Dog Clippers and Accessories:  A Practical Buying Guide

by Janice Jones     |Last Updated 04-27-2021

Dog Clippers is the essential tool for grooming a Shih Tzu or other dogs with long coats that continue to grow.  Are you one of those folks who dreams of saving money each month by grooming your own dog?  It makes sense if you have two or more dogs.  The savings can add up fast.

For the DIY, who has never purchased a pair of clippers, or the more experienced home groomer choosing one that will work best for you and our breed can be a challenging task. 

Even those who go to the groomers every couple of months, a pair of dog hair clippers can be used to keep your dog neat and clean.  For the first time groomer, the task of purchasing your first dog grooming clippers and all the accessories can be daunting.  

Dog Grooming Clipper and AccessoriesDog Clippers: Grooming the Shih Tzu

What to Look for in Dog Clippers

Since this article is intended for Shih Tzu owners, I will just mention that the Shih Tzu breed like many other dogs (Maltese, Yorkies, Lhasa, etc,) have hair, not fur.  Any clipper you purchase should be appropriate for clipping dog hair.   There are four things to consider before making a purchase.

Weight, Size, and Sound of Dog Grooming Clippers

Clippers differ in weight, size, and sound so each deserve an explanation. 

Sound of Running Dog Clippers

You may not care how loud or soft the clippers are when running at high speed, but I’ll bet your puppy or dog will notice.  A quiet clipper is ideal.  Dogs have sensitive hearing and the hum of clippers can be an annoying sound.  This is especially important if you already have a dog that doesn’t like to be groomed. 

Not too Heavy, Not too Light, Just Right

Weight is another issue.  The lightest weight clippers may not be the best, but don’t assume the opposite is true.  Some lighter weight clippers can be very powerful.  Heavy clippers can cause you fatigue,  your arms, wrists and hands can be affected. The ideal weight may differ for different people so it is best to experiment before purchasing.  The weight of the clipper is usually provided on the specs or on the packaging.

Size and Shape of Dog Clippers

If you plan to do much clipping, you will want to have a clipper that fits comfortably in your hand.  Manufacturers in the past have not addressed ergonomics of their products, but that is changing. 

A comfortable clipper will fit in your hands – You will be holding the clippers like you would a pencil, but pointed down towards the floor.  People with large hands may be able to manage a larger clipper and not feel comfortable with anything else.

But if your hands are smaller, a smaller size clipper will feel better.  Assuming it is likely to take you about 30 minutes to do a complete clip, longer if you need to stop for breaks or interruptions.  Dogs also appreciate breaks. 

Look at the specs which are usually provided if purchasing on line, or on the packaging if you buy in the store.

The most popular brands of dog grooming clippers (and blades) are Andis, Oster, Wahl and Laube.

A Shih Tzu dog on a background of dollar signs stating, I'm worth every penny.

Cost of Dog Clippers

Assuming you are going to be doing the majority of the grooming in your home, you will want to purchase a professional style clipper.  Grooming needs to be done every 6 to 8 weeks and depending on the number of dogs you own, a cheap clipper will not last. 

The initial cost of the clippers and accessories can be high, but calculate the eventual cost savings.  For example, if you invest $300 in a pair of clippers, grooming supplies  and accessories, and you normally pay $50 a visit, your tools will have paid for themselves in six months.

What is wrong with cheap clippers?

You can purchase dog clippers for as low as $20, but you get what you pay for.  You will sacrifice power, ease of use, lack of accessories and are not meant to last. 

If you plan to use the services of a professional groomer every couple of months, a less expensive model may be perfect.  You can use them to clip around the butt or take a bit of hair off below the eyes.  They work great on these small jobs.

Maintaining Your Dog Clippers

There is a bit of maintenance that goes along with owning your own clippers.  Blades need to be cleaned and oiled and clipper parts can break.  Take that into consideration as some brands are better than others in the need for maintenance.

Most clippers have the same amount of maintenance so this is normally not a factor in choosing the one for you.

Eventually, with heavy use your dog grooming clipper can last for years.  You will find that most of your time is spent on cleaning, disinfecting, sharpening and lubricating the blades.  Clipper Accessories includes supplies needed to maintain your clipper.

Corded or Cordless Dog Clippers

You now have the option of purchasing clippers that are cordless and need charging on ones that come with a cord.  Even the length of the cord can vary from clipper to clipper.  

Cordless clippers have the advantage in maneuverability because you don't need to mess with a cord that can get twisted or in the way when you are grooming.   The are the easiest to use especially in those hard to reach areas.

