6 Best Dog Hair Clippers for Poodles: Our Poodle Grooming Guide

Are you thinking of grooming your Poodle at home? Looking for the best clippers for Poodles? We can help! In this article we’ll tell you:

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  1. The different kinds of dog clippers and blades.
  2. The different hair cuts for Poodles.
  3. The best blades for your Poodle.
  4. And, the best clippers for Poodles.

Let’s get started!

Many people associate Poodles with the elaborate clips seen at dog shows. However, most Poodles are someone’s pet. They may never see the inside of a show ring. Poodles also do agility, rally, hunt (really!), obedience, and even dock diving. Pets and active Poodles often need a more casual hair-do. Ask any dog groomer and s/he will probably tell you that they are usually asked to give Poodles a simpler cut. You can certainly learn to trim your Poodle’s coat this way at home with a good set of clippers and two or three good clipper blades. We can help you choose the best clippers for Poodles.

Poodle Hair Cuts

Poodles come in three different sizes: Standard (the largest), Miniature, and Toy (the smallest). Aside from their sizes, all of these Poodles are very similar. They all have the same type of coat, for example. Left to grow out, the Poodle coat is curly with a naturally harsh texture and dense all over the body. Believe it or not, those curls will become corded like a Komondor or Puli coat if you let them continue to grow. Corded coats are not easy to care for. The coat still has to be bathed and it can take several days for the coat to dry. If it doesn’t dry thoroughly, it can become musty. Plus, a corded coat tends to pick up sticks and other debris that you have to carefully remove. So, most people don’t try to grow corded coats on Poodles.

Clipping a Poodle’s coat is more popular than letting it grow out or trying to cord it. There are lots of different clips for Poodles. Some of these cuts can get complicated and require a lot of intricate work so you would be better off taking your dog to a professional groomer. But many of them you can easily learn to do yourself.

  • The style you usually see on adult dogs in the show ring is known as the Lion Cut or the Continental Cut. See a groomer.
  • The English Saddle Cut is similar to the Lion Cut but it leaves more hair over the dog’s body. See a groomer.
  • The Dutch Cut, Sporting Cut, Kennel Cut, or Retriever Cut (all very similar) is one that you can easily do at home. With this style, the Poodle’s coat is essentially clipped the same length all over. The main difference between some of these cuts is how long you choose to leave the coat. The tail does have a small pom on the end of it in some of these cuts. These are good cuts for active dogs.
  • The Modern or European Cut is attractive but not as extreme as a show cut. The body is trimmed all over but is not excessively short. The hair on the head, ears, and tail are fluffed and emphasized.
  • A Puppy Cut is a style that works for many small breeds such as the Toy Poodle and the Miniature Poodle. You can also use it for a Standard Poodle puppy. It’s not complicated and you can easily learn to trim your Poodle this way at home. Great for puppies and easy to care for.
  • A Summer Cut leaves your Poodle with a very short trim for the summer.
  • There is also the Lamb Cut  (most dogs are not this cooperative until they have had a lot of experience being groomed). This is a style that you could learn to do yourself.
Learning to clip your Poodle takes some practice. You may want to take your Poodle to a professional groomer the first time s/he’s clipped and ask to watch; or ask for some tips. Or, if you got your Poodle from a breeder, ask the breeder to show you how to clip your Poodle. Most breeders are delighted to show owners how to take care of their dog’s coat. Try to attend a dog show and watch what the groomers/handlers do back in the grooming area. You may not be interested in a show dog clip but you can still pick up some grooming pointers.

Different Types of Clippers for Poodles

Corded dog clippers

Most people use corded clippers when clipping a Poodle. Professional groomers and people that show dogs often use them. They have an electric cord that fits into a standard outlet. They are generally powerful and durable. They typically have a hard outer shell that is difficult to break. You can buy 1-speed clippers or clippers all the way up to 5-speeds depending on how much power you need or how much clipping you do. Even if you use your clippers a lot, they will usually last for years. Some corded clippers are very basic while others have some deluxe features such as being extremely quiet or low-vibrating. Poodles usually require more clipping than most breeds so choose a good set of clippers and consider it an investment.

