Whether you’re stocking supplies for your barbershop or buying clippers for home use, you need to know what types of balding clippers, features to look for, and do’s and don’ts when using them.
With knowledge of the primary and critical features, you can ensure that you’re not only purchasing something that you could get the job done but something that also gives value to the user and makes the whole hair clipping experience seamless.
Unlike ordinary hair clippers, balding clippers are explicitly made to cut close to one’s scalp, creating a bald look. This means the clipper should have a sharper blade with a specific width to do its job correctly. Apart from that, it must have an ergonomic design for easy grip and maneuvering. This guide seeks to inform you of the essential things you need to know about balding clippers. If you’re ready, dig in!
Table Of Contents
- What Are Balding Clippers
- Benefits of Using Balding Clippers
- How Do They Work
- Pros and Cons
- Types of Clippers
- How to Choose the Best Balding Clippers
- How to Use Them
- How to Clean Them
- Balding Clippers vs Hair Clippers
- Does More Spending Mean More Quality
- Do’s and Don’ts
- How close do balding clippers cut?
- What is the ideal blade width for balding clippers?
- Are Wahl balding clippers worth it?
- Are self-sharpening blades worth it?
- Can I find a waterproof pair of balding clippers?
- What do you have to do to keep a balding clipper’s blades sharp?
- How (and why) to zero-gap your clippers?
What Are Balding Clippers
Balding clippers are popularly known as ‘buzzers’ and ‘electric hair clippers.’ As mentioned above, it’s a hair clipper that has been specifically designed to produce a bald head. It can also be used to achieve a fade cut with close-shaved lines all through the hair and could be highlighted with complex designs.
This type of clipper is usually used by balding men or men who experience male pattern baldness and want to shave their hair off and go for a bald look. Instead of using regular clippers wherein you’ll need to use a traditional straight razor, you should use a balding clipper instead. With the latter, you can save time, reduce frustration, and eliminate the second step of using a razor.
Benefits of Using Balding Clippers
There are plenty of benefits in choosing balding clippers. First and foremost, you won’t need other tools to shave off your hair because the clipper itself is designed to achieve a bald look. It has a sharp blade that makes haircutting more accurate and more straightforward.
Secondly, a balding clipper usually comes with a complete set of accessories like attachment combs and a nylon cutting guide for a more precise outlining and cutting. It also makes haircutting faster with its ergonomic design. You can control your hand movement with its easy-grab-and-grip design.
How Do They Work
Balding clippers work just like your ordinary hair clipper, except that it is meant to achieve a bald look. It comes with a blade and a comb tandem that moves back and forth.
When it runs through the hair, the comb determines the hair length while the blade cuts it. To keep the blade running back and forth smoothly, it has to be oiled. Otherwise, it will dry up, causing the motor to stop working, overheat, and eventually shut off.
There are balding clipper varieties that come with adjustable blades that make fade cuts and sideburn trimming easier. There are also balding clippers that only cut one’s hair closer to the heat; others go even closer. This is why you need to read reviews and watch video tutorials before you make a purchase. Otherwise, you would get the wrong balding clipper.
Pros and Cons
- Cutting one’s hair and achieving a bald look is easier with a buzzer.
- It often comes with an ergonomic design for better control – it makes maneuvering the clipper seamless.
- It comes with sharp blades that cut through the hair faster.
- The clippers come with a sharp blade that helps you achieve a razor-like, clean cut.
- The blades could be so sharp that if you’re not careful, you might cut the skin.
- Using and maneuvering the tool requires skill and technical know-how.
- The more sophisticated ones can get so pricey.
Types of Clippers
This is where electric clippers originate. It was invented in the 1850s by a Serbian barber named Nikola Bizumic. It was used for short haircuts; thus, it became popular among men in prison, military, and schools. It comes with a pair of sharp, comb-like blades that meet when the handles are pressed. The hair to be cut is positioned in the middle of the handle, and the clipper cuts it just like a pair of scissors.
As opposed to manual clippers, electric clippers are powered by an electricity-run motor. It shares the same purpose with manual clippers, but they work differently. While the former is operated by hand or manual force, the latter is run by electricity.
How to Choose the Best Balding Clippers
It doesn’t matter if you want a clean shaved head or a short buzz cut; you will need hair clippers with adjustable, customizable cutting lengths. Balding clippers should manage to cut down to the scalp level.
If the shining and smooth head is not your cup of tea, and you intend to leave stubble on your head, go for clippers with options for cutting at different lengths. There are clipper types that allow you to alter your cut’s closeness.
Ease of Use
When you trim or cut someone’s hair, the least you want to happen is to have your cutting tool not functioning accordingly. This explains why ease of use is crucial. Go for hair clippers that are easy to maneuver and work on.
