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If you love wiry or longer-haired dogs (like poodles or cavalier King Charles spaniels), they likely need a trim every four to six weeks or so. Even if your dog might not mind their trip to the local groomer, your wallet might, because the cost can add up quickly, with the average cost per grooming session ranging from $30 to $90, depending on your dog’s breed, fur type, and fur length.
That’s why some dog owners turn to a cost-saving alternative: grooming their pets at home. It can also be a bonding opportunity, and an especially excellent choice for skittish dogs. But to groom your pet at home, you need a pair of dog clippers that's reliable, easy to use, and comes complete with everything you need to start trimming your dog's hair.
Before trimming your dog's fur with clippers, Claudine Sievert, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and board-certified veterinary nutritionist, recommends beginning with a bath.
"Bathe your dog first, dry him thoroughly, and brush him to make sure all the tangles are out of his hair,” Sievert told The Spruce Pets. “Then find a place where you can secure your pet, so they cant jump down or run off."
Our overall favorite dog clippers is the Wahl Deluxe Pro Series, which is cordless and easy for beginners to use. But we also recommend several other clippers that may work better for you and your pooch.
Here are the best dog clippers.
Best Overall: Wahl Lithium-Ion Pro Series Pet Clipper Kit
Corded and cordless operation
Blades are color-coded and labeled for easy identification
Made in the USA
Not great for larger breeds
May not be heavy duty enough for matted coats
Difficult to find blade replacements
Packing a rechargeable lithium ion battery, the Wahl Deluxe dog clippers have a two hour runtime, which should provide ample wiggle room for amateurs to practice their dog grooming. Or, if the batteries are low, a 15-minute quick charge will give you an additional eight minutes of runtime.
In addition to its long-lasting battery, the Wahl clippers provides 6,000 Strokes Per Minute (SPMs) of power, which is enough for trimming and clipping for dogs with fine to medium hair. The Deluxe Pro Series Pet Clippers are adequately powerful for dogs with double coat hairs, but you might want to consider a plug-in model instead.
The rechargeable Wahl pet clippers come in a hard storage case with all the accessories you'll need to get started grooming your dog, including a blade guard, charger, styling comb, cleaning brush, scissors, and blade oil. It also comes with four color-coded clipper combs, which enables you to cut hair to 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2-inch lengths.
Wahl has become practically synonymous with hair clippers, and for good reason: for more than 100 years, the Illinois company has been making high-quality grooming products for both people and animals.
Best Budget: Highdas Dog Grooming Kit Clippers
Very quiet motor good for nervous dogs
Available in three colors
Comes with all the accessories you need
Not for larger dogs
Not for dogs with very matted, coarse coats
Battery life isn’t great
Need to clean blades often
If you’re new to dog grooming and not sure home grooming is going to work out for you and your pup, the last thing you want to do is pour hundreds of dollars into clippers. But at the same time, buying the wrong clippers can be dangerous or useless. So what do you do? We recommend getting these Highdas dog grooming clippers. They’re very affordably priced but they actually work, and safely too.
They have a relatively quiet motor to help keep your pup calm while you groom them, their blades are titanium and adjustable, and it’s easy to hold. Plus it comes with a variety of accessories you’ll need for grooming at home and comes in three fun colors: gold, red, and silver.
Best Splurge: Babyliss Professional Metal Pet Trimmer
All-metal, attractive design in rose gold or silver
Holds charge for three hours
Comes with charging holder
Easy to clean
Not the best with thick fur
Heats up fast
Not only will your pooch look flawless after its haircut, but you’ll also look equally stylish while you’re doing it, thanks to the streamlined, modern design of these rose gold clippers. They offer an all-metal barbell grip that is easy for you to grasp and hold, and the high-torque, brushless motor gives you precision control even as you trim more delicate areas.
These lightweight clippers come with a charging stand, two comb attachments, blade guard, lubricating oil, cleaning brush, and carrying case.
Best for Poodles: Andis AGC Professional Clipper Kit
Works great with all coat types, including coarse fur
Corded so can use for long grooming jobs
Come with case and instructions
Comes with 4 attachment combs
With a sealed motor that’s whisper quiet and a cool-running, single-speed motor, you’ll be able to trim through your poodle’s coat with ease. It comes with four blades that are 1/8, 1/4, 3/8, and 1/2 inches, perfect for trimming around your pup’s face and legs. Everything can be stored in the included hard plastic case, so you can keep everything organized on the go.
While these clippers come with step-by-step instructions, we recommend leaving more complicated cuts (like the lion and Miami) to your groomer.
Best for Matted Fur: AIBORS Dog Clippers
Powerful motor that rotates 6500x per minute
Comes with adjustable blade cutter head
Holds charge for 3 hours
Available in five colors
Very affordably priced
Motor is too loud for skittish dogs
Charger is flimsy
When it comes to matted fur, the best offense is a good defense, meaning it’s important to make the time to regularly groom your pup. But if it’s too late and your long-haired or curly-haired pup has a mass of matted fur, you’ll want a clipper with a powerful motor. With a motor that rotates 6500x per minute, these Aibors are fit for the job.
