How Clippers Work

Clippers are of course awesome tools to have in your arsenal. Any home hair cutter, barber, and pet barber has a pair of clippers laying around somewhere. They are easy to use, they are accurate, and they can save a whole lot of time compared to using scissors. People have been asking how clippers work, something which we are here to talk about right now. Let’s go over the most important aspects of hair clippers, how they work, and some other stuff vital info too.

Clippers – Basic Function

Clippers are pretty basic in terms of their general function. To keep things simple, it all starts with a power source. This could be from an AC power outlet or from a built-in battery. The battery or power source then powers a really simple and small motor. This motor then moves gears and cogs which connect to a set of blades at the tip of the clippers. These blades move back and forth, cutting any hair they come into contact with. Simply put, that is how clippers work. In all reality, clippers have a really simple function and it does not take much to explain how they work. They don’t really have many moving parts and are simple to understand. It’s not like quantum physics or rocket science. There are a couple of other things to talk about when it comes to the general function of clippers, so let’s do that right now.

The Blades

There are a couple of different kinds of blades for clippers. One type of blade is the single surface moving blade. These blades usually feature one set of moving blades and a set of stationary blades. The moving blades take the hair and move it towards the stationary blades. Once the hair is between the blades, it gets cut, just like cutting paper with scissors. The motor powers the movement mechanism which causes the blade to move back and forth, cutting the hair in between the moving and stationary blade. The other type of clipper blade features a dual set of moving blades. These work in more or less the same way, but they tend to work a little faster because both the top and bottom blade layers move; they move back and forth in opposite directions, much like many pairs of small scissors. This type of clipper blade is often self-sharpening as well. In other words, these blades are specially built to rub against each other like a file. The bottom set of blades sharpens the top set while the clipper is in use and vice versa.

The Guards/Combs

Another vital component of the clipper is the guard, otherwise known as the comb. This is that little comb-like accessory located on the front of the clipper, right on top of the open blades. These guards come in different lengths. Their function is to provide the clipper with a certain clipping length. This makes a clipper really easy to use for things like large surfaces of hair. Buzz cutting a whole head is easily done when you have a short guard comb on the front. It provides for an even cut every time. Clippers almost always come with several different guards of varying lengths. For instance, for a military style cut, a longer guard would be used for the top of the head, while a shorter one would be used for the side and back of the head. These guards can be easily changed in a matter of seconds. Barbers will often use the exposed blades without a guard to cut around the ears or for styling mustaches and beards.


Clippers do of course need some kind of power source. They are an electrical tool, so they need electricity to function. This can come in the form of an AC power outlet and a cord. Many clippers are still corded versions; they have a cord which can on occasion get in the way a little bit. However, you never have to worry about charging these things or having them run out of battery power. This is a very reliable power source that will always provide the clipper with constant clipping power. On the other hand, many modern clippers are cordless. This means that they are battery powered. Some of the less expensive models use simple AA or AAA batteries, which is fine if you are OK with buying replacement batteries regularly. However, generally speaking, most cordless options come with a rechargeable battery and a charging dock. This is the kind of clipper that most people buy for home use. The battery usually last for 60 to 120 minutes at a time before needing to be recharged.


The bottom line is that clippers work with some fairly simple mechanical and electrical components. It is more or less a motor that causes a blade to move.