Andis vs Wahl Clippers: The Ultimate Barber Showdown
Andis and Wahl are both two of the most prominent and preferred brands for hair clippers. Both have long histories during which the companies have improved their products and developed a number of models fitting for different situations.
In general, when it comes to Andis vs Wahl, we've found they both make models that are good for professionals and at-home use. However, we do recommend certain brands for certain specific situation (which we’ll discuss below).
Otherwise, we suggest considering individual models—they’re both high-performing, well-made machines—so we've included reviews of our favorites too.
Let’s get to it:
Wahl Company History
Wahl started with Leo J. Wahl who filed his patent for his electromagnetic hair clippers in 1919. In 1921, the clippers were such a success that he bought out his uncle's manufacturing company and incorporated it as Wahl Clipper Corporation.
Wahl has developed a lot of firsts in the clipper world over the years. For instance, in 1965, they invented the first vacuum clipper. This device sucked up the hair clippings so that barbers and hairdressers could trim hair without even having to use a cape. Then, in 1967, Wahl actually developed the first clippers to run on a rechargeable battery.
Nowadays, Wahl products are sold in over 150 countries and produced in manufacturing plants in China, England, Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Japan as well as their original homebase of Sterling, Illinois. Their products can be found in salons and barber shops worldwide.
Andis Company History
Andis was founded at a similar time to Wahl when Mathew Andis started his own manufacturing company in 1920. Although it was originally dedicated to tool and die, clients loved their clipper blades so much that Andis decided he wanted to focus on hair clippers and invented the Master Clipper in his own basement in Racine, Wisconsin. At first, his family actually helped him assemble the clippers right there in the basement, and they sold them door to door.
Professional barbers quickly came to love Andis's clippers due to their small size and fast cutting speed. As a result, the company grew rapidly. Still located in a 160,000-square-foot facility in Racine, Wisconsin, they now produce some of the most advanced models of hair clippers with loyal customers around the globe.
Andis vs Wahl Pros and Cons
Both companies produce quality hair clippers that can serve professionals and private individuals alike. However, they tend to shine in different areas.
- More interchangeable blades
- Better batteries in cordless models
- Better for straight hair
- Wider range of models
- Complete kits with more extensive accessories
- Better for thick and curly hair
- More organization
As you can see from these pros, you can more easily find a Wahl model that's ideal for your personal situation. For example, if you need something for travel, the wider range of models means you're more likely to find a kit that has the exact guards you need while being compact and functioning with worldwide voltage.
Additionally, if you're looking for a set of clippers for family haircuts, we suggest Wahl. The full kits make things a lot easier because they come with everything you need to cut multiple people's hair. Plus, the kits usually make it easy to organize everything thanks to features like color coding and compartmentalized cases.
However, Andis clippers really shine when it comes to the blades. Not only are they normally high quality with steel alloys that resist corrosion, but you can get a lot of different options that you can change out. This is great for professionals who like to get creative with their clippers.
Lastly, if you're getting these for yourself or your family, consider the texture of hair. Some barbers claim Wahl clippers are better for thick and curly hair while Andis clippers are more appropriate for straight hair. So if you have a bunch of Annie look-alikes at home, then Wahl might be a better choice.
In reality, though, both of these brands are solid choices for hair clippers. Instead of picking one brand or another, you should carefully look at the features of specific models to determine which will best suit your needs. For one person, an Andis model may be better, but for another person, Wahl might have more of the features they need.
Andis Clippers vs Wahl Clippers for Professionals
The biggest thing to consider if you're looking at Andis vs Wahl clippers for professional use is their effectiveness on curly vs straight hair. Specifically, the fact that Andis clippers generally work better on straight hair whereas Wahl clippers, especially those with stagger-tooth blades, are better for curly hair.
In other words, think about who your general clientele is. If most of your clients have thick, curly hair, a Wahl model might be a better choice.
That said, it's likely that you encounter a wide range of hairstyles. In this case, you can't necessarily pick a brand based on this factor, so how do you choose?
Another important thing to consider is the battery life on cordless models. In our experience, Andis models have superior battery life to Wahl models. Therefore, if your haircutting style involves regularly using your clippers on battery power, you should probably lean towards an Andis model. For example, if you're a traveling barber or hairdresser, an Andis model might give you more flexibility and versatility.
Finally, consider Wahl's generally greater focus on organization and accessories. For instance, Wahl makes a lot of full kits that come with a wide array of guide combs, scissors, carrying cases, etc. If you've been in the haircutting business for a while, you might not need any of these things, but if you're just starting out, it can be really nice to get it all in one place so you don't have to go find these accessories elsewhere. Plus, you know that the accessories will be compatible, so you can get started right off the bat.
Andis Clippers vs Wahl Clippers for At-Home Use
Both Andis and Wahl make great clipper models that are good for at-home use, whether it's personal or for a family. That said, we definitely lean more towards Wahl. Why? Mainly because of the wide availability of basic kits that come with all the accessories you need to get started and create detailed hairstyles without much experience.
For example, Wahl makes numerous color-coded kits. These have numerous lengths of guide combs included that are all associated with a specific color code located on the clipper machine itself. With a kit like this, you can easily switch between various lengths even if you don't use the clippers every day and have a good feeling for lengths.
