Ever since it first became popular in the 1940’s and 50’s amongst members of the American military, the fade has been a staple hairstyle for men all over the world. Originally signaling a person who was all-business, the fade has come to mean different things for many different kinds of communities.
Getting a proper fade does require some expertise, but what’s also important is that you have the right tools for the job. The right pair of clippers can make or break a good fade, and so any aspiring barber will have to sit down and do their research to see what the best clippers for fades are. But of all the clippers in the world that are available, how should you know which clippers to buy?
Don’t let the moment get away from you! Fades are extremely popular nowadays, so it’s best to learn fast! To make things easier on your end, we’ve compiled a list of the best hair clippers for fades that have the qualities necessary to execute one. If you’re wondering what those qualities are, we’ve provided a handy guide to what you should consider when purchasing a clipper for cutting fades, along with a short guide to cutting a fade yourself!
Table Of Contents
- Comparison Chart of the Best Hair Clippers for Fades
- The Seven Best Clippers For Fades
- Wahl Professional 5-Star Cord/Cordless Magic Clip #8148
- OSTER Classic 76 Universal Motor Clipper 76076010
- Wahl Clipper Elite Pro Grooming Kit #79602
- Wahl Stainless Steel Lithium Ion+ #9818
- Wahl Professional Peanut Clipper/Trimmer #8655-200
- Wahl Lithium Ion Clippers and Trimmers #79600-2101
- Oster Fast Feed Adjustable Clipper 76023-510
- Considerations When Choosing Clippers For Fades
- Giving a Fade Haircut – Step by Step Guide
- Don’t Fade Away
Comparison Chart of the Best Hair Clippers for Fades
|Name & Brand||Blades||Cord / Cordless ||Running time||Price|
|Wahl Professional 5-Star||Zero-overlap 2161 ||Both||90 minutes|
|OSTER Classic 76||Detachable blades ||Corded||45 minutes|
|Wahl Clipper Elite Pro||Precision Blades||Corded||N/a|
|Wahl Lithium Ion+ #9818||Precision Blades||Cordless||240 minutes|
|Wahl Peanut Clipper||Precision Blades||Corded||N/a|
|Wahl Clipper Lithium Ion ||self-sharpening blades||Cordless||120 minutes|
|Oster Fast Feed ||Steel Blades||Corded||45 minutes|
The Seven Best Clippers For Fades
When it comes to fades, it’s best to consider clippers that are easy to handle and have good length control options. We’ve compiled a list of clippers that have one or both of those qualities!
Topping our list is a quality clipper from a brand that needs no introduction. Leo J. Wahl is credited with the invention of the electric clipper, which means they’ve been producing quality since day one. The Wahl Cordless Magic Clip is everything you would expect from a company of such renown, with some notable improvements on their standard design.
It features a standard Wahl clipper body, but weighs in at an impressive 10 ounces, making it light and easy to grip. It’s powered by a rotary motor that drives zero-overlap #2161 stainless steel blades, making it fast and powerful in the hand. It gets through rough and coarse hair with relative ease. As for accessories, the Magic Clip comes with a blade guard, blade oil, and a cleaning brush.
Being in control of hair length is key to any good fade, and the Magic Clip offers a variety of options in that regard. Together with the clipper are eight different combs, varying in length from 1” down to 1/16”. For even finer adjustments, the clipper comes with a taper lever, making this product an excellent choice for fading.
The Magic Clip is operational whether corded or wireless. While running cordlessly, it can last for about 90 minutes from two hours of charging. When you run out, you plug in the cord right at the tail, same as with a typical corded clipper. Thanks to its lithium-ion battery, it should run at the same strength regardless of battery level.
This clipper does come with some downsides. First is the blade’s sharpness. The zero-gap blade design is extremely sharp and can cut through skin if you don’t use a comb. Secondly, it isn’t made with a battery indicator, so you will have to keep track of the time yourself. This isn’t as risky of an issue as the former, but may still prove to be an inconvenience.
