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Clipper & Blade FAQ's

Here are all the answers to the clipper and blade questions customers ask us most often. If you can’t find the answer to your question below, or would like personal service, please call 0800 ALL GROOM (0800 255 476) or contact us by email.  

Click your question below to be taken to the answer. 

Also check our Scissor FAQ's and Dryer FAQ's - or if you have a Shih Tzu or Shih tzu cross, check the Shih Tzu Grooming Guide for breed-specific advice.

BLADE QUESTIONS

CLIPPER GUIDE > How do I choose the right dog clippers or trimmers?

What blade size should I get for my dog?

What blade size should I get for my horse?

What do I need for grooming & clipping the Shih Tzu coat?

What do I need for grooming & clipping the 'Oodle coat? (Labradoodle Cavoodle, Spoodle, Retrodoodle)

What do the blade numbers mean?

How do comb attachments work? Will they fit my clipper?

What blades fit my Wahl / Andis / Oster / Heiniger clippers?

Are my Andis / Wahl / Heiniger / Oster clippers an A5 model?

What combs / comb attachments fit my Wahl / Andis / Heiniger clippers?

What does F or FC mean after a blade’s size?

What’s a skip tooth or ST blade?

Should I cut with or against the direction of the coat?

Where can I get my clipper blades sharpened?

How do I keep my blades sharper longer / stop blades going blunt or dull?

How do I stop my blade rusting?

What blade length should be used under comb attachments?

How do I prevent blade teeth from breaking?

When should I use clipper blade oil?

When should I use a clipper blade coolant? Do I still need to use oil as well?

Can I use WD40 on my blades?

Why does my blade get hot?

Why would my blade seem to be ‘chewing’ the coat rather than cutting? The blade is moving but isn’t clipping properly

Why isn’t my blade cutting as well as it used to?

Why is my brand new blade not cutting well?

CLIPPER QUESTIONS 

CLIPPER GUIDE > How do I choose the right clippers or trimmers for my dog?

What other products will I need with my new clipper?

What do I need for grooming & clipping the Shih Tzu coat?

What do I need for grooming & clipping the 'Oodle coat? (Labradoodle Cavoodle, Spoodle, Retrodoodle)

Are my Andis / Wahl / Heiniger / Oster clippers an A5 model?

How should clippers be stored?

What are the differences between a cordless or corded clipper?

Can I just clip a badly matted coat instead of brushing?

What's the difference between a trimmer and a clipper?

What does SPM and RPM mean?

What's the difference between a pivot motor, magnetic motor, rotary motor and brushless rotary motor?

What does torque mean?

What clipper & blade is best for a rabbit, such as an Angora?

NAIL CARE

My dog’s nails have got quite long. How do I avoid cutting the quick / vein?

DRYER QUESTIONS >

SCISSOR QUESTIONS >

 

BLADE FAQ's

What do the blade size numbers mean? What blade size should I get?

Blade sizes work in reverse to what you might think, so a 30 is a lot shorter than a 3 for example. The higher the number, the shorter the coat will be.

Most clippers come with a #10 blade included, leaving the coat 1.5mm or 1.8mm depending on the brand. Ideal for paw pads, face, ears, sanitary areas.

You can get universal comb attachments which attach to any brand of #10 blade to give longer coat lengths (most combs also fit on #15 and #30 blades), or you can buy different blades for different coat lengths if you prefer, or are more experienced.

A 5, 5F or 5FC for example is a popular body length blade which leaves the coat around 6mm. A #3 is 13mm and a #7 is around 3mm (some brands have variations in coat lengths for the same size blade). ‘Body length’ depends on breed, coat type, and your preference on length and style. 

The description for every blade tells you the resulting coat length, but if you’re unsure, view our Grooming Guide for typical blade lengths for your breed or closest-match breed.

As a general guide for dogs:

  • Sanitary area (genitals, rectum) > 10 (1.5mm to 1.8mm)
  • Feet and paw pads > 15 (1.2mm to 1.5mm)
  • Between toes and paw pads > 5/8 Toe Blade
  • Inside ears and stomach > 10
  • Knotted coat > 7 (3mm to 4mm)
  • Badly knotted / Matted coat > 10 (1.5mm to 1.8mm)
  • Puppy trim > a longer comb attachment (around 25mm to 32mm) over a 10 blade
  • 'Teddy bear' trim (longer all over) > 3 or 4 (8mm to 19mm) - or a comb attachment (25mm to 32mm) on 10 blade
  • Smooth coat / short body > 7 (3mm to 4mm)
  • Curly coat body > 3, 4 or 5  (choose preferred length - 6mm to 19mm)
  • Medium to long coat body > 3 or 4 (8mm to 19mm)
  • Surgery / wound care > 40 or 50 (0.1mm to 0.25mm)

For longer coats, use your preferred length of comb attachment (options up to 32mm) on a 10 blade. Most clippers come with a 10 blade included (trimmers are different). See the How to Choose a Clipper guide or see how comb attachments work, below.

How do comb attachments work? Will they fit my clipper?

