There are lots of options in the market for black men to shave their hair. While Andis and Wahl are still dominant players in the market, lots of emerging brands have tossed their hats in the ring for African American hair clippers. I’ve tested many different options and here are some of the best clippers I’ve found for African American hair.
In a Rush? Here is our top pick
Wahl Cordless Magiclip
Without a doubt one of the best hair clippers on the market. They are a slightly toned down professional version that your barber has likely used and they’ve been adopted for the consumer market. I know many professional barbers that use these clippers.
The kit comes with everything you’ll need to give yourself a fresh cut. There are multiple blade length attachments for different lengths of hair and even some attachments that can help you with a fade. The lightweight design lets you cut for hours without any fatigue.
The charge lasts about 2hrs but you can keep cutting while charging. The crunch blade makes blending really easy and smooth. These clippers can handle normal hair cutting and they can also be gapped to cut very close as a liner. All in all, it’s one of the best options on the market.
What makes a good African American hair clipper?
The biggest difference with black hair is that it’s coarse and curly. In order to cut the hair and keep it uniform and neat, this requires trimmers that can cut very close and also blades that are very sharp.
The average hair clipper in the market, just really doesn’t have the finesse required to give most black men the neat hairstyles they desire. Also, when it comes time to line up your hair and give yourself that crisp finish, you need a clipper than can function as a razor to give you the cleanest lining. Clippers that are specifically designed for African American hair will have shorter blades that allow you to gap them very close to the edge to ensure a closer cut that will grab any curly hairs that are lying close to the skin.
Should I get professional clippers?
I always recommend buying the best possible equipment you can when it comes to hair care. It’s an investment that you are going to continue to use on a weekly, if not daily, basis. Professional clippers aren’t more difficult to use. They are usually made of more durable metals and materials that are designed for frequent use.
It’s like having a regulation-sized basketball court in your driveway. You COULD get by with a half-court, but it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have a full-sized court when the opportunity presents itself.
Luckily, in the world of hair clippers, the professional versions are usually only another $40-60 investment. When you think about that cost over the course of 5+ years, it’s a no brainer.
The Best African American Hair Clippers
Wahl Clipper Elite Pro
Don’t let the “Pro” name fool you, the Wahl Elite is a very manageable clipper for African American hair. I think one of the primary reasons it’s called pro is due to the higher quality guards and accessories that it comes with. Most affordable clippers have 100% plastic guards that can easily break or chip.
This set comes with Guard combs that stay in place. On cheaper Wahl clippers I always have to worry about guard combs coming off. The guard combs in this set snap on much firmer and has stayed in place extremely well. The larger feel and ergonomics of these clippers are great for bigger hands.
Wahl Professional 5-Star Balding Clipper
I know these are great clippers because my barber (well the barber I had when I had hair) used these exact clippers and I can personally say they’ve never done anything but a stellar job on cutting the little hair that I did have at the time. While they are classified as “balding” clippers, they are really designed to cut very close which is exactly what most African American people need in a hair clipper.
As our hair sits very tight to the skin, you want something that can get a closer shave when fading or styling your hair cut. While Wahl won’t directly advertise these as “Black” clippers, rest assured that many professional barbers use these and they will do exactly as advertised. Keep in mind that like any clipper, they do need to be properly gapped and oiled in order to get the best results
Andis Master 15-Watt Adjustable Blade Hair Clipper
These are without a doubt some of the most stylish looking clippers that you can purchase in the market. I love the entire aluminum body styling, but it doesn’t stop there. These are some damn good clippers. The powerful motor is only a small part of what makes these clippers great for cutting African American hair. It’s the fact that Andis sells 3 different types of adjustable blades that you can set up for whatever hairstyle you normally prefer.
Whether you enjoy a low fade or higher fade, Andis has a metal cutting blade to fit your needs. These are truly heavy duty clippers that will last. The powerful motor will cut through thick hair but won't over vibrate in the hands. They are great for fades u can blend easily. Clippers sound great when cutting they do not heat up too quickly they feel great in the hand very minimal vibration.
Andis Professional Envy Hair Clipper
This more affordable option is a great alternative if you’re just looking to purchase basic clippers with the ability to add more upgrades if necessary. This is a basic consumer model that comes with plastic guards, a slightly less powerful motor but everything you need to do a basic haircut.
If you’re looking for an option that will allow you to cut hair to a simple length with no fading and you don’t mind using a trimmer or liner to sharpen up your edges, this is a great option for African American hair clippers
Oster Classic 76
Don’t let the professional look of these clippers scare you away. The Oster 76 is the gold standard of hair clippers. I think this design has been around since 1976 and there is a reason they haven’t changed it much. It’s because it works. Most people call these "The Beast" and that's because they eat through hair incredibly fast and without a problem.
Some people are intimidated by the speed and the fact that it may feel clunky or too big. Don't let that stop you from buying and enjoying this clipper. You can get used to it and as with most things, just practice and you'll be fine. Be sure to oil them regularly and clean the hair that falls within the housing
Wahl Color Pro Cordless Rechargeable Hair Clipper
I’m normally a big believer in buying the best quality you can afford, but sometimes that means that you might not have $150 to invest in a pair for clippers. While cutting African American hair is something more of an art than it is a science, there are many clippers out there that can help you get a more than acceptable job is done.
The Wahl color pro cordless is a great example of that. I purchased these because I wanted some very inexpensive clippers to take with me on business trips that I could use to quickly touch up my hair and face and they do the job. The accessories aren’t premium, barbershop quality, but I wanted affordability and pieces that I wouldn’t be upset about if I left them in a hotel.
“Nothing is worse than losing a $25 metal guard and realizing that you’ll now have to invest 75% of the price of your clippers just to get the accessories you already purchased”
The motor is great. The adjustable blade is easy to use and did I mention… it’s cordless. You can take it anywhere with you when you need to cut your hair.
Things To Remember before using your hair clippers
Set your blades gaping BEFORE using
You will see countless reviews on the internet about people that have cut themselves with their clippers or that they blades were touching the skin. This is 100% user error. There isn’t a single manufacturer in the market that guarantees their blades will be perfectly gapped outside of the box. Hair clippers are very precise tools and the slightest drop of the package during shipping can easily move the blades a few millimeters out of position.
Here is a great video guide on how to gap your clippers.
Oil your blades with every use
Clippers work by oscillating a metal blade back and forth against another metal blade 1000’s of times per minute. This kind of friction can create lots of heat and premature wear on your metal blades. It’s imperative that you keep some clipper oil handy and always oil your clippers with every use. This will prolong the life of the blade and ensure that you always have the fastest moving blades to cleanly cut through your hair.
There are a lot of options that will work with basically every budget that I’ve outlined above, but if I had to choose only one clipper to cut African American hair, I’m going to stick with the
Wahl Cordless Magiclip. I assume that you’re buying these clippers to use in your home and not for work so you don’t need clippers to be plugged in, but these also work while charging so they could go both ways and they are a great value for money. If money were no object and then the Oster Classic 76. They can be a little intimidating at first, but with an endless supply of attachments to upgrade, the Oster Classic will cut any style of African American Hair.
Last update on 2020-03-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API