Check our services


Shipping daily Mon to Fri


Auckland Region

Guide: Choosing the right clippers to match your dog's coat type

  • Take the clipper quiz

  • Choosing the right grooming clippers can be overwhelming with so many options and terms to understand, so we've created this guide to help you make an educated decision on which clippers best suit your needs. 

    Clippers generally come in four levels: Light Use, Medium Duty, Heavy Duty, and Super Duty. But what does each level mean for your dog's grooming?

    To choose the right level of clipper for your dog, you need to match them to your dog's coat typecondition, and the areas of the body you want to clip. Our guide will break down these levels and provide useful tips to make your decision easier. Whether your dog has a thick or thin coat, and whether you're doing a quick trim or a full grooming session, keep reading to find the perfect clippers for your furry friend.


    Areas of the body

    The difference between trimming and clipping

    Trimmers and clippers are not the same. Trimming means to tidy up areas of the body that tend to naturally be shorter and thinner, such as keeping fur between paw pads trimmed short, the inside of the ears, fur around the face, such as the eyebrows and around the mouth, the genitals, and for some coats, the abdomen and armpits (depending on how thick the coat is in those areas). Those are all areas you'd use a trimmer for.

    When a dog is young, they start out with a puppy coat, which is typically lighter, thinner and shorter than their adult coat will be (depending on their breed). Their adult coat may not start to come through until they are 6 to 9 months old. Until they start to get their adult coat, most trimmers can handle full body clipping for the easy, thin puppy coat. When their adult coat comes through, you will likely need to upgrade to a full clipper to match their coat type.

    Clippers can be used for clipping the entire body, including all the areas above that you can use a trimmer for. However not all clippers can do all coat types, so always read the clipper or trimmer description to check before you buy. In general, trimmers are cordless, and tend to be smaller, lighter and quieter than clippers. Clippers can be corded or cordless.

    Coat type and condition 

    For full body clipping, a clipper that is under-rated for your dog's coat type or condition, may 'chew' or 'grab' instead of cut the coat, even with a brand new, sharp blade. Here's what the different levels are rated for...

    Note: The following is general advice. Always check the product description for the exact model you're looking at buying to check it matches your needs.

    Light Use Clippers

    You can use light-use clippers for both trimming and full-body clipping for most breeds of puppies due to their lighter, thinner coat, at least until their adult coat comes through. Depending on the breed, a puppy typically starts to gets their adult coat from 6 months to 9 months of age. 

    For adult coats, light use clippers are normally rated for trimming only, so it's important to know the different between trimming and full body clipping. They are not the same. Some light-use clippers can be used for adult dogs for full body clipping, however that is usually only for thinner, lighter-weight, knot-free, shedding coats. In general, light use clippers are normally not rated for full body clipping for most adult dogs. 


    Light use examples include:

    Introducing the upgraded Codos Trimmer, model CP-9200, now equipped with a Lithium Ion rechargeable battery. Compared to the previous Codos 6800 model, it has double the battery lifetime, a shorter 1.5-hour charge time (down from 3 hours), and a longer 2-hour runtime (increased from 50 minutes). This affordable, mid-size, cordless trimmer is suitable for all coat types when used as a trimmer.

    The Shernbao Cordless Smart Midi Trimmer is a versatile grooming tool that bridges the gap between mini trimmers and full-size clippers. With a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery providing a 3-hour runtime from a 2-hour recharge, it's suitable for all coat types and breeds as a trimmer. Included in the starter kit are an adjustable blade for coat lengths from 1mm to 12mm, 4 comb attachments, and starter-size oil.

    The Wahl Lithium-Ion Cordless Clipper and Trimmer is a versatile grooming tool suitable for all dog sizes and coat types when used as a trimmer, or as a full body clipper for small & medium breed dogs with thinner, lighter coat types as well as puppy coats. This lightweight and quiet device is perfect for anxious pets. With a 4-hour runtime on a 3-hour charge, it offers flexibility for corded or cordless use. The starter kit includes 8 coat lengths and essential grooming accessories for convenient use at home.

    The Wahl Smart Clip Cordless is a light use clipper and trimmer combo suitable for trimming all coats, or for full body clips on dogs with lighter, thinner coats. It offers both corded and cordless operation for added convenience. With a lithium-ion rechargeable battery, it provides up to 3.5 hours of cordless runtime on a 180-minute recharge. The LCD screen displays the battery level, ensuring you always know when it's time to recharge.

