There’s a vast range of corded and cordless clippers and trimmers to choose from, depending upon skill level, budget and frequently-groomed coat types. With all those options, how are groomers supposed to determine what’s the best fit for the salon? If you’re like me, you’re always looking for the smoothest clipping through the thickest coat, something that’s lightweight and comfortable in the hand, quiet enough so as to not disturb the animals being groomed and features cool running blades, too.
When conducting my research for this article, I examined corded and cordless clippers/trimmers of varying versatilities and effectiveness. Overwhelmingly, it seems that today’s groomers are favoring cordless, lithium-ion full size clippers/trimmers. It’s easy to understand why—lithium-ion technology is the first battery type that works as hard as we do, and the added freedom of not being attached to a cord is suitable for every groomer’s busy day.
I’m completely cordless at my salon and have been for years. My first Oster Volt lithium-ion clipper lasted over five years before needing any repair, though I don’t recommend waiting that long; I was simply testing the clipper’s longevity. I also like to use more than one cordless clipper, which includes a heavy-duty Oster 3000i cordless lithium-ion clipper for thicker coated dogs, and a second Oster Volt cordless lithium-ion clipper that can groom anything, but runs a little slower and stays cooler for regular coats.
Additionally, I have an original Andis Pulse ZR cordless lithium-ion clipper that’s still working and is a touch quieter than the others, and I also have a Wahl Bravura cordless lithium-ion trimmer that I use for sanitary trimming, poodle faces, feet, tails and other breeds that require detailed work.
For most groomers, the important thing needed for any great clipper to work is driving force through the hair, known as torque. Essentially, torque is the amount of force applied to an object with a twisting motion, which can be built up from the power source, gear drive or a combination of both.
It’s best to hear about the products from the companies who create and manufacture them, so I sat down with Doug Tylor, national account manager—retail at Wahl Clipper Corporation; Michelle Eskowski, product marketing manager at the Andis Company; and Deirdre Heneghan, marketing associate for professional pet division, Conair Corporation to discuss popular clipper/trimmer models and preferences.
What clipper is considered the work horse in your line up? Why?
Tylor: KM10, KM5 and the Wahl KM CORDLESS 2-speed professional clippers are all getting a lot of attention, but the KM Cordless clipper sparks the most interest for me. It combines the KM10 signature brushless motor with lithium-ion technology to bring us Wahl’s very first detachable blade cordless clipper. It runs at 3000 and 3700 strokes per minute, and features a 2-hour cordless run time and cord/cordless capability. Constant speed control makes the KM Cordless ideal for heavy duty clipping by automatically delivering more power and torque in tough areas. It also includes a quick charge feature to provide 15 extra minutes of clipping for every 10 minutes it charges.
Eskowski: So many of our clippers come to mind, but over and over again, the Pulse ZR II rises to the top for groomers. Ideal for long grooming sessions, the Pulse ZR II is equipped with lithium-ion power and a heavy-duty rotary motor to deliver a 3-hour run time from a 2-hour charge. Adjustable from 2500 to 4500 strokes per minute, the cord-less clipper offers cut-length versatility to achieve a smooth finish and the detachable blade system makes for easy cleaning.
Heneghan: Within our BaByliss PRO PET line, the BPP85 two-speed professional brushless motor corded clipper offers features that professionals demand, including a powerful, high torque and quiet brushless motor with over 4000 hours of motor life and two-speed performance. This clipper is ergonomically designed with a slim waistline to allow for a better grasp while grooming and features a pop-up head cap for easier cleaning and maintenance.
What is your most popular lithium-ion full size cordless clippers and trimmers? How does each clipper elevate the professional groomer’s clipper work?
Tylor: Our most popular light duty clipper, the Bravura Lithium, combines the power and durability of lithium-ion battery innovation with the adjustable 5-in-1 blade to give groomers everything they need in a lightweight cordless clipper. The Bravura’s re-chargeable lithium-ion battery has a 90-minute cordless run time and will operate at full power until the battery is completely depleted. Recharge in 60 minutes or simply plug the cord in and continue to clip. It’s also ergonomically designed to fit comfortably in your hand.
Additionally, the Creativa is a lithium-ion cordless that has everything groomers love about the Bravura, with the added features of two removable lithium-ion batteries that feature a 75-minute run time and a 50-minute full charge time. Our lithium-ion batteries work the way groomers do and having different cordless clipper options give groomers the freedom to clipper any type coat and to comfortably work around any size dog or cat.
Eskowski: It has been the year of the Pulse ZR II for us! This tool remains Andis’ most popular clipper option due to its long battery life, adjustable speed and heavy-duty rotary motor. The clipper runs for 3 hours on a single charge and has the strength to last through the toughest grooming jobs. Detachable blades allow for cut-length versatility and easy post-groom clean up. The Pulse ZR II is the total package for serious groomers.
