There are a lot of clippers that can give good basic cuts. You can trim hair, get rid of some length, and perform simple styles. Those clippers are easy to find. What’s hard to find is a pair of clippers that can let you perform difficult-to-execute styles, like fades, t’s, and so on. Those can be difficult to track down, and that’s especially true for line-ups. To help you out, today we’ll dive into our picks for the best clippers for line-ups.
We’ve researched a number of options that have all the features to provide you with the tools you need to execute a razor-sharp line-up, and the only thing you’ll need after that is your own skill.
We also asked several of our best barber friends for their recommendations, which carried a lot of weight as we put together this list.
We’ll give a quick overview of our recommendations first, and then get into our longer product reviews. Let’s get to it:
Best Clippers for Line-Ups (quick list & summary)
We’ll get into the details below, but here’s a quick run-down—a line-up, if you will:
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Alright, now let’s get to the details:
The Best Clippers for Line-Ups: Full Reviews
This first set is a very popular model:
The Andis 04710 Professional T-Outliner
Summary: With an ergonomic grip that makes it easy to hold and a powerful motor that minimizes irritation, the Andis T-Outliner can be a good choice for barbers who need to make detailed edges.
- Carbon-steel blades
- Ergonomic lightweight design
- 8-foot power cord
- 7,200 spm (strokes per minute)
- Works on damp hair
- Easy blade change
- Heats up
- Doesn’t fit guide combs
The Andis 04710 Professional T-Outliner has long been an industry standard for line-ups and shape-ups. Aside from the strong but sharp carbon-steel blades that cut close without causing irritation or snagging hairs, this is mostly because of the clippers’ ergonomic design. At just 5.25 inches long and weighing under a pound, they can be very easy to hold in order to give your clients—or yourself—a straighter edge.
Similarly, the clippers have an extra-long eight-foot power cord. Again, this makes it easier to get straight, detailed edges without worrying about being limited by the cord, or worse, pulling it out of the wall right in the middle of a line-up.
In addition to the corrosion-resistant blades, the T-Outliner is also less likely to cause irritation due to the rotary motor that produces 7,200 strokes per minute. While it does unfortunately get a little hot if you use it for long periods, this shouldn’t be much of an issue for line-ups or other quick tasks. If you’re a barber, the time period between clients can be enough to let them cool down a bit.
Plus, the powerful motor can even handle damp hair. As well as doing line-ups and straightening the hairline, this makes the T-Outliner a versatile tool for a barber because you can use it for beard edging too.
Finally, one thing we like about the T-Outliner and Andis clippers in general is how easy it is to change out the blades. This can be a task with other clippers. That said, it doesn’t really work with anything except Andis T blades and doesn’t fit any guide combs, but it does make it easy to replace the blades when they start to dull, which usually takes a while. Just be sure you zero gap the new blades, a necessary step if you want to execute fades or line-ups.
The Wahl Professional 5-Star Detailer
Summary: On top of its professional and stylish look, the Wahl 5-Star Detailer has a number of accessories that can make it versatile and useful for fades, line-ups, shape-ups, and edgings of varying lengths.
- Included guide combs
- Small and lightweight
- 8-foot cord
- Zero gapped
- Weaker motor
The main reason we chose the Wahl Professional 5-Star Detailer is the number of accessories that come with it. While many clippers designed for line-ups aren’t compatible with accessories, these come with three guards of different lengths. These mean you can get straight lines even if the hair isn’t quite as short. Additionally, you get a cleaning brush, blade oil, and blade guard, all of which can help keep the blade sharp and effective. That’s fantastic, and not all clipper sets come with all that gear.
Now, the motor’s power is admittedly a bit lower on this model with about 5,000 strokes per minute. Mostly that just means you’ll have to take your line-ups a little slower (so if you like to tear your haircuts at break-neck speed, these may not be for you!). Luckily, the 5-Star Detailer can be easy to hold thanks to a small five-inch casing that’s super lightweight at under seven ounces. That’s pretty light, as far as clippers go, and that’s great—holding clippers up in the air for an entire haircut can get tiring. It also has an eight-foot cord that’s less likely to get in the way while you’re focusing intensely on making a straight line. Clippers with cords shorter than that can drive crazy.
Of course, the most important part of these Wahl clippers is the #2215 blade. With no overlap, it’s zero gapped and can create a crisp line. Just make sure you use the accessories to maintain the blades. Regular oiling will help them stay sharp longer. That said, if they do start to dull, they’re fairly easy to replace, and replacement blades aren’t too hard to find.