Cordless dog clippers

Some owners prefer to use cordless dog clippers. These clippers usually run on batteries or they can be recharged. They have many of the same features that corded clippers have but you can take them anywhere and use them at a moment’s notice. Cordless clippers are also sometimes more lightweight than traditional clippers which makes them easy to hold and use. The downside is that you are usually limited by how long the battery charge lasts. The cordless clippers with the longest charge will usually run up to two hours but many of them run for less time. Some cordless clippers are less powerful than traditional clippers so they are not always the best choice if you are working with a difficult coat. Most cordless clippers have to be replaced after a couple of years because they will no longer hold a charge.

There are also some clippers that can be used with or without a cord. You can use them with a cord while they are recharging; then use them cordless when they are recharged.

If you like cordless clippers sometimes you can buy an extra battery pack to switch out while a pack is charging. Check with the retailer or manufacturer to see if extra battery packs are available.

Pet trimmers

Pet trimmers are less expensive than professional pet clippers. They can be a good choice for trimming around the paws, face, and ears. However, they are not generally powerful enough to clip a dog’s coat, especially a coat that’s dense and curly like a Poodle’s. Pet trimmers usually come in kits that also contain guide combs that fit over blades so you can adjust the length of the cut. Many pet trimmers are battery-operated. Some dog owners like them because they are very quiet compared to regular clippers which can be helpful for nervous dogs.

Different Sizes of Blades for Poodle Clippers

The blades you use to clip your Poodle will depend on the style of cut you decide to give your dog. Andis, one of the most popular blade and clipper companies, provides this handy chart to show which blades to use for different Poodle styles. (A “sanitary trim” is trimming under your dog’s tail and around your dog’s rectal area for cleanliness. This is usually just a small strip under the tail that is not very noticeable. The “pads” refers to trimming your dog’s paws – underneath, between the toes, and on top.)

In choosing blades, the higher the number, the more hair the blade removes. So, a #3 blade will not remove nearly as much coat as a #10 blade. Veterinarians typically use a #40 blade when shaving a dog for surgery since it will remove all hair right down to the skin.

If you’re wondering how short each blade cuts, here’s the low-down for the most common blades used on dogs. The number on the right side shows how short your dog’s hair will be after cutting.

If you use the clippers to go over an area repeatedly, you will remove more hair and make it smoother.

There’s obviously a lot of room for improvisation with these trims. If you prefer that your dog doesn’t have a pom on the tail, he doesn’t have to have one, for example. It’s up to you how long or short you leave the hair on top of your Poodle’s head (called the “top knot”). Once you master the basics, you can pretty much trim your Poodle any way you like.

We’re only using the Andis chart here because it was handy to answer questions about blades for Poodles. Oster also makes excellent blades. Most good professional clippers have a detachable blade so you can use different blades with them, including blades made by different companies. It’s easy to use an Oster blade on your Andis clipper and vice versa.

Most professional clippers come with a #10 blade since this is a standard blade used for grooming many kinds of dogs. Sold individually, most blades cost about $25-30 so it’s nice to have this blade come with your clippers.

Clipper blades today are generally made of stainless steel or ceramic material. Depending on the company that makes them, they can also include carbon, chrome, silver, or titanium. There are advantages to some of these different elements. Carbon-infused steel has a harder cutting edge and is said to hold an edge longer. Chrome-finished blades are supposed to be more rust-resistant. Cryogen blades from Oster contain silver which has antimicrobial properties. There are also ice-tempered blades that prevent rusting and supposedly stay cooler. All of the blades made by the big companies are very good. Professional groomers and people that groom Poodles for dog shows may be able to tell the difference between these blades but for home use – especially when you are buying your first clippers and blades – it usually makes sense to buy a couple of blades made by the same company that makes your clippers. You can try blades from other companies later.

Clipper maintenance

Clippers are an investment. With care they will last a long time. There are a few things you can do to keep your clippers working well.

We recommend that you purchase a cooling clipper spray when you buy your clippers and blades. Most clippers are powerful. When you use them for an hour or more the blade can start to get hot. Cooling spray can cool the blade so you can continue working. (You and your dog can also take a break to let the blade cool off.)

We also suggest that you have some blade cleaner and lubricant. Some clippers come with these products while others say they aren’t needed. We like to have them anyway. If you use a lubricant you do need to remove it completely or it can clog your clippers. When you use a lubricant you only need to use a drop or two occasionally. If you use too much or use it too often it can trap hair in your clippers  and blades.

You can use a small brush to remove dog hair that accumulates in your blades and inside the clipper head.

