67% of American households own a pet, and there are 89.7 million pet dogs all over the country. Most dogs are pretty self-sufficient once they are trained properly, but some dogs need a bit more care than others!
Dogs with thick coats will shed more, and more hair means a greater chance for hair to become matted. The best answer to these problems is simply to give your dog a haircut with a good pair of clippers. But you can’t use any old pair of clippers; most dogs need highly durable and effective clippers to cut through their thick hair.
But how do you go about finding the right pair of clippers? In this comprehensive guide, we’re going to review all the best dog clippers for thick hair. You won’t have to deal with hard-to-groom hair any longer; read on to find out what your options are!
Table Of Contents
- Top 7 Dog Clippers for Thick Coats & Matted Hair Comparison
- The Seven Best Dog Clippers For Matted Hair
- Andis UltraEdge Detachable Blade Clipper
- Oster A5 Two Speed Animal Grooming Clipper
- Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Clipper
- Wahl Professional Animal Arco Cordless Clipper Kit
- Wahl Lithium Ion Pro Series Cordless Animal Clippers
- Oster Volt Cordless Pet Clippers
- Wahl Professional Animal Motion Clipper Kit
- A Short Buyer’s Guide To Dog Clippers For Thick And Matted Hair
- A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide To Grooming Dogs With Thick Coats
Top 7 Dog Clippers for Thick Coats & Matted Hair Comparison
The Seven Best Dog Clippers For Matted Hair
We’ve gone through a thorough search of the models available on the market and judged them according to a set of criteria, and out of that entire list, the seven models we examine below are the best dog clippers for thick coats.
Andis UltraEdge Detachable Blade Clipper
At the top of our list is this clipper from Andis. They’re one of the big names with hair clippers, and they apply that expertise and reputation to pet hair just as they do for human hair.
You’d be forgiven for not thinking much of the Andis UltraEdge at first glance. It’s just a cylinder with the blade on one end, the power cord on the other, and the power button in front. The case itself is made from shatterproof plastic, so it’s not coming apart anytime soon.
Inside the case is a rotary motor. This provides enough power to cut through any hair type, especially matted hair. You’ve got two speeds available: 3,400 strokes per minute on low, 4,400 strokes per minute on high for a thick coat. Going with it is an Andis UltraEdge carbon steel blade, size #10. As is standard with Andis, this is a detachable blade, and the clipper is compatible with all UltraEdge and CeramicEdge A5 blades.
There’s not much you can do with length control out of the box, but you can buy different blade sizes and comb lengths from Andis, as they’ll fit on the UltraEdge.
It’s powered by a 14’ heavy-duty cord that can survive being stepped on or chewed on by your pets. It means you’re limited to fourteen feet of a socket, but it’s worth it for the power that the UltraEdge brings. It also comes with a vial of blade oil for maintenance.
In terms of downsides, there are two that come to mind. One is the lack of length control out of the box; you’ll have to shell out extra for combs or blades for that. Another concern is the UltraEdge’s tendency to overheat. With the included #10 blade, you get around 20 minutes of working time before it overheats enough to cause discomfort to your dog. We recommend investing in cooling spray or buying an extra blade or two so that you can switch out and keep going.
But when you need a heavy-duty clipper that can easily cut through matted hair, nothing beats the Andis UltraEdge. No clipper on this list beats it when it comes to toughness and durability.
Oster A5 Two Speed Animal Grooming Clipper
If you’ve looked at hair clippers, you may have run across Oster and their Classic 76. Save for the panel that displays its model name, the Turbo A5’s case is the same as the Classic 76’s, and they deliver similar performance.
The case is a ribbed cylinder, with the ribs providing excellent grip. It weighs just under 2 pounds, a bit on the heavy side, but that weight serves a purpose. The motor inside is a heavy-duty rotary motor, providing excellent power that can cut through thick hair with no problem. It’s got two speeds available: 3,000 strokes per minute on low, and 4,000 strokes per minute on turbo. You’ll need the turbo setting for matted hair.