The Andis 74000 Professional Cordless Trimmer
Summary: The 74000 puts the precision of the Andis T-Outliner in a cordless package that you can use for straight edges and outlines as well as general haircuts and trims.
- 100 minutes cordless use
- Carbon steel blades
- Worldwide voltage
- Ergonomic grip
- 4 guide combs included
- Charging stand
- No corded use
The Andis 74000 Professional Cordless Trimmer is a popular cordless version of the popular Andis T-Outliner. It has the same deep tooth carbon steel blades. This type of steel alloy resists corrosion better which means the blades can stay sharp longer. This can save you time and hassle changing them out and also means a more comfortable and better-looking line-up for your clients since the blades make a cleaner, straighter cut without missing hairs.
The main draw of the 74000 over other Andis models is the cordless design. You get about 100 minutes of run time for an hour charge, which is a decent ratio. However, the unique advantage of its design is that you can charge it on power grids ranging from 100-240 volts. That means you can plug it in just about anywhere in the world, great for the globetrotting barber or a frequent traveler who wants to line-up their own haircut or beard.
The convenient cordless design does have a downside, though. The 74000 is pretty heavy. At about two pounds, it can be harder to hold for long periods of time, so keep that in mind if your hands get tired quickly. That said, it is easy to hold and has the same compact ergonomic design as the T-Outliner.
Finally, another nice thing about the 74000 is that it comes with four guide combs. This provides a lot of versatility, allowing you to use the T blade for more than just line-ups, but full fades as well and even general trims. You can clean up neck and sideburn areas with precision even if the hair is a bit longer.
On top of the guide combs, there are other included accessories as well. Most notably, you get a charging stand that conveniently stores your clippers safely but keeps them on hand for whenever you need them. Just be aware that you have to charge the 74000 on its stand, meaning you can’t use it while it’s plugged in.
The Oster Professional Cordless T-Finisher
Summary: We picked the Oster T-Finisher for our list not just because it’s cordless and convenient, but because it has the quality and durability necessary for busy and chaotic barbershop environments.
- 180 minutes cordless use
- Corded use
- Adaptive speed control
- Included guide combs
- Charging stand
- Durable casing
- Awkward grip
The first thing you’ll notice about the Oster Professional Cordless T-Finisher is that it’s cordless. We included two cordless models, even though some people don’t like them, because they can be great for line-ups and fades—not having a cord means that you can twist that in a bunch of different directions, and can turn them at precise angles without a cord getting in the way. That’s fantastic.
The T-Finisher specifically has 180 minutes of battery life, too, which has the potential to last you all day even in a busy salon or barbershop. However, even if you do run out of juice, you can still run them plugged in like standard corded clippers. The cord is eight feet long, so it doesn’t get in the way too much.
In addition to the cordless design, the T-Finisher has several other advanced features we like as well. For example, the adaptive speed control adjusts the speed of the motor based on the density of the hair. This means it cuts consistently even if you’re creating a fade. Also good for fades, this model comes with two blade guards that let you cut at different lengths.
Lastly, we were really impressed with Oster’s focus on quality and durability. The casing, while not the most ergonomic we’ve seen, is tough and more likely to survive the accidents that are bound to happen in a busy haircare establishment. The steel blades are similarly durable and resist corrosion, meaning they stay sharp longer. Oster even included a charging stand that helps keep your blade safe and dry when you aren’t using the clippers.
The only complaint we have about this is the grip, which isn’t as “natural-feeling” as some other clippers out there. That’s about it for “cons,” though—the Oster Professional Cordless T-Finisher is one of our all-time favorite clippers our pick for best clippers for line-ups overall, and we recommend them highly.
The Wahl Edge Pro Bump Free Corded Trimmer
Summary: The Wahl Edge Pro is a compact and portable clipper set that can be especially good for traveling barbers who need to trim hair and beards as well as make line-ups and fades all with one device.
- Zero-gapped carbon-steel blades
- 8 included guide combs
- Compact design
- Storage pouch
- Lower power
- Can be LOUD
The Wahl Edge Pro Bump-Free Corded Trimmer is a basic T-blade clipper set that can bring the general efficiency and ease-of-use of high-performing Wahl clippers to line-ups and fades. The carbon alloy blades can stay sharp a lot longer than other blades, and they’re zero gapped for a closer cut that can still produce a straight line without straying beyond the hairline.
