Thursday, December 12, 2013

Body Clippers Rundown

I've had a couple of requests to do posts on clippers and clipping, so here goes. If you have decided to clip your horse, you then have to choose what you are going to clip with. I've clipped a lot of horses with a lot of different clippers, and here are my thoughts:

Oster Clipmasters (Variable Speed and Not) 
Smartpak $280

You know all those horror stories your hear about clipping and how horrible and itchy and awful it is? THESE CLIPPERS ARE WHY. I hate them. I HATE THEM. MAY THEY BE BURNED WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND FIERY SUNS.

Ahem. Just below the head of the clippers (the black part), you will note two black slits in the casing. This is the fan that keeps the clippers cool BY BLOWING HAIR DIRECTLY INTO YOUR FACE.

I am not even kidding. I have probably clipped 5-10 horses with this model and it is every bit as bad as you might think. Tiny pieces of cut hair get into every crevice of your body.

They're loud. They're heavy. They break a lot. I don't think they get hot any faster than any other clipper, but if I never use these again, it will be too soon. DO NOT BUY THESE CLIPPERS.

I mean, if you get a steal of a deal and you only clip one horse once or twice a year and you have an unhealthy dose of self loathing, by all means, buy these. If, on the other hand, you don't hate your self, try ANY of the other options below. Seriously. ANYTHING is better than these.  You may think I'm exaggerating, but this is precisely how I feel about them. They do get the job done, but you will hate yourself for doing it.

Noted: this seems like a fairly simple engineering issue to fix. I have no idea why it hasn't been addressed. I have used old models, mid range models, and brand new models and they all suck(blow) equally.

Andis AGC Super 2 Speed with T84 blade
Smartpak $170

This petite little clipper was recommended to me and I found a new set on eBay for $120, so I snapped them up. It was a deviation from my usual tack whoring, but I feel passionately about clippers. I used these to clip C-rage this year and then used them as back up on a couple others.

The clipper body is actually just normal little clippers, basically. Stick a #10 or #15 blade on these suckers and bam! Face clipper. The T84 blade is wide enough to make body clipping not a bad deal.

Clipped with Andis
Here's the thing though: They aren't fast. The point of the ginormous body clippers is that they basically clip as fast as you can move your arms. These clippers clip at their own speed. If you're working on a twitchy TB fresh off the track who has no hair, these are THE SHIZ. Courage fell asleep while I used them and I sort of think he couldn't handle full on body clippers yet.

That said, I used them to back up my big clippers on a drafty cross and it was zero fun. ZERO. They were getting the job done, but it was going to take forever and the drafty didn't mind the big ones, so we just used those. I will say that the blade doesn't hold an edge as well as I would like--after doing a trace on Courage and a couple spots on the drafty, they really need to be sharpened before they can be used again.

So. If you have one fine haired horse, BUY THESE NOW. If you have a hairy horse and want a multi-purpose clipper and either only do an occasional trace clip or are ok with having multiple blades and taking way too long to do your body clips, also buy these. I'm quite impressed with their versatility for the price.

If I had a hairy yak, they would not be my first choice. That said, they will eventually get the job done and your nose will not be full of hair. Winning!

Lister Legend Clippers (and Lister Star)
Legend: ValleyVet $290
Star: ValleyVet $240

A barn buddy got the Legend clippers last year, and it was love at first clip for me. These things are incredible. They are fairly loud. The blades are not interchangeable with the Andis/Oster models and their system to grading the blades is a little confusing at first. Noted: you body clip with a medium blade. Not the coarse or fine. Found that one out the hard way, haha.

The blades are also more expensive--$50 instead of $20.

That said.



They are workhorses. Last winter, I think we clipped FIVE FILTHY, DISGUSTING horses on one set of blades and they were still going strong at the end. These clippers must have a fan but it has never, not one single time, blown hair into my face. They basically take all the unpleasantness out of clipping and just leave you with the time and comfort to finish your horse out properly.

Clipped with Listers
I have not used the Star models, but my research indicates that they are basically the cheaper Legends. That means they aren't designed to do multiple horses a day, so they heat up a little faster. Oil/lube frequently, give them quick breaks (while you brush the hair off the horse), and clip away.

