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.
The problem is curls tend to lock onto each other and tighten, and eventually they'll begin to pull on the skin which can quickly lead to problems. We need to take care of that, but not every dog clipper will be able to get through your dog's thick coat...
While some owners pay regular visits to their local dog groomer, I understand how this can quickly become expensive and time consuming. So the next best thing is grooming from home, and for that we'll need the right tool for the job.
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 and Comfort. Manufacturers will attempt to do this in several 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, and all sorts of cool colors and LEDs.
Corded vs. Cordless Clippers
The biggest difference between corded and cordless is simply 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.
Therefore corded sets are usually strong enough to get through any coat. However, cordless sets have the advantage of being easier to handle, and are great for touch ups and finishing.
SPM and Torque
Manufacturers often refer to the power of their clippers with Strokes Per Minute (SPM). Or, how quickly the blade moves back and forth within 60 seconds. This means the faster the SPM the better it cuts, right? Not necessarily.
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 taking a massive, powerful swing! Even though the swings come slower they have some serious force behind them. With clippers we call this Torque. What we need is a combination of speed and torque to really getting 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.
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. In my grooming shop I'll always reach for a corded set for any doodle that comes in.
For these breeds we recommend you use Corded Clippers with Adjustable Speed Settings.
You'll need a decent amount of cutting power, and corded sets will have that extra Torque needed to get through the thickest coats. Also you'll want the ability to adjust the SPM, to avoid the clippers getting stuck or too hot.
While there are some cordless sets that are certainly up for the challenge, those high powered cordless clippers often come with a very high price tag and short battery life.
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.
Unfortunately, no matter what clippers (or blades) you use they will get hot. But, some get far hotter faster than others, and It all comes down to one thing: Friction.
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: by getting a decent SPM clipper with adjustable speed, that also has powerful torque, keep our blades sharp, and using clipper oil to keep things cool.
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 We Reviewed These Clippers
A Little About Me:
I've been a professional dog groomer for 7 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.
My co-groomers and I 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
My Recommendation: Andis ProClip AGC2 2-Speed Clipper
This is our "go-to" corded clipper when is comes to Poodles. In fact, this is what me and three of the other groomers in my shop use exclusively on any thick coated dogs that come in.
What makes the Andis clippers so special is the lower SPM (strokes per minute) of 2700, but strong torque and cutting power, meaning they cut through any coat but stay cool by not creating excessive friction. Also, the adjustable 2-speed function is a very useful for cutting through thicker coats.
Furthermore, the andis proclip is much quieter than most clippers, so if your dog is sensitive to noise this is a life saver.
It's built solid but you won't find any fancy grips and LEDs here (although it does come in multiple colors). Also, they're heavier than most other clippers, which may be bothersome after some time.
The extra comb attachments it came with weren't amazing, and broke easily. Typically I don't use these attachments anyways, but I feel like they could have sent out better quality accessories.
All-in-all, this is the best bang for your buck. This is a professional grade set so you'll pay a little more than your typical pair, but once you give them a try you'll never look back. I've been using my pair everyday for 3+ years without any problems.
Second Pick: Oster A5 Cool Comfort Heavy Duty
This was my second place pick, and is a reboot of the classic A5 (an old favorite among many veteran groomers). The much needed update added a nice looking and comfortable grip, reduced overall weight, and reduced noise.
What's really nice is the 3-speed option, allowing you to alter the SPM (strokes per minute) for cutting through thick coats without getting stuck or creating too much heat. The SPM can be altered from Low (3,100), Medium (3,600), and High (4,400).
Also, the Oster A6 is much, much lighter and easier to handle, and when you're grooming all day that makes a huge difference.
This is our second choice only due to the clippers running slightly hotter and making more noise than our first pick - the AGC ProClip 2-speed. While the A6's are more comfortable to handle and carry less weight - the extra heat and sound are deal breakers, and that's why this comes in a very close 2nd place.