If you have a long-haired or curly-coated dog, then you know frequent grooming is a must. Whether your dog needs a light trim every couple months or a full cut every six weeks, grooming your pet at home will save you a lot of money.
And as long as you aren’t shooting for a professional breed standard cut, grooming your dog yourself isn’t that difficult. With the right tools and knowledge, you can keep your dog looking their best without spending a fortune at the groomers.
Keep reading for tips on how to groom your pet at home, what tools you’ll need to do it right, and our picks of the top five best dog clippers.
Grooming 101: What Kind of Cut Does Your Dog Need?
Before deciding whether or not you can clip your dog’s hair at home, you need to think about the type of groom they need.
If your dog is matted or their coat is otherwise in poor condition, you are better off leaving the job to the professionals. Matted hair can be difficult to remove without accidentally cutting into the dog’s skin.
A professional groomer can also identify products and use techniques to help bring your dog’s coat back to optimal health.
If your dog’s coat is in good condition, then you still need to consider the look you’re after. Unless you have been to grooming school or cut hair professionally, you probably don’t want to try for a show quality cut at home.
But, with quality clippers and a little trial and error, you should be able to do a simple cut on your dog, assuming they will cooperate. Of course, how difficult a “simple” cut will be depends on your dog’s coat.
Dogs with long, straight hair, like a Yorkie, can be trimmed or cut short with relative ease. In either case, you will have to do some light trimming around the eyes, ears, and mouth.
Make sure you use scissors for these sensitive areas and not clippers. If your dog is nervous about grooming or has a tendency to startle during grooming, you’ll need to be extra careful during this part of the job and may be better off having a professional do it.
If you want your dog’s coat trimmed short, like a puppy cut, use clippers with a guard comb to get the length you desire. If you want to keep the long, flowing look intact, trim the ends of the coat with scissors, similar to how you would cut a human’s hair.
If you have a double-coated dog, like a Sheltie or golden retriever, you can trim the ends of the coat as needed, but never shave them. Double coated dogs rely on their thick coat for insulation from the cold and the heat, and shaving them can damage the hair for years.
If you have a curly-coated breed like a poodle or a bichon, your best bet for home grooming is a short cut done with clippers. You can choose different length comb guards to achieve a tight summer cut or a poofier winter cut.
If you’re hoping for a longer cut, like a show groom or long teddy-bear cut, you’re better off going to a professional. These types of cuts usually require a standup dryer or hand dryer for shaping.
These are expensive tools for the typical owner to invest in. Not to mention these types of cuts take a lot of skill to get right.
What to Look for When Choosing Clippers for at Home Grooming
Once you’ve decided what kind of cut you want and feel confident you can do it yourself, it’s time to choose your clippers.
There are a lot of options available and many different brands to choose from. Which is right for you will depend on what exactly you want to use them for, how much you want to spend, and your grooming setup.
Most rechargeable or battery-operated clippers can easily get through a small dog before they run out of juice. But, if you have a large dog like a standard poodle or want to attempt a more intricate cut, opting for plug-in clippers or ones with extra-long battery life is probably a good idea.
The best pet clippers come with a variety of snap-on combs so you can cut your dog’s hair to different lengths. If you plan to do cuts with large variations, like between seasons, you’ll want to choose a clipper set with many comb options, but, if you plan to do basically the same simple cut all year long, you can save money by buying a smaller set.
Heavy clippers are often a sign of quality and tend to last longer than the light, plastic variety. But do keep in mind that you will be holding them for extended periods, especially if you have a larger dog, so finding a balance between quality and weight is key.
If you are going to be using the clippers for an extended period, choosing one that is ergonomically shaped will help avoid hand cramps and other discomforts.
If your dog’s standard trim will include face clipping and paw cleaning, you may want to consider getting a full set of grooming tools, one that includes quality clippers as well as grooming scissors, brushes, and maybe even nail trimmers.
Don’t forget about the comfort of your dog when choosing your clippers. Petmd.com recommends using a number 10 blade for dog grooming, but you may want to consult with your dog’s current groomer on what would work best for their coat.
Another aspect that may not be a huge deal to you but a deal-breaker for your pup, is the amount of noise the clippers make. Nervous dogs will do much better with a quieter clipper.
Additional Tools You’ll Need for Grooming Success
Of course, quality clippers aren’t the only thing you’ll need to groom your dog at home. You’ll also need a variety of bathing, brushing, and other grooming supplies to get the job done right.
- Shampoo – Never use human shampoo or conditioner of your dog. They need special, pet-specific products that are safe for their skin and eyes.
- Conditioner – Dogs with long, tangled, or dry coats may benefit from a pet-specific conditioner. But, keep in mind that conditioner can weigh down the hair and may not be the best choice for long cuts on curly-coated dogs.
