A hair trimmer is an essential tool within any barbershop. You commonly see trimmers, clippers, and shavers, but what is the difference?
Clippers are commonly larger and are designed to cut more bulk so the blades have to be thicker in order to prevent flex and increase longevity. They are meant to provide sturdiness for use with the individual guide combs and add durability as well.
Trimmers are anatomically smaller units and are primarily used for the edges and to create lines.
A hair shaver is used to clean up the facial area and get closer on the sides of the subject.
Let’s look specifically at hair trimmers for fine adjustments. What specifications should we look for in a hair trimmer?
It is important to consider a few key areas such as the blade type, the sharpness of the blade, and whether they are self-sharpening.
The shape of the trimmer blade will have an impact on the positioning and maneuverability of the whole trimmer unit. Opting for a T-blade will give you greater control around tricky areas like the ear and flanking down the neck because the edges are curved. T-blades are also great for detailed edging on beards and mustaches. For everything else, standard square blades are good choices and can be used for more general purposes like shaving.
Do your hair trimmers come with guide combs? There is certainly utility with having guide combs for your hair trimmers in addition to your hair clippers. A barber may use this to get close edging details done but not go into the scalp. This would help distinguish between gradations of hair. Guide combs are available in either plastic or metal. Plastic is a more affordable option but has the potential for flexing, while some may prefer the aesthetic and sturdiness of metal guide combs.
Next, consider the ergonomics of your hair trimmers because these will vary in terms of weight, shape, and flexibility.
A cordless hair trimmer will often be lighter despite the battery size used with improving innovations. These are expected to last through a full work day. The performance of the hair trimmer will also be affected by the battery level remaining in the unit. Generally you can expect around 3 hours of use for the wireless hair trimmers. The battery will also influence the shape of the trimmer, adding more width to the unit although this can be mitigated with ridges to help with grip and movement. Trimmers with the blades protruding out a bit from the body are often preferred and allow for more precise movements.
How do you maintain your blades? Blade maintenance is essential for the longevity and performance of your hair trimmers.
Many blades are already sharp out of the box and are calibrated to be zero gapped. Many barbers will actually make slight adjustments because zero gapping can be extremely sharp and increase the risk of nicking the client. Spend some time testing out the hair trimmers before using it on clients to prevent any injuries. For certain scenarios, a razor will always be more precise than any zero gapped hair trimmer so consider the different use cases. It is also important to remember that lines will look sharp if there is strong contrast, meaning there is a graduated movement from longer to shorter hairs. Thinning the hair too much at the edge can cause a duller line even if you were to go over it with a razor blade.
Other special considerations to make when choosing a hair trimmer is whether you prefer consistent power throughout the day. If so, a corded option will be a better choice although maneuverability can be compromised. Some wireless hair trimmers do not have a long enough charging cable to allow for continued use while charging so pay attention to the battery life.
Do the trimmer blades heat up a lot? The motors within some models can generate significant heat and may require that the trimmers rest for 10 minutes or more. You can choose to use a cool towel to prevent the blades from burning the client if there is too much heat.
Hair trimmers are excellent tools for achieving close, tight edges. Focus on the blade type, ergonomics, and proper preparations when deciding on the right trimmer. Selecting a good trimmer will allow you to achieve the contrast needed before using your razor to get the lines nice and sharp.