A comb attachment clips on to the blade, not the clipper. They leave a longer coat length than the blade used by itself. Most comb attachments are universal, so fit any brand of #10 #15 or #30 blade - however we recommend only using a #10 or #15 blade, as the finer teeth of a #30 blade can be more prone to teeth damage when used under a comb.

The universal Wahl and Andis comb attachments fit all standard 'A5 type' detachable blades, including Andis, Wahl, Geib, Heiniger, Oster etc. Wahl combs fit on Andis blades and vice versa. Check the product description to see what blades a comb attachment will fit before you buy, or contact us to be sure. Your blade must be an A5 type blade. 

Important: Watch the video on the product page for the combs you buy to see how they fit on the blade. The comb attachment may otherwise appear too small at first but there's a trick to it! 

There are plastic and stainless steel comb attachments. Most plastic combs have hooks that clip them on to the base of the blade only. Stainless steel combs tend to clip on to the base and both sides of the blade, creating a firmer, more secure fit. A more secure fit reduces the risk of comb movement, especially helpful when clipping thicker, curly, or double coats, and reduces the risk of comb teeth hitting the blade teeth.

TIP: If your dog's coat is tangled, knotted or matted, always comb or brush out all knots before you clip.  Comb attachments cannot go through a knotted coat!  For particularly thick or dense coats, use a deshedding tool before clipping to remove bulk from the coat, otherwise even brand new blades may seem to 'chew' rather than cut the coat.

What blade size should I get for my horse? (answer from professional horse groomer: Brooke The Clipper Girl)

"Loaded question! Every horse's hair coat, color, and even growth rate is different! In general, I tend to clip lighter color (think palomino, cremello/perlino, light colored buckskins, white, etc) with a longer length blade such as an Andis ShowEdge #10 or Andis UltraEdge/CeramicEdge size #10 or #15. I always make sure my first clip of the year is also with a 10, regardless of color. Stripping the color off too close too early in the year (late winter/early spring) will only make it harder for the hair to grow back with luster and color, from my experience.

Darker horses like Roans, blacks, dark buckskins, chestnut, and even pintos can be done also with a size 10, however, a ShowEdge #30 or UltraEdge/CeramicEdge #30 is also a good choice for these colors. Towards the end of show season, for example, the Nationals and the World show, (think, fall) almost all the horses I clip can be done in a size 30 blade all over. This time of year the horses are growing coats like crazy, dark color should be at its peak, and generally, it's pretty safe to use a 30 on most horses at this time when showing."  

What blades fit my Wahl / Andis / Oster / Heiniger clippers?

Any A5 type blade by Andis, Wahl, Geib etc, will fit any A5 type clipper by Andis, Wahl, Oster, Heiniger etc - provided your clipper model fits A5 type blades.  Make sure the model of clipper you have is an A5 type before you buy a blade as you cannot return items that are not faulty.  Not all clippers made by the same brand are A5 clippers.  For example, the Wahl KM model clippers (like the KMSS, KM2, KM5 & KM10) are all A5 type clippers - but a Wahl Show Pro is not.

Check before you buy: The description on AllGroom about your clipper will tell you if it is an A5 type clipper, or you can check your clipper’s paperwork or box, search online, or contact us if you’re unsure. 

Are my Andis / Wahl / Heiniger / Oster clippers an A5 model?

To find out what blades fit your clipper, first you need to know if it is an A5 model, or if it has its own unique blade/s made only for that model. Look up your model on the list below to find out.

If it says YES: Your clipper is an A5 model. All brands of A5 blades are compatible with your clippers, including Andis, Wahl, Geib etc.

If it says NO: Your clipper has its own unique blade. It does not fit universal A5 blades. Check in the Blade category Unique Blades to see if we stock it, or contact the retailer you bought it from.

list of a5 clipper models wahl andis heiniger oster

This list does not include every model of clipper by every brand, so if you do not see your clipper here, but are unsure if it is an A5 model, always check with us before you order (blades ordered in error cannot be returned if they do not fit). 

TIP: The majority of our blades are universal or A5 type, so fit all brands of A5 clippers. The blade description will tell you if it is an A5 type. 

What combs or comb attachments fit my Wahl / Andis / Oster / Heiniger clippers?

Our comb attachment descriptions tell you what size blades they fit.  Check before you buy as you cannot return items that are not faulty.  Comb attachments fit on the blade - not on the clipper itself.  Most comb attachments fit a #10 #15 or #30 blade (most clippers come with a #10 blade, check the number on the face of the blade).  We recommend to only use a #10 or #15 under comb attachments (a #30 has finer teeth more prone to damage and if blade teeth break it's not covered by manufacturer's warranties).  Check the comb attachment description to make sure it fits your blade, or contact us if you're unsure.

What does F or FC mean after a blade’s size?

