to achieve the looks customers want and
the quality to keep clients coming back, as
well as to avoid personal bodily damage
for a long-lasting career.
Stratton has used Andis products for
more than 15 years.
“Electric, not battery models, fit my
small hands better and have a lighter
weight to them without too much vibra-
tion,” she said. “However, I do have a bat-
tery clipper, and I prefer Wahl Bravura.
Its unique feature is a five-in-one blade to
scale close to a surgical cut and out to a
longer length so you don’t have to change
the entire blade on the clipper as often.
You also can add comb attachments. It’s
easy to pick up and do a number of spots
on an animal.”
Ritacco also reported using Bravura by
Wahl, in addition to a Wahl mini and the
Andis 5-Speed. While she noted an im-
provement in clippers not heating up like
they used to, she uses Clipper Vac so her
groomers don’t have to worry about cool-
ing their blades.
At Paws & Pamper LLC in Missoula,
Mont., owner Elizabeth McNeilly said
she prefers using the big lithium ion clippers with cords because they are quieter
and dogs don’t have as big a problem
“I’d been using an older [Andis] AG
two-speed model as my go-to,” she said.
“Now I’m using their new turquoise mod-
el and the purple Oster. I immediately no-
ticed it was faster and lighter weight, so
I had to adjust how I was using it. It re-
ally felt like I had been using a dinosaur,
For blades, McNeilly uses 7s, 9s and
15s every day, so she makes sure to have
replacements on hand.
When shopping for replacements or
new clippers and blades, reviews and
recommendations rank as very important
“I look up reviews and ask distributors
which products they see back for repairs,”
Ritacco said. “There are better brands I
thought I wanted but didn’t buy because
of repairs. Reviews and recommendations
are a big thing.”
Longevity and fit also are essentials
when choosing equipment.
“I like to look for the brands I feel are
the most reliable,” Stratton said. “For clippers, I look at the new stuff, but ultimately,
for me, it’s what fits my hands best.”
BLADE CARE KEEPS
GROOMERS IN BUSINESS
To a certain degree, a professional groomer is only as good as their equipment. Even
the best groomer cannot perform well with
dirty and dull grooming products.
Most groomers, from brick-and-mor-tar to mobile businesses, use professional
sharpeners to keep their clippers and
blades in tip-top shape. When choosing a
service, dependability, quality work and
reasonable turnaround are top priorities.
“There are a lot of sharpeners across the
country, and I found a couple that are very
dependable and do quality work,” said
Stratton. “Find someone who does the job
well and has a good turnaround of about
five to seven working days. I tried some lo-
cal options, and they ruined my stuff.”
“I have to be super careful when I get
them back from him; they’re like sharper
than new,” she said.
In addition to professional sharpening and care, most groomers use oils and
cleaners between clients to avoid cross-contamination and poor product performance. Stratton picks up oils that are
recommended at trade shows but avoids
spray disinfectant cleaners because “they
are too caustic for the lungs and sometimes are not good on equipment either.”
Beyond brushing out and spraying
down tools with sanitizer between grooms
and doing a good clean at the end of each
day, McNeilly also recently invested in a
new sterilizing gadget.
“It looks like an Easy-Bake Oven, and
you press the button and UV rays clean
everything,” she said.
Because Cumberland Pet Grooming
& Boutique is a holistic/natural salon,
Ritacco strives to use minimal chemicals.
Groomers use a blade wash and oil, and
they use alcohol for disinfecting because
it dries and cleans. She said the Clipper
Vac cleans out the products and helps