In many ways this clipper is the whole package. A powerful motor and sharp blades are good for most hairstyling needs, and its variety of combs and taper control makes it a fantastic clipper for fades. If you need a clipper that can cut a good fade, then you can rely on a clipper as solid as the Magic Clip.
The Oster Classic 76 is a clipper that has truly earned the title of ‘classic’. This workhorse of a clipper is the weapon of choice for many barbers, and it has the performance to back it up.
This clipper is a gorgeously retro-styled clipper, boasting a red-brown case and coming in at a hefty 1.7 pounds. The valox resin exterior is lined with ribs that make it very easy to grip. This thing is built to last, and will probably survive a number of bumps and drops.
A strong single-speed rotary motor lies at the heart of this beast, driving its blades through the toughest hair without breaking a sweat. It comes with two stainless steel blades. The first is a size #1 blade which cuts to about 2.4 mm, while the second is a size #000 which cuts down to 0.5 mm. Both are treated and work well in any hair conditions, dry or wet.
Out of the box, the Classic 76 doesn’t come with many options for length control. The two blades the clipper comes with are easy to detach and can be switched at a moment’s notice. You can buy other blades to cut at different lengths, or order Universal combs from Oster to give yourself different options for cutting length.
Speaking of retro-styled, the Classic 76 is corded only, so in return, Oster made that cord a nine-foot long one to compensate. A full foot over the standard cord length, you shouldn’t feel too restricted by the clipper’s need to be plugged in. It comes with accessories for maintenance, namely a blade guard, lubricating oil, cleaning brush, and clipper grease.
We understand if the Classic 76 doesn’t seem like the first option for fades, but hear us out. The Classic’s universal design allows for a lot of flexibility when purchasing different combs. Its ability to perform well and for very long make it a good clipper for many kinds of hairstyles, provided it’s in the right hands. Admittedly you also have to get used to its bulk and noise, but they are small trade-offs for its consistent performance.
So while the Classic 76 doesn’t come with all the fancy gadgets that more modern clippers have, it’s a competent clipper that will get the job done for years on end. If you already have experience cutting fades, it may be worth the investment to get a clipper that lasts over one that has more to offer out of the box.
Wahl certainly did not hold back when they put together the Clipper Elite Pro Kit. This massive 21-piece kit comes to you in a premium hard storage case, and includes a whole range of accessories to provide for all your hairstyling needs.
Inside this kit comes the clipper, ten premium combs with a storage bag, a blade guard, and a cord wrap. You also get a brush and oil for clipper maintenance. It also comes with some essential barber’s tools: a cape, a comb, and a pair of scissors with a blade cover. They’ve basically packed everything you’ll ever need packed into one kit.
This clipper is made for length control. This kit comes with a set of 10 premium combs, made from a very tough plastic and covering sizes from 1” to 1/16”. It features a stainless steel clip so when that comb is attached to the clipper, it isn’t going anywhere. Add a taper lever to the mix and you have a clipper that can blend fades with great precision and accuracy. This kit truly lets you be in charge of every measurement.
The Elite Pro comes with a premium electromagnetic motor that’s heavier than your standard one. This weight is an indicator of its added strength, as it can cut through hair that other electromagnetic motors may have trouble with. It also features self-sharpening stainless steel blades that are extremely precise and durable.
It has no wireless capabilities, depending on a standard eight-foot long industrial power cord. It doesn’t curl on itself easily and comes with its own cord wrap for easy storage. The entire kit is loaded with storage options such as the premium hard case the kit comes in, and the storage bag for the 10 combs that come with the kit. It’s a pretty convenient kit to take around, what with all its travel options.
While it does come with all the accessories you’d need for fades, you might have trouble dealing with its large size and weight. Using a heavy clipper for a longer period of time may tire out your arm and wrist, causing you to lose precision in the process. Another point against it is the lack of any ear taper combs.
The Elite Pro Kit cover a ton of ground with its myriad of accessories. It’s a clipper that’s well equipped to tackle fades, and will serve you well on your haircutting journey.
Wahl designed the Lithium Ion+ to cover a broad range of grooming needs. While this gives other products the advantage in strength in specific tasks, this clipper does make a name for itself as a jack of all trades. For that, Wahl had to depart from its usual design philosophy.
