A dog with thick, matted hair needs heavy-duty clippers

What Are the Best Dog Clippers for Thick or Matted Hair?

Grooming dogs with thick or matted coats requires heavy-duty dog clippers. In this review, we’ll discuss our top picks to help you glide through your dog’s matted hair.

If you have a dog with seriously thick or matted fur, you won’t be able to use just any pair of clippers for grooming. Using cheap or weak clippers on a thick coat is a great way to pull your dog’s hair and guarantee they’ll never let you cut their hair again.

Instead, you’ll need heavy-duty dog clippers for matted or thick coats. In this review, we’ll highlight the specs and functions to look for and provide you a few options to get you on your way. 

In this review:

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Best dog clippers for matted hair: At a glance

Thick coats & matting
Wahl Professional Animal KM10 2-Speed Brushless Motor Pet, Dog, and Horse Clipper Kit, Turquoise (#9791)
All-around pro option
Wahl Professional Animal Thick Coat Pet Clipper & Dog Clipper, Pink (#9787-300)
Budget option
Hansprou Dog Shaver Clippers High Power Dog Clipper for Thick Heavy Coats Low Noise Plug-in Pet Trimmer Pet Professional Grooming Clippers with Guard Combs Brush for Dogs Cats and Other Animals
Wahl Professional Animal Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Comb Set for Detachable Blade Pet, Dog, Cat, and Horse Clippers (#3390-100)
Equinox International Professional Razor Edge Series - Barber Hair Cutting Scissors/Shears - 6.5" Overall Length with Fine Adjustment Tension Screw - Japanese Stainless Steel
Wahl Animal KM10
Wahl Professional Thick Coat Pet Clipper
Hansprou Pet Clippers
Wahl Professional Attachment Combs
Equinox Professional Shears
Best heavy duty dog clippers
Look like a pro
For those on a budget
Good for long-haired dogs
Manual shears for sensitive matting
Thick coats & matting
Wahl Professional Animal KM10 2-Speed Brushless Motor Pet, Dog, and Horse Clipper Kit, Turquoise (#9791)
Wahl Animal KM10
Best heavy duty dog clippers
All-around pro option
Wahl Professional Animal Thick Coat Pet Clipper & Dog Clipper, Pink (#9787-300)
Wahl Professional Thick Coat Pet Clipper
Look like a pro
Budget option
Hansprou Dog Shaver Clippers High Power Dog Clipper for Thick Heavy Coats Low Noise Plug-in Pet Trimmer Pet Professional Grooming Clippers with Guard Combs Brush for Dogs Cats and Other Animals
Hansprou Pet Clippers
For those on a budget
Wahl Professional Animal Stainless Steel Attachment Guide Comb Set for Detachable Blade Pet, Dog, Cat, and Horse Clippers (#3390-100)
Wahl Professional Attachment Combs
Good for long-haired dogs
Equinox International Professional Razor Edge Series - Barber Hair Cutting Scissors/Shears - 6.5" Overall Length with Fine Adjustment Tension Screw - Japanese Stainless Steel
Equinox Professional Shears
Manual shears for sensitive matting

Best dog clippers for thick or matted hair

Let’s face it, professional grooming can be expensive. Investing in your own set of dog clippers is a smart way to keep money in the bank. But if your dog has thick or matted fur, not just any pet clippers will do. 

You’ll need a quality pair of heavy-duty clippers that can take on thick hair without getting stuck. These are your top options.

Best heavy duty dog clippers

Wahl Animal KM10
586 Reviews
Wahl Animal KM10

  • The brushless motor is engineered to last while running cooler, quieter, and providing more power and torque than a rotary motor
  • Includes a detachable #10 Ultimate Competition Series high-grade steel blade for faster, smoother clipping
  • Operating at two powerful speeds of 3,000 and 3,700 strokes per minute, the Constant Speed Control feature automatically delivers more power and torque in difficult areas

What we like

With a long-lasting brushless motor geared to last more than 10,000 hours, these clippers are top of the line. And, they may be the only set you’ll ever need to purchase. Unlike some clippers that are made for occasional home grooming, the KM10 is a professional tool and made for regular use. Yet, it still runs quietly.

