Wahl claims their Elite Pro Haircutting Kit outshines competitor products – but is it true?
Over the years, I’ve used and reviewed many brands of hair clippers. Usually I don’t recommend home haircut kits. They’re packed with flimsy guide combs and useless accessories. But Wahl is an American standard. It should be different. Why? I’ll tell you why.
Go into any barber shop in the U.S. and peek at their workstation. You’ll see a pair of Wahl brand clippers. I’m not joking. Wahl is an institution. They don’t just make good clippers-they invented them. In 1919, nearly a hundred years ago, Leo J. Wahl introduced the first patent on an electric clipper. Not only that, Wahl invented the first cordless clipper in 1967.
I mean, the company started in Sterling, Illinois. You can’t get more American than Wahl.
There are new clipper brands out there that claim to outdo Wahl. But without Wahl, we wouldn’t have clippers. So, can Wahl’s famous industry standard apply to their consumer friendly haircutting kit? Read my Wahl Elite Pro review to find out.
A Quick Overview of the Wahl Elite Pro
|Features||Wahl Elite Pro|
|Cord Length||8 Feet|
What’s in the box?
Because this kit contains an assortment of items, I’ll review everything that comes with the kit, so you know exactly what you’re buying. The bundle includes:
- Elite Pro Clipper
- 8 Guide Combs
- Durable Plastic Storage Case
- Guide Comb Nylon Bag
- Styling Shears and Safety Cover
- Wahl Signature Hair Cutting Cape
- Clipper Oil and Brush
- Premium Hair Comb
- Blade Guard
- Cord Wrap
- Color Instruction Booklet
The Weight, Ergonomics, and Build Impressed Me
First off, the Elite Pro’s look nicely matches the entire kit. The Wahl logo stands out in the chrome circle inlay. The black and silver theme appears in many parts of the kit, which is a nice touch. The silver decorating on the front shines in the light and doesn’t scuff easily.
In my hands, the Elite Pro feels like a quality product. Because of the professional motor under the hood, the clipper has a heft you don’t normally find at the consumer level. Anyone used to cheaper clippers may find the Elite Pro to be too heavy. But, it‘s easy to get used to.
The On/Off switch flips over with an impressive thump sound. Speaking of sound, the clipper hums just like the ones you hear in a barber shop. It’s a quiet and steady sound, and I’ve grown to love it.
Wahl molded a loop on the bottom of the trimmer in case you wanted to hang it up on a wall, or hook inside a bathroom cabinet door. A small detail for sure, but one that is not included in many of their other models.
And speaking of the tail end, the power cord is thick. I’m talking heavy duty electrical cord thick. I don’t know how you’d fray this thing, unless you slice it with a knife. It’d easily withstand an accidental door jamb or two. Plus, where the cord attaches to the Elite Pro they’ve added reinforced rubber.
Lastly, the adjustable taper guide on the side stays in place when you set it. You want the taper guide to be trustworthy. A weak guide can slip as you cut and ruin a haircut in seconds. There’s a visible screw for quick tightening, but I doubt you’ll need to touch it.
The Industrial-Grade Motor is a True Work Horse
With the Elite Pro you get a professional level motor. It’s not their top motor, but significantly better than their other consumer level options.
Wahl claims the motor has 15% more power than their famous power drive motor, installed in the Clip-N-Trim and Chrome Pro models. I checked around and found that this is the motor used in their entry-level professional clippers, like the Taper 2000.
I know some people like the freedom of a battery-powered clipper. But I find battery-based clippers don’t last as long as corded ones. Not only that, but a cord is the only way to generate the stable, 120 volts you get with the Elite Pro.
That power is important. Keep in mind that a strong motor isn’t just important for thick hair. Thin hair also requires the power you get from a cord. Weaker, battery operated clippers miss hairs, forcing me to go over the same spot twice.
A hallmark difference between a good clipper and a cheap one is how long it takes to cut hair. When you make one pass and don’t have to do it again, well, that’s a premium clipper. With many home cut sets I review, the motor can’t handle thick hair, or it dies after a few weeks of constant testing.
In that case, the elite pro succeeds, even during quick movements where I’m tapering the motor doesn’t stop.
Quality Blade Means an Unprecedented Cut
Wahl’s Precision Premium Smooth Cut clipper blade is self sharpening and made in the U.S.A. It’s the same blade that comes in a few of their professional clippers. Having used several brands of clippers over the years, I can attest to their quality.
They claim the Precision blade cuts 40% faster than their standard blade. I can’t attest to the exact percentage, but having used other blades, the elite pro is a complain-free work horse. I’ve yet to have an issue with missed hairs or snags.
But remember, you have to keep the blade oiled for it to self-sharpen properly. These blades only stay sharp if they are free of hair and lubricated. That’s because they require a clean surface to maintain their sharpness. It’s a small detail, but if you don’t keep them clean, you’ll notice a decrease in performance.
With a little maintenance every time you use them, these blades will run for years. I‘ve known Wahls to last over a decade.
The Elite Guide Combs Are Professional Grade
Wahl claims the guide combs packed with the elite pro are 70% stronger than their basic combs, and they aren’t lying.
The metal clips are much better than the flimsy plastic ones on the cheaper models. These guys just won’t fall off. They make a satisfying pop sound when they clip on. Barber shops use nearly identical set of guides.
It may not seem like a big deal, but using durable guides means the teeth properly comb through your hair as you cut. This way you’re trimming evenly and don’t have to go over the same areas again and again.
