The Guide to Hair Clipper Sizes

Hair clipper guard sizes determine how long the hair is that is left on the head.

These guard sizes are standardized so that you can go into any barber or beauty shop and get basically the same haircut by just saying ” I want a number 2.”

Here is a list of the different hair clipper guard sizes:

  • #1 guard is an eighth of an inch long.
  • #2 guard is a quarter of an inch long.
  • #3 guard is three eighths of an inch long.
  • #4 guard is a half of an inch long.
  • #5 guard is five eights of an inch long.
  • #6 guard is three quarters of an inch long.
  • #7 guard is seven eights of an inch long.
  • #8 guard is an inch long.


Useful things to Know

Hair Stylist vs Barbers

Hair stylist’s use plastic guards that fit over the blades of their clippers. Barber’s use interchangeable blades for different sizes so a barber’s clipper cut will be just a tad bit shorter than a hair stylist’s clipper cut.

The Zero Cut

A zero is just the bare blade of the clippers. This leaves the hair looking like it was almost shaved. A lot of military men use a zero on the sides and a number one guard on top. They call this a high and tight. Easiest to do at home with Balding Clippers.

The Number Two Fade

A very popular haircut is the number two fade. A number two hair clipper guard size is used on the sides and back, then the top is either cut with scissors to finger length or with a number five guard. A number five guard is considered to be the same length as a hair stylist’s fingers. It is a matter of personal taste as to which is used, clippers or scissor cut to finger length. Hair cut with the clipper guard will be uniform in length whereas scissor cut hair with have some slight variations in length.

Number Five and Above

Any length above a number five clipper guard can be cut with scissors depending on whether or not the person wants the hair to be completely even all the way around or not. A lot of stylist just use the higher clipper guard sizes to blend the sides of the hair into the top. For example, if the hair is cut with a number two guard on the sides and scissor cut to finger length on top then the stylist may use the number three and four guard to blend the line in between the sides and top.

All of the different guard sizes give a huge variety to hair cuts. All kinds of funky styles can be achieved by mixing and matching the different hair clipper guard sizes and cutting the hair with scissors.

Clipper Cuts for Women

Clipper cuts are not only for men either. One very popular hair cut for women is the stacked bob. This hair cut is clipper cut using either a number three, four or five guard at the back of the head and then scissor cutting the rest of the hair so that it is much longer in front.