You’ve decided to give your doggo a cool and hip hair cut (fur cut?). Very nice. But what kind of clipper are you planning to use for that? I agree that a regular human clipper can get the job done. But you see, dog fur and human hair are significantly different from each other.
To work smoothly on thick fur, you will need a wider teeth blade and a more heavy-duty motor, to begin with. Most human clippers are tailor-made to finely trim human hair only unless it’s a specialized tool that has all the ideal features for pet grooming too.
But since finding one such tool can be difficult, it is safer to go with a dog clipper. You can’t go wrong with these as they are specifically designed to run non-stop through thick hair.
So, in general sense, in the battle between dog clippers vs human clippers, the former has an upper hand.
However, this doesn’t mean you can’t use human clippers for grooming your doggo. I have pampered Roby, my 6-year-old Golden Retriever with a human clipper for a long time before I switched to a dog clipper. He never complained, never nagged, always enjoyed his grooming session and if I don’t stop now, this article will end up about being Roby.
So coming back to the main topic, let me quickly break down the key differences between dog clipper and human clipper for your better understanding.
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Dog Clipper vs Human Clipper- Key Differences
Both types of clipper look the same, but when you give them a closer look, you’ll notice some visible differences. Here a few key aspects in which a dog clipper and a man’s trimmer vary.
Motor is the powerhouse of a clipper. It goes without saying that the more powerful the motor is (greater number of strokes per minute), the better. This statement is fully true for human clippers but not for dog clippers.
Animals like dogs can get easily frightened by loud motor noise and vibration. That’s why clippers specially designed for pets have a lightweight motor. There’s also another reason for this.
Whole body grooming of a furry dog takes much longer than styling human hair. Using a regular human clipper run by a robust motor can make the device heat up due to prolonged use. That’s also a reason why dog clippers use a less aggressive motor. It doesn’t heat up much no matter even if you use it for 1-2 hours.
Human clipper blade teeth have very little gap among them. It is because these clippers are designed to trim light and thin human hair. In order to smoothly cut long, thick fur without getting the blade stuck, dog clipper blades feature wide gaps between every two teeth. This type of blades are generally known as skip tooth blade and it also prevents painful fur pulling.
Dog clippers offer variable speed settings with a max speed of up to 5000 strokes per minute. Such high speed is essential to quickly trim long, thick strands of pet hair. You can easily lower the speed when you are working to the more delicate areas of the body.
Human clippers, on the other hand, do not usually offer such speed. This is because even the coarsest and unruliest human hair don’t require 5000-6000 strokes per minute sort of speed for styling.
Size of Cuts
Most human clippers feature standard-sized blades that trim hair 0.2 mm to 0.008-inches away from our scalp for a great finish. Getting the blade so close to the scalp is not likely to cause us any injury.
But that’s not the case with animals. The #10 blade used in most dog clippers leave at least 1/16 inches of hair from the scalp. It not only prevents their skin from getting bruised but also stops fur from getting caught up in the blade.
Dog clippers come with different size of combs, ranging from 1/16-2 inches. Just like human hair, there are various types and thickness of dog furs as well. So you must make sure you have multiple comb sizes for hassle-free grooming.
Most human clippers don’t offer combs longer than an inch. While this may not pose a problem for small dog breeds and puppies, you will have to buy large combs separately for giant dog breeds.
Human clippers are primarily designed for human hair, which doesn’t have a lot of layers. In my case, there’s is no layer at all. However, apart from rare exceptions like Yorkshire Terrier, most breeds have layer after layer of coat. The top coat layer guards the undercoat/wool. If your dog has an undercoat, you must get a proper dog clipper.
Can I Use a Human Clipper for Dog Grooming?
Sorry to disappoint you but there’s no one-liner answer to this.
It is the arrangement of the clipper blade teeth that will decide what you can do and what you cannot. As I said in the paragraph above, if your dog breed has an undercoat, you should only use a dog clipper. Using a human clipper for undercoat can lead to nasty nicks and cuts.
You should avoid human clippers to groom dogs covered in thick fur. Such devices simply don’t have enough juice to trim super thick fur without getting stuck again and again.