Some blades have F or FC after the size, such as 5F or 7FC. F or FC are describing the same thing: fine cut or finish cut.  Some blades only come in FC, such as the #10, #15 and #30 - so they don’t have F / FC after the size.  If a blade is longer than a #10 (ie: a 4, 5, 7 etc) then look for F or FC after the number.  The teeth on an FC blade result in a smoother finish than the same blade in skip tooth or ST, where every second tooth is shorter.  Unless you’re experienced or trained using skip tooth blades, it’s recommended to always get the F / FC version of the blade length you want, or use a comb attachment on your blade for longer coat lengths. Blades size 10 and shorter (ie: a 10, 15, 30, 40, 50) only come in F or FC.

What’s a skip tooth or ST blade?

A skip tooth blade - like a #5 or #7 without F or FC after the size in the name or description - means every second tooth is shorter.  Very short blades – such as the #10 #15 #30 and #40 – do not come in skip tooth.  Skip tooth blades are typically used by experienced groomers only, as the shorter teeth feed more hair into the clipper, speeding up clipping time but also increasing the risk of skin getting pulled in with the coat.  It is a matter of what you were trained with, however unless experienced, we recommended only choosing F or FC versions for the coat length you want.

Should I cut with or against the direction of the coat?

Blade lengths are based on cutting against the natural direction of the coat’s growth, however cutting with the grain is recommended unless you’re an experienced groomer.  Some areas of the body, and some coat types, will get better results when cut against the grain, such as very flat, directional or thick coats, so always seek the advice of your breeder or groomer, or look it up on Google or YouTube.  Depending on the coat, going with the grain usually results in coat length longer than the blade length describes.

Where can I get my clipper blades sharpened in New Zealand?

We recommend contacting www.Acto.co.nz 

How do I keep my blades sharper longer / stop blades going blunt or dull?

You cannot 100% stop blades from becoming dull over time, that’s normal expected wear and tear - however you can extend a blade’s life, keeping it sharper for longer.  

Never clip before bathing: Clipping a dirty coat (even if only slightly dirty, gritty, dusty or sandy), can very quickly blunt any blade.  Think of it like cutting grit or small stones with scissors!  Some groomers choose to do an initial clip before the bath, which means more frequent blade sharpening or replacement will be required.  There are NZ blade sharpener specialists - like acto.co.nz - who can sharpen blades when needed. Keep in mind blades are not covered by clipper warranties if they have become blunt. 

To keep blades sharper for longer: Only clip a freshly washed & dried coat. Never clip a wet coat. Always brush, wash, dry, and comb before clipping.  Avoid clipping knotted or tangled coats.  If a comb cannot get through the coat without snagging, your blade may struggle also.  Particularly thick or dense coats can cause a blade to 'chew' instead of cut, so deshed first to remove the undercoat before you clip.

Why isn’t my brand new blade cutting well?

If you've been using the same clipper with the same blades for a while, you might notice problems when you try to swap old blades for new ones.  A clipper’s blade drive tends to become weaker or looser with age, which is normal expected wear and tear.  Your old blades may continue to cut well because their tension also loosened over time.  Brand new blades with the original, tighter tension, might appear not to cut as well or seem dull, however you may just need to replace the blade drive.  If you don't think it is due to an old clipper with a new blade, then scroll down to find out why blades sometimes chew instead of cut the coat. 

What blade length should be used under a comb attachment? How do I prevent blade teeth from breaking?

Blade teeth damage is not covered by blade or comb manufacturer warranties so take extra care when using any length or brand of blade with a comb attachment.  Always avoid dropping or knocking blades or combs.  Very short blades, like the #30 and #40, have even finer teeth, so can be more prone to damage.  Only use comb attachments on the blade lengths they are rated for (comb attachments do not fit all blade lengths). We recommend using #10 or #15 blades under most comb attachments.  

Check comb attachment teeth regularly. Comb teeth can become distorted, bent, or go out of alignment over time from normal use, or due to a knock or drop, causing comb teeth to hit the blade teeth. This is the most common cause of blade teeth breaking.  Also regularly check your combs securely fit on your blades.  If a comb moves or slips during use this can also knock or break blade teeth.  Old combs may not fit new blades as securely, so take extra care when using new blades to check combs fit well, are straight and secure, before use.

TIPS: When using comb attachments, avoid putting pressure on the comb attachment during use. Follow the direction of the coat growth.  Avoid use on coats that have not been washed, dried and combed first.  Avoid using comb attachments on knotted or tangled coats – which can cause comb teeth to bend, or the comb to come loose, shift or slide during use.  

Take extra care to never drop or knock your blade.  Although the metal that blades are made of is hard and durable, the teeth are sharp and fine, and can be damaged by a knock or drop, even from a small height, or when placed down without care, or on the wrong angle.  When sending blades for sharpening, always wrap them well and wrap each individually.  We recommend using a professional blade sharpener like acto.co.nz

How do I stop my blade rusting?

Blades are rust resistent not rust-proof.  Any blade can rust – and surprisingly quickly - but with correct care you can prevent it.  Always oil blades before and again straight after use. If storing blades for a long period of time, check and oil them every so often. Only store blades in a dry environment, ideally in a protective blade case.  Moisture in the air can quickly rust blades, even if oiled.  Do not store blades in humid or wet areas.

