I recently have thought about doing some more of my own pet grooming to save the money and time I spend bringing Dexter to the big box groomer. I figured I would give grooming a try to see if I could do it at home. I even built a grooming table!
With that, I needed clippers to complete the experience. Wow. Searching Amazon for clippers is overwhelming! There are so many brands and price ranges to choose from. I knew that the clippers would be an investment. I was going to spend over $50 or so to have him groomed, so I knew the clippers I purchased would start in that range. If I groom him once, I break even. If I groom him twice, I’m saving money. I also wanted clippers that would last, that were designed for animal fur, and had good reviews.
My Clipper Purchase “Must-Haves”:
- Designed for animal fur
- Good reviews
Clipper Purchase “Nice To Have”:
- Made In The USA
I spent several hours reading reviews on various clippers and had it narrowed down to a pair by ConAir or Wahl. I found a chart at the bottom of the page that showed Lhasa Apso/Shih Tzu under the column of the Wahl 9590-210 Corded/Cordless clippers. The model number of the unit shipped to me was 8552, but the picture and the specifications matched exactly to the listing.
At the $50 mark they were close to where I expected price-wise, from a very reputable company with a long track record making clippers, designed for animals, AND as a bonus, were Made in the USA. The fine print says they are made in the USA from domestic and imported parts. I’m inclined to think that most of the parts are imported and the kits and/or clippers are assembled here, though I don’t have confirmation either way about the parts origin.
The clippers have over 1200 reviews on Amazon, and four stars, so I think I found my clippers.
I liked the fact that they came as a kit. I had originally put a comb and scissors in my shopping cart but when I realized the kit came with both of those, I removed them. As it appears, I could start grooming right away when they arrived.
This set fit all the requirements, I bought them, and two days later they showed up. Amazon Prime shipping is great.
I made this video of the unboxing when the package arrived.
The Kit includes these pieces:
- charging cord
- hook and loop cord wrap
- blade guard (attach the the blades while in storage)
- #1 – 1/8″ (3mm) blade comb (red)
- #2 – 1/4″ (6mm) blade comb (purple)
- #3 – 3/8″ (10mm) blade comb (blue)
- #4 – 1/2″ (13mm) blade comb (orange)
- 5ml vial of blade oil
- cleaning brush
- 6″ scissors (total length – 2 3/4″ blade length)
- 7″ plastic finishing comb
- rigid storage case
- instructional DVD
- also included is an instructional manual
When I had the clippers in-hand I was able to get a better look at the quality of the product. The star in this kit is the clippers, and they stand out clearly. The construction is solid and they feel study. The body doesn’t feel ergonomically designed, but the clippers are comfortable to hold for the entire grooming session. The dimentions are approximately six inches tall, 1.5 inches deep, and two inches across. They weigh 8.3 ounces.
Preparation of the clippers was simple. They came fully assembled and the only two steps were to charge the clippers for 24 hours before use (by plugging in the included power adapter) and applying a few drops of the included clipper oil between the blades.
While charging, there is not a status light or progress indicator to tell you what state the clippers are in (charging or ready), or how fully charged the battery is. I put the clippers on to charge at 10am the morning before I used them, and unplugged the unit at 10am the following day. The clippers do not have a charging cradle to hold the clippers during charging (the cord goes directly from the wall into the unit). The manual says you will get a minimum of 30 minutes of full-speed clipping from a full charge. During my hour-long session using the clippers I did not notice the blades slowing down or becoming less powerful.
Cleaning the blades after clipping was equally simple. Simply hold the clippers with your thumb pushing the blades away from the top of the unit and press the blades into your other hand. The blades are held solidly onto the unit by a friction fit so no screws or tools are necessary to remove them. Using the included brush, sweep away the sticky fur bits. The small bristles do a great job getting into the tight nooks in the blades. Replace the blade guard and wipe the outside of the unit with a damp cloth.
