How To Choose The Right Hair Clipper Size

You may have overheard people in the barbershop saying they want a #1 or a #2 on the side. You've probably wondered what these numbers mean and how they work with the lengths of hair, right? Don't worry. This guide will show you what hair clipper sizes are.


How Hair Clipper Lengths Work

Hair clippers are designed to cut the hair down to the skin in their natural setting.

hair clipper size

This is what's called a 0 gap. That means there is no gap between the moving and fixed cutting blade. Hair that comes into contact with the clippers will be cut almost like a razor.

To stop the clippers from cutting everyone as bald as Mr.Clean, you can install a "guard". The guard is set to a certain length to prevent the hair from being cut shorter than you desire it to be. Clipper guard sizes are based on your requirements for the cut.


Common Hair Clipper Sizes

The common manufactures like Wahl and Andis use a number system that is the same. Oster uses a much more complex number and letter system as they offer guards that cut particular sizes.

The most common hair clipper lengths are as follows:


#0 or #1/2 Clipper Length (1/16" or 1.5mm)

Wahl Professional Color Coded Comb Attachment...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

0 hair clipper lengths are used for very low buzz cuts.

This haircut style is usually for the guy who likes the bald look or wants to keep his hair as short as possible. When it comes to a 0 hair clipper, there usually isn't a guide comb because all you need is a directional tool that uses the blades. 

That's why many companies such as Wahl, Andis, etc., do not have a number 0 on their list, and even if they do, it denotes 0.5 instead. The o.5 hair clippers or ½ clippers are for cuts very close to the skin at a length of 1.5mm.


#1 Clipper Length (1/8" or 3mm)

WAHL Red Comb Attachment No.1
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

The 1 clipper hair length is more stubble and short hairstyle. It leaves enough to where you don't have to style it, but not so short that you look completely bald. It cuts the hair 3mm near the scalp for a very close cut.

Within the #1 clipper length comes the #1.5, which cuts near the scalp to a length of 4.8mm. These two lengths, along with the 0 lengths, are used alternatively to achieve uniform fades with a proper blend and no distinct division lines. Number 1 hairstyles often require little to no Maintainance, apart from sunscreen to protect the exposed scalp.


#2 Clipper Length (1/4" or 6mm)

Wahl Professional #2 Color Coded Guide Comb...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

The 2 hair clipper length is approaching enough hair that you are still buzzing it but can leave the unfinished look if not done properly.

It is the most popular blade since it can cut hair short without exposing the scalp. 

Using the #2 hair clipper length makes your hair look full and heavy.

This comb works incredibly well on people who lose their hair or have naturally thin hair. Similarly, it looks good on people with thick full hair too. This clipper length is a crowd favorite.


#3 Clipper Length (3/8" or 10mm)

Wahl Professional Color Coded Comb Attachment...
  • Professional Precision: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of Products, the Color Coded...

This length is about the longest you'll want if you're doing a low fade. Most barbers use 3 and below to cut hair with a low fade. It gives a fuller look, too thin and thick hair, and is very low maintenance. 

It can still be used for a buzz cut, but it will look very distinct. This hair clipper length is not used too often since it doesn’t have many things you can do with it, like the #2.


#4 Clipper Length (1/2" or 13mm)

Wahl Professional Color Coded Comb Attachment...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

At the 4 hair clipper length, you have almost enough hair to brush and style. Any longer than this and hair is usually going to be styled.

This length is great for making medium-length hairstyles with different elements. It can be used in combination with other lengths that are smaller in size. 

The #4 clipper length is perfect for crewcuts and brush haircuts. It cuts the hair up to 13mm in length, making them visibly full yet still low maintenance. It’s a great length to own especially if you have a family, since it can meet almost everyone's needs.


#5 Clipper Length (5/8" or 16mm)

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Wahl Professional #5 Color Coded Guide Comb...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color-Coded...

The hair at a 5 length is long enough to be styled into most medium to longer hair lengths.

This would be considered a high fade. This length can cut the hair up to 16mm, making it ideal for medium-length hairstyles and looks. 

If you prefer tapering with your hair, then the #5 clipper length is perfect for you. It can often be used interchangeably with the #6 clipper to give layers to the hair.

