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A lot of people take their dog to a professional groomer when a haircut is in order, but if you are more of the do-it-yourself type, you can use dog clippers to trim your dog’s hair at home.
This will not only save you a bit of money (it may cost you more than $100 to have a large dog groomed), it’ll give you another way to bond with your dog too.
It’ll also help you avoid the headaches involved with loading your dog in the car, driving over to the groomer, and hanging around until the groomer finishes up.
You will need to learn the proper way to trim your dog’s fur, but it is normally easy to do so unless you have a poodle, Komondor or some other breed with unique grooming requirements. And don’t worry – your dog won’t mind (or even notice) minor mistakes you make when you’re learning the basics.
However, you’ll need one other thing to groom your dog – a good pair of dog grooming clippers.
We’ll recommend five of the best dog clippers for at-home grooming below and explain which ones work best in different circumstances. We’ll also explain the things you’ll need to keep in mind when making your choice, and some of the options that’ll be available to you.
Wahl Professional Bravura Lithium
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Oster Volt Cordless
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Andis 1-Speed Detachable Blade
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PetTech Professional Dog Grooming Kit
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The following five are easily among the best dog grooming clippers on the market. Nevertheless, you’ll still need to make sure you purchase the proper clippers for your situation, so be sure to select the dog clippers that address the specific needs of you and your pet.
Customer Reviews: Most owners were very pleased with the Wahl Bravura, explaining that it not only performed well right out of the box, but that it remained quite cool during use. It isn’t silent by any means, but most owners reported that it wasn’t loud enough to scare their dog. Some owners did report that it was necessary to lubricate the blades frequently, but this is a relatively minor problem.
Bottom Line: The Wahl Bravura offers a great combination of performance and price, which makes it a great choice for dog owners who need a high-quality set of clippers for regular use. The cordless design provides great convenience, and yet it doesn’t present some of the drawbacks some other cordless models do, because it can be used in conjunction with a cord if you like.
Additionally, because it is backed by the manufacturer’s 1-year warranty, you can purchase the Wahl Bravura Clipper with confidence.
Customer Reviews: Most owner who tried the Andis UltraEdge Clippers were happy with their purchase. Several mentioned that these dog clippers would end up saving them a fortune on grooming costs, and most owners loved the long power cord. A few owners, however, noted that the blades became too hot after prolonged use.
Bottom Line: The Andis UltraEdge Clipper is a good choice for owners that want the flexibility a variable-speed motor and removable blades provide. They appear to work very well for all types of coats (including dense, curly coats that are often difficult for other clippers to handle), and yet they are still very reasonably priced.
The Oster Volt is a cordless dog hair clipper that is designed to provide the convenience pet owners want, and the kind of performance that grooming professionals demand. Unlike some other clippers that utilized high-speed motors, the Oster Volt utilizes a high-torque motor, that eliminates the need for a high-speed motor and ensures the blades will remain cool.
Customer Reviews: Most owners who tried the Oster Volt – including a number of professional breeders – raved about its performance. It appears to cut through dog hair just as well as many other high-speed clippers do, and yet it stays cool during prolonged use. Additionally, most owners reported that the battery lasted for hours between charging sessions.
Bottom Line: The Oster Volt Cordless Pet Clipper is more expensive than many of the other pet clippers we reviewed, so it isn’t a great choice for budget-limited owners. However, those who want a reasonably priced, professional dog clipper that stays cool during use and features a long-lasting battery will have a hard time finding a better option on the market.
The Andis 1-Speed Clipper is a rugged and dependable clipper that features removable blades, which you can swap out or replace as necessary. The Andis 1-Speed Clipper is not only designed to remain cool during operation, but it does so without the need for vents and fans. This helps to make the Andis 1-Speed one of the quitter clippers on the market.
Customer Reviews: Most owners found the Andis 1-Speed Detachable Blade Clipper to be a fantastic product, that made it easy to trim their pet’s hair. Most reported that it not only cut well, but remained cool and quiet during operation. A few owners did complain that the Andis 1-Speed Clipper was slightly heavy, but this is probably an acceptable trade-off for such a reasonably priced and effective product.
Bottom Line: The Andis 1-Speed Clipper is a good choice for the average pet owner (including those with large, furry dogs), but it is probably not appropriate for professionals, who’d likely prefer a slightly higher quality blade, and the ability to choose from several different operating speeds.
Nevertheless, the Andis 1-Speed is a well-built and durable clipper, and it should be able to withstand the wear and tear most owners are likely to inflict through regular use.
