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30 Apr 2020

Beard trimmers and hair clippers reviewed

To see which models can take you from scruffy to stylish, we've tried a selection from BaByliss, Remington and Wahl - and show you where to buy them

A good beard trimmer or hair clipper will let you style with ease, and we've been hands-on with trimmers priced from £20 to £90 to help you pick the right one.

Our researchers were tasked with trying out a range of models to see how well trimmers tidy, and which clippers deliver a smooth cut.

Read on for our first impressions, and some handy pointers on where to buy.

Best Buy electric shavers - a close shave guaranteed.

Cheap beard trimmers and hair clippers

Remington Barba MB320C (from £20)

Check stock at: Amazon, Argos, Remington

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 9

This affordable beard trimmer from Remington will catch your eye if you don't want to spend big on a grooming kit. The blades are coated in ceramic and infused with silica, which the manufacturer claims makes them stronger, longer-lasting, self-sharpening and permanently lubricated.

A zoom wheel on the back of this beard trimmer lets you cycle through nine different cutting lengths - they run from 1.5mm to 18mm. A pop-up trimmer will help you neaten the edges of your beard.

According to Remmington, you'll get around 40 minutes from the Barba MB320C on a single charge. We charged it for two hours and, after two trims, it still appeared to be operating at full power.

Which? first look verdict: This is a solid budget buy. It feels comfortable in the hand, has simple controls and deals with unruly beards effectively.

BaByliss Pro Beard Trimmer 7860U (from £35)

Check stock at: Amazon, BaByliss, Argos

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 24

You can use this beard trimmer cordless if you're on the move, or plug it into the mains to avoid losing power mid-trim.

The BaByliss Pro Beard Trimmer 7860U comes with a removable guide comb and offers cutting lengths from 1mm to 12mm. Without a comb, it cuts at 0.5mm. To swap the length, you rotate the settings wheel on the handle. Locking the guide comb in place can take some getting used to.

This affordable beard trimmer is paired with a fabric travel case that has enough room inside for all the accessories (including lubricating oil and a cleaning brush) and the charger.

But the battery life is a bit of a letdown. Although you can use it while it's plugged in, this BaByliss model takes an infuriating eight hours to charge fully. To add to our list of gripes, the angle of the cutting head can prove a little awkward to steer when trimming flyaway hairs.

Which? first look verdict: We found the BaByliss Pro Beard Trimmer 7860U nice and compact, fitting snug in the hand. The controls are well marked and the trimmer provides a smooth cut without snagging. It provides a satisfyingly smooth shave, but the time taken to charge the battery can be annoying.

Mid-range beard trimmers and hair clippers

Panasonic ER-GB42 (from £40)

Check stock at: Panasonic, Shavers.co.uk, Amazon

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 19

Here's a beard trimmer to consider if you're looking for a precise beard length, down to half a millimetre. The Panasonic ER-GB42 has 19 hair cutting lengths and a built-in trim length adjuster.

We took this beard trimmer for a spin and saw it cut beard hair accurately and effectively. For our first look review, we set the device to cut to three different lengths and were happy with the trimming results. To add to the list of pros, the Panasonic ER-GB42 feels great in the hand - the textured surface stops it jumping out of your hand and onto the bathroom tiles.

By pressing the power button lightly, you get a quick burst of power that's handy for going around the edge of a beard. We found this feature was also useful for banishing hair from your top lip.

But it's not quite a perfect scorecard for the Panasonic ER-GB42. We found replacing the guard was a little fiddly, mainly because it's made from reasonably brittle plastic.

Which? first look verdict: Although we haven't sent this beard trimmer to the Which? test lab, our first impressions are positive. It cuts hair reliably, is flexible and easy to use.

BaByliss 7896U i-Stubble 3 (£50)

Check stock at: BaByliss, Amazon, John Lewis

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 15

The BaByliss 7896U i-Stubble 3 isn't without its flaws. Despite a relatively high price, this beard trimmer isn't finished in chrome or metal, but rather grey plastic. It doesn't feel as premium in the hand as we'd like.

You get a good range of stubble gradings here, with lengths varying from 0.4mm to 5mm. If you remove the comb guide, you can cut even closer. Controls on the handle of the BaByliss 7896U i-Stubble 3 adjust a motorised length control.

One aspect of the trimmer that does seem to justify its premium price is the LCD display. It shows you the cutting length setting and current charge, which is useful as you can check the battery life at a glance.