The adjustable blade cutter head ensures that you’ll always get the length just right, while the included comb blades and oil to help keep the clippers in tip-top shape. They can also hold a charge for up to three hours—more than enough time to get the job done.
Best for Thick Coats: Oster Clipmaster A6 Detachable Cryogen-X Clipmaster A6 Detachable Cryogen-X
Handcrafted in the USA
Quiet and low vibration
Designed for thick-coated dogs specifically
Corded so not as easy to maneuver
When you’re looking for a clipper for long-haired dogs, you need one with a heavy-duty motor — which this one has, making these grooming clippers a great option for dogs with thick coats or big dogs. The motor runs at 4000 strokes per minute and has three different speeds. Plus, they’re lightweight, but durable enough for big grooming jobs. Since they’re corded, you won’t have to worry about the battery dying mid-grooming, though be aware that the cord does make it a little bit more difficult to maneuver at times. They also come in some fun, bright colors.
Best Cordless: oneisall Cordless Dog Grooming Kit
LCD screen to show remaining battery life
Available in 4 colors
Not the best on coarse or thick fur
Difficult to clean
Can get loud with repeated use
When you’re trying to keep your pup calm during a grooming session, the last thing you need is the cord of your clippers getting in the way. This cordless dog clipper can hold a charge for up to 150 minutes (and charges in the same amount of time). It has an LCD indicator light to let you know exactly how much juice you have left—and in the event that you need to use it before it has time to charge, it also works with the included cord. With two different speeds, it performs as well as it does on long-haired pooches as it does on short-haired ones.
Best for Touch Ups: ConairPET Dog Micro Trimmer Grooming Tool
Good for small delicate areas
Uses only one AA battery
Not powerful enough for coarse, long hair
Not for full grooming, just delicate spaces
This palm-sized, battery-operated clipper is perfect for touch-ups in between visits to your regular groomer (though it's still powerful enough to more thoroughly groom smaller dogs). You can keep your pet from looking overgrown by trimming around its face, ears, paws, and genitals.
Because of the clipper's size and low volume, it won’t scare even the most skittish of pups. And with two comb attachments, lubricating oil, and a cleaning brush, its price certainly can't be beat!
Our favorite overall dog clippers are the Wahl Lithium-Ion Pro Series, which are suitable for medium-sized dogs with moderately thick coats. The Wahl clippers have a long battery life and come with every accessory you'll need, including helpfully color-coated clipper combs. For long-haired dogs, we recommend looking into the Oster Clipmaster A6 Detachable Cryogen-X instead.
What to Look for in Dog Clippers
When you’re shopping for a good pair of dog clippers, there are a few things to take into consideration, including:
Ultimately, the right type depends on what you’re using your clippers for.
If you’re a multiple-dog family, you want a pair of clippers that is versatile. “A5 clippers are what most professionals use, and if you're going to be clipping a lot of different dogs, then this is the one you should purchase,” explains Claudine Sievert, a dog and cat veterinarian from Kansas.
However, “trimmers work well for trimming delicate areas like around the ears, paws, and faces. They also work for dogs with thin hair,” she told The Spruce Pets. "These clippers are quieter than others, so they could work well for puppies and thinner-coated pets when used with guard combs.”
Meanwhile, “D-style clippers are a combination of A5 and trimmers,” Sievert said. “This is a new type that blends the lightness and quiet of a trimmer with the flexibility of an A5-style clipper.” These can be good options for pet parents who don’t want to invest in both clippers and trimmers.
Corded vs. Cordless
Both have their advantages and disadvantages, which is why the choice of corded vs. cordless is mostly a matter of what you prefer to use. Cordless clippers allow you to move around your dog a little easier without having to worry about the cord bothering your dog. They’re also more portable for trips because you don’t have to be near an outlet in order to trim your dog’s fur—but their batteries also die—sometimes right in the middle of your grooming session.
That’s why, Sara Ochoa, a veterinarian in Texas, says she prefers corded clippers. “I like clippers that plug into the wall better than battery powered [because] battery powered clippers do not last as long and I think that clippers that are plugged in have a stronger motor for trimming your dog's thick hair."
Weight vs. Durability
Some clippers are lighter than others, which makes them more comfortable to hold and maneuver, especially when you’re working in sensitive areas. However, lightweight can also mean flimsy—and you don’t want to invest in a clipper that if dropped, would shatter and break. So make sure you’re looking for clippers that are lightweight enough for you to hold comfortably without your wrist starting to hurt, while also being durable and well made.