Maybe the best feature of the Edge Pro is that it comes with eight guide combs. That means it’s good for more than just line-ups. You can trim up the neck and ear area with more precision than the clippers-over-comb method.
Another notable feature is the incredibly compact design. The smaller design, while a little less powerful, makes for a better line-up because you hand hold it more firmly for a steadier trim. Plus, it’s easy to store, especially in a salon or barbershop where you have a lot of other devices.
Speaking of storage, the Edge Pro comes with a storage pouch. That’s nice in general because it keeps the clippers and blades safe, not to mention the guide combs, but also because it makes the clippers more portable. Definitely consider these if you’re a traveling barber. The only thing you need to keep in mind is that these can be LOUD, which isn’t great if you’re staying in a quiet Airbnb someplace—or if you have a wife / partner / roommates and don’t want to be a noise nuisance.
There’s one last thing we should mention about these: if you do a lot of beard work in addition to line-ups and fades, the Edge Pro Bump can be a good option. The small size and zero-gap design are great for a close but non-irritating shave, not to mention edging a beard or goatee.
The Supreme Trimmer T-Shaper Men’s Hair Trimmer
Summary: The T-Shaper can be a good choice for professional barbers and personal users alike because it’s highly portable, great for travel, and has a compact design that makes it easier to use on yourself and others.
- 30-minute quick charge
- USB charging
- Carrying case
- Worldwide voltage
- 3 included guide combs
- Shorter battery life
- Blades dull faster
The Supreme Trimmer T-Shaper Men’s Hair Trimmer is one of our “best all-around” recommendations, that can be a great option for both barbers and home haircutters. Here’s why we think so:
The T-Shaper is a cordless model that provides 90 minutes of use without requiring a plug-in. This is a shorter run time than some other cordless models, but it also has a shorter charge time of just 30 minutes. That can be a great feature if the long charge-time of other models drives you crazy, and there’s an LED battery level indicator so you don’t forget to charge it if you use it infrequently.
Another reason this model is good for both professionals and personal users is its compact design. It’s less than six inches long and only weighs 4.5 ounces. That’s really light. That’s great for barbers and hairdressers who want to make precise line-ups and have to hold it multiple times a day, but it’s also great for personal users who’ll have to turn the device at strange angles to trim their own hair or beards.
The small design also makes it good for traveling. It even comes with a carrying case and accepts worldwide voltage so you can use it in most countries around the globe. In other words, if you take a lot of business trips but need to keep your line-up looking neat and professional, this can be a good option.
Lastly, we liked that the T-Shaper comes with three guide combs. Although the zero-gapped blades are good enough on their own for edging straight lines and making line-ups, the guide combs give you more options and can help you trim with straight lines even if you want a longer cut.
And… there you have it! There are a LOT of clippers out there, but only a few of them are good for line-ups, and these are the models we recommend. Hopefully there’s something here that suits your needs.
For those of you who may need a little more guidance, keep reading—we’ve got some pointers on how to select a set of clippers for line-ups, as well as some guidance on how to execute razor-sharp line-ups at will.
How to Select a Line-Up Clipper
If you need a pair of clippers specifically for line-ups, there are a few features you should look for:
T-Blades: Important for Beginners and Pros
Great clippers for line-ups are all going to use T-blades. These are clipper blades that are, well, shaped like a T. This causes them to have a much wider cutting surface than standard blades, a cutting surface that produces a straight line.
Zero Gap: Not Important for Beginners, Important for Pros
If you’re giving yourself or your clients line-ups, you need your clipper blades to be “zero gapped.” This means there’s no overlap between the top and bottom blades. This allows them to cut right against the skin, creating a straight line between the hairline and skin. While many clippers can be zero gapped with your own adjustments, the best edge-up clippers usually come that way already.
Blade Sharpness: Important for Absolutely Everybody
Sharpness is always important for clippers but doubly so if you’re using them for line-ups. You need the blades to easily cut the hair so you don’t have to apply extra force that could cause you to go offline. Plus, sharper blades allow you to cut closer to the skin without causing irritation.
Most clippers come with pretty sharp blades, but the important thing to consider is how long they stay sharp. Clipper blades inevitably dull, but you want that process to take a long time. That usually means stainless steel blades or steel blades made of a carbon alloy that resists corrosion.
Lastly, also check how easy it is to replace the clipper blades. Even anti-corrosive carbon-steel blades will get dull eventually, so being able to change them out without hassle is a big plus.
Size and Weight: A Secondary Concern
We highly recommend getting a small and compact model of clippers if you’re planning to use them for line-ups. To make the best line-up possible, you need to be able to hold the clippers steady and straight. This is a lot easier if you have a comfortable grip and your hand isn’t weighed down.
As an added bonus, smaller clippers are easier to store and transport as well. This is especially important if your workspace doesn’t have a lot of space or if you’re a traveling barber.
With all that said, we should note that as you use your clippers, you will get stronger, and a short haircut that makes your arm sore now will seem much easier later on. Size and weight are important concerns, but they’re secondary to blade sharpness and T-blades.
Corded vs Cordless: A Matter of Personal Preference
These days, you can find a lot of T-blade clippers for line-ups that are also cordless. This is obviously a major convenience because you don’t have a cord that can get in the way, but is it worth it?
The main downside of cordless clippers is that the batteries die. This would be a major problem in a busy barbershop or salon where you need the clippers all day. In this case, you want a really long battery life, or even better, a model that can also be used while it’s plugged in and charging.
Other than that, it’s worth checking how easy it is to charge the clippers. Many models come with convenient charging stands or USB power cords while others have bulky adapters you have to keep track of.
Tips for Executing a Line-Up
Maybe you’re a pro and you could teach us a thing or two, but if you’re not, here are some tips that can help you deliver some reliably sharp line-ups:
Comb Down the Hair
Before and during the edge-up, lightly comb down hairs over the hairline. In other words, trim a part of the hairline, comb the hairs behind the hairline down over the hairline, and trim it again. If you don’t do this, you’re likely to leave some hairs that are longer than necessary that may move back over the hairline after the cut.
Start on the Sides
While not entirely necessary, we recommend starting your line-up on the sides, the temple peaks specifically. This gives you a better reference point for the forehead, which you can do last. When doing the forehead, it’s then easy to start from the center and line up the hairline with each side.
Recline the Client
A good way to verify how straight your client’s hairline is to lean them back in the chair and do the last bit of the line-up from above. This gives you a much better viewing angle than looking at them in the mirror.
Don’t Use Too Much Pressure
For the best line-up, you want to trim the hair as close to the skin as possible. This might tempt you to put a lot of pressure on the clippers and push them into the skin. You should avoid this, though.
Pressure pushes the skin down causing the hair to slide out of the pores. This lets you cut them deeper down the shaft, but then when the skin bounces back up, the hair is actually below it. As a result, it may start growing back into the skin itself. That causes irritation.
The right clippers for line-ups should be sharp enough that they cut seamlessly without requiring extra pressure. If it seems like they won’t cut a clean enough line unless you push into the skin, it might be time for new blades or a better set of clippers.
Angle the Clippers Correctly
Clippers for edge-ups are very sharp and zero gapped. That means the cutting blade and guide blade are perfectly lined up with no overlap. As a result, if you angle them so that the cutting blade touches the skin first, you may damage the skin and cause irritation. It’s better that the guide blade touches first or at least that they hit the skin evenly.
A good way to do this is to guide the clippers with your index finger. Place it high up the top of the clippers between the casing and the client’s head. Use it to angle the clipper head forward so that the top guide blade is hitting first and the bottom cutting blade after.
Don’t Go Too Far Back
If you have a client that still has a rounded hairline, don’t make the mistake of taking it too far back. This can make the line-up look straighter and sharper in the short run because you’ve cut into the thicker hair higher up on the forehead, but in the long run, it’s going to grow in very strange. Make sure your client is aware of this when you ask them where to set the line-up.
Ideally, you should make the line-up as low as possible while still creating a straight edge. That is to say, trim away as little hair as possible to avoid too much difference when the hair grows back in.
Line-Up, Roll Out
There are a lot of clippers out there, and—we hate to say this—but a lot of them are… lacking. Regardless of how skillful you are, the wrong tools can make clipping hair a disastrous chore. Finding the right pair can make your job as a barber / stylist / home haircutter MUCH easier—you just need to find the right pair for you.
Hopefully there’s something here that helps you—if you need any other tips, or want to let us know what you think about our recommendations for line-ups, jump over to our “Contact” page and drop us a line.
In the meantime—be good, have fun, 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.