After every use: Remove grit, dander, dust, product build-up and fur after use.  Use an old toothbrush or clean towel.  Move the blade far left and far right.  Brush any obvious hair off the cutting surface.  Using spray or oil while the clipper’s running, or a blade bath (but only dip the blade, never wet the clipper), wash any remaining bits of fur from in between the teeth.  Once clean, always oil blades before storage.

Avoid taking clipper blades apart. It’s time-consuming and may stop the blade working if not put back together just right.  Store with only a light, thin covering of oil.  Always wipe off excess oil before storage.   

When should I use clipper blade oil?

Always oil your blade before and after use.  If storing blades for a while, check and reapply oil from time to time to prevent rust or corrosion.  If you don’t have a coolant, blade care spray or dip, you can reapply oil during use, every 5 to 15 minutes depending on the speed you have your clippers set to (at high speeds blades will heat up faster) and whether your blades are ceramic or steel (ceramic stays cooler much longer).  Do not over-oil!  If oil gets into the housing it could damage your clippers.  Excess oil may also get on to the animal’s coat.

When should I use a clipper blade coolant? Do I still need to use oil as well?

Like the name suggests, a coolant or blade spray will cool your blade, and depending on the brand, usually cleans and disinfects for when blades slow down due to fur build-up between teeth, to sanitise between clients, and when moving from sanitary areas, like the rectum, to the face.  Although coolants do offer light lubrication, a coolant or care spray cannot replace the need to also use oil as well.

Can I used WD40 on my blades?

No. WD40 cannot be used to replace clipper blade oil. It is very thin and will evaporate too quickly. It can also easily get into the clipper housing, which can thin the grease inside the clipper, causing problems. Only use oil, coolants, sprays or dips formulated specifically for dog clippers.

Why does my blade get hot so fast?

The higher the speed of your clipper, or when running a multi-speed clipper on the higher setting, will mean the blade will heat faster.  You can use a coolant to quickly cool the blade - which should be applied every 5 to 15 minutes - and always oil before and after use.  You can also swap the hot blade for a cool blade, or stop and give the hot blade time to cool.  

Blades getting hot is not avoidable.  This is normal for any metal on metal contact, which heats metal over time, espcially for the newer model clippers whi have higher speeds.  If shopping for new clippers, it's useful to choose a clipper with a slower low speed to avoid fast blade heat-up.  Look for a 5 speed clipper or compare low speeds when choosing a new clipper.  Older model clippers were about 2,000 SPM on high.  New models can be 4,000 SPM or more.  Double the speed means blades heat up faster than they used to. 

WARNING: Keep in mind some coolant sprays do lightly lubricate, but will never replace the need to lubricate your blade with oil.  Coolant sprays can dry parts over time and residue can build up with frequent use.  The cleaner in most coolant sprays also removes oil.  This slows down a blade and can make even a new blade seem to cut like it's blunt, due to increased friction, the blade not being able to move and cut freely, or product residue build-up.  Always thoroughly clean your blade after every use, then re-oil blades after cleaning, oil before storage and oil before every use

TIP: Sometimes what you think is a blunt blade - is actually just a dry or dirty blade that needs a good clean and oil! 

Why would my blade seem to be ‘chewing’ the coat rather than cutting? The blade is moving but isn’t clipping properly

This may be a sign your blade just needs a good clean, needs oiling, or sharpening, or replacing.  If you've tried those solutions, then your blade drive may need replacing, depending on the age of your clipper and amount of use.  If you're trying to clip a particularly thick or difficult coat, such as mixed texture or double coats, you may need to deshed before you wash, dry and clip, to remove that super dense undercoat that can otherwise cause even a brand new, or newly sharpened blade to chew instead of cut.   

TIP:  Coat prep makes all the difference.  For thick, dense, double or mixed texture coats, even a brand new blade on a powerful clipper rated for all coat types may clip as if the blade is blunt if the coat has not been properly prepped.  To prep: remove all knots possible, then deshed if needed.  Shampoo and condition.  Dry using a high-powered dryer (this blasts out stuck undercoat that brushing and shampooing cannot remove).  The last step should be clipping.   

Another cause of a blade that seems to chew the coat is blade tension.  Too much tension and the blades can heat up, potentially damaging your clipper, but too loose and they won’t clip well, and the hair they do clip can quickly clog your blade.  If you've ruled out everything else above, only an authorised repairer should change the tension of a blade for you, so address all other possible causes first.  Do not try to tighten or loosen any screws on your blade uness you have experience.

For these and other possible causes, see more answers below.

Why isn’t my blade cutting as well as it used to?

There are a few possible reasons:

Your blade edge might be dull / blunt, or have gotten damaged or scratched with wear over time and is no longer sharp, in which case you’ll need the blade to be sharpened or to purchase a new blade. 