Groomers need a clipper that will perform every time they have a client—no matter if it is a puppy or a fully-grown Standard Poodle. With the Andis Pulse ZR II, groomers know that they have in their hand a tool versatile enough to get any job done right, strong enough to clip through any problem along the way and reliable enough to last through the entire job.
By making a variety of different blades, we allow groomers to customize their tools to what works best for them. Additionally, we offer replacement batteries for cordless clippers so groomers can swap out batteries and stay grooming even on their busiest days, and we released a new Detachable Blade Clipper Grip Accessory, which fits multiple Andis detachable blade clippers to provide groomers with extra comfort and grip when working all day.
Heneghan: The BaByliss PRO PET is two-speed professional brushless motor corded clipper currently offers the greatest selection of technical features for professional groomers. Our single-speed and two-speed brushless motor clippers offer over 4,000 hours of motor life for long lasting use. They feature a lightweight design and quiet sound. These clippers are designed with great power to allow for the grooming of horses as well. Regarding torque, our two-speed brushless motor clipper features 40+ lbs. of cutting torque to provide greater power.
We additionally carry two metal lithium-ion trimmers that offer the same great features, just in your preference of metal. With rose gold and silver metal housing selections, you are able to personalize your grooming tools and carry a long-lasting trimmer. Designed with a lithium-ion battery, the cordless feature enables easy movement with a 3-hour runtime, while its brushless motor allows for a powerful but quiet trimming and a lightweight design. The charging stand is included with these trimmers to provide convenient charging in between grooming sessions. For versatile usage, these trimmers can be used plugged in or cordless.
We have specifically designed these clippers with professional groomers and their needs in mind. The ergonomic design and brushless motors allow for a powerful, quiet grooming with a longer lasting clipper life. For additional convenience, the single and two speed clipper has a 10-foot swivel cord which enables easier movement, and the pop-up head cap allows for easier cleaning and maintenance.
Though the follow companies weren’t formally interviewed for this piece, I’m quite familiar with their clippers/trimmers and decided to include their offerings, as well.
ARTERO (founded in 1909 in Barcelona) created the Artero Hit Cordless Lithium-ion clipper, a high-quality, reliable cordless clipper intended for professionals. The 3,000 RPM provides the ideal speed and balance for smooth finishes and to prevent the blades from getting too hot. At 12.5 ounces, this clipper helps in reducing hand fatigue when grooming dogs all day.
Additionally, the company offers Artero Spektra Lithium-ion cordless clipper, which has a 4-in-1 Artero X-Tron blade and guard comb attachments: 3 mm., 6 mm., 9 mm., 12 mm., 15 mm., 18 mm., 21 mm. and 25 mm. This clipper has a 5-speed control button and an LCD monitor display showing blade size, speed and battery level.
For its part, Aesculap lithium-ion cordless clipper DURATI is a small animal cordless clipper with an outstanding performance. The light, balanced weight paired with the customary performance and well-engineered battery run times enables an extra-long run time, with a cutting speed of 3000 strokes per minute.
The AKKURATA GT405, also offered by Aesculap, is designed for small areas on dogs, such as the pads, belly, head and face. It features a clipping head made from carbon steel, and is easy to fit in the hand due to its slim shape and weight of just 250 g., which includes the battery and the clipping head. Extremely quiet with little vibration, it features five clip-on combs in 4 mm., 8 mm., 12 mm., 16 mm. and 20 mm.
Finally, Aesculap’s lithium-ion cordless trimmer EXACTA is for precision contouring and the specialist areas, such as paws and face. The lithium-ion battery technology gives up to 120 minutes of clipping with a 90-minute charging time. Coming in at 125 g., low vibration and quietness, the blade is made with carbon steel with a cutting length of approximately 0.5 mm. and the cutting width is approximately 24 mm. It also has a set of four comb attachments with lengths of approximately 3-6 mm.
No matter which clippers fits your needs, don’t forget to regularly clean and maintain the clipper and the blades. It’s essential for optimal performance when elevating your clipper work.
A blade should be cleaned after every use to stay in peak working order, always clean and ready when you need them. And don’t forget the blade oil—just a few drops of oil to the rails of the blade while the clipper is still running to re-lubricate the blade is a great habit to form.
Additionally, please note that clipper blades product friction while in operation, which is what causes the blade to heat up. Clean, oiled blades with remain cooler and ensure longer runtimes. PB
Chris Pawlosky is a Certified Master Groomer, professional handler, breeder, grooming show judge and successful pet store and grooming shop owner (The Pet Connection) since 1985. For 20 years, she served as national training manager for Oster Professional Products, where she developed new initiative educational material to educate at schools and conventions all over the world. Pawlosky is currently working with Judy Hudson to produce the Grooming Professors—a service through which the two industry veterans share their many years of grooming, competing, dog show conditioning and handling with groomers across the country via Facebook and through an interactive website where visitors can access webcasts and videos about everything grooming related.