We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases. Read more about us.
If there’s one thing all Poodle and Doodle owners can agree on, it’s that those beautiful curls can be a recipe for a beautiful disaster.
Curls tend to lock onto each other and tighten. Matting and tangles begin to pull on the skin which can quickly lead to problems.
We need to take care of that.
The problem is not every clipper is up to the task. Thick coats, especially matted ones, require professional grade clippers.
Regular visits to your groomer can get expensive. If you want to save money by grooming from home, then here’s what I recommend you try.
Andis Excel 5-Speed
The Andis Excel 5-speed is a corded clipper that has been one of the best on the market for many years. It has strong power and can be adjusted to different speeds to help with matting while staying cool.
Best for Pros
Wahl KM Cordless
This is a professional grade, high-end cordless clipper used by top groomers. It’s expensive, but you get what you pay for. A cordless clipper with this much power is pretty much unheard of.
Best Budget Option
Andis AGC 2-Speed
This is a classic clipper and the first choice for many new groomers. It’s powerful and sturdy while being very budget friendly. However, it’s very heavy and causes fatigue during long grooms.
The Different Types of Dog Clippers Explained
There’s a massive assortment of pet (and human) clippers out there, all claiming to be the newest and best – but what is the actual difference?
When it comes to pet clippers what you’re essentially paying for is:
- Cutting Power
Manufacturers will attempt to do this in two ways…
By giving you stronger torque and SPM (strokes per minute) for maximum cutting power and speed. While trying to reduce noise and heat to make the grooming experience comfortable for your dog.
Other features may include:
- Quick charging time,
- Longer lasting batteries (for cordless sets)
- Comfortable grips
- Strong build
- All sorts of cool colors and LEDs.
These are nice to have, but what we’re really concerned with is cutting power and comfort.
SPM and Torque
Manufacturers often refer to the power of their clippers with Strokes Per Minute (SPM).
Which is – how quickly the blade moves back and forth within 60 seconds.
This means the faster the SPM the better it cuts, right?
Imagine trying to chop down a tree, you swing at the tree as fast as humanly possible but you have absolutely no strength behind each swing, so it barely makes a dent.
Now imagine taking a step back, taking a deep breathe, and unleashing a massive, powerful swing!
Even though the swings come slower they have some serious force behind them.
With clippers we call this Torque.
Now imagine we can replicate this power but at a higher speed!
What we need is a combination of speed and torque to really get some cutting power.
The last element to consider is how sharp your axe is (or your clipper blade). If your cutting tool is dull, then it’s going to take a lot of extra time and energy to cut that tree down. Which is why a sharp blade can make all the difference.
What Makes a Powerful set of clippers:
A combination of SPM (speed), Torque (strength), and a Sharp Blade make a great set of clippers that can get through anything.
Corded vs. Cordless Clippers
Cordless clippers are just easier to handle.
Aside from that – the biggest difference between corded and cordless is power
Cordless pairs must rely on a battery – which limits how much voltage that motor can use and therefore limits clipping power.
Corded pairs are plugged into the wall socket and are only limited by the strength of the motor.
However, as technology improves some cordless sets are able to match the raw power of corded clippers
As we’ll see later with the Wahl KM5 Clippers, some top-end clippers are up to the task.
What Type of Clippers Should I Use On My Poodle/Doodle?
Poodles and Doodles have thicker hair that are prone to mats, and if left unbrushed it can lead to some very challenging grooms.
First, you need to prep your dog for clipping (more on that later).
Then you’ll need a professional grade set of clippers with decent cutting power.
Most owners grooming from home for the first time will attempt to use human-grade, or off-brand clippers and quickly realize the problem. You can’t cut through their thick curls.
Prepping To Make Grooming Easy
Here’s a pro tip to make grooming and clipping much, much easier.
Before diving right into your groom you should bathe, brush, and dry your dog beforehand.
Firstly, this will help loosen up any mats and give your dog a nice “fluffled” look.
But more importantly, your clippers will have a much easier time getting through that thick coat, making your grooming session quick and easy.
Grease, dirt, and oils create additional friction that your blades and motor will have to struggle through, which in turn creates a lot more heat.
A quick bath will extend the life your clippers, and make the groom much more comfortable for you and your dog.
