best balding clippers

Best Balding Clippers for Surgical Precision

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A balding clipper is a versatile grooming tool that can be used in either a personal or professional setting.

The best balding clippers should not only be able to cut through hair easily but also be safe to use, provide an ergonomic grip for complete control, and demonstrate surgical precision – like the Wahl 8110 balding clippers.

In this review and guide, we not only go over some of the most popular balding clippers available on the market, but we also explore a few considerations you should think about before making your purchase, along with an easy-to-follow guide on how to get the most from your new balding clippers.

Let’s get started:

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What To Know When Buying Balding Clippers

As we reviewed a variety of balding clippers, we identified seven major factors that you should think about when determining the best one for you:

1. Cutting Length

Whether you are using a balding clipper for personal or professional use, by far one of the most important features will be the cutting length.

If you intend to shave your head completely bald or simply want to get a nice fade, having a balding clipper that can cut down to a surgically close level is important.

In addition to the lowest possible hair length the balding clipper can cut to, the addition of cutting guides (attachment combs) can give you greater variety in length, especially if you don’t want to cut the hair down to skin level.

2. Motor Power

Balding clippers come in a variety of different motors which may include the following:

  • Electromagnetic motor
  • Pivot motor
  • Rotary motor

Here’s a breakdown on each:

Magnetic Motor

The most popular motor type found in barbershops, magnetic motors offer a high-blade speed which results in a lower chance of tugging or pulling while making for a much smoother cut – perfect for fades.

Secondly, magnetic motors also have fewer moving parts when compared to other clippers, allowing it to have a much longer life.

Pivot Motor

Found in beard trimmers like the Andis Pivot Pro, pivot motors have a much lower blade speed – however, they have a higher power draw.

What does this mean for you?  When it comes to balding clippers, try your best to avoid this motor type unless you have naturally thick hair.  Pivot motors are commonly found on beard trimmers rather than hair clippers as they are intended to only cut thick hair slowly.  Using them on your head may result in choppy results or incidental tugging.

Rotary Motors

Of all the motor types we have covered thus far, they only have one speed.  Rotary motors have a balanced approach which can have both a variable motor and blade speed.

You typically find rotary motors on more ‘consumer’ marketed products rather than in barbershops.  Their short life makes them not well-suited for heavy use.

However, if you only cut your hair once a week, then the performance of the rotary motor should be acceptable.

3. Blade Width

Finding the perfect blade width of your balding clippers is a compromise between both efficiency and the ability to navigate the surface.

With the selection of a wide blade width, while it will make cutting large areas easier, it will also have a hard time getting around your ears or neck area.

Therefore, we found that it is best to go with a balding clipper that has a head width of around 1.5″.

4. Blade Teeth

Atop the balding clipper, you have the blade teeth.

Generally speaking, if you want closer and better results than if you were to use a standard hair clipper on your head, you will want to look for brands that offer a shallower set of teeth and are set close together along with a flat bottom.

You can see this demonstrated in the diagram below:

All of this works together to ensure a much closer cut to the skin.

Barbershop brands like Wahl and Oster allow you to purchase clipper blades for better customization.

Therefore, if you want your balding clippers to cut to a specific length, or you simply dropped your clippers on the ground and damaged the blade tips, you can easily purchase a blade for around $20 to $25.

4. Corded vs. Cordless

When it comes to cutting performance, there is no beating the power of a corded pair of clippers. Corded clippers can offer a stronger electromagnetic motor that delivers consistent performance.

While corded clippers can cut your hair better, cordless balding clippers definitely have their place.

Should you only plan on using your clippers occasionally, or you simply want to take them on the road with you while traveling, a cordless clipper will be both lightweight and compact.

Additionally, when cutting your hair, you will never have to worry about the cord getting in the way all the time – a minor benefit, but one that is worth noting.

  • Our recommendation on picking the right balding clipper for you:

If you are buying a pair of balding clippers for client use (i.e. barbershop), corded is the better option.  The stronger electromagnetic motors deliver better performance and cleaner fades.

Cordless balding clippers are best for those men who only plan on cutting their hair occasionally and don’t need as much cutting control or power.

5. Ergonomic Grip

Important should you find yourself cutting hair all day, an ergonomic grip can give you much better control when holding the clippers.  If you want to execute detailed fades or designs, then a balding clipper with a centered weight balance coupled with a body that fits snuggly into your palm will be ideal.

6. Attachment Combs

Beyond the metal blade teeth that are fixed on the balding clipper itself, the addition of a plastic guard included in the kit will be great for a multitude of uses.

Whether you are doing a little bit of light body grooming of your chest hair or are doing a weekend cut on the kids’ hair, attachment combs will help to make fades much easier.

