One of the top recommendations I had for Aaron's wife Shannon was the WAHL Senior Clipper, a staple in my professional toolbox. My toolbox however was a little dated because I took a nearly six year hiatus from the barber business and about eight months ago return to barbering full-time providing barber services at FLOYD'S 99 Barbershop in Birmingham, Michigan. Now, I think it's worth noting that a good pair of electric clippers could last a life-time or two even with minimal upkeep and a few minor repairs like replacing frayed or damaged power-cords. But, clipper technology has arguably taken a quantum leap in the last 10 years or so with the advent of lithium-ion cordless clippers. Earlier versions of cordless clippers in my opinion failed to meet the threshold of dependability and robust operating performance that a professional barber's workload demands. But as I began to re-engage the industry about ten months ago, I began to appreciate that hair-cutting professionals were, in significant numbers embracing the new cordless clipper phenom of sorts. I inquired with a lot of the hair-cutting professionals I saw using the cordless clippers about, in general the power, practicality and reliability of the these lithium-ion powered cordless clippers. In one instance, I worked with a barber and barbershop owner named Dana for about four weeks and he had a pair of WAHL MAGIC CLIP CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION Clippers (herein "cordless Magic Clips"). Dana, seemed to use the cordless Magic Clips sparingly and his enthusiasm for this clipper technology seemed lackluster at best: so, I began to sort of feel that the upgrade to the lithium-ion powered cordless clippers might not be pragmatic, worth the distraction, and/or the premium price. I worked with Dana at his shop in Farmington Hills before moving on to work for FLOYD'S 99 Barbershop in Birmingham, Michigan.
After I began working for FLOYD'S 99 Barbershop in September of 2019, I began noticing that most of the hair-care professional co-worker here were almost exclusively using lithium-ion powered cordless clippers particularly to the degree that they were cutting with electric clippers as opposed to cutting with shears.
To put myself in context for you as a consumer, it might help you to know that I think it is fair to say that I err to the side of conservatism and frugality when it comes to consumer purchases. I anguish over even minor consumer purchases sometimes, I analyze, dissect and delay when it comes to major purchases and I am usually in the hunt months if not years before I actually pull the trigger on some purchases. I am, I believe, for the most part a categorically "self-actualizing consumer" not easily sold on hype and shallow trends.
So, back to Michigan's long waited re-opening of barbershops and salons, which from a hair-cutting professional's perspective is conceivably a significant matter to contemplate considering that there may be an overwhelming pint-up demand for our hair-cutting services that will converge on us as we return to work. So, my cousin Aaron's phone call inquiring about electric hair-clipper recommendations came at, perhaps, a good time in that it got me to thinking about the lithium-ion powered cordless clippers again. I thought that, in recommending the WAHL SENIOR electric hair clippers to Aaron and his wife Shannon, it would only be fair to mention and even recommend that Aaron and Shannon consider the cordless version of the WAHL SENIOR because of how I had observed this cordless WAHL SENIORS and other lithium-ion powered clippers models successfully adopted by hair-cutting professionals with the caveat that I personally had not tried them out myself. At this time, considering the impending re-opening of barbershops in Michigan, I am beginning to think that lithium-ion cordless clippers may help me in terms of speed, ergonomics and efficiency to handle the deluge of hair-cutting work I was anticipating upon returning to work at FLOYD'S 99 BARBERSHOP. See also Detroit Free Press article in which FLOYD'S 99 Barbershop manager Ryan Dinsmore was interviewed about the June 15, 2020 post COVID-19 crisis re-opening of barbershops and salons: https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2020/06/15/exposed-barbershop-southfield-reopened-monday-heres-how-went/3191548001/
Shortly before Michigan's June 15, 2020 re-opening of barbershops and salons I began to do more focused research on which lithium-ion clipper(s) to invest in. My research and experience with clippers in general lead me to believe that I would be best served to try a pair of the ANDIS MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER and/or a pair of the WAHL 5 Star Series cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CORD/CORDLESS CLIPPER. And, if I could only afford one pair or only wanted to buy one pair, it would be the ANDIS MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER.
Sourcing the ANDIS MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER was a bit more challenging than I anticipated because when I went to my go-to supplier SALLY'S BEAUTY SUPPLY, they were sold out of the ANDIS MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER. I wanted to err to the side of fiscal conservatism and buy only one lithium-ion cordless clipper at this time and figured that I should go with my top choice, but because I could not find the ANDIS MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPERS locally, on day two of re-opening my wife went to SALLY'S BEAUTY SUPPLY and purchased a pair of the WAHL 5 Star Series SENIOR CORD/CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPERS because the store did have these clippers in stock locally.
