Wahl Senior

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The Wahl Senior clipper is a staple model if you want professional results. Always ready for heavy-duty work and sharp cuts, it’s revered as one of the original electromagnetic clippers.

At the same time, though, there’s quite a few variations of the Seniors. Just look at the amount of different models!

If you’re wondering which one will fit your needs the best, relax. I’ll first focus on the 8500 Wahl senior.

However, I’ll also compare the Wahl 5 star Senior vs Wahl Senior, and throw the ultimate Senior Reflections in the mix too.

Also, here are my own 5 star Seniors:

Comparison table between all Senior models

Before I move to more in-depth comparisons (Senior 8500 review, differences between it and the 5 star or Reflections), here’s a quick overview of the 4 Seniors: 

Wahl8500SeniorChart
  • Wahl Senior
  • Body:
    6.5", 1.3 lb. Grey plastic top, chrome bottom.
    ★★★★
  • Motor:
    Wahl V9000 motor
    ★★★★½
  • Blades:
    Wahl #1005 standard blade for all purpose cutting.
    ★★★★
  • Noise/Heat:
    Heats up less, but runs noisier and vibrates.
    ★★★★
  • Accessories:
    3 guards (1/16" to 3/16")
  • Price: $$+
  • Wahl 5 Star Senior
  • Body:
    6.5", 1.2 lb. Black plastic top, chrome bottom.
    ★★★★
  • Motor:
    Wahl V9000 motor
    ★★★★½
  • Blades:
    Wahl #2191 Fade blade for precision fade and above average bulk cuts.
    ★★★★½
  • Noise/Heat:
    Heats up a bit less, but runs noisier.
    ★★★★
  • Accessories:
    3 guards (1/16" to 3/16")
  • Price: $$+
WahlSterlingTable
  • Reflections Senior
  • Body:
    6.5", 1.3 lb. Full chrome-colored body.
    ★★★★
  • Motor:
    Wahl V9000 motor
    ★★★★½
  • Blades:
    Wahl #2191 Fade blade for precision fade and above average bulk cuts.
    ★★★★½
  • Noise/Heat:
    Heats up a bit more, smooth operation.
    ★★★★
  • Accessories:
    All 8 guards (1/16" to 1")
  • Price: $$$
WahlVintageEditionChart
  • 5 Star Senior Vintage
  • Body:
    6.5", 1.3 lb. Full chrome-colored body with red lever/switch.
    ★★★★★
  • Motor:
    Wahl V9000 motor
    ★★★★½
  • Blades:
    Wahl #2191 Fade blade for precise fades.
    ★★★★½
  • Noise/Heat:
    Heats up a little, smooth operation.
    ★★★★
  • Accessories:
    3 guards (1/16" to 3/16")
  • Price: $$+

Power within: the V9000 motor roars

Let’s start with the basic Wahl 8500 Senior model.

What can you expect from one of the finest Wahl professional hair clippers? Only the best output. The standard Senior comes packed with a V9000 motor, Wahl’s most powerful one yet.

It outperforms other Wahl cutters running on the older V5000 motor. We’re talking about one of the industry’s highest performance achievers.

The same praise can be said about the Wahl Senior blade. Sharp and precise as one would expect from Wahl, it performs close, precise and smooth cuts.

Many other clippers can pull your hair, but this is something you won’t see the #1005 Wahl Senior blade do. Your haircuts will get quicker, more accurate and hassle-free.

You can also zero gap the steel blade, but be careful – it can become a tad too sharp. Beginners should just stick to the standard setup of the Wahl Senior 8500.

The 8500 Seniors come with clipper oil, blade guard, a brush, and 3 Wahl guards measuring from 1/16″ to 3/16″.

Check this quick showcase video to get a real feel of this monster:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKvHB-ctJ4E

Solid, tough & barber-grade: a Senior body

I’ll be honest that there are a horde of more elegant or classy hair cutters out there. The Wahl Senior V9000 won’t win any beauty contests with its slightly bulky 6.5″ body weighing 1 lbs 3 oz.