- Combs – Quality metal grooming combs are a must if you plan to do any special styling of your dog’s coat or to free trim curly coats at a longer length. They can also be helpful for trimming around the face and ears.
- Brushes – Bushes come in a variety of styles. Some are made to pull out the undercoat during shedding season while others have soft bristles meant to style thin, long coats like that of a silky terrier.
- Scissors – Don’t think you can substitute your kitchen scissors for a proper pair of grooming scissors. These special metal scissors are made to be extra sharp to avoid pulling and are shaped to trim around sensitive areas.
- Small Clippers – Clippers with extra-thin heads make trimming the hair on the bottom of your dog’s paws much easier. They can also be used for more precise sanitary trims and on the face.
- Nail Clippers -There are a variety of nail clipper types out there to fit every size and shape of nail. You may even consider buying a dremel tool if your dog is afraid of traditional nail clippers.
If you need more information on the best grooming tools for dogs, check out this article.
Many of our dog clipper reviews below are of kits that include some of the tools mentioned above. Bundling your tool purchases can definitely save some extra money.
Reviews of The Best Dog Clippers
#1. Sminiker Low Noise Cat and Dog Clippers Rechargeable Cordless Pet Clippers Grooming Kit
First on our list of the best dog hair clippers, are quality clippers complete with everything the novice groomer needs to get started. The Sminiker clipper kit combines a quality ceramic blade with a price to fit most budgets.
This low noise clipper is designed with your pet’s comfort in mind. The uniquely shaped blade edge was designed to reduce accidental skin cuts and the durable ceramic blade won’t heat up and burn your pet as some metal blades will.
Plus, the blade is built to last. The titanium fixed blade won’t rust and neither blade ever needs to be sharpened.
This is one of the best dog clippers for home use because of its multiple safety features and the additional elements included in the kit. Along with the clippers, charger, and cleaning tools, you’ll also receive a comb, four blade guards (3 to 12mm), trimming scissors, and a carrying case.
These cordless clippers have a nice 6 to 8 hour run time but do take about 3 hours to charge.
If you’re looking for the best grooming clippers but aren’t willing to pay the price of a professional set, this kit is the perfect choice for you.
#2. Oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers Low Noise Rechargeable Cordless Electric Quiet Hair Clippers Set for Dogs Cats Pets
The Oneisall clipper kit comes in at a close second on our list of the best dog grooming clippers. This kit includes everything our number one choice does and comes in multiple color options for the fashion-forward owner.
Like our choice of the best-rated dog clippers by Sminiker, this kit includes a charger, four blade guards (3 to 12mm), a comb, and scissors. The clippers also come in gold, red, or silver.
Where these clippers fall behind our number one choice is in run time. But, while these clippers may only run for about 80 minutes, they also only take about 80 minutes to charge and can be used while plugged in if needed.
So, while these may not be the best clippers for goldendoodles and other large dogs, they are one of the best for clippers for small dogs who don’t take long to trim.
These clippers also have a durable and heat resistant ceramic moving blade, but the stainless steel fixed blade isn’t as long-lasting as the titanium blade of our first choice. The blade can be easily detached for cleaning and replacement, though.
This clipper kit is about the same price as our number one choice and are quality clippers for any owner looking to do their dog’s grooming at home.
#3. Wahl Professional Animal Bravura Pet, Dog, Cat, and Horse Corded / Cordless Clipper Kit
If you’re looking for the best heavy duty dog clippers or the best professional dog clippers, look no further than our third choice. Wahl Professional animal clippers were made for owners who take their at-home grooming seriously.
This professional series clipper has an adjustable blade that moves between five different sizes to give you extra flexibility when shaping your dog’s coat. And, while this kit doesn’t contain a lot of extras, it does come with six comb guards for added cut customization.
The lithium-ion battery only lasts 90 minutes between charges but can be used while plugged in. Best of all, this clipper only takes 60 minutes to fully charge and will run at full power until completely dead.
This versatile clipper is lightweight, but durable and comes in five flashy colors. It also comes with a charging stand or chord plugin to fit any grooming set up.
With all these features, this clipper can easily go head to head with the best Andis dog clippers on the market and it scores higher in customer reviews than most of their products at about the same price.
If you’re looking for the best pet grooming clippers for the at-home professional groomer and are willing to pay the higher price, this clipper kit is exactly what you need.
#4. IWEEL Dog Clippers, 2-Speed Professional Rechargeable Cordless Cat Shaver and Low Noise Water Proof Electric Dog Trimmer Pet Grooming Kit
Fourth on our list of the best clippers for dogs is a tool with a long battery life and a host of useful features and the lowest price tag for full-cut clippers on our list. The Iweel dog clipper is perfect for the owner looking to make grooming their dog at home simple and fast.
