The debate about which clipper blade vs comb attachment is the topic I'd love to talk about today. Some say it's for, some say against the attachment comb, and it seems that the battle will never be decided. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing from the two options, and then we'll discuss how important one is over the other.
Comb attachments are an easy way to get started clipping without having a range of metal blades because not everyone has access to a variety of clipper blades and the cost can be quite considerable to set yourself up for clipping a range of different coat types, so attachment combs may be your only option.
However there are some points that you need to be aware of and to avoid costly mistakes.
Detachable clipper blades are quicker and easier to work with than a comb attachment, especially when working with shorter lengths. It's so much easier to whizz through the coat with a 5F for example, than having to work your way through the coat with an attachment comb that matches that (6mm or something).
A detachable blade is quick and simple to use, take for instance the Clipit Quattro Cordless Clipper with its pop-on and pop-off blade system. This clipper offers a range of 7 different lengths of blades to keep the pet's coat short, depending on the overall required length. Blade lengths range from 0.25mm (#40 blade) to 13mm (#3F blade), but for longer coat lengths you can put a comb attachment on.
Helpful tip: The higher the blade number, shorter the cut. Lower the blade number, longer the cut.
A regular size clipper blade has teeth that are spaced just right to guide hair into the cutting area and feed perfectly because of its tooth space. It doesn't jam or skimp unless the coat isn't tall enough, and it stands up well enough for cutting because of the space between its teeth.
Which length Clipper Blades Should I Get?
Buying clipper blades is easy when you know what numbers you need. First check the blade length at the bottom of this article or check the length breed guide here at the Essential Guide to Clipper Blades. before you buy.
Comb attachments (also commonly known as blade guards) are affordable and durable, and can be bought individually or as a set of 8. The Wahl Metal Comb Attachment Set of 8, offers you cutting lengths from 3 -25mm and are housed in a clear storage case, colour-coded for at-a-glance identification. However when using comb attachments you may require multiple passes through the coat to achieve the desired cut.
Comb attachments play a part when the owner wants a lot of length on the coat or for setting the length on heads and faces prior to scissoring. The only time you really use a comb attachment is on body hair that you want left longer than 1/2". Anything 1/2" or shorter there is a blade that leaves that length.
However certain breeds do actually look better with an attachment comb, take for instance the 6mm attachment comb (purple), it can be used on curly coats to get a nice finish, however on other coat types it can look a bit shabby! But is does really depend on the coat type.
Prepping the coat to use a Comb Attachment
You have to make sure that the coat is thoroughly brushed, de-matted and combed prior to using comb attachments so if the coat isn't prepped properly then the comb is going to snag on every tiny knot you've accidentally missed and increase time spent on clipping.
That and the fact the comb will constantly pack with hair if you're going through a coat that is going from quite a long length to short. More so if you're feeding too much hair at once through your clipper. In our blog, 6 Things that can Cause Issues with Comb Attachments. we talk about some of the issues using comb attachments on a #30 clipper blade.
Pushing the blade and attachment comb too hard through the coat. The blade is overloaded with hair, has nowhere to go.
Damp hair. Moisture in the coat, the blade will struggle.
Dry, thick hair. Wide spaced teeth feeding into a surgical cut, will break teeth.
A slow, unserviced clipper, not running at full capacity.
Coats with product build-up will cause issues.
Using a #30 blade, better using a #10.
Clipper Blade Lengths "vs" Comb Attachment Lengths
Please note this is general guidance only and individual brand size and clipping lengths may differ slightly.
Fine blade for surgical work
Fine clipping the face, feet and tail on Show Poodles.
Medium length can be used on face, feet. Also suitable for Spaniels and Terrier heads and ears, armpits and groin area.
Red Attachment Comb #1
3mm / 1/8"
3.2mm / 1/8"
Suitable for summer or short body cuts. Used for lamb trims, Spaniels, Terriers and all breeds that may need clipping down.
Purple Attachment Comb #2
6mm / 1/4"
6.4mm / 1/4"
Can be used on all breeds needing a little more coat left on or those with finer coats.
9.6mm / 3/8"
A long body blade used on all breeds for winter trims. Also used on dogs that would not normally be clipped or those with sensitive skin.
Blue Attachment Comb #3
10mm / 3/8"
13mm / 1/2"
A very long blade used on all breeds.
Orange Attachment Comb #4
13mm / 1/2"
Yellow Attachment Comb #5
16mm / 5/8"
Lilac Attachment Comb #6
19mm / 3/4"
Green Attachment Comb #7
22mm / 7/8"
Cyan Attachment Comb #8
25mm / 1"
How to take care of your clipper blades and comb attachments.
Every tool needs to be taken care of to ensure its longevity and improve its functionality. The same case goes for dog clipper blades and comb attachments. As a professional groomer, you need to take care of your clipper combs to ensure that they can serve you for long.
Here are some tips on how you can maintain the quality of your clippers:
Clean your blades regularly - Make sure that you wash your blades with blade wash at least once a week. Cleaning the blades will help keep them free from any dirt or debris that might affect their performance during grooming sessions.
Check for wear and tear - Your blades should be maintained every three - six months or so depending on how often you use them during grooming sessions as well as how frequently they get cleaned up properly after each use (more frequent cleaning will Clipit Blade Care Pack will ensure optimal performance). This is especially true if you work with thick-coated dogs like German Shepherds or Huskies because these breeds tend to shed more than other breeds do which
It is important to keep your comb attachments clean, especially after use. You can use warm water and soap or disinfectant wipes to clean them up. It is also advisable to wipe them with a dry cloth after washing them. Do not let them get wet as this could damage them permanently. And finally don't forget to oil the comb attachment spring frequently, this will make it easy to get them off and on the blade.
The bottom line is that both clipper blades and comb attachments have their uses and are (usually) equally efficient in achieving the desired effect. As long as you know how to use your blade and comb attachment properly, whether you choose a blade or an attachment won't make much of a difference when it comes to giving your dog a professional look.