The blade may need oiling. When the upper and lower blades touch and move against each other, a lot of friction is created, which can wear the blade, cause heat, stop the blade cutting, or even damage your clippers.  Always oil your blade before and after use, and use coolant or oil during use to reduce heat and friction.  

Your blade may be dirty. Dirt, dust, dander, grease, shampoo, coolant etc can all build up and stop blades cutting.  Too much oil can attract build-up also.  Push the blade to one side with your thumb, clean away any loose hair with a cloth or toothbrush, then do the same in the other direction.  Use a blade wash, dip or spray while the blade is running (never get the housing wet, only wet the blade).  Wipe off any excess cleaner. Apply a few drops of oil, wipe off excess oil, and try using them again.

The blade tension or spring may be too loose or too tight. See the previous question, above, for the answer.

You may need more thorough coat prep: 1. remove knots first - 2. deshed if needed - 3. shampoo and condition - 4. 100% dry the coat - 5) comb to remove missed knots and tangles - 6) now you're ready to clip!

CLIPPER FAQ's

View all clipper FAQs >

How do I choose the right dog clippers or trimmers?

1. First, decide if you need a trimmer or a clipper:

If you only want to trim smaller areas between going to the groomer - such as paw pads, toes, ears, face & sanitary area (around the rectum and genitals) - then you may only need a trimmer.

Trimmers are cordless & don't have the motor size of a clipper, so they're usually smaller, quieter & lighter.  Ideal for delicate areas, where the coat tends to be shorter, lighter & finer, for anxious or noise-sensitive dogs, for puppies with light coats, and for targeted knot removal for cats & rabbits. 

Trimmers comes in mini or midi size. Some midi's like the Pulse Li5, Codos and Arco - can also be used for full body clipping for puppies, toy and small breeds with light coats, however most trimmers are for trimming only, not full body clipping. 

Trimmers have blades made only for that model trimmer.  Trimmers are not usually universal (called A5 type) so what they come with is usually everything that's available.  Some come with comb attachments for longer coat lengths.  Check that gives you all the length/s you want as longer combs may not be available to buy separately.  

TIP: Some trimmers are so affordable now that it makes sense to buy a trimmer and clipper. Use your cordless trimmer for smaller, more difficult-to-reach areas, and for areas where a dog's sensitive about being touched or clipped, like the face & paws - then save your full size clippers for the rest of the body. This also helps your clipper blades stay sharper longer.

2. If you need a clipper, take these factors into consideration:

COAT TYPE > If you need a clipper for full-body clips on all coat types even badly matted, for professional use in a busy salon, consider a multi-speed clipper, such as a 2 speed or 5 speed, either corded or cordless. Upgrading to brushless (read more about brushless below) is worth considering also.

One exception is the Heiniger Saphir. They are a single speed model, but are rated for professional salon use, unlike most single speed clippers.

TIPS FOR SHIH TZU'S > If you have a Shih Tzu or Shih tzu cross, check the Shih Tzu Grooming Guide for breed-specific advice.

TIPS FOR 'OODLES > If you have a LabradoodleCavoodleSpoodle or Retrodoodle, check the 'Oodle Grooming Guide.

SINGLE OR MULTI-SPEED > Single speed clippers tend to run cooler & quieter. They often come complete with starter kits for home users, including multiple combs for longer coat lengths, such as the Andis EBC and Wahl KMSS.  Multi-speed clippers - whether 2 speed or 5 speed - tend not to come as starter kits, however multi-speed are popular for difficult, double, mixed texture or thick coats.  If you choose a universal or A5 type clipper of any brand, you can choose from an extensive range of blades and comb attachments to buy separately. 

UNIVERSAL CLIPPER > If you want a clipper that can fit universal blades of any brand, and universal comb attachments, giving you a extensive choice of blades & coat lengths now & in the future - choose a universal clipper, also called an A5 type or A5 style clipper.  Clipper descriptions tell you if they're A5 type, otherwise contact us to check before you buy.  

LOW SPEEDS > The latest 5 speed clippers are fast growing in popularity. They give you the same high speeds as 2 speed clippers, for thick or difficult coats, but offer a better low-speed range - making them quieter and meaning blades heat up slower - like the Excel 5 Speed corded or Pulse ZR II cordless.  Slower, quieter, lower speeds are for anxious dogs, for difficult or delicate areas, or when you're learning - that way you can take your time without the blade heating up as fast, reducing the risk of burning your dog from blade burn, and reducing the risk of catching skin accidentally. 

TIP ABOUT BLADE HEAT: If you've had your old clippers for years, keep in mind older clippers tend to have a much slower top speed, so you may find newer tech clippers with their higher top speeds will heat the blade faster in comparison to what you're used to, another reason you might prefer a 5 speed clipper, or a single speed clipper, both which offer lower low speeds. 