We found trimming with the BaByliss 7896U i-Stubble 3 to be a very comfortable experience. The well-angled comb guide hugs your face while the blade does its work, and at longer (short beard) lengths it's well capable of both trimming and tidying for a neat result.

However, this trimmer is less effective at shorter lengths. At the 0.4mm setting (the shortest available), it takes quite some time to even out stubble. This could result in patches of hair that look untidy.

BaByliss promises 60 minutes of use from a full charge, which we found to be accurate.

Which? first look verdict: This beard trimmer does its job if you're maintaining a short beard, but for short stubble and detailing, there are cheaper alternatives around that can do a better job.

Premium beard trimmers and hair clippers

Wahl 4 in 1 Multigroomer Stainless Steel (from £75)

Check stock at:Amazon, Argos, Wahl

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 17

This sleek, stylish stainless steel trimmer from Wahl has four cutting heads. You get to pick between a standard trimmer for tackling beards and stubble, a T-blade for shaving the head and body, an ear and nose hair trimmer, and a detail shaver for getting a closer shave around the neck line or cheek bones.

A total of 12 guide combs are bundled in the box, providing a range of cutting lengths from 0.5mm to 25mm. They're easily interchangeable.

We tried the T-blade head without a guide comb to get a very close shave on the head. It served up a uniform cut and we didn't need to pass over the same area several times. The standard trimmer head is just as impressive, allowing us to quickly tidy up around the cheek and neckline.

The detail trimmer isn't quite as impressive as the other cutting heads on this Wahl model. It takes a bit of work to get rid of stubble around the neck line after cutting a beard back, but the end result was decent enough.

The bristles on the cleaning brush were bent out of shape quite quickly and it isn't suitable for anything more than the very lightest of brushes to remove hairs from the top of the blades.

Wahl is convinced you'll get up to 240 minutes from an initial 60-minute charge. We actually got a little over 100 minutes of action while trying it out. A handy one-minute charge option should provide up to three minutes run time for last-minute touch-ups.

Which? first look verdict: This is a stylish multigroomer and provides a wide range of trimming options. Although it's a little on the expensive side, the excellent trim it provides merits the expense.

Wahl Aqua Blade Wet/Dry Stubble & Beard Trimmer (£90)

Check stock at: Amazon, Argos, Wahl

  • Corded or cordless? Cordless
  • Number of length settings 13

There are 12 guide combs included on this trimmer, providing a range of lengths from 0.2mm to 25mm. This is an impressive spread, considering most trimmers will only cut as short as 0.4 or 0.5mm. If you plan on maintaining very short stubble, this trimmer gives you the option.

The Wahl trimmer can accurately cut beard hair, passing through the facial guard painlessly without snagging. We experimented with a range of guide combs and were happy with the results. Even though the blades are sharp and trim the hair really close, we had no worries about getting nicks or cuts.

We had no problem getting the guide combs onto this trimmer, but taking them off was a bit of a pain - you really need a fingernail to slip under the clip to help you pop it off.

The trimmer is said to run for up to 180 minutes from a 60-minute charge. We managed a little over 100 minutes of uninterrupted cutting and trimming. A handy five-minute quick-charge option should provide up to 15 minutes of run time.

Which? first look verdict: This is an impressive beard trimmer that provides an even cut and feels nice in the hand. It's easy to use and offers a great range of cutting lengths. It's not cheap, so it's worth waiting a while to see if you can pick it up on offer.

How to buy the best beard trimmers and hair clippers

Beard trimmers and hair clippers come in all shapes and sizes. One of the first buying decisions you'll need to make will have you picking between corded and cordless models.

Corded beard trimmers and hair clippers don't need recharging, but they're not particularly flexible. Cordless models have better manoeuvrability, but you might be waiting around for them to charge longer than you'd like.

When buying a beard trimmer or hair clippers, keep an eye out for some of these key features:

  • Adjustable combs and length options With a full grooming kit, you'll get a range of attachment combs to try out. Text on each comb will tell you the cutting length.
  • Vacuum technology We've seen some beard trimmers use a vacuum system to catch trimmed hair.
  • Rechargeable battery Check the manufacturer's claims to see how much time you'll get from the product on a single charge.
  • Waterproof design This offers some peace of mind if you're using the trimmer in the bathroom.

To help you pick the very best beard trimmers and hair clippers, we've put together an expert buying guide. See our advice on how to buy the best beard trimmers and hair clippers.