Why are my clippers getting hot?
Clippers are powerful electrical appliances which are made up of many moving parts. Naturally, the metal components inside the clipper and the clipper blades will generate heat when they are run at speed. The aim is to reduce the level of friction as these components rub together which will help to eliminate heat production. With the very nature of clipping, some heat should be expected but excess heat is a sign that your clippers are not running as well as they should be.
Heat from the clipper blades
Clipper oil is an essential part of using clippers. To allow clipper blades to cut, the two pieces of metal that make up the comb and cutter need to rub together at high speed to provide the cutting action so clipper blades will get warm without intervention. Regular oiling of the clipper blades during clipping allows for a steady covering of lubrication to reduce the amount of friction and help to flush out clipped hair from the surfaces of the blades. Always stop your clippers to check the temperature of the blades against your hand to ensure they are comfortable for your horse or dog. Keep clipper blades well oiled by running a few drops along the teeth and down the sides of the blades every 3-5 minutes during clipping and every now and again pop a few drops into holes in the clipper head.
Even with the regular application of clipper oil, if powerful heavy-duty clippers are running for quite some time, there may be a need to take a break to let the blades cool and for the clipper to be cleared of hair. However, some animals are best to not stop too long for breaks. In this case, swapping to a cooler blade may be best whilst the first cools or the use of an instant cooling spray will cool down hot blades in seconds, allowing for the clipper blade to be used continuously and save time.
Top Tip – Never use WD40, surgical spirit or anything other than specialist clipper oil to lubricate your clipper blades and clipper head. Alternative products are not designed for use with clippers - They may be flammable, too sticky or leave a film on the clipper blades. The consistency could also be too thin which means it could seep into the inner working of the clipper and cause problems. They may also contain additives that could irritate your pet’s skin.
Over tensioning the clippers blades is the one of the most common causes for excessive heat generation in the clipper. To keep blades running cooler, check that the tension is set as low as possible. The more pressure there is squeezing the blades together, the more friction and heat generation. Different clipper models have different methods for setting the correct amount of tension. You can find our guide for tensioning A2 clipper models here and traditional Heiniger style models here.
Even when you have the tension set correctly as per your clipper model, if the clipper is running well you could even loosen it a little further. As a rule of thumb, the least tension there is on the clipper, the less friction - meaning less strain on the motor and ensures your clippers last longer.
Heat from the head
The holes on the clipper head allow clipper oil to lubricate the inner workings of the head. Just like the action of the blades, these components are running at high speed so lubrication will reduce friction. If you feel heat starting to increase from the clipper head, make sure the head is well lubricated and stop the clipper to clear the head of any trapped hair. Heat generated from the head and from the clipper blades can travel down the handle. If the clipper handle feels warm, check the blades, tension and head are correct and hair free first.
Heat from the handset
Larger clippers have air filters to allow air to be drawn into the handset to help keep the motor cool. It’s worth taking a minute to brush any clipped hair away from the filters during use to keep a constant air flow through the handset. When you have finished clipping, a deep clean after every use is very important. Remove the air filters (if possible) and brush out any clipped hair from inside the filter and out. If the mesh air filter is broken replace this before using the clipper again.
It’s also important to remove the clipper blades and clean out any trapped hair from the inside of the clipper head. The cleaning brush from the carry case or old toothbrush is great for sweeping away hair from the head and air filters but for a really good clean, a can of pressurised air used for cleaning computing equipment is ideal for getting any remaining bits from the crevices.
Even with the best care, clipped hair will eventually find its way into the inner workings of the clipper. If heat is being felt in the handpiece of the clipper, there’s a good chance your clippers are in need of a service.
Regular servicing every year to 18 months (depending on how much the clipper is used) will ensure any of the internal parts that are starting to look worn will be replaced and the motor will be cleared and cleaned of trapped hair. It’s best to leave this job to the professionals. You can find our clipper servicing details here.