    The Wahl Cordless Lithium Show Pro Clipper with Starter Kit is a budget-friendly, entry-level, cordless clipper kit for light, home-use trimming. Being the cordless version of the original Wahl Show Pro, this model includes a lithium powered battery with up to 3 hours of cordless run-time from a 2 hour charge. Kit includes a 3 in 1 adjustable blade and 4 comb attachments

    Medium Duty Clippers 

    Entry-level or home-use clippers tend to be described as either 'light to medium' or 'medium to heavy duty' (not many will just say 'medium duty').   

    Light to medium rated clippers can be used for trimming all breeds and coat types, or for full body clipping for all breeds of puppies (before they get their adult coat). Most clippers at this level are also rated for full body clipping for adult dogs provided the dog has a lighter, thinner coat.

    Medium to heavy duty clippers can be used for all breeds of puppies for both trimming and for full body clipping. They can also be used for most adult dogs with a light to medium thickness coat.

    If you're unsure what type of coat your dog has, it's often best to upgrade to a heavy duty or super duty clipper rated for all coat types (especially if your dog's coat is prone to knots). 


    A few examples include:

    The Andis Vida Cordless 5 in 1 Trimmer and Clipper is designed for comfort with a slim, lightweight build and ribbed housing for a secure grip. It's the perfect mid-size tool between a mini trimmer and full-size clipper. Featuring an easily adjustable 5 in 1 blade with five coat lengths from 0.25mm to 2mm and a custom corrosion-resistant gold coating, it ensures precise grooming. With a rechargeable lithium-ion battery offering 90 minutes of cordless runtime from a 60-minute charge, it provides flexibility for corded or cordless use. Complete with 6 plastic comb attachments, USB-C charging adapter cord, weighted charging stand, cleaning brush, and starter oil, it's a versatile grooming solution. Can be used on all coats as a trimmer, and on medium density coats as a full body clipper.

    The Heiniger Style MIDI Clipper for professional or domestic use is a medium-size clipper ideal for delicate areas like the face, legs, tail, belly and feet. This is the clipper used first in the video below. Can be run continuously with cord directly from the mains (cord included!) or run cordless. When cordless: Operating time of 100 minutes on full-charge. Recharge time of just 60 minutes.

    The Wahl Harmony 5 in 1 Cordless trimmer, with a stunning gold sheen, is a versatile grooming tool. Weighing 275 grams, it's perfect for anxious pets and offers a 2.5-hour runtime. Its 5-in-1 blade eliminates the need for separate blades, and it includes a starter kit for 9 coat lengths. The Smart Monitoring LCD display tracks runtime and maintenance needs. Plus, it comes with a zippered carry case and Wahl blade oil.

    The Wahl Bravura Lithium Cordless 5 in 1 Clipper and Trimmer in Sapphire is a lightweight and versatile grooming tool. Sitting between a mini trimmer and full-size clipper, it's known as a midi. Featuring the unique Wahl 5 in 1 adjustable blade, it eliminates the need for multiple blades, offering convenient length adjustments on-the-go. Weighing just 300 grams, it's smaller, lighter, and quieter than traditional clippers, making it perfect for anxious pets. With a rechargeable lithium-ion battery providing 90 minutes of cordless runtime from a 60-minute charge, it offers flexibility for corded or cordless use. Complete with 6 comb attachments, charger, cord, brush, and oil.

    There is a difference between 'light to medium' and 'medium to heavy' duty, so even though they are listed above, always check the product description matches your dog's coat type, condition, and the area of the body you intend to use it for, before you buy. Keep in mind suppliers tend to upgrade or change models over time, so always buy based on the product description, not just based on the information in this guide.

    TIP: A heavy or super duty clipper is recommended for dogs with thick, double, mixed texture, non-shed, wool, fleece, wire or knot-prone coats.

    Heavy Duty Clippers

    Heavy duty rated clippers are for both trimming and full body clipping for most coat types, including all puppies (before they get their adult coat), and for most adult dogs. Exceptions might include 'difficult' coats, such as double coats, very thick or dense coats, non-shed, wool, fleece, wire, and mixed texture coats (such as a softer undercoat combined with a longer, coarser top-coat). For those coat types - especially if knotted or matted - upgrading to a super duty model is recommended. 