These clippers are 100% waterproof, perfect if you just need to do some light touch up work on your long-haired dog while they are still in the tub. The waterproof feature also means these clippers are easy to clean and can be run under the faucet between uses.
Like all the best cordless dog clippers, these clippers hold a decent charge and will run for about 2.5 hours between charges. But make sure you leave them plugged in between uses because they take a long 4 to 5 hours to fully charge back up.
One nice feature these clippers have that others on the list don’t is a numbered display that will show you how much charge the clippers have left.
These clippers have a dual speed button, letting you choose between a slower and faster speed depending on the thickness of the hair you’re cutting. This makes these clippers some of the best dog clippers for schnauzers and other dogs with rough top coats and thinner undercoats.
Best of all, these clippers are cheaper than any of the others we’ve reviewed so far.
#5. VISSON Dog Clippers – Small Cats and Dogs Grooming Kit
Last on our list of the best animal clippers are a specialty clipper designed specifically for feet, faces, and other sensitive areas. The Visson narrow head clippers are a perfect addition to your grooming toolkit.
These clippers have an especially narrow head to allow you to easily manipulate the blade in small and hard to reach areas of your dog’s body. It is perfect for shaping the hair on the face and feet.
These are one of the best dog clippers for cocker spaniels and other breeds that tend to have a lot of fur between their toes. Normal clippers are difficult to maneuver in tight areas, but these specialty clippers can get into tight crevices easily.
And since these clippers are designed with an R shaped blade, they are much less likely to catch your dog’s skin or accidentally cut than traditional clippers. Like others listed so far, these clippers also feature a heat resistant ceramic blade.
These clippers only have a running time of 1 hour and take a surprising 4 hours to charge. Still, given the low price and specialty application, you may want to consider adding these clippers to your collection if your dog requires any trimming done around the face, paws, or between the legs.
What are the Best Dog Clippers?
After comparing the highest rated dog clippers, their functions, and battery life, we’ve named the Sminiker Low Noise Pet Clippers the best dog clippers on the market for home grooming.
These simple clippers are perfect for the novice groomer hoping to save some money by giving their dog a haircut at home. The durable ceramic and titanium blade mean these clippers will last forever, while the simple design and additional grooming tools included in the kit mean you can start grooming your dog right away.
If you are looking for clippers better suited for quick use in the tub or specialty clippers for those hard to reach places, we’ve included choices for those on our list as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Shih tzus have a double coat and are traditionally just trimmed and left with a longer cut. However, most owners of companion shih tzus prefer to clip their dogs short, often giving them a puppy cut or similar groom.
Any quality clippers will work well for a shih tzu’s coat as it is typically not too thin or too thick. The best dog clippers for a Yorkie or other medium coated small breed would also work well for a shih tzu.
If your dog has an especially thick coat, you need to find clippers with an adjustable blade and a lot of battery power in order to complete the groom in one sitting. You may even consider bypassing cordless clippers for traditional plug-in varieties, especially if your dog is large.
Since clippers can get hot and burn when used for long periods, it’s a good idea to find clippers with heat resistant ceramic blades. You can learn more by reading the Best Dog Clippers for Thick Coats.
In most cases, you’ll want to bathe your dog and completely brush and dry them before you trim their coat. This will assure a more even and balanced trim.
If you have a dog with an especially long or puffy coat and you plan to take a lot of fur off, you may want to do an initial trim first to reduce the amount of fur you need to wash. But always plan on doing the majority of the cutting and shaping after the dog is clean.
Whether you are using traditional nail clippers or a dremel, you always want to trim your dog’s nails by taking one thin section off at a time.
If your dog has clear or light nails, you should be able to see the quick through the nail. It will look like a darker colored section in the center of the nail extending out from the toe.
Only cut up to this quick.
For black nails, you will have to look at the point of the nail each time you cut. When a small black circle appears in the middle of the nail where you have cut, that means you are close to the quick and should not cut any further.
Summed Up: The Best Dog Clippers
|Name||Sminiker Low Noise Clippers||Oneisall Dog Shaver Clippers||Wahl Professional Clippers||Iweel Dog Clippers||Visson Slim Blade Dog Clippers|
|Clipper Features||Durable, safe blade, quiet, extra-long run time||Short charge time, multiple color options, reliable||Professional grade, durable, 5in1 blade size, quick charging time||Waterproof, dual speed, remaining charge display, affordable||Slim blade for specialty grooming, affordable, low noise|
|Run Time/Charge Time||6-8 hours/3 hours||1.5 hours/1.5 hours||1.5 hours/1 hour||2.5 hours/4-5 hours||1 hour/4 hours|
- Carol McCarthy. “DIY Tips for Grooming a Dog at Home” petmd.com.
- Dr. Jerry Klein. “The Dos and Don’ts of Home Dog Grooming and Hygiene” akc.org, 17 August 2018.