Equine Grooming: The Best Horse Clippers To Work With
When I was a little child, my parents would take me to the countryside from time to time. As a curious urbanite, I was more than thrilled.
An image I recall particularly vividly is that of a spotted mare galloping around us while we were relaxing at a ranch. Her run was elegant, exquisite, the essence of freedom. It complemented the beautiful scenery so much it felt like I was in a fairy tale.
As I’ve pointed out in my previous posts, I am a DIY pet grooming fan. The Wahl Bravura from Amazon.com I use for my Shih-Tzu is in Amazon’s best horse clippers department…but it’s not the best choice for equine grooming.
In order to provide you with objective best horse clippers reviews, I consulted with my friend Rachel. This post is a result of her willing to share her insight as a professional.
Unlike some other sites, we won’t be throwing some random best horse clippers your way. We want you to make a careful, informed choice based on the models’ specifics and intended use.
It’s not only about the reviews of the best horse clippers we’ve prepared for you either. Rachel will also share some important tips on horse grooming too.
- Lister Star Heavy Duty Professional
- Best for:
Works great on thick or matted coats
Lightweight yet very sturdy.
- Motor power:
Features overload switch.
1 surgical standard A2F blade.
- Price: $$$
- Oster ClipMaster
- Best for:
Extremely heavy-duty ready. Goes through even the thickest of hairs. Great for big horses.
Durable, but very heavy and quite big at 13".
- Motor power:
Variable at 700 to 3000 SPM. Heavy duty.
Wider Cryogen X blade ~#10. Anti-bacterial, mold-resistant.
- Price: $$$
- Oster Golden A5
- Best for:
Good small horse clipper on an affordable price.
Semi-heavy at 1.97" lbs, break-resistant and corded.
- Motor power:
Dual motor 2100 SPM or 2700 SPM.
Cryogen X #10 blade. Antibacterial, mold-resistant.
- Price: $$
- Wahl Show Pro
- Best for:
Light trimming/touch-ups on bridle path, face, ears. Delicate work, not full body clips!
Smaller & lightweight at 6.5" and 15.8 ounces
- Motor power:
Adjustable at #10, #15 and #30.
- Price: $+
Please take your time and ask us if you have any questions!
In this article:
What are the best horse clippers on the market?
Reviews of these best horse clippers
Tips on grooming your horse using the best horse clippers
What to look for in a horse clipper
There are a lot of features that are important when looking for the best horse clippers, but the motor has to be at the top of the list.
It is going to make or break your ability to properly groom your horse.
Here are the types of motors available in most horse clippers:
Universal rotary motor
When you have a lot of work to do that is going to encompass the whole body or you need to get through thick, matted hair, then you will want the rotary motor. It works by spinning on a shaft and is powered by magnets surrounding the shaft.
Since it spins it can generate a lot of torque. More important that blade speed or RPM is the torque. This is where the power to cut through hair without any problems comes from.
They can get quite hot and so require a an exhaust system like a fan. This is great to keep your hand and the blade cool, but it does tend to blow hot air around and also can send the cuttings flying.
This is a motor that acts with a pivot. With magnets on either side of the body, the pivot is tossed from one side to the other as it reacts with the magnet. This pivot is attached to the blade so it is what makes the blade rock back and forth so the teeth can rock.
These motors can boast some impressive motor speed, but lack the torque that a rotary motor has. They can also be quite noisy and heat up quite a bit, too.
They generally have different gears so they can be set to slow down or give you a turbo boost when needed.
The motor wouldn’t be much good without the blades. There are two different types of blade systems to help you groom and they are both really different. With either system, look for carbon steel blades for durability.
Adjustable blade system
These types of blades are attached to a lever on the side of the clipper body. By moving the lever, the moving teeth slide closer or farther from the outer edge of the blade. This means you can adjust the length of the cut on the fly, one handed. Up to a certain point of course. Once you need to leave the hair longer than the longest open setting you will need to put a plastic comb attachment to lengthen it.
These blades have a permanent length so when you want to change the length you have to change the blade itself. These blades are very tough and are able to cut through thicker hair than the adjustable blades. Often you will find this type of blade on rotary motors as they pair well together.
They do take more time to change though as you can’t do this one handed. You can take the blades off while the motor is running which does save time, however.
The 4 best clippers for horses
1. Best cordless horse clippers | Lister Star Heavy Duty Professional
Lister may not be a household name when it comes to animal grooming products, but the pros know all about it. They have been making top notch animal clippers for a long time.
They make this heavy duty professional equine groomer with a permanent magnet motor for some really great speed and power.