Length control is good out of the box. It comes with seven guide combs, and since it’s an Oster product, you can easily detach the included #10 blade for any other of Oster’s A5 blades. You’ll need to buy them separately, but with a good arsenal of blades, you can meet any problem with the Turbo A5.
It’s powered by a 12-foot cord. The cord itself is rather heavy, but that’s because it’s a thick, professional-grade cord that can stand up to a lot of abuse. There’s no chance of any animal doing damage to the cord.
The Turbo A5 needs maintenance, which is why the box also comes with a few extras for that. You get a cleaning brush and blade oil, answering for blade care, and you also get clipper grease for the motor. With these, you can keep it properly maintained and perfectly functional for decades.
There are a few downsides you’ll have to deal with. One is that the weight works both ways, and 2 pounds can take a toll on your arm when held up for too long. It also runs hot when set to turbo. Not hot enough to discomfort you or your dog, but close to that point. And the ergonomics are a bit dated; a lesser concern, but it combines with the weight and heat to be a bit of a drag.
Yet Oster hasn’t stopped producing the Turbo A5, and they have no reason to. It’s a solid tool for tough jobs and is capable of facing any type of coat. When you need the job done, the Oster Turbo A5 sets to it with quiet efficiency.
Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Clipper
Any discussion of hair clippers always turns to Wahl. Whether it’s for humans or animals, Wahl has a clipper for it. The Bravura is the updated version of the older Arco, and it’s an excellent clipper.
The Bravura has a nice, sleek plastic case with a little curve that lets it fit into your hand. It’s nice and lightweight, coming in at only 8.8 ounces; you can keep this in hand all day with no problems.
Like all of Wahl’s cordless clippers, it’s powered by a rotary motor with only one speed: 5,500 strokes per minute, which is quite good for cutting matted hair. That powerful motor drives Wahl’s adjustable 5-in-1 blade, providing an excellent balance of cutting power, adjustable blade size, and stable temperature.
The combination of the 5-in-1 blade and the six included combs give you a lot of control over cut length. You can easily switch the blade between five different sizes for a quick length adjustment and then snap on a comb for dealing with large areas.
The lithium-ion battery gives you 90 minutes of cordless working time, and the LED indicator on the tail shows you battery level. It’s also capable of corded operation, so if you’re near a socket, you can just plug in when it runs low and continue grooming. Recharge time is 60 minutes, which is quite reasonable. You can either plug the charger directly in or place the Bravura on its charging stand.
It also comes with a few extras for convenience. Beyond the charging stand, you also get maintenance tools: a brush and blade oil, exactly what you need to keep the Bravura in running condition. There’s also a soft travel case that holds everything the Bravura comes with.
You’ll have to note two concerns if you want the Bravura. First is that there is some doubt about build quality: the plastic isn’t the best out there and some parts may be too easily broken. Also, it has no speed beyond ‘fast’; we’d much prefer a slower speed for navigating tight spaces.
When you want a good cordless hair clipper, the Wahl Bravura has your back. It’s nice and light and it’ll get you through a grooming session no matter where you are.
Wahl Professional Animal Arco Cordless Clipper Kit
The Arco is Wahl’s original model of cordless dog clipper. It’s the predecessor of the Bravura we just covered, and it’s an excellent clipper in its own right.
Comparing the two, it’s very easy to see where the Bravura comes from, and what it improves on. The body is cylindrical, with an angle for the head, which lets you get a fairly decent grip on it. That plastic case holds a rotary motor running at 5,500 strokes per minute, so you have excellent power to get through tough spots on a dog’s thick coat. The motor powers Wahl’s adjustable 5-in-1 blade, thus combining that power with the blade’s virtues.
The 5-in-1 blade has a lot of things that make it worth recommending. It’s sharp, it runs at a stable temperature, and you can also adjust blade size on the fly. If there’s a spot that needs to be a bit longer, all you need to do is move the switch on the back of the blade. For greater adjustments in cutting length, the Arco also comes with four guide combs.
The Arco runs on a nickel-metal hydride battery pack, with a working life of 80 minutes and a charging time of 75 minutes. It’s cordless only, but you can switch out the battery for a full one when it runs out, and the box comes included with two batteries. So as long as you start with both batteries topped up, you have 160 minutes of working time. You can plug the charger directly into the clipper, or set up the charging stand.