The downside is that they need to be charged frequently about every two hours.  If you have a lot of dogs to clip, you will either need to stop and recharge or have two pairs of clippers.  They are slower and may not do a great job of getting through a very thick coat.

Corded clippers are more powerful and you can clip your dog in less time.  Many have long cords that are great if you need extra room to work and your outlet is not nearby. 

But, they can get in the way especially in small tight places where the extra length can become a safety issue.  I've accidently stepped on cords sending clippers flying.  They can't get into those hard to reach areas.

Power and Motor Speed

The power of the clipper motor is measured in rpm or rotations per minute rpm, often called strokes per minute.  The higher the rotation, the more powerful the clipper. The fewer the rotations, the more time it will take to clip the hair, however, lower speeds do not heat up as fast as the highest speeds.

Clippers come in a either single speed or variable.  Variable speed clippers can range from two to five speeds.

Adjustable verse Detachable Blades

The type of blades you purchase will ultimately be decided by the type of clipper you choose. Detachable blade clippers are made to make changing blades easily by clipping on and off.  You can purchase as many or as few blades as you want and change blades as often as you like.

Adjustable blade clippers are designed to work with one clipper blade that can be adjusted to various sizes.

What Dog Clippers To Purchase

Here are a couple of corded clippers in order of price.  There are some advantages of corded clippers.

  • Cool and quiet running.
  • Works on all coats and breeds.
  • Detachable blade design 
  • Super two-speed rotary motor 
  • 14' heavy-duty cord 
  • Comes in a variety of colors
  • Break resistent in case you happen to drop it
  • Professional grade
  • Price:  $149.32

I own this pair of these dog clippers and like the fact that I can groom a dog without having to worry about the clipper blades getting too hot.  It does a good job and I can recommend it.  The only downside that I can see is that it doesn't fit well in my hands.  With RA, I look for a clipper that fits more comfortably in my hands.  This clipper is a bit of a handful.

  • Soft-grip material helps to reduce hand fatigue 
  • 3 speeds: Make clipping faster if using the high speed
  • Corded
  • Compatible with all Oster A5 detachable blades
  • 12' power cord 
  • Vibration Isolators centered around the motor help absorb excess vibration 
  • Lighter in weight than other clippers
  • Price:  $113.35

I own this dog clippers too, and can say that it fits comfortably in my hands.  My only issue that I have is that I must continually check the temperature of the blade.  It tends to heat up quickly and get too hot to comfortably clip a dog without either changing the blade or spraying on some blade coolant.

Cordless Clippers

  • Lithium-ion battery provides continuous power and holds a charge longer
  • Heavy duty single speed rotary motor design (3,000 SPM)
  • Lightweight, comfortable design
  • Compatible with all Oster A5 detachable blades
  • Includes one battery, charging stand, and power adapter
  • Price:  $258.90

  • 80 Minutes Per Battery Run TimeLightweight (7.9 ounces)5 in 1 Blade (#40-30-15-10-9)
  • QuietCool-Running
  • Low Maintenance
  • Comes as a kit with two rechargeable batteries and a set of 4 clip on combs
  • Price:  $139.95
  • Cordless

From the examples above, it is clear that one of the mayor choices you will make when purchasing a pair of dog clippers is whether to choose one that has a cord and one that does not.  Cordless clippers are more expensive, but offer an easier way to groom without having the battle of the cords.

Those clippers that have cords  have the advantage of being able to groom continually without the need to stop and recharge.  Which one will you choose?  Many groomers opt to pick one of each.  If you have many Shih Tzu dogs to groom, you may want to take their lead and opt for a corded and and a cordless clipper to complete your home grooming needs.

Prefer Something A Bit Less Expensive

You may want to pick a clipper that is less expensive just to try it out.  Some would be home groomers are not sure that they can groom their dogs at home all by themselves and they choose a clipper that is less expensive.  That is perfectly understandable and maybe the perfect choice for those that are on the fence, not yet ready to make the dive into total individual home grooming.

About Janice

Janice is the voice behind Miracle Shih Tzu. Having lived with dogs and cats most of her life, she served as a veterinary technician for ten years in Maryland and twelve years as a Shih Tzu dog breeder in Ohio.

Her education includes undergraduate degrees in Psychology with a minor in biology, Early Childhood Education, and Nursing, and a master's in Mental Health Counseling.

She is a lifelong learner, a dog lover, and passionate about the welfare of animals. Her favorite breed for over 50 years has been the Shih Tzu.

When not writing, reading, or researching dog-related topics, she likes to spend time with her eight Shih Tzu dogs, her husband, and her family, as well as knitting and crocheting. She is also the voice behind Small Dog Place and Smart-Knit-Crocheting.