Are dog clippers different from human clippers? Are they interchangeable?

If you suspect your pooch is ready for a trim and wondering if your hair clippers are usable, hold on a minute! Let me tell you why you MUST invest in proper dog clippers, and no, this isn’t a sales pitch.

They look the same and do the same job: cut the hair short, but that is where the similarities end. Dog clippers are specially made to match a certain type of hair, such as how sharpened and maintained and how much noise they make.

Clipping a dog’s nails with human hair clippers is not recommended. Hair clipper blades are thinner and sharper, with less gap and aren’t as strong as dog clipper blades. The motor in dog clippers is also much quieter to avoid scaring your doggo.

Furthermore, dog clipper blades rotate faster to minimize tangles and cut longer than hair clippers. Finally, the accessories for both types of clippers are completely different. It is best to use specific dog clippers for a safe and effective nail-trimming experience.

If you have understood the “why” of it, you can check out our review of the best dog clippers in the UK:

Read More: Best Dog Clippers to Buy in the UK in 2022

If not, let’s give you a proper comparison.

Human Clippers vs Dog Clippers

1. Their blades are built differently.

Human hair clippers are typically not as powerful, and the blades are thinner and sharper due to human hair being relatively fine compared to dog hair. A human clipper is unlikely to struggle to cut the hair off your head, no matter how thick it is.

Dog hair, however, is fundamentally different. They’re actually fur and not your typical “hair” to begin with. Dog fur is different in many ways, such as thickness and length, and many dogs have double coats.

Not only that, but most dog clippers also have different attachments to cater for the wide range of coats dogs can have – one size does not fit all dogs as it can with humans.

There will be a larger gap between the blades to accommodate thicker hair. This is to reduce hair getting caught painfully mid grooming sessions. The materials used to make the blades for dog clippers are more likely to be superior in quality. Otherwise, they would wear down and dull over time.

bathing your dog

2. The motor runs quieter for dog clippers.

The motor inside of the clippers is one of the most noticeable differences between the two. Dogs can be afraid of the noise and vibrations caused by a pair of hair clippers.\

Hence, manufacturers need to make them lightweight and encased in basic soundproofing materials to reduce the noise and vibrations as much as possible, usually lower than 60db. A human hair clipper doesn’t need the same treatment, so it can be louder and vibrate more.

Power is also a factor in noise and vibrations, with hair clippers having more. However, this doesn’t mean that dog clippers are weak, just that the power has been toned down to ensure it is as quiet as possible.

One of the biggest reasons you should never use a hair clipper on dogs is that it could terrify them and give them serious anxiety, leading you to be unable to cut them without a great ordeal afterwards. 

3. The motors run faster too.

Dog clippers rotate faster than hair clippers because the hair is thicker and may not cut after the first attempt. The speed ensures hair isn’t getting stuck and is cut effortlessly. Human hair is finer and easier to cut, so the rotations per minute (RPM) are lower.

Dog hair varies from one breed to another, so some manufacturers provide a variable speed option to cater for coarser hair or finer hair. 

4. The length of the cuts is different.

Human hair clippers offer a very short length very close to the scalp. This is safe for us to use and should not cause any injuries.

This would be totally unsuitable for a dog as the hair close to the skin is different, and the skin itself is much more sensitive and easily cut and bruised. The closer to the dog’s skin, the more likely the hair will be thicker, twisted, and matted, which increases the likelihood of painful tangles.

You can add attachments to a human clipper, but the range still won’t be enough to cater to dogs with longer hair. 

Read More: How to get rid of ticks from dogs, carpets & your home?

5. Dog clippers have pro-dog accessories.

The accessories you get with a human clipper are not suitable for a dog, such as a comb, whereas dog clippers come with brushes to prepare the hair and sweep it up later.

Not only that, but human clippers will also come with fewer length attachments, and the range will be different.

In contrast, you can get almost double the length of attachments and different kinds to cater for coarse, wiry, thin, shaggy, curly and everything in between. 

Can you use dog clippers on humans?

Now that I have answered your original question, I’m gonna ask a weird one. Can you use a dog clipper on humans? After all, dog clippers are quieter, stronger, and faster. They’re just better in every way, right? YES!

You can use dog clippers on humans. Dog clippers are designed to be faster, quieter and stronger. When used by a trained hand, they’ll work well with human hair when you have the right blade size. Do not use the same blade as your dog for sanitary purposes.

To conclude, they may look the same, but hair clippers and dog clippers are completely different and do the job differently. At least for the doggo. For us, anything goes!


  • Jonathan Spaeth

    I'm a professional business person who loves dogs. I'm motivated by a passion for dogs and a deep understanding of pet care and behavior. I have more than 10 years of experience in animal healthcare—my lifelong passion for helping dogs.

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