Unless you’re shopping for only one specific dog, chances are you’ll want clippers with multiple speeds because single-speed clippers generally only work well on smaller dogs with finer fur. Instead look for multiple motor speeds so you can trip thin and thicker, coarser fur.
Even if you do end up thinking you only need one speed, make sure the clippers get to the right speed for your dog’s fur. “For bigger dogs and ones with thick fur, you'll need a higher speed to get through their hair,” explains Sievert.
How much noise your dog will tolerate depends on their individual squeamishness. But quieter clippers may make the adjustment to home grooming easier.
“If your dog gets nervous and doesn't like loud noises, you'll probably need a quiet pair,” says Sievert.
Blade Type, Material, and Size
Not all blades work equally as well on all types of fur. For example, T-Blades are good for giving dogs complete shaves or double-layered coats, while skip-tooth blades are best for precision trimming.
In addition to type, you’ll want to pay attention to their size because this will determine how short or long their fur will be once cut with that blade.
Finally, make sure you pick a blade from stainless steel or other durable metal so it lasts a long time.
How Warm It Gets
Some dog clippers, especially when they’re inexpensive, tend to heat up really quickly. This could cause you to accidentally burn your pup’s skin while you trim. Make sure to do your research so you pick one that doesn’t heat up too quickly — and keep checking in on how hot your clippers are getting while you work.
How do I shave a dog with clippers?
In general, there is an order for how to shave your dog to make your grooming as efficient and safe as possible.
“Start with a size ten blade to trim your pet's sanitary area. Don't tilt the blade, and make sure it's firmly against the body,” says Sievert. “Once this area is cut, you can trim your dog's other sensitive areas like the ears and eyes. When clipping your pet's ears, holp the ear flat and work from the center toward the edges.”
Then, when you cut their body, decide how long you want their fur to be, use the appropriate guide and blades, and get started. If this is your first time trimming your dog’s fur, you might want to start simple and keep their fur a little longer.
“When you are shaving your dog it is best to keep the blade parallel with your dog's body. I also recommend going in the same direction,” says Ochoa. “So either go head to tail or tail to head. This will help keep your dog's fur looking even.”
To avoid accidents, Sievert says “you should always clip with the grain of the pet's hair and pay special attention to sensitive areas with extra folds such as the neck, behind the ears, the groin, and the legs.”
Once they are fully clipped, you’ll want to brush them again to make sure there are no long hairs or uneven spots.
What are the best grooming techniques?
Be sure to regularly brush your dog’s coat to avoid matting — this will make it easier to groom your dog and trim their fur. Check their skin while you groom too, looking for sores, allergies, parasites, and other signs of irritation.
Behavior during grooming is also important. Try to keep your pup as calm and relaxed as possible while you use clippers or scissors. Some pups might benefit from calming treats to keep them calm. This is also where quieter clippers might come in handy with nervous dogs.
Finally, check your clippers regularly to make sure they’re not getting too hot. Use the best quality clippers which make no noise and ensure the clips don’t get too hot.
Can you cut dog hair with human clippers?
“While human and dog clippers may appear the same, they aren't,” says Sievert. “Human clippers should not be used for grooming your dog because there is an increased risk of injuring your pet.”
“The motor is not made for long uses, and its noise and vibrations can scare your pet,” she continues. “Plus, the clippers aren't designed to cut thin or thick fur like pet grooming ones are.”
How do you sharpen dog clippers?
“You can sharpen dog clippers on a flat stone which is the most affordable of all sharpening tools,” says Sievert. “It's easy to use and convenient - all you have to rub the blades back and forth against the smooth stone.”
Another choice is the grinding wheel. “With this method, you have to use a wet or dry solution in its ridges,” Sievert explains. “You insert the blade into the wheel with the applied solution on edge and turn it,”
You can also get a lapping wheel, which contains cast iron, with its surface surrounded by grooves. Its wheel rotates slower than the grinding wheel but provides a smoother finish.
Sharpening dog clippers isn’t for everyone though — so if you’re nervous or don’t have the right tools, it’s OK.
“There are people who can sharpen your dog clippers,” says Ochoa. “You can ask your local dog groomer who they use [or] often I find it is just as easy to purchase a new blade for your clippers.”
Why Trust The Spruce Pets?
Steven Rowe is an experienced pet product writer who has rescued two dogs of his own and grew up with a Collie in California. To find the best dog clippers, he consulted with three veterinarians, read user reviews, did thorough research and spoke with The Spruce Pets editors who had conducted their own thorough research. He looked for products that had good safety features, affordable prices, and powerful motors, durable metal blades, and came with useful accessories.
For this article, we consulted Claudine Sievert, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Kansas. She has specialized in pet care for more than 6 years, treating hundreds of cats and dogs. She is also a board-certified veterinary nutritionist.
A previous version of this article was written by Anne Fritz, a product reviewer for The Spruce and The Spruce Pets. She was also the founding editor of Create For Me, a magazine for women in their 20s.