So, with that said, here is my findings and review of the WAHL 5 Star Series SENIOR CORD/CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPERS.
My most initial and foremost impression was that I have been deprived of a material and significant improvement in hair-cutting technology and should have perhaps purchased a pair of these clippers months ago when I first came back to the business. I almost imediately appreciate the ergonomic improvements related to freedom of being untethered to a cord and the ergonomic improvements associated with the signficantly lighter weight of this CORDLESS WAHL SENIOR compared to the magnetic motor driven corded version of WAHL's SENIOR CLIPPER model.
The freedom detachment affords make this clipper more like a new hair-cutting tool altogether because I am am able to do almost new maneuvers altogether. Really impressive and remarkable improvement over corded clippers in my opinion as far as ergonomics and work efficiency.
These clippers can choke-up a little and bog down under heavy loads of hair but are adequately powerful and I could appreciate disadvantage power-wise to corded magnetic driven version of the WAHL SENIOR model.
There is an option to run the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER corded. The power-cord that comes with the unit is robust and similar in gauge and quality to a cord you'd expect to get on a comparable corded professional grade magnetic motor electric clipper.
The clipper lasted me nearly five hour and five clients on one charge. With these five patrons, I did a lot of alternating between electric clipper hair cutting and cutting hair with shears so these were not all clipper haircuts.
Latter on Day-One I had an all clipper hair cut where the patron asked for a "number one" on the sides and a "number 7" on the top. Because, I don't have an ANDIS MASTER "number 7" clipper guard attachment, the WAHL SENIOR IS my go-to for this type of hair cut request and my new WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER fit bill most adequately.
I got very comfortable using the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER and on Day-Two the clipper stopped working in the middle of a haircut with no warning. It was kind of like running out of hot water half way through a shower or maybe like falling asleep in a bathtub and waking up to a drained bathtub. It really not big problem though because you can quickly convert to the corded clipper operating option. Although, I think that being more conscious about taking measures necessary to maintain a sufficient charge is the way to go with these clippers to benefit more consistently from the ergonomic advantages this clipper offers.
On Day-Three I had a client towards the end of the shift on whom I did a nearly all clipper, fade/tapered haircut. I used the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER to do a lot of fading, blending and tapering in this haircut. In my opinion, in this instance the clippers got very hot in a relatively short period of time. So, I think it may be realistic for someone who does lots of electric clipper intensive hair-cutting to anticipate the need to have an alternate pair of clippers to avoid hazards associated with having the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER getting too hot. One of my co-workers told me that she sprayed some disinfectant clipper spray on a pair of clippers that were too hot and doing so started a fire! There are many reasons to avoid running electric clippers to the extent they are overheating, including but not limited to risk of injury to you or your patron and damaging the clippers.
One of the problems I had with the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER is that it was difficult to get the clipper on the hanging ring outfitting my workstation at FLOYD'S 99 Barbershop Birmingham in general and particularly so when to power cord was attached to the clipper. I therefore made a non-compromising modification to the clipper by adding a wire-tie to the hanging ring of the clipper. See photo below.
On a final note, in my opinion, some of the technology used in WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER is still relatively new in the context of the broader category of electric clippers generally and it remains to be seen how reliable the clippers are in the long term for professional usage. A good pair of professional grade corded, magnetic motor driven clippers by companies like Oyster, Andis, and Wahl have been known to last a lifetime or two life-times even with minimal and/or inexpensive repairs. So, hopefully the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER will not need expensive repairs, excessive maintenance, or expensive replacement parts. Obviously, one thing one can count on replacing at some point is the lithium-ion battery and you should be aware that when or if you want to replace the lithium-ion batteries in the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER, you will need to send the entire clipper unit to the Wahl Service Center for replacement.
I am grateful to local SALLY'S BEAUTY SUPPLY store for being a resource to quickly obtain the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER without the delay shipping would have imposed. I have however, since the WAHL 5 Star Cordless SENIOR LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER purchase acquired the ANDIS PROFFESIONAL MASTER CORDLESS LITHIUM-ION CLIPPER through a dealer on eBay, so look for a review on that clipper from us at Tonsorial Virtuoso LLC very soon!
John L. Roseman
Managing General Director,
Tonsorial Virtuoso LLC.
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