Your clippers will probably look like one big object but the head detaches (opens up) and most of the parts can be taken out. If anything ever breaks, it’s usually very easy to find replacement parts online or from the manufacturer. Some manufacturers will repair clippers for you for a very reasonable fee.

If your blade starts to become dull you can have it sharpened by a professional. You can check locally for people that sharpen scissors and knives; or visit a dog show. There are often professionals at these shows that specialize in sharpening clipper blades. If you have ceramic blades, they cannot be sharpened.

Which Size Blade should you use on a Poodle

In general, you can use these blades for these cuts:

Poodles – Kennel Trim

  • Matted Coat – 7F
  • Face, Feet, & Base of Tail – 10 or 15
  • Body & Legs – 5, 4, 3
  • Top Knot & Tailpiece – Scissors

Poodles – Lamb Trim

  • Face, Feet, & Base of Tail – 10 or 15
  • Body – 5, 4, 3
  • Legs – 30 with ¾” or 1″ Comb
  • Top Knot & Tailpiece – Scissors

Poodles – Summer Trim – Bikini Trim

  • Face, Feet, & Base of Tail – 10 or 15
  • Body & Legs – 7F or 5F
  • Pom-poms, Top Knot & Tail Pom – Scissors
  • Stomach – 10

As far as which blades are best, both Andis and Oster blades are excellent. Both kinds of blades can be used interchangeably with most professional clippers.

Overall Best Clippers for Poodles

Andis ProClip AGC2 2-Speed Detachable Blade Pet Clipper, Black

Key Benefits:

  • Detachable blades and removable drive cap make cleaning easy and the locking blade hinge keeps it secure.
  • The 2-speed sealed rotary motor runs cool and has plenty of power to handle a Poodle coat.
  • Includes a 14-foot heavy-duty cord so you can easy move around.
  • Works with all UltraEdge, CeramicEdge and ShowEdge blades—plus, it’s also compatible with Oster A-5 blades.

Andis ProClip AGC2 2-Speed Detachable Blade Pet Clipper is an excellent choice for clipping Poodles. With two speeds you can use it on the regular speed or go faster. It stays cool even when you’re clipping a lot of coat. It also has a heavy-duty cord so you can move around easily. This clipper is durable and perfect for anyone learning to groom. Comes with the clippers, #10 UltraEdge blade, and clipper oil.

Pros:

  • 2 speeds
  • Durable
  • Maintenance-free

Cons:

  • Andis makes a more powerful clipper in a similar style
  • Some people like cordless clippers better
  • Heavier than some other clippers

Best Pick for Matted Poodle Hair

Oster A5 Turbo 2-speed Pet Clipper, Dark Blue

Key Benefits:

  • The Oster Turbo A5 2-speed heavy-duty clipper is powerful, quiet, and reliable.
  • This clipper is practically unbreakable. It’s durable and resilient even if you drop it.
  • Goes through thick coat easily, including mats.
  • Detachable blade system is very versatile.
  • Turbo-powered for higher strokes per minute at two speeds: 3000 SPM Low, 4000 SPM High
  • Compatible with all Oster A5 detachable blades (as well as other detachable blade clippers) and includes a #10 CryogenX Detachable blade.

The Oster A5 Turbo 2-speed Pet Clipper is quick and powerful. You can consider it to be a workhorse. It’s perfect if you will be doing a lot of clipping. Many professional dog groomers and veterinarians use this clipper. It has two speeds so you can decide how much power to use. Compatible with all of Oster’s detachable blades (as well as other detachable blades). Comes with a #10 Cryogen X detachable blade.

Pros:

  • Faster and more powerful than similar Oster clippers
  • Has two speeds
  • Quiet, durable, and reliable
  • Great for heavy duty clipping, including cutting mats

Cons:

  • This is a powerful clipper and it could be more than some owners need
  • Some people might prefer a cordless clipper – but it’s hard to find cordless clippers that can do a good job with mats.

4 more Top Rated Poodle Clippers

Wahl Arco Cordless Pet Clipper Kit

Key Benefits:

  • Lightweight and cordless.
  • 5500 strokes per minute and 80 minutes of battery run-time.
  • Perfect for clipping paws, face, and finishing work.
  • Glides through the coat quickly and efficiently.
  • Adjustable 5 blades that adjust from #9 to #40 and are detachable.
  • Professional Cordless 5-in-1 Clipper Kit with 2 NiMH batteries.

