Best Dog Clippers for 2017

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My personal experience working as a Professional Dog Groomer, testing 9 popular models of clippers on hundreds of dogs, and interviewing several other groomers, we determined the best overall clipper is the Wahl KM5 2-Speed Kit. It’s powerful enough to get through any coat, the brushless motor means it’s quiet and stays cool, and for the cost it's the best bang for your buck

Wahl KM5 - Best Bang For Your Buck

Wahl Professional Anima KM5 2 Speed Clipper Kit 9787

The new brushless motor keeps these pair quiet and cooler, with enough power to get through just about anything. Power, comfort, and being affordable makes this my top pick.

While priced slightly heavier than some other clippers, the KM5 stood a head and shoulders above everything else we tested. You can tell Wahl listens to their customers by addressing all the pain points’ groomers and dog owners share. Its brushless motor means the KM5 stays quiet, the high torque allows them to clip easy but stay cool, and they have an absolute ton of power behind it. No amount of mats can stand up to this pair, and they cut like butter.

What about the Wahl KM10?

The only clipper we felt slightly exceeded the KM5 is its close relative the KM10, which comes with even more power, but also comes with a higher price-tag. We felt the KM5 won because for what you spend you get pretty much everything you need. The KM5's have amazing value, but if you need even more raw power then go for the KM10.

Skip to Full Reviews of Clippers

Oster A6 - Our Second Pick

Oster A6 Heavy Duty Clipper

A remake of the classic A5, they took what made the old model a favorite among veteran groomers, but added some much needed improvements. Now it's ergonomic, quieter, and cooler, but it still has all the power of the A5. The A6 is our second best pick from this test.

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Wahl Bruvura - Best Cordless Clippers for Light / Medium Coats and Finishing

wahl_bruvura

Wahl Bruvura Cordless Clipper

Cordless clippers with an impressive amount of power, and stays cooler and quieter than most other sets. It's decently priced for what you get. Bravura are the ideal cordless set to have in your arsenal, and perfect for most small dogs.

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Best Budget Friendly Dog Clippers

Wahl U-Clip

The Wahl U-Clip is a surprisingly decent pair for a very good value. Good enough for light or medium duty, but struggles with dense coats and mats - so this is ideal for small dogs and cats. Also, they tend to get hot fairly quickly. The U-Clip is ideal for anyone on a budget or just needs some light-duty clippers.

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About Me and This Review

I have worked as a professional groomer for several years, and I have thousands of hours of dog and cat grooming under my belt. Over the years I’ve used dozens of different clippers, and for this review I gave 9 different popular sets several days of testing. I also work with 6 other veteran pet groomers who participated and shared their reviews.

Quality vs. "Cheap"

I know it's tempting to just go for bargin-bin-cheap clippers - and who cares? They all just clip hair anyway, right?

Well, yes, but where things get ugly is when you don't have enough cutting power to get through your dog's coat, when your blades overheat and burn their skin, or the excessive noise scares your puppy.

And when your dog gets uncomfortable, they become very uncooperative. You can see how this might get frustrating.

By doing the research (which I did for you in this review), and picking something suitable for you and your dog, you'll avoid a lot of painful grooms.

Which Clipper is Best for YOU?

The best set for you may not be the best clippers for someone else. It hinges on three main factors: what breed of dog you have (and how thick their coat is), how comfortable they are with grooms, and what your budget is.

If you have a sheepdog with an ultra-thick double coat, then that cheap little pair just won’t cut it (yes, I just used a grooming pun). However, that little pair might be perfect for trimming a toy poodle.

Some dogs are more anxious with noise and vibration, while others are completely unaffected. So if your clipper does a perfect impersonation of a lawnmower, well, that could be a problem.

And if you’re just grooming your own pets occasionally, you may not need the absolute top-of-the-line set that’s going to cost a small fortune.

Based on those 3 factors - we created a template for how we reviewed each clipper...

How We Reviewed Each Pair

We rated each clipper based on three primary things:

  • ​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 fur?

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)

Power

Corded or Cordless?

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.

Therefore corded sets are usually strong enough to get through any coat. Cordless, however have the advantage of being easier to handle, and great for touch ups and finishing.

Quick Facts About Corded vs. Cordless

Cordless (battery powered) - Quick Facts

1. They have a weaker motor than a corded set, so they’re typically not suitable for thick coats or dealing with a lot of mats.