BRUSHLESS > The latest advancement is brushless clippers. These are designed for professionals wanting to invest in tough tools that last. Brushless significantly extends clipper motor lifetime up to 10 to 12 times (like the 10,000+ hour Andis Endurance). They give better power efficiency > around 85% to 90% efficiency vs brushed motors at 75% to 80%.  Increased torque > brushless motors adjust to the job at hand, giving more torque when needed for tough jobs, dense, difficult or matted coats. No brushes to wear out means lower maintenance. Plus the brushless motors run with less friction & reduced heat. Brushless motors are also a lighter weight and run with less noise. Browse brushless clippers > 

COAT LENGTHS > Comb attachments clip on to the blade to give you longer coat lengths. Most clippers only come with a starter oil & a blade (often a #10 blade which is 1.5mm or 1.8mm).  Selected clippers come with comb attachments included, but for most clippers you buy comb attachments separately.  Note that universal comb attachments fit all A5 type clipper blades.  Check the other products list below for comb attachments.  If you prefer a starter kit instead of buying extras separately, look for clippers than come with combs, like the EBC single speed, EBC2 2 speed, and KMSS single speed (TIP: all 3 of those clippers are A5 type universal clippers).  

CORDED OR CORDLESS > Whether you want corded or cordless is an important consideration. Think about how big your dog is - as it's easier to move yourself around them, than to move your dog to the clipper - and what location/s you want to clip in: Where is the closest power outlet located?  Budget may also be a consideration. Corded average around half the price of cordless depending on the model (prices do vary).  Read about the other differences of a cordless here

If you prefer cordless, check if it comes with 1 or 2 batteries, and whether you can buy spare batteries separately - or if it doesn't have removable batteries, check if you can use the clipper while it is charging.  Compare run time & charging time.  Also check technology used.  NiMH tends to cost less than newer tech Lithium-ion batteries, but Lithium-ion have a much longer battery lifetime, give you longer running times and are often more powerful.  A corded swivel cord clipper is another option, like the new Endurance which is also brushless.

ADJUSTABLE OR FIXED BLADE > An adjustable blade clipper is a very convenient option.  This type of clipper gives you multiple blades in one (5 lengths in 1 blade is common), so there's no need to change blades constantly, or to purchase different blades for different coat lengths.  Adjustable blade clippers have their own blade unique to the model of clipper.  They are not universal / A5 type clippers.  They usually come with their own comb attachments also.  Adjustable blade clippers are usually cordless also, like the Pulse Ion, new Pulse Li5 and Arco.

BEFORE YOU BUY: Before buying a clipper from any supplier, here are some general things to check:

1. Is your clipper an A5 type universal clipper? (if you want a universal clipper of course). 2. If it doesn't come with a starter pack, what's the blade & comb availability so you can achieve longer coat lengths? (AllGroom has an extensive range of A5 type blades & comb attachments in stock).  3. Do you get an NZ warranty? How long does it cover you for? Who / where would you send it for repairs? A 12 month warranty is standard from most brands (AllGroom offers a 12 month warranty on all our clippers and trimmers, we carry common spare parts, and can inspect, repair and fix our clippers under warranty here in NZ).  4. Is the clipper / trimmer / charger made to run on NZ voltage (all clippers and trimmers AllGroom sells are rated for NZ voltage).  5. Is the clipper rated for all coat types? Some pet-grade clippers can struggle with full body clips or certain coat types, so if you want to do full body clipping, check the clipper is rated for all coat types for full body clipping, not just for touch-ups, light clipping or trimming. 

What other products will I need with my new clipper?

COOLANT / CLEANER: Clippers do not come with a coolant spray. Unless you buy an extra blade (to swap & use when the first blade heats up), or you stop clipping to allow your blade to cool down, using coolant is highly recommended. Our best selling Andis Blade Care is a spray that cools the blade, is used after clipping to clean blades & combs, and also disinfects your blade when moving from paws or sanitary areas like the rectum, to the face.  Without coolant, you will either need to buy a back-up blade, or will need to frequently stop clipping to let your blade cool down (every 15 mins or so depending on clipper speed).

COMB ATTACHMENTS: Most professional grade clippers do not come with comb attachments. Comb attachments clip on to your blade to give you longer coat lengths right up to 3cm.  Check your blade is an A5 type before buying combs. Universal comb attachments fit on all brands of A5 type blades. Our best seller is the Wahl Comb Set.  We have other comb attachments available also.  Selected clippers like the EBC2 and EBC, and the KMSS do come with comb attachments included.

TIP TO AVOID BLADE BURN: If you choose a 5 speed clipper - that has lower, low speed options - your blade will heat up far slower, but no matter what speed your clipper is, use high speed/s only when you need them (for knots or extra-thick areas of the coat).  Always oil blades before you clip.  On high speeds without coolant, a blade can heat up as fast as 5 to 10 mins.  On lower speeds every 15 mins or longer is normal.  Remember coat prep is extra important for thicker or double coats so your blade & clipper are not working harder than they need to (which also extends the life of your equipment), so always deshed first if needed (especially for coats with a dense undercoat), slicker & comb, wash & dry... then comb again... before clipping.  Touch the blade regularly to check it is not too hot during use.  Do not risk burning your pet!