Wahl Arco Cordless Pet Clipper Kit is a super clipper for trimming your Poodle’s paws and face. You can also do finishing work over his coat after you have removed thicker coat. Use these cordless clippers anywhere. They are quiet and lightweight. These clippers run for up to 80 minutes before you need to recharge. Comes with two NiMH battery packs, the clippers, a storage case, a charging base with an indicator light, four snap-on attachment guide combs, a cleaning brush, and blade oil. You can see how these clippers work using attachment guide combs in this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mkjda6tdiow.

Pros:

  • Cordless, lightweight, quiet
  • Comes with two rechargeable battery packs
  • Includes four snap-on attachment guide combs
  • Good for trimming around your dog’s face, paws, and for doing finishing work

Cons:

  • Not a good choice for dogs with heavier coats unless the heavy coat has been trimmed first
  • Only runs for 80 minutes before it has to be recharged

Oster A5 Golden Pet Clipper

Key Benefits:

  • Heavy duty clipper comes in either a single speed or 2-speed model.
  • Made to last. Powerful and virtually unbreakable so you can clip any coat.
  • Oster’s Golden A5 is suitable for everything from general grooming to precision clipping.
  • These clippers handle smoothly and the motor runs quiet and cool. Top speed on the 2-speed clipper is 2,700 SPM and 2,100 for the single speed clipper.
  • The detachable blade system is made for quick, easy blade changes and increased versatility. Compatible with Oster A5 detachable Cryogen-X blades, Elite Cryogen-X and Take Down Quick Wide blade series, along with blades made for other detachable clippers.

Oster’s Golden A5 is a great set of clippers at a reasonable price. It comes in both a one-speed and two-speed version. Both models are good and quite affordable. This is a popular model for Oster and it’s been around for years. Used by groomers, vets, and people that show dogs, they are heavy duty so you can groom multiple dogs easily. Also great when you need to do a lot of clipping on one dog’s coat. Quiet, reliable, and made to last. These are corded clippers. The kit comes with a #10 Cryogen- blade, blade guard, blade oil, grease, cleaning brush, carbon brush and spring assemblies, and operating and care manuals.

Pros:

  • Durable, heavy duty clippers
  • Quiet and reliable
  • Available in one or two-speeds

Cons:

  • Not the fastest or most powerful clippers made today
  • There are newer clipper models that could make these clippers seem old-fashioned but they are still excellent clippers

Oster A6 Slim 3-speed Pet Clipper, Purple

Key Benefits:

  • Patent pending VIBRATION ISOLATORS allow these clippers to have extremely low vibration and noise. Great for dogs that are nervous around clippers and more pleasant for you.
  • The Oster A6 Slim 3-speed clipper is ergonomically designed, efficient, precision-tuned, and it has a heavy-duty motor that runs at over 4,000 strokes per minute.
  • Zinc Alloy technology combines a lightweight ergonomic feel with heavy-duty, long-lasting durability.
  • Angled eccentric drive system and precision calibrated motor are designed for an ultra-smooth, efficient cutting performance
  • 3 Speed Settings: 4400SPM / 3600 SPM / 3100 SPM

The Oster A6 Slim 3-speed Pet Clipper is extremely comfortable to use. It has an ergonomic design and it’s very lightweight so it reduces hand fatigue. If you’re spending a lot of time clipping your Poodle’s coat, this may be the most comfortable set of clippers you can buy. It also has less vibration and noise than most clippers. People also report that these clippers stays very cool. And, with three speeds, you can control how much power to use. Many professional groomers have been raving about these clippers. Comes with a #10 CryogenX Blade. This is a corded clipper.

Pros:

  • Very lightweight
  • Ergonomically designed and comfortable to use
  • Lower vibration and noise

Cons:

  • This is not a cordless clipper
  • There are clippers that weigh less if you want an even lighter clipper

Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Cordless Dog & Cat Clipper Kit

Key Benefits:

  • Provides 90 minutes of full speed run time with a quick charge of 60 minutes; can be used with a cord while charging. Runs at full speed right up until the charge runs out.
  • Versatile 5-in-1 blade technology adjusts the blade to sizes #9, #10, #15, #30 and #40.
  • The lithium ion battery has no memory effect so it charges new every time.
  • Durable, lightweight, and quiet; runs with low vibration and no maintenance.
  • Professional quality powers up to 5,500 SPM and works on dogs, cats, horses, livestock and more.

