Best Dog Grooming Clippers: Home And Professional Models (2019 Reviews)

How much do you spend every year having your dog’s hair cut?

If we’re talking about the average dog, experts say he should have a clip, trim or cut at least once every two months, and a dog grooming session ordinarily costs anywhere from $50 to $100. That’s a minimum of $300-600 per year for haircuts that will never have to make an impression on dog show judges, let alone a prospective boss or a hot date.

If you can afford it, it’s money well-spent. A dog with excessively long hair will often suffer skin irritations or infections caused by mats, dander or trapped, shedded fur. Hair that’s too long can hide ticks and fleas from discovery, or cover potential issues like hives, rashes or hot spots – even the telltale lumps of cancer. And of course, too much hair during the summer can cause overheating. Regular clipping is just as important as the less-intimidating brushing you’d normally perform on your dog’s coat, and it’s much less expensive if you do it yourself.

The thought of cutting your dog’s hair can certainly be intimidating, but purchasing a set of the best dog clippers is an investment worth considering. Even if you splurge on the best clippers for dogs that are on the market, it will cost less than half the amount you spend each year on regular grooming appointments. And if you have a shorthaired breed that only needs an occasional touch-up, good dog clippers are even less expensive.

Choosing grooming clippers for dogs requires some forethought. The best dog hair clippers for double-coated breeds like German shepherds, Irish terriers, Yorkies, Saint Bernards and collies, for example, are very different than the ones you’ll need for poodles or Bichon Frises with curly coats that tangle up and knot quickly. You need different types of hair clippers for dogs (and different blades for them) to properly match the properties, length and thickness of your pets’ hair.

You can often find information to help you match your breed to specific clippers on the product packaging, or in the dog grooming clippers reviews published on manufacturers’ websites. Later in this article we’ll be offering our own choices, with our in-depth dog clippers reviews.

First, though, let’s take a look at how dog grooming clippers should be used and what types of clippers you should consider.

Best dog grooming clippers make grooming very easy

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How to Groom a Dog With Clippers

Having the right clippers for your dog is only the first step; you also need to know what to do with them. The best way to learn how to use dog clippers is to schedule a grooming appointment for your pet, and ask the technician to explain the process as she does it.

However, if that’s not feasible or you need some reminders or reassurance, here’s a step-by-step description of how to use dog clippers.

  1. Learn, learn, learn. The best dog grooming clippers are quite sharp and can easily hurt your pet if used incorrectly, so become as knowledgeable about the process before starting it. Find authoritative information on your dog’s breed, how often he needs a trim and what his coat should look like after grooming. You’ll find lots of help available online by checking websites devoted to specific breeds. Also spend some time watching grooming videos on those websites or on YouTube, until you’re comfortable with proper trimming procedures.
  2. Let your dog get used to the sounds and vibrations of the clippers before actually using them. The best time to start is while he’s still a puppy; getting a grown dog acclimated to clippers can be a long and difficult task.
  3. Always wash, dry and brush your dog before pulling out the grooming clippers, to get rid of all dirt, matted and clumped hair.
  4. Be sure your blade is sharp. Dull blades will pull on hair, making the experience painful for your dog.
  5. Two final tips before beginning: first, clippers can get hot and dangerous quickly, so check them frequently and if they’re hot to the touch, change blades, apply some clipper coolant (be sure to wipe off the excess) or let them cool down. Second, don’t force things; if your pet gets too fidgety (or worse), end the grooming session and continue later.
  6. OK, time to start; we’re going to do one side at a time and we’ll always clip in the direction that the hair grows (“with the grain”). Hold the clippers so they’re comfortable in your hand and the flat side of the blade is down. Begin at the top of your dog’s head and slowly move the blade down to clip around his neck and shoulders, cleaning up the chin area and under the ear before going further.
  7. Next, pick up his front leg, holding it straight and aimed forward as you gently clip the hair around the leg and shoulder, and on the paw. Use a very light touch, because if you bear down too hard you’ll cut the skin which is quite thin in some parts of the leg.
  8. Run the clippers back up, where you’ll clip your dog’s back and the side of his body; you may have to once again lift his front leg to reach some spots. The hind leg is next, and at some point you’ll probably need to lift the opposite hind leg to reach all of the hair that needs trimming. Finish the side you’re working on by clipping about one inch down your dog’s tail.
  9. The dog’s other side can be trimmed in reverse order (from the hind leg up to the head), after gently clipping the underbelly and the area around the privates with the shortest blade you have.