The professional Ultimate Competition Series #10 steel blade is made for body clipping and trimming of all coat types, including dogs, cats, horses, and livestock. Two powerful speeds and constant speed control help these clippers glide through tough spots while still weighing a lightweight 12.3 ounces.

The KM10 is designed with a rounded front housing to prevent hair clogging and is backed by a 5-year professional warranty. The clipper is made in Hungary, and the blade is made in the USA. It comes with a 14-foot cord for plenty of room to work around your pet and other equipment.

What we’d change

  • These clippers come with a higher price tag, but if these are the only clippers you’ll need to purchase, and it prevents expensive trips to the groomer, it might just be a great investment. 
  • Any comb attachments will need to be purchased separately. 
  • To deliver controlled power, these clippers are corded, which may not be best suited for all dogs.

Best professional dog clippers for thick hair

Wahl Professional Thick Coat Pet Clipper
182 Reviews
Wahl Professional Thick Coat Pet Clipper

  • Operating at two powerful speeds of 3,000 and 3,500 strokes per minute, the Constant Speed Control feature delivers more power and torque through thick hair
  • Lightweight (12.9 oz), correctly balanced, and has minimal vibration to significantly reduce wrist fatigue
  • Comes with a detachable 7F Ultimate Competition Series blade
  • Ideal for clipping and trimming thick coats, matted coats, complete shave downs, and body clipping on dogs, cats, horses, and livestock.

What we like

This clipper has a powerful, yet whisper-quiet rotary motor which is ideal for working through matted or thick coats of breeds such as Sheep Dogs, Poodles, Maltese, and Water Dogs. With a detachable 7F blade and constant speed control, it’s suitable for clipping, trimming, and shave downs.

Its lightweight and ergonomic shape keep your wrist from getting tired, even after grooming multiple dogs. This powerful clipper has a 14ft length cord to deliver steady power and is plenty long to work around large pets and equipment. 

Included with the clipper are the blade, blade oil, cleaning brush, and instruction booklet. This clipper has a lower price point for durable, professional models, but it isn’t quite as powerful as the model reviewed above. 

Wahl provides a two-year limited warranty. The clipper is manufactured in Hungary and the blade in the USA.

What we’d change

  • If you are wanting to buy additional attachment guide combs, you will need to purchase a #30 Ultimate or Competition series blade to be able to use Wahl’s stainless steel guide combs. 
  • This clipper is corded, so it may bother some dogs who are a little skittish. 

Best budget option

Hansprou Pet Clippers
1,904 Reviews
Hansprou Pet Clippers

  • 12V powerful motor with a low vibration and ultra-quiet 50db design
  • Includes 4 Guard Combs: 3mm, 6mm, 9mm, and 12mm 
  • More affordable than some heavier-duty options

What we like

Hansprou’s pet clippers come with a detachable, fine-tooth, titanium-alloy blade and a ceramic moving blade for excellent cutting performance and temperature control. The blade teeth are rounded on the sides to provide an extra measure of safety. 

With a twist of the adjusting ring on the clipper, you can change the cut length from .8mm to 2mm without the use of combs. For longer cuts, four attachment combs are included.

The powerful, yet quiet 12V motor provides strong, stable power to be able to handle all coat types, including thick hair. The clippers are encased in aluminum alloy, keeping it light in your hand. At less than half the cost of some clippers, and combined with a two year warranty, Hansprou dog clippers may be a great, budget-friendly option for the occasional groomer. 

What we’d change

  • Hansprou Clippers are a Chinese manufactured product. They have only one speed and the number of strokes per minute is unclear. While this product is most likely not intended for regular professional use, it may be great for the home groomer who trims several times a year.
  • This clipper set comes with a 9.5ft cord, which some pet owners may find inconvenient. 
  • Blade oil and cleaning brush will need to be purchased separately.

Best clipper combs for long-haired dogs

Wahl Professional Attachment Combs
1,977 Reviews
Wahl Professional Attachment Combs

  • Designed to fit Wahl's KM2, KM5, KM10, KM Cordless, Thick Coat Clipper, PowerGrip, SS Pro, Stable Pro Plus, and XBlock pet clippers
  • Eight color-coded guide combs, ranging from a 1/8 inch to 1-inch cut length, effortlessly glide through small, medium, and large-sized dogs coats
  • Features snap-on stainless steel attachments

If your dog’s coat is as long as it is thick, you’ll want a quality set of attachment combs to use with a solid set of clippers. These will help when trimming areas like the face, legs, belly, and rear end.

