Hair Clipper Guards: Sizes, Types & Charts – Ultimate Guide

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hair clipper guard sizes

Using hair clipper guards (Also known as ‘guide combs’) is the most common and easiest way to accurately cut hair at different lengths.

From beginners to professional barbers, clipper guards are a standard accessory used to create a smart, even cut.

As well as a basic No.2 all-over ‘buzz cut’ look, guards can be used to blend and taper hair to many different lengths.

Once you become proficient at cutting hair, swapping guard sizes on your clipper will become second nature.

You can actually create really smart-looking styles just with a hair clipper and a full set of guards.

What Are Hair Clipper Guards?

Guards are simply a piece of plastic that clip over the cutting blade of a hair clipper.

Clipper guards have extended teeth of various lengths which let the hair pass through.

The lower the guard number or (size), the more hair will pass through the teeth and be cut.

Apart from a few ‘quality’ differences, guards from any make and model of clipper are designed to do the same job.

Fading, blending, and tapering all require a clipper cut of varying lengths.

Using different clipper guard sizes allows for an easy way to achieve these looks.

Hair Clipper Guard Measurements

Knowing the various guard sizes is obviously important.

To make life easy, the guards usually have the size engraved or imprinted on them.

Unfortunately, the main players in the hair industry don’t all follow the same size system.

There’s also a metric system and an imperial system.

Metric is measured in millimeters and centimeters.

Imperial is measured in inches and feet.

Depending on the make of hair clippers, the guard sizes are usually displayed in both metric and imperial.

Wahl, Andis, Remington, and BaByliss for example display both, however, Oster only displays the imperial sizes.

A simple hair clipper guard chart will let you know exactly what size you have, whether it is metric or imperial.

Here are the most popular hair clipper makes and their guard sizes:

Wahl Hair Clipper Guard Size Chart

Clipper Guard Number Size In Inches Size In Centimeters
#1/2 1/16″ 1.5mm
#1 1/8″ 3mm
#1 1/2 3/16″ 4.5mm
#2 1/4″ 6mm
#3 3/8″ 10mm
#4 1/2″ 13mm
#5 5/8″ 16mm
#6 3/4″ 19mm
#8 1″ 25mm
#10 1″ – 1 1/4″ 32mm
#12 1″ – 1 1/2″ 38mm

The Wahl #10 and #12 are not generally included with their hair clippers, but you can buy them separately.

These are the longest sizes you can get and they can be useful if you have longer locks.

Wahl has 3 different grades/designs of clipper guards:

1. Basic, black plastic

2. Color-Coded Plastic

3. Premium Plastic With Metal Clips

The type of Wahl guards you get depends largely on the model of hair clipper you buy.

However, you can purchase any of their guard sets as they are all interchangeable between Wahl models.

The premium plastic set with metal clips is exceptional.

These guards are incredibly strong and fit securely onto your clipper.

>> View the Wahl Premium Metal Clip Guards on Amazon <<

wahl premium hair clipper guard

They are excellent value for money and the only guards you should use (unless you really want the color-coded type).

Alternative Clipper Guards for Wahl Clippers

You can purchase non-Wahl makes of clipper guards that are designed to fit Wahl clippers, such as this blingy gold set.

A quick search on Amazon for Wahl hair clipper guards will reveal a whole raft of compatible guards.

Oster Clipper Guard Size Chart

Clipper Guard Number Size In Inches Size In Centimeters
#0 1/16″ 1.5mm
#1 1/8″ 3mm
#2 1/4″ 6mm
#3 3/8″ 10mm
#4 1/2″ 13mm
#5 5/8″ 16mm
#6 4/4″ 19mm
#7 7/8″ 22mm
#8 1″ 25mm
#10 1″ – 1 1/4″ 32mm

Oster has a simple set of guard sizes that start at zero and go up to one and a quarter inches.

Although the table also displays the sizes in millimeters, this is not displayed as such on their clipper guards – (inches only).

You can buy a complete set of Oster guards that will fit all Oster clippers and most of the major brands.

They are of very good quality, made from strong plastic, and fit securely.

Andis Clipper Guard Size Chart

Clipper Guard Number Size In Inches Size In Centimeters
#0 1/16″ 1.5mm
#0.5 3/32″ 2.4mm
#1  1/8″ 3mm
#1.5 3/16″ 4.5mm
#2 1/4″ 6mm
#3 3/8″ 10mm
#4 1/2″ 13mm
#5 5/8″ 16mm
#6 3/4″ 19mm
#7 7/8″ 22mm
#8 1″ 25mm

Andis are more conservative with their sizes.

The increase in lengths is more gradual and only goes as far as 1 inch.

BaBylissPro Hair Clipper Guard Size Chart

Clipper Guard Number Size In Inches Size In Centimeters
#0.5 1/16″ 1.5mm
#1  1/8″ 3mm
#1.5 3/16″ 4.5mm
#2 1/4″ 6mm
#3 3/8″ 10mm
#4 1/2″ 13mm
#5 5/8″ 16mm
#6 3/4″ 19mm

Babyliss hair clipper guards only go up to three-quarters of an inch.

Remington Hair Clipper Guard Size Chart

Clipper Guard Number Size In Inches Size In Centimeters
#0 1/16″ 1.5mm
#1 1/8″ 3mm
#2  1/4″ 6mm
#3 3/8″ 9mm
#4 1/2″ 12mm
#5 5/8″ 16mm
#6 3/4″ 19mm
#7 7/8″ 22mm
#8 1″ 25mm

Remington makes it super easy with their guard sizes – zero to eight, up to a max cutting length of one inch.

I can’t find a full set of Remington clipper guards.

This is probably because every Remington hair clipper comes with a set of guards, and you can purchase individual guards if needed.

Just make sure the guard you buy is compatible with your model.