Most hair clippers come with a blade that measures 1.5 inches or 40 mm wide. With a broader blade, you can shave an equally wider area within a short period efficiently. This design also helps you lessen maneuverability around the neck and ears. To find the right blade, you need to strike a balance between control and efficiency. If you want to achieve a bald look swiftly, a clipped with a wide blade will help trim large surfaces fast.
Balding clippers must have a surgically sharp clipper blade to achieve the closest cut. It’s common for clippers to come with stainless steel clipper blades. These blades last long, if and only if they’re correctly maintained. They could last for a couple of years if you treat these blades well.
If you want blades that stay sharp longer, go for self-sharpening stainless steel ones. Ceramic and titanium blades may also be expensive to replace, but they are the sharpest and don’t cause skin irritation.
Cordless vs Corded
Most barbers go for corded clippers because it has a longer motor life. Aside from that, they won’t have to worry about the continuity of the power source. On the other hand, home groomers prefer the cordless type because using the clipper with a cord in a closed area with limited space like the bathroom can be a challenge. Cordless clippers are also easier to use when you’re vacationing.
When you’re thinking about the design of the hair clipper, it’s important to consider weight, size, and ergonomics. See how the clipper fits your hand and whether you would like it as lightweight or with heft. Remember that lightweight models are built for comfort, while heavy ones are usually focused more on high-performance.
The best balding clippers often come with an ergonomic design for easy access and secure grip. This makes maneuvering the tool easy as it runs.
Know that the clipper’s motor works with its blades. The motor has to be powerful enough to function and cut any hair texture or type without sagging. There are three common motor power types among hair clippers: rotary, pivot, and electromagnetic.
Professional stylists and barbers often use electromagnetic motors to ensure a clean, smooth cut for their high-speed functionality. These clippers have lesser moving parts. They also don’t wear out fast.
As much as you can, steer clear of clippers with pivot motors. Though pivot motors are more powerful compared to magnetic motors, their blade speed is significantly lower. This clipper is best used in cutting thick hair and trimming necklines, mustaches, and beards.
Go for rotary motors when you’re looking for a motor that strikes a balance between blade speed and power. This is the sole motor that comes with variable speed levels. They often come with rechargeable batteries for flexible and convenient cordless operation.
Generally, balding clippers from reputable brands could cost around $55 to $60. If you get your hands on one within this price range, and you see it’s from a trusted brand and comes with cleaning accessories and few attachments, then that means you’re good.
Balding clippers beyond the $55 to $60 price threshold should be something from a top-tier brand or one that comes with many add-ons. More expensive balding clippers are often made for professional stylists and barbers. They are also made for long-term usage, so only go down this route if you intend to use your clipper professionally or frequently.
If you’re on a tight budget, you can still get a balding clipper that’s within the $50 to $55 price range. Anything below that could be a serious red flag as they might sacrifice the motor’s integrity. It could also be that the clipper has been used or may not survive long-term usage. It’s a good practice to stay away from meager offers as you might end up getting a defective one.
Some people are extra sensitive with razors and clippers. If you’re the type who experiences razor bumps, breakouts, or skin irritation after shaving, then go for hypoallergenic clippers.
There is a very high chance that you’ll use your balding clipper in the shower. In that case, you must stay away from electric ones. However, you can also find electronic models that are waterproof or water-resistant. These clippers are easier to clean and maintain because you won’t have to worry about their parts getting corroded.
How to Use Them
Step 1 – Moisten the hair
First, you need to moisten the hair slightly. You need to comb the hair in the natural direction of growth while ensuring the hair is uniformly down.
Step 2 – Cut or shave bulk hair
Use the clipper to remove bulk hair. Removing bulk before balding will enable the clipper to run across the scalp, creating a closed cut to achieve the balding look smoothly.
Step 3 – Proceed with balding the head
Remove the attachment guide comb. The taper lever should be adjusted to the closest position. Run the clipper over the head, opposite the direction of growth. Keep the blade on the scalp and use small strokes. When cutting hair this close, you may need to stretch the skin with your free hand to tighten the scalp.
Step 4 – Use very little pressure on the scalp
Remember to use very little pressure on the scalp. A new bald style can be easily maintained by using a shaver every day.
How to Clean Them
Step 1 – Remove the hair clipping buildup
The hair clippings that buildup on the clipper can also cause dirt buildup and consequently dull the clipper blades. When this happens, you might have a hard time keeping your clipper motor in good condition. So, after every use, ensure to remove any hair accumulation. You can do so by brushing away loose hair. Your balding clipper usually comes with a brush for this purpose.
Step 2 – Keep the comb guide clean
As you use your balding clipper more often, there is a high chance that hair products and grease can accumulate on your comb guides. To do this, you need to remove the attachments from the comb guide. After that, gently wash the said attachments with warm and soapy water. Dry them before putting them away. Keep them in a case or dust-free area.
