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Clipper vs Trimmer: What Cuts Deepest, Trims Neatest?

Last Updated on: April 9, 2024

Hair trimmers and hair clippers are exceptional electric grooming devices designed for cutting hair, particularly a guy’s hair. But even if they serve a similar purpose, these devices are designed differently and for a reason.


Most folks can tell the difference between the two; they use the two names interchangeably. So if you’re confused and don’t know if you should purchase a hair clipper or trimmer, please read on.

Main Difference Between Clipper vs. Trimmer

The main difference between clipper vs. trimmer are:

  • A clipper is used to cut long hair, whereas a trimmer cuts hair that is already short.
  • A clipper cuts different hair lengths, whereas a trimmer is designed for edging, outlining, trimming, and creating details.
  • A clipper uses numerous attachments to adjust the distance of the blade from your scalp, whereas trimmers use the thinner blades, and some brands don’t come with attachments.
  • A clipper cuts inches through long and thick hair, whereas a trimmer cuts the hair near the scalp or in places that are extremely hard to access using a clipper.
  • Clippers have a huge blade, whereas trimmers come with smaller blades.

Hair Clipper vs Trimmer: Similarities and Differences

Hair Clipper
Hair Clipper
Hair Trimmer
Hair Trimmer


These days most guys are familiar with trimmers and clippers, but their appearances always confuse people. This is actually the main reason why most folks mistake one for the other. So when you visit the barber, he (or she) will start cutting your hair with a clipper.

And that is because clippers were designed for trimming thick and long hair to the right length. After reducing the length of your hair, they will proceed to cut the hair on your ears and neck while adding final touches with a trimmer.

Trimmers are designed for cutting the hair near your scalp and places where clippers can’t access, while clippers are ideal for bulk hair cutting.

Other than edging your beards and trimming your mustache, you can also use a beard trimmer as a replacement for a shaver. If you have acne-prone skin, ingrown hair, or sensitive skin, then you should trim your beards using a hair trimmer instead of a shaver. A shaver can leave your sensitive skin with some rashes. 

When it comes to cleaning things up, a hair clipper can be useless, especially if you want a clean outline or to create an exceptional design. For this task, you need a beard trimmer. Trimmers are ideal when it comes to carving designs and light shaping.

Therefore, when purchasing a trimmer, you should ask if it’s zero-gapped or not. And if it’s not, you should confirm if it can be adjusted. Remember, zero-gapped trimmers guarantee you the sharpest hairlines. 


Hair Clipper Attachments
Hair Clipper Attachments

Hair clippers come with a wide range of attachments designed to help you cut hair effectively and safely. These attachments are referred to as guards and they are made of metal or plastic. These guards have certain sizes that can define the gap between the scalp and blade.

Therefore, anyone who has ever visited a barbershop must have heard clients asking for number 3 or number 2 haircuts. And when this happens, the barber usually attaches the no. 3 or no. 2 attachments to their clipper and start trimming the hair.

The longest guard is no. 12, which leaves you with 1.5 inches of hair, while the shortest (0) is 0.0625 inches long hair.

Some high-end hair clipper brands also add attachments that can be used to deal with certain areas like the ear, nose, and beard attachments. Unfortunately, most hair trimmer brands don’t come with attachments due to the design and size of their blades. 

Blade Thickness

Hair Clipper Blade
Hair Clipper Blade
Hair Trimmer Blade
Hair Trimmer Blade

A hair clipper comes with thick blades that can cut through the densest and thickest afro-textured hair. The blade of a hair clipper has farther spaced teeth than that of the trimmer just like combs.

Clippers were designed as a replacement for scissors; therefore, they can cut through long thick hair to the right size. The huge comb-like blades work together with the bottom blade feeding the hair to the top blade while moving back and forth. On the other hand, trimmers have shallow and thin blades designed to give close shaves and deal with shorter hair.

The trimmer’s blade has small spiked teeth that can move easily over short hair. Luckily, both trimmers and clippers have stainless steel and ceramic blades. Plus, some trimmers come with hypoallergenic blades.


Hair Clippers are usually heavier and bigger than trimmers; therefore, they can be a bit challenging for some people to handle. Plus, your hand may get tired while giving someone a haircut.

Trimmers are more compact than hair clippers. They’re designed for accessing the nooks and crannies around the ears.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Use To Trim My Beards If I Have Sensitive Skin?

A shaver can help you clean shaving your beards, but if you plan on trimming and styling your beards and mustache, you should go for a trimmer. A shaver can irritate your sensitive skin, especially when not used correctly. A trimmer, however, can give you your desired beard style and still shave the hard-to-access regions. If you don’t have sensitive skin but require a close shave within a few minutes, then you should get an electric shaver.

Hair Clipper vs Hair Trimmer: Which Is Better To Use?

The answer to this question will depend on the length of your hair. If you’re shaving long and thick hair, then you should go for a hair clipper; however, if you have short hair, then you need a clipper.

Even with a clipper, you’ll still need a trimmer to shave the hair near your ears and neck region. Luckily, some high-end clippers come with attachments for accessing the hair on your neck and near your ears.

Can I Shave My Beards Using A Clipper?

Yes, you can. Hair clippers can work on beards. If you plan to use them every time, then you should get a normal beard trimmer. Clippers are heavy and bulky while trimmers are light and slim more accurate and easy to handle.


Hair clippers and trimmers are both designed for shaving or trimming hair, but they vary in size and can be used under different conditions. For example, a trimmer is compact and can be used for styling, trimming, and cutting short hair. On the other hand, clippers are designed for handling long and bulky hair.

Therefore, if you’re shaving someone’s hair, you should consider its length when picking the right tool for the job. Remember, a trimmer can access the places where a clipper can’t and still give you some crisp lines.

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