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Hair clippers do a wonderful job helping you cut, trim, and style your hair. Having a pair of clippers is a great way to rock the look you like without having to visit the barber every now and then. But can you use hair clippers on your beard?
The short answer is yes; most of the time, it is ok to use a hair clipper for your beard. But there are certain things to keep in mind.
Below, you’ll learn more about hair clippers, beard trimmers, their differences, and when it’s okay to use hair clippers for your beard, so keep reading.
What is a hair clipper?
A hair clipper is a tool designed to cut scalp hair. The first hair clippers (manual) were invented somewhere between 1850 and 1890 by a Serbian barber Nikola Bizumic.
And while manual hair clippers still exist today, almost no one uses them, as electric clippers work much better and faster. It’s all thanks to one high school junior, Leo J. Wahl (yes, the founder of Wahl), who came up with the idea to have hair clippers operated by a motor. He sought a patent for his invention by 1919, and the rest is history.
Today, there are many different hair clippers on the market. For that reason, it’s not difficult to find the perfect hair clipper based on your needs and preferences. Some people prefer corded, whereas others are into cordless devices. Some hair clippers have a detachable blade, while others come with adjustable blades. You can buy clippers for fades, for lineups, for balding, you name it.
But don’t think that hair clippers are just for professional barbers and hairstylists. They are the perfect tool for everyone who wants to style and cut their hair at home. These devices allow you to experiment with different styles or maintain your current cut easily and cheaply.
Related Article: What are the different types of hair clippers?
What is a beard trimmer?
A beard trimmer is a handheld device created specifically to cut beards. These tools usually come with different length settings and rely on a set of thin metal blades stacked on top of one another to cut your beard.
Beard trimmers allow users to set the length they would like their beard to be. For example, if the guard is set up in a way it’s closest to the blades, it will cut your beard to a close stubble. On the other hand, the farthest distance gives you more hair length.
Most beard trimmers on the market are battery-powered, with rechargeable batteries, and just like hair clippers, they come in many different shapes and sizes. There are vacuum beard trimmers, stubble trimmers, and long beard trimmers, so again the options are endless.
What are the differences between a hair clipper and a beard trimmer?
Many of you would think that because both of these tools are designed to cut hair, they can be used for the same job. However, that’s not true. Although there is some truth to it, there are some key differences between them.
1. Blades have different lengths, sizes, and thickness
The main difference between a hair clipper and a beard trimmer is in the blade’s size and length. Hair clippers have larger blades because they are specifically created to cover larger areas and cut long hair. Beard trimmers have shorter blades due to their main function – to cut and trim beards, where hair is a lot shorter.
Compared to hair clippers, beard trimmers also have thinner blades. The thin design of the blades allows for better precision and makes it easier to focus on details when styling a beard. This is particularly important for taking care of shorter beards and stubbles.
It’s also useful to mention beard trimmers, more often than not, come with attachments (guards) that allow users to adjust the length of the hair. On the flip side, most professional hair clippers don’t include these attachments. Beard trimmers are, in one way, more versatile because you have the opportunity to adjust the device in a way that suits you the most.
2. Hair clippers have more powerful motors
The second big difference between beard trimmers and hair clippers is the power of their motors.
Because hair clippers are designed to cover bigger areas, their motors need to be more powerful in order to cut thick and dense hair. On the other hand, beard trimmers usually have weaker motors because they are designed for precision and don’t need as much power.
3. They are designed for different uses
While their main purpose is the same – cutting hair, these devices are designed for different uses. Beard trimmers are designed for more detailed work. For example, you can use this tool to outline, edge, shape, trim, and cut hairs on smaller areas such as your face, around the mustache, and the goatee.
On the other hand, hair clippers are designed for bulk hair cutting. You can’t use them in smaller areas.
Generally speaking, it would be impossible to say one device is better than the other. Their uses and design features are different. Each of these devices has its strengths and weaknesses. Ideally, you should get a hair clipper and a beard trimmer and use both when necessary.
Can you use hair clippers for a beard?
As you can understand, hair clippers and beard trimmers have different uses. While you can’t use a beard trimmer to cut hair (well, you can if you like making your life difficult), you can use hair clippers for a beard sometimes.
When you should or shouldn’t use hair clippers for a beard
While it’s okay for men with longer and thicker beards to use hair clippers instead of trimmers, sometimes such a practice should be avoided.
when you should use hair clippers for a beard:
- Your beard has a certain length: More precisely, you should use hair clippers if your beard is at least 1 inch. Even though this isn’t a rule, you can benefit more from hair clippers if your beard is long. What makes hair clippers suitable for this beard length is that, at this point, hair is already too thick and too long, and at this length, you need more power and larger blades to cut your beard quickly and effectively.
- You are in a hurry: If you’re on the go and want to style your facial hair quickly, a hair clipper could be helpful. A hair clipper will simply cut hair faster thanks to its wide blades and widely-spaced teeth.
- You need one grooming tool only: Generally speaking, it’s practical to own multiple devices. Having hair clippers and beard trimmers opens the door to many possibilities and allow you to take full advantage of each tool, depending on what you want to do. However, there are certain situations when having multiple devices just isn’t practical. A good example is traveling. When traveling, you can’t carry all your grooming devices. So, in this case, it’s better to have a tool that can do both jobs, and a hair clipper is a better option. This is because while it won’t offer you maximum precision, it will still get the job done.
When you shouldn’t use hair clippers for a beard:
- You have a short beard: When you have a shorter beard, you usually want to just shape it, and for that task, you need precision and not power. As you know by now, hair clippers are not famous for their precision, and if you want to style your beard, the best choice is a trimmer.
- You need it for edging and detailing: Styling your beard is not just about cutting or trimming it to a specific length or removing unruly beard hair. Instead, you need to pay a lot of attention to every detail. Edging and detailing are important for men with beards because they can make or break the entire look. Hair clippers are not suitable for that kind of work. The reason for that is simple – hair clippers have a wider and longer blade that isn’t as efficient as the narrow blade of a beard trimmer.
- You want to try a neat or polished look: Every man is different, which is why style preferences vary from one person to another. If you are aiming for a neat and polished look, you will not benefit from hair clippers that much. Again it has to do with the wide and long blades of hair clippers. They won’t give you the level of detail you are looking for (at least if you are not a pro), so it is better to use a tool designed for this job.
Hair clippers are practical in more ways than one. Probably the biggest evidence that supports that claim is that you can use them for your beard as well. But this is not always the case. Getting both a hair clipper and a beard trimmer is the safest bet.
Remember, while hair clippers can sometimes work for a beard, they aren’t a tool that you should always use. So think about your grooming goals and get the equipment that will allow you to reach them. Good luck!
Russell is the founder of themensattitude.com. He is a barber a beard enthusiast and he is obsessed with trying men’s lifestyle products and blog about them. If you have any questions you can hit him up via the contact page.