I actually intended to buy the Lister Legends when I set about getting my own clippers this fall. They are that good.

If I were planning to just clip my one or two furry horses a couple times a year and maybe help out a friend here and there, I think I would buy the Stars. They are cheaper than the hateful Osters and they do a great job.

Andis Heavy Duty Corded Horse and Cattle Clipper
Amazon: $350

I was all set to pull the trigger on the Listers when these beauties came along on Tack of the Day. Andis' site lists them for $650, but Amazon always seems to have them for $350. I paid $300 on Tack of the Day. Regardless, they were well reviewed and I wanted to try them out. They came in a hard-sided carry case with cool gadgets. (Well, oil at least.)

I've only used them once so far, but it was on the drafty horse. I was very impressed. They are quieter than the average body clipper and not super heavy. The grip is easy to hang on to and the instructions for use are easy to follow.

That said.

They have a fan. It blows straight in front of the clipper, which usually clears the hair out in front of where you're working and is ok. Then you do the flanks and you have to clip straight up and yeah, it blows in your face. Not great, but not the worst design. I do like these clippers. They held their edge well, they got the job done, and they work great. That said, if I had it to do again, I'd probably buy the Listers.

These are 1000% better than the Osters, but they don't inspire the same love and devotion in me that the Listers do.

Courage has approved this message
So there you go. Clippers! I'm (obviously) pretty passionate about clippers. I think I'll do a post about the hows and why of clipping, just because it's fun and I've done it a lot and it's still too cold to ride.

Anyone else? Who wants to argue in defense of the Osters? What other clippers should be on this lists?


  1. Two thumbs up for the smaller Andis for the one-horse owner! This is what I have and they work great for my one small horse and the occasional loan to a friend.

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  3. I body clipped for the first time this year. My mother picked me up some Oster Golden A5's (I believe). I hated them. They were fine for small jobs like his fetlocks & ears, but they just didn't cut it for the body. My friend has the same brand and loves them, but her horse has much finer hair than mine does.

    I used my trainer's Lister Stars, fell in love and bought them immediately. I cut Fiction too short my first time using my new pair, but adjusted accordingly so it wont happen again. I do find that it is a bit hard in some places to get really straight lines, and that in sensitive areas it can be a bit of a hassle, but they cut sooooooo well. Definitely a purchase I don't regret.

    1. I have the Oster A5 Turbo, and I use it to trace/body clip. Guinness has a pretty heft coat for a TB, but these are delicate enough and cut well enough that I can be surgical when clipping him.

      I totally recommend them for clipping the ticklish or nervous horse!

  4. I don't clip, I blanket....but I remember using Osters in the Uk and they were decent. They were fancy ones though, can't remember the make.

  5. This is the best clipper review post EVER.

  6. I have the Andis as well and if I had to clip more than one horse with them, I think I would shoot myself. They do a good job, but I agree they just don't go very fast and it takes FOREVER to clip your typical WB type coat. So if I ever have to clip more...I'll be trying a pair of the Listers!

  7. Listers it is, then. I'm not planning to clip Lex this year but if I do, that's what I'll get. Did Courage get much of a winter coat?

  8. I have the andis and really like them. I almost went for the andis progress but I am so glad I didn't as my trainer and BO both have a pair and their clippers both broke in the same place and are relatively new. I do not like the whole blowing in the face deal but I do like that the hair is blown out of my way for most of he body. I paid less than 300 if I remember correctly. I purchased them from a cattle supply company. Need to scrounge up the sight again. Where do you get your blades?! Everywhere I see them they are like $46-50.

  9. One day I will get some body clippers and have time to clip.. for now I pay my trainer to do. :)

  10. Unfortunately I think my husband got me the Oster clipmasters for Christmas a couple of years ago. I've never had any reason to use them yet but at least I've now been warned as to what to expect. :(

  11. I have Lister Stars. They are the only clippers I've owned and only have 1 horse to clip (he's also my first to clip). I do clip 3-4x/yr, full body clips. I love my Stars. They do get warm, but I use Oyster Cool Lube and it works fine and I also clip over 2 days (body then legs/head). I do get about 2-3 full body clips out of the blades (I do have spare pair) and I use the ones they came with. I don't really get lines with the Stars and can easily do long sweeping lines if I want. I've had them for 2 years now.

