Wahl are such a respected brand within the barbering industry and have been producing quality clippers for many years. And I’m pleased to say over the last few years they have really stepped up in the production of trimmers and liners too.
Here we will look at the Wahl 5 Star Detailer, which is an amazing machine. It comes in a corded and cordless version and used by professional around the world. The reason for this is quite simple. What Wahl have developed is a small machine with a stylish body and a T – wide cutting blade, which makes short work of any line-outs or skin fades.
We will also take a look at the most recent addition of the Cordless Detailer Li and if it’s worth the extra investment.
The Wahl 5 star Detailer
If you’re already aware of the Wahl 5 Star Detailer, you’ll know what a great looking piece of kit it is. The body of the clipper is a classy mixture of burgundy and chrome. It’s approximately 5 inches in length and weighs around 7 oz. So along with the lightweight feel you also have the hard plastic and chrome body, giving them a very sturdy feel.
Normally I’m not too concerned how a clipper or trimmer looks. It’s their performance that is important to me. As long as they cope with everything a busy shop can throw at them, I’m happy. Having said that, these little clippers are as elegant as they are stylish. In fact if you compare them to something like the Wahl Sterling 2 Trimmer you can see the hard work that has gone into the design of these clippers.
The Wahl 5 Star Detailers are driven by a powerful rotary motor. This gives you enough power and cutting strokes per minute to accomplish fast, clean and crisp lines when you work. And one of the advantages of the rotary motor is that overheating of the machine is never an issue.
The addition of the rotary motor is not the norm for clipper of this size. You normally find these reserved for the bigger full sized clippers, which need more torque to get through the bulk of hair.
In fact because of the power that is produce by this rotary motor, it is also ideal for clipper over comb work as well as for trimming beards. Not only getting the lines precise but for trimming the shape in also. The ½, 1 and 1 ½ guards that come as standard are ideal for this kind of work.
Wahl Detailer Blade
The blade is Wahl’s unique T-wide blade. Manufactured from stainless steel, it’s about ¼ in wider than the usual T-blade fitted on the earlier models. This allows you to cover larger areas a lot quicker than usual.
This blade makes this a versatile clipper. Great for beards trims, line-outs and even patterns or hard parts. This machine can also be zero gapped so it’s great for skin fades too. Even without zero gapping them you can knock out most lines and even use them as a balding clipper. Wahls tend to be slightly easier to zero gap than Andis.
Corded vs Cordless Clippers
Whether you chose the corded or cordless version is usually based on personal choice. The corded one tends to have a little more power, but I’ve never found this to be an issue. One issue I did have with the corded version was the switch. Even though it was a metal switch and was easy to turn on and off with a flick of the finger or thumb, whenever I had to replace the cable (which tended to happened a lot with the early ‘speaker wire’ type cable) I sometime found the switch to was difficult to get back in the original place and once reassembled the switch would often ride up into the clipper housing. Thankfully the later models had the more substantial hero cable fitted.
I’ve still use both the corded and the cordless version daily. The cordless version has a slide on off switch which I sometime find a little difficult to use being quite flush to the clipper body surface. Another noticeable difference between the two is in the body. The cordless model sports a black body with a stylish chrome head.
Another advantage of the cordless version is the Blade Adjustment Lever, a rare addition to any trimmer. This allows you to adjust the blade between a hard trim and a soft line with a small flick of the thumb. When I first got these clippers I thought that the adjustment lever was not working until I realized the movement is between 0.4 and 0.8 mm so cannot be seen with the naked eye, but can be brilliant for removing some of those hard to remove lines on some skin fades.
Both are fitted with the wide blade and so both perform crisp clean lines because Wahl specifically designed both machines for edge lining and precision detailed work.
Wahl Detailer Cutting Skin – Be Careful!!
This T-wide blade does a great job but with one word of warning. This blade is REALLY SHARP!!! Even more so if you decide to zero gap them. If the client has sensitive skin, or you are using them on a child, you should be very careful indeed. Be aware that any pressure applied to the skin will result in a tattoo mark on the neck.
Wahl Detailer Cordless Li- A recent addition to the set.
For a little more money you can get your hands on the Wahl Detailer Cordless Li. Going back to the burgundy and chrome look of the corded version, this beast has all the quality and precision that the other two have but the one big difference is the battery. This one boasts a ‘state of the art’ lithium battery, which gives you a 100 minute run time from a 45 minute charge. (compared to a 60 minute run time for a 60 minute charge of the previous black model ). As with the other cordless model you can also run it directly from the cable, but this model also has an LED light which tells you at a glance how much charge you have left. Another great development is the weighted base unit, the previous version is ok but a little on the light side, so this is a great plus. They have also moved the sliding on off switch further up the body of the clipper.
As I’ve said I own both of these models and love them both. I find that the convenience of the cordless version wins it for me. Both are light and yet powerful and once you are used to the sharpness of the blade are great to use. What I’ve read about the new Li version, I think an upgrade is in the pipeline. I might have to wait until my others go wrong though… so there might be a bit of a wait.