Trimmer vs Clipper [Detailed Comparison]

Are you contemplating trimmer vs clipper? Then, read through the information we have in this article to make an informed decision. 

When you get a haircut at a barbershop, both a trimmer and clipper will be used. They share several similarities, especially in terms of appearance. However, they are also different in many aspects: 

This article on trimmer vs clipper will provide you with detailed information on the similarities and differences. So, if you ever want to purchase a trimmer and a clipper to cut your own hair at home, you will not be confused and will be able to use them correctly. 

Trimmer vs. clipper, what are the similarities and differences? 
Trimmer vs. clipper, what are the similarities and differences?

Trimmer vs Clipper – Overview 

Trimmers and clippers are devices that are designed for hair cutting purposes. Often, they are used interchangeably or mistaken for one another. 

This is an example of a trimmer: 

Example of a hair trimmer
Example of a hair trimmer

And this is an example of a clipper: 

Example of a hair clipper 
Example of a hair clipper

As you will read, they share some similarities, but essentially, are not the same. 

Trimmer vs Clipper – Similarities  

General Purpose 

Trimmers and clippers share the same general purpose. They are both handheld devices that are used to cut hair. 

Main User 

Trimmers and clippers are used mainly by men. They can be used by amateurs or professionals. So, they are handy at the barbershop and at home. 


Trimmers and clippers are not all electric. They are available in non-electric and electric versions. However, nowadays, the latter is more popular for either type. Electric trimmers and clippers can both be cord or cordless. 

Basic Anatomy  

Trimmer and clippers look a lot alike. They each have a handheld unit with a grip and blades that are made of stainless steel or ceramic. Cordless trimmers and clippers have batteries. 

Trimmer vs Clipper – Differences  


The key difference between trimmers and clippers lies in the blades. 

The blades of trimmers are short and thin. They have small spikes that look like a shark’s teeth. These go through thin, fine hair and reach even narrow hair areas.

As they are designed this way, trimmer blades are capable of cutting a lot closer to the scalp. Hence, creating details, outlining, and edging are possible. And you can get trendier hairstyles with trimmers. 

On the other hand, clippers’ blades are big and resemble a comb. Typically, there are two blades: a top one and a bottom one. The bottom one feeds your hair into the top one, which moves back and forth quickly to cut.

Due to the difference in their blades, trimmers and clippers are used for distinct specific purposes. 

Clippers are capable of cutting hair in bulk, specifically, thick and long hair. They are more efficient at chopping off large volumes and lengths of hair. And unlike trimmers, they cannot cut close to the scalp. 


Clippers come with plastic or metal attachments called guards. These have sizes that set the distance between the blades of the clipper and the scalp, effectively, determining the length to be cut. The sizes run from 1/16 inches to 1.5 inches. 

You clip them onto the top of the clipper unit to set the length you want to cut. Usually, though, for this purpose, attachments of clippers are bigger. There is a wide range of attachments to help people safely and easily cut their hair. 

But, different from clippers, only some trimmers include attachments; not all do. If there are accompanying trimmer attachments, they would be smaller. So, they would be between 1 and 5 mm. 

For a more detailed coverage of clipper guards, check out this video

Area Application 

Until now, we have been talking about trimmers and clippers in terms of cutting hair on the head. But as we all know that hair exists on other parts of the body, it is worth noting where these devices can be used. 

Facial Hair 

Clippers can be used for beards (hair on the face) if they are thick and long, such as bushy beards. 

In addition, clippers can be used to thin a beard’s overgrowth and thus, make the way for the trimmers. In this regard, it can be quite a handy tool to prepare for a final cut. 

Trimmers can also be used for facial hair. They are an excellent alternative to shavers, as they can provide a close cut. You can use them to shape and style your beard. 

However, trimmers cannot deliver as much satisfaction (in terms of neatness) as shavers when trimming a mustache or edging a beard. Still, it is possible to use trimmers for ear hair and nose hair. 

Body Hair 

Clippers are usually not recommended for body hair. As body hair is rarely thick or long enough. For body hair, you would use a trimmer. Trimmers are the go-to device for pubic hair or hair below the waistline, as well, 

Trimmer vs Clipper – Which is Better? 

With the information you have read above, it is now possible to answer on your own, “Which is better, clippers or trimmers?”

Whether you choose clippers or trimmers relies primarily on what you want to use it specifically for. If you want to cut thick and lengthy hair, then a clipper will be better, but if you want a trendy hairstyle with details and involved outlining or edging, then it is better to go with a trimmer.  

Clippers are also more suitable for people who want to cut their hair at different lengths, and from their, style their hair in various ways. 

Other than that, clippers are a great alternative to scissors so they can be fitting for those who do want to go out to a barbershop for a haircut. 

However, clippers need to be regulrarly lubricated. So, apart from the money you spend on the cippiers, you will also have to spendmoney on lubrication. This will tke time, as well. Therefore, choosing clippers will come at this expense. 

You may want to pick a trimmer when you are seeking a 5 o’clock shadow look or a close cut and clean shave. Trimmers are ideal for those with sensitive skin, ingrown hair or are acne prone, as their blades are typically hypoallergenic. 

Also, where do you want to cut hair? If it is hair on the head or the face, a clipper will suffice. If body hair is also in the picture, the better option is a trimmer. 


Can a trimmer be used as a clipper? 

Technically, a trimmer can be used as a clipper as its basic function is to cut hair. However, we advise against this. 

Trimmers have short, thin, and spiky blades. So, they cannot efficiently cut through large volumes and lengths of hair. It will take a lot of time and effort, and there is a chance you will break or ruin the trimmer.

Unless the clipper comes with attachments specifically made for beard trimming or is designed, as a unit, to function like a trimmer, then it is best not to use it as a clipper. 

Can a trimmer be used for hair cutting?

A famous trimmer in the market is the Philips trimmer. Because of Philips’ brand reputation, many users, including first-time buyers, put faith in it. Perhaps you are also thinking about getting a Philips trimmer. 

But you wonder if you can cut your hair with it. The answer is the same: you can but we do not recommend it. 

If you really want a Philips product that doubles as a clipper (for hair cutting) and a trimmer, you should consider the brand’s multi-purpose line: Multigroom. 


Now you know everything there is to know about trimmers vs clippers. If you are here to make a decision about which to buy, we hope that you were able to make a call using our information. If you did, share what your choice is with us in the comments down below! 

Max Young

Hello, my name is Max Young - the founder of, a website dedicated to the shaving community.

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