Clipper Mechanics

Learn about clipper variety, use and maintenance to help purchase the tool that’s right for you.

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When I entered the professional grooming world more than 30 years ago, my choices for clippers and blades were extremely limited, but the grooming landscape has since changed dramatically. Whether you are a pet owner looking to trim your own dog or a professional pet stylist with a large clientele, you have a lot of clipper and blade choices.

Variety and options
Clippers primarily fall under three different categories: trimmers (which are also known as detailers), general-purpose clippers and heavy-duty clippers. You’ll find electric and battery-powered options, as well as models that are fitted with vacuum-type hoses that whisk away the hair as soon as it’s cut. The overall quality and power of clippers vary greatly. Prices range from about $30 to well over $400. If a vacuum attachment option is added, the price increases. The old adage “You get what you pay for” certainly applies to clippers, whether they’re used casually or professionally.

Clipper blades come in a wide selection, as well. Some of the most basic clipper models have permanently attached blades that offer only one cutting length. Other clippers have blades that you can adjust via a finger control. Occasionally, this blade style is also removable and replaceable. The widest selection of blade choices comes with the detachable snap-on styles.

Most blades are made of molded steel. Many manufacturers add a special coating to minimize rust and inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and bacteria. Some blades have ceramic cutting components, which, when used properly, enhance the blades’ longevity.

Choosing a model
How do you know which clipper is right for you? First, assess your needs. Is the clipper for home use on one dog or will you use it at a professional level, grooming six to 12 dogs per day? What type of coat will you trim? Do you plan to trim all over or do touch-ups only?

Motor. Power is the name of the game. The type of motor, its size, and the gear ratio determine a clipper’s power. Think of clippers like cars. Small cars have engines that barely sip at the fuel, but don’t have the speed of a nimble sports car that can deftly maneuver through traffic. A big freight truck isn’t as fast, but it can haul a heavy load up a mountain. All three types of motors will get you from point A to point B, but the speed, engine power, and size of the vehicle determine how fast you get there and the comfort of the ride.

Want to read the full story? Pick up the June 2011 issue of DOG WORLD today, or  subscribe  to receive the best dog articles, dog news, and dog information every month!

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