OIL: Check your clipper description to see if it comes with a full-size or starter / small oil.  You will probably need to purchase a full-size oil now instead of later for frequent use, like our best-selling Andis Clipper Blade Oil (watch the how to oil video at the bottom of that page also).  We have other brands of clipper blade oils available also.

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DESHEDDER: For dogs with a thick undercoat, especially if it's both dense and soft, you may need to use a deshedder before clipping.  Very thick, dense, fine undercoats can otherwise clog the fine teeth on some size blades & cause it to 'chew' the coat instead of cut.  Coat prep before you clip makes all the difference.  Our best selling deshedder is the Andis Original Deshedder (watch the videos at the bottom of that page to see it in use), and we have a range of other deshedders available also.

GROOMING COMB: A grooming comb, like our best selling Andis 7.5" Steel Comb are a groomer essential you'll see groomers use in their videos.  Use them to check for & tease out knots & tangles before clipping, to 'fluff' & lift up longer or wool-type coats during clipping, and before you clip each new section of coat, to get a more even, smoother result - and to check for missed or uneven sections after clipping.

SHAMPOO: For best results & to avoid your new blade quickly going blunt, never clip a dirty, dusty, oily or sandy coat.  Do not 'test' your clippers out when you get them, unless you wash your dog (or the test patch) first.  That's a sure way to blunt your new blade very quickly!  Always shampoo & completely dry your dog right before clipping.  A quality shampoo will get the coat properly clean.

CONDITIONER: For dogs with a dry coat, or a tangle-prone coat, and for longer, wavy, thick or double coats, use conditioner after you shampoo.  Conditioner helps comb attachments & blades more easily glide through the coat & helps you remove any tangles that remain after drying.  TIP: If you can't run a comb through the coat without it snagging on tangles, your blade & comb attachment will struggle too, will blunt faster, and you'll get a more uneven result from clipping.  For help removing knots before you bath, use a detangler treatment or spray with a wide toothed comb, or slicker brush.

View all clipper FAQs >

How should clippers be stored?

Many clippers come with a hook built-in to the housing to hang your clipper up by. This is the best way to store a clipper. If leaving a blade attached, store clippers so any oil on the blade cannot run in to the housing. If you cannot store a clipper hanging up, lie it down somewhere it can’t be knocked. No matter how you store your clipper, take extra care with the cord.

Never fold or wrap a cord around a clipper / trimmer. Always avoid storing clippers with any bend or pressure on the area the cord goes into the housing. Do not wrap the cord around your hand or bunch or fold it during clipper use. Like any corded electrical device, how you treat the cord has a big impact on extending the life of your equipment.

What are the differences between a cordless or corded clipper?

Other than the obvious benefit of a cordless clipper being more portable for mobile grooming, outdoor use, for vets when visiting clients, and for large breeds of dog & for horses, there are other differences to consider.

Corded clippers may be a lower cost than the cordless version of the same clipper. Corded clippers run continuously at full power as they are plugged into the mains. Cordless clippers these days can be quite powerful, however may not run at full-strength when the battery is low, avoidable by clipping on a charged battery, or buying a second battery as a back-up (extra batteries can sometimes be costly but are worth it as batteries normally charge in less time than the operating time, meaning no down time). Due to the high speed output, cordless clippers will have a limit on running times (30 to 90 minutes is the usual range), which can restrict busy groomers unless you buy a second battery, but is often fine for casual / domestic use.  Due to the battery being housed inside the clipper, cordless clippers do tend to be a little heavier than cordless clippers. 

Can I just clip a badly matted coat instead of brushing?

In cases of severe matting, a groomer may have to resort to clippers, however we don’t recommend clipping a matted coat unless you’re experienced & don’t have any other option.

Ideally, use a dematting comb or brush, or a slicker brush and a comb prior to clipping - and sometimes even careful use of scissors will be needed - to get out bad mats.  Always use a detangling or conditioning cream or spray to help ease mats out.  It’s easier and faster for you & less painful for your pet.  Avoid washing a matted coat, it will often make it worse.

What's the difference between a trimmer and a clipper?

A clipper will usually have a more powerful motor & more blade options to select the length of hair you want to leave behind, for bigger dogs, horses, thicker coats, and all-over body clips.  A trimmer is usually for smaller, delicate or difficult to get in to areas, for whiskers, ears, faces, paw pads and smaller areas, or to create creative styles. Trimmers are typically used to complete a clip for a very neat finish.

What does SPM or RPM mean?

SPM is strokes per minute (and RPM is rounds or revolutions per minute). One stroke is when the cutting blade (front blade), passes over the stationery blade (back blade). A revolution or round measures motor speed. is the full movement, when the blade passes across and returns. The blade needs to be able to match the speed of your clipper. A wider toothed or skip tooth blade is easier for the coat to feed through, so will cut faster.

Keep in mind a faster SPM or RPM clipper or using them on the higher speed setting, means more friction, meaning more heat. Regular oiling and a coolant spray become even more important when using a higher speed clipper, or a clipper on its higher setting/s. It's useful to keep back-up blades on hand to give hot blades a rest without disrupting the clip.