Not only does it blast through even thick coats, but it is super lightweight thanks to the type of motor.
One of the reasons it works so well on tough coats is that it has a feature where it maintains a constant speed. Even when going through some tougher, thicker fur it won’t slow down.
This is good for you and for your horse as it makes it a quick grooming session which means you get more work done, and your horse is happy to not be under the clippers for too long. In addition to that, it is less prone to pull hair or nick the skin since that usually happens when the clippers slow down when going through a dense area.
Getting an even cut will look good and prevent the need to keep going over the same spot over and over to get everything down to the same length. If you are on a particularly tough or matted coat, there is an overload switch which will automatically protect the motor from burning out if it gets clogged. That isn’t likely to happen on most horse coats but it is nice to have just in case.
I know how many people get hand fatigue when clipping their horse. That’s a lot of area to cover and can take a while. The lightweight body, plus the power plus the constant speed all add up to a very comfortable grooming experience.
No product is perfect, so what are the downsides?
Well, for one, these can be considered loud. Now, I have heard louder clippers so they aren’t the loudest. But, if you dread grooming your horse because she spooks when hearing the loud buzzing clippers, then these will not help in the matter.
The blades tend to heat up a bit too if you use them for a long time. Luckily, as I noted, you can work much faster with these clippers so most jobs will be done before they have a chance to get hot.
The bottom line?
These may not have the same name recognition as Andis or Oster when it comes to grooming clippers, but they perform up the standards that a pro would expect. If you want professional grade clippers to use in your own barn, then these will find a spot among your favorite tools, for sure.
There’s two more things you need to know about the AGR+. Yes, the battery and the blades.
The battery will last for around an hour. The good news is that it requires only 1 hour to charge fully. For standard horses, this would be enough for a full grooming session due to the clipper’s power.
You can always buy the additional cord pack from Amazon.com to use it as a corded clipper too if you prefer that.
The AGR+ comes with Andis’ most high-end CeramicEdge blade technology. This means its blades stay cooler for longer which is especially important if you have a skittish horse.
Now, the bad news is that this is a #10 blade. This might feel too small for those of you who own bigger horses. Your grooming sessions might stretch for too long.
Rachel said you might consider getting a T-84 Ultra Edge blade from Amazon.com in this case. It leaves hair at 3/32″ and is way wider than standard pet blades. This will speed up your horse body grooming.
2. Best heavy duty horse clippers Oster Clipmaster
To quote Rachel: “This is the total powerhouse among the best horse clippers!” Indeed, this set of Oster equine clippers is extremely heavy-duty ready. It’s suitable for those horses with the thickest of hair and bigger bodies.
A warning: this comes at a price. The Clipmaster is very loud and is huge at 13″. It also weighs way, way more than the AGR+ or other best horse clippers. Keep that in mind if you prefer portability!
That said, the way this machine is designed and cuts goes above and beyond. It all starts from the 15-foot cord that is insulated and especially strengthened. The build of the clipper is also extremely sturdy and fall-resistant.
Same as other best horse clippers, this model comes either as a single-speed one, or with variable speeds. Rachel recommends you get the variable speed Clipmaster. It allows you to switch from 700 to 3000 cutting strokes per minute.
You’d use the lower speeds for more sensitive animals, as the motor runs a bit quieter and cooler. Delicate areas like legs or face also call for more careful motor speed.
You can revv it up to 3000 SPM when grooming your horse’s body or those extra thick hair areas. The Clipmaster is also one of the best clippers for horses with Cushings.
The blade here is Oster’s Cryogen X blade technology. It’s made to be antimicrobial and its coating reduces the risk of mold/mildew growing on it. There’s no hair that these can’t glide through just as if they were cutting through butter!
Extreme power calls for additional care, though. You absolutely want to use some blade coolant, clipper oil and clean the blades properly.
In return, this set of Oster equine clippers will give you cuts unmatched in precision and quality. Get this model if you want to focus on full body clipping with zero hassles and in less time.
3. Good small equine clippers Oster Golden A5 Two-Speed
A lot of people might tell you that you can groom your horse with the Golden A5. Rachel chimed in that indeed you can, but it’ll both take you frustratingly long. In fact, this model will prove next to useless for owners of horses with extremely thick hair in high volumes.
If your equine companion is not that hairy or smaller in size, though, these will work quite well. Keep in mind that the Golden A5 is still heavier than AGR+ with its 1.97″ lbs. It’s also not cordless.
However, you have two speeds here: one being 2100 SPM and the other 2700 SPM. A heavy-duty 12-foot cord will give you good maneuverability.
