Haircut Numbers - clipper guard size The ultimate guide to hair clipper sizes

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Haircut clipper numbers: Best practice when choosing the right guard for different hair lengths.

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If you’re getting a haircut at a barbershop, it’s vital to have a good understanding of the clipper numbers and sizes of the hair clippers. Men who want a good haircut need to understand each number on a clipper guard indicates when requesting a particular hairstyle. A slight difference in the length of a haircut can make all the difference in creating an intentional style. Although the difference between 2 and 3 fade may appear minimal, you’d be astonished at how much a 1/8 of an inch makes.

A proper haircut can make a huge difference in your appearance, so let’s make sure you choose the right one! I’ve put up a comprehensive description with pictures to help men envision clipper guard sizes, as well as the length of hair related to them. If you’re thinking about a buzz cut or fade, check out these haircuts lengths to ensure that you get the right haircut and style.

 

haircut number system - Clipper Guard Sizes

Hair Clipper Guard Sizes and Haircut Numbers

Let’s begin with the fundamentals of hair terminology. The clipper guards and haircut numbers are used to describe the clip attachment that connects to electric trimmers. If you look closely, you’ll see the indication number engraved onto the plastic trimmer guard. A set of 8 guard sizes is standard on most hair clippers, representing the length of hair that will be cut off. You want to be sure that you know which one to use when you get a haircut.

The haircut number is typically equivalent to 1/8 of an inch of length. This means when the number increases, so do the length of each haircut. When clients ask for a number 1 or 2, they’re requesting a particular guard size during a haircut.

A number 0 is shaved without a guard, which is to say that it has no protection or guard (1/16 inch of hair was left). The various guard sizes are useful when barbers are cutting with clippers for fades or buzz cuts.

Guide Reference for Hair Clipper Sizes

As I matched, the larger the number, the longer your haircut will be. For example, requesting a “Number 1 Haircut” means that the #1 guard for a hair length of 1/8 inch. I want to emphasize, the longer the haircut, the higher the number.

For example, decreasing the number notch to 0 guards will result in a 1/16 inch or 1.5 mm length. A 1 guard is typically 3 to 4 millimeters in length, 1/8 inch, or 3 mm in length. If you increase the guard size to 2, you’ll get a haircut with a length of around 1/4 inch or 6mm. The Number 4 Haircut has a length of 1/2 inch, and the Number 5 Haircut leaves 5/8 inch of hair on the scalp. A man may choose the numbers 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 haircuts. Get the drift?!

Guide to Hair Clipper Sizes and Numbers*

Here’s a haircut numbers chart, as well as clipper guard sizes (in inches of hair length):

Clipper guard size chart

Clipper Guard Size Chart

Trimmer guard size chart

Guard Haircut NumberClipper sizes in mmHaircut Number Clipper Size Fraction Haircut Number Description
Short Guard Size
Number 0 Guard1.5 mm1/16"The no guard is about one-sixteenth of an inch.
Number 1 Guard3 mm1/8"It is approximately one-eighth of an inch.
Number 2 Guard6 mm1/4"That's about 1 quarter of an inch.
Long Guard Size
Number 3 Guard10 mm3/8"Will result in a 3/8 of an inch.
Number 4 Guard13 mm1/2"An inch and a half.
Number 5 Guard16 mm5/8"This measurement is equal to the length five-eighths of an inch.
Number 6 Guard19 mm3/4"It measures three-quarters of an inch.
Number 7 Guard22 mm7/8"Will result in seven-eighths of an inch.
Number 8 Guard25 mm#1Resulting in one inch hair length haircut.

As you see from the chart above, a number 1 hair clipper is very short, and a number 8 hair trimmer leaves one inch. Knowing the difference when fading your hair at home or requesting a haircut from your barber or stylist is important. Be sure you make it clear what size of hair clipper guard you need for your haircut.

Below, you’ll see photos of haircuts that reflect the various clipper sizes utilized by manufacturers brands like Wahl, Oster, and Andis.

Haircut with Number 0 Guard

Number 0 Haircut - Shaved Head

With the number 0 haircut, you’ll get the shortest buzzed hairstyle possible since there’s no guard attached to the clippers. A zero guard is a shaved head or a bald fade with no hair left on the top.

