Face trimmers should be easy to use, from plug-in to clean-up. You should be able to take them out of the box, turn them on, and go to work, and they should be lightweight, quiet, and able to trim closely and smoothly.
That's how we evaluated the nine sets of trimmers and clippers we used on horses? heads and legs. Four were cordless, two could be operated with or without a cord, and three had cords to be plugged into a wall socket. We compared the pros and cons of battery power to corded power to run them.
Cordless trimmers and clippers have improved considerably since their early days, but we still find they tend to not have the power or durability of models with cords.
The batteries lose charging power over time, and we?ve found they don't eventually cut as well. Still, when you absolutely must have a cordless clipper, the products in this trial will get the job done.
Light And quiet.
Both the Forfex BaByliss Pro 670 and the Laube Speed Feed cut whiskers and hair precisely and without lines. Both have five blade settings, both are light and quiet with minimal vibration, and both have long-lasting nickel metal hydride batteries. We used each to clip the faces, legs and tails of both veteran show horses who needed touch-ups and two- and three-year-olds who had thick whiskers.
We preferred the Forfex?s ergonomic body design, as it was easier and more comfortable to handle. Plus, we liked the option of using it with a cord, too, suggesting that it might have a life beyond a plain cordless clipper model.
One under-rated top-quality feature of the Laube trimmer is that it comes with an excellent hard-plastic carrying case that keeps the body, extra battery, blades and oil nicely organized and that you can actually shut after you open it for the first time. Since clippers are rarely used on a daily basis and barns tend to be dusty by nature, a good case is a necessity for us. The Forfex comes only with a black sack and costs $30 more than the Laube.
The Wahl ARCO SE also impressed us, as it's extremely light and quiet. However, we didn't find it as precise as the Forfex or the Laube clippers.
The bargain-basement priced Andis Easy-Groom can be precise, depending on the blade adjustment, and it appears to hold its charge well. The blade is small, however, and the product doesn't feel as solidly made as the other three models ? although you?ve got to expect that at this price ? so long-term dependability is an unanswered question. If all you need is a truly inexpensive cordless face trimmer, this might be your answer.
The Oster Pro-Cord/Cordless is also a budget-priced choice. While the cord or cordless feature makes this clipper doubly convenient, the body holds only a small blade and felt like it had a low level of power comparatively (whether it's attached to a wall socket or not), so we found it lacking what we needed to cut serious hair.
Heads And Shoulders.
Our experience is that cord clippers are generally more powerful and more durable than cordless, battery-powered clippers. This is an important consideration since we tried several brands of cord clippers that are in the same price range as the Laube and Forfex cordless clippers. Because of this power, you can use some brands of electric clippers on both the head/legs and on the body.
We don't generally suggest this, as the small blades of the brands in this test are less efficient than the larger blades on actual body clippers ? meaning it will take two or three times longer to clip a horse ? but several of these brands are marketed for that use, and some breeds expect the near-surgical clip these brands can deliver. If you can't afford both types of clippers and only have a horse or two to body clip, you can get the job done.
For the most part, we prefer clippers with cords, and our top choice among clippers with cords, the Wahl Stable Pro ($109.95 to $129.95), is a model that certainly can deliver a surgical-quality clip. it's also very quiet, with minimal vibration, making it perfect for the bridle path and ears.
We also liked the Andis AGC Super 2, but it costs about $40 more than the Wahl and comes with no accessories in a cardboard box with no carrying case. That said, it's also light, quiet, and had minimal vibration while being so precise it forgives your shortcomings as a barber. The AGC Super 2 is marketed as a body clipper, and it worked nicely as that (see future article on body clippers).
The Best Buy goes to the Forfex BaByliss Pro 670, which it earns for offering a top-notch clipper with the option of using it either with or without a cord. This makes it a versatile tool for barns on the go, even when we don't have an outlet.
Article by John Strassburger, our Performance Editor.