This helps it look fuller and generally builds up more volume.


#6 Clipper Length (3/4" or 19mm)

Wahl Professional Peanut Classic Clipper/Trimmer...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

The #6 clipper length is 3mm longer than the #5 length at 19mm.

It is also designed for tapering and is used with the previous length to give layers and volume. The cuts made with the #6 length are often towards the longer side of medium-length hairstyles. 

Unlike buzz cuts or fades, hairstyles made with this length need to be trimmed frequently because they grow unruly quicker than previous lengths.


#7 Clipper Length (7/8" or 22mm)

Wahl Professional Color Coded Comb Attachment...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of products, the Color Coded...

A #7 clipper length is excellent for getting a crew cut without using scissors.

However, you might need to pair it with smaller clipper lengths towards the sides to get a nice fade. These hair strands are cut at 22mm, requiring occasional maintenance since they require trimming.

The hair cut with this length inclines towards longer hairstyles for men made with clippers. It is used for only a few styles; hence you do not see it used very often by barbers.

You can purchase it for home use if it seems the length you prefer to cut your hair. 


#8 Clipper Length (1" or 25mm)

Wahl Professional #8 Color Coded Guide Comb...
  • PROFESSIONAL PRECISION: From Wahl Professional's commercial grade line of Products, the Color-Coded...

The #8 length is the longest for most clippers to clip hair at. With hair being cut at 1inch of length, it can easily be trimmed and styled.

This length works best with thick hair and is not advised for thin hair.

You can easily fade out the sides with clippers of lower numbers to create a short buzz and make different hairstyles. The longer the haircut, the more maintenance it will require.

These clippers work best when you buzz the sides to give a contrast.

It is not advised to cut the hair uniformly at an inch, as many prefer to keep the top of the head slightly longer.

This can vary from curly to straight and different hair types.


#10 Clipper Length (1 1/4" or 32mm)

Many companies have clipper sizes that last only till number 8; however, Oster and Wahl both have #10 clippers that cut the hair at a length of 32mm.

The hair cut at this length is long enough to condition and style with a gel. It also needs brushing and proper maintenance.

Number 10 haircuts are often casual and artistic and do not fall within the professional line.

However, this hair length is most used by barbers with a particular group of clients who require artistic and vibrant haircuts.

This clipper length would suit thick and thin hair, as the longer the haircut, the more it would fill out.

hair clipper size

Wahl Number 10 and 12 - Image Source

#12 Clipper Length (1 1/2" or 38mm)

One of the rarest clippers used at 38mm of length, the #12 clippers give bold haircuts with the hair often parted to the side or down the middle.

This hair is an inch and a half in length, easy to run your fingers through. The guard is used to keep the length of the hair steady.

While a different clipper is used to achieve a buzz on the sides.

This length is often used for hipster hairstyles or more flamboyant looks. It works well with dyed hair as it gives more room to work with. Number 12 hairstyles need proper styling, conditioning, and haircare to maintain the look and ensure it isn't messy.

This size clipper guard is only made by Wahl.


Hair Clipper Buyer's Guide

There are a lot of things to take into consideration when opting for a clipper. You want a product that can give you the best cuts time and again and occasionally change things every once in a while.

Although you have many products to choose from when it comes to this, to pick the best hair clipper for you, read through our buyer's guide.


Detachability

One of the most important features is how easy it is to attach and remove clipper guards and accessories from clippers.

A good clipper will have an easy attach and release option, either in the form of a button or a simple twist mechanism. The last thing you want is your guards to not fit properly on top of the blade.

Some clippers come with built-in guards that cannot be removed.

This makes them useful for only a limited type of haircut numbers; hence avoid clippers like that unless you are into uniformity and don't need to switch up your look every once in a while.


Ease of Use

Ease of use is essential because your clipper should feel light in your hand and give you better control and mobility.

This is why ergonomic handles are preferred; they do not tire your hand out and give you better control over the trimming motion. Some clippers have rotating heads that make doing the back of your head easier.

Similarly, certain clippers that work for less than half an inch of hair can have built-in vacuums or protection against clogging.