This Wahl Bravura Lithium Ion Cordless Clipper uses a lithium ion battery that runs for 90 minutes before it needs to be recharged. It recharges quickly in just 60 minutes. The clippers come with a cord so you can use them while the battery is recharging. These clippers are durable, quiet, and lightweight. Like other Wahl clippers, they have a 5-in-1 adjustable blade that you can set to the length you prefer to use on your Poodle.

Pros:

  • Cordless, runs for 90 minutes and recharges in 60 minutes
  • Durable, lightweight, quiet
  • Low vibration and no maintenance
  • 5-in-1 adjustable blade

Cons:

  • The 5-in-1 adjustable blade doesn’t allow you to use detachable clipper blades as you can with Andis and Oster clippers. When buying blades for these clippers, make sure you purchase adjustable blades so they will work with these clippers.

Tips on How to Groom a Poodle with Clippers

There are some basics for clipping your Poodle:

  1. Clipping a dog is easier when his coat is clean. Bathe your Poodle 24-48 hours before you clip him. Make sure his coat is completely dry.
  2. Brush your Poodle’s coat out before using the clippers. You can use a good pin brush followed by a slicker brush. If your dog has any mats, try to work them loose or at least work them away from the skin. This will let you get your clippers beneath them.
  3. Your dog needs to stand still when you are clipping him. You don’t want to accidentally cut him. Plus, if your dog is wiggling around, you can have a major hair cut malfunction. If you’re going to be clipping your Poodle regularly, we recommend buying a grooming table. You can also use a regular table or the top of a dog crate as long as your dog will stand still. If your dog is fidgety, see if you can have a friend help hold him while you work.
  4. Let your dog get used to the clippers before you try to use them the first time. Show them to your dog in a relaxed situation. Let them run. Give your dog some treats whenever you take them out. When you start to touch your dog with the clippers make sure you have lots of treats ready so you can reward your dog for cooperating. Go slow. Most dogs get used to clippers eventually.
  5. Make your first session with the clippers a short one. Do something easy and reward your dog. Make it a very positive experience.
  6. Don’t worry if your first grooming attempts with the clippers don’t look great. That’s normal. It takes practice to become good with the clippers. It’s only hair and it will grow back. You will get better when you use the clippers more.
  7. If you start to become frustrated when you’re grooming – and it does happen – take a break. Let your dog take a break, too. You can go back to grooming when you both feel better. Your relationship with your dog is more important than his haircut.
  8. Take care of your clippers. They are an investment and good clippers aren’t cheap. If you take care of them they should last for a long time.

How you clip your Poodle will depend on which style you have chosen. After brushing out your dog’s coat, most people start by trimming the “sanitary” area under the tail, followed by the paws. You can clip the bottom of the paws, between the toes, and on top of the feet. These are sensitive areas so you should go slowly and be careful. You can follow this by using your clippers to work on the outline of your dog’s body. (This can vary a lot depending on the cut you are giving your dog.) For some cuts you may need to trim around your dog’s face and inside his ears. Again, be careful in these areas. Your dog will likely be sensitive in these places.

You will need to decide how you want your dog’s legs to look. For some cuts, the legs are clipped very trim. For other cuts, they are allowed to be rather fluffy. Whichever way you prefer your dog’s legs to look, you usually need to use your clippers to blend them into the body of the coat.

Many people leave the hair on the head (the top knot) for last. Some people use clippers to trim it short but you can also use scissors to just shape it and leave it a little longer. It’s up to you. Ears are often left fluffy though, again, that’s up to you.

Conclusion

Poodles are one of the most difficult breeds to groom because they do have so many different hairstyles. It’s not especially difficult to groom a Poodle if you have chosen a simpler clip, however, With a good set of clippers, you can easily learn to groom your Poodle at home. We hope the information we have provided here helps you choose the best clippers for your Poodle.

Carlotta Cooper

Carlotta is a long-time contributing editor for the weekly dog show magazine Dog News. She's also the author of The Dog Adoption Bible, the Dog Writers Association of America Adoptashelter.com Award winner for 2013. In addition, she's written Canine Cuisine: 101 Natural Dog Food & Treat Recipes to Make Your Dog Healthy and Happy.

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