Clipper Combs for Dogs: How & When to Use Them

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With more and more cities going in quarantine, I’ve seen a lot of pet owners opting for DIY dog grooming. Local salons are closed for some. Others just want to learn how to cut their dog’s hair to save money.

Wahl combs

Snap on, secure fit & stainless steel precision. 8 combs to cover various lengths up to 1".

Oster dog combs

More diversity with 10 sizes to use on your dog. Great for longer cuts as the guards go up to 2".

There are two main things that confuse newcomers:

  • Dog grooming combs and their sizes.

  • The difference between clipper combs vs blades for pets.

Let’s take a look. I’ll discuss comb attachments from the big three – Wahl, Andis, and Oster.

Generally, I’ve found Wahl’s dog clipper comb attachments to be the best. First, they also fit both Andis and Oster clippers. Second, they’re snap-on guards made of stainless steel. Meaning, they don’t slip like plastic combs.

Wahl combs

Snap on, secure fit & stainless steel precision. 8 combs to cover various lengths up to 1".

Using clipper combs for dog grooming:
Why and when?

This is a pretty valid question. You already have so many different blade sizes…Why would you supplement these with guards?

The first reason is your pet’s safety. Clipper blades that can get hot when you groom for a longer time. Additionally, they can be quite sharp.

Pair that with an anxious pet that doesn’t stay put during the grooming session…For the newcomer, this can be a total nightmare:

What if you poke the skin beneath that coat with a pointy blade?

Dog grooming comb attachments minimize the risk of hurting your dog. They snug right onto the blade and control the length of the cut, all the while softening its sharpness. They also help with dissipating blade heat.

Simply said, clipper guards are the safer way to learn the ropes of dog grooming for both DIYers and beginner stylists. They also achieve a softer, blending-style finish.

There’s a catch, though: they’re limited by their maximum length. These Oster pet combs leave hair the longest at 2″, while Andis and Wahl dog guards max at 1″.

Oster dog combs

More diversity with 10 sizes to use on your dog. Great for longer cuts as the guards go up to 2".

Remember that these inches indicate the amount of hair left on your pet after using them.

In that sense, you can’t really use combs for sanitary/surgical cut areas. You’ll have to go for the close-cutting naked blades.

Another issue with comb attachments is they don’t deal well with undercoats.

If there are any mats, tangles or dead undercoat, you have to first remove them using a naked blade. Otherwise the remaining hair will jam the gap between the blade and the comb.

The result would be uneven cuts and the comb teeth snagging hair.

Once you’ve taken care of the undercoat, clipper combs for dogs actually ensure a more proportionate cut! Combined with the safety element, this is why I’d recommend them for beginners.

Dog grooming comb attachments: A guide how and when to use them. Featuring Wahl, Andis and Oster as brands.

Snap on comb attachments across brands:
Wahl, Andis and Oster

All three brands have versatile guards for dog hair. As I mentioned before, though, I think currently Wahl’s pet combs are the best.

Let’s start with them, before moving to Andis and Oster.

Wahl have two sets of dog clipper attachments:

Both sets include 8 combs, ranging from 1/8″ to 1″ in terms of length.

Wahl dog clipper combs & attachments: Sizes and which blades to use them with. Interchangeable with Andis and Oster clippers.

Important: Never use the #3390-100 combs with any #40 size blade. They’re not compatible and violating this will hurt your pet.

You can safely use them with:

  • #10, #15 and #30 size blades for optimal performance (or other sizes too).

  • Both Andis and Oster dog clippers like the classic Andis AGC2 or Oster A5.

These are the go-to guards on Wahl’s models like the KM10, KM2, Stable Pro and Power Grip.

Andis clipper comb attachments for dogs used to be more diverse. You could pick steel guards, chrome-plated ones, or plastic combs.

For some reason, you can only get these plastic attachments for pets right now.

The good news is: they’re cheap. The bad news is…they’re way flimsier than Wahl or Oster combs.

Once again, they fit with #10, #15 and #30 blade sizes, as well as #9. You can use them on any detachable blade clipper from Wahl and Oster too.

Andis combs for dog grooming clippers: do they fit with Wahl? Also, when and how to use them as snap on attachments.

Compared to Wahl, the set of comb attachments has 9 sizes: 1/16″, 1/8″, 3/16″, 1/4″, 5/16″, 3/8″, 7/16″, 1/2″ and 9/16″.

Oster combs for dogs (check them here) are famous due to the brand’s legendary A5 clipper.

The biggest benefit here are two very important factors to consider:

  • You get a bigger kit of 10 stainless steel combs.

  • Oster attachments go from 1/16″ to 2″, covering more coat lengths.

There’s a downside to that…

Oster’s guards for dogs don’t fit Wahl or Andis clippers snugly at all. Forget about optimal interchangeability between models here.

Quick note:
Blade sizes pet combs usually deal with

Most detachable blade clippers for dog grooming are equipped with a #10 blade. This one leaves pet hair at 1/16” or 1.5mm. While attachments also work well with #9 blades, anything shorter might not be as optimal.

I’d like to talk about the three ‘standard’ blade sizes you see recommended in most kits of dog grooming attachments.

While the #10 blade size is the same across all brands, there are some differences with the #30 and #40 blades.

For #30 dog clipper blades: Andis and Oster products leave hair at 1/50″ or 0.5mm. Wahl leaves fur at 1/32″ or 0.8mm, so a little longer.

For #40 blades: Andis and Oster are at 1/100″ (0.25mm), Wahl’s catalogue points at 3/128″ or 0.6mm on their Ultimate/Competition series.

How to use snap on guards:
A nice video!

A picture’s worth a thousand words…And a video much, much more. Comb attachments are perfect for dealing with short to medium coats or breeds like poodles who have a single coat without any undercoat issues.

Here’s one of my favorite videos on technique and methods you can use while learning how to DIY your affectionate pooch!

If during quarantine you’re also considering cutting your own (or your family’s hair), remember that dog and human hair clippers differ a bit. Focusing on Oster’s clippers, I have a special guide on blade lengths for human hair you can check out!

Founder of ToolingFun. Couldn't even change a lightbulb in my teenage years. Discovered the joy of DIY projects during my 2nd year in college. All about tinkering around, trying fun tools and projects, and giving my opinion on industry brands!