Men who want control over their hair have numerous options to consider; one possibilitiy that instantly springs to mind is a set of clippers.

But what exactly are clippers, who are they for and how am I supposed to use them?

Today on Guy Style Guide we’ll be investigating clippers and what advantages and disadvantages they offer for the ordinary ‘bloke on the street’.

What are clippers?

Clippers are used to cut hair on your head; unlike razors or scissors, clippers work in a different fashion. Most clippers have a pair of comb-shaped blades that move back and forth extremely quickly; this rapid movement sheers the hair follicle with amazing speed and agility.

Why use clippers?

If you have a very short haircut that you wish to maintain regularly then hair clippers are a worthy investment. Not only can you save a fortune on trims (and all the time and effort required to make a trip to the barber), but you can always clip your own hair, with relative safety and ease, should you need to.

Buzzcut Example

Manual or Electric?

Without question, you should always buy a set of electric clippers. They are simply more efficient, easier to use and maintain, and offer more versatility in their use. Manual blazed clippers were born of necessity and have definitely been superseded by their electricity-driven counterparts.


The attachments, often called rakes or combs, are designed to fit over the head of the clipper. There are various sizes of attachments, each created with a different hair length in mind. The most common attachment sizes are #1, #2 and #3, although throughout the past decade larger sizes have started to see inclusion inside home kits; it’s not uncommon to see attachments #4 through #8 with some modern cutting sets.

To put the sizes in context, you’d typically want to use a number two rake for a buzz cut. If you have particularly fine hair, a number three rake would be more appropriate.


Clippers do require some maintenance to keep them working in tip-top fashion. Firstly, they’ll need regular lubrication; remember, the blades are oscillating back and forth at an extremely high rate – this means the build up of friction could lead to an uneven, root-tugging cut if your blades aren’t gliding like they should.

Secondly, you’ll need to be mindful of cleaning out the hair; hygiene reasons aside, you’ll find that your clippers work much better when they’re not all clogged up.

What to buy?

The general advice is you get what you pay for. Wherever possible, it’s worth investing a little more for commercial-grade or salon quality sheers than cheap domestic clippers.

You may want to invest in a ‘chargeable’ set that you can remove from the power cord; if you travel a lot or are away from home on business for much of the week, you may find the option of a portable unit is a worthwhile proposal.

About The Author

Johnathan Bell is the founder, owner and main author of Guy Style Guide, a website dedicated to everyday male fashion, style and grooming. The primary mission? To guide clueless men through the tricky mindfield that is the growing world of male couture. Find him on , Twitter and Tumblr.