If you’ve been wondering how to properly adjust Wahl hair clipper blades, and how to cut your own hair with clippers for long enough, you have undoubtedly experienced The Rattle quite a few times. If you’re new – don’t worry, you’ll meet it soon enough. One day, your hair cutter will start violently shaking, huffing and puffing, rattling with its metallic blades.
The Rattle boils down to one simple fact: your hair clipper blades have become misaligned. And you need to do something to fix them.
This unfortunate event, a part of any clipper user’s journey, isn’t limited to a certain brand. Wahl hair clipper blades have the same chance of this happening to them as Oster’s, Andis, Remington’s…
Of course, <$20 machines you fetch at retail stores get their blades misaligned in no time. But we prefer to not acknowledge the existence of such devices. You can’t seriously think of them as professional hair cutting tools.
So. You had a nice, sharp, properly cutting hair clipper blade. Now it won’t obey, baring its crooked metallic teeth at you. Cuts and trims aren’t accurate anymore and you’re scared of wounding yourself.
What can you do to fix that?
Before you start battling The Rattle
As you might already know, I’m a fan of Wahl professional clippers. Their quality doesn’t mean you don’t get the usual misaligned blade from time to time, especially if you use them a lot. Luckily, the process of adjusting a Wahl clipper blade is very simple.
Prerequisite: please, clean your clipper blades before adjusting them. We’ve elaborated how important that is before. In case you’re unsure of how to clean your hair clippers thoroughly, head over to our extensive guide on clipper maintenance.
Also, if your model has a taper lever, move it upwards. This will put it into a “closed” position, ready to be aligned. Now, onto the real action.
Adjusting your Wahl clipper blades in 3 easy steps
Loosen the screws
Fetch a screwdriver and loosen the screws of your Wahl hair clipper blade. Keep in mind that the number of screws depends on the model. Some Wahl clippers have only one screw; others come with the traditional two little buddies.
You don’t want to loosen them too much, so be careful. Just test it out while you’re working on the screws – you need them giving you enough space to perform small movements, nothing more.
Adjust the blade by shifting it
Time for some delicate alignment! Paying especially close attention, gently shift the blade. Wahl clipper blades usually require your top blade to be at around 1/32 inch (0.8mm) offset from the bottom blade. Don’t adjust them the other way around!
Protip: stick a finger on the bottom Wahl blade – it won’t move and meddle this way. Operate with the top blade only, slowly and precisely adjusting it to the 1/32 inch distance you need. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes – even if you’re especially attentive.
Your guide should be the extreme left hand tooth on the top Wahl blade. Its position has to be right above the gap between the two left hand teeth of the blade below.
Tighten the screws
Time to restore everything back to normal. However, you want to tighten the screws of your Wahl clipper blades especially gently and slowly. If you do it in a rush or apply too much force, your hair cutter’s blades might get misaligned again.
Protip: alternate between the left screw and the right one (if your model comes with two screws, that is). This way you’ll balance them out, eliminating risks of blades going wild again.
Finish off with some blade oil. You needn’t more than 2-3 drops, just a few to take care of your hair clipper blade’s shiny metallic health.
If you prefer a visual guide, here’s Wahl’s official video on the matter:
The Rattle is a natural process of any hair clipper blade’s lifecycle. This holds especially true if you have thick, coarse hair and a high volume of it. Hair cutter blades are usually high quality if you pick the right brand and model. However, there’s only so much they can withstand before requiring your aid for a quick fix.
Blade adjustment might differ across models, but generally it closely follows the process I described here. If you have doubts, always consult with Wahl’s official website.
If you’re a beginner and experience The Rattle – don’t panic! Follow this guide and align your Wahl clipper blades in just a few minutes. If you’ve been cutting your own hair with clippers for a long time, you probably already know what to do. What’s important is to keep these little buddies sharp, strong, and ready to cut-cut-cut some hair!
Looking for Wahl clipper recommendations?
Wahl’s 5 star Balding clipper for those of you who want smooth shaves for that slick bald look or bald fades.
Wahl 5 star cordless Magic clip for fans of mobility, lightweight clippers and a mix of traditional cuts plus fades.
For any other general purposes, you can consult with our various clipper buyer guides.
Get the Most Out of Your Blades
Now that you’ve mastered how to properly adjust Wahl hair clipper blades, you need to keep them at their peak. Otherwise the Rattle will be a regular occurrence.
Here are a few tips to keep your blades maintained for a top performing clipper.
Wipe the Blades
This may seem like such an obvious thing to do, but truth be told many people ignore the cleanliness of their blades.
Sure, they spray it with a disinfectant to prevent bacteria, but they don’t give it the clean up they really need.
Wipe away any hair before and after every haircut to make sure that they are hair-free. Hair is acidic and will dull your blades. Dull blades cause friction to build up and that is bad news for a couple of reasons. It will make your blades heat up becoming uncomfortable for your customer. It also causes the motor to work harder which will strain it and end up shortening the life of your clippers.
Once a month or so you need to do a deep clean on the blades to really get them back to being almost brand new.
Your blades are accumulating dead skin cells, salty sweat, hair styling products, and other dirt and grime. This build up makes it hard for your blades to run smoothly and will eventually set them off balance again.
Take a blade wash and run the clipper blades through it while the clippers are on for about 20 seconds or so. Then wipe the blade down and set it out to dry. As the clippers are running, you will literally hear them speeding up as the build-up of grime is being removed.
Once your blades are dry, refer to the section about oiling them.
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