It also comes with two items for maintenance: a cleaning brush and blade oil. Keep the blades clean and oiled to keep the Arco running smoothly!
Its main disadvantage is one of build quality; specifically, the plastic case may not be quite enough for the motor. The most common reason for negative customer reviews is that the case tends to split open, especially after a few months, and the combs don’t hold under extended use. Consider how much use you may need out of the Arco.
That fault aside, Wahl has still made a perfectly competent clipper, and it’ll cut through matted hair as easily as anything else.
Wahl Lithium Ion Pro Series Cordless Animal Clippers
Wahl offers you a lot of options for cutting hair, whether that’s human hair or animal hair. In this case, the Lithium Ion Pro is a full grooming kit, centered on its namesake clipper.
The clipper itself is in a modernized version of the classic Wahl clipper silhouette, and it weighs about 1.6 pounds. It’s well-shaped, with a good curve so that it fits easily in your hand. Wahl always puts a rotary motor in their cordless products, and the one on the Lithium Ion Pro goes at 6,000 strokes per minute. Combine that with self-sharpening stainless steel blades, and you’ve got a combination that can cut through even matted hair.
You get a fair bit of length control, in two different ways. The lever on the side lets you switch between three blade positions, perfect for quick mid-cut adjustments. For larger areas, the box also includes four combs from 1/8” to 1/2”, each one color-coded so that you know at a glance how long each comb is. Couple that with the lever, and you have an excellent range of lengths to clip your dog’s hair.
The lithium-ion battery gives you 2 hours of working time, and it’s cordless only. Recharge time is 1 hour, but if you run flat in the middle of a grooming session, there’s a quick-charge feature. 15 minutes plugged in will give you 8 minutes of working time, enough to clean up anything half-finished until the next grooming session.
It also includes an excellent range of extras. The usual maintenance kit of blade oil and cleaning brush is there, joined by a blade guard. You also get a pair of scissors and a styling comb, which expands your options a bit, and there’s a hard storage case to carry everything in. Wahl doesn’t mess around when they offer you a kit, and they even offer it at such a cheap price! If you want a first clipper, you could do a lot worse than the Lithium Ion Pro.
However, that price may itself be the same problem. It feels cheap, and not in a good way. The build quality could stand to be better, and some users have reported that the head overheats in extended use. You may need to buy some cooling spray to keep your dog from getting blade burn.
But if you want a good novice’s dog clipper that won’t break your bank but still deliver both competent performance and a wide range of options, there’s just no beating the Wahl Lithium Ion Pro.
Oster Volt Cordless Pet Clippers
At first glance, the Oster Volt may seem unappealing. This clipper is basically a narrow white-and-gray brick with a few extra sides and a blade on one end. But appearances are deceptive here, and Oster has not skimped on this product.
The gray portion is rubberized for easier grip, and it’s also got a few ridges on the back, just under the blade, also for grip. The unit itself weighs just about 15 ounces.
The rotary motor may seem underpowered, and 2400 strokes per minute isn’t that fast compared to its competitors. This is deliberate because Oster went for low speed and high torque with the Volt. It’s the same principle as going to a lower gear on your car. Couple that with Oster’s proprietary Cryogen-X blades, and you’ve got a combination that can get through any thick hair they’re likely to face.
The slower blade speed also means that the blade doesn’t heat up as quickly. This is helpful because that means you’re less likely to hurt or discomfort your dog with an overheated blade. It also means you can keep going for longer before having to let the blade cool down; you can expect to run the full life of the battery without needing to change blades.
Speaking of the battery, runtime is a comfortable 2 hours, and it’s also detachable, so you can switch in an extra battery to continue grooming without missing a beat. Charging is done via a charging base that also has a slot for a second battery if you have one. It needs 60 minutes to go from flat to full.