  12. I have an old pair of Osters that used to be my dad's. He used them for shearing sheep (which they are great for). Wool doesn't blow on you like little pieces of horse hair. They are much better than trying to use whisker clippers, and they get the job done pretty fast, but I agree they are heavy....and that hair blowing thing...It's the WORST. I totally 100% agree. I don't currently have anything to body clip but when Emi is riding age, I'm buying new clippers!

  13. I have the Oster variable speed clippers, and they are the only body clippers that I've ever used. For some reason the whole hair blowing in the face thing has never been an issue for me, although I am well aware of others hating it. Maybe I've just figured out some technique that I take for granted to avoid the dreaded fan blowing. Or maybe I'm just a freak. I'm probably just a freak. My biggest issue with them though is that they are heavy. I used to clip 20+ horses a season with mine and after a couple horses my arms would be tired. It made for a long week of clipping. However, they have held up beautifully over the years. People always complaining about clippers getting hot or blades going dull too fast. In my experience, it's not the clippers or the blades. You must clean and OIL your blades. People always forget this. Cool lube isn't enough on it's own. You also must WASH your horse or the clipper blades dull very quickly and you will be lucky to finish one horse.

    As for trimmers I will only ever use my WAHL Arco cordless clippers. They really are whisper quiet (love love love), the batteries last quite a while, and one can recharge while you are using the other. I really love that there is no cord. I used to use the good ole WHAL stable pro clippers, but once I tried out the Arco I never looked back. If only someone could make body clippers cordless (and lighter) then I would probably invest in an upgrade.

  14. I'm glad you did this post! I've been eyeballing those Lister Star clippers for a while now and finally decided that this year they're going to be my Christmas present to myself so that's awesome that you gave them a good review because now I feel better about getting them :)

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  16. I have the KK 401 and really like them. They are body clippers, but the motor is separate from the actual clippers which are the size of a normal pair of clippers. The only problem with them is that the cord connecting the clippers to the motor is thick and can be a little awkward. It is nice having the power and speed of body clippers with the refinement of the regular ones. The Listers sound really nice! I will definitely look at them the next time I buy a pair.

  17. This is a really good overview, thank you! I am on the fence this year about clipping; I don't want to have to blanket (my horse is usually a woolly mammoth and does fine without) but we've had just enough hard work days that have resulted in a sweaty horse that I am edging toward it.

  18. I have used the Lister Stars and am not a fan--they are big and heavy and loud (not nearly as bad as the Clipmasters, but still me no likey). I bought a set of Kim Laube Cowboy clippers and really like them. They're smaller like the Andis AGCs and they are quiet, fast, & effieicent. Also easier to get them into all the little nooks and crannies. I HATE body-clipping and avoid it whenever possible (seriously, hate hate hate!!), although I hate it *slightly* less now that I clip wet, which zomg is SO much better!

  19. This is like the definitive clipper post of 2013. Can you speak to how hot the Legends get? There are four reviews for them on Jeffers Equine and all of them say they get hotter faster than the Stars, and that they had to give them frequent breaks.

  20. I'm happy enough with my Osters. They do shoot hair, but frankly, I end up covered in hair ni matter which brand i use, and my Osters get the job done. Mine have held up for years and years.

  21. I am always interested and a little bemused by clipper blade issues. Maybe I have been lucky?

    I have the Andis AGC2. OMG, I love them. I almost always use them with the UltraEdge 10 blade. I trim, trace clip, nearly body clip, whatever. I would agree they are not super fast, but I'm not a pro clipper, I don't care.

    But here's the thing. I never wash the horse before (ok, I brush him). Encore is hairy and it's like shearing a sheep. I used to clip my Smokey-dog (half Collie and gazillion layers of endless long hair!) with them. She wasn't clean either.

    I've never once had to have my blades sharpened in 4-5 years.

    They still clip awesome.

    I do use the Andis cooling spray while clipping. I always oil my blades before and after clipping. I get all the hair off them before I put them away so they are perfect and ready to go next time.

    Did I get a magic version? I don't know, all I know is, they were worth every penny!


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