What we like

These are quality stainless steel combs that will likely last a long time, not plastic ones that can easily break or be chewed. 

The combs come in an organized storage case and are compatible with nearly all brands’ #10, #15 & #30 detachable blades, including Andis and Oster. 

Finally, the company offers a 30-day trial period, and if you don’t love these combs, you can return them for a full refund. 

What we’d change

  • This set of combs is only compatible with blade #10, #15, and #30. You’ll have to purchase one of these blades in order to use these combs safely. It is not to be used with #40, but it’s unlikely you’d use this blade anyways in at-home grooming. 

Best heavy-duty dog shears

Equinox Professional Shears
12,367 Reviews
Equinox Professional Shears

  • High-quality Japanese stainless steel tempered with precise blades 
  • Hand-sharpened blades cut easily without pulling or catching hair between blades.
  • Adjustment screw allows for easy change of tension

What we like

If you’re looking for scissor-style shears to manually remove matting in a sensitive area, Equinox’s professional shears are your best bet.

These precision shears are solid and sharp—hair won’t get pulled or get stuck between the blades. The adjustment screw allows you to change the tension to your level of comfort. The blades are pre-oiled, comfortable to hold, measure 6.5 inches in length, and weigh 4.3 oz. 

Finally, Equinox offers a lifetime warranty on the set.

What we’d change

  • These are manufactured in China. We like to opt for U.S.-manufactured products to ensure quality, but these shears are a worthy exception.

What to look for when buying dog clippers for thick coats

Clippers come with a wide variety of functions and features, and not all are right for your pup. Consider your pet’s needs and the following features while comparing clippers.

Blade speed

It’s important to have a high blade speed when grooming a dog with thick or matted fur. If the speed isn’t fast enough, the clipper could get caught in the middle of a mat and end up pulling your dog’s hair. Look for a clipper with at least 3,000 SPM (strokes per minute).

Heat

High-speed blades tend to heat up, at least a little bit. Lower speed blades may not get as hot, but you won’t get the cutting power needed to glide through thick coats. Look for clippers that specifically mention having some type of cooling technology and be sure to check the reviews.

If you need high-powered clippers but they tend to overheat, try taking breaks every so often, buy an extra blade for changeouts, or use a cooling spray that some brands sell.

Most professional clippers come with stainless or carbon steel blades that are intended to be durable. Switching to a ceramic blade will keep the blades cooler longer, but will most likely dull faster.

Noise level

Dog’s have sensitive ears. Loud clippers can easily spook an already nervous dog. Look for a noise level of around 60 decibels or less. Also, a pair of clippers with low vibrations will be much more comfortable to use for prolonged periods of time.

Rechargeable battery vs. power cord

For tough, lengthy jobs like matted or thick fur (or trimming multiple dogs in one sitting), your best bet is most likely going to be a set of powerful corded clippers. Corded clippers will be able to provide a constant, steady power supply to work through thick fur or matting. 

If your pup has a few matted spots, but an overall thin-to-medium coat, it may be just fine using the cordless variety. There are some quality cordless options on the market.

If you choose a corded option, you’ll have to contend with the cord during grooming. You may not have the same range of motion as you would if the clippers were cordless. So, you’ll need to consider what’s most important for your grooming—a steady stream of power or the freedom of cordless.

We think getting a pair of heavy-duty clippers with a long, 14-foot cord is a good compromise.

Run time

If you choose cordless-style clippers, you’ll need to ensure it has a long-lasting battery pack, like a lithium-ion battery. Working through tough, matted hair can take a while and you don’t want your battery dying in the middle of the process. 

You’ll also want to see if the charge time is reasonable if you plan to have multiple sessions in a day. 

Another option would be to look for a cordless clipper that can also operate while it is plugged into the charging cord.

Casing material

Your clippers’ casing material may not seem like an important factor…until your dog knocks them off the table and the casing shatters. (He definitely did it on purpose.) Most inexpensive options are plastic, while many professional lines are made out of shatterproof materials.

Cost

There are clippers for thick and matted hair at every price point. Some are made to last for thousands of hours of run time, while others are made for occasional use. 