The main downside here is sheer cost. The Oster Volt is the most expensive of the products on this list, and it will take a decent bite out of your budget. It’s worth the cost, but you can get almost as much performance for less cost with other devices. Adding to the budget pain, it only includes just the one each of battery and blade, so you’ll have to shell out for extras.
But if you’re willing to make space in your budget, the Oster Volt is one of the most competent dog clippers around. There’s no coat too thick, no hair too matted as far as the Oster Volt is concerned.
Wahl Professional Animal Motion Clipper Kit
Our last clipper is the newest in Wahl’s Professional Animal line, and you can easily see the design lineage in its silhouette. It brings the same competent performance as its predecessors.
The Motion’s body has a pronounced curve leading up to the head, so it fits well in the hand, and you can experiment with angles of grip. It weighs a nice, light 9.4 ounces.
Inside the Motion is a rotary motor running at 5,500 strokes per minute. It drives their classic 5-in-1 adjustable blade, giving you cutting power, adaptability, cool running, and the ability to cut through any thick hair. It also includes an ergonomic aid: a removable scissor-style grip that you can slip a finger through and thus reduce any chance of dropping the Motion.
You’ve got a wide range of options for cutting length, with the combination of the 5-in-1 blade and 6 guide combs from 1/8” to 1”. For minor adjustments while you’re cutting, you can easily change the blade size, and for longer lengths or larger areas, just snap a comb on.
It’s powered by a lithium-ion battery that provides constant power until it runs flat. Working life is 90 minutes, with a 45-minute recharge time, but it’s also usable corded. You can either plug the charger into the clipper directly or place the Motion onto its charging stand. Battery status is indicated by the ‘traffic light’ in front. Green means it’s between 100% to 50%, orange means 50% to 25%, and red means it’s below 25%.
You also get the typical maintenance kit of blade oil and a cleaning brush, so use them often to make sure the Motion is always in optimal condition. There’s also a soft storage case to help carry everything around.
The only downside we can think of is the removable finger grip. That can take some getting used to, and for some users, it gets in the way, so some users might just not bother with it at all. For other users, a concern is that you can’t have both ‘heavy-duty’ and ‘lightweight’ in the same device, so if you’ve got a lot of animals to groom (if, for instance, you’re thinking about going professional using the Motion), it doesn’t hold up as well.
The Wahl Motion Lithium may be the newest in Wahl’s line of animal clippers, but it lives up to the heritage of quality that’s already been established. If you choose it, it won’t disappoint you.
A Short Buyer’s Guide To Dog Clippers For Thick And Matted Hair
Looking at the list above, you may be curious about what our criteria were, how we judged each clipper, and how we chose them as the best dog clippers for thick coats. In this section, we’ll lay out exactly what we look for in a set of clippers, and why these criteria matter.
Motor And Speed
The power in a clipper comes from its motor. This is especially important for thick coats because you need a lot of power to cut through that much hair. While three motor types can be put into a clipper, there’s only one type you should concern yourself with if you’re specifically dealing with a thick coat or matted hair.
That type is a rotary motor. These offer the best power out of the three motor types, and thus can best drive a blade through a thick coat. As a bonus, they also take to battery power much better than the other two types, so any cordless clipper you’ll find will likely have a rotary motor. All the clippers we’ve listed above are powered by rotary motors. The other two types aren’t even worth considering.
Also, consider motor speeds. Some clippers can run their motors at different speeds to get more strokes per minute. This helps when you’re encountering matted patches or going through thick hair, as you can use the faster setting to deal with them.
Blade Material And Design
The motor has to drive something, and with a clipper, that’s the blades. You’ve got two things to consider here: material and design.
With blade material, you have two choices: stainless steel or ceramic? Stainless steel is more common, and thus cheaper; most blades you encounter will be stainless steel. However, they tend to overheat, especially during long grooming sessions, so this might discomfort your pet. Ceramic blades take heat much better and maintain their sharpness for longer, but they’re also more expensive and more brittle.