While balding clippers are uniquely different from your standard hair clippers (stay tuned to learn their difference), they can still work in a pinch.

7. Price

Based on our research, a quality balding clipper should cost you about $60 (not including tax).

This was for a corded balding clipper that had replaceable metal clipping blades (making it a safer long-term investment should any incidental damage occur), and a power (read: best) motor that will deliver consistent results.

We found that balding clippers priced higher than $60 only offered extra bells and whistles (i.e. more plastic attachment combs, brushes, etc.) and had no increased improvement on the cutting performance of the clipper itself.

Furthermore, cheap balding clippers (priced under $50) would begin to compromise on motor quality – which has a direct impact on the quality of the clipper itself.

If you want a decent clipper that won’t disappoint or breakdown after a few uses, then expect to pay around $60 (not including tax).

8. Waterproof

While you should never cut your hair in the shower with a clipper due to electrocution, some balding clippers do offer some level of water resistance/proof.

Waterproof balding clippers make it easier for you to clean the blades after cutting.  Instead of having to work the blades with a small brush, a waterproof balding clipper can simply get rinsed under water after using, making cleanup of small hair clippings much easier.

Best Balding Clippers 2019 Reviewed

1. Wahl Balding Clippers

Best Overall

One of the best professional balding clippers for daily use will be the Wahl Professional 5-Star Balding Clippers.

Relying on their V5000+ electromagnetic motor, this balding clipper can cut through hair of any thickness with absolute ease.

Operating at 120 volts, this corded balding clipper won’t degrade as it gets older thanks in part to the precision-engineered device.

Unlike so many other balding clippers on the market, this balding clipper by Wahl allows you to change out the cutting blade to any one of the several available on their online shop.

This isn’t to say that the cutting blade included on the #8110 balding clipper isn’t good – in fact, it’s great.  The included cutting blade (#2105) is a 6×0 blade that is made from surgical-grade titanium.

When going over your scalp, the cutter will trim the hairs to skin level, giving you a bald and irritation-free finish.

If the precision of the blade wasn’t enough, the lengthy 8’ cord allows for plenty of mobility should you be using this clipper either privately in your own bathroom or in a professional barbershop.

The cord is coated with a chemical-resistant finish ensuring that it doesn’t crack or dry out with time.

Wahl sells the 5-Star Balding Clippers in two varieties:

  • Single unit
  • Kit

If you are purchasing this for personal use, we suggest that you opt for the kit as it includes attachment combs, blade oil, brushes for clipper maintenance, and a styling comb.

Single unit offerings are best for barbershops where attachment combs, blade oil, etc. are already on-hand.

Pros

  • Provides a reliable and surgically close cut
  • Ergonomic grip for better control
  • Terrific construction

Cons

  • Not for use in other countries (120V)
  • Cord may be annoying for personal use

What You Need To Know

Whether you are restocking your barbershop supplies, or you simply want to get what the pros use for home use, then the Wahl Professional 5-Star Balding Clippers are the best choice. Their quality construction and strong motors will allow this clipper to be used for years.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

2. Andis Master Hair & Balding Clipper

Best Professional Clipper

Competing directly with the offerings from both Wahl and Oster will be Andis.

Founded in 1922, Andis is a leader of a variety of handheld grooming tools including clippers, shavers, and of course, the trimmer.

While not marketed directly as a balding clipper, many men in countless forums including BodyBuilding, Badger & Blade, Reddit, and others rave about the quality of the cut that Andis delivers to the scalp with the Andis Master Clipper…

…and it’s easy to see why.

With a cutting blade made from carbon steel, powered by an electromagnetic motor, this little  trimmer can slice through your hair at a staggering 14,000 strokes per minute.

That’s 6,800 more strokes per minute than their equally popular Andis T-Outliner Trimmer.

What does this mean for you?

Whether you are buying for professional or personal use, the Andis Master Clippers will make quick work when cutting hair off the scalp.

In addition, the high rate of strokes per minute allows for smoother fades and effectively zero-chance of pulling on the hair.

As mentioned earlier, this trimmer was made for more than just your scalp; men also like to use this on their facial hair as it can cut the hair to skin level without causing any mild irritation or even razor bumps.

Now you might be wondering why we included this one versus the Andis T-Outliner Trimmer?

While the T-Outliner trimmer features a wider head, a respectable 7,200 stroke-per-minute electromagnetic motor, and is priced half of what the Andis Master Clippers cost, we were unable to find any attachment combs that could work with that particular trimmer.

When you make the upgrade to this clipper over the T-Outliner, you also unlock a variety of features that you may find important.

