Hair Clipper Motor Types

The hair clipper motor is one of the key factors to consider when choosing a clipper to buy. Find out the key differences between the main hair clipper motors and what performance level to expect from each type of hair clipper motor


hair clipper motor typesHair Clipper Motor

One of the key factors to consider when choosing a clipper to buy is the hair clipper motor.

It’s the hair clipper motor that drives the cutting blade of the hair clipper and as such one of the main factors that determines how well the clipper is able to perform.

This article will help you better understand the key differences between the main hair clipper motors and what performance level to expect from each type of hair clipper motor in terms of the speed at which it can cut hair and the type of hair it can cut, so that you can make a better informed decision when choosing hair clippers to buy.

What Is A Hair Clipper Motor?

The hair clipper motor is the engine of the hair clipper. It is the bit that drives the cutting blade of the hair clipper and as such determines the performance of the hair clipper and/ or what you can do with the hair clipper.

The hair clipper motor determines not only the speed at which the hair clipper is able to operate but also the type of hair it is able to cut through. A clipper with a high speed motor can cut through hair quickly and a clipper with a high torgue motor can power through thick hair much easily.



Hair Clipper Motor Types

All hair clippers — both professional models and those intended for home or animal use – use one of three hair clipper motor types.Each hair clipper motor type has its own advantages and disadvantages.

When you are buying any set of hair clippers, it is important that you take into consideration the motor type of the clipper you are buying before you select the right one to buy. Don’t just base your decision on how well the clipper looks or feel.

For example – You are more likely to need a hair clipper that has powerful motor with both speed and torgue to power through any type of hair if you are running a barbers shop, where you are likely to be cutting hair throughout the day, as opposed to the type of hair clipper you will need for home use where you might only occasionally have to cut your hair.


The 3 types of hair clipper motors used are

  • Magnetic Motors
  • Pivot Motors and
  • Rotary Motors



Magnetic Motor Hair Clippers

Magnetic Motor Clippers

Magnetic Motor Hair Clippers

The magnetic hair clipper motor is found in almost all of the most inexpensive hair clippers on the market.

They tend to be fitted to most home hair clippers. They are great for general hair cutting and taping and work well with and medium hair textures. A great example of magnetic powered barber clippers is the classic Andis Master Hair Clipper.

The magnetic hair clipper motor design is simple and generally reliable, with few moving parts. The motor consists of a spring and an electromagnet working in tandem to vibrate the blade back and forth.

Vibratory or magnetic clippers operate by means of an alternating spring and magnet mechanism. The magnet motor pulls the blade in one direction and then retracts, using the spring to return the blade.

Hair clippers fitted with a magnetic hair clipper motor run faster than the clippers with a rotary motor type and usually have a single cutting head, which is adjustable for cutting a variety of hair lengths.

While the magnetic hair clipper motor does move the blades very fast, it does however provide less power than the two other clipper motor types and as a result don’t offer much torque for cutting through thick hair.


Click here to see some more examples of hair clippers with a magnetic motor



Pivot Motor Hair Clippers

Pivot Motor Clippers

Pivot Motor Hair Clippers


Pivot motor hair clippers are twice as powerful as the magnetic powered hair clippers. The pivot motor is similar to the magnetic motor, but uses two electromagnets and no spring enabling it to produce twice the number of blade strokes of a clipper with magnetic motor. The blades are pulled both ways as opposed to the magnetic clipper, which pulls the blade in one direction only.

The Pivot type of motor hair clippers are usually used by professional stylists and are ideal for everyday cutting. They ideal for handling thick and heavily hair and also wet hair. A good example of a pivot motor barber clipper is the OSTER Fast Feed Hair Clipper.

While the blade speed of a pivot hair clipper motor is much slower than that of magnetic hair clipper motors, the pivot motor hair clippers produce at least twice the cutting power over magnetic motor clippers. This added power makes cutting through thick, heavy or wet hair a breeze.

Pivot motor hair clippers also tend to require little maintenance and tend to come with adjustable blades that can be controlled by a lever on the side of the clipper and are usually packaged with an assortment of attachable clipper guards or combs.


Click here to see some examples of hair clippers with a pivot motor


Rotary Motor Hair Clippers

Rotary Motor Clippers

Rotary Motor Hair Clippers

The Rotary motors are the engine behind the most powerful hair clippers on the market, and come in AC and DC powered units.

The rotary motors hair clippers offer both speed and power and as such tend to be larger and heavier than other clippers. Such Clippers containing powerful rotary motors are usually used by barbers and in animal and pet clippers.They are ideal for heavy duty cutting.  A good example of rotary motor barber clippers is the Andis BGRc Detachable Blade Clipper

Hair clippers with Rotary motors are extremely versatile and work well for a wide variety of hair cutting methods. These hair clippers have fewer moving parts and run more quietly than pivot or magnetic motor clippers, and tend to require little maintenance.

Rotary motor hair clippers are slightly more expensive than hair clippers with other motor types because of their power and versatility. They can be used for wet or dry hair cutting and tend to come with detachable cutting heads (clipper blades) that you can easily change to achieve different hair lengths and styles. If properly taken care of, hair clippers with rotary motors  can last you for many years with little or no repair. 


Hair Clipper Motor – Video Guides

Watch the video clips below to find out more about the 3 types of hair clipper motors

Aileen Nunez from Andis Hair Clippers further explains the difference between the 3 different types of motors highlighting the appropriate time to use clippers with a Magnetic, Pivot or Rotary motor. This tutorial also highlights which clipper motor is optimal for any specific hair texture to prolong clipper life.




Ivan Zoot, also from Andis share some information on the different types of clipper motors out there and what you can expect in performance from each. This will help you pick the right tool for the job




Which Hair Clipper Motor Is Best?

The question to ask is not which hair clipper motor type is best but which hair clipper motor type is best for the task or use to which you want to put the hair clipper.

It is important that you are first clear about your needs or what you need the hair clipper to do. Only when you are clear about your needs will you be in a position to match the right hair clipper motor type to your needs.





Hair Clipper Motor


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