Razor vs Clippers (The Ultimate Comparison)

Razor vs clippers

Two tools that can be essential in your grooming tool kit. 

But how are they different and why is it significant for the look you want? 

In this post, you’ll learn all you need to know ( and a few extra tips).

So with that said, let’s get into it.

Clippers vs Razor

Razors are primarily used to take all hair from your face/body and go right to the skin. 

They excel on thin small hairs such as beards, chest, and leg hair. 

Clippers on the other hand are bulky machines best at cutting down large sections of hair like head hair.

This is only a quick overview of both tools. 

But, is that the only way you can use them? Can they be interchanged?

In the rest of this article, I will provide you with the best ways you can use these tools, their advantages, and disadvantages, and how you can get the best out of them. 

Let’s begin

Hair Clipper vs Razor

When it comes to razors and clippers, you can see them as complete opposites. 

That’s in terms of their build and how much hair they remove while in use.  

Manual razors come in all forms:

  • Straight razor
  • Disposable razors
  • Safety razors

All do a great job at cutting hair right down to the skin. 

Which one you use will depend on your skill level and level of expertise and confidence but you can never go wrong using safety razors. 

Safety razors cut hair to the skin without the added cutting, bruising, and bleeding. 

I’m sure you’d appreciate that. 

This type of razor is great if you have sensitive skin. It doesn’t drag across your face like the other razors. 

Overall in your beginner, a safety razor would be your best bet to warm you into manual shaving. 

But as always, don’t shave with dry skin as some sort of later, soap, shaving cream, or water it doesn’t matter, just anything to lubricate the skin before you put the blade to the skin.

This is especially the case if you have dry/itchy skin pimples. 

But if you feel your skin can take it, you can just head right in there. 


Now the polar opposite of a shaver. 

Your clippers. If you thinking of using your clippers for a shave, you may not receive what you had in mind. 

Hair clippers are a heavy blades machines designed to thick condense hair such as: 

  • Human Hair
  • Dog hair
  • Horsehair

Hair clipper blades are larger than shaver blades and require a motor to push the cutting blade to cut hair while the shaver has steady blades angled to cut hair on the glide. 

If you own hair clippers, then you need to know how to take care of them.

You can quickly learn on all you need on cleaning, oiling, sharpening, troubleshooting, and more in the free clipper maintenance guide.

  • Easy-to-follow
  • Learn all you need in minutes
  • Free
  • Better performance

While you certainly can cut any part of your hair with clippers, you won’t cut anywhere near as close to the skin as you would with a regular shaver. 

If your looking to just cut and trim your beard for example a clipper am can work but a beard trimmer would do an even better job than a clipper at this take. 

Beard trimmers aren’t shavers either but you will have more control cutting hair than you would with clippers. 

A beard trimmer will not give you a “shave” as such. It is intended to trim down to a few millimeters (3mm in the linked one, 0.5mm without the head).

f you have sensitive skin and don’t mind light stubble, this it’s the way to go, especially if you’re after that 5 o’clock shadow look.

So, remember hair clippers are best for large thick hair, a beard trimmer is best to cut beard hair low but not completely, and a manual razor is the best at taking hair from your skin completely.

Buying a manual razor isn’t the only type of razor when it comes to shaving. 

There’s another. 

Electric razor vs clippers

The electric shaver 

The automated re-process to shaving. 

Electricity shavers have their benefits over manual shavers: 

  • They shave hair faster as they pull hair up before cutting it 
  • More accurate and versatile 
  • Do not require shaving gels and creams 
  • Reduces cuts, bleeding, and ingrown hairs

There are two types of electric shavers you should know about, these would be rotary and foil shavers. 

Rotary electric shavers

 The main difference between them is how they are built but more importantly, how they cut hair. 

Rotary Razors have a star headpiece with three small circular heads (sometimes it can have more thanks to this). 

With each ‘head’, there are tiny ‘holes’ that let the hair pass through and set them up to be cut by the blades underneath.

Rotary shavers give a good shave and from my experience, it irritates the skin far less than a foil shaver would. (We get to that next) 

If  you : 

  •  un-even grain pattern
  • Don’t like cleaning heavy cleaning 
  • Target neck hair when you shave.