Once again sporting Cryogen X blades, this set of horse grooming clippers are resistant to rusting and catching bacteria. You’ll get a #10 size blade that cuts at 1/16″ in the package.
All in all, these are somewhat of a popular choice among small breed owners. They’re sturdy, they have the power and the traditional Oster quality.
At the same time, though, they do get quite hot and you need to grease/cool them frequently. Have no illusions though: a full body clipping on bigger breeds with these will take way too long.
You won’t have the T-84 wide Andis blade here and the A5 lags behind the Clipmaster in terms of heavy-duty power. You’ll see a lot of negative reviews about that. It isn’t the clipper’s fault.
Instead, owners should think about their horse’s specifics and whether they fit with what the A5 can offer them. As Rachel said, these are quite great as small horse shears and that’s their primary purpose.
4. Best budget horse clippers Wahl Show Pro Plus
Attention: Rachel warns that this shouldn’t be used as your main horse clipper. The purpose of these is to focus on details and supplementary horse grooming. That includes touch-ups or in-between trimming.
What these are best for is trimming the bridle path, faces, ears and delicate finishing work. Body clipping on medium-sized breeds will be quite difficult. On bigger breeds with thicker hair it’s virtually impossible.
So why are we including it in this list with the best clippers for horses?
Because they’re a great complement to your main hair cutter. At only 6.5″ and weighing a mere 15.8 ounces, these are extremely lightweight and compact.
Imagine grooming your horse’s face with the Clipmaster, for example. It wouldn’t be convenient at all, right? With Wahl’s Equine clippers, though, it’ll be both easy and enjoyable for you and your pet.
These are quite the quiet horse clippers too. Less vibrations and a calmer way to take care of these delicate areas.
Instead of detachable blades, you have an adjustable clipper for horses here. The blades adjust from #30 to #15 and #10. This is great, as usually you’ll use a #30 blade for muzzles and face/ears anyways.
Another good thing is that you’ll fetch a bonus face brush, DVD on how to groom your horse and other accessories. A lightweight, compact model for those neat touch-ups your horse will love.
Just remember these are meant to be a supplementary tool, not a clipper for full body horse grooming!
Some tips on grooming your horse with clippers
Some of the tips Rachel gave are so familiar to me. Why? Because both dogs and horses view clippers as something unnatural to them when you try to groom them for the first time.
Things like the louder buzzing sound, the touch of the clipper, the slight warmth of the blades…Well, at first most pets wouldn’t like that, not at all.
To make grooming more bearable for your hose, you should:
Brush your horse’s hair before clipping. This will reduce the length of your grooming sessions, leading to less risk of blades overheating. Not to mention that blades going through tangled hair are a suffering for the horse.
Protip: always brush in the direction the hair grows. When brushing the name, start from the ends and then gradually work your way up.
Note: in some cases you might consider bathing your horse beforehand. If the hair is not only tangled, but also dirty, this will affect your clipper’s blades. They’ll get dull in no time.
If you’ll only trim specific areas, wash only them. Bathing your horse too much isn’t that healthy.
Clipped hair won’t be shiny for a certain time. Cutting your horse’s hair will take off their fur brilliance for a while. Usually the clipped hair returns to its dazzling state in 5 to 14 days or so. Keep this in mind if you groom before horse competitions/shows.
Be careful with the ears. As I mentioned, pets get nervous around the loud sound of the clippers. Consider carefully placing cotton to reduce noise levels and calm your horse. This will also prevent hairs from entering their ear canal.
Be patient! Breeds vary vastly in terms of hair volume and density. Sometimes it can take you half an hour…and sometimes you’ll need a few hours to groom your horse with equine clippers. Never rush as your pet will feel your impatience and get anxious too.
Always remember proper clipper maintenance. Clipper grease, clipper oil and blade coolants are a must for any heavy duty horse clipper. These will both prolong your cutter’s life and ensure the motor functions properly and the blades cut smoothly!
Wondering how you can do a full body clipping with the best horse clippers? This video by Evention TV will guide you through the essentials:
While we’re on the topic of winter clipping, taking care of your horse during the winter involves a variety of activities. I really wouldn’t recommend you clipping them too much if you live in an area with harsher winters. Or, if you do so, at least make sure to get them a winter blanket that’s warm enough. Especially more groomed (read: clipped) horses call for a blanket that exceeds 300 grams of polyfill and goes above 1000 denier. No matter if you leave your equine friend at the stables or let them taste the freedom of the outdoors, make sure they’re not only properly groomed and beautiful (thanks to the best horse clippers mentioned above)…but also comfortable and kept warm.