Customer Reviews: Most owners who understood that they were buying an entry-level grooming kit were satisfied with the way the PetTech Professional Kit worked out, but those who expected high-end performance out of a budget-priced product were often disappointed. However, the majority of owners reported that it worked satisfactorily, and remained cool and relatively quiet during use.
Bottom Line: While the PetTech Professional Dog Grooming Kit is affordably priced and built better than most other cheap dog clippers, it will still have trouble keeping up with the other models we review here. It’ll likely allow you to trim your dog’s fur several times before wearing out, but it may still be a good choice for owners trying to groom their dog on a budget. Also, the lifetime warranty provided by the manufacturer should provide you with peace of mind.
Understandably, a lot of owners interested in grooming their own dog wonder if they can just use clippers made for humans. After all, you may even have a set of human hair clippers already in a bathroom cabinet.
But unfortunately, there are three reasons you can’t:
Traditional hair clippers create a lot of noise and vibration, which may cause your dog quite a bit of stress. But most high-quality hair clippers for dogs are designed to operate relatively quietly, and they don’t vibrate as much as normal clippers do. This will usually keep your dog calmer while you’re giving him a haircut, which will make the entire process easier.
The motor inside most traditional hair clippers will heat up over time, eventually causing the blades to become hot to the touch. In some cases, they can even become hot enough to cause burns. Accordingly, most hair clippers designed for use on pets utilize designs that keep the blades cool during prolonged use.
Human clippers – even high-end models -- aren’t built to handle the dense, coarse hair most dogs have. Use human clippers on your dog’s coat and it’ll dull the blades very quickly and leave your dog’s coat looking ragged and uneven. It’ll usually take you a lot longer to give your dog a trim with traditional clippers too.
By contrast, dog clippers are configured for your dog’s thick, dense hair, and they operate at much higher speeds than traditional clippers do.
There are a few things to think about when picking your dog’s clippers.
Modern hair clippers come in both traditional, corded varieties as well as cordless versions, which needn’t be plugged into an outlet during use. Generally speaking, the pros and cons of the two options are the same as with most other products:
Most budget dog clippers have motors that only operate at a single speed. This may be enough for dogs who have short coats, but you’ll usually want to be able to crank up the RPMs if you are trimming a dog with a thick, long coat. Conversely, it is often helpful to turn the motor speed down when trimming areas with light fur, as this will help keep the blades cool.
If you plan on using your clippers once or twice a year, and your dog has pretty short, thin hair, you can probably get by with a pet-owner-quality set of clippers. They will likely wear out and break after a few years, but that’s to be expected from an entry-level product.
On the other hand, if you intend to use your clippers regularly, or your dog has an especially thick or long coat, you’ll want to select a high-quality set of clippers. High-end, “groomer-quality,” products are best, but even mid-level clippers will last longer and perform better than cheap clippers will.
Different dog hair clippers come with blades made from different materials. Most entry-level clippers come with steel blades. Steel blades are adequate and affordable, but they’ll dull much more quickly than blades made from titanium or ceramic will. You can sharpen the blades as they dull, you’ll just have to do so with steel blades more frequently than you would ceramic or titanium ones.
Ceramic blades also provide one more important benefit: They don’t heat up like metal blades will. This makes them extremely helpful for professional groomers and owners who must trim large dogs with copious amounts of hair.
It is always wise to purchase the best dog clippers you can afford, but there are some occasions in which you simply must shop at the high end of the price range, as some dogs require higher-quality clippers than others do.
Typically, this includes dogs who are exceptionally large, as you’ll have to spend more time using the clippers to trim his entire coat, as well as dogs who have exceptionally long or dense coats.
If you see your dog’s breed on the list below, you’ll probably want to go ahead and look for the very best dog grooming clippers you can find.
(Note that many of these breeds aren’t traditionally trimmed on a regular basis, but you may need to because of injuries, infections or coat problems.)
From time to time, even the best clippers will stop cutting your dog’s hair efficiently. You can tell that your dog’s clippers aren’t performing well by noting any of the following issues:
Before you throw out the clippers and go buy a new pair (or, if you are lucky enough to have purchased clippers protected by a warranty, before you start filling out the paperwork), you should investigate the issue. There are a few things you can do that may help your clippers start working well again.
Many owners are intimidated by the notion of grooming their own dog, but if you do a bit of homework and equip yourself with a high-quality set of dog hair clippers, you’ll find that it is likely easier than you thought it would be. And because groomers typically charge much more for large dogs than small ones, you stand to save quite a bit of money too.
Just make sure that you compare the clippers above carefully so that you can obtain the best ones for your dog and situation. Before you know it, you’ll be trimming your dog’s fur like a pro.