You should also consider design. Your standard blade with all even teeth is a finish-cut type, and for most purposes, they will serve you just fine. However, for thick coats, you may wish to consider skip-tooth blades. These alternate long and short teeth on the edge, and their purpose is exactly what concerns us in this guide: cutting through thick, tangled, or matted hair. However, we don’t recommend getting skip-tooth blades if you’re still a novice, as they’re very unforgiving and can easily harm your pet. Only buy a skip-tooth if you are absolutely confident in your clipping skills.
Power: Corded Or Cordless
Is it corded or battery-powered? Neither is overall better than the other, but one may fit your needs better than the other type.
Corded clippers provide constant power. They will never die mid-grooming, nor will you face any headaches with the battery. But you can only go as far as the cord stretches, so the utility of a corded clipper depends on your infrastructure. If you can’t get a socket out that far, you’re not doing any cutting at all.
Cordless clippers are usable anywhere, and advancements in battery technology mean that you don’t have to worry about low battery levels also delivering low performance. Modern batteries will deliver constant power from full to dead. However, you’ll have to deal with a limited runtime and the headache of recharge time. Is the battery life long enough to get you through a grooming session, or can you adapt your grooming to the battery life?
Generally speaking, heavier and more powerful clippers are better at getting through thick hair, and power is better served by a cord. Still, some cordless clippers are more than capable of cutting matted hair.
Hair Length Control
Unless you’re giving your pet a thorough buzz cut, you’ll want to have some way of controlling how much hair you leave behind. This is done in either of two ways: by combs or by different blade sizes. More is always better, but even a few will give you a lot more styling options.
Combs are easier to fit onto your clipper but are more fragile. Switching blades is a bit of an involved task, but this means that you can set the old blade aside to cool and continue with the new blade which hasn’t heated up. Some manufacturers may also have adjustable blades; this allows you to switch blade lengths a lot faster.
Ergonomics And Usage Concerns
How heavy is your clipper? How easy is it to grip? You want a clipper that’s working with you. If you have to fight against your own equipment just to get the job done, it’s not very good, is it? Most important here is grip assistance, which takes a few forms. Largely, this comes down to shape and grip aids. How naturally does your hand fit around the unit, and can you still keep a good grip when you’re holding the clipper another way?
Grip aids, as the name indicates, help you maintain your grip on the clipper. They can take a few forms: rubber on the grip, ridges or dots; anything that keeps your hand and fingers steady on the grip. And a steadier grip means you can more easily deal with matted spots on your dog’s coat.
Weight is also a consideration. On the one hand, you need power to deal with thick coats, and more power inevitably means more weight. But a clipper that’s too heavy will be tiring to use. You’ll have to balance how much power a clipper delivers with how much weight your arm can stand.
Clipper Noise And Vibration
Some noise and vibration are unavoidable in a clipper. That’s just the nature of the machine. But you ideally want a clipper that’s as quiet as possible. This will keep your dog calm. A clipper that’s too loud might agitate your dog, plus, the time taken to calm your pet down can extend your grooming session. Quieter clippers undoubtedly make for a more comfortable trimming experience for your pet.
Optional Extras And Additions
Beyond options for length control, does the clipper include any other extras? These can be helpful for many reasons. Some manufacturers include a maintenance kit with the purchased unit, usually a bottle of blade oil and a cleaning brush. You might also see storage cases, which help if you need to travel. Some may even sell full kits, with a range of accessories to help you groom and style your pet. None of these beyond the maintenance kit might affect performance directly, but they’re still helpful, and should never be overlooked.
A Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide To Grooming Dogs With Thick Coats
Grooming your dog is about more than just about cutting their hair. Now that you know which clippers are the best on the market and how we selected them, it’s time to find out how to use your clippers.
Step 1: Get Your Dog Ready
This should start a long time before the other steps. From the very moment you buy your clipper, get your dog accustomed to the noise. Turn it on in the next room, or in the same room but some distance away, and then slowly move the clippers closer and closer over the next few days and weeks. Dogs can get nervous in unfamiliar circumstances, and a nervous dog is no good for anyone.
Step 2: Get Your Tools Ready
When you’re certain your dog is ready, it’s time to assemble your tools. You’ll want your clipper and whatever extras you need: guide combs, extra blades, and clipper spray. Also, have a brush ready, and some treats. You may also want a second person nearby who your dog trusts, so they can handle the task of keeping your dog calm and holding them when necessary.
