Hair clipper guard sizes

Here we will take a look at the different hair clipper guard sizes that are available in the market. We will try to understand how the different sizes work, what some of the popular brands in the market today are offering, and how they relate to each other. Let’s jump right in.

We’ll start with a bit of background though. If you’re new to the field or don’t have the best idea about clipper guards, we got you covered:

What hair clipper guards are (A short explanation):

Hair clipper guard sizes

So like the name sounds, they are ‘guards’. They stop the blade from making a cut too far down the hairline. In other words, they help us regulate the amount of hair that the blade takes off in one cut. They can help us set exactly the amount of hair we want to be removed and work with laser precision when an appropriate guard is used by trained hands. Clipper guards are therefore used less to guard the hair and more to cut hair accurately.

Sizes of the guards

Now that we have an idea of clipper guards, you understand their value and would like to give them a try, the next question that comes up (and is titular), is the size. The present market can be extremely confusing for both newcomers and even experienced people in the field sometimes because of the different metrics and gradings used by the different brands to measure the sizes of the guards. Let’s try to get this straight in a few points.

  • Guards’ sizes are measured in inches or mm during the manufacturing process.
    • note: this is just the manufacturing measurement and is mostly not used in the industry to refer to different size guards.
  • Different brands give different ‘numbers’ to different sizes in inches or mm.
    • This means that a 3mm guard might be called a number 2 by brand X while the same size is referred to as number 1 by a different brand Y.
    • The inches or the mm sizes are exactly the same though! So when in confusion, refer to the actual measurements given on the packaging/product listing when buying them.

Generic size chart for reference

Now that we understand how the clipper guards are measured and sized, here is a generic size chart to give you a general idea of the relations between the ‘numbers’ being used by the brands and the sizes of the guards in real units (inches or mm).

Note: As stated earlier, different brands use different numbers for the same size guards, so it is best to check the exact brand’s number chart you’re most interested in for the exact number to look up, this chart here is just to give you a rough idea of how these numbers are being used across the brands. Clipper sizes in mm.

Clipper guard ‘number’ Size (mm) Size (inches)
Number 0 1.5 1/16
Number 1 3 1/8
Number 2 6 1/4
Number 3 10 3/8
Number 4 13 1/2
Number 5 16 5/8
Number 6 19 3/4
Number 7 22 7/8
Number 8 25 1
Number 10 32 1.25
Number 12 37.5 1.5

Notice how certain numbers such as numbers 9 and 11 are missing from the list. Make sure to read the product properly to get the correct sizes.

Brand-specific guard sizes

Now we take a look at specific guards available from some of the commonly used brands. Use this chart in conjunction with the generic chart given above for the best results.

Size in inches Size in mm Wahl clipper guard number Andis clipper guard number Oster clipper guard number Remington clipper guard number BaByliss clipper guard number
1/16 1.5 #1/2 #0 #0 #0 #0.5
3/32 2.4 #0.5
1/8 3 #1 #1 #1 #1 #1
3/17 4.5 #1-1/2
3/16 4.8 #1-1/2 #1.5
1/4 6 #2 #2 #2 #2 #2
3/8 9
1/8 10 #3 #3 #3 #3
3/8 12 #4
1/2 13 #4 #4 #4 #4
5/8 16 #5 #5 #5 #5 #5
3/4 19 #6 #6 #6 #6 #6
7/8 22 #7 #7 #7 #7
1 25 #8 #8 #8 #8
1.25 32 #10 #10
1.47 37.5
1.5 38 #12

The chart above condenses the different hair clipper guard offerings by popular brands along with their ‘numbers’.

Hair clipper guards – number wise pictures

Pictures of generic hair clipper guards are given to give the interested persons an idea of their actual sizes.

Clipper guard number Best used for Picture for consideration
Number 0 or 0.5 Bald cuts or skin fades
Number 1 Buzz cuts
Number 2 Fades
Number 3 Longer fades
Number 4 Medium length cuts
Number 5 Tapers
Number 6 Tapers
Number 7 Long taper fades
Number 8 Even longer taper fades
Number 10 and 12 Custom cuts

2 – inch Hair clipper guards

2-inch hair clipper guards are considered number 16 in the industry and are not standard equipment. They are only used for very specific cuts and are one of the biggest guard sizes available. Several brands offer number 16 hair clipper guards, however, none of the more popular brands offer guards of this size. Only consider investing in guards of this size if you have some very specific custom cuts to make.

What about 3 inches or even 4-inch clipper guards?

The 3 and 4-inch clipper guards are very uncommon. They do exist in the markets and can be found in use or in stores with few professionals and stores. The main reason for them being so rare is the lack of demand. They are simply not as often requested as the other guard sizes. Guards are quintessentially used to create precise cuts and get exact lengths of hair.

