How Do I Choose Dog Clippers?

Some dogs tolerate the clipping process better than others.
i Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Every dog needs a little trim now and then, and you can make the trimming process easy and painless for both you and your dog when you use the right kind of grooming clippers. Not a one-size-fits-all type of tool, dog clippers come in different styles and with various features.

Intended Use

The type of clippers you'll need largely depends on your reasons for grooming. If you intend to use the clippers just to occasionally trim stray hairs, consider an inexpensive set of basic home clippers. For touch-up trims between trips to a professional groomer, look at medium-priced clippers with a nice blade assortment. Consider purchasing a more expensive set professional grooming clippers if you groom your dog for show or have multiple dogs with different types of fur.

Hair Type

Your furry friend's hair length and thickness can help guide your clippers purchase. Dogs with thin coats or short fur typically require just a basic set of electromagnetic clippers. Clippers with pivot motors often work best on pooches with fur of medium thickness. If your dog has a thick coat, a double coat or long, soft hair that tangles easily, look for a professional set of clippers with a rotary gear-driven motor.


Grooming is hard enough -- there's no need to cause yourself pain. Try ergonomic dog clippers that won't cause arm, wrist or elbow strain. Lift the clippers to check the weight. The unit should be heavy enough for you to feel and control properly, but not so hefty that it makes your hand feel tired, cramped or sore. Test out a clippers' comfort level by holding it like you would a pen, but with the blade pointing downward. If you aren't comfortable holding the clippers in that position, then it isn't the right set of clippers for you.

Maintenance Requirements

Although high-quality, professional dog clippers need little maintenance, most basic clippers require you to occasionally dismantle and oil the internal parts of the unit. Choose clippers with blades easy to take off and put back on. Basic clippers typically have air vents or fans to keep the unit cool, but they often clog up with fur and consequently overheat during the trimming process. To avoid an overheating issue, purchase professional clippers with a cool running system that won't get clogged. Purchase clippers sturdy enough that it won't break if you accidentally drop the unit as you try to corral your squirmy pooch.

Blades and Accessories

Basic dog clippers typically come with a blade, but professional dog clippers usually include an assortment of blade sizes. Blades are usually marked by the closeness of the cut. The higher the number, the shorter and finer the cut, while a lower blade number results in a longer cut. Try using a No. 10 blade to groom most dogs at home, although those with very long hair might need a No. 8 blade. Look for a set of dog clippers that includes a snap-on guide comb if you are worried about clipping your dog too close or unevenly. This accessory attaches to your clipper and you simply choose the size of the comb to get the trim length you desire.


Decide how much you're willing to spend on dog clippers. Prices generally range between $50 and $200, depending on quality, features and speed. Shop around online and in-person to find the best deal. You can often find clippers bundled in a grooming kit, which also includes guide combs and blade oils.

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