuts are a general style and have a ton of variations, so before firing up the clippers, consider the final outcome you’re hoping for.
Buy a hand mirror or create a dual-mirror setup. This is especially important if you’re doing this on your own because you’ll need to be able to see the back of your head.
Use your bathroom as a barber shop. Make sure it’s well-lit and you’re comfortable in front of the mirror. Go shirtless (or nude). It will make cleanup easier when you’re done.
4. Go slow and start with the longest guard. Gradually work with lower and lower guards till you get the length you want. Do not rush and look at your head carefully as you go so you do not miss any spots.
5. If you’re doing this yourself, stand up. You’ll need to be comfortable, but also be able to lean into the mirror to inspect the details. Do not try to do this while sitting in a chair.
6. If all of this stresses you out, or you get stuck during the process, call up a professional to troubleshoot or watch a virtual haircut tutorial to guide you through the process.
7. Be prepared for upkeep. Just because you’re doing your cut yourself does not mean you get a free pass on maintenance. Be prepared for touch ups at least every two weeks and sometimes more depending on how fast your hair grows.
The second, and more important thing, is you need to use the right pair of tools. That means using actual hair clippers, like the professional kind a barber uses, instead of trying to take your beard trimmer upstairs. Typically, hair clippers are more powerful than beard trimmers and are better for trimming all different kinds of hair types easily (though some trimmers are specifically designed for both). Investing in the best hair clippers if you’re going to do some at-home upkeep is essential if you want a haircut that looks good rather than homespun.
But a word of caution: “professional tools require upkeep and attention and may have a learning curve as you learn to use them,” says hairstylist Vaughn Acord. “They can also cut you or irritate your skin if you’re not familiar with how to sanitize or adjust them.” He recommends being cautious before taking matters into your own hands since barbers and hairstylists are trained in giving you a cut that’s right for your face and head shape. But if you’re going to DIY, or at least keep your cut looking fresh between appointments, we asked barbers and hairstylists which professional hair clippers they use for the freshest fades and tightest lines.
The Best Hair Clippers for Men
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Best Professional Hair Clippers
Master Cordless Hair Clipper
“Some consider the Andis Master the greatest hair clipper ever,” says Pedro Rosario, Ax Master Barber. “They’re powerful, durable, and with proper maintenance (like cleaning and oiling) can last a lifetime.” Lately he’s cutting the cord and loves the new cordless version of this old faithful.
Best Budget Hair Clippers
Norelco Multigroom All-in-One Trimmer Series 9000
Don’t let the low price fool you — this hair clipper is powerful enough to give you a professional-level cut at home and comes with more guards and attachments than some of the more expensive versions. Plus, you can use it on your beard and body, too, unlike the barber-style clippers.
Best Hair Clippers With a Long-Lasting Battery Life
23885 Slim Line 2 Hair Clippers
“The battery life is amazing — I can legit cut 10 clients on one charge,” says celebrity barber Vernon Scott, which translates to less charging time at home. The hair clipper and blade never gets hot, he says, thanks to the efficient motors that do not transfer heat and allow this trimmer to cut any hair type. But most important is the “consistent precision cutting of the blades.”
Best Hair Clippers for First Timers
ER-SB40-K Cordless Hair Trimmer
We gave this a Men’s Health Grooming Award for it’s prowess as a beard trimmer, but it brings the same power and ease of use to cutting the hair on top of your head, too. It’s not the kind your barber uses, but if you’re looking for a clipper that can cut literally head to toe, you can not go wrong with this one. The quick-adjust dial gives you 19 length options without switching guards, and the powerful 9,800 cuts-per-minute motor can chop through even the thickest of hair with ease. You even have the option to use it with the cord or without, depending on our preference.
OneBlade Hybrid Electric Trimmer
Unlike the other hair clippers and trimmers on this list, the Philips Norelco OneBlade is designed for the at-home user first, but Acord is still a huge fan. “It’s a good personal grooming tool,” he says, “with an edge that does double duty — trimming hair or shaving.” It’s adept at creating sharp edges, but also comes with multiple length attachments to make beard trimming easy.