It’s encased in a smooth stainless steel body, which is rounded for easy grip. It is also fairly light, weighing in at just under a pound. The clipper comes with a standard blade that’s good for general hair cutting. Where the Lithium Ion+ shines is in its detachable blade mechanism. Along with its standard blade are a detail trimmer, detail shaver, and an ear and nose trimmer. It comes with standard accessories such as blade oil, a cleaning brush, a beard comb, and a storage case.
For cutting fades, you’ll need to rely on the Wahl’s comb selection. It comes with a set of 12 combs, eight of which measure from 1” to ⅛”. The other four combs are stubble combs, which you will need to depend on to work on fades, since this clipper has no taper lever.
True to its name, this clipper is equipped with a lithium ion battery, which gives this clipper four hours of use off of one hour of charging. The strong battery is a necessity given the clipper’s cordless-only nature. In case you do run out of battery while in use, there’s a special one minute quick-charge that allows you to power up the clipper for three minutes.
The Lithium Ion+ makes a few compromises in pursuit of its goals. The general-use nature of its design means that it can’t beat its specialist friends. It won’t trim better than a trimmer, nor will it shave better than a shaver. Its smaller size also leads it to have a weaker motor, meaning it may struggle with thicker hair. And without any grip assistance, the beautiful smooth metal body becomes difficult to hold.
For fades, this clipper can do about as well a job as any other clipper, but maybe not as much as a clipper with more length control options or power. We’d recommend this clipper as a second buy, to help complement a clipper with more of a specialist flair.
The Peanut looks almost like a toy to the uninitiated. It comes in at a miniscule four ounces, has a casing reminiscent of a peanut’s shape, and comes with its name written all over it in scrawled red text. Nevertheless, the Peanut is a solid clipper that deserves a spot on our list.
Its small frame contains a decently-sized rotary motor powering a single one-inch #2068-300 blade designed specifically for the Peanut. The rotary blade delivers good power without making too much noise, and its blade is engineered well, almost matching Wahl’s professional clippers in terms of quality.
For those concerned with length control, the Peanut comes with four combs, ⅛”, ¼”, ⅜”, and ½”. It comes with no taper lever, so you’ll need a steady hand and some patience in order to get a good fade, or fix up a longer cut.
The Peanut is a corded-only clipper, featuring a 7-foot cord, a foot shorter than the industry standard. Also included are a few typical maintenance tools, such as blade oil, cleaning brush, and blade guard.
Its small size makes the Peanut useful for reaching into areas that other clippers would have trouble accessing. But that comes at a price: a weaker motor that tends to ‘chew’ through hair instead of cutting it outright. It would be better to cut in smaller strokes, reducing the chances that you pull any hair. Smaller also means you cut less hair per stroke, meaning a session takes longer on average. The smaller body may also make it difficult to hold onto if you have large hands.
The Wahl Peanut manages to accomplish a lot despite its size, but we wouldn’t call it your number one choice when it comes to a clipper for fades. It travels well, is easy to use, and gets the job done admirably. Consider it if you move around a lot, or need a second clipper that can get into smaller areas.
Another Wahl clipper powered by lithium ion, but this one’s a lot different from its virtual namesake. Being one of its newer products, Wahl intends to show us the future of hair clippers with a product that’s got good power and a strong cordless battery.
One look at the casing is all you need to tell you this is a modern product. Sleek black and silver lines trace the clipper’s rounded body. It weighs in just under a pound making for a clipper that’s easy to maneuver. It’s rounded as well to provide better grip.
Inside is a Wahl rotary motor of great quality. That motor powers a set of carbon-steel blades which are also self-sharpening. These two make an excellent tag team, allowing the Lithium Ion Pro cut through any amount of tough and dense hair.
Length control on this clipper is excellent, coming with a variety of options. Provided with the clipper are a set of 10 combs, ranging in length from 1” to 1/16”. For fine adjustments and blending fades, the clipper comes with a taper lever. It also comes with two special ear taper combs, helping you get a good fade around the ears instead of having to struggle with a normal comb.
