For roughly the cost of a professional haircut, you can buy a long-lasting tool to create and maintain your own short, buzzed, or shaved hairstyles at home. After dozens of real-world tests of 11 highly rated hair clippers—involving professional barbers and stylists, plus a panel of DIY-haircutting volunteers—we’ve determined that the Wahl Elite Pro High Performance Hair Clipper Kit is the best clipper for most at-home haircuts. Its sharp steel blades easily slice through fine, thick, smooth, and coarse hair without slowing down or clogging. And this clipper isn’t annoyingly loud. The Wahl Elite’s 10 included guide combs—the snap-on teeth that control how closely the clipper cuts, letting you trim hair to a desired length or get creative with styling—are the best of those we’ve tried over six years of testing.
We also have picks both for novices and for those more experienced in cutting hair at home. And we recommend a smaller, quieter model that’s ideal for cutting your own or kids’ hair.
To regularly give haircuts at home, we’d reach first for the Wahl Elite Pro High Performance Hair Clipper Kit. The combs are made of a rigid yet smooth plastic that doesn’t bend when pushed against a scalp. And thanks to a metal retaining clip on the back of the combs, they stay seated and straight on the blade better than any other set we tried. They also add great value, considering that a competitor’s replacement combs (of equal quality) cost about half the price of this entire clipper kit. In our testing, the taper lever on the clipper’s side didn’t slip from vibration (something we’ve experienced with other clippers). We also like the Wahl Elite Pro’s thick, 8-foot power cord. This model’s hard-plastic carry case and a relatively nice pair of shears round out the package.
Wahl Color Pro Plus Haircutting Kit
This clipper provides a similar experience to cutting with our pick, but the Color Pro Plus comes with less-rigid guide combs, which some testers found a bit flimsy. It does have an advantage over the pricier Wahl Elite Pro: Color-coded combs make it easy to quickly grab the one you want.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $25.
In our testing, the Wahl Color Pro Plus Haircutting Kit was a close contender to the Elite Pro. The biggest difference between them is that the Elite Pro’s guide combs are more durable. Whether you favor the Color Pro Plus’s all-plastic, color-coded guide combs over the Elite Pro’s stiffer, metal-plated, black plastic combs is ultimately a matter of preference. The Color Pro Plus is more playful-looking and slightly larger in the hand, and it has a different grip style. But it’s just as useful as our pick. The Color Pro Plus tends to be sold out for longer periods than the Elite Pro, and it has historically suffered more price fluctuations. At this writing, the Color Pro Plus can again be reliably found in stock, for roughly half the cost of the Elite Pro set we recommend.
Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper
A barbershop classic, the Fast Feed is a pro-grade tool that’s good for those who sport a close buzz or fade and need frequent touch-up trims.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $70.
The mid-priced, pro-level Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Pivot Motor Clipper is well suited for those who want to maintain buzz cuts and fades: It’s a classic found in many barber shops because it’s built to withstand all-day use for years on end. The clipper’s distinctive hum is instantly recognizable to anyone who has ever sat in a barber’s chair. The Fast Feed’s motor is extremely powerful yet pleasingly quiet, and this clipper can run all day without heating up (which is not true of our other picks). Also, this model’s razors are sharp and easily replaced when necessary. (Note that this model comes with far fewer guide combs, just four, than our other picks do.) The Fast Feed’s thick plastic housing is lightweight yet able to withstand drops, and the taper lever on the side is firm enough to hold tight but adjusts easily with a thumb. A clipper like this may be worth the investment for a home full of people who need regular haircut maintenance.
Remington Virtually Indestructible Haircut and Beard Trimmer
The smallest, most comfortable unit we tested is also one of the quietest. This Remington trimmer is especially handy for those who choose to cut their own or their kids’ hair. It doesn’t have the most varied guard options, though: A close shave is more difficult, since the smallest guard is ⅛ inch.
*At the time of publishing, the price was $40.
The easy-to-handle Remington Virtually Indestructible Haircut and Beard Trimmer is especially ideal for people who want to cut their own hair. This model is lightweight, has rubberized grips along the sides, and is truly palm-sized. As a result, it’s far easier than any other model we tested to maneuver and hold in a loose grip, even with fingertips (as is often required when you’re clipping your own hair). This clipper comes with eight rigid-plastic, quality guide combs that seat securely (though they have fewer tips, slightly sharper in feel, than our main pick’s combs do). This model also has a thick but pliable 8-foot cord and a powerful—but exceptionally quiet—motor, making it a solid choice for cutting kids’ hair.