32475 Slimline Pro Lithium
You’ll love the battery life on these clippers — you’ll get up to 2 hours of run time! The clipper and blade never gets hot, thanks to the efficient motors that do not transfer heat and allow this trimmer to cut any hair type.
Read more: Best Electric Razors for Men
5 Star Series Senior Clipper
For professional precision, opt for Wahl’s 5 Star series Senior clipper. This clipper has adjustable-height blades, and comes with a unique zero-overlap system that makes it ideal for everything from precision fades and tapering to bulk hair removal. It comes with three attachment combs, a cleaning kit, and a long, eight-foot cord.
Read more: Best Grooming Products for Men
Virtually Indestructible Haircut Clippers Kit & Beard Trimmer
The special impact-proof casing of this new hair trimmer is designed to withstand a lot of wear and tear without breaking (think of it as an Otterbox for your hair). It has a supercharged motor that cuts hair quickly and efficiently and, even though it’s corded, the low price makes it a good model for beginners.
Chrome Pro Complete Haircutting Kit for Men
Wahl is obviously a professional barber go-to brand, but if you do not have professional-level skills or want something more foolproof, this hair clipper kit is for you. The high-quality clippers are the star, of course, but it comes with a variety of guards that ingeniously snap on for extra security and self-sharpening blades. It’s essentially a haircut in a box and, according to one Men’s Health editor who used it during lockdown, “it’s great.”
Best Hair Clippers for Line-Ups
Trimmer by Bevel
While this trimmer does not have length attachments, the adjustable dial does allow the blade to cut a few different lengths. This well-designed hair clipper is weighty (in a good way) and is ideal for lineups and edging since it smoothly cuts incredibly close to the skin. The rechargeable cordless battery lasts for 8 hours, which means you have to charge it infrequently if you’re using it at home.
Best Classic Hair Clippers
Professional 5-Star Series Cordless Hair Clipper
Scott has been using the Wahl Senior clipper for 25 years because “efficiency, accuracy, and weight are major factors when it comes to clippers.” This one checks all the right boxes and the newer cordless hair clipper version is a game changer.
Hair Clippers for Men
If you’re not sure how committed you are to the home haircut, or do not want to shell out a lot of dough right away, this professional-quality clipper is a steal. It comes with multiple attachments (plus a barber cape), and has some of the features you’ll usually find in clippers twice as expensive — it’s cordless with a 5-hour run time per charge, an LED screen that tells you how much cutting time you have left, and a rotary motor to minimize pulling and snags while you cut.
Barberology Cordless FlashFX Clippers
The versatility of this cordless hair trimmer makes it a favorite of Acord. “The performance — namely the speed and sharpness — is unparalleled,” he says. Since he moves around a lot, the fact that it’s a cordless hair clipper is a huge plus for him and a bonus for anyone using it at home. “If you’re trimming or cutting at home, it allows you to move without limitation which is imperative for getting an even cut,” he says.
Titanium Hair Clipper
This clipper is the best of both worlds: you get a professional style clipper (you know, like the kind your barber uses), but it also comes with guards that make at-home cutting easier. There aren’t too many bells and whistles to figure out either, so you can basically open the box and get right cutting. And while it’s not cordless, the swivel cord moves with you to avoid awkward tangles. Best of all, it’s priced far lower than other professional-style clippers, making it a great intro.
Professional 5-Star Series Lithium-Ion Cord / Cordless Detailer
Maxime Bellemar, barber and founder of KRWN Barbershops in Montreal, Canada, loves this “sharp and easy-to-use” detailer because it has a T-shaped blade that makes hyper-detailed lineups easier. It’s also great at making crisp, clean beard lines. It’s a heavy-duty clipper that Bellemar says is “solid.”
74000 Professional Cordless T-Outliner Hair and Beard Trimmer
The fact that this classic hair trimmer now comes in a cordless version was enough to sell Saras, but the performance makes it her favorite of the moment. “It gives very sharp lines when I want them, does not catch any hair (painless), and comes with plastic guards if you want to use it at home on your beard,” she says, which is why her husband has his own pair.
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