The clippers can be used either cordless or, if the battery drains, you can safely operate the unit by plugging it into the wall. Dexter weighs less than 30 pounds and the amount of time spent clipping him was short, so I can’t comment on the performance while plugged in. The manual does say “Should you need to use the clipper in corded mode when the battery is fully discharged, it is best to charge clipper in “OFF” position for several minutes before use. During use, you may notice a decrease in blade speed. This is perfectly normal. The clipper will still perform adequately in corded mode with a fully discharged battery”.
Speaking of batteries, the rechargeable battery in this unit is user-replaceable. Wahl provides instructions in the manual. The manual states that the battery should last between three to five years before replacement is necessary. The illustration in the manual shows two-AA sized batteries, but I haven’t opened the unit to see a model number or other specifics. There is a local battery dealer in the area and they are usually able to match whatever specifications I need; you may have one locally too.
Two of the other essential parts of the kit are the scissors and the finishing comb.
These pieces are adequate, at best. The scissors were sharp and felt good on my fingers but the quality felt very low. I would use them again but they will be one of the pieces I replace. There are so many scissors to choose from, including all-steel construction and specialty lengths and finishes that are both more durable and higher quality than these.
The next addition to my grooming supply chest are finishing scissors to give a softer edge to groomed fur than the harsh, straight edge that flat scissors use. Additionally, you can add curved scissors to help shape contours especially around the face.
Equally disappointing was the comb. Yes, it is required if you don’t have any grooming supplies at home already, but the included comb is very thin and didn’t stand up to mild fur resistance before bending. I didn’t end up using the comb at all, preferring to use one of my own instead.
The four blade guards are molded to help you cut to a defined length. They are very sturdy and fit solidly onto the blades. I tried to do some shaping around Dexter’s “armpit” and shoulder without the guards and accidentally sheared off patches of fur, leaving some bare spots. The guards are strongly recommended even for experienced groomers so you maintain a consistent length all around the coat, and in my case, the guards served to protect Dexter against unsightly and potentially dangerous cuts from my untrained hand.
The DVD is divided into six sections:
- Clipper Maintenance
- Dog Preparation
- Tips and Techniques
- Pet Trims
- Poodle Pet Trim
The Pet Trim section goes through the technique for all types of dogs, as well as techniques for grooming specific breeds including poodles, Schnauzer, Terriers (Airedale, Irish, Lakeland, Welsh and Wire Fox), and Spaniels (Cockers and Setters). The paper manual included also covers grooming other types of animals including beef cattle and horses.
The Pet Trims section of the DVD (and many more) are on the WahlHomeProducts YouTube channel in this playlist. The videos are somewhat dated, but the techniques are still applicable today. There are also several user-created videos on trimming specific breeds available on YouTube by doing a simple search.
In my opinion, the most valuable part of the manual is the section entitled “Wahl’s Guide to Foolproof Animal Clipping“. With any other product, I would have expected basic maintenance and care instructions in the manual, Wahl goes beyond the basics to give you the knowledge how to use your new clippers right away.
The basic steps in Foolproof Animal Clipping are:
- Brush the dogs coat.
- Bathe the dog. Brush and hair dry after bath to remove tangles.
- Acclimate your dog to the clippers.
- Follow the illustrated instructions to clip the various regions of the dog.
- Blend the short and long sections of dog fur.
- Final Clipping. Apply desired cosmetics and finishes (bow, bandanna, etc…)
- Clean the clippers.
Wahl has a mail-in service where they will sharpen your blades. There is a voucher printed in the manual for you to complete and return with the blades. They charge a nominal fee (as of Aug 6, 17 that is $6.95 and includes return shipping) and you can order different sets of blades on the same voucher.
This a link to the A4 sized manual, but it is not identical to the one included in the kit.
Overall, I am a huge fan of these clippers. They feel great, the kit included everything I needed to get started grooming my dog. The ancillary products (the scissors, comb, and case) are of decent quality and they serve their purpose, but I will be upgrading them in the future. I was pleasantly surprised by the completeness of the manual. I believe that Wahl has set me up for success with this product and this kit.