The Lithium Ion Pro proves its name in the power department. It runs cordless, lasting for about two hours after a three hour charge. It also features a quick charge, lasting 12 minutes after 15 minutes of charging. It’s a useful feature if you run out of power in the middle of a trim.
The box provides a lot of great accessories to make your life as a barber much easier. There is an additional smaller clipper for places the Lithium Ion Pro cannot reach. It is powered by two AA batteries. Alongside are the main clipper’s charger, two hair clips, two combs, a pair of scissors, barber’s cape, and a soft storage bag to travel with. Provided as well are a cleaning brush and blade oil for maintenance.
While the three-hour charge time is a pain, it’s a trade-off for the clipper’s excellent performance and length control options, which makes it one of the best clippers for fades. If you’re looking to have a clipper that can really shape a hairstyle, then this one shall serve you well.
From the makers of the Classic 76 is another quality clipper. The Oster Fast Feed is a newer product that aims to provide just as good an experience as its renowned sibling.
The Fast Feed’s burgundy shade is reminiscent of older clippers, but while boasting a more modern shape and feel. The casing is curved and ribbed to provide good grip while in use. It weighs a pound, providing both lightness while in use, while still feeling powerful enough to do the job.
Departing from every other clipper on this list, the Fast Feed features a pivot motor—the Oster Whisper Quiet pivot motor—which is less noisy and prone to warming while still delivering ample power to the blades. Speaking of which, the blades are high-quality Oster quality, and are Cryotech-treated to ensure they are long-lived.
It comes with four combs, available in four lengths: 1/4″, 3/8″, 1/2″, and a short blending comb. It also features a taper lever to help with blending fades and general length control. The taper lever switches between #1 and #000 blade sizes, like on the Classic 76.
It’s got a standard cord, coming in at the industry standard eight feet in length. Accessories are also present and welcome: a blade guard, blade oil, and a cleaning brush.
The Fast Feed’s weak point is its comb selection. The combs that come with the clipper are weak and tend to break under heavy use. If you’re planning on getting this clipper, it may be better if you were to get a set of additional combs.
As far as being a fade clipper goes, the Fast Feed is definitely serviceable. It has the power and lightness to take care of a fade job, as well as most typical clipping jobs you could think of. When paired with Oster’s Classic 76, it makes for a great pair that can handle any styling project.
Considerations When Choosing Clippers For Fades
A good clipper for fades should be able to get sharp, precise lines. It should be able to blend well. It should cut through hair without trouble. The clippers we’ve listed have one or more of these qualities. The best ones have all three.
With all the clippers that are available, you may have trouble deciding what clipper is right for you. Here are things you should consider when buying a clipper, especially if you do plenty of fades.
Weight And Handling
Fades are about control. You need to be able to make small, precise adjustments on the fly. A lighter clipper means you’ll get less tired while giving a haircut. A good grip means you’ll feel more confident in your decision-making. Getting a clipper that allows you to focus on your work rather than on the clipper is essential to getting a good fade. Be sure to get a clipper that’s light and grippy.
Combs And Length Control
A fade is all about length control. If you want to get good fades, or have some variety in the fades you can accomplish, it’s nice to get a clipper with plenty of combs. In the case of a clipper like the Classic 76, it’s also good just to have the option to buy more combs along the way. A taper lever is also essential in getting just the right amount of blend, and we highly encourage you to get a clipper that has one.
Motor And Power
A good motor is going to provide the power you need to finish up those fades. Motors typically come in three different kinds: electromagnetic motors are the cheapest kinds, tend to be the fastest and longest-lasting, but are underpowered. Pivot motors use two magnets to push a bar where the blade is mounted, making it slower than the electromagnetic but in exchange for more cutting power. The last kind is a rotary motor, which uses a spinning mechanical motor to move the blades. It is the slowest kind, but is also the most powerful motor type.
When it comes to fades, think about the kind of motor you are using, and what your current needs are.
Corded Or Cordless?
