Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What's the 'diff?' Different Kinds of Clippers for Barbering

Heavy Metal. Any great barber has great tools. Now, I wouldn't go SO far as to say that a barber is only as good as his tools. But the best tools can make a great barber more efficient, precise and professional. Sturdy, well-built and high quality clippers are at the center of the professional barber. If you are in the process of choosing your next clipper or just want to understand more about the basic differences in the various types of clippers, then read on. I'll go over a few of the big differences.

1. Magnetic or Vibratory Clippers- These clippers are fairly common. For the most part they have one, fixed cutting blade that can be adjusted with a lever on the side to cut closer or farther from the scalp. Clipper guards or attachment combs, can be used to achieve longer styles than the blade alone would provide. Magnetic clippers are not as powerful as Pivot or Rotary motor clippers. Magnetic clippers utilize a spring mechanism to return the blade each time the magnetic motor pulls the blade in one direction. So you really only get an actual cut stroke in one direction. These clippers are great for overall cutting and trimming. Especially on fine-medium hair.

2. Pivot Motor Clippers- Pivot motor clippers, while not quite as powerful as Rotary motor clippers, are still 2x more powerful than Magnetic. They accomplish twice as many blade strokes since the the motor pulls the cutting blade in both directions. These clippers require little maintenance. Like Magnetic clippers, Pivot clipper have an adjustable blade with an adjustment lever on the side. They are also capable of accommodating removable clipper guards. These clippers are a bit more durable and quite powerful. They are a great choice for barbers that need a 'work horse' clipper that is heavy duty and low-fuss. They can be used on wet or dry, coarse or fine hair.

3. Rotary Motor Clippers- AKA: Universal Motor. These are the heavy metal. Rotary Motor clippers are the most powerful and durable. This is the heavy artillery that a barber wants to have around for all day use. The Rotary Motor is suited for medium to coarse, wet or dry hair. There are some 2-speed models that on the low speed setting are okay for some types of fine hair as well. A big difference with Rotary Motor clippers is that instead of a blade adjustment lever, they have replaceable blades or cutting heads. On rotary clippers you simply remove the entire cutting head, blades and all, and install a completely different cutting head to suit a much shorter or longer result. These clippers tend to have fewer moving parts and run fairly quietly. These clippers are generally the most expensive but can last for years and years.

Some additional considerations when choosing a clipper:

Would you prefer a cordless clipper?
How long is the cord?
Is there a 2-speed model?
Does it come with additional blades?
Does it tend to run hot? (some clippers get hot enough to be uncomfortable for your client)
How easy is it to service and clean?
How often will you be using them?
Are they too heavy to be used comfortably?
Are they too loud to be comfortable for your client?
Can they be used on wet hair?
What is the warranty like?

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