That’s the down-and-dirty on how to use dog clippers, but don’t forget: always keep the blade flat because an angled blade will slip right into your pet’s skin, always keep the blade sharp to avoid painful tugging, and check often to make sure the blade is cool – or you could end up treating some nasty burns.

Features of Dog Clippers

As we’ve already discussed, when you’re choosing a set of clippers you should first see if they’re recommended for your dog’s breed or type of fur. But what if you have a mixed breed, or are trying to choose between competing models with different features? Don’t worry, we have you covered. Here are the most important features of the best dog clippers.

  • Corded vs. cordless: Rechargeable clippers are more convenient to use, but if you have a large dog the battery may run down before you’ve finished grooming him. Corded models will run forever, but most home models tend to be slower.
  • Speed: The higher the strokes per minute, the faster the job will be done – and more importantly, the less likely it is that the clippers will cause thick fur to tangle. Multi-speed clippers are a huge benefit, particularly if you have more than one dog. That flexibility allows you to use a slower speed (for accuracy) on a short-haired breed and a faster speed (for expediency) on a long-haired dog.
  • Blades: You can easily get bogged down debating the qualities of ceramic, steel, titanium and carbon blades, or the benefits of ultra-edge (long life), show-edge (sleek finishes) and ceramic-edge (stay cool) finishes. But what’s more important is having the right selection of blade sizes and guide combs. You should have, at the very least, a #3 (1/2”), #5 (1/4”) or #10 (1/16”) blade for general use, and a #15 (1.2mm) or smaller for areas that need a short cut. If you prefer a fine-tooth finishing blade (for a soft coat or a fluffy breed) instead of the wide blade used for large breeds or the skip-tooth blade used for dense hair, the numbers will have an “F” after them (#3F instead of #3).The easiest approach is to buy a set of dog grooming clippers that comes complete with a set of attachments, including the combs that make it simple to give your dog an even trim. And “professional-level” clippers are worth a long look, because they all use the same type of snap-on blades which are interchangeable between brands.
  • Other considerations: We’ve previously mentioned this, but clippers that have a quiet motor are a godsend when dealing with a skittish dog; you’ll also want to look for the lightest model with the features you need, because your arm will get tired and possibly a little shaky trying to trim a large dog with a heavy, motorized tool.

It's important to choose proper grooming clippers for dogs

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Can I Use Human Hair Clippers?

You can, but you shouldn’t. Clippers made to handle thin human hair are slower and have their teeth set more closely together than on dog clippers. That means when you run a human clipper through your dog’s hair it’s likely to snag or jam, especially if your pet has thick fur. That doesn’t only mean a painful grooming session for your dog, but an unsatisfactory one as well. In a pinch, a human hair clipper will work on a dog with thin hair similar to ours (like a Yorkie), but it’s a much better idea to buy a set of dog grooming clippers made specifically for the purpose.

Best Dog Grooming Clippers

It would be nearly impossible (without going on for many pages) to list the best dog grooming clippers for every breed, type and size of dog. So we’ve broken our dog clippers reviews into what we think will be more useful categories for most readers.

Best Overall Dog Clippers

Wahl Professional Arco Cordless Clipper Kit

Wahl Professional Animal Powerful Motor ARCO Cordless Clipper Kit

Wahl dog clippers are high on the short list of brands that define high-quality pet grooming tools, and the versatility of this kit makes it a terrific choice for almost any dog (as well as most cats and other smaller animals). The groomer is lightweight with a strong motor that hits 5500 SPM (strokes per minute), there’s a “5 in 1” adjustable blade that can be set at #9, #10, #15, #30 or #40, plus four snap-on guide combs (#3, #6, #9 and #12). These Wahl dog clippers run quiet and cool for long periods of time, and the kit includes two rechargeable NiMH battery packs so you can simply swap one for the other to have enough run time to groom your pet. The Arco kit is in the middle of the price scale for our reviewed dog clippers, and worth the cost.