However, that isn’t its purpose. Instead, the design of this model focuses on sturdiness and durability.

Wahl Senior 8500’s lower half is features ultra tough metal (chrome). The upper part is from high quality plastic colored in grey. The 5 star Senior switches the grey for an all-black coating:

A seemingly dull color combination? You’ll be surprised how appealing can both clippers look live. Sure, the appearance is more mundane and industrial.

At the same time, if you’re looking for a powerful barber clipper, you won’t care about looks. Wahl Senior clippers are a practical tool – they ensure you get the job done with 100% efficiency.

Wahl 5 star Senior vs Wahl Senior
vs Wahl Reflections Senior

Aside from the standard Wahl Senior 8500, there are two other common variations: the Wahl 5 star Senior, and the Senior Vintage edition. For true fans, there’s also the premium Wahl Reflections Senior.

The main difference between the 5 star Senior and the Senior is the blade. The standard Seniors have the #1005 blade (three holes), while the 5 star model comes with the special #2191 Wahl Fade blade (two holes.)

With its #0000 close-cutting fade blade, the Wahl 5 star Senior is better for both fades and closer cuts. It keeps the standard Senior’s V9000 motor and switches to black-coated top part, as I mentioned before.

The Reflections Senior from the Sterling line also has a #2191 Wahl Fade blade. However, it improves on the previous model with accessories. You receive the whole set of 8 Wahl guards, instead of the 3 combs you get with the other two models.

In addition, the Reflections clipper relies on an a fully chrome-color themed casing that is even more durable.

As for the Senior Vintage model, I recommend it for true collectors. It combines the fade blade with additional “zero overlap” feature for even more precise cuts. The best thing about it is the design, however. Look at this beast, combining the exquisite chrome looks with red taper lever and switch:

The not so great side of the Wahl Seniors

Issues with heating too much

If you’ve ever cut your own hair with professional clippers, you’ll notice they tend to get hot. This is true for both Seniors’ main rivals – Andis Master and Oster classic 76. It’s also present in this model.

The Wahl Senior clippers will heat up when you work with them for a longer time. This is a combination of their powerful electromagnetic motor plus the fact that so much of their body is made of metal.

A good solution would be to just use some blade wash if you have to use them for longer periods of time. If you’re in for a quick haircut, the heat won’t be a severe issue for you.

Vibrations & some design headaches

Owing to their powerful motors, many Wahl professional hair clippers vibrate significantly. Wahl Seniors join the bandwagon and will move in your hands more than what might be comfortable for some. Yet this is another very common problem among barber electric clippers.

Another factor affecting the vibrations is the metal case of the Wahl Senior 8500. As the material “transfers” the vibrations, they get more noticeable. This is the tradeoff for having an extra sturdy hair cutter body.

Our Wahl Senior review praises the Senior's blades and overall toughness.
While feeling solid, the Wahl Designers might score lower in the ergonomics department. A tad bulky, then can get a little hard to hold if you’re using them by yourself. In a way, they’re a bit more suited to people cutting others’ hair.

Final verdict

As you might have inferred from this Wahl Senior review, these are among the best Wahl professional hair clippers.

They live up to any expectations and contest higher priced rivals like Andis Master and Oster’s classic 76 hair clipper in terms of performance. While casual users can have a great time with them, the Wahl Seniors are more targeted at professionals.

Pick these if you’re looking for very powerful electric clippers that are tough, durable, and will cut your hair with an extreme precision. The Seniors are also a better fit for tighter budgets – for example, if you’re a barber just starting out.

If you can swallow their moderate heating problems and slight design shortcomings, you’re set.

You can also read our Seniors comparison to the Andis Master if you want an in-depth analysis on which is better for you.

Wahl Senior

Wahl Senior
8.3

Price

9/10

Easy to use

8/10

Blades & Motor

9/10

Body & Design

8/10

Noise

8/10

Heat

7/10

Good points

  • Powerful V9000 motor
  • Close & precise cuts
  • Various models
  • Zero hair pulling
  • Very solid feel

Bad points

  • Vibrations
  • Flimsy guards
  • Heats
  • Gets loud

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