    Some examples include:

    The Wahl KM2 is ideal for medium to heavy-duty grooming, but check suitability for your specific coat type before purchase. As a starter model in the KM Series, it's popular among home users with its two-speed feature and competitive pricing. Compatible with standard blades and universal comb attachments, it offers versatility for various coat lengths. However, ensure coats are knot-free and well-prepped before use. For challenging coats, consider upgrading to the Wahl KM10.

    The Andis UltraEdge AGC Brushless in the 2 Speed model in matte black, is a 2 speed, brushless motor clipper rated heavy to super duty. The black model AGC has a lower speed range than the coloured AGC models with 2,300 and 3,400 SPM, giving a slower, lower speed that helps reduces blade heat.
    This model is rated high-level heavy to super duty, making it suitable for full body clipping for all coat types. At just 299 grams it's one of the lightest full-power corded clippers on the market.
    This is an A5 model clipper. It fits all standard blades and universal accessories made for A5 clippers, by any brand.

    *Note: The Andis AGC comes in 2 levels. The black Andis AGC Brushless 2 Speed is a high-rated heavy duty model. It is rated 'heavy to super duty' so can cope with more than a typical heavy duty rated clipper like the Wahl KM2. The pink, green and blue AGC models are different colours in the same model, all called an Andis AGC Super 2 Speed. Those 3 AGC models are full super duty rated models. Just look for the colours, or the word Super in the name. 

    This guide compares every corded clipper model in detail to help you choose: Guide: Comparing all corded clipper models >

    Super Duty Clippers

    Welcome to the top. A super duty rated clipper can be used for trimming and full-body clipping, for every age, every breed, and every coat type, for puppies and adult dogs, as well as full-body clipping for horses and cats. Some at this level also come with the newer tech brushless motors. Super duty clippers are rated for thick coats, non-shed, double, wool, fleece, wire, spaniel and mixed texture coats, as well as lighter, thinner, and everything in between! Even badly knotted or matted. 


    Some corded examples include:

    This is the Andis UltraEdge AGC Brushless in the Super 2 Speed model, in stunning cobalt blue. This upgraded rotary-motor clipper is lighter, quieter, and more powerful thanks to its new-tech brushless motor. Perfect for full-body clipping for all dog coat types and horses, it's super duty-rated. Included is the Andis CeramicEdge #10 blade. Compatible with all brands of universal comb attachments and standard A5 blades, this universal A5 model clipper ensures versatility for various coat lengths, from under 3mm to over 3cm.

    Meet Wahl's KM10, the top-rated corded model in the Wahl KM series, featuring a cutting-edge brushless motor for enhanced performance on tough coats. Lighter, quieter, and more powerful, it's a favorite among professionals seeking durable tools. Engineered for super duty full-body clipping across all coat types, including heavily matted ones, for dogs, cats, and horses. With Constant Speed Control ensuring consistent torque, it effortlessly tackles thick coats and felted knots. Featuring two speeds and weighing just 350gms, it comes complete with a 10 blade, brush, oil, hard carry case, and four stainless steel comb attachments.

    Introducing the Andis Excel 5-Speed clipper: lighter, quieter, and more powerful at just 362 grams. Its robust rotary motor ensures durability. With five adjustable speeds and minimal heat, it's perfect for all grooming tasks, even for larger dogs and thick coats. The soft-grip, anti-slip housing enhances comfort, while its quiet operation makes it ideal for anxious pets. From gentle grooming to tough mats, it offers versatility with adjustable speeds from 2,000 to 3,800 SPM. Complete with a size #10 Andis UltraEdge detachable blade, it fits all A5 blades.

    Some cordless examples include: 

    The Heiniger Saphir is a lightweight, cordless single-speed clipper designed for comfort and efficiency. With 120 minutes of runtime from just a 60-minute quick charge, it's equipped with the latest Lithium Ion battery technology, ensuring a longer battery life without memory retention issues. It weighs 440 grams, and provides powerful clipping experience despite having only one speed. Included in the package is a #10 Heiniger detachable blade, one battery pack, charger, 12-month NZ warranty, full-size Heiniger Oil, and a cleaning brush.