Generally speaking, you get what you pay for; so, a quality set of clippers with a higher price tag will probably last a lot longer than a cheaper set. Evaluate how often you’ll need to use them, how long you want them to last, and how powerful you need them to be.

The good news is that when you take the cost of a trip to the pet salon into consideration, even premium clippers will pay for themselves after just a few haircuts.

FAQs about heavy-duty dog clippers for matted hair

Can I use regular clippers to remove matted hair?

It’s best to always use dog clippers designed for thick coats to avoid snagging fur and hurting your pet. It will be the easiest and most successful method. 

If your dog does not have thick fur, you could possibly use regular human clippers to get under the mats, rather than through them. However, we would be hesitant to recommend them. Read our precautions about using human clippers on dogs for further information.

Do I need heavy-duty dog clippers if my dog has long hair?

No, not necessarily, unless they also have a thick undercoat or matted fur. For example, breeds like the Yorkshire Terrier have longer hair, but don’t have any undercoat, so they do fine with lighter clippers

However, breeds like the Bernese Mountain Dog or Old English Sheepdog, which have long, thick fur would require heavy-duty clippers.

Do I need to sharpen my dog clippers?

All blades will eventually dull, even if they are labeled as self-sharpening. It’s time to sharpen the blades when cutting through the coat becomes difficult or the blades begin to pull hair. Steel blades will stay sharp longer, while ceramic blades are known for staying cooler longer. You’ll need to opt for clippers with detachable blades if you’d like to have the option to sharpen them.

There are few things you can do to keep the blades sharp longer. First, clean all hair from the blade after each use. Follow up with blade oil to keep them lubricated for the next grooming session. Finally, wash and brush your pet before using the clippers. Dirt, debris, and dander from the coat will quickly deteriorate the blade edge. This additional friction will also cause excess wear and tear on the electrical components.

How long do dog clippers last?

How long dog clippers last will depend on their quality, how often they are used, and the care given to them. Lower-quality sets may only make it through a year or two of haircuts (although this is still cheaper than the groomer). Heavy-duty clippers can last for many years if they are well-maintained.

Why do dog clippers get hot?

Clippers become hot from the intense friction happening between the two blades. Higher-quality professional clippers will cut hair faster, but also tend to heat up faster due to their high speed and use of long-lasting steel blades. Opting for a ceramic running blade, using a blade cooling spray, or having a spare blade will keep the blades cooler for longer. 

In addition to the blades, the electric motor is also generating heat as it rotates thousands of times per minute to create enough power to cut through thick coats. Take breaks throughout the grooming process to allow for both the motor and the blades to cool.

Is removing matted hair painful?

Brushing or using clippers through mats can be quite uncomfortable for your pet, especially if your pet is severely matted. Prevention by regular brushing is always best.

How to remove matted hair with dog clippers

For severe matting or matting close to the skin, it is safest to take your dog to a professional groomer who is experienced with the issue.

If you think you can brush out the mats, work from the outside of the mat inward toward the skin with a steel comb and a slicker brush. Comb out only a little section of hair at a time. Begin with the easy mats, leaving the difficult ones last to avoid upsetting your dog.

If you can’t brush them out, use the clippers and look for a spot in between mats that allows you to fit the clipper blades under the matting. You want to clip under the mats, not through them. Pull the skin taut as you let the clippers do the work. Never push the clippers or you risk injuring your pet. 

Check the temperature of the blades often and take breaks if needed. 

If the clippers aren’t successful and the mats are not close to the skin, you can use a comb and shears or safety shears to carefully remove the matting. Using the comb, lift the fur away from the skin. Then, cut above the comb to avoid cutting too close to the skin.

Follow with a thorough washing, drying, and brushing.

My dog is scared. How do I prepare them for removing mats?

Removing mats requires time and patience on both your and your dog’s part. Your dog will be sitting for a while, so, before you begin, give them some exercise to tire them out. A treat and a quiet room won’t hurt to bring out the good vibes. 

Begin when your dog is calm. Be gentle and take your time. Praise your dog for remaining calm, and take breaks as needed. 

Finally, you should do your best to avoid mats altogether by becoming familiar with your breed’s grooming needs. Brush your pet often and work on tangles as soon as you notice them. Lastly, consider keeping your dog’s hair short to help reduce hair tangles.

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