As professionals whose primary job description involves cutting hair, keeping up with the latest innovations on all things sharp is a smart thing to do.
Clippers and scissors continue to evolve as savvy stylists demand tools that can hold up to the difficult and creative tasks at hand. When it comes to clippers, a groomer’s wish list includes power to get through the thickest coats smoothly, and a tool that will last.
And let’s face it, they like a clipper with some color and character, too. Manufacturers continue to offer new, innovative tools to choose from.
“Our most recent and revolutionary clipper has a brushless motor,” John Vasone of Conair, said. “The motor is unlike that found in any other pet clipper. It is similar to motors used in radio-controlled airplanes.”
The motors found in most other clippers have parts in them called “brushes.” The brushes are made of metal and, with time, wear out.
“Because of the way this motor is designed, it will last a long, long time,” Vasone said. “We have tested it and it has gone over 10,000 hours of run time. Because of this we offer a 10-year warrantee on the motor. It is also a very light clipper; it only weighs 9.4 ounces, about the same weight as a good-sized Delicious apple.”
Erich Jedersberger, from The German Red Clipper Company (Aesculap), explained the company’s new FAV5 Hybrid clipper.
“One of the main reasons for the launch of the FAV5 Hybrid is to offer a high-quality pet clipper at an affordable price,” he said. “If the groomer wants to make it cordless, he/she can do so at any moment, just buying the battery pack in a second step.”
This clipper has been well received by groomers because it offers high torque for supreme cutting quality, yet the blades stay cool because of lower speeds. The separately sold battery pack includes a charger and two light-weight lithium ion batteries.
Wahl representative Judi Cantu Thacker is extremely enthusiastic about her favorite clipper.
“The new KM10 is every groomer’s dream,” she said. “Powerful, quiet, brushless motor, two speeds, smooth finish and, best of all, it comes with a 5-year warrantee. It stays cool when clipping for an extended period of time. For such a cool clipper, it is one hot product.”
Another option out there for groomers is the Oster A6.
“The Oster A6 is a 3-speed clipper that is ergonomically designed with a black overmold that is anti-slip,” Al Fisher, account manager/sales for Oster, said. “The same clipper is offered in purple for groomers that like to add some color. It is slim, light and very popular.”
Andis offers a huge selection of professional end clippers, from the AGC single speed to the AGC2, Super2 speed.
“My favorite is the Excel,” Diane Betelak, an Andis company representative said. “A lightweight, small bodied, very powerful 5-speed clipper that now comes in five different colors: pink, silver, blue, purple and the newest color, spring green. This little clipper can power through the toughest coat and still look pretty.”
When it comes to innovations in scissors, groomers are talking about the relatively new chunker-style blending shears.
“Our 26-tooth blender is far and away our most popular seller out of our entire line of scissors,” Fisher said. “Designed for cutting the tips of hair, not for bulk thinning, this style of scissors creates a beautiful, natural finish with very little effort. They are useful for everything from shaping sweetly styled “teddy bear”-type heads to all-over scissored body finishes and lots of things in between.”
Groomer Liz Czak, owner of Yankee Clipper Pet Grooming and Supplies in Rockport, Maine, said hardly a day goes by that she doesn’t wonder how she ever groomed without this type of blender.
“I’ve only used them for the last two or three of my almost 50-year career, but I certainly wish I’d had them all along” she said. “I find I use them on almost every dog I groom.”
Though most commonly found as a straight shear, Randy Lowe, of Precision Sharp, has begun to craft chunker-style blenders with curved blades.
“Groomers like them for working on rounded heads and anywhere a soft, curved trim is needed,” Lowe said. “I’ve been selling them as fast as I can make them.”
When choosing clippers or scissors, it is helpful for groomers to attend an industry trade show so that they can hold the tools and see how they feel in hand. By working with a vendor at a show, groomers can be fitted so that the scissors they choose fit their hand optimally, ensuring not only good scissoring results, but also less hand fatigue and joint stress.
Groomers should purchase clippers that offer low vibration, good balance and excellent cutting power to help reduce injuries caused by working repetitively with power tools. With the myriad of choices available to modern stylists, the “perfect” tools are just waiting to be discovered.