Most notable will be, of course, the attachment combs, but also with the Master Clippers, you get a cutting blade that can be replaced and zero gapped – making it perfect to use as balding clippers.

Lastly, its weight.

While the case is made from lightweight aluminum, the Andis Master Clippers are quite heavy at 20 oz. (or 1.25 lbs.).  If buying for personal use, this likely isn’t a big deal.  But if you are a barber looking to upgrade your cutting tools, this increased weight may cause fatigue for the first week or so – especially if you are used to handing a lightweight trimmer all day.

Pros

  • One of the highest strokes per minute
  • Quality craftsmanship should last for years (Made in the USA)
  • Able to use modern magnetic attachment combs (sold separately)

Cons

  • Rather heavy for a pair of hair clippers
  • Expensive compared to others

What You Need To Know

If you want to make quick work of your scalp, then these high-speed balding clippers by Andis will prove to be intensely efficient when working. Made in the USA, this trimmer is well made and will feel great in your hand. Just know that it is a bit heavier than most other clippers.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

3. Oster Classic 76 Hair & Balding Clipper

Most Versatile

While Andis and Wahl often take over the mindshare when it comes to brands that barbers associate with, a worthy contender when it comes to getting a wickedly good cut on your scalp is the Oster Classic 76.

Evoking that old-time barbershop feel you remember as a kid, the Oster Classic 76 features a cylindrical body coupled with some classic branding opposite of the cutting blade.

While not nearly as ergonomic as the Wahl 5-Star Professional Clippers nor the Andis Master Clippers, the Classic 76 can (and will) make quick work of your scalp.

The slightly longer (9’) cord sends power to the universal (electromagnetic) motor.

Like the Andis Master Clipper, the Classic 76 is heavy.  Weighing a stout 1.5 lbs. – it may require some additional reps at the gym in order to not get fatigued during the day.

One thing that the Classic 76 has going for it that many other balding clippers are lacking will be the cutting combs.

According to this sales brochure, the Oster Classic 76 can work with a variety of cutting blades.  Therefore, if you want a cut on the blade that is surgically close, opt for the 00000 (that’s 5 zeros) detachable blade.  It can cut down to 0.2mm (or 1/125”) in length.  A hardly noticeable stubble that is akin to using a cartridge razor (without the irritation, of course).

The Oster Classic 76 is also rather versatile; with a variety of attachment combs, you can easily use this when cutting hair of any length along with some light body grooming (chest, back, and armpits only – we wouldn’t recommend this around the groin region).

Pros

  • Can work with a variety of cutting blades
  • Strong electromagnetic motor delivers a quick and close cut
  • Classic design aesthetics give it an old-barbershop feel

Cons

  • It’s really heavy

What You Need To Know

If you like to swap out cutting blades regularly, or perhaps just want that old-time barbershop feel in either your professional or personal life, then the Oster Classic 76 hits all the right marks. While the body is heavy, its longer cord and power make it a trusted tool that will last quite a while.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

4. Andis Pro Foil Shaver For Bald Heads

Best Cordless

Found in both barbershops and provided bathrooms is the wildly popular Andis Pro Foil Shaver.

This lithium-ion battery-powered shaver in a compact 5 oz. body provides ultimate mobility when it comes to shaving all the hair off your scalp.

With an 80-minute battery run time, it has one of the longest battery lives out there allowing you to focus on removing the hair from your scalp rather than worrying about battery power.

But here’s where it gets a little better:

In the event that you are in the middle of shaving your head and the battery runs out, unlike most foil-based shavers (such as Braun or Panasonic), you can still operate this shaver when plugged in – a welcomed feature, especially for professional barbers.

While we did see some concerns raised in reviews that the foil head on this model is subject to damage, especially if dropped, in true Andis form, you can easily buy an inexpensive replacement head for this razor.

On the inside of the device, Andis relies on a rotary motor.  This shouldn’t be confused with a rotary shaving head (this one here is foil).  As we outlined all key differences between both foil and rotary shavers in this post, the most important takeaway is that a foil shaver, like the Andis Pro, will cut much closer than your typical rotary head with very little irritation.

While the close-cut may be worrisome for some men, especially those who suffer from razor bumps or ingrown hairs, feedback from men with thick and coarse hair (particularly African American men) were more than happy with the results from this little shaver.

Lastly, the features on the Andis Pro Foil Shaver.  Instead of trying to be a grooming tool that does several things, this foil razor is very simple in both design and features.

With a simple on/off switch, there are no adjustments possible when using this.  When using as a balding trimmer, this will likely not be an issue.  But if you want to also use this on your facial hair once done, there are no attachment combs that come with this device, limiting you to just a clean-shaven look.