What's the difference between a rotary motor, brushless rotary, pivot motor and magnetic motor?

Magnetic motors are suited to lighter texture coats. They have fewer moving parts. They can run at high speeds, resulting in smooth cuts on lighter / finer coats. A simpler motor that tends to be cheaper. For occasional use.

Pivot motors usually have a lower blade speed (SPM) than magnetic motors, but are more powerful, so can better cope with thick or dense coats due to the higher cutting power. They may run quieter & cooler also. This motor type can be used for professionals, but rotary motors tend to be preferred by professionals.

Rotary motors have more balanced motor & blade speed. This motor type is used for the most powerful clippers on the market and now available in brushless (see below). They are used in multi speed clippers. The balance of power & speed makes them popular with professionals. They are usually rated for all coat types, even daily, heavy duty use for thick, dense, matted or difficult coats. Most rotary motor clippers are also rated for horse grooming also. 

NEW You can now get brushless rotary motor clippers in selected models, like the Endurance, KM10 and KM Cordless. This type of rotary motor results in more torque and power than standard rotary motors, though this technology tends to require more of an investment. Brushless rotary motors have a significantly longer lifetime. As a general guide, around 10,000+ hours!

Important: Always check the description for the clipper or trimmer you are intending to buy & base your decision on information relating to the actual clipper, not on the more general information on this page.

What does torque mean?

Torque is referring to a clipper's ability to maintain speed under a load. The more torque, the more hair or coat a clipper can cut while maintaining speed. If two clippers are otherwide identical, same watts, same stroke speed etc, then the one with the higher torque tends to be the better choice for very thick, dense or difficult coats. A higher speed clipper does not necessarily mean its the better choice for heavy duty jobs.

What clipper & blade is best for a rabbit, such as an Angora?

If you decide to clip your rabbit, cordless trimmers or clippers tend to be preferred versus corded, making it easier to clip delicate or tricky areas, and giving more flexibility if you prefer to put your rabbit on its back between your legs when clipping areas like the stomach.

Popular choices are either a lighter, smaller, quieter cordless trimmer for delicate areas, to get under bad mats, or for anxious rabbits (as trimmers tend to be a lot quieter than clippers), or if you need to do a full body trim or are dealing with larger matted areas, look for a cordless clipper ideally with lower speed options. Use the clipper on the lowest speed for less noise and to take your time (as rabbits have finer, more sensitive skin than most dogs), especially for the very fine wool-type coats, like the Angora. A multi-speed clipper means you can use the higher speed/s when dealing with a particularly bad mat - but take extra care not to pull or lift the mat while clipping it, so you don't accidentally pull the skin up with it into the blade. When possible, always remove mats before clipping.

For a full-body clip, the most popular blade length to use is a #40 blade but the longer #15 or #30 or #10 are also popular. The finer, very short teeth of a #40 goes through the finer Angora type coat more easily (but will leave the fur very short, so make sure a newly clipped rabbit has protection from the sun!).

Bunny blades: A blade that's already been used on a dog or horse is unlikely to have the sharpness needed to cope with a rabbit's fine coat - especially the Angora - so when sharing a clipper, it's best to keep at least one blade aside for use only on your rabbits, as a new, sharp blade is a must for their finer coats. Our rabbit customers have also reported success using cat blades which have a different teeth pattern designed for fine coats like the Persian. They give you the added benefit of being bright green also, much easier to avoid accidentally using your bunny blade on your dogs or horses.

Important: Blade burn is even more of a concern with a rabbit's thinner, more sensitive skin than with dogs. Make sure to regularly touch the blade to check it's not too hot. Either apply blade coolant about every 15 minutes or as needed - or stop clipping & wait while for the blade to cool down, or get a second, back-up blade to use while the first blade is cooling down.

NAIL FAQ'S

My dog’s nails have got quite long. How do I avoid cutting the quick / vein?

If your dog’s nails are quite long, the quick or vein may have grown along with the length.

If you’re worried about cutting the vein, try using a grinder instead of a nail clipper, and take it slowly! Grind (or cut) them back, bit by bit, until you see a grey spot appear in the middle. If you carefully grind or file that back until it goes to white, you’ve reached the point where the vein is just below it.

In two weeks do the same process again, and so on, until they reach the desired length. The reason for waiting in between is to allow the vein to withdraw back into the nail over time, so you can more easily keep them regularly trimmed and short.

BRUSHLESS > The latest clipper technology are brushless clippers. These are designed for professionals wanting to invest in tough tools that last. Brushless significantly extends clipper motor lifetime up to 10 to 12 times (like the 10,000+ hour Andis Endurance). They give better power efficiency > around 85% to 90% efficiency vs brushed motors at 75% to 80%.  Increased torque > brushless motors adjust to the job at hand, giving more torque when needed for tough jobs, dense, difficult or matted coats. No brushes to wear out means lower maintenance. Plus the brushless motors run with less friction & reduced heat. Brushless motors are also a lighter weight and run with less noise. Browse brushless clippers >