Clipper vs. Trimmer: Primary Differences and Best Uses

There is a certain difference between clippers and trimmers that you should be aware of before you pick the right tool for the job.
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Last updated: August 26, 2023
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Styling the hair has always been a focus of man through history. There are so many hairstyles today, and there are different tools used in achieving these looks. This post focuses on two tools used in dealing with hair on the body, on the head, or the face. These are the clipper Trusted Source Hair clipper - Wikipedia A hair clipper is a specialised implement used to cut human head hair. They work on the same principle as scissors, but are distinct from scissors themselves and razors. and the trimmer. Many people are confused about these terms, not knowing the differences between them. In this clipper vs trimmer comparison guide, we will consider the differences between the two.

To know how they differ from each other, we will see how each one works, the advantages and disadvantages. At the end of the article, a comparison table gives you a quick review of some of the most significant differences between them.

How does a clipper work?

Clipper vs. Trimmer: Primary Differences and Best Uses

Have you seen your barber prepare the haircut routine with a device that looks like your typical trimmer but with deeper blades? If you have, then you have seen the clipper.

A clipper is a tool used to cut the hair and is designed to cut different hair lengths, including long hair smoothly. The clipper can be used at the salon or at home and will have different comb attachments. Each of these attachments gives you a different length of cut.

Knowing the size of the attachments, known as guards, helps the barber know the desired length to cut. These guards ensure that you don’t have a shorter haircut than what you desire.

The guards are available in different sizes, and 0 is the smallest cut. It is where you use the clipper without using the comb. The sizes run up to 8 for clippers.

When do you need one?

Clipper vs. Trimmer: Primary Differences and Best Uses

Clippers are the devices best suited for professional barbers today. It has become the tool of choice for most barbers. While some exist, most barbers have jettisoned the comb and scissors for cutting hair in favor of the clipper. Today, clippers serve the purpose of clippers.

Unlike shavers, clippers are very like trimmers. Instead of shaving the hair off, clippers are used for cutting the hair.

They are more diverse than trimmers, though, because they can cut more lengths and let you do more. You need a clipper for the following:

  • Cutting different hair lengths
  • Customizing the length of hair using the guide combs
  • Complete removal of body hair

With the clipper, it is possible to get a quick haircut with minimal fuss.


There are plenty of advantages offered by clippers. Here are some of the advantages of using a clipper:

  • Great for cutting long hair into something shorter
  • It comes with plenty of accessories
  • It gives a clean, professional appearance
  • Quick to use


While clippers are generally excellent tools, there are some downsides to using them. Here are some of them:

  • Clippers do not cut close.
  • They are not great for short hair
  • It requires regular oiling
  • Requires frequent maintenance

How does a trimmer work?

Clipper vs. Trimmer: Primary Differences and Best Uses

A trimmer is a tool that is, as the name implies, used to trim the hair. It isn’t for cutting off all the hair but is for trimming the hair to a shorter length.

However, the trimmer can also work as a shaver, and you can use it to trim the hair to a very short length. Wahl makes different types of hair removal tools, and they have some of the best trimmers. Reviews have indicated the Color Pro from Wahl is one of the best of its type.

Note, though, that the trimmer should not be used as a device for getting a smooth shave. They are not equipped for that level of precision.

When do you need one?

Clipper vs. Trimmer: Primary Differences and Best Uses

Trimmers come in pretty handy for different purposes. For example, they are ideal tools for the following:

  • Trimming the length of your mustache
  • Shortening the length of your beard
  • Trimming the hair in the nose and ear
  • Trimming the hair of private areas

These tools are excellent for styling, and this is where they get the most use. Due to the design, they help to trim hair and make it into an attractive style. As said, it can also cut hair to a short length. If you want a close shave, a trimmer will not give you that because there will always be some hair left over. You can check out one of the most highly recommended trimmers from Philips. It offers plenty of useful features that will help you get the perfect cut.

Some people confuse it with the shaver; however, the shaver helps you get a close, clean shave. You can check out some affordable shavers here.


The hair trimmer is great for trimming shorter hair. Some of the advantages of the trimmer are:

  • It is possible to style the hair using a trimmer
  • It is made to give you close cuts
  • Trimmers are versatile and can manage to provide you with a clean look
  • It is less aggressive than a shaver and often comes with hypoallergenic blades


As with the clipper, there are also certain downsides to trimmers. Here are some of the disadvantages:

  • It is not good for long and thick air
  • It is not for folks that don’t shave often

Clipper vs Trimmer: Side-by-side comparison

Here is a table that gives a quick overview of the comparison between the clipper and the trimmer.

Clipper Trimmer
Functions and uses For long hair For shorter hair
Efficiency High efficiency High efficiency
Versatility Highly versatile Less versatile
Durability High durability Lesser durability
Price Expensive Cheaper

Final Thoughts

Overall, the trimmer and the clipper are very similar tools for hair removal. A consideration of the features indicates that the most significant difference between the two tools is the blade size. Clippers are made to cut longer hair, while the trimmer is just for shorter hair. Which should you use?

Well, if you have long hair and want to remove some inches, then the clipper would be your best bet. The trimmer also comes in handy in case you want to style your hairstyle. You can choose a trimmer from the Andis brand as it makes some of the more versatile options.

The clipper vs trimmer debate is one whose winner depends on why you need either of them. Both of them can work together to give you a nice, fancy haircut.


Hair clipper - Wikipedia
A hair clipper is a specialised implement used to cut human head hair. They work on the same principle as scissors, but are distinct from scissors themselves and razors.
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