2. The blades will dull faster, which means you’ll be replacing them more frequently, and generally cost $20 a piece.

3. They have a standard 5 in 1 blade. Meaning you can choose between 5 different cutting lengths, and that’s it. This might not be a big deal to you, but it may also be a huge deal for someone that needs a larger variety of cutting lengths.

4. Get a lithium battery! Or you’ll be lucky to get 30 minutes of battery life (lithium batteries give you about 2 hours of constant use)

Cordless Clippers are ideal for light or medium coated dogs, or finishing paws, feet, and face.

Corded (electric) - Quick Facts

1. Plugs into the wall so having a cord can be a bit more cumbersome.

2. Can swap out blades for any length needed, however you’ll need to purchase blades for each individual length.

3. Blades can be professionally sharpened 8 or 9 times, much cheaper than replacing the blades.

4. A good corded set with a sharp blade can get through any coat like butter.

SPM, Torque, and Power

The way many manufacturers refer to the power of their clippers is with Strokes Per Minute, or how many times the blade travels back and forth within 60 seconds. So many people mistake higher SPM for more cutting power.

But just because the blade is moving fast doesn't mean it has power behind it.

So for this example let's imagine I'm chopping down a tree. If I grab an axe and chop at the tree (with my flimsy little arms mind you), it doesn't matter how fast I chop, it's going to take a long time for that tree to come down. Now, all of the sudden Chris Hemsworth shows up (we can imagine, right?). Chris pulls the axe back and takes a long and powerful swing that cuts deep into the tree. He has power behind each chop - or "torque" for our example.

The last element to consider is how sharp my axe is. If my 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.

So a combination of SPM (speed), Torque (strength), and a Sharp Blade make a great set of clippers.

The Other Problem with High SPM

So while it may appear that a very high SPM and power leads to faster and easier cutting, it also leads to greater friction and noise.

The best clippers combine a medium level of SPM (2000 to 3500) with a good torque for cutting strength. That way you get the best of both worlds.

Corded sets generally have more torque because it’s not relying on a battery.

Comfort for your Dog

Blades Getting Too Hot

All clippers (or blades) will get hot. But, some get hotter than others. It all comes down to one thing - Friction. Higher SPM (stokes per minute) will lead to greater friction, which leads to a hot and uncomfortable blades.

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.
  • 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 good SPM, they'll still get hot after a few hours of use. This isn't a manufacturers defect, but just the laws of physics at play.

The keys to a comfortable groom are keeping your blades sharp, using lubricating oil or cooling spray, and having good torque/SPM . And if all else fails, put the clippers down and wait for them to cool until they're a safe temperature.

So how do professional groomers clip all day without burning their dogs? They swap out the blades as they begin to get warm. Often they will have duplicates of every blade length, and while one is clipping, the other is cooling off on a ceramic tile.

Clipper Reviews

Corded (Electric) Clipper Reviews
Wahl KM5 2-Speed 'Brushless Motor'

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

While priced slightly heavier than some other sets, the KM5 stood a head and shoulders above all other clippers we tested. You can tell Wahl listens to their customers by addressing all the pain points’ groomers and dog owners share. Its brushless motor means the KM5 clipper stay quiet, with lower SPM but high torque they clip easy but stay cool, and they have an absolute ton of power behind it. No amount of mats can stand up to these clippers, they cut like butter.

Wahl KM10 2-Speed 'Brushless Motor'

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

​The KM10 is just the upgraded version of the KM5, the only real difference is it's torque. Meaning it can cut through anything you throw at it, perfect for a commercial setting or pro-groomer.

This comes with an increase of cost however, that we're not completely sure is worth it for the average home groomer. But If you're a grooming professional, or you're dealing with some extremely thick coats, then this might be the last set you'll ever need to buy.

Oster A6 Cool Comfort Heavy Duty

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

The A6 is a reboot of the classic Oster A5 (an old favorite), and it adds some much needed design features. The new housing is much more comfortable to hold, especially after a few hours of use. It's stays cooler, and is quieter in comparison to the A5. It comes with 3 speed settings and the blades can be swapped out from the A5. And, it just looks really sleek and high-tech - for some added bonus points.

The A6 keeps all the best parts of the classic A5, but adds a better design and motor. It's also very affordable for what you get, and that's makes this one the best clippers on the market right now.