Hair Clipper Angled Guards – Left and Right Ear

When you purchase your hair clipper it may or may not come with left and right-angled ear guards.

An angled guard is a special guard to use for trimming/tapering around the ears.

The guard is designed to enable the hair to be cut shorter immediately behind the ear and tapered out as you cut further away from the ear.

Out of the big 5 players, it only seems to be Wahl that has this attachment for their hair clippers.

I know Philips has these with their multi groom tools.

You can buy individual left and right guards but they are only designed to fit Wahl clippers.

It’s a shame these simple left and right ear angled guards aren’t more readily available.

They come into their own when cutting your own hair.

Around and behind the ears are the toughest places to get right and I’ve found these guards a great addition to my DIY haircuts.

Magnetic Hair Clipper Guards

Andis and Wahl have these magnetic clipper guards which give a greater level of security.

Not only do the guards snap into place, but they are also held there by a magnet.

A nice little feature in my opinion, rather than an ‘absolute must have’.

The Andis magnetic guards have some great feedback and a lot of the Pros use them.

Check out the thousands of positive reviews on Amazon.

Metal Hair Clipper Guards

You don’t get purely metal clipper guards, simply because they would conduct a lot of heat and possibly burn the head/hair.

Some guards come with metal clips that flex slightly to give a secure fit over the cutting blade.

I certainly wouldn’t suggest metal guards as something you should look for as an accessory.

Plastic can be extraordinarily tough and is more than sufficient for use as a guard.

What you should look out for is how strong and ridged the guard is.

The best guards will withstand a lot of abuse and drops.

Color-Coded Hair Clipper Guards

Color-coded clipper guards are a popular choice with a lot of budget to mid-priced clippers.

As well as having the size, number, and measurement molded into the plastic guard, the size is now differentiated by color.

It does make it very easy when selecting the next guard to fit.

Wahl first introduced the color guards and now they are very common.

Professional Hair Clipper Guards

Quite often when we want the ‘best’ item, accessory, or product, we find out what the Pros use.

However, there isn’t a higher league of clipper guards only accessible by industry professionals.

As long as you choose a recommended set that is hard-wearing and fits securely to your clippers, you can’t go far wrong.

Long Hair Clipper Guards

Cutting hair with clippers is one of the easier techniques to cut hair – ideally short hair.

However, even long hair can benefit from a clipper cut and there are long hair clipper guards designed for the very job.

Most of the leading clipper brands only take their guard sets up to a number 8, which leaves an inch of hair.

Still, that’s a decent amount of hair length to mold and style.

Oster clipper users can go one step further with a number 10 guard – or 1 1/4 inches (32mm).

Wahl goes one better again, with the addition of a number 12 guard – 1 1/2 inches (38mm).

These are as long as any of the top 5 makes of hair clippers guards.

Only Wahl has these long guards, although there are companies that sell similar sizes to fit Wahl clippers.

The longest length you can buy that fits most Wahl clippers is 2 inches.

Unfortunately, they aren’t designed to fit any other brand.

Two inches of hair is a lot to play with and gives you the freedom to create all manner of styles.

How To Fade Between Guard Sizes

Most clipper guards go up in increments of 3mm’s.

If you want to create a completely seamless blend you’ll probably need to adjust your clipper’s taper lever to achieve it.

For example, if you’re going from a number 3 to a number 4 – that’s a difference of 3mm’s.

To reduce the cutting length of the hair in between these lengths, simply push the taper lever forward.

This will move the cutting blade as far forward as it can go and will take off an extra 1 to 1.5mm’s.

Adjustable taper lever

To be honest I don’t do this when I cut my own hair.

Changing the guard size is sufficient enough, and I still get a great-looking cut.

Hair Clipper Blades Vs Guards

The Pros will often use detachable clipper blades instead of guards.

Instead of changing the guard that fits over the blade, the entire blade is detachable and like guards, they come in various sizes.

Obviously, the cost is a consideration as each individual blade can cost from $15 upwards.

Although not necessary, having interchangeable clipper blades give a more precise cut.

If you only use 2 or 3 sizes to cut your hair – and you’re using a top-end hair clipper, it may be an option.

However, most of us can get by perfectly well by using simple clipper guards.


Q. Are hair clipper guards interchangeable?

A. Most hair clipper companies tend to design guards to fit their own clippers – even specific models. However, there are plenty of copycat guards from China around the world that will fit a number of makes and models. It’s easy enough to see if they are compatible with your clippers.

Q. Can you use hair clippers without a guard?

A. Absolutely. Some of the high-end clippers like the Oster Classic 76 have interchangeable blade sizes. You simply swap the blade out with another for the desired cutting size. If your clipper comes with just one blade, you will need to use guards to get different cutting lengths. Unless you want the bald look!

Q. How do you use hair clippers without a guard?

A. Often you’ll remove the guard and invert the clippers when ‘cutting in’ around the ears or squaring off the neckline.

Q. What is the lowest guard for hair clippers?

A. 1/16″ or 1.5mm is the lowest guard size for any hair clipper. Some companies call this a number zero size, others a number one size.

Final Thoughts

Along with many other men, I started cutting my own hair during the Covid pandemic of 2020/21 and I’ve been doing so ever since.

The first time I used clippers on my own hair, I stuck to a simple buzz cut.

Since then I have incorporated at least 3 different lengths in the cut, using 3 guard settings.

If you’re thinking about cutting your own hair – go for it!

Get to know your clipper guards and sizes and you’ll be much more confident.

It gets easier and looks more professional every time you do it.

Not to mention the time and money you’ll save.

Related Posts:

  1. Beginners Guide To Using Hair Clippers
  2. Best Cordless Hair Clippers
  3. Wahl Magic Clip Review
  4. Oster Classic 76 Review

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