The kit comes with 10 guides. All the basic sizes are here, ranging from numbers 1 to 8. The kit also includes two half sizes, 1/2 and 1 1/2. The half sizes prove this is a premium home cutting kit. With half sizes, you don’t have to try blending short hair with the whole numbered guides, which is annoying.
My only gripe with the guides is that they don’t include tapered ear attachments. Like I mentioned above, the Elite Pro is a bulky clipper. Maneuvering it around your ears can be a pain, and the ear attachments would’ve come in handy.
Clipper Oil and Brush Work Great… So Long as You Know How to Use Them!
The included clipper oil is good. I mean, it’s clipper oil. Which isn’t olive oil or WD-40 or massage oil. Clipper oil is actually white mineral oil, and you need to use it before and after every use.
The bottle of oil looks small, but it should last you a year or two. That’s because you only put two drops onto the brush, not the clipper blade. Remember, you want a thin layer, just enough that the blade shines. If you drop the oil onto the clipper, it’ll sink down through the neck and work it’s way down to the motor. Once that’s happened it’s only a matter of time until it loses power, or worse, shorts out completely.
According to Wahls own safety information, clipper oil is a product of petroleum. It’s completely safe. I know a lot of people use these clipper sets for their kids. The FDA allows white mineral oil in food, so don’t sweat throwing it on the blades. In fact, you need to!
Premium clippers like the Elite Pro are designed to last for a long time. But you must know how to care for them. I can easily track many negative reviews of Elite Pro malfunctions back to not using the clipper oil correctly.
The included brush is standard, I’ve seen many like it over the years in these kits. However, this one comes with a flathead screwdriver on the bottom. A nifty feature, it allows for adjustments of your clipper blade. It’s a small detail, but when you’re traveling, you’ll likely not have a screwdriver. The little details like this are what make the elite pro kit stand out from competitor products.
I Use the Premium Plastic Case Often
X marks the spot with this case, literally. Its molded plastic, hard top design is shaped like an X. Like the rest of the kit, the case is well made. It’s molded with a thick-gage plastic and doesn’t look like it’d crack easily. Other clippers, even Wahl brand clippers, often ditch the hard case and go with soft materials. Some kits I’ve reviewed just give you a plastic bag. The Elite Pro’s case is sturdier and more than capable of fitting all the components.
The latch mechanism is gray, fitting the silver-gray theme throughout the home cutting kit. Personally, I pack my clippers with me whenever I’m on a trip that’s longer than a week. And with the Elite Pro case, I don’t have to worry about the components breaking, or stuff slipping out of a flimsy bag.
Do the Smaller Items Maintain Wahl’s Quality Standards?
There isn’t anything in the kit that isn’t better than your standard haircutting package. Simple as that.
I like that the shears come with a guard. It’s a small detail but when you’ve got the apron on and you’re digging around in the case, it’s nice to know you won’t jab your finger with the pointy tip. The guard clips onto the shears nicely, it doesn’t just slip on. It has a real satisfying snap, so you don’t have to worry about it falling off.
However, I don’t recommend using the shears for a full cut. They’re good for touch-ups, or around the ears, but they aren’t professional grade shears. Sharp and well made, in a pinch they’d do the job.
The comb is your everyday plastic flat comb. But the quality is there. It’s stiff, and you’d have to try hard to break the thing. It has the Wahl logo on it too, which is a nice touch. The bristles come in two densities, like most straight combs.
For me, the strangest surprise was the manual. It is full of great information. It has instructions on how to oil and adjust the blades and how to re-install the blade if you take it off for maintenance.
On the inside of the manual Wahl provides detailed instructions on how to cut hair. Having cut my own hair for years, I can say the instructions are accurate. There is information on the entire process, from tapering to blending and outlining. Also, it breaks down a haircut into stages, and shows you the best place to begin and end.
Overall, the manual impressed. Usually I have no opinion on a product’s manual, but Wahl took the extra step. If you’ve never cut your own hair, you’ll be fine. Literally, there’s a breakdown for first timers in the foldout.
What Impressed Me
- The Elite Pro’s excellent cutting capability really is the best I’ve reviewed.
- Durable and well made, it’ll last years if you take care of it properly.
- Made of premium plastic, Wahl designed the premium carrying case well.
- I appreciate the clip-on guard for the shears.
- The professional grade guide combs are a huge improvement over sets found inside cheaper kits.
- A hefty industrial motor means the clipper is comparative to the professional options.
- The thick cord comes re-enforced and won’t fray.
- Impressive manual, I wasn’t expecting such a wealth of information on how to cut hair.
What Disappointed Me
- Sorry international buyers, this clipper has North American Voltage only.
- With no precision trimmer, you must find another way to fine tune your cut.
- Navigating the guide combs without tapered ear attachments is tricky, but not impossible.
My Final Verdict
By now it probably doesn’t surprise you that my Wahl Elite Pro review is overwhelmingly positive. At this price point, you can’t find anything better than the Wahl clipper Elite Pro. I’d recommend this kit for home haircutters, or anyone that needs just the clipper and guide combs. They really are that good.
If you’re in barber school and need a cheaper clipper than the higher tier Wahls, the Elite Pro is what you want. My disappointments aren’t with the clippers themselves. I would have liked a trimmer included because you need one when cleaning up a fresh haircut. And the lack of varying voltages is a bummer for overseas buyers.
Regardless, this is an exceptional product. Note that Wahl sells the clipper as a men’s product but nothing about it is gender specific. Anyone can use this kit, and they should. If you’re hunting for a new clipper, don’t pass by this one. From the industrial strength motor to the top-notch accessories, the Elite Pro is well worth the money.