Oster A5 2-Speed

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

A classic that many veteran groomers still love, which was first available 30 years ago. While still a reliable set, we found that it hasn't aged well in comparison to it's newer counterparts. The Oster A5 is very noisy, and the high SPM means it gets hot.

Also this set is still housed in it's classic design, which isn't comfortable to hold for more than about 20 minutes. However the A5 never lost it's power, and can still cut like butter through just about any coat.

Andis AGC-1

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

Another top-contender in the corded clipper race, we found these to be the quietest corded set out of everything we tested. So if your dog is sensitive to noise this may be the ideal pair. They have a low SPM of 2700, but strong torque, meaning they cut through any coat but stay cool.

I felt the build left something to be desired. Although the grip isn't bad, when you're handling clippers for a few hours it would be nice if they were slightly more comfortable. Also, they're heavier than most other sets we tested, which may be bothersome after some time.

The extra comb attachments it came with were (I'm sorry to say) complete garbage. They were cheap plastic and broke almost immediately. Typically I don't use these attachments anyways, but I feel like they could have sent out better quality accessories.

Wahl U-Clip

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

I'll be honest... I wasn't expecting this set to perform well. But, I was pleasantly surprised. They worked great on light coated dogs and even made short work of some mats. The real hang-ups with the U-Clip become apparent with thick coats and densely matted dogs, I had to run through their coat several times and still had difficulty. They just didn't have the power needed for those dense spots.

Also, this set gets hot! A few times I found I had to let them cool down after an hour of use.

If you have a dog with light hair, or even a cat that needs a trim, there's no doubt these clippers will be good for you and your wallet. However, you might need something with a little more power for those thick coats.

Cordless (Battery) Clipper Reviews
Oster Lithium Ion Volt Cordless

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

Battery Life:

As far as cordless clippers go, the Oster Volt is a heavy-duty beast. They have the same power as a corded set (which is unheard of) but still maintains long battery life. I can say hands down this is the best set of cordless clippers I've used - so why isn't this my top choice? At the time I'm writing this review the price is quite steep. Unless you're a professional groomer the price may be hard to justify.

It's important to note the Volt doesn't use a standard 5-in-1 blade that most cordless sets come equipped with, but rather individual blades for each cutting length. This is a really nice change as I'm not stuck with 5 predetermined cutting lengths, and I have that extra flexibility in blade lengths.

​These also boast a low SPM but high torque, so it can cut through dense coat but the blades remain cool. The Volt more closely resemble a corded clipper with it's ability to change blades and work through tough mats.

In comparison to other sets the Volt has some weight to it, and probably due to the battery size. However they are comfortable to use and feel very well built and durable. They are also moderately noisy, but generally not enough to scare the dogs.

The volt is an amazing tool with a steep price, if you're looking for top-of-the-line then here it is.

Wahl Bravura Cordless

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

Battery Life:

The Bravura is an impressive cordless clipper that holds a decent amount of power. It's surprisingly quiet and takes a while to heat up. That being said it just doesn't have enough power for really thick hair and mats. Where the Bravura's really shine is with finishing paws, face, and feet, or dealing with light coated dogs.

If you have a Shih Tzu at home that needs grooming this may well be the last set you ever need to buy, but a thick-haired Labradoodle may be too much for the Bruvura to handle.


The grip is comfortable and it's extremely lightweight, but what's concerning is the build feels hollow and thin. Although I never "drop tested" them, I'm not so sure how well it would survive the impact.

I personally use this set for light-duty use everyday (and rely on my corded set for heavy use). The Bravura has good power, stays cool and quiet, has a long lasting battery (2 hours), and won't break the bank.

Wahl Arco SE Cordless

Our Ratings:

Power:

Budget Friendly:

Quiet:

Stays Cool:

Comfortable:

Build:

Battery Life:

Probably the most disappointing result out of everything we tested. At first the Arco SE appeared to be a solid set, but where things took a turn for the worse was the battery life. It simply could not clip at a consistent rate for more than 30 minutes. Upon closer investigation we discovered it doesn't use a Lithium battery, so the power will continuously drop over time. Furthermore, these batteries take over an hour to fully charge.

The set themselves are light, quiet, and as far as I could tell they stay cool for the time being used. The housing feels cheap and hollow, and probably wouldn't survive being dropped too often.

Based on the battery life alone, I cannot recommend the Arco SE unless you have a small dog or cat.

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