Keep in mind that the number 0 haircut offers limited hairstyle options… The hair length is not ideal for fades or higher style haircuts, but it’s perfect for bald looks and especially military haircuts.

 

Guard Size for Number 1 Haircuts

Number 1 Haircut - Fade cut

A short attached guard number 1 haircut removes just 1/8 of an inch of hair from your head. The #1 guard is used for faded sides or real short buzz cuts. Keep in mind the one clipper guard is slightly longer than the zero.

The depth of a number 1 haircut from far looks the same as the number 0, but it’s different. The difference is the subtle and slight shadow… So, if you are not sure how to tell them apart, look for those two key features.

I should mention, if you use this clipper size on your entire head, be cautious because your scalp will be visible.

Guard Size for Number 2 Haircut

Number 2 Haircut - number 2 haircut in mm

One of the most popular clipper sizes for buzz cuts and faded sides is the number 2 haircut attachment. The number 2 is slightly longer than the number 1, measuring at 1/4 inch in length. It doesn’t expose your scalp like a number 0, but it’s still pretty short. The #2 clipper guard is a good choice if you’re balding or have thin hair.

Another benefit of cutting your hair with a number two guard is the haircut lasts longer between barbershop visits. Note that a number 2 haircut may require enhancement of hair fibers to hide thinning in the hairline or crown balding.

Number 2 Haircut – Buzz Cut*

Clipper Attachment for Number 3 Haircut

number 3 haircut length

With the number three haircut, you can expect to have hair that’s 3/8 inches long. This is another popular hair length among young and middle-aged men. The main thing to keep in mind about the number 3 haircut is it’s not a very short haircut. It enhances the appearance of curly hair and thick hair haircuts.

The #3 guard attachment is the greatest number a barber will utilize to cut a Caesar or fade. Men often ask their barber for a number 3 fade or buzz cut since it’s low-maintenance, short and scalp isn’t visible. The #3 haircut is versatile since it looks good with thin and thick hair. This is a factor you should consider if your hair is thinning.

Clipper Guard for Number 4 Haircut

number 4 haircut in mm

 

The length of a number 4 haircut is 1/2 inch. The #4 clipper size will not result in a very short buzz cut, and it begins to approach a brush or crew cut. A number 4 guard provides a good amount of hair for more conservative haircuts and styles as the medium length available on most clippers.

A number 4 guard is ideal for more conservative haircuts and styles because it has enough hair to meet the criteria. Most clippers offer middle-length cuts, so it is used for versatility. This may be ideal if you want to look sharp and professional while still maintaining a clean, traditional cut.

The #4 haircut is excellent for 360 waves, thick hair, or just because you want to keep the length. Keep in mind that the 4 guard typically requires some maintenance as it is a longer guard size. Your hair texture may also dictate how your hair looks with this length.

Guard Attachment for Number 5 Haircut

number 5 haircut in mm

You can expect more flexibility in hairstyles with the number 5 haircut. This is because the #5 haircut leaves more hair on the head than the previous clipper guard. The number five haircut is 5/8 inch and is a popular choice for young men. Mid-tapers and mid-fades look good with the length because of the contrast.

With this length, your scape will not be visible when the hair is combed back in a classic hairstyle. Wave haircuts will look more defined because the hair is left longer. With that said, if you’re looking for more traditional or deeper wave haircuts, use a #5 clipper size.

Trimmer Guard for Number 6 Haircut

number 6 haircut length

The Number 6 haircut is a long haircut that reaches 3/4 in length. The #6 size is commonly utilized for tapered sides, much like the #5. Remember that the number 6 size haircut has a more standard length than the #5 but is still considered a mid-size haircut.

The #5 haircut is commonly used with mid-size buzzed haircuts, which has become a classic look. However, it still offers flexibility when styling the sides for a more customized appearance. The slightly longer hair you get from a #6 size allows you to create mid-size Mohawks, tapper fades, and spinning waves.

You can rest assured that the number six haircut will still look professional in a business environment. The #6 size is perfect for customers who want to experiment with longer hairstyles but are not ready to commit to a longer cut.

