Barbering is an age-old industry, but that doesn’t mean you need to be stuck using age-old equipment! There are lots of options when it comes to choosing the right barbershop tools and equipment, and getting the tools you need to do your job while also balancing budget considerations well can be a challenge. That’s why we put together this list of barbershop essentials so you can start putting your skills to work.
Barber’s Equipment List Must-haves
First thing first, before you even touch anyone’s hair, you and your client deserve to know that you’re working with clean tools and equipment. In a bustling barbershop, where multiple clients come in for haircuts and grooming services, the risk of spreading germs and infections is always present. By having disinfectant readily available, barbers can effectively sanitize their tools, workstations, and other surfaces between each client.
Disinfectants for barbers include sprays for spot cleaning tools like clippers or other mechanical equipment in between clients. Popular spray disinfectants include Andis Cool Care Plus and Clippercide.
For serious cleaning, keep a jar of Barbicide on your counter to soak scissors, shears, and combs while they’re not in use. Barbicide is a hospital-grade disinfectant that kills viruses, germs, and fungi on contact, making it indispensable to stop the spread of lice, scalp ringworm, and a whole host of other bad stuff you don’t want associated with your barbershop.
Did you know? The cost to open a barbershop ranges from $50,000 to $150,000, including up to $20,000 on barbershop tools, client care products, and supplies (profitableventures.com).
As barbershop essentials go, hair clippers are often the backbone of a barber’s craft. Barbers rely on clippers and attachable numbered guards to trim and shape hair to a uniform length with a single pass. These essential tools not only save time but also deliver consistent results, ensuring that each client leaves your barbershop looking sharp and well-groomed.
There are two types of clippers every barber should consider: cordless and corded. Corded clippers are the most reliable, delivering the same results time and time again—although the cord can be a hassle to both you and your client.
Cordless clippers offer convenience, but are prone to running out of batteries after a few hours meaning you might need to keep several on hand for a busy day. Regardless of which you prefer, clippers need to be oiled and maintained regularly to function and last.
For cordless clippers, you can’t go wrong with the classic Wahl 5-Star Barber Combo or the Oster Fast Feed Adjustable. For cordless, consider options like the Kemei Magic Clip or the Wahl 5-Star Magic Clip.
Pro tip: See how barber’s insurance can help protect you and your clients if something goes wrong.
Combs and Brushes
These simple tools are nonetheless important barbershop essentials. Investing in good combs and brushes allow for precise control of hair whether it’s still attached or not. Combs come in a wide variety of lengths and tooth spacings, and beginners might want to experiment with having a few of each on hand. Brushes include specialty items like a fade brush, a shaving brush for spreading shaving cream, or simple duster brushes for removing fine hairs from clients and surfaces.
Capes and Neckstrips
Perhaps the most familiar barbershop tools to most clients, neck strips are thin pieces of paper that (you guessed it) wrap around your clients neck and prevent fine hair from falling into their clothes underneath their cape. The cape, meanwhile, stops the bulk of the hair from settling on your clients clothes. Neither need any kind of special consideration, just pick a brand that you like and stick with them.
This timeless instrument has been a staple in the barbering world for centuries, and for good reason. With its sharp, single blade and ergonomic design, the straight razor offers unparalleled precision and control during shaving and grooming sessions, allowing you to achieve clean, smooth lines with utmost accuracy. The straight razor not only provides a close shave but also offers a luxurious experience for customers, creating a sense of nostalgia and tradition in the barbershop.
If you’re unfamiliar with using or sharpening a straight razor, start with purchasing a razor holder and a set of disposable safety razors like the Dorco Prime Platinum, which feels like an authentic straight razor in hand without the need for sharpening.
A blow dryer allows you to quickly dry wet hair after a wash, saving valuable time in the shop. By using different attachments such as diffusers or concentrators, you can also achieve various styles and textures, adding volume or creating sleek finishes.
This is one of those tools that doesn’t need too much thought as long as it’s reliable and fits within your budget. Though if you do use your blow dryer frequently, you might want to consider the ergonomics and weight of various tools to see which works best for you.
Essential Prep Tools and Products
Prep tools are simply the barbershop tools you need to perform a treatment and can vary depending on your specialties and range of services. They are designed to keep your workflow optimized, your space clean, and your clients happy. They include things like, spray bottles, shaving cream, pomade, towels, etc.
Each one has a dedicated function and should:
- work when you need them to
- be close by so you don’t waste time looking for them
- fit within your budget
- be tools and products you’d be happy using on yourself
Investing in the barbershop essentials on this list will give you a fully functional and respectable operation—but it’s by no means exhaustive. Whether you’re running your own barbershop or renting a chair will affect the necessities of your business, and there may come a time where you need to invest in big-ticket items like barber’s chairs or mirrors, or administrative items like appointment scheduling software.
Pro tip: Once you’ve purchased the right equipment, check out some more ideas for starting a barbershop business.
Keep Your Barbershop Tools Safe
Whatever point in your career you find yourself, just know that Beauty & Bodywork Insurance is here to help you protect your business so you can keep your clients—and your bottom line—happy.
BBI’s barber insurance policy keeps you covered in the event of accidents or injuries to your clients during your services. And with BBI’s Tools and Supplies coverage, the tools of your trade are protected from damage or loss. Just $16 per year gets you coverage of up to $2,000.
To see what else BBI Can do to help keep your business, tools, and barbershop essentials safe, call today or fill out an application for instant coverage. Learn more here!