Blades Getting Too Hot
If you’ve used a set of clippers on a matted or thick coated dog I’m sure you’ve noticed a very common issue – the blades will get very hot over time.
Friction is the main culprit.
Unfortunately, no matter what clippers (or blades) you use they will get hot. But, some get far hotter faster than others.
Higher SPM clippers (stokes per minute) will lead to greater friction, which leads to a hot blades. But we need a decent SPM in order to cut through thick coats. So what do we do?
We can solve this dilemma in several ways:
- Get a clipper with good SPM and adjustable speed options
- Powerful torque
- Keeping blades sharp
- Use lubricant/oil to keep blades cool
We can also research and make purchases wisely, as some sets are simply less efficient and heat up faster.
Why clippers get hot
- High SPM – High strokes per minute leads to greater friction and heat over time.
- Dull Blades – Causes greater friction. Blades need to be sharpened or replaced after 100 hours of use.
- Thick or Dirty Coat – Thick, matted coats that are full of oils and dirt will create extra friction, you can prevent this by bathing and brushing your dog before using clippers.
- Lack of lubricant or clipper oil – Clipper oil should be applied before every use, and every 10 minutes while in use.
Bare in mind that even if you have a sharpened and oiled blade with a great set of clippers, they’ll still get hot after extended use.
This isn’t a manufacturers defect, but just the laws of physics at play.
If all else fails, you may have to put the clippers down and wait for them to cool until they’re a safe temperature.
How do professional groomers clip all day without burning their dogs?
Groomers will swap out the blades as they begin to get warm. Often they will have duplicates of every blade length, and while one is in use the other is cooling off on a ceramic tile.
How I Reviewed These Clippers
A Little About Me:
I’ve been a professional dog groomer for 12 years, and I’ve worked on everything from rescue dogs to professional show dogs.
I’ve also tried many different styles of dog clippers, and have had hundreds of Poodles, Goldendoodles, and Labradoodles come through my shop.
We rate clippers based on several key factors:
- Comfort for your Dog – Do they get too hot or excessively noisy?
- Budget Friendly – Are they too expensive for what they offer?
- Overall Power – How easy is it to clip through dense or matted hair?
Secondary ratings are based on:
- Comfortable Grip – Easy to hold for long periods of time
- Good Build – Will it survive being dropped?
- Battery Charge Length – (if a cordless pair)
Best Clippers for Poodles, Labradoodles, Goldendoodles, and Doodle Mixes
Best Bang For Your Buck
Andis Excel 5 Speed
I recommend these clippers to any and all groomers.
They’re powerful and easy enough to handle that you’ll have no trouble getting through a matted Shih Tzu coat.
Likewise, you can use them for finer detail work. While lightweight, they are somewhat cumbersome with the cord.
I know groomers that have relied on the Andis Excel for decades without any complaints.
Because they’re corded – they have a powerful torque and variable speed SPM that help cut through thick coats.
They’re somewhat on the expensive side. But with dog clippers – you get what you pay for.
Best for Professionals
Wahl KM Cordless
What makes these clippers standout is they have the full power of A5 corded clippers, but they’re cordless. That’s a big deal.
Cordless clippers are much easier to handle, but most sets lack decent power and battery life.
We’ve seen the KM series turn that around.
I was lucky enough to be one of the first groomers in North America to try out these clippers in 2018.
4-years and hundreds of grooms later, these are still my favorite clippers.
I’ll be the first to admit, however, these are expensive. I would recommend KM cordless clippers to the true pros in the grooming world, or those who take their grooming seriously.
Clipper Cords Not Charging
In late 2019 Wahl addressed an issue with the KM cordless not charging properly with the provided cord. They took the product off shelves and re-engineered and then re-released a new version of the KM cordless. So far there haven’t been any new reports of this issue.
Best Budget Friendly
Andis AGC 2-Speed
These are strong, dependable clippers that are always up to the task.
A favorite among first-time groomers because they’re reliable and less expensive than other clippers in their class.
The biggest issue is the weight. At just over 1 pound, which may not sound like a lot, after a few hours of detailed work your arm and wrist will be tired.
Here’s my suggestion:
If you’re grooming your own dogs at home these are perfect.
If you’re a brand new groomer whose on a tight budget – these will absolutely get you by until you can something a little better.
Otherwise I would consider the Andis Excel or the Wahl KM series.