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You need a fresh haircut for an outing with friends or for a hot date with the girl you met on Tinder. So, you switch your hair clipper on, but while it is buzzing, it won’t cut. You switch it off and on again, but nothing happens. Argh! Frustrating right?
The truth is that finding out why your clipper is not cutting is not that easy, especially if you are not familiar with how hair clippers work.
But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! In this post, we’ll explain why your hair clipper is not cutting and also give you quick fixes, tips, and tricks you can use to remedy the situation. So let’s start by examining the 7 most common reasons your hair clipper is not cutting.
Seven Reasons Your Hair Clipper is Not Cutting
1) The clipper blades are dirty
Your clipper blade is the first thing you should examine when your clipper isn’t cutting. Using the blades for a prolonged period without cleaning or oiling them will blunt them, and they will finally stop cutting altogether.
Every time you trim your hair, specks of dirt like dust, hair remnant, and grease get into the clipper blades. And when these specks of dirt accumulate, they can stop your hair clipper from functioning effectively. This is why you need to clean your clipper blades after each use.
Most hair-clipper users don’t like cleaning the hair-clipper blades after each use because it is a boring process. But unfortunately, it is something you have to do if you want to keep your clipper working properly.
To clean your clippers blades, you need to detach the blades and clean them thoroughly with soap and water, and then dry them well.
2) You applied too much or too little oil
There’s no doubt that oil is good for hair clippers. But it must be applied in reasonable quantity and frequency because adding too much or too little oil is just as harmful as no oil.
Excess oil will clog the teeth of your clipper blades, and your hair will get stuck, preventing your hair clipper from cutting. At the same time, little oil will lead to overheating and damage of the blades.
Ideally, you need to apply two to three drops of oil to grease your clipper blades every time after using them. If you accidentally apply too much clipper oil, wipe it off with a tissue, a clean cloth, or paper.
Applying the correct amount of oil at the correct frequency will minimize friction, and the blades will slide against each other and cut hair with ease. But it is not only about the effectiveness of your clipper blades. The correct amount of oil will also extend the life of your blades. (If you are out of oil, read this article with the best hair clipper oil alternatives and choose one).
You should also keep in mind that it’s essential to clean your clipper blades before oiling them. This way, the oil will have a better lubricating effect on your clipper. First, remove any grime or dirt inside the hair clippers with a toothpick, and then use a blade wash solution and a brush to clean them.
Now we have talked about why it is important and what is the correct way and frequency of oiling the blades, let’s see how to do it step by step.
After you have cleaned and dried the blades, put them back on. Then apply the oil across the clipper blade’s teeth. After applying the oil, turn on the clipper to help the oil spread between the blades evenly.
That’s it; this is how you oil your clippers! Always remember that your oil is essential for your clipper, so don’t forget to oil it regularly. To see learn more about how to oil your clippers read our article: “How To Oil Hair Clippers In Simple Steps“.
3) Your clipper blades are blunt
If you have oiled and cleaned the blades, the motor works just fine, but the clipper still doesn’t cut properly, then probably the blade teeth are blunt. This happens when the cutting edges of the blade are no longer sharp; hence, its ability to cut is reduced.
To check the sharpness of your clipper blades, you should try it on a part of your body with a few weak hair strands (like your hand). If it cuts the weak hair strands, but when you try it on your head, the blades don’t cut, then your blades are probably blunt.
The best way to fix blunt blades is to sharpen them. We suggest visiting a specialist to handle the sharpening process, especially if you have never done it before. Sharpening your clippers blades is not an easy process, and you can do more harm than good if you don’t know how to do it. If you are confident enough and want to try it yourself, you can read our guide, “how to sharpen hair clippers“.
4) Your blade bolts are too tight
If the bolts used to tighten the top blade (cutting blade) against the bottom blade (stationary blade) are too tight, your clipper won’t cut.
Overtightened bolts create a compressive force against the bottom blade, preventing it from sliding and, consequently, cutting hair.
The solution to this problem is very straightforward. Loosen the blade bolts, and then try cutting your hair again.
