The fade haircut is known for its stylish finish of gradual hair length tapering. To taper one’s way to greatness one must skillfully unleash the dazzling power of the best clippers for fades.
Whether you have full or short hair, fades give a fashionably clean feel. It looks equally awesome on boys, young guys, and older men. It is truly impressive because it works with any hair type, adding structure and a touch of elegance to your look.
Taper cuts require accuracy, precision, as well as dexterity. And this would be difficult to achieve without the right clippers, blades, and accessories.
The tapering machine
Best for Beginners
A quiet performer
During my search for the best clipper for fades, I found the Wahl Professional 5-Star Legend Clipper and it remains my top pick.
While conducting my research, I looked for clippers that can produce patterned sides, edgy outlines, and varied hair lengths. I found a good number of clippers for fades that are great for everyday use, but only six of them made it to my list.
Summary of the Best Clippers for Fades
These are the six fade clippers that made it to the grand finale. I will go further to talk about their features later on.
|Best for||Hair Clippers for Fades|
|Best Overall||Wahl Professional 5-Star Legend|
|Beginners||Oster Fast Feed Clipper|
|Convenience||Remington HC4250 Shortcut Pro Clipper|
|Value for Money||Sminiker Professional Hair Clipper|
|Quiet and Powerful||Renpho Professional Cordless Clipper|
|Light and Sharp||Woner Hair Clipper|
After several examinations, I was able to determine the best clipper for smooth hair length tapering. My top picks give a smooth reduction of hair length.
Let’s delve into the list.
What Is the Best Clipper for Fades?
The Wahl 5-Star Legend Clipper is one of the best Wahl clippers for fades. This fade clipper can be used to achieve a gradual tapering of hair length.
Best for overall performance and build quality.
It comes with 8 different attachments, a cleaning brush, and cutting guides.
The blade of this clipper is perfect for fades. It is a powerhouse for fades that delivers several taper cuts in a day. The blade is adjustable. It opens up to a full 1 and closes at 3.
The clipper is corded, so there’s no provision for battery storage. It is designed to be used at home, in a barbershop, and anywhere else. The aesthetics are appealing, it looks good and sits comfortably in one’s hands.
As a fading clipper, the precision is on point. It is a good tool. The clipper also uses a v9000 motor that is known to be energy efficient. The motor gives a faster performance when compared to an average cheap clipper.
The WAHL clipper comes with a “crunch” blade technology. There is also a thumb adjuster taper that is used to taper the length of hair. So you can achieve smooth fades with its blades and its adjuster.
As mentioned earlier, the blades open up to a full 1 and close at 3. So with the blade guards, you can blend different hair textures. For example, I wanted a tight fade, so I used the ½ guard to blend between the open and closed guards. And it did a good job.
What I Like
What Can Improve
The Wahl Professional 5-Star Legend is a reliable fade clipper. This is one reason why it also falls within the best barber clippers for fades category. When the adjusting lever is set properly, a taper with phenomenal results is achieved, unlike cheap clippers. The materials used for this clipper are solid, only on rare occasions that the blades may need to be realigned.
The Oster fast feed clipper is an efficient fade clipper. It is an all-round clipper that does not produce much noise when running.
Best for beginners, lightweight, and whisper-quiet.
It is also lightweight, which makes it easy to hold when cutting fades.
The clipper is quite similar to the Wahl seniors and Andis Masters. Oster clipper cuts through wet or dry hair with ease. One thing I like about this clipper is that it doesn’t require regular maintenance.
However, it can be cleaned and oiled at least once in 6 months. When cleaning, you have to be careful not to misplace any of the smaller parts.
To keep the blades as smooth as possible, you can pile them before and after each use. That way the blades will look new and sharp to give perfect fades. Included in the box are blade guides, comb guide attachments, and cleaning accessories.
The clipper comes with four combs and its units are in fractions of an inch: 1/4, 3/8, 1/2, and a blending comb. The blending comb also serves as a guard and is about 1/16. The blending comb is designed to cut 2mm hair length, which is a little shorter than the first guard.
As a clipper for fades, the combs that come with it can be used for edges and sides. Depending on the amount of hair you want to take off the top of your head, you may need a different comb. If you would like the top hair length to be over 1/2 inches, you may buy a different comb attachment.
The Oster clipper comes with a pivot motor that is “whisper quiet.” This engine is more powerful compared to most magnetic clippers and it produces less noise.
The design is sleek and easy to operate. The blade is adjustable to give good fades. With the simple blade level, you can adjust the blade to your preferred length. It is solidly built, so it will serve you for years with optimal performance.
This clipper might experience an increase in temperature after intense use. If you are a professional barber with a multitude of customers seeking your service each day, you may have to wait a few minutes after prolonged usage.
However, you wouldn’t experience this while using it at home. The blend adjustment lever for the blade is sturdy, you wouldn’t have to worry about it coming off while tapering cuts. This is a problem that you may face with cheaper clippers, as you would have to hold them steady when in use.
The clipper does not pull one’s hair, whether the hair is dry or wet. So that is not something you should worry about with the Oster Fast Feeds.
Oster Fast Feeds vs. Classic 76
The Oster Fast Feeds and Oster Classic 76 are two Oster clippers that I like. While the Fast Feeds is preferable for blending and fades, the Classic 76 is preferable for trimming. However, the Oster T-blade is perfect for hairline and lineups.
They are simply different tools for different purposes. The Fast Feeds can be used for cutting different hair lengths with plastic comb attachments. On the other hand, Classic 76 has detachable metal blades that are used for that same purpose.
Fast Feeds is lightweight, unlike Classic 76 which is heavy. Generally, I prefer Fast Feeds. It is a better fade clipper as it offers smoother blending and tapering.
What I Like
What Can Improve
The Oster Fast Feed is one of the best hair clippers for fades. It produces really good-looking fades. The results were amazing. The clipper can be used in producing fades on the sides of the hair with a mirror close by. If you want a clipper that does good blending layers of haircut, this is a clipper you should check out. The Oster Fast Feeds doesn’t come with many attachment combs, so you may need to get some more guides depending on your personal preference. Other than that, this is a solid clipper.
Remington’s HC420 Shortcut Pro clipper looks different from standard clippers. It is shaped in such a way that it is easier to hold and it checks every box.
Best for efficiency, cordless, and innovative design.
Irrespective of the angle you hold this trimmer, it works, and that makes it better for self-use. It cuts faster than expected from a trimmer of such size. It is easier to trim the neckline and sides of the hair.
The blades work on coarse and thick hair. It cuts through the hair in a matter of seconds. Also, it allows for wider coverage due to its curved blades. The Remington’s HC420 comes with comb attachments that vary in length, from about 1.5mm to 15mm.
The trimmer is easy to maintain. If you notice hair build-up within the blades, you can simply rinse it off with running water. It is water-proof, so water is not likely to spoil the trimmer.
The design of this fading clipper is the first thing you would notice. The clipper head design and shape is one reason for it’s increased productivity. When there is loose hair, you’d have to move the clipper a couple of times on the spot.
This cordless clipper cuts both back and forth without changing your grip. That’s one interesting difference it has as opposed to regular clippers. And as a result, it cuts faster.
The Remington clipper comes with a built-in lithium battery that lasts up to 40 minutes after a full charge. When you plug the clipper into a power source, it takes a short time to charge but holds the charge for as long as you need it to taper a fade haircut.
The blade of this fades clipper is not adjustable unlike that of WAHL and Oster. So you would have to use the multiple guide combs that come with it. The guide combs can be used to achieve different hair lengths.
It has curved blades, so while fading one has to be careful. It takes a bit of a learning curve to really be able to use it to its full potential due to its unique form factor. That being said, once you figure it out you’d realize how fantastic it is.
What I Like
What Can Improve
The Remington fade clipper has an amazing ergonomic design and it cuts hair half the time it will take other trimmers. Although it doesn’t have a lever for fading, it does the job as well with some experience. It has all the right comb attachments and can easily give you a professional haircut.
When you need a cordless clipper for fades, the Sminiker hair clipper is one you shouldn’t ignore. The cordless version gives freedom as much as possible.
Best value for money and dependable battery life.
It comes with a superb battery that lasts several hours after a full charge.
The fade clipper has an R-shape that feels good in the hands and cuts hair without any trouble. The blades are sharp and it cuts hair without any skin irritation or injuries.
The clipper comes with 6 different comb attachments, that vary from 3mm to 18mm. It also comes with an adapter for charging.
The battery is great and lasts for about 6 hours after a full charge. Although it requires hours of charging, the time it lasts justifies that. When the battery is dead, the clipper wouldn’t work even if you plug it into a power source.
One impressive aspect of this fades clipper is that it comes with an additional lithium battery. So when the battery becomes faulty, you have an alternative. Ensure you go through the manual before attempting to remove the battery it came with.