They also protect the skin against any cuts and nicks from the blade. Therefore, your clipper should be easy to use so that you can make the most out of it.


Cost

One of the most closely inspected factors is the cost of the product; the price of your clipper helps determine a ballpark estimate of what accessories come with it and some of its features.

Basic clippers include one or a few clipper guards and are usually corded. Expensive models are battery charged and come with various clipper guards for many haircut numbers. The cost can also depend on hair clipper size and the clipper guard sizes.


Durability

Clippers need to be durable, and being waterproof is an additional bonus.

This is because they are being used either constantly by professionals or often at home by people. Some clippers have a sturdy and durable body, making them less prone to breaking if dropped accidentally.

Although you should care for your clippers, accidents do happen. Durability prevents any of those accidents from putting your machine out of use temporarily or forever.


Maintenance

Some clippers are easy to clean, which makes using them more manageable. After an entire job of evening out your hair, low maintenance clippers can be wiped clean with a cloth, and it will take most of the hair away.

In some cases, you would have to use a toothbrush or cleaning brush to get hair and residue out of the tiny nooks and crannies, but that isn't the case with expensive clippers.

In case a clipper is battery powered, maintenance could require frequent charging and battery changes and make sure the charge cycle is allowed to be completed.


Battery Life

Battery life is essential for whether your clipper is corded or cordless.

Cordless clippers need potent motors and an excellent battery to give corded ones' performance.

It is important because a high-powered clipper will cut faster and better with less unevenness. Most clippers have a battery life ranging from 30 to 90 minutes.

Corded clippers have only one drawback -the cord.

It can sometimes get in the way of your strokes and severely limit movement. Therefore if you are willing to buy a corded clipper, make sure it has a powerful motor and good battery.


Adjustable Tapering Levels

Customizability is an integral part of the hair clipping experience.

Some clippers, along with different options for guard size, also have adjustable tapering levels. It helps you change the closeness of your cut between the length of the guide combs.

It comes in handy when you want to fade and blend well without having any distinct divisions between the changes of your haircut lengths.

Although it isn't a must-have option, it can still come in handy, especially if you like to experiment with your look from time to time.


Blade

Blades are important because they cut when interacting with the hair. Hence the blades must be sharpened and well adjusted to make sure it makes a good cut.

Good blades are made from stainless high-carbon steel that does not rust or corrode.

Good blades are made from stainless high-carbon steel that does not rust or corrode.


The Distinction of Clipper Guards

It can be very easy to mix up clipper guards when someone is confused about which guard is of which size.

Many companies approach this issue by having the clipper guard sizes visible on the guards themselves.

Companies like Wahl have color-coded clipper guard sizes. This ensures that all of the clipper guards of the same size will be the same color.

An approach like this would make it easier for people to tell apart clipper guard sizes with much ease.


Adjustable Speed

Another important feature that most good clippers have is adjustable speed; it makes it easy to cut the hair better.

Adjustable speed is often required when cuts have to be made quick and sharp compared to when they need to be made with precision. You usually find multiple speed settings on professional clippers, but if you have impatient children at home, you might want to consider it.


Haircuts You Can Achieve With Different Clipper Guard Sizes

A hair cut numbers hair clipper can help achieve a certain haircut with different clipper guard sizes. They can be described as the following:


Number 1 Haircut

A number 1 haircut is usually shaved nearest to the skin, classified as 'fully bald' haircuts.

With a number 1 haircut, you can expect there to be a very thin layer of hair on your head while still giving you a shaved look.

It's not completely bald, just bald enough.

Number 2 Haircut

A number 2 haircut is just enough to cover the entirety of your scalp and leave room to make a fade.

That's the lowest number at which barbers are willing to fade hair. A number 2 cut can also be turned into a buzz cut if needed, and you do not need to style it.

Number 3 Haircut

A number 3 haircut is the minimum level of hair that can be parted and styled into spikes.

This is where different types of fades, buzzcuts, and crew cuts can be incorporated into the hair. Although you cannot style much at this level, you surely will find it easy to maintain it.

Number 4 Haircut

A number 4 haircut is one of the most common cuts that can be used with different clipper guard sizes.