Step 3: Bathe Your Dog
Clipping your dog’s hair while your pet is still dirty is a bad idea, as dirt and anything caught in the coat may clog the clippers and interfere with its performance. You don’t want that with thick hair! With that in mind, you should always try to give your dog a bath before clipping. Use warm water and a gentle shampoo and work the shampoo right into the dog’s hair before you rinse it off. When you’re done, let your dog shake it off if they prefer, then pat them dry. Make sure they’re completely dried off before you start clipping, including a blow-dry if you deem it necessary.
Step 4: Brush Your Dog
A good brushing will get rid of knotted or clumped hair and thus make for an easier cut. This will also remove any shed hair that’s still on your dog’s body. Take your brush and gently but firmly apply it to your dog to smooth out the coat. This won’t get rid of the worst patches of matted hair, but it will make it a lot easier on your clippers. While you’re there, also observe the grain: the direction in which your dog’s hair grows. It’s important, and you’ll need to know that for later.
Step 5: Start Cutting!
Turn on your clipper, and carefully apply it to your dog’s coat, with the flat side of the blade going along the surface of your dog’s body to avoid cutting into the skin. Since you’re dealing with thick hair, we recommend taking it slowly. Let the blade do the work, and don’t force it, as you may risk harming your dog. We recommend starting with the top of the neck or the back and then working your way down to the shoulder and neck areas, then the legs. When you get to patches of matted hair, turn your blade speed up (if your clipper allows) and take it slowly.
Step 6: Cut With The Grain
Just like human hair, it’s better to cut with the grain than across or against. This results in a more natural look that avoids odd-looking lines or chop marks. Plus, cutting against the grain can irritate skin and pull hair, which you definitely want to avoid. With a thick coat, you need all the help you can get!
Also, leave sensitive spots like the face or the tail for last, or for after your dog is much more comfortable with the clipper. They’re a lot more cautious when clippers get close to these spots, and a drastic reaction may lead to harm to either you or your dog. If you’re not sure if your dog can handle it, leave it for another time.
Step 7: Pause For Breaks
How often you should pause depends on how well your dog is dealing with the cut. Since hair clipping can be an unsettling experience for your dog, especially the first few times around, we recommend pausing often. This will give your dog a chance to calm down. Give them a bit of praise and a treat for coping so well. This will also give your clipper a moment to cool down.
Step 8: Reduce Your Heat
All clippers build up heat, it’s just how the machine works. This goes double when you’re cutting through thick hair, since you should be taking it slowly to be sure you’re cutting properly, but also because you’ll be using a faster blade speed specifically to deal with thick hair.
There are several ways to avoid this. First, monitor your blade temperature constantly. If in doubt, touch the blade (the flat side, not the business end) to the inside of your wrist to check how hot it is. If it’s too hot, turn it off and set it aside. Alternatively, you can use clipper spray to reduce temperature; wipe off any excess spray before you get back to clipping. Or if your clipper supports such a feature, you can switch in a spare blade and let the original blade cool off.
Step 9: Clipper Maintenance Routine
If you’re regularly facing difficult grooming tasks like clipping thick hair, it’s important to keep your clipper well-maintained and in good working order. Clean out your blade with a brush after every use; never put your clippers away uncleaned. We recommend oiling after every other use. All you need to do is to place two drops of oil along the blade and let it run for a little bit to spread it out evenly.
Thick coats and matted hair may present a grooming challenge, but with the right tools, it’s a challenge that you can meet. And there’s a wide array of clippers that can meet your needs. From the excellent cutting power of the Oster Turbo A5 to the competent cordless performance of the Wahl Bravura, there’s a clipper for every need and every budget. Not sure what to get? Our top option, the Andis UltraEdge, will meet any need that a thick coat requires.
Matted hair may be a pain to deal with, and thick coats can be a lot of hard work, but the best dog clippers for thick hair can take much of the load off your shoulders. Your dog can look their best with just a little investment. Get yours now!