Pros

  • It’s an affordable small and compact little shaver
  • One-dimensional making it a very specific grooming tool
  • Long battery life gives it great mobility

Cons

  • Only cuts to one size

What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a cordless balding trimmer that can get the job done quickly and rather affordably, then the Andis Pro Foil Shaver is a terrific choice. If you want to also use the trimmer on your face or body grooming, you are limited on options as no attachment combs can be used.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

5. Wahl Super Taper II Hair & Balding Clipper

Most Affordable (Cheap)

Featuring the same motor as the Wahl Balding Clippers also reviewed (v5000), the Wahl Super Taper is a great little trimmer to not only use as balding clippers but also for general hair cutting.

If you aren’t looking to go all the way down to the skin level, the Wahl Super Taper includes eight attachment comb cutting guides – giving you much greater control than just simply using the metal cutting blade.

But for those men interested in the Super Taper’s clipping closeness, you can adjust the side lever to cut anywhere between 1mm and 3mm.

While not as surgically close as the Andis Master Clipper or Wahl 5 Star Balding Clippers, the 1mm length is still good.

Powering this electromagnetic motor, you have an 8’ chemical resistant power cord.

The Super Taper II itself weighs about a pound, putting it just below the Andis Master Clipper (in weight).

Lastly, the body design for the Super Taper II is extremely ergonomic, allowing it to rest into the palm of your hand comfortably.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • 8 attachment combs
  • Ergonomic body

Cons

  • Not surgically close cut

What You Need To Know

If you are looking for a balding clipper that can also be used as a hair clipper, then the Super Taper II is a versatile choice. It is particularly great for men with sensitive skin as it cuts hair just a millimeter above the surface.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

6. Remington HC4250 Personal Balding Clipper

Best Personal Clipper

Designed specifically for shaving your head, the Remington HC4250 is one of the best handheld balding clippers currently available.

What sets this clipper apart from all the others on our list is the curved-head design.  This unique power curve blade allows for not only a closer cut of the hair, but also one that is efficient with a head that is 57% wider than standard hair clippers.

Able to make quick work of even the coarsest hair types, it features nine blade settings that can range anywhere between 1.5mm and 15mm – giving you greater control over your preferred style.

The Remington HC4250 features a somewhat slow charging lithium-ion battery (4 hours to completely charge) that provides 40 minutes of run time.

Should you happen to get a dead battery in the middle of cutting your hair, the Remington HC4250 can be powered via a corded connection.

Another nice feature for this balding clipper compared to others reviewed is its ability to be washed.  Once you are finished cutting your hair, you just simply run the clipper end under the water for easy cleanup.

Pros

  • Specifically designed for head use
  • Wide-curved blade makes cutting quick
  • Wide array of cutting settings

Cons

  • Long time to charge

What You Need To Know

Overall, this is a great clipper to get for home use (probably not for professional, though). The compact and ergonomic design won’t crowd your bathroom countertop. The wide-curved blade also makes the hair cutting process go extremely quick.

Read hundreds of other reviews here on Amazon.

How To Use Balding Clippers

Using balding clippers are nearly identical as using your standard hair clippers; however, we just wanted to share a few basics in order to not only get the best results but also ensure that clean-up is a little bit easier.

Let’s take a look:

1. Cut dry hair

While not critical, ensuring that your hair is dry will allow the clippers to cut through in a quicker and cleaner way.

Wet hair, especially for low powered clippers, has a tendency to clog the blades.  Also, if you combine this with a post-clipping shower, you have a much easier and quicker cleanup process.

2. Clear floor of clippings

Unlike when at a barbershop, using a pair of balding clippers at home can cause some marriage issues.  With little bits of hair flying all over the bathroom counter, it can be a disaster to clean up.

While cutting your hair in front of the sink is safe, we have seen some men do the following:

  • Option 1: Cut their hair in the garage and simply sweep the hairs into the trash once done.
  • Option 2: Hop into the tub (no water, of course) and clip there.  This way the clippings are all caught in the tub and will be rinsed down the drain once you are done cutting your hair.

Given that the clippings will be rather small, especially if you plan on using your balding clippers weekly, you shouldn’t have to worry about your drain getting clogged at all.

3. Use two mirrors to inspect the head

Once you are done using your balding clippers, it’s now time to inspect your work.

One way to do this is by standing in front of your bathroom mirror and holding a small vanity mirror behind your head.

This way you can easily inspect commonly missed spots, such as behind the ears and neck.

Another option that we have seen men do is take a picture with their phone held up behind their head.  It makes examining the results should make it a pretty easy process.