It cuts the hair long enough to be styled in various ways, but it also incorporates number 3 haircut and number 2 haircut guards. It typically suits people with a round face shape.

Number 5 Haircut

A number 5 haircut is where stylists have a range to be creative with what kind of hairstyles to make. It is the most preferred size of a cut for men.

It allows the hair to be parted to one side and even lets fringe styles come into play in some cases. A number 5 haircut will suit almost any face shape.

Number 6 Haircut

A number 6 haircut looks a lot like the number 5 haircut, apart from a slight change in length.

Usually, people prefer pairing a number 6 haircut with a lower one like a number 3 haircut towards the sides.

This leads to a very appealing front part for the hair while the sides are much shorter in comparison.

Number 7 Haircut

A number 7 haircut lets you style your hair in different ways while allowing its natural texture to show through. Hair cut at this style needs proper trimming and maintenance from time to time.

A number 7 haircut is excellent for those who love changing their hair style.

Number 8 Haircut

A number 8 haircut can be used by people who do not want to lose much of their hair and want the fullness to remain intact.

The hair is usually faded to the sides, while the middle can creatively be turned into a Mohawk or more. Similarly, these haircuts are more casual than professional, preferred by younger men and teens. 


How To Clean A Hair Clipper

Hair clipper maintenance is one of the most important aspects of cutting hair. If your clipper is not cleaned, hair and residue from your scalp will clog it, leading to slowed function and delayed cutting response.

Therefore, it is essential to clean a hair clipper the right way.

Here are a few ways in which you can do so:

  1. Remove the hair and build up from your clipper by taking off the blade guard and blade if needed. Make sure to get deep into the grooves of the machine to ensure a proper clean.
  2. Thoroughly clean the cutting guards and make sure there is no residue. Do so by removing them from the clipper and wiping them with a cloth or washing them.
  3. Try to see if any dust, hair, or residue has gotten inside the clipper that could affect its working. Use a pipe brush or anything with soft bristles to achieve this.
  4. Try sanitizing your clipping blades from time to time to reduce the chances of infections and bumpy skin after close clips.
hair clipper size

Tips For Easy Cleaning With a Hair Clipper

Sometimes, getting hair and residue from those nooks and crannies can be extremely hard. Therefore, consider going through our tips on how to make it easier for you:

  • Try using a compressed air can that can blow out hair from areas you can't reach.
  • To avoid rusting and erosion of the cutting blades, make sure to lubricate and oil them occasionally.
  • Use wire brushes, toothbrushes, and floss to remove hair and residue stuck in difficult places.
  • Never leave your clipper on or with the battery intact when cleaning it.
  • Always make sure your clipper is waterproof before you decide to expose it to water.
  • Make sure you assemble and dismantle your clipper properly when cleaning. 
hair clipper size


Hair Clipper FAQs


Can I interchange clipper guards of one company on a clipper of another?

Some clipper guards can fit most clipper models, but it is preferred that you use the one that is the same company as your model.

This will ensure that the guard works well and doesn't come off while using the clipper.


How important is it to have multiple speed settings on a hair clipper?

Having multiple speed settings can be important for professionals who want to change their working pace from time to time.

It also comes in handy if they need to alter the precision of the cut. However, many people at home or for personal use do not need clippers with multiple speed settings.


What is the proper way to attach or remove a clipper guard?

Most clipper guards can slide on and off the clipper's head and attach right above the blades. Some are locked in place with switches and buttons. However, this mechanism varies from clipper model to clipper model. Therefore, to find the best way to attack or remove a clipper guard, consult the product's instruction manual.


How can I tell what size my clipper guard is?

Clipper guards have the size under the or on guard itself in clear markings.

Companies like Wahl have color-coded guard sizes, making it easy to identify what haircut they can be used for, e.g. Wahl's 1-inch clippers are light blue in color.


Can you tell if a hair clipper has an attachable clipper guard or not?

Yes, it is pretty easy to tell if a clipper has an attachable clipper guard or not.

The first thing you need to look out for is whether the guard is screwed into the clipper machine from the top or sides. In this case, the guard is not attachable. Also, a simple read of the instructions manual or cover of the box can help solve the mystery. 

Last update on 2022-06-14 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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