In short, if you wish to groom your dog frequently without causing him discomfort, I’d recommend a dog clipper over a human clipper any day.
However, in the following scenarios, you can use a human clipper for dog grooming-
- Your dog doesn’t have an undercoat.
- Your human clipper has all the prerequisites for grooming most dog breeds.
The good news is, after searching the web for hours, I finally found a human clipper which is just as good as any high-quality dog clipper. I’ve also reviewed the product in detail later on in this article.
How to Shave a Dog with Human Clipper?
If you just have no option other than a human clipper, relax. If you handle it correctly, even a human clipper can get you incredible results, without causing your doggo any discomfort.
Be patient and follow the steps below:
- Note that human clippers can easily get stuck in clumps of hair. This may cause pulling, and if that happens, you are in for a lot of trouble. So always wash the hair and brush it thoroughly to avoid tangled hair while clipping.
- Choose blade lengths and comb attachments depending on the thickness of far and how much you want to trim.
- If the fur is too long, it’s best to cut them short with a scissor before using a clipper. It just makes the job easier.
- Go slow. Start with the head, slowly making your way towards the shoulder. Touch up the sensitive areas like chest, throat, and chin in the end.
- Then gently move on to the legs. Raise each leg up, slightly bend to the side and keep clipping in the direction of the growth. Be careful not to fold the legs too much. This might make them uncomfortable and handling them will get much tougher.
- Once done, move on to the back, and finally the hind leg area. Be understanding and gentle. Whenever your dog flinches a little, stop right there, pamper him and start over.
- Once you’re done with clipping, finish off the grooming by touching up the nose, face, and paws with a small scissor. Be extremely careful while doing so.
- Last but most importantly, give your doggo his favorite treat to say thank you for being so patient.
Now it’s time for me to help you choose the best clipper for your dog.
Here are my top two recommendations:
My Go-to for Dog Clipper
Andis has been manufacturing top-of-the-line, professional grooming accessories since 1920. What I like the most about their tools is the fuss-free user interface combined with smooth functionality. The UltraEdge edition clipper I’m talking about is one of the most durable and power-packed devices from the house of Andis.
The clipper felt strong and heavy-duty upon taking in hand. The aesthetics itself was screaming of quality. Then I read the label on the box and found out that the body is made from shatterproof material. I didn’t have to do any further research to find out whether it is really true or not.
I accidentally dropped the clipper on the floor (please don’t ask me why or how), panicked for 10 seconds, picked it up and didn’t see the single scratch on it. For this reason alone, I felt like I got enough bang for the buck already. But practically speaking, a clipper is still useless if the blade material and blade speed are not good enough.
So is it good enough?
It utilizes a high-quality, supremely sharp carburized blade. You get two-speed settings to work with. While low speed is good for puppies and medium dogs with thin fur, the high setting is suitable for large, furry dogs.
I’m also happy with the fact that it is corded. Once an engineer friend told me that, corded devices can juice out way for power than their cordless counterparts. He was right, indeed. Never for once did I feel that the cord length is restricting my flexibility.
Also, maintaining the optimal functionality of the trimmer takes nothing, not even some rubbing oil. Just give the device a good shake and blow the hair bits off with a brush after using, that’s all it takes.
So, yes, it is quite good enough.
Despite operating at a tremendously high rotational speed, the motor is surprisingly quiet. This is the primary reason I chose this model over others. See, Roby can wage third world war if I try to trim his fur with a noisy clipper. It’s not just Roby, most animals get scared when you bring a noisy cutting device near them.
It offers two motor speed – high and low. I’d say even the low-speed setting will get the job done smoothly. However, if your pet is coated with long, thick fur, then the speed of 4400 strokes per minute is exactly what you’ll need for a smooth finish.
Add to that, it uses a specialized blade made from carburized steel. In case you don’t know what that means, carburization is the process of diffusing carbon into steel. Doing so makes the steel significantly harder and sharper.
