Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: my Wahl clipper

Ahh, the Universal Men's Grooming Device. Here is an idea of which I was initially skeptical, but was eventually convinced by Mr. Money Mustache's prose to give it a whirl. This device is truly a bastion of utility and sheer awesomeness. I cannot recommend self-haircuts highly enough.

I bought the Wahl Chrome Pro 24-Piece Haircut Kit in mid-December, after I issued a call-to-arms to the Mustachian community. My previous trimmer, bought at Macy's for $25 maybe four years ago and of particularly poor quality, decided its terminals were too corroded to charge. That and my beard kept growing until I was beginning to look homeless.

Initially I was leaning toward an Oster (thanks to batscapades for the advice), but in the end I decided on the Wahl because of its Amazon reviews, the price, and the fact that it came with a bunch of different-sized guide combs so I wouldn't accidentally buy the wrong kind. I mentioned that after I bought it, I experienced a mixture of apprehension and buyer's remorse. I felt I wanted a really solid piece of equipment, something to last, and while paying only $25 is awesome, the prospect of accidentally purchasing a shoddy clipper was worrisome.

Luckily it's a very solid device. Though the clipper's case is plastic, the trimmer end is some hardcore awesome-looking type of metal, and the whole thing has this weightiness to it that I found reassuring. And even though the case seems a little cheap, I like that I can throw everything into it and tuck it under the sink when guests stay a night. It also has a brush to keep it clean, and oil to keep it maintained.

I trim my beard every week or so, and I've neatened up my hair twice since I bought the clipper; that means two trips to the barber saved, at $17 cash outlay per trip ($14 plus tip), not to mention time spent traveling, which means the Wahl has already paid for itself. I was apprehensive about cutting my own hair at first. I don't know why but I've always regarded it as something that should be left to the professionals. Perhaps it was that scene from Wayne's World with the suck cut that convinced me self-grooming should be mocked rather than respected.

"As you can see, it sucks as it cuts."
I took the plunge, and honestly, it was awesome. Cutting my own hair was as simple as putting on the longest guide comb (1"), trimming everything, replacing it with one smaller, and continuing the pattern until I was satisfied with the length. I did not know it was that easy. Also it didn't look completely terrible afterwards. Actually no one at work mentioned anything about me getting a hair cut: something I consider a Job Well Done.

Afterward I got this smug sense of self-satisfaction, like wow, I just performed a skill and a valuable service for myself, look how awesome I am. To all those economists who chant: "comparative advantage is king", I retort: "people's preferences are convex!". That is, a world where all I do 24/7 is pump out computer code so I can trade dollars to hair cutters and house cleaners and handymen is not a very fulfilling world to live in.

The only negative thing I can think to say is that, as a clipper, it does not provide a terribly close shave. I am considering getting a dedicated trimmer to neaten things up from time to time, though that is really more of a nice-to-have, and I will probably forego the purchase in the name of frugality.

In my humblest of opinions, virtually no man has a good excuse not to become his own barber.


  1. Yeah I cut my own hair for years in college, then got away from it, then started again recently. Super easy way to save money. I really need to upgrade my clippers though, they are way too cheap and rip more than cut. Takes longer too, because I have to go slow or they clog up. A new set of clippers is on my (hopefully) short list of things to buy next month.

  2. The right tool for the job is a necessity. I hope my clippers hold up well over time. If you've got a Costco trip coming up, I saw a similar Wahl set for $24 the last time I was there. It looked like a good buy.

  3. I've easily saved over 2600$ over the last 13 years since I started cutting my own hair. All with a 25$ clipper Wahl clipper. Think that's a 800% ROI! I think i've cleaned/oiled it about 5 times, so it think it could well outlast me!

  4. I use exactly the same clipper to cut my husbands hair every two I'm thinking he can do it himself lol!

    1. Haha maybe, but you should be careful with that. The last time I tried to get fancy cutting my own hair I shaved way too much off right above my ears with one of those ear guard attachments. That and my girlfriend said it looked "obvious" from looking at the back of my head that I was cutting my own hair. She made me promise to enlist her help the next time I wanted to get fancy :)