If longer and longer cuts are needed, most people are able to estimate them by hand and no mechanical help is needed. This is the primary reason for this sized guard being so uncommon.

A secondary issue must be addressed here. People also seem to confuse the ‘numbers’ with the actual inches of a guard. If we talk about number 3 or number 4 guards, then yes they do exist and are in fact in popular usage and in high demand. Going by the tables mentioned above, number 3 and number 4 hair clipper guards would be ⅛ and ¼ inches respectively.

It is, therefore, to be kept strictly in mind that the industry is using the ‘numbers’ as used by the brand themselves, this means using inches to refer to hair clipper guard sizes mm would do nothing but add to the confusion, using inches to refer to guard sizes must therefore be avoided whenever possible.

How to make hair clipper guards longer

Hair clipper guards can at any time be swapped for a bigger or shorter guard size to get cuts of varying lengths. It is therefore recommended in buying the guards in kits so when you’re working on a style there are all the different sizes available to work properly and get that satisfactory end finish.

Most clippers also have adjustments on them that can increase the blade sizes to get longer or shorter cuts as and when needed. Blade sizes must however not be confused with hair clipper guard sizes as the two are not one and the same thing. Blade sizes are, as the name suggests the size of the blades while hair clipper guards sizes are hair clipper guards sizes. This has been dealt with in much more detail in a few heading from this point.

Different types of hair clipper guards

Different types of hair clipper guards

The type of clipper guards that we’ve seen so far are standalone clippers. The markets evolve fast these days and many different types of clipper guards have cropped up. We shall take a look at a few of them so you can make better buying decisions:

Guide combs:

These are not clipper guards per se, but function a lot like them. These are provided in the box by the manufacturer himself along with the main clipper equipment. They do not allow precision anywhere close to the actual guards but are still helpful in making decent cuts. For new learners, the more precise guards might prove to be too overwhelming and therefore such guide combs are recommended until they are confident to try out the real stuff.

Special size clipper guards:

We have already seen one such guard, the 2inch one. There are many more specific and a custom type of clipper guards which are not as readily available in the markets. The primary reason being they are not as high in demand as the more ‘generic’ sizes. The numbers 10 and 12 are borderline special-sized. Any size beyond them is considered special sizes and will require you to either buy them from non-popular brands or make arrangements from local shops.

Magnetic clipper guards:

These types of guards have magnets on their ends which makes it easier to attach and detach them from the main clipper. They are a very common feature of clipper guards from Andis. Note that easy attachment and detachment are the only main benefits of these special types of guards, they don’t magically make your cuts better so only consider investing in them if you’re looking for that exact sort of benefit.

Color-coded hair clipper guards:

To make the process simpler, faster and more organized, some brands have started offering color-coded clipper guards. These are generally expensive and are not sold a la carte. They come in complete kits where each color is given a specific size and number to maintain consistency.

These clipper guards are generally considered only by professionals as they actually benefit from the color codes. If you’re buying for personal or non commercial uses then only invest in these guards if you really want them, because as we have discussed they don’t provide any extra functionality by themselves over the normal, non-color-coded clipper guards.

Don’t confuse guard sizes with blade sizes

Many people get confused between a hair clipper guard size and a blade size. Keep in mind that the blade is what actually cuts the hair while the guard is what prevents the hair from being cut, hence the name! They are the exact opposites of one another and are not the same thing.

Just like we have the clipper guards, the blades also have specific numbers associated with them and in a similar manner, different brands may have different numbers for the same sizes. In essence, the final cut is a mixed product of both the clipper guard size and the blade size, therefore both should be kept in mind.

FAQ Section (also tl;dr)

What size are hair clipper guards?

Clipper guards are available in sizes ranging from half an inch (often termed as number 0 or number 0.5 in some cases) up to number 16 which is 2inch sized.

What length is a number 3 haircut?

Number 3 hair clipper guards are typically sized at 3/8th of an inch. They are often used in combination with numbers 1, 2, and even number 0.5 sometimes. A general haircut by a number 3 will leave you with 3/8th of an inch long hair, which roughly translates to 10mm length. It results in a much fuller haircut and is considered a decent cut.

What is a number 3 haircut in mm?

As mentioned before, a number 3 haircut is roughly 10mm in length.

What size is a number 2 hair clipper in mm?

Even though brand gradings may differ, a generic number 2 guard gives a 6mm cut. Please refer to the generic size chart for a list of all numbers and their mm and inch measurements.

Are the different brands using the same numbering systems?

No, some brands may have their numbering systems sized differently from others, please refer to the chart given above.