The design is different from conventional cordless clippers. The R-shape makes it really handy. Its titanium blade is rust-resistant, while the adjustable ceramic blade is very durable.
The motor is powerful and has high efficiency. Working at about 50 decibels, there is less noise produced. This makes the clipper even more appropriate for younger children that are usually frightened when cutting their hair.
The clipper has a dial at the bottom which is preferable compared to the stick gauge adjuster with other clippers. When you want to do a fade haircut, the dial is set to shizzle. It also works well for hair buzz and lower sides of the hair.
Professionals can use the clipper easily for blends. It requires some level of experience. For the battery to be more durable, you can try to ensure not to completely discharge them. It helps to prolong the lifespan of the battery.
What I Like
What Can Improve
This cordless clipper is fun to use for fading. The Sminiker gives room for easy blending. The battery life is amazing and can last for close to 6 hours. Although the brand isn’t very popular, it has made a dependable clipper.
Renpho is a fast-growing clipper for men’s grooming. It comes with self-sharpening blades that are perfect for fades.
Best for its powerful motor and accessories.
This fade clipper also offers close cutting. It comes with 3 guide combs that are 1mm (1/24), 2mm (1/12), and 3mm (1/8) respectively.
Unlike other cordless clippers, Renpho comes with a DC power motor. The DC motor is also efficient in speed and reduces friction. Hence, you can use the clipper anywhere, such as in the house, when traveling, and more.
The fades trimmer supports USB charging. And is perfect for fades, trimming mustaches, back of the hair, hair edges, and line ups. The stainless steel blades cut precisely. This is one cordless clipper that I really like.
The clipper comes with a cleaning brush, pouch, charger, and lubricating oil. There is also a manual that gives instructions on how to use it properly. The lubricating oil needs to be applied before and after use. The zero-gap setting and precision speed control are two other features that I like.
Its packaging is top-notch. The way the contents are packed in the box looks better than most. Another thing I like the most about this clipper is its ability to charge via USB. The small size is often underrated. I can simply put the clipper in my pocket while traveling, which makes it travel-friendly.
RENPHO’s cordless hair clipper comes with a 1400mAh battery that supports USB charging. So you can charge it in the car or anywhere else. It has a smart LED display that shows the battery percentage and a charging indicator. After a full charge, the clipper can last for over 4 hours.
The battery life is sufficient for personal use. You would have to use it a couple of times to exhaust the battery. When the clipper is used for an hour, you would still have about 80% left.
This cordless clipper has an impressive build quality. It feels lightweight and yet very effective. The LED display is bright, its content is vivid. It also displays the speed level of the clipper.
There are 4-speed levels in its rotary motor, ranging from 5500 rpm to 7000 rpm. The 7000 rpm speed level is equivalent to the speed of a magnetic motor clipper.
It also has a similar torque motor. Hence, the Renpho clipper functions just like an Andis or Wahl clipper with a v9000 motor.
It compares with the best in the industry despite its small form factor. This is a combination of innovation and creativity.
If you want more control with this clipper, the speed level of 5000 rpm is preferable. Also, to enjoy the battery to the fullest, make sure you don’t overcharge it. So this isn’t a clipper you plug in and go to bed. Nah, that’s definitely not advisable. The blades are very durable.
What I Like
What Can Improve
This is a clipper that is small enough for minor cuts, yet big enough for fade haircuts. The Renpho clipper is one of the most effective cordless clippers that I know. It is no surprise that the battery life is amazing as well. If you want a clipper that doesn’t get hot when fading, then you can get this.
The clipper has a display that shows when it is charging. The blades can be cleaned easily. And it has a one-touch switch that makes it easy to control.
Best for rust-resistant and controls.
Woner wireless hair trimmer is a waterproof fade clipper. It comes with four different comb guides of 1.0mm, 1.3mm, 1.6mm, and 1.9mm. And four attachment combs of 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, and 12mm. It also comes with a storage case, a cleaning brush, and lubricating oil.
The blade is made of titanium and steel. It is rust-resistant, so they are likely to last for long. Another interesting thing is that the blades are self-sharpening. You would have no problem fading thick and coarse hair.
There is a micro setting for fading which makes the trimming process smoother. With a mirror, you can taper good fades with this trimmer. The guard levels are perfect for your grooming routine.
This cordless trimmer comes with a 600mAh lithium battery that can last for up to an hour and 30 mins after a full charge. The clipper takes about two hours to fully charge. The charging indicator and power level are shown on the LED display.
The trimmer can be used as a cordless hair clipper or a direct plug-in clipper. So when run out of battery, you can still make use of the clipper by connecting to a power source. The battery life is decent for its size.
The LED display on the clipper also shows the oil indicator. The design of the clipper is user-friendly. I like the rotating dial on it. With the dial, I can easily adjust the cutting length to my taste. The clipper has an amazing mechanism that makes it durable.
Its titanium blade is fixed, whereas the ceramic blade is moveable. In order to clean the clipper, you can simply remove the blades.
If you have never used a clipper before, using this clipper wouldn’t cause any hassle. This fading clipper is designed for both beginners and professionals. Whether you are learning how to cut hair or taper fades, this is a clipper that comes in handy. First, it is not expensive to get one. And second, you will feel comfortable using it.
The trim guards are in a metric method. So if you are familiar with the standard method, you can do an online quick conversion to see its values in a metric method.
What I Like
What Can Improve
The Woner wireless clipper is handy in size and powerful for fades. With the cordless feature, you wouldn’t have to do any gymnastics to prevent the cord from getting in your way while trimming your hair. The blades are sharp and it has precise cutting. You can adjust the trimming length of the blade even without changing its guards. Good quality for its price.
How to Identify the Best Clippers for Fades
When shopping for the best clippers for fades, there are some factors one must consider. Besides, not all clippers can be used for fades. What’s more, a clipper that creates neat trims along the hairline may produce poor fades.
Hence, here are some factors to look out for:
When picking a clipper, you should consider the material that the blade is made of. The blade is one of the most important components of a fade clipper. A good majority of hair clippers make use of stainless steel blades. This is because they are solid, rust-resistant, durable, and affordable.
Clippers with stainless steel blades require low maintenance and definitely get the job done. Still and all, there are even more stylish blades with a longer lifespan. Some of these fancy blades are as sharp as stainless steel and more durable.
There are blades with titanium, ceramic, and carbon coating. Carbon-coated blades as well as titanium-coated blades have better durability than the stainless steel blades. Whereas ceramic blades are sharper than the stainless steel alternatives.
Without any maintenance, the ceramic blade would cut better and it doesn’t get hot easily. The major drawback of the ceramic blades is that they are not as strong as others. It can break when much pressure is applied.
Stainless steel is the most common of all the blade types. Its strength makes up for its weaknesses. With stainless steel, you would need to oil it before and after each use, this is one way to maintain it. Depending on your hair type, you can pick up any of the blades.
The stainless steel blades can last for about a year if used rigorously, whereas the coated ones can last for a couple more years. Hence, there are blade replacements that can be bought if the clipper brand supports it.
The self-sharpening blade is getting common with most clippers. The latest Andis, Wahl, Oster, and other big brands come with this sort of blade. The blade sharpens itself each time the motor of the clipper is running.
The advantage of having a self-sharpening blade is that you wouldn’t have to worry about sharpening the blade after using it for years. The clipper would still cut like it is new and the blade would never be dull.
When getting a fade clipper, you should know that the ones with self-sharpening blades are usually more expensive. This is because the value they offer would be more cost-effective in a long run.
2. Clipper Motor
The power of the motor can be likened to the engine of a car. The more power it has, the more it would run. The motor in a clipper is responsible for the horizontal movement of its blade. When the motor is effective, the clipper can easily cut hair without leaving your hair stuck on its blade.
If your hair is thick and coarse, only a powerful motor would cut it without clogging. You would need a motor that supports precision cutting. When a clipper struggles to cut hair, it is likely due to the motor’s power.
There are three common clipper motors, namely:
- Rotary motor,
- Pivot motor, and
- Magnetic motor.
Clippers with a rotary motor are a common go-to for individuals with curly and afro-textured hair types. The motor is one of the strongest and yet is quiet during operation. It is also one of the most durable in the industry.
What I like most about the rotary motor is its adjustable speed. For example, the RENPHO wireless clipper with rotary motor mentioned earlier has 4-speed levels. You can decide to set the clipper to work from 5500 rpm to 7000 rpm.
Even if you have very thick hair, the rotary motor is likely to glide through effortlessly. If you want a rotary-motor clipper, you can easily find one online. Professional barbers like them for hair care because they get the job done with less noise. Also, it has a lower possibility of overheating.
The only challenge with rotary-motor clippers is that they are more expensive than others. If you want the best cuts, the price wouldn’t hold you back. The quality of the motor is its selling point.
Pivot motors are one of the best for cutting black hair. The design of the motor is simple. It consists of two electromagnets that move the blade while running. Due to the presence of these electromagnets, it allows the blades to cut hair in both back and forth movements.
The double blade strokes are important when cutting thick and coarse hair. The motor would also do a good job cutting wet hair.
Magnetic motor clippers are commonly used as opposed to rotary and pivot motors. This is because they are the cheapest. The motor consists of an electromagnet and a spring. The vibrations produced from the electromagnetic results in the movements of the blades.
Clippers with a magnetic motor don’t need much maintenance. Among all the motor types, the magnetic motor would likely clog thick and coarse hair types. It is not recommended for cutting black hair. However, it wouldn’t have a problem cutting softer hair types.
Higher versions of the magnetic motor clippers may work on thicker hair types. Nonetheless, the magnetic motor has lots of limitations. I would recommend getting a clipper with a rotary motor if you can afford it. If not, the pivot motor clippers would be the next best option.
3. Corded vs. Cordless
When getting a trimmer for fades, you would be faced with the decision of buying either a corded or cordless clipper. While a majority of corded clippers make use of an AC power source, some cordless clippers use DC power.
Cordless and corded clippers both have their advantages and drawbacks. It is best to go with the one you are more convenient with. The cordless clippers offer freedom, while the corded clippers have more powerful engines.
For example, the motor of a cordless clipper would begin to reduce performance as soon as the battery begins to depreciate. Hence, a cordless clipper that doubles as a corded one would have an upper hand.
I have both corded and cordless clippers and like to use them for different purposes as long as they offer the maximum torque required. Use the cordless clipper in the shower and take the corded one along while going to the barbershop.
4. Comb Attachments
Usually, when you get a new clipper, it comes with comb guides. The comb guides or attachments are used in tapering hair length. The comb guides are fixed on the blade and it helps to vary the hair length. There is an adjustable setting on the sides of some clippers.
As a rule of thumb, if you want precise cuts, you need a precise blade. A clipper with a fade blade would do a better job compared to one that is sold as an all-in-one clipper.
There are different ways to identify trim guards. While some of the guards are in the metric method, others are in the standard method. With an online conversion, you can cover length in both methods.
There are eight trim settings that are commonly used. When you get to a barbershop for the first time, they would usually ask about your preferred hair length. This determines the comb guard to use. In the past when I kept a low cut, I often used the 1/4 comb guide.
The common comb guides for haircuts are 1/8 inch, 1/4 inch, 3/8 inch, 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, 3/4 inch, 7/8 inch, and 1 inch. The attachments are also referred to from numbers 1 to 8.
When a clipper is used without its guides, it is most definitely because you want a skin cut or bald style. And the clipper shaves the entire hair on a person’s head.
5. Voltage Rating and Frequency
Another thing to look at when getting a fade clipper is its voltage rating and frequency.
When a clipper is rated at 120V and you plug it into a 220V or 240V power source, it will get damaged. On the contrary, when a clipper rated at 240V is connected to a 120V power source, it would take an extremely long time to charge its battery. And if it is corded, it wouldn’t function properly.
If you live in the United States and you buy a clipper rated at 220V, you will need a power-up converter (110V to 220V to be precise). Also, attention should be given to the frequency of the clipper.
The recommended frequency in the United States is 60Hz, whereas in other parts of the world the frequency is 50Hz. When you plug a clipper designed for 50Hz into 60Hz, the motor of the clipper will be damaged. If a 60Hz clipper is plugged into a 50Hz power source, the motor would give you a sub-par performance.
When buying a clipper for fades, you should check the voltage rating and frequency that is recommended for the motors.
The Bottom Line
So far we have reviewed some of the best fade clippers in the market. These clippers would allow you to get a smooth hair length tapering. If used skillfully, you wouldn’t have to visit the barbershop.
Some of the clippers on this list are cheap, while others are affordable. The Wahl 5-star legend clipper is the foremost in the best clippers for fades category. On the contrary, the Renpho clipper comes first in the best cordless fade clippers category.
Whether you prefer corded or cordless clippers, the most important feature is that it glides like a gladiator. A good clipper is a powerful tool in the hands of an artisan. With regular practice, you will get better at using these fading clippers.
About the Author
Marc CorkeryGrooming Professional
Marc Corkery is a fashion enthusiast and grooming professional. He also enjoys playing the violin. Before starting GroomHour, Marc covered a vast range of topics for large fashion platforms. Join Marc and several monthly readers on GroomHour.com, and learn ways to improve your grooming skills and etiquettes.