To get the best from your rotary shaver, it’s best you use small circular motions against the grain with slight pressure.

 If there are any hairs after you can do a second pass with more pressure or your can grab your manual razor and finish the job.

Foil Electric  shavers 

Try to use small up and down motions when using a foil shaver and move against the grain with some pressure once again. 

Like with rotary razors, you can use more pressure for the hairs that might give you trouble in a second pass.

Foil gives a close shave with no little hair pulling but irritates at times skin (my experience) 

The downside with foil shavers is, if you have a long beard, you may have a hard time using them, and afterward cleaning them is tricky. 

Use a rotary shaver to cut hair to the skin, but if you want to keep some hair, use a bead trimmer as I suggested earlier 

Now both electricity razors and clippers are motor-powered machines engineered for a smooth application to your body. 

Just once again, in terms of shaving, you’re going to get better value from your electric shaver/razor when cutting beard hair.

Below are some of the top electric shavers right

Shaving vs Clippers

Now, through this article, I have spoken about how clippers are inferior to shavers and trimmers when it comes to taking hair off the skin, but that isn’t entirely the case.

Yes, on average, most clippers won’t shave particularly well but there is a specific type of clipper that comes pretty close and can rival beard trimmers in terms of close-to-the-skin cutting. 

That would be balding clippers. 

These are manufacturer zero-gapped clippers. 

These types of clippers have their cutting blade pushed to the very edge of the guard blade ad because they are set by the main manufacturer, the cutting blade doesn’t ever pass the guard blade and cut your skin. 

Balding clippers can certainly be used and will cut hair very close they are the go-to clipper for shaving heads. So if you were to use your clippers for shaving purposes and be satisfied with the results, this would be the best approach.

Below is my recommendation for the best balding clippers at the moment.

Check if your clippers are balding clippers and if they are used for your shaving tasks. 

Shaving best practices 

Now if you do have a razor, ill go through some shaving best practices to make sure you are on the right track with your grooming. 

First and foremost if your solely looking to get rid of all hair (on your face in particular), use a manual razor.

I have never managed to get as close a shave with an electric shaver as I can get with a razor.

Another option is to get a disposable single-blade razor. If you primarily shave with an electric razor they can be a great addition to just do touch-ups and remove some extra hair to leave you with a clean look. 

Earlier I mentioned talked about cartridge razors being one of the types of razors, these types of blades are great if you are loyal to a certain brand.

You can change them as you like and you don’t have to keep buying new razors as a whole.

The only downside with multi-blade cartridge razors is that they pull the hairs as they cut them. 

This means that the end of the cut hair ends up below skin level, and for some people, it can cause ingrowing hairs. 

However this is the same as electric trimmers so if you have electric shavers and they cut fine, you should be alright. 

To reduce the chance of ingrown hairs, you want to cut hair clean with no pulling so that when your hair does regrow, it grows straight up without struggling to break the skin.

If you are prone to getting ingrown hair, you can try to reduce how much hair you actually cut. 

You may be getting a lot of ingrown hairs because your razor/electric shaver cuts too close to the skin. 

Switching to a two-bladed disposable razor may help. 

These don’t cut as close to the skin but still cut very close without pulling your hair too. 

Again, if you are new to using these types of blades lather up before you use them to stop knicks and cuts. 


In this article, we learned the differences between razor vs clipper.

Razors are best for cutting hair to skin level while clippers are best for head hair. 

There are times when clippers can be good for shaving such as with balding clippers but most clippers will not give you the clean-shaven look you are after. 

Razors come in all forms but the best razors for beginners would be safety razors while disposable razors are great for electric shavers to touch up or to reduce the chance of ingrown hairs. 

If you have found this article on razor vs clippers helpful, check out other articles on this topic such as:

Patrick Boulang

Patrick Boulang

Patrick is the Primary editor for Clipphub. He has sales background however has always had a passion in barbering and personal self grooming. He now he spends most of his time giving information to hair clipper users to get them comfortable with personal grooming and improve their work on clients as he believes anyone can become skills with their blades.