While there are more reliable cordless clippers in recent years, the corded clipper remains popular for a reason. You can’t deny the consistency of a corded clipper. You never have to worry about power, it can use any kind of motor, and you can move pretty freely with it. Cordless clippers are making steady progress however, and Wahl’s cordless clippers come with rotary motors as well. The downside is having to be watchful of your battery life, which may be more of a hassle than you’d care for.
Quality Of Blades
Most blades will be either stainless steel or ceramic, each having their own quirks and advantages compared to the other. Stainless steel wins in terms of sheer prevalence. It’s the most popular type of blade, with many brands introducing self-sharpening mechanisms into their blades to make maintenance ever easier. However, they are more prone to overheating with longer usage.
Ceramic blades are a little rarer. They are more expensive but stay sharper for longer. And while they don’t overheat as much as stainless steel, they are much more brittle. Be sure to weigh convenience in maintenance versus convenience during use when thinking about which kind of blade to buy!
Simplicity And Durability
A good set of clippers is one that is easy to use. Why buy a set of clippers that you find difficult to manage or maintain? While many fade hair clippers will come with loads of new features and accessories, it may be more than you need as a barber. It’s best to have a clipper you can trust and that will serve you well repeatedly. As a bonus, it is also nice to have a clipper that’s easy to clean.
Giving a Fade Haircut – Step by Step Guide
If you’ve been considering buying clippers, chances are you’re not looking to just get a fade yourself. If you’re an aspiring barber, learning how to cut a proper fade can bolster your career and increase your skills in this fine art.
While we may make it sound deep and complex, giving someone a fade is actually not as difficult as you’d think. Here’s a step-by-step look at the fade process:
Step 1. Make The Hair Damp
You want the hair to be damp so it’s easier to work with. Take a spray bottle and mist the hair completely. You want it to be lightly damp but not soaking wet. Dry it slightly with a towel, and then decide where the hair’s part will be. This will be important once you section everything off, so be sure to know where the part is.
Step 2. Find Your Fade Line
This is where the hair goes from one length to another. It should wrap around the head, from ear to ear. Where you decide to put the fade line exactly is up to you. You can even make your fade line curve or point away from just a straight line. You’re even allowed to have multiple fade lines with different hair lengths for a more interesting ‘do.
Step 3. Section Off The Hair
Using a comb, trace a rectangle around the top of the skull, separating the longer top parts of the hair from the sides that will be cut short. The lines of this rectangle should line up with the outer tips of the eyebrows. Having the hair sectioned off is important for keeping a fade clean, and just makes your life easier.
Step 4. Shave Vertically, Then Horizontally
When you start shaving the hair, go around from bottom to top, working vertically at first. Lightly press down on the scalp where you are cutting; that will ensure a clean cut. Then you’ll want to move your clippers horizontally along the fade line. Angle your clippers so that only the bottom third or quarter of the blade is actually in contact with the hair. Work slowly to achieve a smooth transition.
Step 5. Blending Everything
You’ll want to switch to a smaller blade guard once you’ve finished cutting up the sides. Repeat a similar process, but not cutting all the way. This will help you get a consistent smoothe fade all around. If you’re feeling up to it, you can switch to an even smaller guard and do a third fade.
Step 6. Finishing Touches
Clean up your fade line with a comb together with your clippers. Clean up your fade lines so they don’t look as obvious. After the sides, be sure to work on the top of the head as well. Just work with some scissors and a comb and get the entire look down right. You should be done!
Don’t Fade Away
With fades being more popular than ever, it’s good to invest in a tool that can really get the job done! When it comes down to it, there are plenty of clippers that can deliver a good fade, and so choosing one will depend heavily on your own personal preference. Whether you go with the straightforward Oster or the accessory-laden Wahl clippers, each one has their own strengths and weaknesses that make them worthy of consideration.
Getting good with fades is a skill, and one that should be practiced with the right tools. We’re confident that with any of the clippers we’ve listed, you’ll be cutting like a pro. Make sure you’re confident in your hardware and you’ll be a master in no time. Go and get the clippers of your dreams, and turn those fades into reality!