Additionally, Wahl kits are heavily focused on organization and often come with carrying cases. In a salon or barber shop, that might not be such a big deal, but at home where you'll have to store the clippers away for extended periods of time, it definitely helps.
On the other hand, that doesn't mean you should just ignore all the other factors. For example, don't forget about the fact that Andis clippers tend to work better on straight hair while Wahl clippers tend to work better on curly hair. As a result, if you're getting a set of clippers to use on your family, and everyone in your family has straight hair, maybe consider a Wahl model.
Finally, there's always the difference in battery life. Since you aren't a professional, it's unlikely you'll be using the clippers all day. Therefore, it's not such a big deal that Wahl models have shorter battery lives. However, if you have a lot of kids or want the clippers to shave your entire head, you might need longer battery life. In this case, look closer at Andis models.
Andis Models We Like
Andis 66215 Professional Envy Hair Clipper
Summary: Highly adjustable with a number of professional features, we recommend the Envy Hair Clipper for professionals who need to use their clippers for detailed haircuts.
- 7,200 SPM
- Taper adjustment lever
- Hanging loop
- Durable housing
- Ergonomic grip
The Andis 66215 Professional Envy Hair Clipper set has several features that make it a great choice for professional barbers and hairdressers. For one thing, it has a powerful rotary motor that produces 7,200 cutting strokes per minute without excess noise. That means a more comfortable cut for clients that minimizes snags.
The Envy is highly adjustable as well. The taper adjustment lever lets you change the length of the carbon-steel blades from 000 to 1, which is good for fades and line-ups.
Another professional feature is the hanging loop, which makes it easier to store away while still keeping on hand. It has a durable housing with an ergonomic design as well, though we did find it to be a bit heavy at 17 ounces.
Andis 12470 Professional Master Corded/Cordless Hair & Beard Trimmer
Summary: The Andis 12470 Professional Master Clipper is an adjustable cordless model that gives you a lot of flexibility and versatility so you can produce different hairstyles for your clients or family.
- Cordless design
- Charging stand
- Extra-long cord
- Adjustable overlap blades
- Fast feed action
- 7,200 SPM
- No guide combs included
The main draw of the Andis 12470 Professional Master is its cordless design that gives you more flexibility whether you're using it on multiple clients or family members, whichever your personal situation may be. At the same time, it's convenient since it has a charging stand and can also be used while plugged in with the extra-long charging cord.
Another thing we really liked is the adjustable overlap blades that stay sharp and cut close if you set them to 000. In combination with the fast feed action and powerful motor that produces 7,200 SPM, this means you can more easily give detailed haircuts including smooth fades and blends.
Wahl Models We Like
Wahl Color Pro Cordless Rechargeable Hair Clipper
Summary: The Wahl Color Pro Cordless Kit brings the simple color-coded system to a convenient cordless package that's great for families or anyone wanting to reduce the hassle of haircuts.
- Worldwide voltage
- Full kit
- Carrying case
- Color-coded guide combs
- Short battery life
The Wahl Color Pro Cordless Rechargeable Hair Clipper has always been one of our favorite hair clipper models, and now it's available in a cordless version. This makes it especially great if you need your clippers for traveling, like if you regularly shave your head. In fact, it even has worldwide voltage.
Aside from the cordless design, we also love how easily organized the full kit is. In addition to a convenient soft-shell carrying case, you get a wide range of accessories including two combs, scissors, ear trimmers, and guide combs. The guide combs are color-coded, which makes it easier to select the correct length and remember when to use which.
Wahl Professional 5-Star Series Cordless Senior
Summary: If you're a professional who needs a lot of power but still wants the convenience of a cordless model, you should definitely consider the Wahl Professional 5-Star Series Cordless Senior.
- 7,200 SPM
- Taper adjustment lever
- Cordless use
- Rotating cord port
- Included guide combs
- Short battery life
The Wahl Professional 5-Star Series Cordless Senior is one of Wahl's most advanced models. Its powerful motor produces 7,200 cutting strokes per minute, great for dealing with many different hairstyles and textures over the course of a single day. Plus, the taper adjustment lever allows for close cuts and fades.
We also liked the cordless design. The battery life isn't the longest at just 70 minutes, but it can also be used while plugged in. It has an innovative charging stand, too, with a rotating cord port that makes it much easier to store whether it's in a cramped bathroom or a salon full of other devices. It even has a hanging loop.
Finally, we were impressed by the number of accessories Wahl included in this kit, which is less common for advanced models. In addition to a comb and blade oil, you get three included guide combs that are extra durable for repeated use.
The Battle Rages On
There you have it! You may find that some people have a LOT of brand loyalty to one or the other of these companies, and we imagine that everyone has different experiences with each (and we’ve used both and been very happy. The differences worth noting are the ones we’ve discussed above.
Thank you for reading, and if you have any questions, and happy clipping!
Michael Morris is the head writer here at Rough and Tumble Gentleman. He's got a ducktail beard and loves Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He's married to the woman of his dreams and lives in Brooklyn, NY.