Best Cordless Dog Clippers

Wahl Motion Lithium-Ion Clipper

Wahl Motion Lithium Ion Clipper, Black, for Animals

The Wahl Motion kit is pricier than the Arco, but you get a lot for the money: a full 90 minutes of powerful run time per 60-minute charge, thanks to the lithium-ion battery that drives the Motion at 5500 SPM. These quiet dog clippers are a professional model with the same “5 in 1” adjustable blade (with the same settings) as the Arco, plus six snap-on guide combs of different sizes. There are two terrific additional features as well: constant speed control that keeps the clippers running smoothly even when encountering a thick or matted patch of hair, and a removable scissor-grip handle you can adjust to accommodate different grip styles. There’s a cool LED system showing how much battery charge is left – but there should be more than enough power in the charge to groom any dog.


Best Professional Dog Clippers

Oster Pro 3000i Cordless Clipper

Oster Pro 3000i Cordless Clipper

When you think of professional dog grooming clippers, you think of Oster dog clippers. The company developed the modern system of numbering snap-on blades for grooming tools, and offers some of the highest-performance clippers available. The Pro 3000i features a CryogenX #10 detachable blade, handcrafted from high-carbon steel and temperature-hardened for outstanding performance and long-lasting sharpness. The lithium-ion battery lasts as long as two hours per charge, and even though the motor only hits speeds of 3500 SPM it’s a beast. The Pro 3000i is our most expensive option, and you’ll have to purchase additional blades as needed since this is not a kit. The first time you use this Oster, though, you’ll understand exactly how professional dog grooming clippers should perform.


Best Heavy-Duty Dog Clippers

Andis UltraEdge AGC Super 2-Speed Blade Clipper

Andis UltraEdge AGC Super 2-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper, Professional Animal Grooming, Burgundy, AGC2 (22685)

These Andis 2-speed dog clippers define heavy duty: corded, heavier and larger than most of the company’s grooming tools. The detachable, chrome-finished UltraEdge #10 blade is housed in a shatterproof housing and can easily be changed out for almost any other blade of your choice (including UltraEdge, CeramicEdge, ShowEdge and Oster A-5s), and the smart design eliminates easily-clogged fans and vents while ensuring that the blade stays cool for long periods at a time. The two selectable speeds on these Andis dog clippers (3400 and 4400 strokes per minute) let you switch between slower detail trimming and faster grooming of large areas, and make these the best dog clippers for thick coats. The long 14-foot power cord makes the work almost as easy as it is with cordless models, at a lower price.


Best Basic Dog Clippers

Andis Professional AGC Animal Clipper

Andis Professional Animal Clipper

A notch down on the price and features scale, this set of Andis clippers for dogs is still a pro-level tool that performs easier grooming tasks in a snap. Like the AGC Super this is a corded clipper with a 14-inch power cord, has the same cool-running design without fans, and comes with the same detachable UltraEdge #10 blade that can be swapped out easily. The AGC motor runs at 2700 SPM – not as powerful as the more impressive models we’ve reviewed, but a strong performer for hair that isn’t overly thick, with the durability and reliability you’d expect from Andis dog grooming clippers.


Best Cheap Dog Clippers

Sminiker Rechargeable Cordless Clippers

Sminiker Low Noise Rechargeable Cordless Cat and Dog Clippers - Professional Pet Clippers Grooming Kit,animal clippers Pet Grooming Kit

Not everyone has a couple of hundred dollars to spend on grooming tools. These Sminiker clippers are only about 15-20% of the price of the most expensive models we’ve reviewed but do a very good job, particularly on smaller pets. The titanium blade won’t rust, there are four sizes of combs included, and the battery will last more than an hour on a 3-4 hour charge. There are no bells and whistles, but price-conscious dog owners really can’t go wrong with these quality dog clippers at a low price.