Hair Clipper Guard for Number 7 Haircut

number 7 haircut length

The longer number 7 haircut is about 7/8th of an inch on the head. A number 7 haircut is always long enough to be styled, either with or without hair product. However, the #7 haircut is not ideal if you’re are experiencing hair loss.

The number seven haircut length is close to the crew cut. On the other side, this is a decent length to wear with confidence if you have a full head of hair. This means that if you fade the sides, you can carry a graceful head with ease.

The number 7 cut is also the perfect length for deep 360 or beehive waves. You will still need to use a durag and wave cream, but the hair around your head is short enough to wrap. If you are not familiar with the 360 waves hairstyle, check out our article Beginner guide to build 720 waves.

Hair Trimmer Guard Size for Number 8 Haircut

 

number 8 haircut length

The number 8 haircut is the last and the longest hair clipper size. Keep in mind the #8 haircut leaves about 25.4mm or one inch of hair on your head. The longer hair allows more flexibility for styling, so it is a versatile haircut.

Number eight clipper guard size can be extended even more when the lever on the side of the hair clipper is adjusted. This is a necessary feature when cutting styles like high Mohawk, Afros, and Flat Top haircuts.

You can do pretty much all the short haircuts with one single hair clipper when you think about it. However, when you use different guard sizes in addition to your trimmer, that’s when the magic happens, and get cool haircuts. For example, you can fade or tapper the sides using shorter clipper attachment sizes (e.g., #1, 2, 3, or 4) to balance out the size #8 guard.Clipper guard with numbers

Where you can find clipper guards with numbers

It isn’t very hard to find hair clipper guards with numbers on them. You can find numbered clipper guards at a beauty supply store, some drugstores, and on online shops like amazon. Check out Professional Hair Clipper Guards for Wahl on Amazon.

 

Haircut Numbers FAQs

What do clipper numbers mean?

The numbers on your clipper combs, or clipper guards, indicate the length of hair during a haircut. The engraved number on the clipper attachment will either be whole numbers (1 through 8 or 10), millimeter measurement (1.5mm to 25mm), or fractions (1/2 inch to 1 inch).

A guard with a length 1/2 or 1 will cut your hair close to the scalp, while a guard with a higher number provides longer haircuts.

Whats shorter 3 or 4 haircut?

Each brand offers a different haircut number kit, and each haircut clipper size differs by 1/8 of an inch. A number 3 haircut refers to a hair length of three-eighths inches on the scalp, while a number 4 trim is for half an inch. In this example, the lower number 3 haircut is shorter than the number four haircut.

How do I know what clipper guard to use?

The Basics Of Clipper Guard Numbers:

The smaller the guard number, the shorter the hair will be. The lower numbers guards are used in fades. So, if you want a fade haircut, go with guard #2 through #4 for the proper length.

What does the lever on Clippers do?

The taper lever on the side allows you to adjust the closeness of the cut between guide comb lengths. The clipper adjustment lever can be moved up for a closer cut or down for longer hair-length haircuts. This is especially useful for fading and blending since you can control the cutting lengths with greater precision.

Are guards for clippers universal?

In most situations, attachment guard combs are meant to fit with your clipper’s blade design. I should mention most clipper guards will fit the top trimmer brand without a problem. However, a universal comb set guard should fit all clipper brands, including off-brand trimmers. The uni-guards are flexible and tough, with a solid plastic that won’t wear.

What’s the longest guard on clippers?

In general, Oster clipper guards come in three different sizes. The smallest is the mini/size 1, which measures just 1/16 of an inch. The most popular size 2 comes in at 1/4 inch long. The size #10 is the longest, measuring 1-1/4 inches.

Conclusion

When deciding which guard size is best for your next haircut, I suggest you start by thinking of the style you are aiming for. If you want a short crew cut, get the #1 guard size clipper attachment. If you’re looking for something in between crew cut and flattop, try #2 guard size. For high fade haircuts, use clippers with high guard sizes like #7 or #8!

Each brand may have a different guard number labeling, but it will not affect haircuts or how the attachment guard fits your clippers. The result will be the same whether the haircut number is labeled with a whole number or faction of a number.

Always ask your barber how much hair each number clipper guard will leave and which clipper size is best for your face. This will help you avoid a bad haircut or disappointment.

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