If it cuts, fine! But if it doesn’t, this is not the problem, and you have to keep troubleshooting.
5) The taper lever got worn out
The taper lever is a vital component of a hair clipper. It allows you to adjust how close your clipper will cut. It works by moving the clipper blades up and down against each other. If you move it up, you will get a closer cut, and if you move it down, you will get a longer cut.
But as your clippers age, the taper lever may show signs of wear and tear. It can become loose and change the closeness of the blades. If this happens, its cutting efficiency will reduce drastically, and it might even stop cutting.
You can fix worn-out taper levers by replacing them. We highly recommend contacting an expert for this, so you don’t damage your hair clippers.
Related Article: What is the lever on hair clippers for?
6) The clipper blade spring is weak
Your hair clipper might not cut properly when the blade spring is weak. To fix that, you must set the blade spring at the correct tension for the clipper to cut. The clipper spring’s work is to pressure the cutting blade against the stationary blade. If the pressure is too high, the cutting blades won’t move properly. On the other hand, if the pressure is weak, the blades will “pull” the hair or clog up and cause the clipper to heat up faster, making the clipper blades wear out quickly.
7) Damaged or Burnt coil
The main reason behind a damaged or burnt coil is high voltage, but it can also be due to prolonged usage without rest. When this happens, the insulators melt off, and as a result, the wires come in direct contact with the coil.
To check for a damaged coil, you should open up your clipper. Then bring the coil very close to your nose to see how it smells. A burnt smell indicates that the coil got burnt. The solution here is to hand over your clipper to a technician to fix or replace the coil.
Related Article: Do Clippers Damage Hair?
How to fix a hair clipper that isn’t cutting
Whether you are a new or experienced user, you need to know how to face basic clipper issues by yourself. You don’t need to be a technician to handle fundamental problems (of course, sometimes you have to give it to a technician).
So if you want to learn how to troubleshoot a hair clipper that isn’t cutting step by step, here are some tips:
1) Check the blade’s teeth
The first thing you need to check when your clipper isn’t cutting, and the motor is working is the teeth of the blades. Are all the teeth intact? Are the cutting edges still sharp? If there is visible damage to the blades, you know that you have to replace them. If there isn’t, move to step number two.
2) Clean the blades and apply some oil
We have talked about it in the previous section, so we won’t get into much detail about this. Just follow the steps we already mentioned to clean and oil your blades, and you will be good to go.
3) Sharpen the clipper blades
If you’ve cleaned and oiled the blades and it doesn’t solve the problem, sharpening your blades is the next logical step. You can either do it at home or head to a professional’s office and get them sharpened.
If you’re not sure whether to sharpen the blades or replace them straight away, remember that a sharpened clipper blade will work as well as a new blade, so it is worth giving it a go first.
If sharpening doesn’t do the trick, then it is time to replace your clipper blades. Remember that different clippers use different types of blades, so make sure you get the right replacement.
5) Check the speed screw
The power screw is often present on the right side of the clipper. You can test if there is a problem with the speed screw by screwing it in and out. Screwing the key in increases the voltage, and screwing it out decreases the voltage. If you increase the voltage and no change occurs, then the problem is something else, and you should move on.
4) Check the Power
After long-term use, the motor of the clippers gets weaker, and the power it delivers doesn’t move the blade fast enough to cut (you can read this article to learn how long do hair clippers last). To check the clipper’s power, pinch the cutting and stationary blades together. Then, turn it on. If the clipper blade doesn’t move because of the pressure from your hand, then its power is low, and you will have to either fix or replace the clipper.
It’s been such a fun ride we’ve had! We hope that these tips come in handy for you. There are several reasons why your hair clipper isn’t cutting well, but we’ve explored the seven most important reasons and suggested an exact step-by-step process to solve the problem.
If your clipper still doesn’t work after trying all our suggestions, then it is probably a good idea to buy a new hair clipper.
Always remember that your hair clipper needs proper maintenance to act its best. When you maintain it properly, you can tackle potential issues before they become a big problems.
Did you find our advice useful? What other tips would you add to this guide? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
Best of luck with your clipper, and happy fixing! : )
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.