    Introducing the Heiniger Opal, the latest addition to the Heiniger range. This newer-tech clipper features 2 speeds, a brushless motor for enhanced performance, and is both lighter and quieter, ensuring a comfortable grooming experience. With a longer runtime of up to 4 hours on low speed and 3 hours on high speed, powered by the included battery, groomers can rely on uninterrupted operation. Additional Heiniger Opal Batteries are available separately for extended runtime. Weighing just 415 grams and emitting only 59dB of noise, it offers exceptional versatility and ease of use.

    This is the Andis Pulse ZR II cordless clipper in the Galaxy edition, a top seller. Featuring Lithium-ion removable batteries for continuous grooming, it offers 5 speeds from 1,800 to 3,800 SPM, catering to all coat types including matted and thick coats. With a 2-hour charge time per battery and a 3-hour runtime, it ensures uninterrupted use. Ideal for cats, dogs, horses, and livestock, it operates quietly on lower speeds and comes with a #10 blade, compatible with all standard A5 blades.

    Browse our range of super duty clipper models here.

    Breed Examples

    We have full length breed guides in the Help section for the most often clipped breeds, which go in to detail about corded and cordless clippers, trimmers, blade sizes, comb attachments, shampoo, brushes and more to match each breed's coat type. These are a selection of breeds below with more specific or difficult coat types, where the wrong level of clipper could cause avoidable issues.

    PUPPIES > Almost every breed of puppy starts off with a lighter, thinner, easy care coat. Until they get their adult coat, you can use light to medium duty rated clippers, or even trimmers, for trimming & full body clipping. 

    SHIH TZU > Their thick, double, mixed texture coat is hair, not fur, low or typically non-shed, and very prone to knots. Kept short the coat will knot less. A super duty clipper is recommended. Read the Shih Tzu Clippers & Grooming Guide for more detail.

    'OODLE'S >: Labradoodle, Spoodle, Cavoodle and other Poodle crosses may have a hair, straight, fleece or wool coat. A non-shed fleece or wool coat is typically thick, from loose waves to tight spiral curls, and knot-prone - so a super duty clipper is recommended. For the hair or straight coat - whether similar to a spaniel coat, or a wiry, wispy, mixed texture coat - a heavy duty clipper is recommended. Read the 'Oodle Clippers & Grooming Guide for more detail.

    SCHNAUZERS > The Schnauzer's thick, mixed texture, double coat with soft, dense undercoat and wiry, coarser top coat, ideally needs super duty rated clippers, however you can also thin the coat first using a de-shedding rake (like the Andis Original Deshedder) to remove that soft undercoat, and use heavy duty clippers instead. If knotted or matted, super duty is recommended. Read the Schnauzer Clippers & Grooming Guide for more detail.

    POODLES > With their tightly curled, thick, dense, coarser, single-layer coat; a Poodle's wool coat needs a super duty rated clipper, especially if knotted or matted.

    MALTESE > With hair instead of fur, and no undercoat, their extra fine fur can be very prone to knotting. Coat texture can vary within the breed, from wavy, soft and cottony, to a lay-flat, straight, silky, super-fine coat. Some have mixed textures, such as a straighter coat around the head and shoulders, and curlier coat over their back or legs. The coat sits between heavy duty and super duty, so both levels should cope fine, however if the coat is knotted or matted, upgrade to super duty (or remove knots before using a heavy duty rated clipper). Read the Maltese Clippers & Grooming Guide for more detail.

    WEST HIGHLAND WHITE TERRIER > the Westie's thick, double coat with harsher top coat and softer under coat needs at last a heavy duty rated clipper, ideally super duty depending on coat condition and prep. This coat ideally needs dead, stuck coat removed before clipping or it can clog the blade or comb attachments. Read the Westie Clippers & Grooming Guide for more detail. 

    LHASA APSO > The correct texture of the Lhasa coat is heavy, straight, hard, and dense. Definitely a candidate for a heavy duty or super duty clipper depending on coat condition. If your coat prep is excellent you can go for a higher rated heavy duty, otherwise we'd recommend an upgrade to super duty.

    Coat caveat: Even within pure breeds, the coat can vary. If in doubt, or if badly knotted or matted, always upgrade to super duty.

    This guide compares every corded clipper model in detail to help you choose: Guide: Comparing all corded clipper models >


    Still Unsure? 

    Take our clipper quiz below to help narrow down your options: