It was an interesting time for men with facial hair even before the pandemic, with more industries embracing a casual dress code and scruff being more acceptable in the workplace than ever before. Now, however, many men will tell you it’s a miracle if they put on pants each morning — let alone lather up their face. But even in a time when we can truly present ourselves however we’d like, there remains a fine line between looking artistically coiffed and straight-up disheveled, especially when it comes to beards.
Before we dig into their 13 preferred beard trimmers below, some pearls of wisdom from our pros for how best to use them. First, only trim when your beard hair is dry. “If you’re cutting it wet, you can’t really tell how long it is going to be when dry,” explains Mark Miguez, co-owner and barber at New York City’s Friend of a Barber. If you’re new to the tools, the experts also say to start with a longer guard or dial setting when trimming as another way to ensure you don’t cut your facial hair too short.
1.Wahl Professional Cordless Magic Clip
Seven of the grooming professionals we spoke to say Wahl’s Cordless Magic Clip might be the most powerful, sharp, and capable beard trimmer on the market. “It gets the job done whether your beard is long or short,” says Fellow Barber founder Sam Buffa, citing the fact it comes with multiple (but not too many) guards to get the length just right. He also told us the quality of a Wahl blade makes this trimmer “the most bang for your buck” when compared to other models at similar prices, as Wahl’s blades stay sharper for longer, according to Buffa. Miles Wood Smith, the head barber at Murdock London, is another Magic Clip devotee, praising it for its combination of lightness and power.
“It’s important to use a trimmer with enough power to cut your facial hair consistently, but also one that’s light enough to be able to maneuver around your beard easily by hand,” Wood Smith told us, adding that he loves to use this on both himself at home and his clients at work.
2.Wahl Peanut Classic Clipper/Trimmer
When we asked Miguez how he keeps the famous beard of his client, style writer David Coggins, so fresh, he told us his go-to tool is Wahl’s corded Peanut Clipper. It’s cheaper than the Magic Clip, but that isn’t why he likes it — Miguez says, in his opinion, cordless trimmers are overrated. “I find that trimmers which you can plug into the wall have the power to last years, compared to wireless ones where the battery slowly gets worse.”
Aside from having a cord, two other things he likes about the Peanut are that it has the quality of any Wahl product and comes with four attachments that he says are “perfect lengths” for trimming a beard down from a bush in the winter to Astroturf in the summer.
3.Philips Norelco Beard Trimmer Series 7200 Vacuum Trimmer
While the grooming professionals we spoke to overwhelmingly named Wahl as the maker of their favored trimmers, it was Phillips Norelco that received the most praise from the regular bearded guys we talked to about their preferred tools. This checks out for barber David Kim, who tells us amateur cutters can “generally trust Philips Norelco’s more-affordable products to work well and maintain a neat beard, as long as they’re not trying to do something too complex or fancy.”
This Philips Norelco trimmer, specifically, came recommended to us by no fewer than five guys. Fashion stylist Cohen is a fan, as are stunt performer Adam Rinn and DJ–slash–digital strategist Mac Joseph, who told us he he likes how this trimmer has a vacuum feature that sucks up most of your hair as you go, meaning there is less to clean up and therefore less of a chance of squabbling with roommates or partners over the state of your sink.