A blade of such caliber can neatly, quickly and efficiently trim clumps of thick coat. Moreover, you don’t have to necessarily buy only UtlraEdge line blades for replacement. CeramicEdge, ShowEdge, and even Oster’s A5 blades are compatible with it.
Another feature I’m quite impressed by is the length of its cord. A 14-foot cord is enough to let me groom the hard-to-reach areas with ease. You might frown upon the fact that it is not cordless, therefore, it will end up restricting your movement. Trust me, nothing like that happens when the cord is that long.
Moreover, I personally find corded devices much more stable than cordless ones for professional grooming. Imagine you are grooming a hopelessly cranky, moody dog like mine and the power suddenly goes out. Annoying!
In case you are wondering if this clipper is ideal for your dog breed, let me try and help you. Here are a couple of breed names at the top of my mind who’d benefit the most from UltraEdge: Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Australian, and German Shepherds, Cocker, and Springer Spaniels etc.
What Could Be Better?
A lot of existing users say that the blade remains cool after prolonged use. Well, in my case, that’s wasn’t the case. The blade did get heated after a while. However, you can easily resolve this issue by using an air vent or cooling fan.
Another minor issue is that the package lacks accessories, not even a set of combs. This disappointed me a little.
Most Reliable Human Clipper for Dogs
Wahl grooming devices are quite a rage among hair stylists as well as barbers. From intricate styling to regular cuts, there’s barely anything you can’t accomplish with this tool. If you are a professional pet groomer who has to work with countless dog breeds every day, Wahl Professional 5-Star could be an ideal solution for you.
Personally, I am a big fan of corded/cordless grooming tools like this. The cordless application comes with a lot of mobility and convenience. But that’s not the best part about it.
What truly makes it one of the best cordless clippers for dogs is its battery life. One single charge and it should easily last for 1.5-2 hours. You can also use the clipper while charging it. You don’t have to worry in the event of power outage either. It comes with an 8-foot cord to help you carry on.
This model operates on a rotary motor, instead of a more popular and more powerful v9000 motor. Mind you, it is one of the key reasons I recommend this clipper for pet grooming.
You see, v9000 is a very aggressive motor and can cause misalignment of the blade if you are not careful enough. Rotary motor packs a lot of punch too without creating tons of noise and vibration. This is a very important feature for a good dog clipper.
For the blade, Wahl has opted for an STD blade/ stagger-tooth crunch blade. It’s sharp and cuts like a hot knife through butter. The crunch blade also helps to easily lift the fur while cutting.
Wahl Professional 5-Star feels truly professional in your hand. The weight and balance of the sophisticated-looking clipper are impeccable. Even if you are a new user, you shouldn’t face any problem making precision cuts in a short time.
The credit for such amazing efficiency also goes to the STD blades. The blade trims both short/thin and thick/unruly coat with ultimate smoothness and precision. You can experiment with different trimming styles, giving your doggo a new hair cut without spending tons in a pet grooming salon. How awesome is that?
You will also get an instruction manual to guide you through your “experimental” days.
As expected from a clipper made for professionals, the package includes all the useful accessories you’ll need. From different-sized combs to cleaning oil, cleaning brush and blade guard for fuss-free maintenance, you’ll get it all.
I’d recommend this for both puppies and adult dogs of the following breeds:
Cocker Spaniels, Pomeranians, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Huskies, Shih Tzus, Poodles, Yorkshire Terriers and Labradors. This list is not rigid. It’s just that I can’t remember anymore name right now.
What Could Be Better?
Finding a genuine fault in this model is tough. But if I really have to nitpick, I’d say the quality of the blade guard could be improved. It tends to fall off frequently which is annoying. Other than that, this product is as close to perfection as it gets.
In conclusion, I’d like to say that whatever clipper you chose, make sure it has all the essential features for dog grooming. If you strictly ask my personal views then yes, you can definitely clip dog fur with human clipper.
I focus more on the specifications of a clipper than anything else. As long as it can effectively and safely trim Roby’s glorious golden fur to perfection, I don’t mind even if it’s a human clipper or alien clipper. Follow the same approach and I’m sure you will figure out what is best for your dog.