Step 3 – Lubricate the balding clipper blades
As you already know, lubrication keeps moving metal parts in any equipment in action. Since these blades are exposed to operational friction, moisture, and air, they can degrade as time passes by. To keep them rust-free and sharper, you need to oil them. Remember to always refer to your clipper manual for tips on how to maintain your haircutting tool.
Balding Clippers vs Hair Clippers
Balding clippers and hair clippers function similarly — they’re both meant to cut or trim hair. However, unlike ordinary hair clippers, balding clippers are explicitly made to cut close to one’s scalp, creating a bald look. This means the clipper should have a sharper blade with a specific width to do its job correctly.
Does More Spending Mean More Quality
Unfortunately, with balding clippers, a more expensive price tag means better quality. As mentioned in the preceding paragraphs, balding clippers from reputable brands could cost around $55 to $60. Those beyond this should be something from a top-tier brand or one that comes with many add-ons.
More expensive balding clippers are often made for professional stylists and barbers. They are also made for long-term usage. On the other hand, anything below $50 could be a serious red flag as they might sacrifice the motor’s integrity.
Do’s and Don’ts
- Clean your clippers after every use to remove dirt and residue from hair products.
- Invest in a premium electric head shaver.
- Use a razor with flexible blades.
- Invest time in finding an ideal beard comb.
- Opt for sitting in a comfortable barber chair when getting your hair shaved.
- Consider applying a beard moisturizer, the world’s best aftershave, or high-quality shavettes after clipping your hair.
- Leave your balding clippers to rust without cleaning them.
- Go for cheap balding clippers to save money.
- Forget to maintain safety precautions when using non-waterproof clippers in the bathroom.
- Leave your clipper manuals unchecked before using or cleaning your balding clipper.
How close do balding clippers cut?
Without its attachments, balding clippers are meant to cut somewhere around 0.1 to 0.2mm, with tiny stubble left behind. This justifies its appropriateness for smooth bald shaves.
What is the ideal blade width for balding clippers?
To reiterate, most hair clippers come with a blade that measures 1.5 inches or 40 mm wide. With a broader blade, you can shave an equally wider area within a short period efficiently. This design also helps you lessen maneuverability around the neck and ears. To find the right blade, you need to strike a balance between control and efficiency. If you want to achieve a bald look swiftly, a clipped with a wide blade will help trim large surfaces fast.
Are Wahl balding clippers worth it?
Wahl balding clippers are often found on the top of every balding clipper review list, and it’s for a great reason. They are a cut above the rest for their cutting precision and accuracy. It also has exceptionally accurate and sharp blades that could cut as close to the head as possible. However, since the blades are sharp, you need to be alert and careful when using them.
Are self-sharpening blades worth it?
The actual value of self-sharpening blades is in their cost-effectiveness. Mostly, balding clipper users spend more money replacing the clipper blades than the actual balding clipper. This is why your balding clipper needs to have self-sharpening blades. You won’t have to replace them as often as when you use ordinary non-self-sharpening ones.
Can I find a waterproof pair of balding clippers?
To recap, there is a very high chance that you’ll use your balding clipper in the shower. In that case, you must stay away from electric ones. However, you can also find electronic models that are waterproof or water-resistant. These clippers are easier to clean and maintain because you won’t have to worry about their parts getting corroded.
What do you have to do to keep a balding clipper’s blades sharp?
First, you have to remove the blade from the body of the clipper. After which, run it on a honey stone with 4,000-grit. This can be sourced from your hardware or home improvement store.
How (and why) to zero-gap your clippers?
Zero gapping means adjusting the tips of the clipper blades to get a sharper and quicker line when lining or edging. They cause the blend or fade guide line lengths to become smaller. When you use zero-gapped balding clippers, you need to exercise caution, giving minimal room for error.
There are plenty of ways to groom yourself. You can use top-rated beard shampoos, beard creams, oils, and butter to ensure that your facial hair grows healthily and smoothly. You can also take advantage of the masculine smell of bar soap to achieve that overall manly yet hygienic smell.
However, if you want to keep your hair bald or shaved, the best way to go is to invest in a high-quality balding clipper. To efficiently choose one, take note of the critical features we shared in this article. Also, remember to check the clipper’s blade, blade width, ergonomic design, and self-sharpening features. You might spend more for a better functioning grooming tool, but it will surely be worth the investment in the long run.
Vinnie is one of the members of the Beardoholic writers team. He’s also a barber and hairstylist for 15 years now and he has a kick-ass beard of his own, so he surely knows what makes a magnificent beard and hair and how to achieve them. He’s our go-to guy for all the latest beard and hairstyle trends and he always has a tip or two on how to grow and style a thick beard fast.