Lastly, and perhaps the most trusted way of doing this, is by simply running your hands over your head.

If you decided to buy a pair of good balding clippers and put it to the lowest possible setting, you should be able to easily feel around your scalp to check for areas that you may have missed.

4. Don’t forget neck hair

When using balding clippers, it’s important that you remember to extend the stroke of the clippers past your hairline and down to your neck.

This will give you a clean and kempt finish that will look like you just came out of a barbershop.

How to Clean and Maintain Balding Clippers

Our most important recommendation when it comes to cleaning balding clippers is to read the owner’s manual.

Depending on the balding clippers you own will dictate how you will clean it.

With that being said, here are a few key pointers we wanted to share in order to extend the life of your balding clippers:

1. Dry Brush Regularly

Often included with the balding clippers that you purchase, a dry and stiff-bristled brush will be able to knock out bits of hair and dead skin that naturally accumulate along the cutting blade.

This is important in not only ensuring the long-term performance of the clipper itself but also is hygienic as well – especially if you are using your balding clipper on multiple clients.

2. Oiling Your Blades

When it comes to using a balding clipper regularly, it’s very important that you oil your blades.

A well-oiled cutting blade allows for a frictionless oscillation of the blade and ultimately a much cleaner cut.

Wahl recommends that you oil your blade before each use. While we understand that this may be tough for some professionals to do as clients come in and out of the chair, at the minimum you should be oiling your balding clipper once a day.

Oiling your cutting blade is extremely easy.

Simply do the following:

  1. With your balding clipper powered off, add five drops of blade oil to the top and underneath the cutting edge
  2. Power on your clipper
  3. Move the lever (if your clipper has one) up and down to ensure adequate coverage

Here’s a video that Wahl has put together to demonstrate the above steps:

3. Blade Cleaners

While both brushing and oiling your blade is an important part of proper balding clipper maintenance, you can take it even a step further by working a blade cleaner into your workflow.

Blade cleaners like Andis Cool Care Plus feature a pressurized mist that not only instantly cools down the temperature of the cutting blade, but also blows away residue and gunk while, most importantly, acting as a disinfectant.

It may seem a bit excessive at first, but with the intensely positive reviews, professional barbers swear by this stuff.

Balding Clippers vs. Hair Clippers

When researching all the different balding clippers available on the market, you will often see that hair clippers get thrown into the mix.

Therefore, we wanted to just take a quick minute and explain how these two tools slightly differ from one another:

Balding Clippers

Balding clippers are unique in that they often don’t come with any attachment combs for cutting the hair at different lengths (hence the name ‘balding’ clippers) and are coupled with a high-powered motor.

Able to cut the hair down to skin level (< 1mm), they are popular with bald men as it’s another way of cutting their hair regularly without having to deal with any irritation, razor bumps, or ingrown hairs that you may normally experience with a disposable or cartridge razor.

Given that balding clippers are intended to be used across the scalp, they often feature a much wider cutting blade making for fewer passes, which, of course, saves time.  This is especially important if it is being used in a professional setting.

Hair Clippers

Contrary to balding clippers, you will have your standard hair clippers.

Featuring a side lever that can adjust the cutting blade, these clippers are intended for your standard haircut.

When doubled with a wide array of attachment combs, a pair of hair clippers can achieve subtle fades that can make a hairstyle really stand out.

Unlike balding clippers, hair clippers do have a narrower cutting blade head.

Lastly, the cutting length.

While popular companies such as Andis and Wahl sell additional cutting blades – the cutting blade that is included on most hair clippers can only go down to about 1mm to 2.5mm – leaving a significant amount of hair on the surface – which is especially noticeable should you be wanting to cut the hair down to the skin.

Our Criteria for Choosing The Best Balding Clippers

Picking the best balding clippers of 2019 was a challenging task.  When finding the perfect pair, you need to weigh in a variety of factors including cutting length, motor power, blade width, corded vs. cordless, grip, etc.

However, after careful review and research of the top balding clipper brands on the market, we are confident that our list above has listed out the best.

Whether you are a professional barber or simply want a quality pair of balding clippers for your own personal use, any of those listed above should deliver great results.

We hope that you found this review and guide to balding clippers helpful in finding the right balding clippers for you.

About The Author

Shawn Burns

Shawn is the founder and senior editor at Tools of Men, the leading style and grooming source trusted by men in 187 countries. He started this site with the goal of teaching men proper grooming habits and sensible style. He is an expert in all things men's grooming related. His work has been mentioned on countless sites including The Wall Street Journal, NBC, AskMen, Vice, WikiHow, and the New York Times.

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